France extends GM corn ban

Published: Friday 15 February 2008

on january 11, France decided to extend its October 2007 ban on a variety of gm maize. It decided to activate a European Union guideline that prohibits the cultivation of gm corn. The variety, Mon 810, developed by food multinational Monsanto, is the only gm crop that France is growing.

The decision came after France's Provisional High Authority on gm Organisms, which comprises scientists, farmers, politicians and ngos, raised concerns on the safety of the gm corp. French authorities said a team of experts and farmers will study the impacts of the gm product.

But France may find it difficult to sustain the ban since eu will have to face wto sanctions if it refuses to end restrictions on gm imports. In November 2005, a wto panel found that some European countries were breaking international trade rules on gm food import--in response to a petition by the us, Canada and Argentina.

The ruling was passed in September 2006 and wto asked eu to overturn the ban by November 21, 2007. This was extended to January 11, 2008--the day France announced its extension move. eu missed the deadline once again.

The move has met with protests from the countries it will affect. The us , Canada and Argentina have expressed their disappointment and have hinted at possible trade sanctions against eu. The us has given it some more time for approving gm products. Canada has also set a deadline of February 11, 2008 and Argentina has given time till June this year. Meanwhile, eu's biotech steering group is expected to discuss the issue in last week of January and come up with a decision.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.