Activists paint a field of illegally grown GMO maize (Monsanto MON810), in order to expose its location. The GMO maize is being illegally grown, aseither the farmer, or the French government have notdeclared it.
The announcement was made by Minister of Health and Family, Dr.
Andrea Kdolsky, on health safety grounds.
MON 863 is genetically engineered to produce a toxin against the
cornborer, an insect that can cause damage in maize. Tests carried
out on rats fed with MON 863 maize revealed they suffered liver and
kidney damage. In 2005, we passed evidence of these tests to a team
of experts headed by Professor Gilles Eric Séralini, a French
governmental advisor on genetic engineering (GE), for independent
evaluation. The study found "it cannot be concluded that GE corn
MON863 is a safe product".
The maize has been controversial since 2004, when French
newspaper Le Monde reported rats fed with MON863 maize showed
changes in the composition of their blood and possible damage to
In spite of the scientific evidence, in January 2006, the
European Commission allowed the maize to be imported into the
European market for human and animal consumption. It is also
authorised for human consumption in Australia, Canada, China,
Japan, Korea, Mexico, Philippines, Taiwan and the US. MON863 is
mainly grown in the US and Canada.
"The Austrian import ban sends a strong signal to the EU
Commissioners, to EU member states and other governments around the
world, that Monsanto's MON 863 maize is a risk to human health and
needs to be withdrawn from all markets as soon as possible.
Governments must put the safety of their citizens above the
commercial interests of companies such as Monsanto," Geert
Ritsema, Greenpeace International GE campaign coordinator said.
In addition to banning imports of MON 863, Austria has already
banned growing Monsanto's GE maize MON 810, as have France,
Hungary, Italy, Greece and Poland over safety concerns. Scientific
studies showed MON 810 is harmful to wildlife, soil and human
health. Its inbuilt toxin, which is also designed to kill the
cornborer, seeps into soil harming animals critical to soil health,
such as earthworms, and other wildlife including butterflies, ants
and spiders. MON810 - the only GM crop currently grown in the EU -
is currently due for re-authorisation under EU rules.
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