Germany ends ban on Monsanto GMO maize type
HAMBURG (Reuters) - A temporary sales ban on U.S. biotech giant Monsanto Co.'s genetically modified (GMO) MON810 maize was lifted after the company agreed to extra crop monitoring in Germany, German authorities said on Thursday.
Germany had in May this year imposed a temporary ban on commercial sales of MON810 citing concerns about safety of the maize (corn), which is resistant to several types of butterflies which are pests to the grain in Europe.
The German government's consumer protection and food safety agency said in a statement on Thursday the ban had been ended after Monsanto had agreed and submitted an additional monitoring plan for commercial cultivation of the maize in Germany.
A spokesman said the decision had immediate effect.
Monsanto had also agreed to end legal action against the government's decision in May, the spokesman said.
MON810 has already been approved as safe for commercial use by the European Union but several countries including Germany have expressed concern about its safety.
Monsanto's German unit Monsanto Agrar Deutschland said in a statement the agency's decision underlined the safety of the MON810 product.
It said German farmers had planted 2,680 hectares of GMO maize for commercial use in 2007.
A considerable increase was expected for the 2008 crop, said Monsanto Agrar Deutschland chief executive Ursula Luettmer-Ouazane.
(Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Peter Blackburn)