Monsanto Bid To Lift Seed Ban Rejected By German Court

BERLIN (AP) -- A German court on Thursday rejected a bid by Monsanto Co. to have a government ban of its genetically engineered MON810 corn suspended.

Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner banned the sale and planting of the corn last month, citing studies that she said show it poses a danger to the environment.

St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto sought to have the ban suspended pending the outcome of a suit seeking its permanent reversal. That suit is still pending.

A court in Braunschweig rejected its petition for a suspension on May 4, and that decision was upheld Thursday by a higher state administrative court in the northern town of Lueneburg.

The court found that there was no evidence German authorities had overstepped their powers.

The genetically engineered seeds produce a toxin to ward off insects. Monsanto says that genetic trait reduces the need for chemical pesticides, but opponents fear the seeds will spread and alter the natural surroundings.

Although the European Union has authorized the corn, Aigner said when she announced her decision that EU members Austria, Hungary, France, Greece and Luxembourg have imposed similar bans.

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