The European Commission is on its way to approving the second corn event in six years, Monsanto's NK603, also known as Roundup Ready 2, for feed and industrial use in the European Union (EU). The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) welcomed the news and looks forward to future action by the commission on NK603 and other biotech products.

Despite the announcement, NK603 can't be marketed until the commission approves the application for food use. A final decision on NK603 will likely be delayed until October or November.

“While the European regulatory system is beginning to move forward at a quicker pace, we still have concerns regarding EU member states that are strongly opposed to the technology,” says Helen Inman, chair of NCGA's Biotechnology Working Group. “This news is encouraging, but we have a long way to go before the moratorium on biotech products is effectively ended.”

Monsanto estimates Roundup Ready corn seed was planted on 16 million acres in the U.S. this year, up from 12 million acres last year. Globally, Monsanto's biotech crop acres grew to 172 million acres in 2004 from 150 million acres the previous year.