The Italian agriculture, health and environment ministers signed on Friday an inter-ministerial decree prohibiting the cultivation in the country of the MON 810 corn, a genetically modified maize used around the world.
The ban was motivated by recent studies highlighting the MON 810 corn's "negative effects on biodiversity and not excluding risks for aquatic organisms," a statement from the agriculture minister said.
"It is a measure that protects our specificity and safeguards Italy from standardization. Our agriculture is based on biodiversity and quality," according to Agriculture Minister Nunzia De Girolamo.
Friday's decree, she added, was the first and the most urgent of a number of initiatives to be carried out in the Mediterranean country to "develop a new framework in the field of cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)."
In Italy ministerial ore inter-ministerial decrees are issued in special cases by one or more ministries and have force of law.