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EU Court of Justice confirms farmers’ right to cultivate GM crops

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Tuesday, 09 October 2012

EU Court of Justice confirms farmers’ right to cultivate GM crops

At the beginning of September 2012, the EU Court of Justice clarified the legal requirements for the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the Member States of the European Union, such as the MON 810 maize varieties. The Court confirmed that additional national authorisation procedures, introduced on top of the existing approval process conducted by the European authorities (European Food Safety Authority) to be unlawful.
In a judgment in Case C-36/11, issued on 6 September, the court ruled that member states’ authorities cannot prohibit “in a general manner the cultivation on their territory of such GMOs pending the adoption of coexistence measures”. It underlined that the cultivation of GMOs cannot be made subject to an additional national authorisation procedure when their use and marketing is already authorised pursuant to relevant EU legislation (Article 20 of Regulation No 1829/2003) and when those GMOs have been accepted for inclusion in the common catalogue provided for in Directive 2002/53. The ruling concerns a GM product that is allowed for cultivation in Europe but the rights of farmers to choose this legally approved crop were denied in practice by some bureaucratic barriers created by the Italian authorities.
Agricultural innovation brings positive outcomes for farmers by helping them to cope with the various challenges of growing food. More than 16 million farmers grow GM crops globally. Benefits of using GM crops include yield increase, more resistance to target insects and pests, improved quality protection after harvest, increased tolerance to stress such as frost, drought, salt or heat, and improved nutritional value of food in very specific ways.

Source: EurActiv