Monsanto to withdraw GMO approval requests from EU

Agriculture giant to keep only request for MON819 strain of corn

Monsanto to withdraw GMO approval requests from EU

Brussels, July 18 - American agricultural industry giant Monsanto is withdrawing all requests - save one - to the European Union to authorize cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), European Commission sources said on Thursday. Monsanto still hopes for approval of the MON819 strain of corn. 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. Italian Agriculture Minister Nunzia De Girolamo's battle against GMOs took a step forward last week after a decree prohibiting the cultivation of MON810 corn in Italy was signed on Friday. The decree was co-signed by 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 at the time.

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