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Germany Bans Cultivation of GM Corn
09-01-2010, 02:21 PM,
Germany Bans Cultivation of GM Corn
Germany Bans Cultivation of GM Corn

Germany has banned the cultivation of GM corn, claiming that MON 810 is dangerous for the environment. But that argument might not stand up in court and Berlin could face fines totalling millions of euros if American multinational Monsanto decides to challenge the prohibition on its seed.

The sowing season may be just around the corner, but this year German farmers will not be planting gentically modified crops: German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner announced Tuesday she was banning the cultivation of GM corn in Germany.

Under the new regulations, the cultivation of MON 810, a GM corn produced by the American biotech giant Monsanto, will be prohibited in Germany, as will the sale of its seed. Aigner told reporters Tuesday she had legitimate reasons to believe that MON 810 posed "a danger to the environment," a position which she said the Environment Ministry also supported. In taking the step, Aigner is taking advantage of a clause in EU law which allows individual countries to impose such bans.

"Contrary to assertions stating otherwise, my decision is not politically motivated," Aigner said, referring to reports that she had come under pressure to impose a ban from within her party, the conservative Bavaria-based Christian Social Union. She stressed that the ban should be understood as an "individual case" and not as a statement of principle regarding future policy relating to genetic engineering.

Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) both welcomed the ban. Greenpeace's genetic engineering expert, Stephanie Töwe, said the decision was long overdue, explaining that numerous scientific studies demonstrated that GM corn was a danger to the environment.

However the ban could prove costly for the German government. Experts in Aigner's ministry recently told SPIEGEL that it will be hard to prove conclusively that MON 810 damages the environment, which could enable Monsanto to win a court case opposing the ban and potentially expose the government to €6-7 million ($7.9-9.2 million) in damages.

Monsanto said Tuesday that it would look into the question of whether it would take legal proceedings as quickly as possible. Andreas Thierfelder, spokesman for Monsanto Germany, said the matter was very urgent as the planting season was just about to start.

Aigner has recently come under pressure from Bavaria to ban GM corn. Bavaria's Environment Minister Markus Söder wants to turn Germany into a "GM food-free zone." Environmental groups have long called for a ban on GM crops in Germany, arguing that they pose a danger to plants and animals.

However, supporters of genetic engineering argue that a ban could prompt research companies and institutes to pull up stakes and leave Germany. Wolfgang Herrmann, president of Munich's Technical University, has said that a prohibition risks precipitating "an exodus of researchers."

The issue has exposed a split between Bavaria's CSU and its larger sister party, Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union. Katherina Reiche, deputy chairwoman of the CDU/CSU's parliamentary group, has complained of the "CSU's irresponsible, cheap propaganda," claiming that it could harm German industry. She argued that anti-GM sentiment was one reason a subsidiary of the German chemical giant Bayer decided to moved its facilities for genetic engineering from Potsdam, near Berlin, to Belgium.

MON 810 was approved for cultivation in Europe by the European Union in 1998 and is currently the only GM crop which can be grown in Germany. The plant produces a toxin to fight off a certain pest, the voracious larvae of the corn borer moth. The crop was due to be planted this year on a total area of around 3,600 hectares (8,896 acres) in Germany. The cultivation of MON 810 is already banned in five other EU member states, namely Austria, Hungary, Greece, France and Luxembourg.
09-01-2010, 02:38 PM,
RE: Germany Bans Cultivation of GM Corn
That's great! Clap

What could be a shame though, is if all the cross pollinating will eventually cover the globe. Umm

I'm already fully surrounded by GM corn fields. It's hard to imagine that this is something that can easily be reversed, once it's already out there in such abundance.
09-02-2010, 01:45 AM,
RE: Germany Bans Cultivation of GM Corn
Thanks for posting hilly7

Let's not get too excited and consider the following. It has been more than a year now since the ban so we have real world data to work with.

* Manufactured food scarcity by banning cultivation that will at least effect this year's harvest resulting in driving up prices
* If the spread is not controlled adequately it could turn Germany into an agricultural dead zone via regulation
* This institutes a food police or an expansion thereof, thus opening the door to all sorts of regulation and potentially selective enforcement

Has anyone read the bill? If so please post a translated copy (or any other similar legislation on GMO bans from any country) for us to clarify and source research into some specifics such as:

* Does it ban cross breeds from cultivation? This could lead to a larger scope on the ban.
* Does it financially compensate farmers? If so will Monsanto be liable to cover the costs? .. and if they are this could set a precedent in retroactive law.
* What is the current level of contamination after 12 years of EU cultivation and 4 in Germany? Can seed be adequately inspected for genetic manipulation?
* If contamination is found is the entire crop or a swathed section subject to the cultivation ban or are individual plants to be inspected / tested?
* What is the availability of no-GMO corn seed and will it be enough to replace the yield of the GMO seed?

How did this work out in Austria, Hungary, Greece, France and Luxembourg or was this all instituted this year right before growing season. Great timing.

Although I'm strongly against the genetic engineering of any and all lifeforms, Greenpeace's involvement in the lobby as well as the Agenda 21 style regulation puts a cap on my excitement for this prerogative until further study.

Strange how this news is being reintroduced to the public after more than a year and they fail to update the results of the legislation nor do they mention that Germany approved another GM crop in March 2010 in allowing the Amflora potatoes (BASF patented) in biofuel facilities and approved the sale (not cultivation) of 3 varieties of GM corn.
There are no others, there is only us.
09-02-2010, 03:30 AM,
RE: Germany Bans Cultivation of GM Corn
Not good on the potatoes. Here a couple or three years ago they were using GM corn only for fuel, then livestock, then oops, it accidentally got mixed in. Well, no sense in wasting all that corn soooo, now it gets accepted in human food.

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