Friends of the Earth Europe welcomes French ban on genetically modified maize

14 January 2008

BRUSSELS (Belgium), 14 January 2008 - Friends of the Earth Europe has today welcomed an official ban on Monsanto's controversial genetically modified maize, MON810, in France. The French government announced the ban on Friday evening using a clause in European law that allows countries to ban individual GMOs on health or environmental grounds to outlaw the crop.

The move follows an earlier freeze on the GM maize whilst an expert committee considered whether it presented risks to the environment and human health.

Commenting on the announcement, Helen Holder, GMO campaign coordinator at Friends of the Earth Europe said: "The French Government has wisely decided to put the environment and its citizens' health first as the impacts of Monsanto's genetically modified maize are not fully understood. There is a growing body of evidence showing potential environmental problems and enough doubt to pull the plug on growing the GM maize. Indeed the European Commissioner for the Environment has recently proposed to refuse authorization for two new genetically modified maize being grown anywhere in Europe."

Four other EU countries [1] have also banned MON810, as allowed under European GMO laws [2] and according to World Trade Organisation requirements [3].

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NOTES TO EDITORS:

[1] Austria, Greece, Hungary and Poland

[2] "Safeguard Clause" in Directive 2001/18

[3] The WTO Panel's final ruling on the GMO dispute did not question a country's right to strict biosafety legislation, nor a country's right to ban an individual GMO for health and environmental reasons.

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