Germany says no to Monsanto's corn

A protester holds up a placard during a demonstration advocating a ban on the planting of genetically-modified corn in Berlin, Germany.


Kai Ryssdal: The start of the German corn planting season is just days away. And that makes the issue of what farmers there can actually put in the ground somewhat more urgent. This morning the German government banned a particular strain of genetically-modified corn that's manufactured by the U.S. biotechnology firm Monsanto. The technical name is MON810. But more to the point, Monsanto's sales pitch is that it's resistant to something called the corn-borer caterpillar. The German government prefers to put it this way: That the product presents a danger to the environment. From the Marketplace European Desk in London, Stephen Beard reports.

STEPHEN BEARD: MON810 is Monsanto's foot in the door in Europe. It's the only GM crop the EU has approved for commercial use. But Germany has now joined France, Greece, Austria and Hungary and banned it. Anti-GM campaigners across the continent are rejoicing. Clare Oxborrow of Friends of the Earth in Britain.

CLARE OXBORROW: Well, this is fantastic news. This is part of a growing political movement now against GMOs, which is now following the public opposition that there's always been in Europe.

But GM supporters claim that Europe is still divided over the issue. Professor Vivian Moses of a British group called Crop Gen:

VIVIAN MOSES: There are countries -- Spain and the Czech Republic -- which are growing these materials already. And Slovakia and Portugal. So it's not as if Europe is unitary in its rejection.


Monsanto said today that it was disappointed by the German decision, which it described as "unscientific." But spokesman Lee Quarles denied that the company would suffer any financial hardship as a result of the German ban.

LEE QUARLES: Europe actually doesn't factor into our financial models simply because of the very action that was taken today. It's a highly unpredictable, uncertain marketplace that does not appear to have a functioning regulatory system.

Nevertheless, the anti-GM campaigners are still rejoicing. They claim that European resistance to GM crops is growing and that is sending a signal around the world warning about the potential dangers of this technology.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

Log in to post7 Comments


1. I don’t appreciate your patronizing tone.

2. 'Franken Food' You have managed to role three logical fallacies into one phrase:
Appeal to emotion, appeal to a slogan, and an appeal to fear.

Unfortunately, none of them constitute proof.

Actually they are both 'accelerated evolution' as you put it.



1. The Y.C. Chuang, et all article :

Abnormal Foraging Behavior Induced by Sublethal Dosage of Imidacloprid in the Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae)


Has nothing to do with BT corn. In fact it points to a decrease in foraging behavior in male bees due to insecticides. (An argument for genetically modified corn – the decrease in the use of pesticides. Although this may not always be the case, but I am still researching this.) Is there another article that I am missing?

2. The German case and those of countries not using modified crops are experiencing the same decline in bee population. Therefore, I can only conclude that genetically modified crops do not cause Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). The scientific articles I have located all seem to support this conclusion. The one published in last months Scientific American points to a complex problem with multiple causes.

Please tell me that your comment is more than just a baseless smear campaign.



Loved this info. How do we get it in front of the "American People" who are sleeping?? They, the Reps in Congress, on HR875 this coming week Mon sessions start!
My Hat off to those European Countries!!

TY again,

Oh Karl. There's a huge difference between hybridizing corn through selective breeding and fiddling with its DNA (like adding DNA from other species!) in a lab. One is accelerated evolution, the other is Franken Food.

Good for Germany, and the rest. I saw a documentary where a GM manufacturer was suing a small farmer b/c the GM corn had blown on to the farmers property. It should be the other way around!

Karl, there is strong evidence otherwise. From the death of polinators (bees,etc) to altering native species, the evidence is there. Y.C. Chuang and associates/journal of Economic Entomology just finished a study 2008 showing the effects of BT corn on Polinators. Just google health and bt corn or bees and bt corn and start reading.

What potential danger?

There is no scientific data to support their claims.

The corn you eat doesn't grow in the wild. It was genetically modified along with ever other domesticated animal and crop over generations.

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