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French court annuls GMO ban

By Dave Keating  -  02.08.2013 / 15:05 CET
Court found French ban on Monsanto's genetically modified (GMO) maize was in violation of EU law.
France's highest court lifted the country's ban on growing Monsanto's genetically modified (GMO) maize MON810, yesterday (1 August), following a decision by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in May that said the ban was not justified by a serious environmental threat.  

The court found that the French ban violated European Union law because the maize was authorised by the EU in 1998.  

Eight member states have banned the cultivation of MON810 – France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Luxemburg, Austria, Hungary and Greece. The ban has only been legally challenged in France. Spain and Portugal are the only member states that grow MON810 on a significant scale.  

The issue of GM crops still divides the EU. A Commission proposal to allow member states to enact national bans is stalled in the Council of Ministers, where member states are evenly divided.  

MON810 is currently going through an authorisation renewal process. Green MEPs, who are campaigning against GMO in Europe, expressed disappointment with the ruling and urged France and the other anti-GMO countries to reject the renewal.   

“This ruling should be a wake-up call to Europe to definitively turn the page on GMO cultivation and focus instead on moving towards environmentally sustainable agriculture,” said French Green MEP José Bové.  

However other member states are concerned that the resistance to GMO is not based on scientific evidence, and the controversy is causing crop science companies to withdraw from Europe. Last week it emerged that Monsanto will no longer pursue cultivation approvals for new GMO crops in Europe because of the regulatory uncertainty. They will instead focus on enabling imports of GMO crops into the EU.  

Last year German chemical company BASF decided to close down its GMO crop production facilities in Europe.  
© 2014 European Voice. All rights reserved.
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