Italy Moves to Ban Monsanto's GM Maize, With 80% Public Support

Search form

Italy Moves to Ban Monsanto's GM Maize, With 80% Public Support

Italy Moves to Ban Monsanto's GM Maize, With 80% Public Support
This article originally appeared on Reuters

Three Italian ministries have signed a decree banning the cultivation of a type of genetically modified maize, citing environmental concerns, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.

The decree, which still needs to be published in the official gazette to become binding, targets Monsanto's MON810 maize, one of two genetically modified organisms (GMO) allowed in Europe and the only one currently grown commercially.

The ban was also signed off by the health and environment ministries, with the agriculture ministry citing the crop's "negative impact on biodiversity".

"Our agriculture is based on biodiversity, on quality, and those we must continue to aim for, without games that even from an economic point of view would not make us competitive," the ministry said.

The ministry said it had already notified the European Commission and other states in the European Union of the move.

"The Commission will look into the Italian safeguard measure in more detail, and we have already asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to assess the scientific basis for the decision," said Frederic Vincent, the Commission's health spokesman. EFSA is the EU's food safety watchdog.

While GMO cultivation approvals are agreed jointly at the EU level, individual governments can introduce safeguards if they believe that cultivation could present a health or environmental risk. Those moves, however, are always verified by the Commission.

France put in place a similar temporary ban on GMO crops last year.

According to official data from last year, there was no GMO cultivation in Italy, a country fiercely protective of its agriculture, although some pro-biotech farmers have planted individual crops in recent months despite the widespread opposition.

Nearly 80 percent of Italians are in support of a ban, according to Italy's biggest farmers group Coldiretti, citing the results of a recent survey.

"The protection of Italian distinctiveness must be a policy priority since it determines the existence of 'Made in Italy', which is our engine, our future, our leverage to return to growth in the food industry," Coldiretti's president, Sergio Marini, said in a statement.

The Italian ban will be valid for a period of up to 18 months, the ministry added.

Five EU member states grew MON810 maize on 129,000 hectares in 2012, data from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications showed.

Spain was the top producer, followed by Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania.

 
 
 

Article Tabs

Borrowers with federal student loans appear to be buckling under the weight of their debt, as more than half of Direct Loans – the most common type of federal student loan – aren't being repaid on time or as expected.

To understand Ferguson one must understand Kinloch – a once vibrant middle-class community in north St. Louis County and the first incorporated black community in the state – which today lies vacant and decayed.

We are in a global battle of the people versus the plutocrats and this battle has a ticking timer called the climate crisis.

As state-of-the-art buildings belonging to some of the world's biggest, richest tech firms contrast with the child poverty and unemployment outside, it may not be long before London's less privileged residents take action.

How four decades of lobbying and legislation gave corporations dominion over our economy—and eroded the American middle class.

With a shift in media underway, there's an opportunity for alternative online news sources to turn youth apathy into engagement and cynicism into a demand for social and political change.

Posted 5 days 20 hours ago

New but little-known Pentagon directives authorize the use of armed drones against American citizens in the homeland in the context of domestic emergencies.

Posted 6 days 13 hours ago

Charlie Hardy, the 75-year-old former Catholic priest now running for Senate, wants to halt NSA spying on ordinary citizens and overturn Citizens United with a Constitutional amendment.

Posted 1 day 22 hours ago

Thousands of climate activists from across Europe are expected to join local protesters on the German-Polish border for a mass demonstration against a huge coal mining project.

Posted 5 days 20 hours ago

A lot has changed since we last published this report during the Occupy movement in 2011. With major protests in the news again, we decided it's time to update our cell phone guide for protestors.

Posted 5 days 20 hours ago

His exposé of the murky world of rigged high-frequency trading, has sold 130,000 copies in its first week. Clearly the public is interested.

Every morning before the sun rises, an Israeli women's group of mainly retired grandmothers, called Machsom Watch, travels to the epicenter of the daily conflict between Israelis and Palestinians to monitor the checkpoints and be advocates where possible.

There are plenty of reasons to boycott factory farms, including the top two: your health and animal welfare. But the big-picture reason is this. The only way to feed the world and restore climate stability is to restore efficiency to our food system.

The 80,000-person turnout last Saturday in Raleigh was an indicator of widespread outrage at a state legislature whose backward, rightwing agenda raised taxes for 95% of North Carolinians while lowering them for the wealthiest 5%.

Meet the Contractors Turning America's Police Into a Paramilitary Force

L3 Communications embodies the totality of the national security and surveillance state. Harris Corporation and B12 are also companies whose highly developed spy technology threatens our civil liberties.

Sign Up