EUROPE – The European Court Of Justice has ruled against the banning of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by member states, unless serious risks of evidence to health and the environment are proven.
This judgement closed a three-year long case that had been brought by Italy in 2013.
Italy had asked the European Commission to adopt emergency measures that prohibit cultivation of genetically modified maize (MON 810) produced by seed company Monsanto.
The commission decided against Italy’s request, based on the basis of a scientific opinion by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The Italian government however, proceeded to ban cultivation of MON 810 by decree on its territory.
The ruling made by European Court of Justice has no consequences for GMO legislation in the EU since in 2015; the European Union passed a directive allowing states to restrict cultivation of GMOs.
According to a post by Euractiv.com, the states do not have to demonstrate that GMOs represent a threat to human health or environment but can ban the cultivation on grounds of maintaining healthy eco-systems, biodiversity and landscape reasons.
The ruling is therefore a reiteration of the European Union’s official position on a thorny debate.
The scientific soundness of GMOs was however proven, and no challenges on these grounds by member states would be justified.