Monsanto's GMO corn threatens biodiversity.
Minister of Environment and Durable Development Mr Attila
Korodi's announcement banning Monsanto's GE maize MON 810, makes
Europe's largest per hectare maize producer GE-free.
"My ministry is in possession of new scientific studies showing
that GE is not safe for human health or the environment," Korodi
said. "These are the same studies that have recently been used by
other European Union Member States such as France, Hungary, Austria
and Greece to justify the banning of Monsanto's GE maize MON
"We expect [the ban] to come into force around 15 April. Until
that time, we demand that Romanian farmers do not plant MON 810
seeds. The future of Romania is organic," he declared at an event
organised by Greenpeace, Slow Food and the Organic Farmers
Organisation of Romania.
Romania cultivates about 3 million hectares of maize annually,
losing GE companies an important market.
The Government's decision makes Romania the seventh of Europe's
leading maize producers to ban the growing of Monsanto's GE maize,
following France, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Greece and Poland.
studies which have been significant in European governments'
decision to reject GE have shown MON 810 maize is harmful to
wildlife, soil and human health. Its inbuilt toxin, which is
designed to kill the cornborer, a pest considered insignificant in
Romania and other parts of Europe, seeps into soil harming animals
critical to soil health, such as earthworms, and other wildlife
including butterflies, ants and spiders. Proof of its safety for
human and animal health are inconclusive.
"Romania's GE ban marks a seismic change. It sends a critical
message that this dangerous technology will not be tolerated. It is
vital the European Commission protects all of Europe's farmers,
consumers and environment by introducing an EU-wide ban against GE
cultivation," Geert Ritsema, Greenpeace International GE campaign
Monsanto's 10-year licence, granted by the European Commission
to grow MON 810 throughout the EU, comes up for renewal later this
year. This provides an important opportunity for the Commission and
European Union (EU) Member States to reject GE once and for
In November of last year,
Stavros Dimas, the European Commissioner for the Environment,
raised concerns over the safety of GE cultivation. But to date his
proposal to ban the growing of two GE maize varieties has been
blocked by President of the European Commission Manuel Barroso.
"The Romanian people overwhelmingly reject this unsafe,
unnecessary and unsustainable technology," said Gabriel Paun, GE
Campaign Coordinator for Greenpeace Romania. In 2007, a
Greenpeace-commissioned opinion poll conducted by Mercury Research
showed 67 percent of Romanians do not want to eat GE food.
Apart from safety concerns, GE also poses contamination threat
to natural crops. There have been 216 contamination events in 57
countries since GE crops were first grown commercially on a large
scale in 1996, as Greenpeace and GeneWatch UK's latest
GM Contamination Register Report shows. Greenpeace is calling
for an international standard to
hold biotech companies to account for the damage and financial
losses they cause.
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