Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

A Brazilian judge has asked the Monsanto Company to shelve plans to launch sales of genetically modified (gm) soybeans this year. He further ruled that the biotechnology giant's local unit must perform a one-year environmental impact study before selling its transgenic crop in the country.

"Whenever there is a potential threat to the environment, an environmental impact study is required. That is in the Constitution and Monsanto cannot be exempted," the judge added. The ruling was cheered by Greenpeace, an environmental group. Greenpeace had earlier waged a court battle against Monsanto in a crusade to keep Brazil transgenic-free.

Although Monsanto officially has 15 days to appeal the ruling, Greenpeace officials said there was practically no chance the case would again be heard before Brazil's late October soybean planting begins. "This is an extremely important victory for us," said one of the activists. Brazil in 1998 ended its ban on gm crops when its biological safety commission (ctnbio) approved Monsanto's genetically-altered soybeans.

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