A genetically modified strain of maize created by the notorious American company Monsanto has been temporarily banned in France “to protect the environment.” This comes at a time of protests against the biotech giant in its homeland.
France’s Agricultural Minister Bruno Le Maire Friday imposed the temporary ban on maize strain MON 810, in what his ministry is calling “a precautionary measure.” However, Monsanto itself said in January that it would not sell genetically modified maize in France, as it considered the market “not ready.”
MON 810 is known by its trade name, YieldGuard. It was modified genetically in order to insert a bacteria into its DNA structure, allowing YieldGuard to be promoted as resistant to insect pests that damage harvests. However, according to some experts, it can be dangerous for plants and animals. In February, France’s Ecology Ministry announced its request to the European Commission to suspend authorization for the use of MON 810 crops due to potential risks to the environment. The ministry referred to a European Food Safety Authority study saying that threats linked to another form of genetically modified crop – BT11 – might also be associated with MON 810.
Tensions are growing for the American corporation as protests by Occupy Monsanto, a group opposed to the biotech giant, are on the rise in the US capital. Friday saw rallies in Washington, DC where activists dressed in hazmat suits protested what they called corrupt ties between American lawmakers and Monsanto. In addition to buying out small-time farms unable to compete with the billion-dollar biotech corporation, Monsanto is accused of buying off Congress so it can feed America genetically modified foods, or GMOs. As RT reported earlier this week, Monsanto was recently awarded federal approval to test out a lab-developed corn variant that is believed to be resistant to arid environments and droughts.