In a move that is likely to prompt the extension of a current French ban on genetically modified crops, experts reported this Wednesday that they have serious doubts concerning the safety of the nation’s sole GMO crop.
A government-appointed committee of scientists, farmers, politicians and non-government organizations examined MON 810, a maize developed by Monsanto, stated that, "there are serious doubts on the use of MON 810."
New evidence found by the committee included much wider dissemination than previously acknowledged in 1998, when the EU conducted its own evaluation, as well as a negative impact on biodiversity.
Earlier in the week French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated that if the experts expressed "serious doubts" over GMO use, he would use a safeguard clause which allows European Union members to refrain from applying EU laws on the basis they may put the population at risk.
If France decides to utilize the safeguard clause, it will need to provide the European Commission with proof that there is new scientific evidence justifying a ban on the genetically modified MON 810 maize. The Commission is then allowed 60 days to review the argument. If deemed invalid, France would most likely to ordered to life the ban.
While the EU has approved the use of Monsanto's MON 810 technology around the 27-nation bloc, several countries including France and Germany have expressed concern about its safety.