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EU Explains Protocol for Nations to Ban GMOs

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

France erred in its ban on genetically altered corn, the European Union's high court ruled, clarifying the means by which member states can invoke a safeguard clause against cultivation of genetically modified organisms.   Agricultural giant Monsanto had sought review after France banned a type of genetically modified corn used in animal feed.   The EU authorized the corn, which contains genes modified to combat a corn parasite, in 1998.  

Under EU rules, authorization for the corn expired in 2007. By the next year, France invoked a "safeguard clause" preventing cultivation of the maize within its borders. Monsanto, meanwhile, has applied for renewal of authorization, which is still pending.  

The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice ruled that cultivation of a GMO authorized as an existing product and pending renewal may not be suspended under a 2001 EU directive that applies to all GMOs. France had used this directive for its ban.  

Member states may, however, invoke the safeguard clause under a 2003 directive related to GMOs for human or animal consumption. But this may be done only through a specific procedure, the court said.   Member states must officially inform the European Commission as quickly as possible, the court's ruling said.   Most importantly, they must establish a link between the GMO crop and "serious" risk, in a complete scientific evaluation involving the European Food Safety Authority, the court continued.

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