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French HCB feels sidelined on MON810 issue

The president of the French official biosafety body, the High Council of Biotechnologies (HCB), has written to the Prime Minister expressing the “emotion” of the members of the HCB’s scientific committee at being left out of consultations before a letter was sent to the European Commission in February ( Agrow No 635, p 10). The letter asked the Commission to suspend the authorisation for the cultivation of Monsanto’s genetically modified insect-resistant MON810 maize. The HCB president, Professor Dhainaut, says that the letter cited the scientific committee’s 2009 opinion, but not the one given in 2011. It referred instead to the opinion of the European Food Safety Authority given in December 2011 ( Agrow ibid). Professor Dhainaut has expressed surprise that an expert other than the HCB’s scientific committee was used. France has since placed a temporary ban on the cultivation of MON810 maize (see this issue).

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