Monsanto’s battle to get its genetically modified (GMO) corn into the European Union suffered a setback as the French Environment Ministry pushed the EU to implement a full ban, despite some agencies attempts to overrule it.
Last November France’s high administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, had ordered the ban lifted on one product, Monsanto’s MON 810 seed corn (trade name “YieldGard”), following on the heels of a September ruling by the European Court of Justice which ruled that only a European-wide ban could be imposed, and France couldn’t act unilaterally.
So now France is pushing for just that ban, which could be final (or as final as anything can be when the Obama Administration continues to push GMOs everywhere, and the US trade representative is a former Monsanto associate). (See: Monsanto employees in the halls of government.)
The Environment Ministry released a statement saying they had done studies showing the GMO corn posed ”significant risks for the environment”. Funny thing… Monsanto has consistently denied that any such studies exist, and whenever their new products are approved here in the US, it’s based on that notion. (See: The trouble with GMO: Dr. David Suzuki spells it out and Monsanto blocks research on GMO safety.)
The ministry pointed to a recent study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that raised concerns with another form of GM crop, BT11, that it said could also be applied to MON 810.
“If the European Union does not act, we can invoke the safeguard clause” which allows EU nations to independently restrict or prohibit the sales of products, it said.
France has been in the forefront of the fight to prevent a GMO takeover of European farming, which just goes to show conservatives don’t have to side with big business. What could be more conservative than protecting farming, agriculture, and farmers? (See: Monsanto Guilty! France convicts big ag firm of chemical poisoning.)
- 1998 MON 810 is approved for experimental plantings in Europe.
- Over the years Austria, Hungary, Greece, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, France and Germany all ban MON 810.
- 2008: France bans MON 810 based on environmental concerns.
- September 2011: The European Court of Justice tells France it can’t act alone unless it can prove “a potentially serious risk to human or animal health or the environment”.
- November 2011: France’s Conseil d’Etat orders the French ban lifted. President Nicolas Sarkozy says he will seek new legal means to keep the ban in place.
- January 2012: France says it won’t allow the corn to be grown this year, despite the court ruling. Monsanto says it “considers that favorable conditions for the sale of the MON810 in France in 2012 and beyond are not in place.”
- This week: France pushes for European-wide ban.