1.Monsanto seeks end to German GMO maize ban for '09 crop
2.German Minister Pushed to Ban GM Potatoes, Suedddeutsche Says
NOTE: The German Government's GM maize ban has not just popular support, but political support across party lines, and the support of most commentators. Monsanto has its lawyers.
*Legal action to get GMO ban lifted for German 2009 harvest
*Says Germany presents no new data to justify GMO ban
1. HAMBURG - Monsanto, the world's biggest seed company, said on Wednesday it hoped legal action to end Germany's ban on growing its genetically modified (GMO) maize would allow the variety to be sown for the 2009 harvest.
On Tuesday, Monsanto said it had started legal action against the decision on April 14 by German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner to ban cultivation and sale of Monanto's MON 810 GMO maize which stopped it being sown for this year's harvest.
Monsanto hoped a court decision would be available by mid-May which would permit the maize to be sown for this year's harvest, a Monsanto spokesman said.
An application for an urgent hearing had been made in a German district court. German maize is planted in April and May.The company would contest the ban because it believed the decision damaged its legal rights as the European Union had approved the maize as safe, he said.
Aigner had said she decided to issue the ban as information showed there was a justifiable reason to believe GMO maize presented a danger to the environment.
Such decisions must be based on new scientific information, the Monsanto spokesman said.
"The explanation that we received from the BVL (German federal food safety agency) last Friday contains no new scientific findings and the study that the BVL puts forward has already been examined by the European Food Safety Authority and other agencies," he said.
The EFSA is the EU risk assessment agency for food and animal feed safety.
A spokesperson for Germany's Agriculture Ministry said: "We have taken note of this lawsuit, which is not a surprise." The ministry would not make detailed comment on legal cases.
The ban put Germany alongside France, Austria, Hungary, Greece and Luxembourg, which also banned MON 810 maize despite its approval by the EU as safe for commercial use in the bloc.
The EU Commission, the bloc's executive arm, has tried without success to get the bans in other countries lifted.
German farmers have registered intentions to cultivate some 3,300 hectares of maize for the 2009 harvest, up from 3,100 hectares in 2008.
But the total is an insignificant part of Germany's annual maize crop of around 1.8 to 2.0 million hectares. (Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Peter Blackburn)
2.German Minister Pushed to Ban GM Potatoes, Suedddeutsche Says Suedddeutsche
By Jeremy van Loon
Bloomberg, April 22 2009
German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner is under pressure from her Christian Social Union party to ban planting of genetically modified potatoes, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, citing unidentified people.
A ban would put Aigner and the CSU in conflict with Chancellor Angela Merkel, who heads the Christian Democratic Union, and Annette Schavan, the country’s research minister, the newspaper said. Both Merkel and Schavan favor allowing planting genetically modified potatoes.
Earlier this month, Aigner outlawed the planting of a strain of corn made by Monsanto Co., joining a widening European ban on GM crops that threatens to trigger U.S. trade retaliation.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy van Loon in Berlin at email@example.com