MON810 GM-Maize Banned
Budapest - The Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development has banned the creation, use, distribution and import of seeds from inbred lines or hybrids of the transgenic MON810 maize line in January. The ban also applies to plants derived from crossbreeding with traditionally cultivated maize. However, this does not cover the use of varieties in the food and feed industry, their repackaging or transfer without further treatment if it can be ensured that the maize will not be liberated into the environment.
According to the Hungarian daily Népszabadság the country is the first among the European Union's (EU) new member states to bring about such a decision. The European Commission added 17 MON810 maize varieties to the EU's sort list last September, paving the way for their distribution in the Member States apart from those which exercized a hedge clause like Austria. The Ministry will not allow the use of any genetically modified (GM) plants until preconditions of their cultivation, handling and distribution have been regulated in detail in a co-existence law. Ministry spokesperson András Dékány told the Hungarian online service Origo that the drafting of this law could start this autumn. He explained that the ban aims at protecting autochthonous crops - some of which have been cultivated for centuries - from the more resistant GM sorts and possible subsequent extinction of several animal species. Hungarian Greenpeace activists - who had poured several sacks of maize on the street in front of the Agriculture Ministry's entrance shortly before the decision - welcomed the ban as long overdue. While they also claimed that the ban is the only way to protect farmers from damages from the cultivation of GM plants, they admitted that prohibition of foods derived from GM plants was not possible since no scientific evidence has so far proven harmful health effects.