The European Union on Friday approved the sale of 11 new types of genetically modified (GM) maize for food and animal feed within the bloc, despite a groundswell of public resistance to GM crops in Europe.
Only one GM product can be grown in the EU - a maize strain developed by agricultural company Monsanto - but dozens of products can be imported from countries such as the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Canada.
In practice, no GM food is believed to be sold in Europe, experts say, as there is no market for the produce, which would have to be clearly labelled as such. It is used in animal feed, however.
The European Commission took the decision to authorize the new products, based on GM strains manufactured by the biotechnology company Syngenta, after they failed to gain the necessary majority backing to be either approved or rejected by member states.
The GM organism approval procedure has been criticized in the past but efforts to change it have so far been unsuccessful.
The products approved Friday had all been vetted by the European Food Safety Authority, the commission said.
Friday's authorizations are valid for 10 years, and bring the number of GM products that can be sold in the EU to more than 70. The permits do not cover cultivation in the bloc.