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Italian government blocks marketing on 4 GM maize varieties

ROME (Reuters) -- Italy's cabinet suspended the marketing of four varieties of genetically modified (GM) maize on Friday, a farm ministry spokeswoman said.

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The cabinet decided to block the maize as a precautionary measure amid concerns over possible health and environmental risks from GM crops, she told Reuters.

"Prime Minister Giuliano Amato blocked the four GM maize varieties as a precautionary step," she said.

The spokeswoman said seven transgenic food products had been reviewed by the government, but she had no further details. She could not identify the four GM maize products blocked by the cabinet.

Last December the Italian government decided to suspend temporarily the use of seven GM food products, including four varieties of transgenic maize, following opinions from the Italian Health Institute and the Health Council.

Those four GM maize products were: maize Bt11, maize Mon 809, maize Mon 810 and maize T25.

The other three food products that were temporarily suspended in December were derived from rapeseed -- rapeseed oil Gt73, rapeseed oil MS1 RS1 and rapeseed oil RF2 MS1.

The center-left government of Prime Minister Amato, which took office in April, opposes the sowing of GM crops in open fields because of health and environmental concerns.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



RELATED STORIES:
Study calls for more regulation, not labeling, of biotech crops
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The good, the bad and the genetically engineered
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