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Friday, 11 February 2011

Local authorities unite against GMOs

Following the initiative of the French département Gers, 19 regional and 3 departmental authorities have lodged a request at the European Court of Justice to repeal the authorization by the Commission to allow the commercial introduction of new varieties of genetically modified corn. After the previous dispute over the cultivation of GMOs, now comes the fight against their trade. Nineteen regions and two departments joined Gers in its battle against the importation and trade in new GMO corn, which was authorized by the European Commission on 28 July. Last October, the Gers authorities lodged six requests with the European Court of Justice to repeal the Commission’s decision. The local authorities had called on the French government and other local authorities to join them in their cause before 31 January 2011. The appeal was heard, as 13 regions (Ile-de-France, Midi-Pyrénées, Centre, Pays de la Loire, Bourgogne, Rhône-Alpes, Auvergne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Poitou-Charentes, Franche-Comté, Picardie, Nord-Pas-de-Calais et Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) and two departments (Côtes d'Armor et Haute-Garonne) have now joined the appeals group. Six other regions have offered their support, without joining the legal procedure (Aquitaine, Limousin, Champagne-Ardenne, Bretagne, Haute-Normandie, Basse-Normandie). According to the local authorities, authorizing trade in certain GMO corn violates the principles of institutional balance and precaution. They criticize “the absence of proper evaluation of these GMOs, especially their long-term effects”. They also argue that consumer rights are not being respected due to “a lack of information about the GMO content in the food they buy”.

Source: Euractiv.fr