Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Italian minister wants ban on GMOs

English
© ANSA

Rome, June 26 - The Italian agriculture minister
has said she wants a ban in Italy on the cultivation of
genetically modified organisms (GMOs.
Nunzia De Girolamo said on Monday 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 its 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.
Despite the ruling, which prompted some Italian farmers to
start using GM seeds, DuPont Pioneer is still awaiting a final
decision from Italy's highest administrative court, the Council
of State, "before evaluating the possible sale of corn seeds in
Italy," DuPont Pioneer spokesman Paolo Marchesini told ANSA
Wednesday.
The overwhelming majority of Italian regions, 16 out of 20,
have declared themselves GMO-free, according to Slow Food.
On Monday the governor of the northeastern Italian region
that borders Austria and Slovenia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, said
she wrote to De Girolamo 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 said.
The governor said she had read of the minister's intention
to draft a decree for a country-wide ban on 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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