Anti-GMO activists rip open bags containing 'MON 810', a variety of genetically modified maize (corn) developed by Monsanto company after entering a Monsanto storehouse on January 23, 2012 in Trebes near Carcassonne, southern France. – AFP Photo

PARIS: France asked the European Commission on Monday to suspend  authorization to plant Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) MON810 corn, the environment ministry said, as the country seeks to keep a ban on GM crops despite losing court rulings.

France banned in 2008 the growing of MON810 corn, the only GM crop approved for planting in the European Union, citing environmental risks.

Its highest court ruled against the ban in November, following a similar decision by the European Court of Justice last September, leading the government to say it would look at all ways to maintain the freeze on GM planting.

The French government’s request to the EU executive was based on “significant risks for the environment” shown in recent scientific studies, the ministry said in a statement.

EU governments are divided over authorising GM crop cultivation, with some countries like France reluctant to allow them in view of public hostility.

Denmark, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, is seeking to revive stalled talks on allowing individual countries to decide on whether to allow GM crops.

The stalemate over GM crops has frustrated crop farmers and biotech companies, most of which have scaled back research on such varieties in Europe.

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