Martedì, 25 Settembre 2018
ROME

Italian minister wants ban on GMOs

English
© ANSA

(By Kate Carlisle)
Rome, June 24 - The Italian agriculture minister
has said she wants to create a ban in Italy on the cultivation
of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Italian Agriculture Minister Nunzia De Girolamo said that
she would push for legislation with backing from the Italian
health and environment ministers.
"I believe they think as I do, at least judging from their
statements in recent days," De Girolamo said in an interview
with Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
Responding to De Girolamo, Health Minister Beatrice
Lorenzin said that she gave her "full support" to the
agriculture minister, but added that from a juridical point of
view, "a solution had to be found".
De Girolamo admitted that the European Union could contest
the measure which, she said, would expose Italy to a procedure
for "violation of European law".
"But Brussels has not yet launched an infraction procedure
against France, which has banned GMO cultivation with a similar
measure," De Girolamo added.
The GMO issue is particularly explosive in Italy.
As the second-largest producer of organic crops in Europe
and the fourth largest in the world, there is widespread fear of
the potential damage resulting from accidental GMO
contamination.
Agricultural organization Coldiretti has issued several
reports suggesting that widespread public hostility to GMO crops
would damage the domestic market for farm produce if it were to
spread.
Last week, Coldiretti said that nearly eight out of 10, or
76%, of Italians were against GMOs - 14% more compared to a
survey from last year.
Italy has often reiterated its opposition to GMOs and EU
policies that hinder it from deciding is own policy on the use
of genetically modified crops and products.
As a member state of the European Union, Italy cannot block
the sale of EU-approved genetically modified seeds, the European
Court of Justice (ECJ) said in September after Italy was on the
losing end of a ruling in a lawsuit by GMO producer DuPont
Pioneer against Italy's Ministry of Agriculture.
Italy contested the sale of DuPont Pioneer-brand corn seeds
in the country.
DuPont Pioneer, which produces and distributes worldwide
both conventional and genetically modified seeds - which it
refers to as "genetically improved seeds" - said it was
satisfied with the ruling.
"We would like to see removal of obstacles so farmers can
exercise their rights and freedom of choice on the planting of
genetically improved crops in Italy," said company spokesman
Paolo Marchesini.
However, 16 out of 20 Italian regions have declared
themselves GMO-free, a report by the organization Slow Food said
in June.
On Monday, the governor of the northeastern Italian region
that borders Austria and Slovenia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, said
she wrote to the Italian agricultural minister asking for State
help to block cultivation of GMOs, which the regional government
has little control over.
"I wrote a letter to Minister De Girolamo asking her to
intervene in a situation which certainly puts our region
Friuli-Venezia Giulia in difficulty," Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Governor Debora Serracchiani explained in the town of Palmanova.
The governor said she had read of the minister's intention
to create a decree for a country-wide ban the cultivation of
GMOs despite awareness "of the fact that there is an (EU)
regulation that appears to go in the opposing direction, or at
least creates problems".

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