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Crop Biotech Update

Farmers Fight to Plant GE Maize MON810 in Italy

June 28, 2017

Giorgio Fidenato, President of the Federated Farmers Association, and other applicants were prosecuted before the Italian District Court of Udine in November 2015 for planting genetically engineered (GE) maize MON810 in breach of a national decree issued on July 12, 2013 that prohibits its cultivation in the country. Italy has banned the cultivation of GE crops despite two rulings by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stating no new scientific evidence has been presented to support use of the safeguard clause.

On March 30, 2017, following a request for a preliminary ruling from the Italian District Court of Udine, European Court of Justice (CJEU) advocate general Michal Bobek proposed the CJEU conclude that member states can adopt emergency measures concerning genetically modified food and feed only if they can establish, in addition to urgency, the existence of a situation which is likely to constitute a clear and serious risk for human, animal health, and the environment, as set out in Art. 34 of EU Regulation No. 2003/1829 on genetically modified food or feed. The CJEU Judges have begun their deliberations in this case, and judgment will be given at a later date.

For more details, read the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN Report for Italy.