France moves to ban all GM corn cultivation

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France moves to ban all GM corn cultivation

The French Senate approved a bill Monday prohibiting the cultivation of genetically modified corn. Crops in violation of the law would be subject to destruction.800px-Maïs_Vinzier

France ranks as the top corn producer in the European Union and ninth worldwide. In 2012, France produced more than 15 million tons (MT) of corn, according to statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The legislation, already approved by the nation's General Assembly, passed through an accerlated voting process initiated in February of this year.

The Senate accepted the General Assembly's amendment without modifications. The legislation will now require final approval from the Constitutional Commission before entering into law.

Drafters of the bill cited environmental and agronomic risks, including possible damage to the beekeeping industry, and conventional and organic growers.

On the European Union level, Monsanto maize variety MON810 is currently undergoing the reauthorization process. The variety is the only line of GM corn whose seeds have been approved for cultivation in the European Union.

The French legislation circumvents EU approval of MON810 or any other GM corn seed approved in the future.

For consumption purposes, the EU currently has 29 registered listings for authorized GM corn products. These products have been approved primarily as food ingredients and animal feed.

In February 2012, the French Ministry of Agriculture called on the European Union to take emergency measures against MON810. The nation alleged lack of enforcement of EC No 1829/2003, which calls for action against GMOs found to pose a serious risk to human health, animal health or the environment.

Days before the French Senate's vote, a field planted with MON810 in southwestern France was attacked by activists, Reuters reported. The farm owner and one other individual are the only to have declared plantings of GM corn in France this year, the publication reported.

The Ministry of Agriculture has taken samples from the plots in question. If found to contain MON810, the crops will be ordered for destruction.

Photo: Corn field in Vinzier, by Camster2 via Wikimedia Commons

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