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Romania set to ban approved GM corn

In something of a surprise announcement, Romania has pledged it will be banning genetically modified corn, joining six other European Union nations. The move is considered to be a significant setback for the biotechnology trade.


April 2, 2008
By The Financial Times

March 31, 2008


Romania intends to join six other European Union members in banning the only genetically modified crop approved for use in the bloc, its environment minister said on Thursday, in a fresh blow to the biotechnology industry.

Attila Korodi called for a moratorium on planting MON810, a corn produced by Monsanto, the US company, and said his country’s bio-security committee would start examining the possibility of a ban on April 15.

Romania, a major agricultural producer, was a big grower of GM crops before it joined the EU last year.

Mr Korodi told the Financial Times a ban was likely as the committee would examine studies used by Hungary and France to justify their recent prohibition of MON810 because of its negative impact on the environment.

"If they say they have concerns, then we will ask the European Commission for a temporary ban," he said. "We simply don’t know what its environmental impact will be."

Italy, Austria, Greece and Poland have also banned the insect-resistant corn, claiming that the toxin it contains could be harmful to other wildlife. However, the Commission, which regulates the market, has yet to sanction their bans.

Stavros Dimas, the environment commissioner, has asked the European Food Safety Authority for an expert evaluation of MON810 and recommended that two similar products not be allowed on to the market because of environmental concerns.

Polls have shown most Romanians do not want to eat GM food, in tune with public attitudes in most EU countries.