Only one gene-altered crop is being cultivated commercially in Europe: MON 810, a grain modified to protect against a pest known as the European corn borer. It was authorized in 1998 and is cultivated mainly in Spain, with smaller crops in Portugal, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia.
In 2012, it represented only 1.35 percent of the 9.5 million hectares, or 23 million acres, of corn cultivated in the European Union, and 0.23 percent of the 55.1 million hectares of genetically modified corn cultivated worldwide, according to the European Commission.
In 2010, a genetically modified starch potato, known as Amflora, was authorized, but it is not now cultivated within the European Union and its approval was withdrawn after a legal ruling late last year.
Eight countries in the bloc, including Germany, Italy and Poland, have banned the cultivation of MON 810 on their lands. France also had a ban until last August, when it was annulled by the Conseil d’Etat, the nation’s highest court for administrative matters, and there is continuing political pressure in France to try to reinstate it.