Austria and Hungary have kept the right to ban the growing of genetically modified corn, after a vote by environment ministers that defies the European Commission.
French and Greek suspensions of the maize were also upheld. The strain in question, MON810, is produced by US biotech giant Monsanto and is the only GM crop allowed to be grown and put on the market in Europe. Public opposition to, and health fears over GM crops led to the four EU bans. Germany is also said to be considering withdrawing the license for its cultivation. The European Commission has tried on several occasions to force the lifting of the bans. Germany’s Environment Minister, Sigmar Gabriel said before voting he didn’t see why the interests of one American company should come before the interest of EU member states and their citizens. At a meeting last month, food chain experts from the EU’s 27 countries could not agree on whether there was enough scientific evidence to support the French and Greek refusals to grow the GM corn.