Greece bans modified oilseed rape variety

Move increases EU disarray over marketing approvals for genetically modified crops

Greece has banned imports and marketing of a variety of modified oilseed rape, environmental group Greenpeace reported in a statement today. The move has apparently been made because the rape could present dangers for public health or the environment. It brings to three the number of EU countries that have banned modified crops after they have received EU marketing approval. Luxembourg and Austria are still maintaining bans on a modified maize variety developed by Novartis, and in these cases the European Commission has taken no legal action, despite the passing of a deadline in early September after which it is bound to begin infringement proceedings. Developed by AgrEvo, the oilseed rape banned by Greece received EU marketing approval earlier this year (ENDS Daily 19 March). The variety is resistant to a herbicide and also carries an antibiotic resistance marker gene. Greenpeace warmly welcomed Greece's move, which it said showed that "more and more governments are agreeing with environmental groups... that these transgenic crops pose as risk to public health and the environment". "The heat is on for the [European] Commission to urgently re-think its misguided support for every single application for market release," the group concluded.

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