The French government still refuses to lift its ban on growing genetically modified corn in France, despite the European Court of Justice saying that France's 2008 prohibition against Monsanto's MON810 variety was out of line on procedural grounds.
In reply to the EU Court’s comment, the French minister for the environment, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, told reporters she was convinced now more than ever that MON810 should be kept from French fields, according to the French daily Le Figaro.
MON810 is one of only two commercially grown GM crops in Europe. Under the current EU system, authorisation for GM crops is given at the European level, after the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) complete a health and environmental safety assessment.
A proposal has been made by the European Commission to change the current system so that each country can decide on its own to "opt out" of transgenic crops. But that has yet to be approved by member states. Meanwhile, France and five other countries have used a "safeguard clause" in the current law to ban cultivation of the approved crops.
But the EU court ruled that France should have told the European Commission about the ban ahead of time. In her reaction, Kosciusko-Morizet said that France will invoke the safeguard clause again, and that the ban on MON810 will stay in place in the meantime. EFSA and France's own Food Safety Agency have both said the ban on MON810 is unjustified.