Monsanto sues Germany over GMO maize ban

FRANKFURT, April 21 (Reuters) - Monsanto Co MON.N, the world's biggest seed company, has filed suit against the German government's decision to ban genetically modified (GMO) maize, the company said on Tuesday.

The German government banned the cultivation and sale of GMO maize despite European Union rulings that the biotech grain is safe. [ID:nLE218443]

The ban affects Monsanto’s MON 810 maize, which may no longer be sown for this summer’s harvest, the government said.

A Monsanto spokesman said Germany’s action to restrict Mon 810 was an “arbitrary ban” that violated EU rules.

He said EU member states can invoke a safeguard clause against an already approved plant but such a move required new scientific evidence and none existed to support the ban.

“They are in conflict with EU rules,” the spokesman said.

The lawsuit, filed in the administrative court in Braunschweig in northern Germany, was first reported by the Handelsblatt newspaper. (Additional reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City) (Reporting by Eva Kuehnen, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)