By: Arthur Cook, Staff Member
As we have discussed before, concerns over everybody’s favorite shady conglomerate Monsanto continue to mount. On Saturday, September 18, 2012, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced the continuation of the temporary ban on MON810, a genetically-modified strain of corn. This is not the first attempt by French officials to ban MON810. In 2008, France banned MON810 after protests against the modified corn. However, a French court overturned the ban. The French government then reversed the French court, instating a temporary ban on MON810, citing “environmental” concerns, and labeled the move a precautionary one. Now, Prime Minister Ayrault indicates the ban will continue for some time.
This ban is largely out-of-step with the rest of the world: the European Union continues to approve the use of MON810, even in the face of French concerns regarding the environment. The United States permits utilization of MON810, as does the rest of North America. France has had more than just this quibble with parent company Monsanto, however. France found Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning stemming from a person who reported suffering neurological problems after inhaling one of Monsanto’s weedkillers.
Whether or not this continuation of the ban results from new research linking MON810 to actual adverse effects on the environment, or this act is simply French officials responding to strong opposition to genetically-modified crops is not yet clear. It should be noted, however, that MON810 is the only genetically-modified crop allowed in Europe at this time.
 Marion Douet, “France to maintain ban on GMO crops” Reuters (Sept. 15, 2012), http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/15/france-environment-gmo-idUSL5E8KF1OH20120915.
 Adam Vaughan, “French ban of Monsanto GM maize rejected by EU” The Guardian (May 22, 2012), http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/22/french-ban-gm-maize-rejected.
 “France bans strain of Monsanto GM maize” AFP (March 16, 2012) http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g35IMv82EiHUZTEBI7Yadp2y74CA.
 Vaughan, supra note 2.
 GM Crop Database, Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, accessible at: http://www.cera-gmc.org/?action=gm_crop_database&mode=ShowProd&data=mon810.
 Douet, supra note 1.
 “France Says No to Genetically Modified Crops, No to Fracking” Common Dreams (Sept. 16, 2012), https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/09/16.