France Bans GMO Corn

On March 15th France’s agriculture ministry banned the sale, use and cultivation of Monsanto’s MON 810 genetically modified (GM) maize, one of two varieties currently authorized by the European Union.

“The sale, use and cultivation of varieties of maize seed from the line of genetically modified maize MON 810 (…) is banned in the country until the adoption, on the one hand, of a final decision, and secondly, of (EU) community action, ” stated a decree issued on Saturday.

The French government asserts that GM crops present environmental risks, and has been seeking to ban GM corn after its highest court twice struck down previous measures.

The decision is intended to prevent any sowing of GM maize by farmers before a draft law is debated on April 10 aimed at prohibiting the planting of GMOs.

Annual sowing of maize in France gets under way in the second half of March.

The current Socialist government, like its conservative predecessor, opposes the growing of GMO crops because of public distrust of the technology and widescale protests from environmentalists.

In February ministers of European affairs allowed the introduction of DuPont’s GM corn seed, the second GM plant to be cultivated in the EU, after Monsanto’s MON810, and the second approval of a GMO in the EU since 1999. DuPont’s GM corn gained approval despite 19 out of 28 EU countries voting against it.

Revenues for Monsanto in 2013 totaled $14.86 billion, of which 44.4% were generated from the sales of Corn Seed and Traits. Gross profits from sales of Corn Seed and Traits made up 51.3% of the company’s total gross profits — $7.65 billion – in FY13.

39 thoughts on “France Bans GMO Corn”

    1. Which nanny state? The one that has fostered the development of Monsanto into a transnational corporate behemoth? Or the one that is seeking to rein it in?

      1. Isn’t this the inherent contradiction of libertarianism? If you DON’T regulate, you get these transnational corporate behemoths riding roughshod over everything you hold dear.

        1. Quite the opposite, dino. We had a largely libertarian system in this country until Lincoln declared war on the Southern states, and there were no vast corporations. I can’t think of any other examples, outside of the Indian tribes; they had no vast corporations, either.

          The rise of the corporations is a direct parallel to the consolidation of the federal government. It is rent-seeking that produces such entities, as the aftermath of that horrible war demonstrates perfectly. When the government has the power to favor one group over another, that group will grow more powerful. That is, it is the state that enables monopolies to arise.

          So-called “regulation,” in practice, is almost always a way for the favored, established entities to keep out competition. It’s a protection racket, where vast firms use the regulatory bureaucracies to protect their position. That’s the job of the Department of Agriculture (have you ever asked yourself why that department exists?), the Department of Transportation, Education, Labor, and Justice, and all the financial regulatory agencies. It is the reason we talk about the “revolving door”: the state protects the largest companies (and encourages them to move overseas), and those firms reward the bureaucrats when they leave government.

          I have written here before about the amazing tale of the Dulles brothers in the 1950s. Both were corporate lawyers, who believed that the role of the federal government is to make the world safe for the operations of American corporations. Foster ran the State Department, and Allan ran CIA; they coordinated policy, State decreeing what small countries’ governments should be like and CIA making it so, either by setting up fake political parties and bending local politics to the corporations’ desires, or killing truculent leaders.

          That is, the huge multinationals couldn’t exist, would never have arisen, if the federal government had not become so powerful.

          Libertarianism is the only system where there is genuine competition, a true free market, which inherently limits the ability of one entity to grow into a monster–because competition arises. Only by “regulating” can the monopoly keep new challengers from emerging.

          The model traces back to the British East India company. The monstrous international corporations might not be formally chartered by the federal government but de facto that’s the case. There was nothing like it before Lincoln, and would not have been.

        2. Your statement:

          “Libertarianism is the only system where there is genuine competition, a true free market, which inherently limits the ability of one entity to grow into a monster–because competition arises.

          Libertarianism isn’t a “system.” It is a Hobbesian free-for-all which simply insures that those who are most ruthless will be most successful. As for regulation hurting us, perhaps I don’t want my drinking water fluoridated, but I also don’t want fecal coliform in it.

          As for the Department of Agriculture, one useful thing it does is try to catch pests that would spread plant diseases before they wipe out not only crops, but forests.

          I’m far from convinced that Lincoln is to blame for the rise of monopoly capitalism. I am much more inclined to blame the principals themselves: J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and their ilk, as well as the demise of the antitrust laws, although I agree with you on the cynical employment of government regulation to protect their monopolies.

        3. “I’m far from convinced that Lincoln is to blame for the rise of monopoly capitalism. I am much more inclined to blame the principals themselves: J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and their ilk…”

          Note that these men rose in the aftermath of the North’s winning the war. No such phenomena existed prior to the war–because the South was constantly blocking any proposals by Northern interests to have the federal government favor special interests.

          “…as well as the demise of the antitrust laws”

          The antitrust laws were as much a farce as the Federal Reserve was designed to be a “solution” to the power of Wall Street. Eyewash for the rubes. Theodore Roosevelt was a complete fraud, an agent of those monopolists, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

          The entire context you present only came to exist because the status quo ante ceased to exist when the North won the war. The principle tension in America in the decades before Lincoln came to power was Henry Clay’s ridiculously misnamed “American System,” the idea that the Federal government should become, well, what the loss of the War allowed it to become, against the Jeffersonian ideal of decentralized government. The Southern states represented a perpetual blockage, which drove the Clay men absolutely crazy.

          Lincoln was a lawyer/lobbyist for exactly those forces Clay championed (Clay was Lincoln’s hero), which is why they made him president, and why, the moment he won, the Southern states, one by one, left the Union: they could not abide living in a country run by Northeastern monopolists. Which, dino, you can’t abide either. Nor me.

          “Libertarianism isn’t a “system.” It is a Hobbesian free-for-all which simply insures that those who are most ruthless will be most successful.”

          Precisely the opposite. Libertarianism IS a system. It is the system America used all the way up until the end of the war–and none of what you say it produces happened. It only happened when the libertarianism ended, whereupon the monopoly capitalism that Clay’s/Lincoln’s dream-come true rushed in to fill the void. The ENDING of the libertarianism produced an actual Hobbesian free-for-all in this country, almost immediately, and people noticed–and so, as night follows day, a T.R. had to be created to pretend to be a Champion of the People–the federal government that created that Hobbesian nightmare must now rescue us from it. Of course, the system only grew, because it indeed “insured that those who are most ruthless will be most successful.” Look around. The federal government’s relentless centralization of power created a “free-for-all” that is worse now than it was in the Gilded Age (it did not exist under the libertarian state we had before the war).

          So why is it that anyone still believes that the power of the federal government is necessary to rein it in, when every turn of the regulatory screw only, always, makes things worse? How anyone can still believe that the federal government can be a force for good, that it can be perceived as a protector–that it is all that stands between freedom and “a Hobbesian free-for-all”–after all the proof of the last 140 years, is beyond me.

        4. (comment excerpted from a site questioning libertarian fancies)…

          “If Libertarian worked so well, Somalia would be a superstate.

          In reality, it’s a hell hole on earth. ”

          Does that focus on the reality? Think the poster meant
          to point out government regulation is needed to rein in rampant self-interest. When the community compact is broken, nothing succeeds. Citing Somalia may be over the top, but not by much considering Wall Street’s penchant for unchecked greed.

          Why would less regulation be advantageous?

      2. “That’s why you have graduate schools….” says Noam Chomsky, patronizingly, about anyone with an opinion that they don’t have a PhD in. I concur with the caution of the French government but my friend with a Phd in Botany said that GMOs are just great.

      1. Sorry about the other handle. WordPress for some reason did that by default; when I created my website they wouldn’t let me use “Patrick,” so I had to come up with something. Oh, well.

  1. Good for France. Too bad for those of us in the US–I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of the GMOs. We’re basically human guinea pigs for life.

    1. Couldn’t help but notice that the vote in the EU went against GMOs but
      big business interests won out. Wha ‘appened to the democratic process? Fell under the heel of the power reich.(Follow the money.)

  2. The French still have a problem with their food industry. You could be eating at a bistro and consuming frozen industrial food without any note on the menu. This is unregulated. The once great home of Frech cuisine has lost its reputation. At least they got the issue of GMO’s correct.

  3. US Ambassador to France, a business partner to George W. Bush stated back in 2007 that nations who did NOT accept Monsanto’s GMO crops will be ” penalized” Craig Stapleton went as far as to say the nations should be threatened with military-styled trade wars.

    I read this on Nation of change

  4. “Why would less regulation be advantageous?”

    Please, Marilyn. Somalia?

    I try to suppress my reaction to annoyance, really I do. But did you not read my remarks? We WERE a libertarian system, if not for the whole two and a half centuries (I’d argue we were, for most of it), at least since the late 18th century, and none of these horrors existed. Hundreds of years of libertarian bliss; no anarchy of violent savagery. What a slander you so carelessly fling, against our beloved country, and its wonderful history.

    I explained, if not in detail, at least sufficiently, that the regulatory state is the creature of the monopoly capitalists supposedly under its control. It’s a sham. It’s strictly a case of Br’er Rabbit begging not to be thrown into the briar patch. And we are the fools who fall for it.

    There was no need for such “regulation,” back when we were all living under a libertarian system. Because there was no monopoly capitalism.

    And certainly, there was no maniacal anarchy.

    Give me a break. What utter nonsense.

    I won’t repeat myself about the hoax that the federal government who created the problem is not the place to turn to “fix” it, but I will restate my original premise: to say, as dinophile did, that there is an “inherent contradiction of libertarianism,” that “if you DON’T regulate, you get these transnational corporate behemoths riding roughshod over everything you hold dear,” flies in the face of our history. We have only “needed” “regulation” since the lovely libertarian world we enjoyed for centuries was shattered. And, I guess I will have to repeat: the “regulation” has not fixed the problem, at all.

    1. Patrick, you tend to make it sound like the country was a Utopia before Lincoln, but I remember reading “The Jungle” in HS, and thought that it wasn’t bad to have child labor laws and the like, just so certain robber barons might have a disincentive to use people up like tissue. I know that Upton Sinclair wrote a tract novel similar to Uncle Tom’s Cabin…but we do have photographic evidence of the squalor immigrants were subjected to during the late 19th century. It was real. It doesn’t matter if there were a few good slave owners/industrialists, if the people are desperate enough to take a job where death and disease were part of the equation, there was no reason for the unscrupulous owner to not take advantage. Do you think it was OK for children to work in sweatshops? It’s happening now in other countries. Is that OK? I’m sure you are not in favor of exploiting children for profit, but how does a society deal with an ugly reality like child labor without a prohibition enforced by the state?

      1. Yeah, what they said–Susan and Marilyn!

        In the idyllic world before, say, automobiles were invented, there were no traffic laws. Then in Kansas, in around 1901, there were only two automobiles in the whole state, and they had a collision.

        Are traffic laws a bad thing, or are they necessary in our more complex world?

        And Patrick, you never responded to the point about water quality regulation. How would you feel about. fecal coliform in your tap water? But…of course there would be no tap water if there were no municipal governments.

        It appears at least some exceptions must be made to these overarching precepts you pronounce, no?

      2. If you watch Little House on The Prairie or The Waltons (on Hallmark) you may find another example of those child labor laws, but with a very different slant. That was reality in our country.

        My grandparents “exploited” their children for profit I suppose. All 9 kids grew up with chores and later worked in the family store (after school) too. Learning work ethic, responsibility, fiscal knowledge, etc. was not damaging to their growth. It built character and integrity that served them well in life.

        Yet today kids have video games and television instead. They do not learn those things. How is that working for us? Deny them access to cable and they call 911 for the state to enforce their luxury and entertainment rights.

        The mighty have fallen!

      3. It is always important to recognize the assumptions that underlie our arguments.

        Susan, The Jungle was about the 1920s, and the vast corporate interests that had emerged in the food industry. Such conglomerates should never have emerged–and would not have done if the federal government had not grown so powerful, always protecting and encouraging such cancerous growth in the private sector.

        Likewise, you talk about “the squalor immigrants were subjected to during the late 19th century.” Again, this is AFTER America lost Lincoln’s war.

        The assumptions you, dinophile, and Marilyn make all share one thing in common. It is assumed that the federal government should be as big as it became, and that it is the job of a leviathan central government to protect us. I assume the opposite.

        Forgive me if I “make it sound like the country was a Utopia before Lincoln”; I assume that everyone knows that life was quite different before electricity, everywhere in the world, that living standards were completely different. You can’t use the standards we are accustomed to when judging conditions in the past. The utopianism I imply has to do with the libertarian system we enjoyed: almost everyone had no contact with the federal government at all, except mail delivery, throughout their lives. There were essentially no taxes.

        I assume that Jefferson was correct: the government is best which governs least, and that the ideal size of a government is a mile square. The larger and more distant a government is, the more certain it will be corrupt, and evil men will use it to make corrupt deals. America had a radically decentralized form of government before Lincoln, where the states were essentially countries. This was a very, very good thing.

        In such a system, a given state chose to allow one of its cities to poison the water with sewerage, it would be a state that would not be very desirable to live in, and anyone sensible would leave. The state’s reputation would suffer, just as rumors of toxic food in a chain restaurant today spread very quickly; if such a restaurant chain does not act with alacrity to change perceptions, it is soon bankrupt.

        When states must compete for investment, largely on life quality issues, all are likely to improve–especially as technology makes environmental improvements easier to accomplish.

        Why it is assumed that such improvements must be dictated for the whole continent from one city, Washington, is a mystery to me. I certainly don’t assume that. I think that if a state treats its people like dirt, that state will be a pariah, and discontent will rise within it, and the people will force change. This is impossible in the America we have today, because the states are essentially powerless.

        It is my belief that the family farm is the ideal food production system. That it went the way of the dodo is a direct result of the existence of the Department of Agriculture, which is essentially a syndicate for Monsanto and Cargill, CAFOs would never have emerged without the USDA. I buy my food at farmers’ markets, and I can tell you that family farmers treat their animals lovingly, and the quality of the food they produce, every one of them, is high because they love serving the public. Monsanto hates the human race. Monsanto can only exist (just as J.P. Morgan could only exist) because the federal government became as powerful as it did.

        Jefferson’s radical decentralization, in other words, is the solution to all the problems you present. The regulatory state is not.

        1. Patrick, you equate libertarianism with decentralization. These are not the same thing. I don’t recall even seeing that Libertarians deplore monopoly capitalism.

          I do not assume “that it is the job of a leviathan central government to protect us.” I have always believed in decentralization.

          Conditions were certainly not ideal pre-Civil War. Dickens’s novels dealing with capitalists’ exploitation of the working class were written before the American Civil War. He died in 1870.

        2. “I don’t recall even seeing that Libertarians deplore monopoly capitalism.” You must not spend any time at
          You should make it a daily visit; you’ll find that decentralization is the essence of libertarianism.

          “Dickens’s novels dealing with capitalists’ exploitation of the working class were written before the American Civil War.” Dickens, of course, was British, and writing about England. Recall that earlier I said that the mega-corporation takes as its model the British East India Company; ever since Queen Elizabeth, corporate interests in England were chartered by the state. Downton Abbey may not make the point (I don’t know, because I’ve never seen it), but those interests were largely evil, many of them rooted in slavery and opium. It is those interests, after all, that imposed the slave system on America.

          Still, I’ll grant that living conditions in America’s industrializing North treated their employees the same as England did. Certainly, once Lincoln’s railroad baron clients had sufficiently ginned up previously non-existent abolitionist fervor in the North, the South did demographic studies demonstrating that slaves’ lives were far better than those of Northern industrialists’ workers.

          But that’s actually irrelevant. As I said, we can’t judge the past by the standards of the present. The industrializing world was uniformly a hellish place for the lowly worker. The question is, if the decentralized governmental system we had were to be allowed to continue–that is, if Lincoln had backed down and allowed the status quo to continue–how quickly would the Dickensian conditions have been made more humane? Obviously, we can’t know that, but I believe that it would have happened far more quickly, and far more beneficially, than it did under the command and control of the top-down approach that eventuated under the new system.

          But again, there were limits to a corporation’s growth here, as compared with England, because the state was so limited in its power to confer advantages to special interests. Competition, at some point, would have driven employers and housing developers to improve living conditions for workers. This is what libertarians argue, and their argument wins. Your assertion that libertarianism is nothing but another word for anarchy, and therefore that it leads to monopoly capitalism is utterly false. Small, decentralized government that has no power to favor special interests (i.e. libertarianism) produces the opposite result, because in that environment all economic actors are motivated by the desires of consumers. Bad men, in that environment, are forced to do good, if they want to survive in the marketplace, because good men who want to do good will provide goods and services that are attractive. In such a world Upton Sinclair’s nightmare would never eventuate, and Dickens’ would swiftly be undone.

        3. Patrick, I am on your side, honestly, in my heart I am an anarchist. I do have reservations about how no system would go over what with the penchant humans have for exploiting and abusing one another. Government has proven itself to be a thing that makes bad things worse, and it seems to me the only rational response to authority is to deny it. However, the anarchists insist there are rules and it is not a free for all.

          There is a good book called” Forgotten Founders” by Bruce Johansen that documents the interaction between the Iroquois and Ben Franklin and other statesmen of the time. The Iroquois representative “government” was eerily like the old Republic you get dewy eyed about.

          But, anyway, watch this, very amusing:

        4. I thought this post was about GMO corn..shocker that the posters would go off on tangents.

          I sense a SH post upcoming to get the masses back into line.

        5. Wilson
          The subject is the government handing over control of the food supply to a select few elites that do not have the interests of masses in mind.

          It appears you do not actually follow along, just occasionally drop a mindless barb here and there. Perhaps all the poisons that are dumped on us has affected your ability to comprehend.

  5. I’m just living the libertarian dream, coming and going as I please.

    And I’m highly educated, thank you.

  6. Speaking of the highly educated, this professor at RIT, Rochester, NY has documented in his well published paper that climate deniers should be jailed..

    Another highly educated physicist Freeman Dyson declares the computer models are all bunk and accurate field studies must be done to find the truth.

    Which highly educated professional would you choose to actually feel reasonably assured the truth was actually exposed?

    1. That would be interesting fodder if scientists were spilt 50/50, performed all calculations on computer models(. The guy taking cores of ice in Antarctica is not in a cozy computer room) and the scrutiny of peer review. For those of the initiated, peer review is the mechanism by which other scientists repetitive others experiments in order to confirm their validity as a condition of publication. Which is why you don’t see the New England Jounal of Medicne blog posts, at least ones where they cite new scientific evidence. It’s a quaint idea

      1. To Dyson and his acolytes: where do you think the data for the computer models come from? FROM THE FIELD

      1. Thanks for the article Kathy.

        Have you been following Mark Steyn’s delightful (to us, not him) odyssey throughout the American courts, courtesy of Michael Mann? If not, you’re missing out on a great story.

        1. Interesting. Mark Steyn is not too bright for attacking the judge in the midst of a trial. Wonder if they can expose when Global Warming officially became Climate Change. Something tells me this will be settled out of court with all records sealed once again.

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