European court sides with Italian farmer pushing GM crops

BRUSSELS — The European Union court ruled Wednesday in favor of an Italian activist farmer who has defied his nation's laws by planting genetically modified corn.

Italy has prosecuted Giorgio Fidenato for cultivating the corn on his land, citing concerns the crops could endanger human health.

But the European Court of Justice ruled Wednesday that a member state such as Italy does not have the right to ban GM crops given that there is no scientific reason for doing so. It noted the European Commission in 1998 authorized the use of the specific maize seeds Fidenato planted, finding "no reason to believe that that product would have any adverse effects on human health or the environment."

Fidenato, whose fields lie in Pordenone, northeastern Italy, became persuaded of the benefits of genetically altered crops during a visit to the United States in the 1990s, seeing that they require fewer chemicals than traditional crops and produce higher yields and profits.

But he has faced huge opposition in Italy, where many are fearful that genetically altered foods are less natural than traditional crops and could be dangerous. He has faced both fines from the government and the wrath of anti-GM activists who have destroyed his crops.

The current case dates to 2013, when Italy asked the European Commission to adopt emergency measures prohibiting the planting of the seeds, which are produced by U.S. company Monsanto, on the basis of Italian scientific studies.

But the Commission disputed the Italian studies, citing a scientific opinion by the European Food Safety Authority that there was "no new science-based evidence" that the seeds could be dangerous.

The Italian government nonetheless went ahead with a decree prohibiting the cultivation of the corn, and prosecuted Fidenato and other farmers who planted their fields with the corn in defiance.

After the ruling Fidenato expressed satisfaction with the decision, saying he and the other farmers involved in the suit finally feel as if "justice is on our side."

Related News

California farm region plagued by dirty air looks to Trump

Jul 20, 2017

Officials at the San Joaquin Valley air district say they can't meet some federal standards, so they're seizing upon Donald Trump's election to wage a campaign against enforcement of ever-tightening rules

Director: New Mexico spaceport positioned for next frontier

Aug 13, 2016

New Mexico's Spaceport America has hosted nearly 30 vertical rocket launches and its futurist hangar and runway are ready for tourists as all the infrastructure is in place for the next step in the commercial space race

Q&A: Could the Henrietta Lacks case happen today?

Apr 20, 2017

'Death-defying' cells from cancer patient Henrietta Lacks led to a scientific bonanza

You may also like these

California farm region plagued by dirty air looks to Trump

Jul 20, 2017

Officials at the San Joaquin Valley air district say they can't meet some federal standards, so they're seizing upon Donald Trump's election to wage a campaign against enforcement of ever-tightening rules

Director: New Mexico spaceport positioned for next frontier

Aug 13, 2016

New Mexico's Spaceport America has hosted nearly 30 vertical rocket launches and its futurist hangar and runway are ready for tourists as all the infrastructure is in place for the next step in the commercial space race

Q&A: Could the Henrietta Lacks case happen today?

Apr 20, 2017

'Death-defying' cells from cancer patient Henrietta Lacks led to a scientific bonanza

Search

Recent Discovery will take you to the captivating developments in science, technology, and the universe around us. We deliver to you the latest news, theories, and developments in the world of science.

Contact us: sales@recentdiscovery.com

Trending News

ScienceAgricultural ScienceArchaeologyAstronomy Press