Rome

Decree against GMO corn signed by ministers

First step in safeguarding biodiversity, De Girolamo says

Decree against GMO corn signed by ministers

Rome, July 12 - Italian Agriculture Minister Nunzia De Girolamo's battle against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) took a step forward on Friday after a decree prohibiting the cultivation of MON810 corn in Italy was signed on Friday. The decree was signed together with Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin and Environment Minister Andrea Orlando. "Today's decree is only the first step, the most urgent, of a series of further initiatives with which will define a new framework for the cultivation of GMOs in our country," Girolamo said. "It is a measure that protects our specific (biodiversity), which safeguards Italy from homogenous products...we need to focus on quality," De Girolamo said. The GMO issue is particularly explosive in Italy. As the second-largest producer of organic crops in Europe and the fourth largest in the world, there is widespread fear of the potential damage resulting from accidental GMO contamination. Italian farmers association Coldiretti said in June that nearly eight out of 10, or 76%, of Italians were against GMOs - 14% more compared to a survey from last year. "Agricultural entrepreneurs say no and surveys show opposition (to GMOs). If we start growing homogenous produce we lose what makes us characteristic and will this greatly damage our agricultural sector," De Girolamo said last week.

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