Saturday, January 28, 2012
Monsanto gives up on French GM maize
By Alistair Driver
January 28, 2012
BIOTECH giant Monsanto has announced it is giving up on plans to sell genetically modified (GM) maize in France, despite winning a key court ruling last year.
In November, France’s highest court overturned the 2008 ban on cultivating Monsanto’s MON810, an insect-resistant strain of maize which is grown in several European countries. The court ruled that the Government had not produced enough evidence to back its claims that the GM crop posed a significant risk to health or the environment.
That ruling was prompted by a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in September, in a case brought by Monsanto.
But earlier this month French environment and agriculture ministers revealed that, despite the ruling, they were planning to reintroduce the moratorium on MON810 maize before spring sowings start.
This has proved to be the final straw for Monsanto, which said this week that it had no longer had any plans to market its GM maize in France.
“Monsanto considers that favourable conditions for the sale of the MON810 in France in 2012 and beyond are not in place,” the US company said.
GM campaigners welcomed the announcement. Pete Riley of GM Freeze said the decision was ‘yet another sign that Monsanto has failed to convince the public or policy makers that there is any benefit to growing to growing GM crops’.
“This needs to be acknowledged by industry and politicians and there should be a big shift to agricultural research and development which addresses the future sustainability of farming in Europe,” he said.
But Julian Little, chair of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council said he French Government decision earlier this month was ‘clearly political’ and would deny access to tools that could enable them to ‘produce more food, feed and other raw materials, using less resources’.