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French Monsanto subsidiary found guilty of GMO contamination

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InfoGM press release
14 December 2006.

Carcassone, France -- In a judgment issued on 13 December, the Correctional Tribunal of Carcassone sentenced the directors of Monsanto subsidiary Asgrow, Serge Reymond and Jean-Bernard Bonastre, to a € 15,000 fine for the placing on the market of non-authorised GMOs.

Tests carried out by France's General Directorate for Fair Trading, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control detected the presence of unauthorised GMOs in bags of seeds imported by Asgrow on 13 April 2000. The follow-up investigation proved the company's executives knew about the contamination in their products since at least December 1999.

The defendants' principal line of defence rested on the fact that there would not be a zero contamination threshold, and that a threshold for "adventitious" contamination would be allowed. But the judge ruled that "a zero contamination threshold is required, beyond which a prior authorisation is mandatory".

The France Nature Environment federation celebrates this exeplary verdict which guarantees the protection of the common good and food consumers' freedom of choice. The organisation notes, however, that even the agribusiness seed companies no longer hide that fact that zero contamination is a thing of the past, and is worried that the lack of responsible policy-making by the public authorites can only encourage such problems.

Alice Terrasse, tel + 33 688 76 94 56.
Michael O'Callaghan

Little Alders
Knockrath, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow
tel: + 353 404 43 885
fax: + 353 404 43 887
mobile: + 353 87 799 4761

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