Grounds for French ban on GMOs annulled by EU high court

By Rady Ananda

France cannot ban food and feed with genetically modified organisms based on the emergency safeguard clause it cited for its 4-year ban, ruled the Court of Justice of the European Union on September 8, without proof of a “clear and serious risk to human or animal health or the environment.” [1]

This comes on the heels of Tuesday’s high court ruling that all food products containing GMOs – whether intentional or not – must undergo an approval process.  GMO opponents applauded that tightening of restrictions, since it paves the way for damage claims by those whose crops or honey become genetically contaminated by neighboring GM fields.

Today’s ruling, however, counts as a win for Monsanto and the EU Commission in their ongoing power struggle to defeat independent sovereign rejection of GMOs on the precautionary principle – a far less stringent, but more scientifically sound standard that acknowledges the dangers of genetic manipulation.

Like France, other nations including Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg also banned GMOs under the EU emergency clause of Directive 2001/18/EC.

The high court instead ruled that nations seeking to ban GMOs may only use the more stringent emergency measures permitted under Regulations 1829/2003 and 178/2002.

The difference, explains Thijs Etty, a transnational environmental lawyer specializing in biotechnology and EU law, is that the latter regulations are “more centralized, much less flexible and more procedurally demanding.”

Under these more stringent regulations, Etty told Food Freedom:

“Any national measures will have to be scrutinized at the EU level, where the more technical regulatory committees may be less forgiving to GMO bans that do not really fulfill the criteria of showing ‘urgency,’ or the ‘clear and serious risk’ standard.”

‘Urgency’ and ‘clear and serious risk’ can easily be proven by looking at evidence from around the world:

  • Superweeds resistant to agrochemicals used with GM crops now choke 11 million acres in the US. [2]  (Also see these reports from Canada[3] and South America [4].)
  • Insects have developed resistance to Monsanto’s Bt-corn in the US [5] and Bt-cotton in China [6];
  • Cotton and tobacco modified with the Bt protein show developmental defects, growth retardation and sterility in India[7];
  • Bt insecticidal proteins are found in the blood of 93% of pregnant women and 80% of the fetuses in Canada [8];
  • Agrochemical use has skyrocketed in the US.  (See [9] and [10]);
  • GM feed causes organ damage in lab animals [11];
  • Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is associated with spontaneous abortion in cattle who eat GM feed [12];
  • Glyphosate is also linked to birth defects [13]; and
  • Glyphosate is found in the air, rain and streams [14].

The EU Commission’s technical committee may bill itself as being more “technically stringent” in its assessment of biosafety, but Earth Open Source reports that EU regulatory bodies consistently ignore independent scientific reports showing harm, and instead rely on unpublished – meaning, not peer-reviewed – studies by the biotech industry. [13]

No wonder Member States don’t want GM approval limited to an EU central body.  Centralization makes corruption easier.  As discussed in Tuesday’s piece, “the European Food Safety Authority, which rules on GMO safety, has been under fire for hiring members with financial interests in the biotech industry.”

Under today’s decision which cannot be appealed, EU institutions – not Member States – are in charge of assessing GMO risk.  Only if they do not act, can a European nation make a unilateral decision.

Jose Bove, a long time French opponent of GMOs and now a Member of the European Parliament, serving on the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, had this to say:

“All the concerns about the impact on health and the environment that led to the ban and the use of the safeguard clause remain. Not to mention the devastating economic impact, especially for French beekeepers, following the decision of the Court of 6 September.  The French government must immediately adopt a new safeguard clause, simply by complying this time to the European procedure.  This decision also reminds us, more than ever the need for a general ban of GMOs in Europe. ” [15]

EU nations wishing to reject biotech food and feed should heed this strategy to ensure food sovereignty, as well as ensuring safe food and feed.

Get the list of sources used by donating to Food Freedom.

13 responses to “Grounds for French ban on GMOs annulled by EU high court

  1. The combination of God’s plan and the OWO agenda will pretty much decimate the population of our polluted planet. Who among the elites know how to use simple tools, let alone run and maintain the complicated machines in their naked world? Some bureaucrank may ask, ‘What’s a hoe?’ Another will reply, ‘They’re not here either, ’cause we killed ’em with the rest.’ Prurient LOL!

  2. Turn out the light France.
    Resistance is futile.
    You will be assimilated into the collective.
    Bon App`etit.

  3. Rady : Great article, Thanks.

  4. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Grounds for French ban on GMOs annulled by EU high court | Food Freedom

  5. Merde! The bastards have won another one.

  6. Alternativement, en français: Merde! Les salauds ont gagné un autre.

  7. They haven’t won yet! I’m still fighting them. Until I stop the war is not over. 🙂 Happy hunting peeps.

  8. There is more than one way to skin a rabbit. There is more than one way to end this debacle. All we have to do is to never give up. It is only a matter of time before the masses realise what is happening and every little new revelation adds to the piles of data that can be presented in evidence against GMO’s. We have accumualted so much data it could build another great wall similar to China’s and then some. So lets just take every day as another round in the ring with the enemy. Monsanto et al are no match for a full on assault from the people who care about the planet. No amount of money will win it for them. They will soon realise that the soil is eroding even though they advocate no till seed sowing. It is losing its nutrients and the weeds are taking over and the revolution is hotting up in the US of A because the people are learning about what is in their food. They know its not good and they are looking for alternatives. Once the people move alliegance to the organic and farmers market sector there is no going back for the biotechs and the agrochemical industry.

  9. I agree about never give up. The snowball made by these corporations is bigger than they realize. Right now, what the corps have is LEGAL power to play on their terms. But anyone with a conscience or a breath of life in them will continue to fight — and there is going to be a BIG tipping point. These assaults on nature, food and life itself cannot be sustained. The corporations are playing a game of roulette that they have no real control over. Nature always wins. And with enough people awake and pissed, just watch. ..

  10. So if we allow this to take place–then what we are saying is no place on earth has the right to grow and eat the food it wants. All world citizens are slaves to PROFITEERING CORPORATIONS, which means every Government on earth has been subsumed by essentially one world Corporation. You are what you eat and people are blindly eating the SHIT of what these corps are forcing down our throats as they shove us into the grave.

  11. This lamentable decision made by the Court of Justice of the European Union ignores the Precautionary Principle established in the Cartagena Protocols, which clearly state that the burden of proof does NOT rest on a party that chooses defend the biosafety of its genetic patrimony by insisting that the manufacturers, distributors and promoters of genetically modified demonstrate an unequivocal and total absence of risk before approving their liberation to the open environment and the nation’s food supply (something that will never happen, because the manipulation of governments, the agencies charged with oversight and the mass media is the ONLY achievement) that the biotech industry can truthfully claim).

    In other words, the European Union needs to define a process similar to that chosen by the Organization of American States.

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