BRUSSELS May 22 The European Union's executive
said on Tuesday it was considering ordering France to lift its
ban on growing a strain of genetically modified maize, after EU
science experts said there was no justification for it.
In March France reimposed a ban on Monsanto's MON810
maize, an insect-resistant variety to protect chiefly against
the European corn borer, after a previous prohibition was
annulled by the country's top court late last year.
An opinion issued by the European food safety watchdog
(EFSA) on Monday concluded that France had offered no new
scientific evidence to justify the ban. The European Commission
said EFSA's opinion confirmed its own initial assessment.
"From a purely legal point of view, the Commission could
formally ask France to lift the measure, but we are currently
reflecting on what will be the follow-up to EFSA's opinion," a
spokesman for EU health and consumer chief John Dalli said.
The Commission is expected to wait for France's new
Socialist government to reveal its position on the ban, which
was imposed by the previous administration, before taking a
final decision. That is unlikely before French parliamentary
elections in June.
The timing of the French ban in March has ensured grain
farmers will not be able to sow MON810 maize for the current
growing season, the Commission spokesman added.
Monsanto was not immediately available to comment.