France bans strain of Monsanto genetically modified maize

Mar 16, 2012
A bag containing "MON 810," a variety of genetically modified maize developed by Monsanto Company is shown ripped open anti-GMO activists in January in France. French Agricultural Minister Bruno Le Maire imposed Friday a temporary ban on the strain "to protect the environment".

French Agricultural Minister Bruno Le Maire imposed Friday a temporary ban on a genetically modified strain of maize made by US company Monsanto "to protect the environment".

The French agriculture ministry said in a statement that the Monsanto maize strain MON 810 had been banned as a "precautionary measure".

France's top administrative court in November overturned a government order banning French farmers from planting genetically modified crops from Monsanto.

However, President Nicolas Sarkozy swiftly pledged to seek new legal measures after the French ruling as well as a similar decision by the European Court of Justice.

France's agriculture ministry imposed a ban in February 2008 amid concerns over public safety, but the French State Council said the government had failed to prove that Monsanto crops "present a particularly elevated level of risk to either human health or the environment".

Monsanto markets MON 810 maize -- which has been modified at a genetic level to include DNA from a bacteria -- under the trade name YieldGuard as being resistant to insect pests that can threaten harvests.

But some governments believe it could pose a danger to plants and animals.

France's ecology ministry in February said it had asked the European Commission to suspend authorisation for the use of MON 810 crops as studies show that they "pose significant risks for the environment."

The ministry pointed to a recent study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that raised concerns with another form of GM crop, BT11, that it said could also be applied to MON 810.

The European Commission requested the opinion of the EFSA on France's request, but said it wouldn't take any steps in the meantime.

"If the European Union does not act, we can invoke the safeguard clause" which allows EU nations to independently restrict or prohibit the sales of products, the French agricultural ministry said.

Monsanto said in January that it had no intention of selling GM maize in France as it felt the market was not ready.

Explore further: Heaven scent: Finding may help restore fragrance to roses

Related Stories

France asks EU to suspend GM crop authorisation

Feb 20, 2012

France's ecology ministry said Monday it had asked European regulators to suspend authorisation for the use of genetically modified MON 810 maize crops from US company Monsanto based on new studies.

EU divided over GM crops

Sep 27, 2010

A controversial EU bid to allow member states to make their own decisions on whether or not to ban GM crops hit a fresh snag on Monday when Italy and France dug in their heels against the move.

GMO maize strain safe: EU food agency

Jun 30, 2009

A genetically modified strain of maize, banned in some EU countries, poses no risk to health or the environment, the European Food Safety Authority declared Tuesday.

EU effort to end GM crop deadlock meets resistance

Jul 13, 2010

The European Commission sought Tuesday to end a deadlock blocking the growth of genetically modified crops in Europe, proposing to give countries the freedom to ban the controversial foods.

Recommended for you

Study on pesticides in lab rat feed causes a stir

Jul 02, 2015

French scientists published evidence Thursday of pesticide contamination of lab rat feed which they said discredited historic toxicity studies, though commentators questioned the analysis.

International consortium to study plant fertility evolution

Jul 02, 2015

Mark Johnson, associate professor of biology, has joined a consortium of seven other researchers in four European countries to develop the fullest understanding yet of how fertilization evolved in flowering plants. The research, ...

Making the biofuels process safer for microbes

Jul 02, 2015

A team of investigators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University have created a process for making the work environment less toxic—literally—for the organisms that do the heavy ...

Why GM food is so hard to sell to a wary public

Jul 02, 2015

Whether commanding the attention of rock star Neil Young or apparently being supported by the former head of Greenpeace, genetically modified food is almost always in the news – and often in a negative ...

The hidden treasure in RNA-seq

Jul 01, 2015

Michael Stadler and his team at the Friedrich Miescher institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) have developed a novel computational approach to analyze RNA-seq data. By comparing intronic and exonic RNA reads, ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Doug_Huffman
Mar 17, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Callippo
not rated yet Mar 17, 2012
IMO the GMO corn pollens are one of sources of collony collapse syndrome of bees (CCD), because their BT toxins are source of food allergy. Moreover, it seems that crop pests appear to have developed resistance to an insect toxin inserted into GM corn plants As a result, these "superbugs" are surviving efforts by farmers to kill them and so are damaging food crops on farms in the U.S.

The revelation is a blow to supporters of the technology and raises questions over whether the regime that approves and polices genetically modified crops is sufficiently rigorous.
Callippo
not rated yet Mar 17, 2012

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.