EU upholds right to ban GM maize

Member states of the European Union have upheld Austrian and Hungarian bans on genetically modified maize (corn), Agence France-Presse reported. The vote solidly defended the right of EU nations to block genetically modified crops based on safety concerns, despite repeated findings to the contrary by the European Food Safety Authority.


Monsanto, the world’s largest seed producer, had sought to introduce a variety of maize called MON810 in the 27-nation bloc. Despite strong support from the European Commission, the EU executive body, only four countries backed it in a vote by environment ministers: the United Kingdom, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden. The food safety authority, the commission’s scientific panel, determined that MON810 posed no health risk.


EuropaBio, a lobbying group, called the EU vote “incomprehensible”, adding that science had been subordinated to public opinion and that high food prices would result. Environmental groups hailed the vote, including Friends of the Earth, which called it “a clear message that European countries will not be bullied into taking unsound decisions regarding their environment, their farming and their citizens’ health”.


EU states have allowed the import of GM feed for cattle. They are more resistant to growing GM crops, however, fearing unforeseen effects on consumers and the environment.


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