National GM restrictions ruled illegal

11th Sep 2012

The European Court of Justice has ruled it unlawful for countries to impose authorisation procedures for growing GM crops beyond the approval process administered by the European Food Safety Authority.

The ruling mentions in particular MON 810, a GM corn variety, that was approved for use in the EU in 1998, but has been banned by some individual European countries, including France and Germany. Furthermore, a 2001 decree in Italy now requires farmers to obtain authorisation from the Italian ministry of agriculture to grow GM crops.

The Court said that growing GM crops “cannot be made subject to a national authorisation procedure when the use and marketing of those varieties are authorized”.

The European Court of Justice and French Conseil d’État previously ruled France’s ban on MON 810 unlawful in 2011, but France temporarily banned the product again in May 2012.

The decision was welcomed by EuropaBio, a lobby group for European biotechnology businesses. “Farmers’ rights to cultivate approved GM crops have to be respected,” said Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, EuropaBio’s director of green technology.

EuropaBio says that around the world more than 16 million farmers are growing GM crops.

 

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