• France Bans All GMO Cultivation

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    The French parliament gave final approval on Monday to a law prohibiting the cultivation of any variety of genetically modified maize in the European Union's top grain producer, where a majority of people remain strongly opposed to foods based on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.The French Senate voted on a law already adopted by the lower house of parliament last month that banned GMO maize (corn) cultivation, even though it has been cleared at European Union level, saying it poses a risk to the environment.

    The French National Assembly has made a sweeping declaration with a new bill, effective immediately. No more genetically modified crops.

    On Tuesday, the French lower house of parliament adopted a law immediately banning cultivation of any GMO corn, due to environmental safety concerns.

    Recently, they also made a halt decree to prohibit planting the only GM crop allowed in the EU – Monsanto's MON810 corn, with built-in insect resistance.

    Jean-Marie Le Guen, the minister in charge of relations with parliament, said:

    It is essential today to renew a widely shared desire to maintain the French ban. This bill strengthens the decree passed last March by preventing the immediate cultivation of GMO and extending their reach to all transgenic maize varieties.

    Farmers and seed companies are challenging the rule, as they have blocked similar decrees before, viewing safety concerns insufficient. But Le Guen bound the rule so that member state decisions could not be litigated against.

    The ban heads back to the Senate for final approval – if rejected, the French National Assembly gets to cast the final ruling. Future strains will be banned even if the EU states approve more.

    Of course big biotech companies are not satisfied to let bans rest. If companies like Monsanto have any say, they'll be back. The EU actually wants to give them that final say.

    Longstanding differences between EU countries resurfaced in February when they failed to agree on whether or not to approve the GMO maize variety Pioneer 1507, leaving the way open to the EU Commission to clear it for cultivation.

    The debate on the future of GMO policy is continuing at EU level, with Greece, which holds the rotating EU presidency, working on an compromise with an opt-out that would allow individual countries to ban such crops.

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