PARIS, March 15 France's agriculture ministry on
Saturday banned the sale, use and cultivation of Monsanto's MON
810 genetically modified maize, the only variety
currently authorised in the European Union.
The French government, which maintains that GM crops present
environmental risks, has been trying to institute a new ban on
GM maize (corn) after its highest court has twice previously
struck down similar measures.
The decision is timed to avert any sowing of GM maize by
farmers before a draft law is debated on April 10 aimed at
banning planting of GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
"The sale, use and cultivation of varieties of maize seed
from the line of genetically modified maize MON 810 (...) is
banned in the country until the adoption, on the one hand, of a
final decision, and secondly, of (EU) community action, " said a
decree published on Saturday.
Annual sowing of maize in France gets under way in the
second half of March.
The current Socialist government, like its conservative
predecessor, has opposed the growing of GMO crops in light of
public suspicion and widespread protests from environmentalists.
Longstanding differences between EU countries resurfaced in
February when they failed to agree on whether or not to approve
another GM maize variety, Pioneer 1507, developed by DuPont and
Dow Chemical, leaving the way open to the EU Commission to clear
it for cultivation.
France is trying to win support to overhaul the EU rules.