EU Council of Ministers postpones decision on commercial cultivation of the genetically optimized starch potato Amflora
at a meeting in Luxembourg, the EU Council of Environmental Ministers did not discuss the approval of BASF’s genetically optimized potato, Amflora.
Amflora has been developed together with European experts in the potato starch industry, in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the European starch sector.
BASF Plant Science President & CEO Dr. Hans Kast stated: “Plant biotechnology is a key technology for the 21st century; and Amflora is a perfect example of an innovative product, which benefits the entire value chain from farmers to producers.” Amflora, a renewable resource, helps to save raw materials, energy and costs in industrial production through its optimized starch composition.
“We call upon Europe’s politicians to show their true commitment to innovation and speed up the approval of new technologies and their resulting products,“ Kast added.
The EU Commission recommends the cultivation of Amflora in its “Proposal for a Council Decision”. This Decision is based on the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) positive evaluation of Amflora. EFSA has repeatedly stated that Amflora is for humans, animals and the environment as safe as any conventional potato.
The EU approval is a prerequisite for the commercial cultivation of Amflora. After approval, BASF’s starch potato will be the first genetically enhanced product to be permitted for cultivation in Europe since 1998.
BASF Plant Science expects to start commercial cultivation in 2008, in cooperation with the starch industry and their contract farmers.
Amflora is a genetically optimized potato, producing pure amylopectin starch, ideal for technical applications.
Conventional potatoes produce a mixture of amylopectin and amylose starch. For many technical applications, such as in the paper, textile and adhesives industries, only amylopectin is needed; separating the two starch components is uneconomical. Amflora produces pure amylopectin starch and thus helps to safe resources, energy and costs. Moreover: Paper produced with amylopectin starch has a higher gloss. Concrete and adhesives can be processed for a longer period of time.
About BASF Plant Science
All BASF activities involving plant biotechnology are incorporated in BASF Plant Science. BASF Plant Science coordinates an international research and technology platform with eight sites in five countries in Europe and North America and employs about 700 people. In addition, BASF Plant Science has established numerous complementary cooperations with research institutes, universities and biotechnology companies in Europe and North America.
The research activities of BASF Plant Science are concentrated in the areas of more efficient agriculture, renewable raw material and a healthier nutrition for humans and animals. These include, for example, plants with improved agronomic characteristics, a higher content of vitamins or omega-3 fatty acids for preventing cardiovascular diseases as well as plants with a higher nutritional value for animals.
During the 3-year period from 2006-08, BASF is dedicating a total of €400 million to the expansion of its plant biotechnology operations.
To find out more about BASF Plant Science, please see our Internet website at: www.basf.com/biotechnology.
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company – The Chemical Company. BASF has approximately 95,000 employees and posted sales of €52.6 billion (approximately $66.1 billion) in 2006. Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.
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