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Crop Biotech Update

French Scientists: Germany’s GM Maize Ban Unfounded

June 26, 2009
Last April, Germany banned the cultivation of the insect-resistant MON810 maize. The GM maize, developed by Monsanto Company, is the only genetically modified crop approved for cultivation in the European Union. Germany presented new data on the potential environmental impact of the insect-resistant maize, specifically two scientific papers describing laboratory feeding trials on ladybirds and daphnia, and previous data on Lepidoptera, aquatic and soil organisms. A team of researchers from the Joseph Fourier University, Paris-Sud 11 University and the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) carried out an examination of these new data.

Agnes Ricroch and colleagues, in a paper published by Transgenic Research, concluded that the German ban "is based on an incomplete list of references, ignores the widely admitted case-by-case approach, and confuses potential hazard and proven risk in the scientific procedure of risk assessment." The researchers further noted that Germany's Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety invoked the ban "on the basis of two inconclusive laboratory studies, which were by nature insufficient to evaluate ecosystem-scale consequences."

The paper is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11248-009-9297-5. Subscribers to the journal can access a supplementary material which lists all papers (including abstracts) considered in the study..