Technology & Science

Germany bans farming of genetically modified corn

Genetically modified corn can no longer be grown commercially in Germany.

Genetically modified corn can no longer be grown commercially in Germany.

German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner announced Tuesday that the government is banning the cultivation of MON 810 maize. That strain of corn is the only genetically modified crop that Germany had allowed to be cultivated in the country.

Aigner said she has concluded the crop poses a danger to the environment.

The change in rules means that MON 810 may not be sown in Germany this upcoming growing season.

Germany had allowed the strain's cultivation since 2005.

MON 810, also known as YieldGuard Corn Borer, is a strain of corn extremely resistant to European and southwestern corn borers, caterpillars that eat and damage corn plants before becoming adult moths.

The strain was developed by Monsanto, a multinational agriculture technology company headquartered in the U.S.

The corn has already been banned by five other European Union countries:

  • France.
  • Austria.
  • Hungary.
  • Luxembourg.
  • Greece.

The European Commission has tried to overturn those bans, but has so far been unsuccessful. The crop has been approved as safe by the European Food Safety Authority, and the commission is concerned about potential trade disputes arising from the bans.

Opponents of genetically modified foods say their long-term effects on human health and the health of the environment have not been studied enough. However, producers of genetically modified crops, such as Monsanto, say the plants are as safe as traditional varieties and promise higher yields at a lower cost to farmers and consumers.

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