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GM Freeze Welcomes Suspension of GM Crops in France

Immediate release (30 Oct 2007)

Call to Pete Riley 07903 341 065

GM Freeze has warmly welcomed the statement by French President, Nicholas Sarkozy, that the commercial planting of GM crops in France has been suspended.

The announcement was made at a national conference on the environment held this week. [1]

Previous refusals by French governments to approve commercial licenses for GM herbicide tolerant oilseed rape allowed time for new evidence to emerge about the long term harm the crop would cause to farmland wildlife. [2]

Yesterday, EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas announced his intention to ban two GM maize varieties resistant to insect pest (Syngenta Bt11 maize and Pioneer’s 1507 maize) because of concerns about the Bt toxins they produce harming the non target species such as butterflies. [3]

Commenting Pete Riley of GM Freeze said:

The French Government has clearly listened to concerns about the uncertainty surrounding the health and environmental safety of GM crops and we warmly welcome this announcement. It is another clear message to the biotech industry that Europe will not accept poorly tested GMOs. The Sarkozy announcement should kick start a debate on whether the GM intensive farming model is the right way forward for agriculture in Europe and the rest of the world Many people now recognize that the long term care of the land, biodiversity and natural resources and the production of high quality food is the way forward. Let’s hope Number 10 and Defra are also listening


Call to Pete Riley 07903 341 065.

1. See

2. In 1997 the French Government refused to sign commercial marketing consents for two GM oilseed rape varieties produced by Plant Genetics Systems (since taken over and now part of Bayer CropScience) after a qualified vote in favour in December 1996. The Farm Scale Evaluations in the UK (1999-2003) found that GM herbicide tolerant spring and winter oilseed rape both significantly reduced the amounts of weeds and weed seeds in arable fields this reducing the supply of food for farmland birds and other species.

3. See