Romania says ’No’ to GE with Monsanto maize ban
EU’s top maize producers reject genetic engineering; Greenpeace applauds action and calls for European Commission to ban GE maize
International — Greenpeace welcomes the Romanian Government’s landmark decision to ban genetically engineered (GE) maize, announced today. The move is particularly significant as GE maize is the only commercially cultivated GE crop permitted in Europe.
Mr Attila Korodi’s, Minister of Environment and Durable Development, announcement banning Monsanto’s GE maize MON 810, makes Europe’s largest per hectare maize producer  GE-free. Romania is the seventh of Europe’s leading maize producers to ban the growing of GE varieties, following France, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Greece and Poland.
“Romania’s GE ban marks a seismic change. It sends a critical message that this dangerous technology will not be tolerated. It is vital the European Commission  protects all of Europe’s farmers, consumers and environment by introducing an EU-wide ban against GE cultivation,” Geert Ritsema, Greenpeace International GE campaign coordinator said.
Concerns over safety prompted the government to take action. Scientific studies show MON 810 maize is harmful to wildlife, soil and human health. Its inbuilt toxin which is designed to kill the cornborer, a pest considered insignificant in Romania and other parts of Europe, seeps into soil harming animals critical to soil health, such as earthworms, and other wildlife including butterflies, ants and spiders. Proof of its safety for human and animal health are inconclusive .
“The Romanian people overwhelmingly reject this unsafe, unnecessary and unsustainable technology . It is vital the ban is implemented as soon as possible, so natural crops can be safe from GE contamination before the sowing season starts,” said Gabriel Paun, GE Campaign Coordinator Greenpeace Romania.
Contamination of natural crops from GE cultivation is a serious problem. In 2007 alone, there were 39 new instances of crop contamination in 23 countries last year alone . Despite this, there is no international standard holding biotech companies to account for the damage and financial losses they cause.
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