France plans to extend ban on GM crops
If a scientific panel decides their safety is
questionable, France may apply an EU measure to implement a long term ban on
genetically modified (GM) crops.
A temporary ban affecting commercial cultivation of GM crops was put in place
by President Sarkozy last October as part of plans to make France greener. It
prevented new crops being planted until a more permanent decision on the
environmental policy is made.
The ban is due to come to an end at the start
of February, by which time a decision will be announced.
Should the French decide to extend its GM ban, it will be
following in the footsteps of Austria, which enforced a ban on the import and
processing of MON810 and T25 maize in June 1999. Austria used the same EU
measures to implement the ban, expressing concern about the effects on
non-target organisms and the development of resistance to toxins by target
Risks are not known
Commission has been debating whether to force the country to lift its
restrictions since 2005, as Austria has never produced the necessary scientific
evidence to argue that GM crops do carry health risks. One of the main concerns
regarding GM crops is that pollination could cross-contaminate non-GM crops
grown in the vicinity - and that ultimately the long-term health effects of GM
on humans are not known.
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