QUOTE: "The ministry strongly opposes the circulation of genetically modified organisms. Our target is to produce quality products, and under no circumstances do modified products qualify as such." - Greece's Deputy Agriculture Minister, Alexandros Kondos
Greece Extends Biotech Ban
The Associated Press, June 26 2007
ATHENS, Greece - Greece on Tuesday extended for two more years a ban on genetically modified maize seed developed by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto.
A decision also expanded the sale-and-cultivation ban from 31 to 51 varieties of the MON810 seed type, Deputy Agriculture Minister Alexandros Kondos said.
"The ministry strongly opposes the circulation of genetically modified organisms," Kondos said.
"Our target is to produce quality products, and under no circumstances do modified products qualify as such."
Despite pressure from the European Union, Greece has implemented and extended bans on the MON810 strain since April 2005. This month, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson warned that member states could invite legal action against the bloc from the World Trade Organization by adopting individual bans on biotech food instead of deciding on common rules.
But Greece insisted its action was well-advised.
"(The new ban) is founded on the same solid scientific and legal basis, but also includes new scientific data and finds," an Agriculture Ministry statement said. "These concern a possible threat to human health, and well as to the beekeeping industry."
It said EU member-states "need to be granted a satisfactory time frame to assess the dangers from growing genetically modified strains."