France adopted a decree last month to halt the planting of
Monsanto's insect-resistant MON810 maize, the only GM crop
allowed for cultivation in the European Union.
The law also applies to any strain adopted at EU level in
future, including another GM variety, Pioneer 1507 developed
jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemical, which could be approved by
the EU executive later this year after 19 out of 28 member
states failed to gather enough votes to block it.
The law adopted by the French National Assembly is similar to
one rejected by the Senate, upper house, in February when it was
The Socialist government, like its conservative predecessor, has
opposed the growing of GM crops because of public suspicion and
widespread protests by environmentalists.
"It is essential today to renew a widely shared desire to
maintain the French ban," Jean-Marie Le Guen, the minister in
charge of relations with parliament, told the National Assembly.
"This bill strengthens the decree passed last March by
preventing the immediate cultivation of GMO and extending their
reach to all transgenic maize varieties," he said.
French farmers and seed firms have challenged the decree at the
top administrative court, which has twice struck down similar
measures, in 2011 and 2013, saying there was insufficient
A debate on the future of GM policy is going on at EU level,
with the European Commission suggesting an opt-out that would
allow individual countries to ban such crops.
Le Guen called for a stable EU system that would ensure member
states' decisions could not be challenged legally.
The ban on GM maize will head back to the Senate for approval,
but even if it is rejected again, the National Assembly would
have the final say.
(Reporting by Emile Picy and Sybille de La Hamaide;
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