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France renews ban on Monsanto maize planting as a precaution

media A photo of Monsanto's MON 810 maize. Authorized in 1998, commercial use of the genetically modified crop remains frozen AFP PHOTO/Philippe Huguen

France banned the planting of Monsanto maize on Saturday 15 March, ahead of a vote at the National Assembly to impose a wide-sweeping ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Paris maintains that GM maize crops present serious environmental risks, but has lost two attempts to outlaw their use.

French farmers will no longer be able to plant seeds from the maize line MON 810, as of Saturday 15 March. A new decree plans to stop  Monsanto maize from being grown as a measure of precaution.

Fresh scientifc evidence has revealed that the planting of genetically modified maize from the US agro-chemical giant could pose serious risks to the environment. 

French authorities have been trying to establish a new ban on GM corn after a senior court twice struck down previous attempts.

Saturday's decree was timed to avert any sowing of GM maize by farmers before a law banning planting of GMOs is debated at the National Assembly in April.

Environmentalists have welcomed the move, but remain prudent. They want a long-term legal frame work banning GM maize crops, not a stop-gap measure.

EU countries are currently debating changes to domestic and European laws to ensure a long-term ban.

Currently, the MON 810 insect-resistant maize is the only GMO variety authorized in the European Union.



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