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France says extends ban on GMO crop

PARIS (Reuters) - France will activate a safeguard clause that will effectively prohibit the growing of the sole genetically modified (GMO) crop grown in France, Prime Minister Francois Fillon’s office said in a statement on Friday.

Last month, France suspended the commercial use of MON 810, a maize developed by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto, in order to look into the environmental and health implications of its use.

A government-appointed committee of scientists, farmers, politicians and non-governmental organisations said on Wednesday “serious doubts” remained over whether MON 810 could be cultivated without risks for consumers and the environment.

“The government is starting the procedure ... in order to activate the safeguard clause on the growth of GMO maize MON 810, until the reevaluation by the European authorities of the authorisation and sale of this GMO,” the statement said.

Reporting by Anna Willard