News last update:6 Aug 2012

Ministers support Hungarian GM ban

EU environment ministers have rejected a European Commission proposal to force Hungary to end the national ban on the marketing of a genetically modified maize made by US biotech giant Monsanto.

Votes in June 2005 and September 2006 also showed a qualified majority of member states in favour of allowing Hungary to keep its ban on the maize variety 'MON810'. Only the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and the UK voted to lift the ban on Tuesday.

In line with European opinion
"EU environment ministers took a bold decision today in defence of the environment and in line with European public opinion," said Marco Contiero, policy adviser on GMOs at Greenpeace's European Unit. "We look forward to the day when the European Commission also puts defence of the public interest before the interests of US agribusiness and its lobbyists in Brussels and at the WTO," added Contiero.

Scientific evidence
The environmental lobby group claims that scientific evidence published by the Austrian and Hungarian authorities shows that MON810 maize may have harmful effects on plants and animals.
But the Commission, backed by a European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) decision, believes that there is no scientific justification for these bans on either health or environmental grounds.

Hungary was the first country in Eastern Europe to ban GMO crops when it outlawed the sowing of MON 810 maize seeds in January 2005.

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