The GM starch potato Amflora owned by BASF has been genetically modified to hinder the production of one of the two starches naturally occurring in potatoes so that it contains more then 99% of amylopectine but very little amylose. It also contains the antibiotic marker nptII.
On 2 March 2010, the new EU Commission authorized the cultivation of Amflora, its use as animal feed and contamination of up to 0.9% in food.
Amflora is the brand name for the GM event EH92-527-1; its unique identifier is BPS-25271-9.


ifrik: EFSA announced that it needs another month to discuss the opinions of scientists who see risks in growing GM potato #Amflora

ifrik: Why is the intended field trial with GM potato #Amflora (BPS-25271-9) not in the German location register?

On of the first things new EU Commissionair for Health and Consumers John Dalli did today was to authorized BASF's GM potato Amflora.
The EU Commission is only in office since a week, and the responsibility for GM crops was moved from DG Environment to DG Health. Yesterday Dalli talked to members of the EU parliament, but he then nevertheless took a fast decision then.

For the third time the EU Commission handed the Amflora dossier back to the EFSA in 2008. This time not only the GMO panel but also the Biohazard panel are asked about their opinion. And after months EFSA announced that they would need more time to come to a conclusion because two of their experts have a different opinion then the rest.

According to a German newspaper report there will be no Amflora cultivation in 2009. In May 2008, the EU Commission had requested an additional opinion from the EFSA after memberstates did not find a qualified majority to approve or reject BASF's application to cultivate the GM ptotato in Europe. Concerns were raised repeatedly about the antibiotic resistance marker gene nptII in Amflora, that among others concerns antibiotica used as a last resort for multi-resistant tuberculosis.
But a closer look at the Draft Decision by the EU Commission also shows that the EU Commission came to a very different conclusion about risks and risk management of Amflora cultivation. While the EFSA stated that they agreed with BASF that no case-specific monitoring was needed, the EU Commission drafted a decision in which case-specific monitoring was requested to monitor effects on potato feeding animals on and around the fields - an issue the EFSA had not even considered in its review of the application. (More details in the German report EU-Risikomanagement.)
Already in 2008 2008, BASF had sued the EU Commission for unduly delaying a decision. A new EFSA opinion was expected on 15 December, but now will only be published in March 2009 - too late for planting in 2009, independent of what the outcome of this new opinion will be.

An assessment of statements and decisions by the EU Commission shows that the EU Commission repeatedly points to the independence of the EFSA instead of taking up the responsibility to assess and control the work of the EFSA. So far the Commission usually hides behind the EFSA opinions and in practice even leaves the power to take decisions to the EFSA even though this is in contradiction to the EU regulation. In other cases however, like the cultivation of Bt11, 1507 maize and Amflora, at least some parts of the EU Commission disagree with the EFSA opinion.

Christoph Then & Antje Lorch. Study for Hiltrud Breyer (MEP) Bündnis 90/Die Grnen. December 2008.

Die Auswertung von Stellungnahmen und Entscheidungen der EU-Kommission führt vor Augen, dass die EU-Kommission sich mit Verweis auf die Unabhängigkeit der EFSA ihrer Aufgabe entzogen hat, klare Vorgaben für deren Arbeit zu machen, die EFSA-Angaben zu prüfen und zu kontrollieren. Sie hat sich bisher hinter den Gutachten der EFSA versteckt und im Endeffekt Entscheidungsgewalt auf die EU-Lebensmitelbehörde verlagert, obwohl dies laut entsprechenden EU-Vorschriften nicht möglich ist. In einigen Fälle jedoch, z.B.

Christoph Then & Antje Lorch, 2008. Studie im Auftrag von Hiltrud Breyer, MEP, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen.

[img_assist|nid=247|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]In 2007, the GM potato Amflora was cultivated on nearly 450 ha in Germany. The goal of the “field trial” as to produce seed potatoes just in case Amflora would be allowed for commercial cultivation. But another result now becomes quite obvious: GM potatoes cannot be kept under control and they cannot be cleared off the field completely. In summer 2008, despite repeated controls Amflora potatoes are happily growing on the field.

[img_assist|nid=245|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43] In July 2008, BASF filed a case with the European Court in Luxembourg stating that the European Commission failed to act on the approval of Amflora.
In September 2008, the company followed this by the threat that BASF would stop its development of GM crops in Europe unless the approval would be given soon.

[img_assist|nid=108|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]In 2007 and 2008, the German authorities approved of 'field-trials' with the GM potato Amflora by BASF even though the goal was/is not to do any research but simply to produce seed potatoes for the case that Amflora actually gets a cultivation approval in the EU. One of the conditions was that no potatoes would be left on the field afterwards. Already in autumn 2007, a number of potatoes were discovered on one of the fields after the harvest.

[img_assist|nid=225|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]On Wednesday, 7 May 2008, the EU Commission refered three GM crops back to the EFSA: the GM starch potato Amflora and the two Bt maize events Bt11 and 1507. Environmental Commissioner Dimas had already announced earlier that he would propose to reject the two Bt maize.

[img_assist|nid=245|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]On 6 March, BASF announced that there would be no commercial cultivation of the GM potatoe Amflora - while a few weeks ago the company with acting as if getting the required aproval for planting was immanent.