April 15, 2016
A Top Court Strikes Down French MON810 Ban – for Fourth Time (EN/FR)

You might think the first three high court rejections would send a clear enough message to the French government that it can’t just ban things on a whim. Think again. Although Monsanto wasn’t even selling the product in the country and had no intention to do so, the government in March 2014 tried a fourth time to ban Monsanto’s MON810 genetically modified (GM), insect-resistant maize on dubious scientific grounds. Now France’s top administrative court has struck the ban down–again–for being scientifically baseless.

On August 1st, 2013 and November 28th, 2011, the Conseil d’Etat had already found that the French government’s 2008 and 2011 bans on MON810 cultivation were illegal. Furthermore, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Sept 8th, 2011 found the French ban on the cultivation of MON810 maize illegal.

According to a Reuters report today: “The court ruled on Friday that the decree…did not demonstrate serious health or environmental risks, as was required by European Union rules in order to withdraw a genetically modified crop already approved at EU level.”

We are pleased as this new decision reaffirms the safety of agriculture biotechnology as an enabling tool for farmers needing to feed a growing population. The court victory is purely symbolic, however, since the EU has since passed new rules allowing individual governments to set rules on the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops within their borders. In fact, Monsanto and other companies selling GM seeds in Europe have voluntarily abstained from selling them in France and other countries that oppose them. Practically speaking, the court decision is therefore a non-event both for Monsanto and for French agriculture .

Nevertheless, Monsanto welcomes the French court decision in that it underlines the necessity of a scientific basis for banning things. That’s a welcome return to common sense.

Monsanto will continue to focus on our existing conventional seeds business in France, and this verdict does not change our current decision not to market GM seeds in France.

For previous commentary on this topic see:


La décision du Conseil d’Etat communiquée ce jour est une bonne chose dans le sens où elle s’appuie sur des éléments scientifiques. C’est un retour au bon sens.

Nous souhaitons préciser que nous ne sommes pas à l’origine de cette décision car ce recours avait été formé par des organisations professionnelles et des agriculteurs.

Concrètement, cette décision ne change rien dans les faits : d’une part la législation a évolué entretemps, et d’autre part Monsanto maintient sa position, à savoir de ne pas commercialiser d’OGM en France. Nous estimons en effet que les conditions requises à savoir : contexte politique neutre, réelle évaluation scientifique du risque, et demande des agriculteurs ; ne sont aujourd’hui pas réunies en France hormis la demande des agriculteurs.

Dès lors, cette décision est un non-événement pour l’agriculture française et pour notre entreprise. Nous saluons néanmoins la décision du Conseil d’Etat qui s’est appuyé sur une évaluation strictement scientifique.

Voir aussi:


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