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EU Blocks France's Ban of Monsanto's GM Maize

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the renamed-to-freedom-corn dept.

Biotech 285

redletterdave writes with an update to news from a few months ago that France had banned the growing of Monsanto's genetically modified corn. After reviewing the evidence France submitted in support of the ban, the European Food Safety Authority has now rejected it. An official opinion (PDF) stated that they "could not identify any new science-based evidence indicating that maize MON 810 cultivation in the EU poses a significant and imminent risk to the human and animal health or the environment."

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Well, they couldn't prove... (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084091)

...that MON 180 ~didn't~ pose a health risk, either; more research is probably needed for both parties. The French are not big eaters of corn, anyways.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (4, Insightful)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084231)

huh. they couldn't prove God ~doesn't~ exist.

gonna need a better argument than that, though i'm not Monsanto's biggest fan.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084393)

With GM food crops, the danger is more from handing of control of your seed stock to a potentially malevolent vendor, than to the health of consumers.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (4, Informative)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084947)

[...]a potentially malevolent vendor,[...]

You suggest that Monsanto is only "potentially malevolent"? They make a business of killing small farm businesses. Their legal department is larger than their scientific department. They created life that cannot reproduce, so that farmers have to come to them each year to buy new seeds. What makes you still doubt?

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (1, Insightful)

u38cg (607297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40085149)

Third world economies desperately need to transition from subsitence farming to producing cash crops. I'm no fan of Monsanto, but their actions will ultimately be beneficial.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (5, Insightful)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40085197)

"They created life that cannot reproduce, so that farmers have to come to them each year to buy new seeds." Actually they didn't the Agriculture department and two private companies did. Monsanto bought the two private companies in 2005 acquiring the rights but they didn't create the genes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_use_restriction_technology [wikipedia.org]

This summarizes all Monsanto does nicely: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40085215)

The World According to Monsanto [topdocumentaryfilms.com]

I can honestly say, that even with
- Goldman Sachs basically having half the governments of the world by the throat through load-based trickery,
- Eli Lilly distributing hard drugs to children,
- Haliburton paying governments for mass-murder to make a buck,
- Microsoft being the company equivalent of multiple-time convicted murderer who pays off the government to stay away from the electric chair,
- Shell/Exxon having private armies that kill whole towns in Afrika,
- and Foxconn running what is basically modern Gulags...
that Monsanto is by far the most evil ruthless company I know of in the world.

They are not just openly evil, like those n00bs. They are slowly creeping all-killing tentacles, wrapped around every living thing, oozing the black oil of evilness.
Walking over dead bodies for money would be a large improvement for them.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40085053)

Did you mean: Monsanto is profoundly malevolent?

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (4, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084241)

The French are not big eaters of corn, anyways.

Considering France is the 7th [wikipedia.org] largerst producer of maize in the world that may not be true.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084329)

Probably used for animal feed.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (3, Informative)

Linzer (753270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084559)

That's correct. First, about half of it is exported, and 80% of the rest is animal feed. What remains is used mostly for starch (not all of it for eating). The sweet corn eaten in corn form is a tiny fraction.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084685)

The point is that France attempted to spread their ban to the entire EU. Perhaps that is due to France trying to limit the production of corn in other EU countries so that can export theirs.

Even if the French do not eat much corn directly they eat it indirectly through the meat they eat.

Is it possible that the French ban is there to protect their own corn industry by suppressing the industry in other countries of the EU? Protectionism is bad for the EU economy.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (2, Funny)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084803)

As long as they keep their Monsanto crap out of the feed for my poulets de bresse...

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (4, Informative)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084257)

The French are not big eaters of corn, anyways.

They may not enjoy corn on the cob, but they eat corn alright, as does most of the world, in the form of processed food. You find corn derivatives in a bewildering varieties of industrial foods.

France also produces a lot of corn, amazingly, considering the problems they have with water table depletion every other summer.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (3, Insightful)

Saunalainen (627977) | more than 2 years ago | (#40085219)

they eat corn alright, as does most of the world, in the form of processed food. You find corn derivatives in a bewildering varieties of industrial foods.

You imply that the French, and indeed the rest of the world, eat significant amount of processed food. It's difficult to get hard data on this, but my impression (from having lived there) is that processed food is a much smaller part of their diet than in the US. This article [grist.org] says that Americans eat rather more processed food than other countries, but it's difficult to compare because "baked goods" and "ready-to-eat" in the US and in France are rather different.

On the other hand, "most of the world" is certainly not eating significant amounts of industrial food - in China and India it's almost unheard of [nytimes.com] .

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084259)

If that was the bar for every new cultivar, fine. If the bar depends on the origin of the cultivar, there should be a rational reason for this. If anything, the bar should be lower for GMOs, where we have some clue of what has happened, but I don't think the difference is big enough to warrant that.

It's for every new GMO. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40085133)

Cultivation and hybridisation is not GM.

Anyway, France will ignore the ban on their ban and still ban GM corn.

As they should.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084381)

Can't prove a negative like that. Will this corn cause cancer? We have no reason to think so. There's no massive increqse in any known carcinogen. Scientists are the first ones to admit we dont know for sure, and initially we had no reason to think that smoking did either (long, LONG ago anyway), so you do tests. Do you drop dead immediately? No. What about develop cancer a yeqr out? Well, eat it for a year and test. No, that doesnt increase the cancer risks. 5 years? At this point, the corn has probably had 5 years of testing. Unless there's a big cover up, and we have no indication there is, it seems not. 90 years out? Don't know. Do you stop the sale of all new foods for 90 years? Where is the cutoff?

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084657)

Do you stop the sale of all new foods for 90 years? Where is the cutoff?

The cutoff is when you've done enough rigorous and open testing that nobody in the professional scientific community can raise any particular concerns.
Look, any time you introduce a new element into an ecosystem there WILL be impact of one sort or another. The people producing the GMO's have, for example, claimed there is no risk of their product escaping into other fields, which has been proven false over and over. Each time it happens, these assholes sue the farmers whose crops get contaminated for "illegally" using their patented product. That alone should have been enough to warrant a ban, cancer or not.

Then we have some very recent evidence that the rash of Colony Collapse Disorder among honey bee populations is being caused by a somewhat new pesticide. This just so happens to be the same pesticide which is integrated into the Monsanto corn, and preliminary tests indicate it DOES affect bee populations. While there isn't enough evidence to prove it yet, it's enough evidence to be very worrying. Especially when viewed in light of the other claims Monsanto has made about their product and have been shown to be false.

There just hasn't been enough testing of these products. What little testing has been done, is either not transparent enough or has to be done without their cooperation making it even more difficult. The judge should not have blocked this ban, if France doesn't want the product they shouldn't be forced to accept it.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084669)

Good post.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (3, Informative)

Znork (31774) | more than 2 years ago | (#40085205)

Actually, the pesticide that currently seems to be most strongly implicated in colony collapse disorder is imidacloprid, which is not the same as the bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) GMO corn toxin. Unless you have seen something even newer? Still, that of course doesn't preclude BT damaging other parts of the ecosystem.

Considering Monstantos corporate ethics, if they could create a corn variety that causes cancer in anyone eating it, I would bet they would. The company has such a history that trusting it with food is grossly negligent.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084623)

Their statement is not actually true. There was study just released a week or two ago showing that the pesticide which is "built in" to the Franken-Corn kills honey bees, and is most likely the culprit behind the rash of colony die-offs in the US in recent years. While it's true that this has yet to be confirmed 100%, and it's probably not enough to start banning stuff, it IS evidence. But it just goes to reinforce what many have claimed for a long time- the testing and proving process for GMO's is much too lax and much too short, covering far too few situations and examining far too variables. In other words, this crop should not have been approved in the first place due to lack of thorough testing.

Introducing any new kind of species into an ecosystem will provide lesson in the Law of Unintended Consequences, and GMO's are no different.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084773)

Monsanto haven't won this one yet. The French people can be a bunch of hippy activists. I wouldn't be surprised if (1) the French government makes companies put a big sticker on such corn products, and then (2) nobody buys it.

Re:Well, they couldn't prove... (2, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084839)

For something which "may or may not pose a threat" it should be the standard for something which grows and spreads itself as LIFE does that it be presumed dangerous until proven otherwise.

This is the same standard we use for importing living things through customs isn't it?

For some people, the potential dangers and hazards of GM foods is of concern. It concerns me less. What concerns me is the dangers and hazards of a business developing and planting seed which doesn't limit or contain itself and then goes about suing and threatening others over infringement claims.

Monsanto is a threat to the economics of food production and a threat to food production in general.

HUH, so far i thought the EU is sane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084101)

10 years from now, and it will be Monsanto maize everywhere. Looks like USA corp found something else to extort people about.
It was disturbing when it was restricted to just the USA, now it goes over here.

Re:HUH, so far i thought the EU is sane (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084663)

The EU exists mostly for corporations to have a centralised, emotionally detached authority they can bribe, instead of having to deal with all those annoying national governments. That's the problem with super-governments. The bigger they get, the easier it is to corrupt large parts of the world in one fell swoop.

Re:HUH, so far i thought the EU is sane (4, Informative)

hughbar (579555) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084841)

Yes, as an EU 'citizen' and someone who worked for the EEC for about ten years [as a consultant, to my shame] I agree with this. The apparatus of Brussels is divorced from the wishes of the great unwashed [us], non-transparent, mediocre, subject to continual lobbying [Axa, Microsoft, Monsanto], undemocratic [the votes 'for' the Euro were exceptionally thin, even in France, had to be 'done again' in Ireland] and unresponsive.

This book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Democracy-Europe-Larry-Siedentop/dp/0140287930 [amazon.co.uk] deals with some of the arguments about drift, neo-liberalism and democratic deficit.

Sanity is a relative thing, it's saner than Gadaffi's Libya and probably saner than the worst of corporate America, but not healthy in many other ways.

Re:HUH, so far i thought the EU is sane (2)

jcdr (178250) | more than 2 years ago | (#40085111)

You are probably really right on this. The danger is only increasing as now the EU has a president and that some lobbies, mainly from the financial sector, push to give to him more power. As a Swiss citizen, I would love to see the EU as a federation with proportional representation and direct democracy. Only a dream for now...

That's .. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084107)

.. Amaizing

That's just part of the concern.. (4, Insightful)

2phar (137027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084117)

What about people not wanting massive use of round-up chemicals, small farmers being sued out of existence, and one corporation monopolising the entire seed supply?

Re:That's just part of the concern.. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084171)

And being sued because some seed drifts between fields, and being sued because you produce your own seed instead of buying monsantos? That's what happens in the US. That's what they want everywhere.

Re:That's just part of the concern.. (5, Insightful)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084279)

No, they sue people for deliberately selecting the seeds to use by spraying them with glyphosate (at least, in the most marketed case).

Re:That's just part of the concern.. (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084345)

Who is to say the seed didn't independently get glyphosate resistance? It would be interesting to find out if the genetic difference among all these seeds is due to Monsanto or not.

Re:Who's to say? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084485)

Assuming you're talking about the infamous Canadian case where "small farmer" Percy Whatshisface claimed round-up ready seed blew onto his fields cultivating many acres (this despite being them "terminator" seeds that do not reproduce and an admission from the fellow who illegally sold him the seed), you need to get some facts straight:

Yes, Monsanto is an evil transnational who aims to control the world's food supply.
No, Percy Whatshisface is not an examplary hero of our times; which is why Percy was convicted of illegally growing Monsanto seed to which he had no agreement with Monsanto to grow, whatever the morality of it may be.

Re:That's just part of the concern.. (4, Insightful)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084507)

As for what I have read from the case, it is pretty clear that it derived from Monsanto, and that the farmer was aware. I am not saying it makes it OK, I am just really tired of people taking documentaries for truth. They have become the weapon of choice for propagandists, and if people aren't critical of them, they are going to end up believing Expelled or some other such nonsense.

Re:That's just part of the concern.. (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084711)

Isn't it weird that natural processes like plant growth, or indeed evolution of plants, can be legally protected at all?

Re:That's just part of the concern.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40085001)

"I am just really tired of people taking documentaries for truth. They have become the weapon of choice for propagandists"

Comments made by random people on the internet, on the other hand...

Re:That's just part of the concern.. (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084201)

Then on what legal grounds you want to ban them? :)

Re:That's just part of the concern.. (1)

k8to (9046) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084349)

Why does new legislation have to pass legality checks? It is the laws.

Re:That's just part of the concern.. (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084423)

It has to pass ES legislation too, not only national constitution.

I agree. It is pretty nasty already, (4, Interesting)

bdwoolman (561635) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084263)

but it could get worse: See The Windup Girl [wikipedia.org]

Re:That's just part of the concern.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084529)

I agree Monsanto is not the nicest company out there, but why single out GM tech? This to me sounds like a political move since europeans have been consistently (and irrationally) against GM food, whether it comes from universities or evil corporations.

Re:That's just part of the concern.. (3, Insightful)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084785)

The problem with GM tech is that it's impossible to stop it's spread once it's out in the wild. With just about every other technology, you can stop using it if problems are found after deployment. GM crops on the other hand can spread themselves, and it's virtually impossible to keep non-GM crops from being 'infected' by the modified pollen. So if someone discovers a problem with them, there is not much that can be done to remove them from the environment, except destroy all seeds of just about every (corn) plant on the continent and then import some 'safe' seeds.

And that's why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084119)

That's why I bought a Saturn.

Oh dear (1)

TopSpin (753) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084123)

If I express sceptisism about the EFSA and its science based conclusions does that make me an antiscience bible thumper?

Re:Oh dear (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084133)

Wouldn't worry about it, the French will most likely tell them to get stuffed regardless. They take their food seriously over there.

Re:Oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084213)

the French will most likely tell them to get stuffed

Won't clinging to their sovereignty like that undermine the EU? How conservative of them.

Re:Oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084255)

Wouldn't worry about it, the French will most likely tell them to get stuffed regardless. They take their food seriously over there.

Tis to be hoped they do as well Why should we cowtow to some obnoxious bunch of tossers that only have their back pocket in mind screw Monsanto and screw the EFSA . A lot of us do not like or want this American genetically menacing trash around .

Monsanto and the EFSA a mesage Go Do One .

Re:Oh dear (5, Insightful)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084287)

Yes, there is no shortage of french people ready to go burn GM crop fields. And jailing them pushes the issue into the political field. Add to that the new socialist government who's allied with the green party ; I don't see a bright future for Monsanto GM crops in France.

Re:Oh dear (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084295)

Not necessarily bible thumper, tree hugger seems to be a more fitting derogative in this case.

But, in all seriousness, what problems exist with GMOs that doesn't exist with other cultivars?

Re:Oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084317)

You can't get sued for having some other sort of seed drift into your field and grow.

Re:Oh dear (1)

boombaard (1001577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084361)

The "crop yield increases" so frequently touted as the great advantage disappear after a few years. Herbs become roundup-resistant, requiring the use of more roundup, leading to more pollution, and the destruction of bee populations (like there's no tomorrow). Then there's lock-in, aggressive law-suits by Monsanto to force other farmers to start using their products, etc.. Lots of problems that don't exist with other cultivars. (Because no, you cannot separate GMOs from their salesmen.)

Re:Oh dear (4, Insightful)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084489)

The "crop yield increases" so frequently touted as the great advantage disappear after a few years.

There is so much disinformation about the drop yield of GMOs (from both sides) that I have given up trying to figure out the truth. Anyway, this might also be the case for other cultivars, and isn't relevant in whether we allow people to use it, only to whether it is a good idea for the individual farmer to use it.

Herbs become roundup-resistant, requiring the use of more roundup, leading to more pollution

This would be a problem for any herbicide-resistant cultivar. If we are going to pollute, let's at least pollute with Roundup, which is not harmful for mammals, and is mostly bound to the soil. It is by far the least bad of the pesticides (not that that makes it good, but if spraying with Roundup is a problem, we should ban all pesticides).

, and the destruction of bee populations (like there's no tomorrow)

This is not caused by roundup. The best guess we have is a new insecticide (I forget which).

Then there's lock-in, aggressive law-suits by Monsanto to force other farmers to start using their products, etc.. Lots of problems that don't exist with other cultivars. (Because no, you cannot separate GMOs from their salesmen.)

That is a problem of contract law or IP law, let's fix it there in stead of banning a potentially useful tool.

Re:Oh dear (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40085089)

If we are going to pollute, let's at least pollute with Roundup, which is not harmful for mammals

That's under discussion, actually. I live in a place where both crops and mammals were fumigated for 15 years. Now that consequences are clear there is a lot of public pressure to ban glyphosate.

Isn't that a rather low standard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084199)

"A significant imminent risk" seems more like the standard you would use for something that is used for a very short term isolated solution to emergency situations, not something that will become part of the ecosystem and diet for decades to come. It amazes me that long-term effects are routinely considered so unimportant by governments, but my guess is it comes down to who has the most money behind them.

Re:Isn't that a rather low standard? (4, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084291)

This is the actual conclusion;

In conclusion, the EFSA GMO Panel considers that, based on the documentation submitted by France, there is no specific scientific evidence, in terms of risk to human and animal health or the environment, that would support the notification of an emergency measure under Article 34 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 and that would invalidate its previous risk assessments of maize MON 810.

Basically, the "significant imminent risk" standard is for the use of "emergency measure[s]". That does not mean that after study it will not be banned but that the emergency powers do not fit.

If I were french I'd be mad (5, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084219)

Not because the EU overturned the ban, but because the EU can overrule national decisions in such important matters, and a vast majority of other matters in almost all aspects of life.

French authorities may or may not be right about not trusting Monsanto's GMOs, I am not qualified to have an opinion on the subject, but what I see here is that, in effect, they only have a consulting role since a another body in Brussels disagreed and decided otherwise. That's what you get when you relinquish your national sovereignty to a half-assed de-facto federal government that doesn't speak its name.

It's the same for the ability to lower certain taxes, doing protectionism, devaluing the currency they no longer have control of, and a whole slew of important and less important things that define an independent nation. EU member states don't have any real say over these things anymore. That's why I'm amazed to see people in the streets of France celebrate the election of their new prez, hoping for a brighter future with him, when in reality he's just a figurehead with almost no power to do anything meaningful.

Re:If I were french I'd be mad (2)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084375)

There is a growing consensus in the EU on increased powers for the EU institutions and towards federalisation to protect the monetary union. In fact, contrary to how it is portrayed in the English language press, the Euro is exteremely popular in the nations that are in the Eurozone, so there is real traction for some type of federal and democratic political structure. This would be a significant development if it comes to fruition, as it is likely the power of the European Parliament would increase at the expense of the Commission and Council.

Re:If I were french I'd be mad (1)

alex67500 (1609333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40085065)

the power of the European Parliament would increase at the expense of the Commission and Council.

Lowering the power (or even getting rid) of the Commission is what Europe needs to survive. Or at least letting democracy have a word in its members. But we need to accept the Federal side of things and have clearer rules on what's Federal and what's national (or regional, maybe).

Same for the European Council, with an unelected president... Well what's the difference with the commission again ? (Oh, and don't confuse it with the council of europe which is more a 47-state-funded human rights charity).

Re:If I were french I'd be mad (4, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084471)

Not because the EU overturned the ban, but because the EU can overrule national decisions in such important matters

You obviously aren't aware of the French response to such interfering in their state affairs. Typically, they ask for the blessings of the EU as a formality; If they don't like the outcome, they don't pay any attention. If they're forced, the populace start setting fire to cars and breaking stuff, French media puts "EU Regulation Causing Riots Across Nation!" across the front pages, and everything goes back to normal.

The French do love a good riot now and then.

Re:If I were french I'd be mad (2)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084821)

When it comes to agriculture, it's less about rioting and more about farmers blocking streets with their tractors and hauling truckloads of manure to the entrance of the offending party's headquarter, though. What can I say, it seems to work...

Re:If I were french I'd be mad (4, Insightful)

hairyfish (1653411) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084975)

If they don't like the outcome, they don't pay any attention. If they're forced, the populace start setting fire to cars and breaking stuff, The French do love a good riot now and then.

Awesome and this is how a democracy should work. Can anyone just remind me why we don't like the French?

Re:If I were french I'd be mad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40085137)

Well, it is awesome enough that I wish my country had the balls to be just as much of a dick. Which would be good, because EU isn't really that much of a democracy anyway.

Re:If I were french I'd be mad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40085145)

Our national drama is to be always betrayed by our "elites".

Here's an example of what they do without our blessing and why we have to go along:

(Note: France voted against this kind of things by referendum but Sarkozy, former french president, put it through our throats.)

Failure to respect deadlines for implementing Directives

The Commission has adopted several decisions to request Member States to adopt implementing measures for Directives where the deadline has already passed and warned Member States that if they fail to do so they may not only be referred to the Court but also that the Commission intends to request the Court to impose a financial penalty on the Member State concerned. Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the Commission may now request the Court, the first time the case is referred to the Court, to impose financial penalties in cases where Member States have failed to implement Directives within the deadline agreed by the EU's Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.

Re:If I were french I'd be mad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084531)

That's illogical right from Go. France made a national decision to decide certain things at the EU level.

Why are you distorting such an obvious thing? Do you think the EU came from outer space or something? Crawl out of the tinfoil. France is a major architect of the EU.

Re:If I were french I'd be mad (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084569)

That's illogical right from Go. France made a national decision to decide certain things at the EU level. Why are you distorting such an obvious thing? Do you think the EU came from outer space or something? Crawl out of the tinfoil. France is a major architect of the EU.

Just because you willingly decide to tread in manure doesn't mean you won't regret the stink on your shoes later, or that it was a good idea.

Re:If I were french I'd be mad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084635)

There's also the fallacy that contributing to the creation of the EU means that a country will abide by its regulations. France has a long history of ratifying any EU agreement only to go and blatantly violate it shortly afterwards.

Re:If I were french I'd be mad (1)

alex67500 (1609333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40085073)

Just because you willingly decide to tread in manure doesn't mean you won't regret the stink on your shoes later, or that it was a good idea.

Don't forget, the cockerel is our national emblem because it's the only animal who willing treads in manure every morning before it starts singing.

Re:If I were french I'd be mad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084563)

French authorities may or may not be right about not trusting Monsanto's GMOs, I am not qualified to have an opinion on the subject, but what I see here is that, in effect, they only have a consulting role since a another body in Brussels disagreed and decided otherwise. That's what you get when you relinquish your national sovereignty to a half-assed de-facto federal government that doesn't speak its name.

The fun thing is that it flows both ways. The EU generally forces the member's to protect citizen's privacy for example, without the EU being able to apply force from above then many places could be a lot more authoritarian than they already are.

It's not a union if it isn't unified. "They don't get to make up their own rules without oversight any more!" Well, no shit Sherlock, that's kind of the point of being in the EU to begin with (sacrificing independence for increased influence against external powers that are too strong to resist individually, like the US and China).

Inaccurate Summary, yet again. (4, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084627)

The issue is that the ban in France was even overturned by their own courts [agrimoney.com] as not being scientifically based. They then tried again to get it banned throughout the entire EU and failed again.

Here is a quote;"

EuropaBio, the European biotech industry group, urged French leaders to decide "whether they want to regain their position as a leader of agricultural innovation or support an anti-science agenda that weakens Europe's competitiveness" after a judgment on Monday from Paris's highest court.

You might also want to check this [cera-gmc.org] out. Notice how many countries have approved the corn.

Here is an interesting piece of information from this article [bloomberg.com] ;

“The new ban is not justified by scientific evidence,” John Combest, a spokesman for Monsanto, said in a e-mail today. The company does not market MON810 in France because “we seek planting where we have broad farmer and government support,” Combest said.

Now why would France want to ban something not even marketed in their country? Perhaps it is that they want to protect their own seed industry at the expense of growers in other EU countries.

Take a look at this article [reuters.com] . The EU has yet to order France to lift the ban and nothing will happen till after the election and any new government has shown its intentions. That has not happened.

To summarize, the EU reviewed the corn last year and found no issues. France banned the corn, Their own courts overturned that ban. France banned it again. France applied to get the ban applied to all EU countries. The EU declined. That is where we stand today. The French ban is still in effect but there will be no EU ban.

funny much? (2)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084247)

When somebody is trying to sell a herbal medicine or sweetener that has been used naturally for ages they are required to show scientific evidence that it's not harmfull. When monsanto is trying to sell genetically modified seeds a country is required to show scientific evidence that it is harmful.

Something does not compute?

Re:funny much? (2)

fredprado (2569351) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084323)

That is not exactly true. Both are required to show evidence that enough research was made and no evidence of its being harmful has been found. I am not a big fan of corporations, but I am a big fan of accuracy in arguments.

Re:funny much? (2)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084463)

That is not exactly true. Both are required to show evidence that enough research was made and no evidence of its being harmful has been found. I am not a big fan of corporations, but I am a big fan of accuracy in arguments.

I've understood a company can still decide which research results to publish, so if they make 20 studies on an issue they can pick the 10 that best suit their agenda.

The real underlying problem is that the required tests are often so expensive that only a company who will receive a patent for what they are pushing will be able and motivated to do them. On the other hand the authorities who would need to show something is harmful will do so by analyzing the manufacturers tests which might already be cherry picked to best suit the purpose.

Re:funny much? (2, Informative)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084543)

Simple, money and political ties talks. Aspartame sat sidelined by the FDA because of tests showing it was a carcinogen and neurotoxin. Rumsfeld was put in as CEO and he used all his political ties to get it approved. The company was later bought out by.. Monsanto. We have Monsanto to thank that huge percentages of crops are all genetically modified. Since recent studies show that you are what you eat and food RNA can effect your genes [discovermagazine.com] the entire genetic modification of base food crops is a little worrying. Millions of years of symbiotic evolution is being altered in ways not even fully understood yet. I'm all for scientific advances but rushing to market and forcing this down people's throats is not a good attitude.

Percentage of Genetic Modified Crops [wikipedia.org]

  • Soybeans (Herbicide resistant gene taken from bacteria inserted into soybean)- 93% US, 77% world
  • Corn/Maize (New genes, some from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, added/transferred into plant genome.) - 86% US, 26% world
  • Squash (Contains coat protein genes of viruses.) - 13% US

There's a world to feed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084269)

Remember. 7 billion people. Norman Borlaug:
"some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things".

Re:There's a world to feed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084495)

People in France are not crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals. And somehow they do not starve. A better way to feed Africa (for example) would be to make all weapons there suddenly disapear.

Bogus concerns are mitigating the issue (5, Insightful)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084285)

Somehow, the media is hooked onto the theory that GM modified crops will make us all Zombies.
That is not the problem. I really doubt that these modifications will create crops which will cause health problems.
The actual problem is licensing and economics.

A seed is a thing which cannot be contained. If you neighbor has a crop, seeds will come to you farm.
If its a resilient crop, it may dominate too.
And then they lawyers come with their army, and drag you to court. How many small farmers can afford to fight.
Yes, there will be farmers who will willfully cheat, but right now the licensing model, and the law does not recognize this difference.

To be frank, GM crops can actually help coping with food shortage, but the licensing model has made something which is a boon, a bane.

Straw Man (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084415)

"GM modified crops will make us all Zombies"

No they're concerned that a bug in the design will crash the system.

Essentially they make major changes to crops that would take evolution centuries to make. They don't tests those changes for centuries, so any faults will come out later. Any major fault can cause a collapse in the food supply which would be deadly to Europe.

They represent a major risk and really the GM lobby's glibness, and willful ignorance of the risk is the real danger here. As for the EU it doesn't have the authority to declare farming safe, it only has the authority to declare it unsafe. They're there to enforce MINIMUM standards below which food supply cannot drop, not 'UPPER' standards above which a country can't insist is met.

It's like the EU banning Bio food because you can't prove it's better than other food.

They have very limited powers to do with internal EU market, and they seem to be abusing that power for corporate benefit.

Re:Bogus concerns are mitigating the issue (4, Insightful)

mbstone (457308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084521)

GMO is the biologic equivalent of flipping bits in executable files just for kicks and grins.

Except there are no disassemblers, and the language was never fully documented by anyone.

Someday the human race will get shithammered as a result.

Re:Bogus concerns are mitigating the issue (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#40085179)

Somehow, the media is hooked onto the theory that GM modified crops will make us all Zombies. That is not the problem. I really doubt that these modifications will create crops which will cause health problems. The actual problem is licensing and economics.

(Monsanto)You seem to have identified a problem here. Ah, where is it again, because we don't see a problem at all.

(Government) Yes, we too do not see a problem. Monopoly? No, not at all. (distinct sound of cash pressing against flesh)

maize (-1, Redundant)

bs0d3 (2439278) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084371)

maize is actually called corn in english, i know it sounds fancier to call it by its spanish name, but....

Re:maize (1)

the plant doctor (842044) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084579)

Most scientists I know refer to it as maize when publishing papers, since this is a website that's billed as "News for Nerds", I'd say the use of maize is quite appropriate.

Re:maize (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084763)

They're calling it maize because, in Europe, "corn" refers generally to livestock feed.

Re:maize (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084883)

They're calling it maize because, in Europe, "corn" refers generally to wheat.

TFIFY

You mean corn? (-1, Redundant)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084401)

It's called corn. Yeah, I know there are some places that call it maize. But not where Slashdot is based, and not where the vast majority of English speakers live. It's corn. Thanks.

Re:You mean corn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084605)

The article topic is outside of the US, so maize is appropriate. Go back to your parent's basement, close the door and please stay inside your tiny little US-centric world.

pierre (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084431)

It is quite amazing how europe rule my country! I did not vote for any european politics, that's quite a problem...

Re:pierre (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084537)

Actually you did. You voted in your government (at least your countrymen did) and they decided to join the european union. The argument that you didn't vote them in doesn't wash anymore than saying its a problem that the local government is doing something you don't agree with.

Re:pierre (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40085201)

Welcome to democracy.

One man. One vote. Which, in my country, gives you one 65-millionth of an opinion in every decision.

You may not have "voted" for it explicitly, but I bet you "didn't vote" for some boring by-law related to the keeping of cockatoos explicitly either. What you did, stupidly, was vote for someone you don't know, who (may have) formed a small portion of government who (collectively, and with utter rivals) agreed to laws over the course of DECADES that subjected you to EU law too.

People seriously misunderstand democracy and politics. Hence we end up with people like you thinking they "vote" for any particular cause at all and not just some random local joe you've never met who can do what they like once they get voted in and themselves only form a tiny, tiny percentage of the governing body.

Monsanto vs France (3, Informative)

ColdCat (2586245) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084481)

As I heard in French news a few month ago, It was planned that Monsanto will won at EU. The plan for this year was that. It's almost impossible with a court decision in May to buy and grow seeds for this year in France. Everyone who want to plant corn has already bought real corn seeds for 2012 so France won almost one year.

I had no idea.. (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084483)

that the Estados Unidos had that kind of pull over there.

If one group of people NEEDS an assassination (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084567)

it’s the Monsanto assholes. They don’t just walk over dead bodies. They *don’t do business* if it doesn’t involve walking over dead bodies.
Seriously Eli Lilly, the MAFIAA and Microsoft COMBINED look like fluffy playschool pussies in comparison.

Re:If one group of people NEEDS an assassination (4, Interesting)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084863)

Even though it's a pure flame against Monsanto, I would mod this up if I had any points.

You're right. Monsanto make life itself a business, and they do not seem to care at all how they make a profit. Where Google's motto is "Don't be evil", it seems Monsanto has the opposite motto: "Be evil". Kill small business. Own life. Then extort it for profit. If you own the food market, you own the world.

I cannot understand why anyone with a functioning brain would look for a job at Monsanto.

Monsanto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084727)

People should really start to investigate Monsanto and their ties and how they basically are a psychopathic monster ruining everything. The massive death of bees around the world which has recently been linked to Monsanto/Bayer is just one example. The massive suicides in India is another. The criminal actions in Canada where they prosecuted farmers who didn't buy Monsanto's crap but had some of the crop in their fields because the wind blew it over from their neighbours. The fact that in Mexico despite of proactive action of the Mexican government, ALL original Maize strains have been infected with Monsanto genes.

Monsanto is an abomination.

whats wrong with this world? (1)

ticktickboom (1054594) | more than 2 years ago | (#40084865)

you cant even ban what you know is bad for everyone. i don't like Monsanto, i have a bad opinion of them. i would be more agreeable with GM crops if they were properly tested and properly approved. not approved before testing, and not putting it in the food supply without testing. now the stuff cant even be banned? YOU WILL EAT GM FOOD! sad sad world...if there is more to the story, they should share, not act as if they are too elite. this is how the revolutions in most countries started. the political peoples not talking to the people, and doing whatever they wanted anyway. but it doesn't matter, 90% will just lay back and take it, that's what the high levels of fluoride do...

The end of European resistance to US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40084935)

US large companies, which actually rule the US government, became the new face of evil. Their "paid puppets" like Barosso are trying hard to make company's life easier. The EU was last barrier for GM growing. Now this barrier will go down and next supply of US capitalism will enter the second most important market. This supply is full (like always) with bad (for normal people) things. Almost 100 years ago US businessmen brought to Europe new diseases on vines cropping, bugs that weren't present before and who knows what.

US admired by Jules Verne became the empire of evil, because of these companies. While there are still smart people living there the moral of its companies and government is tilted into weird directions. What happened to democracy and are this smart people silent and suppressed? I bet on their conscience to improve the situation. US should be No. 1 again otherwise someone else will take their No. 1 place as generator of wellness and success... Too pity for the EU... It'll turn into US follower instead of partner.

The world's largest corporations became the world's biggest problem. Good bye world!

i dislike the decision, but i like its timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40085103)

now that maize planting season is over, the decision is more-less worthless.
and by the next season, there will be another ban.

Bought and paid for. (2)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#40085151)

"could not identify any new science-based evidence indicating that maize MON 810 cultivation in the EU poses a significant and imminent risk to the human and animal health or the environment."

Boy, if that doesn't sound like a public statement bought and paid for by Monsanto...and with their activities elsewhere, I have little reason to believe otherwise.

that is what big government gets you (1)

ronpaulisanidiot (2529418) | more than 2 years ago | (#40085153)

oversight overruling oversight, and the people get no say. this is not democracy.

Monsanto and World Domination! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40085229)

Their turning people into Sheep, and they are the Shepherds! Monsanto is truly the definition of Evil.. if we don't stop them soon, they will certainly stop us! Our soil, and ecology life gets destroyed by these people, all over the world.. are they the real Illuminati, but in reality named Monsanto?

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