"Amflora potatoes, likely to become the first genetically modified crop in the past decade to be approved for growth in Europe, have become the unlikely poster child in the angry debate over such products on the Continent.The European Commission now says it will approve the potato "probably this fall," even though European ministers have twice been deadlocked on approval in the past eight months, with only a minority voting in favor. According to European Union procedures, "the ministers have not been able to take a decision, so we will have to reaffirm our earlier opinion to recommend it," said Barbara Helferrich, spokeswoman for the European Commission's Environment Directorate.
In one sense, the supreme irony is that Amflora is not a food at all. Although it looks, feels and smells like any other spud, each potato is actually a genetically engineered factory for amylopectin, a starch used to make glossy paper coatings, clothing finishes and adhesive cement.
Only 1 percent of the world's genetically modified food is grown in Europe. In contrast, 55 percent of the world's acreage in genetically modified crops is in the United States, where there is no distinction made between genetically modified and traditional varieties. Between 1998 and 2004, the EU had a moratorium on the approval of new genetically modified crops and food, so experts could study the risks involved. Under pressure from the World Trade Organization and the United States, that was lifted." (thanks Yasmine)