BIO STATEMENT: Biotechnology Industry Calls on French President to Reverse Illegal Ban on Biotech Crops

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 26, 2007--Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Greenwood today issued the following statement regarding French President Nicolas Sarkozy's announced plan to temporarily halt commercial plantings of biotech crops in France:

"The biotechnology industry was very disappointed to learn that French President Nicolas Sarkozy plans to suspend the commercial plantings of biotech crops in France. Not only is this ban a violation of European Union and international trade laws, it greatly infringes on the right of French farmers to have equal access and freedom to choose what crops are best for their farming operations. Worldwide, more than 10.3 million farmers grow biotech crops because of their increased and enhanced yields, and the proven environmental and socioeconomic benefits they provide.

"BIO and its members regret that this policy decision is so short-sighted. We urge the U.S. government to object to this policy at the highest levels. It is especially troubling that such a decision has been made to ban biotech crops in France at a time when France will soon assume the Presidency of the European Union. This illegal moratorium will negatively impact French farmers, consumers, and the environment.

"BIO and its members call on President Sarkozy to support a science-based regulatory process that ensures farmers of every country have access to the crops that best fulfill the business decisions they must make. Scientific organizations such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Food Safety Authority, and the French Food Agency, Agence France de Securite Sanitaire des Aliments (AFSSA) have all concluded that biotech crops and foods are safe. There is no scientific evidence present to support the French moratorium on biotech crops.

"In addition, this decision is at clear odds with the environmental initiatives the President is introducing -- it is obvious that in choosing to ban biotech crops, he has failed to recognize the fact that agricultural biotechnology can significantly reduce agriculture's environmental footprint, and for over a decade has enabled farmers to be better stewards of the land. Biotech crops have been proven to reduce pesticide applications, decrease run-off, lessen soil compaction and erosion, and reduce fossil fuel use. By banning biotech crops, it is apparent that President Sarkozy did not take into consideration the conclusions of a 2004 AFSSA report which found the benefits from using pest-resistant biotech crops, such as Bt corn and cotton, significant in protecting the environment and consumers."

About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the annual BIO International Convention, the global event for biotechnology. www.bio.org

Upcoming BIO Events


-- Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy November 14-16, 2007 Honolulu, Hawaii

-- BIO CEO & Investor Conference February 11-13, 2008 New York, NY

-- BIO International Convention June 17-20, 2008 San Diego, CA *T