March 28/Brussels/Deutsche Presse-Agentur -- The European Commission on Friday extended the authorization of products derived from genetically modified (GM) maize after EU member states failed to agree on the issue.

The so-called GA21 maize is already authorized for feed and food use within the bloc. However, Friday's decision allows the import of this kind of maize from third countries where it is cultivated.

EU countries are currently not allowed to grow GA21.

Officials in Brussels said the maize has been considered safe by the European Food Safety Authority.

However, Germany, Austria, Italy and other member states still oppose its use.

Neither the pro- or anti-GM camps succeeded in obtaining a qualified majority at a recent meeting of EU agriculture ministers, leaving a final decision on the issue in the hands of the commission.

From the March 31, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash