Crackdown on Monsanto Seeds: Germany Tightens Restrictions on Genetically Modified Corn
The German government has imposed stricter regulations on the food company Monsanto regarding the sale of genetically modified corn seeds. The new rules are tantamount to an outright ban.
Brandenburg farmer Jörg Piprek checks his crop of GM corn in this 2005 file photo. The sign reads "Keep out!"
"This amounts to a de facto ban on the cultivation of genetically modified corn," said Peter Rudolph, who is responsible for genetic technology in the Brandenburg state ministry of agriculture, in remarks to Der Tagesspiegel Tuesday. He said the letter basically means Monsanto will no longer be allowed to sell MON 810, as the company has not presented any monitoring plan up until now. Brandenburg is the German state with the largest quantity of GM corn under cultivation.
In the letter, the federal ministry justifies its decision by writing that new information "gives reasons to suppose that the cultivation of MON 810 poses a danger to the environment."
The new ruling could mean that crops already planted may not be allowed to be harvested. Brandenburg farmer Jörg Piprek told Der Tagesspiegel the new ruling was absurd: "We've already planted the corn. They can't tell us after the fact that it was illegal."
The cultivation of genetically modified crops has been controversial all over Europe, with anti-GM activists going as far as ripping up crops. The German Agriculture Minister Horst Seehofer has up until now justified the cultivation of GM crops in Germany by arguing they are allowed under European Union regulations.
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2007
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH