Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

"Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers"

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Cécile Duflot ruffles some feathers

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Reporter’s IS captors taunted family, asked for €100m ransom

    Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • Turkey’s Erdogan names foreign minister Davutoglu as next PM

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

France

Controversial Monsanto corn 'is safe'

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-02-12

The controversial genetically-modified corn produced by Monsanto is 'safe' for human consumption, France's food watchdog says. The growing of Monsanto corn was temporarily last year over heath concerns.

France's food watchdog said Thursday it had concluded that genetically-modified corn from US biotech giant Monsanto is safe, contradicting an earlier report that led to a ban on the maize.

The AFSSA report, which became public after it was revealed in the daily Le Figaro, angered environmentalists and embarrassed President Nicolas Sarkozy's government which had resorted to a special EU measure to outlaw the crops.

The agency said there was no evidence to support the view that MON810, the only strain of GM maize under cultivation in France before the ban, posed a health risk.

Sarkozy's government slapped a ban on GM crops in February last year after a panel of experts said in a separate report that they had "serious doubts" about the Monsanto product.

France invoked a European Union safeguard giving member states authority to ban a GM crop provided it has scientific evidence to back the decision.

The new report was seen as an embarrassment for Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, who is to defend France's decision to opt for the safeguard in meetings in Brussels next week.

The ecology ministry said in a statement that it would not seek to reverse its decision to opt for the EU safeguard. Environmentalists denounced the report as the product of a plot by powerful interests in agri-business.

"This is a major coup by the industrialists," said activist-farmer Jose Bove, who has waged a decade-long crusade against GM foods. "This is an attempt to reverse a trend in Europe."

Bove said the controversy highlighted the need for an independent authority to put an end, once and for all, to the debate over GM foods.

Austria, Germany, Hungary and Greece have also restricted GM crops.

In 2007, 22,000 hectares (55,000 acres) were sown with MON810 -- less than one percent of the sown acreage for corn in France.

The earlier expert report said evidence had emerged that MON810 had an effect on insects, a species of earthworm and micro-organisms.

There was also concern that wind-borne pollen from MON810 could travel much further than previously thought, perhaps as much as hundreds of kilometres (miles).

But the report remained controversial -- 12 of the 15 scientists who compiled it issued a statement complaining that their findings had been misrepresented.

Date created : 2009-02-12

COMMENT(S)