Bridges Trade BioResVolume 9Number 6 • 3rd April 2009

Luxembourg to Ban GM Maize Cultivation


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The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is scheduled to become the fifth EU country to effectively ban cultivation of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) crop MON810. The microstate made the decision after recent national studies failed to conclude that the crop as ‘completely innocuous’.

The move comes after two failed attempts in as many months by the European Commission (EC) to lift controversial bans from the four other EU nations prohibiting cultivation of the GM crop. Despite being deemed save by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), France, Greece, Austria, Hungary, and now Luxembourg have independently resisted pressure from Brussels (see Bridges Trade BioRes, 20 February 2009, http://ictsd.net/i/news/biores/41093/ and 6 March 2009, http://ictsd.net/i/news/biores/34714/).

In the past, the WTO has urged the EU to take action, arguing that national bans are effectively denying market access allowed under trade rules to countries using biotechnology in agriculture. However, Marco Coniero of Greenpeace EU GMO policy director argues that EU nations must protect their citizens with these bans.

“Last year, EU ministers called for a re-think in the way GM crops are assessed in Europe,” Contiero said. “Faced with the Commission’s reticence to take these concerns on board, EU countries have no other choice but to protect their citizens and their environment with national bans.”

Luxembourg’s main agricultural products are barley, oats, potatoes, wheat, fruits, and grapes for wine - the agricultural sector takes up 27 percent of the work force and 50 percent of the country’s arable land.

Activist organisation Greenpeace has been active in the country’s anti-GM movement. In February, the organisation was instrumental in an initiative that had the city of Luxembourg declare itself a ‘GMO-free city’. Results of a recent survey show that 83 percent of Luxembourg’s population is against the use of biotechnology.

The current EU system of approving agriculture biotechnology came after some EU member states pushed back against the decision to give a green light to MON810 in 1998, which to the development of a new legal framework. This allows the EU to approve GM crops throughout the EU, providing no scientific evidence showing health or environmental dangers is presented.

Insect-resistant MON810 is currently the only GM crop approved for planting in the EU. Of all 27 member countries accessible to GM crops, only 7 harvest the GM crop within their borders.

ICTSD Reporting; “EU, Luxembourg to ban MON810 maize too,” NEWSFOOD.COM, 24 March 2009; “Luxembourg, European capital, declared ‘GMO-free city’,” GREENPEACE, February 2009.

4 responses to “Luxembourg to Ban GM Maize Cultivation”

  1. Dr A.K. Goel

    The GM Crops are generally hazardous to the natural germplasm collection of the crop plants. They may contaminate the gene pool of existing crops and make them sterile for ever thus make us gentically bankrupt. In the long run the GM crops when consumed by human beings may also adversely affect the health leading to new genetic diseases. The world is already fighting with several incurable diseases.

  2. Steve Huete

    It is obvious that Mr Goel does not know this subject. GM crops have been extensively tested in North America and other places, and there have been NO cases of allergic or other reactions to the products. They are as safe for human consumption as non-GM crops - proven scientific fact. As for contaminating the gene pool, there is no possibility that they could make existing crops sterile - where did he get that idea? Fiction. This bit about consumption leading to new genetic diseases is complete fiction, too.

  3. Germany to Join Other European Countries in Ban Against Monsanto’s Genetically Modified MON 810 Corn | youryogi.com

    [...] to Luxembourg’s Health Minister Mars Di Bartolomeo, studies addressing the grain’s safety have failed to “conclude that MON810 is completely [...]

  4. John Acres

    It’s obvious Steve Huete is a frustrated lobbyist that works for the GMO industry, Monsanto, Syngenta in Brussels.

    I’d suggest you watch the Future of Food to see the irreversible harm caused by GMO foods to the Environment and real cases of factually documented allergic reactions.

    or better yet - Le monde d’après Monsanto.

    No European wants to eat the latest US/Canadian GMO invention - we’ll stick with the thousands of years of evolution by nature that is proven to work.

    The Japanese also don’t want to eat US GMO food.

    And I’m 100% certain the American people wouldn’t wish to either but neither the Senate ever voted on the patenting of GMO food nor was a referendum held. But then that is to be expected, US companies are 100% solely focused on making money without thinking of the long term conseqences.

    and we’re literally paying for the US financial sector wrecking havoc on the global economy to the same tune.

  5. Anonymous

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