Press Release 20 March 2007 For immediate release More information about the Friends of the Earth Europe Biotechnology and GMOs campaign Back Biotech industry withdraws GM foods Brussels, March 20th, 2007 - The European Union is today discussing the official withdrawal by the biotech industry of five genetically modified (GM) foods and crops, including the first GM crop that was ever grown in Europe.  Friends of the Earth Europe has highlighted this as further proof that GM crops are failing.  Helen Holder, GMO campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "There is no market for GM food and crops, and companies are even withdrawing them from the market. European citizens want GM-free food and EU leaders need to take the necessary steps to make this happen." "These genetically modified foods should have never been allowed to be grown in the first place, as no one knows the long term effects to both people and the environment." Bans by EU Member States on three of these five GM crops were central to the transatlantic trade dispute in the World Trade Organisations (WTO) which ended in 2006. The WTO ruled that counties did have the right to prohibit GM crops but that the bans in the EU had not followed WTO procedures. Helen Holder continued: "It is an absolute disgrace that European taxpayers money was spent defending a trade dispute about products that biotech companies were about to withdraw. The biotech industry should be forced to pay the EU compensation for the time and money they have wasted." The withdrawals will be discussed at a meeting today of Member States following letters from the biotech industry stating that they will no longer be marketed as they are not grown "on a global basis".  The products include a controversial GM maize that was initially grown in Spain but was stopped following health concerns because it contains a resistance gene to the commonly used antibiotic, ampicillin. It was also central to environmental concerns in the United States after research indicated that it could damage the Monarch butterfly. *** For more information, please contact: Helen Holder, GM Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe : Tel : +32 2 542 0182, Mobile +32 474 857 638, Email : email@example.com Rosemary Hall, Communications Officer at Friends of the Earth Europe: Tel: +32 25 42 61 05, Mobile: +32 485 930515, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Notes:  The first GM crop to be grown in Europe was genetically modified maize Bt176, produced by Syngenta.  A recent detailed study shows that environmentally-friendly farming will create more jobs and make the EU more competitive than if it grows genetically modified (GM) crops: http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2007/FoEE_biotech_MTR_midlifecrisis_March07.pdf  Standing Committee of the Food Chain and Animal Health, http://ec.europa.eu/food/committees/regulatory/scfcah/biosafety/agenda41_en.pdf  The products being withdrawn are: Genetically modified maize, Bt176 produced by Syngenta Genetically modified oilseed rape, Ms1xRf1, produced by Bayer Genetically modified oilseed rape, Ms1xRf2, produced by Bayer Generically modified oilseed rape, Topas 19/2, produced by Bayer Genetically modified maize, GA21xMON810, produced by Monsanto European Commission proposals for withdrawals: Withdrawal from the market of Bt176 (SYN-EV176-9) maize and its derived products http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/614r1-/614r1-en.pdf Withdrawal from the market of Ms1xRf1 (ACS BNOO4 7xACS BNOO1 4) hybrid oilseed rape and its derived products http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/615r1-/615r1-en.pdf Withdrawal from the market of Ms1xRf2 (ACS BNOO4 7xACS BNOO2 5) hybrid oilseed rape and its derived products http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/616r1-/616r1-en.pdf Withdrawal from the market of Topas 19/2 (ACS BNOO7 1) oilseed rape and its derived products http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/617r1-/617r1-en.pdf Withdrawal from the market of products derived from GA21xMON810 (MON OOO21 9xMON OO81O -6) maize http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/618r1-/618r1-en.pdf Syngenta Bt176 maize http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/614r1-/614r1-en.pdf Bayer MS1/RF1 oilseed rape http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/615r1-/615r1-en.pdf Bayer MS1/RF2 oilseed rape http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/616r1-/616r1-en.pdf Bayer Falcon oilseed rape http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/617r1-/617r1-en.pdf Monsanto GA21 x MON810 maize http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/618r1-/618r1-en.pdf Friends of the Earth Europe campaigns for sustainable and fair societies and for the protection of the environment, unites more than 30 national organisations with thousands of local groups and is part of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth International.