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EU Can't Independently Ban Biotech Crops

28 March 2011

EU - Monsanto got a big boost in Europe yesterday when an official ruled that the European Union's constituent countries couldn't independently ban genetically modified crops (GMOs) on their turf.

France and five other EU countries have put a blanket ban on GMOs, citing safety concerns.

Checkbiotech.org reports that the top legal advisor to the European Court of Justice, Advocate General Paolo Mengozzi,, ruled that only the EU itself could institute such bans.

"The French authorities could not suspend the cultivation of genetically-modified maize MON 810 on national territory without having first asked the European Commission to adopt emergency measures citing a risk to health and the environment," Mengozzi said.

That seems pretty straightforward, but it gets weirder.

France had banned the GMO corn under an emergency provision known as the Safeguard Clause, which was created in 2004. Since MON 810 corn had first been authorized in 1998, Mengozzi decided that clause couldn't apply. If it was really an emergency, Mengozzi said, then the EU had to act as a whole. That would be the only way to protect health and safety… ignoring the fact that the EU as a whole had not been ABLE to act, which is why the member states had done it on their own.

This just goes to show why it's best to have policies laid out on a straightforward basis, not implemented â€" or overturned â€" based on technicalities.

This ruling in and of itself doesn't overturn anything just yet, but the court generally follows Mengozzi's recommendations, and officials will likely tailor policy to that reality.

So while France doesn't have to open the floodgates tomorrow… this definitely ups the pressure on Europe to let Monsanto in.

TheCropSite News Desk



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