Madrid, Spain, September 29 - Spanish maize fled to the French Embassy in Madrid today to seek asylum fearing contamination from genetically modified varieties.
The majority of GM maize grown commercially within the EU is located in Spain. Because of the high risk of contamination, Spanish non-GM maize sought refuge at the French Embassy in a stunt organised by Friends of the Earth. France banned the only GM crop authorised for cultivation in the EU, Monsanto's MON810, at the beginning of 2008.
"Genetically modified maize is grown in Spain without any precautions against contamination. The Spanish Government has not bothered to establish laws to protect non-genetically modified farming. With their survival at risk, the non-GM maize have no choice but to flee the country," said David Carpio Sanchez, spokesperson for the maize, and GMO campaigner at Friends of the Earth Spain. "Better be French than GM!"
Helen Holder, campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe in Brussels added, "Spain comes bottom of the class in Europe: whilst the other 26 countries of the EU are hesitant about growing genetically modified crops, the Spanish Government has opened the door wide to the biotech industry. They have simply ignored the high risk of GMO contamination for organic and conventional farming and the outstanding uncertainty about the impacts of these crops on the environment."