French environmentalists warn of genetically modified crops

July 30, 2013 at 4:33 PM

PARIS, July 30 (UPI) -- French environmentalists say genetically modified organisms have been smuggled into France in violation of laws regarding genetically modified crops.

An open letter from 10 environmental groups to Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll warned herbicide-tolerant rapeseed and sunflowers have entered France, Radio France Internationale reported Tuesday.

"Just like most GMOs [genetically modified organisms], these plants have been genetically manipulated to be able to survive when treated with herbicides," the letter states.

Putting "plants that can survive with herbicides on them is not good news for the environment," Olivier Belval of the beekeepers' organization Union Nationale de L'Apiculture Française said.

The open letter called on Le Foll to oppose development of herbicide-tolerant crops.

Cultivation of genetically modified crops has been strictly controlled in France since 2008, Radio France Internationale noted.

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