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Italy asks EU to halt GM maize cultivation

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Italian government has asked the European Commission not to renew authorisation of a key genetically-modified corn, according to a letter seen by AFP on Thursday.

The product is US agri-giant Monsanto's MON 810 maize, one of only two GM products cleared to be grown in Europe along with German conglomerate BASF's Amflora potato.

Renewal of the maize licence is currently on hold due to hostility or reticence by a string of European Union states.

Eight countries -- Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg and Poland -- have banned GM crops on their soil.

The Rome request calls on Brussels to "suspend the authorisation of the cultivation of MON 810 maize seeds across all EU countries," citing detailed "environmental risks."

Brussels cleared MON 810 in 1998 for 10 years and Monsanto submitted a request in 2007 for it to be extended but the process has been effectively frozen.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130404/italy-asks-eu-halt-gm-maize-cultivation