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Published on March 23rd, 2011 | by Jeremy Bloom


Is Europe’s ban on Monsanto’s GMO crops illegal?

european_court_of_justiceMonsanto got a big boost in Europe yesterday when an official ruled that the European Union’s constituent countries couldn’t independently ban genetically modified crops (GMOs) on their turf. France and five other EU countries have put a blanket ban on GMOs, citing safety concerns.

The top legal advisor to the European Court of Justice, Advocate General Paolo Mengozzi,, ruled that only the EU itself could institute such bans.

“The French authorities could not suspend the cultivation of genetically-modified maize MON 810 on national territory without having first asked the European Commission to adopt emergency measures citing a risk to health and the environment,” Mengozzi said.

That seems pretty straightforward, but it gets weirder.

France had banned the GMO corn under an emergency provision known as the Safeguard Clause, which was created in 2004. Since MON 810 corn had first been authorized in 1998, Mengozzi decided that clause couldn’t apply. If it was really an emergency, Mengozzi said, then the EU had to act as a whole. That would be the only way to protect health and safety… ignoring the fact that the EU as a whole had not been ABLE to act, which is why the member states had done it on their own.

This just goes to show why it’s best to have policies laid out on a straightforward basis, not implemented – or overturned – based on technicalities.

This ruling in and of itself doesn’t overturn anything just yet, but the court generally follows Mengozzi’s recommendations, and officials will likely tailor policy to that reality.

So while France doesn’t have to open the floodgates tomorrow… this definitely ups the pressure on Europe to let Monsanto in.

As Matthew McDermott notes at Treehugger,

For background context… remember that according to documents released by Wikileaks there has been pressure from US officials on various nations of the European Union to accept the planting of GM crops from US-based companies.

France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Greece have all blocked GMOs.

“European law has been improved — and the newer article gives states the right to present new scientific proof of a risk to health,” Friends of the Earth expert Mute Schimpf told AFP.

“France took its decision following widespread consultation of the industry, the scientific community, farmers and consumers.

“Why should a company have a right under European Union law to attack a democratic state in this way?

“If the judges take the same view, it would mean not one single member state has the right to ban GM crops, except the two already authorised,” she railed, admitting “huge surprise.”

Current status of GMOs in Europe:

  • Only two GMO crops are approved to be grown by EU farmers: Monsanto’s MON810 corn and the BASF’s Amflora potato.
  • The license for MON810 corn is up for renewal this year, with pressure coming from both the pro and anti-GMO forces.
  • Dozens of GMO crops can be imported into Europe,
  • Last month for the first time judges allowed GMOs in small amounts as contaminants in other crops (this has been an issue with imported GMO alfalfa).
  • The US has been lobbying hard to get all restrictions removed, considering it an issue of unfair trade (with GMOs making up 95% of US corn and soybean production, it does limit what we can export).

More on Monsanto and GMOs:

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About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue.

17 Responses to Is Europe’s ban on Monsanto’s GMO crops illegal?

  1. Pingback: Monsanto Mafia at it Again: EU Countries Have NO RIGHTS to Protect Public Health From Corporate Frankenfoods & EUgenic Fascists! | Sovereign Independent

  2. p says:

    the citizens of a county should have a right to place bans on GMO crops if they do not want them. many people in the usa do not want gmo crops but companies like mosanto have large bank accounts to have supreme court justices in their pocket books and drag out large court cases to force small farmers to settle with them. business in the usa is all about “kick backs” or “whats in it for me” so large powerful companies can buy what they want to push their agendas regardless if the u.s. public wants to get gmo crops of the store shelf.

    • Lindy says:

      I live in the USA and I do NOT want GMO Monsanto crops in any form or fashion. They are killing us! Stand your ground Europe!!!! Don’t let Monsanto devils bring you down and destroy your health.

      • karmagetin says:

        I agree 100%,..The people of the U.S are being poisoned by Monsanto,every day.If it isn’t Chem-Trails in the sky,Fluoride in the water,Chemicals in our food ..When are we going to say enough .Europe don’t let them poison you,…DOWN WITH MONSANTO

  3. Pingback: Monsanto Mafia at it Again: EU Countries Have NO RIGHTS to Protect Public Health From Corporate Frankenfoods & EUgenic Fascists! « Angelbabe43's Blog

  4. Pingback: European Countries May Soon Not Be Able to Ban GMOs – Eat Drink Better

  5. Pingback: » It’s official: Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide causes birth defects Instituto de Ecologia Aplicada

  6. Pingback: Ya es oficial: el herbicida Roundup de Monsanto causa defectos de nacimiento « El nuevo despertar / the new awakening

  7. Pingback: France pushes to ban Monsanto’s GMO corn across the entire EU « theredpillguide

  8. Roberto says:

    I am from Europe, greeting everyone, I am against GM food, that God wanted, he would have mutated corn .. ETC. My whole life, I eat vegetables from the garden, food from the sea, all local, never global … I’m glad that Europe is not allowed, not moral behavior towards animals, and foods that give us the land,

  9. Pingback: GMO’s: Should We Shun Mutant Plants? « A Supplemental Perspective

  10. Pingback: Regulation in the USA: GMO’s | You Need Food!

  11. The round up chemical which is in monsanto’s seeds is causing diseases such as cancer autism food allergies mental disorders ect which are all on the increase. Chemicals are the main culprits in causing disease and it’s a disgrace that they are entering in to our food supply without our consent. That’s america for you not a country but a corporation desroyed by greed!

  12. Pingback: GMOs: Do You Know What’s In Your Food? | Ethical Eatables

  13. Tom says:

    Just like cigaret companies said smoking is safe. Use the laws in your heart that even when slavery was legal people knew it wasn’t legal in the human world. Laws are created by some to help their cause. All humans have had instilled by their maker what is right and what is wrong. Lets be logical and not get involved on someone or something that has learned to debate and make wrong seem right. Words can win sometimes but what is felt on your heart you always know.

  14. Deb says:

    And the same Monsanto advertised DDT as actually being beneficial for your health…what more is there to say…

  15. Niall Madden says:

    Monsanto is already here in Europe .Their products are for sale in a lot of the big Hardware stores like Max Bahr in Germany .Roundup is readily available to consumers .

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