February 11, 2009 / 11:02 PM / 10 years ago

French agency says Monsanto GMO maize safe: report

PARIS, Feb 11 (Reuters) - French food safety agency Afssa does not believe that a genetically modified maize developed by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto MON.N poses a health risk despite being banned in France, the daily Le Figaro reported.

Citing a report from Jan. 23, the newspaper’s Thursday edition said that Afssa believed that Monsanto’s MON810 maize posed no threat to human or animal health.

Monsanto’s insect-resistant MON 810 is the only GM crop grown in the European Union, unlike in the United States and Latin America, where they are more common.

Many European countries doubt the safety of using the genetic technology in agriculture.

France suspended the use of MON 810 last year, invoking a so-called safeguard clause against the European Commission’s decision to authorise the GM maize.

Le Figaro said the Afssa report would present a problem to environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, who is due to appear before the European Commission next week to justify France’s ban on the crops.

Europe’s top food safety agency has said that France’s ban on the maize is unjustified.

Polls show that the vast majority of French are opposed to GM crops because they have not seen enough proof that they do not pose risks to consumers and the environment.

Monsanto says the protein contained in the maize has selective toxicity but is harmless to humans, fish and wildlife. (Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

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