French attempt to ban GM maize fails

France’s senate has rejected a move by the government to ban the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) maize.

- Advertisement - reported that France published a decree this week to prevent the planting of GM maize as a stopgap measure, while the government worked on changes to domestic and European laws to ensure a longer-term ban.

The current Socialist government has opposed the growing of GM crops in light of public suspicion and widespread protests from environmentalists. It has been trying to institute a new ban on GM maize after a senior court twice struck down similar measures.

But in a surprise move, the French senate rejected the attempt, claiming it was unconstitutional.

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The decree on Monday (17 February) was timed to avert any sowing of GM maize by farmers before a law banning planting of GM crops is passed.

After the senate’s rejection a new attempt to pass a domestic law banning GM crops would need to be submitted through the other assembly, where the ruling party has a clear majority.

If successful the decree would come into force following a three-week consultation period that runs to 9 March. Annual sowing of maize in France gets under way in the second half of March.