The commercial cultivation area of genetically modified plants increased from 492.8 hectares in 2005 (according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) to 4,500 to 5,000 hectares in 2006 (according to Limagrain Co.). In 2007 GM maize was grown commercially in France on ca. 21,000 hectares. Additional areas of ca 40,000 square metres were approved for scientific trials - mainly involving GM maize, but also poplars, tobacco and wine. More Information: http://bgmo.jrc.ec.europa.eu/deliberate/FR.asp
In 2008, after the "Grenelle de l’Environnement" national debates, France has frozen commercial GMO culture (Mon 810) but maintained experimental crops (upholding the precautionary principle and the safeguard clause).
This moratorium was decided on a report issued in January 2008 by the temporary high committee of biotechnology chaired by Sénateur JF Le Grand. This report was raising food safety and environmental issues. Due to food safety issues raised by the temporary HCB the Direction générale de la Santé submitted the report to the French food safety agency (AFSSA) in February 2008. In February 2009, AFSSA, released a public opinion concerning the Maïze MON 810. The GM Maïze do not present any foreseeable risk for the health.
According to the French ministry of environment, the AFSSA opinion concerns only the sanitary question; do not remove the safeguard clause, decided by the president of the French republic, on environmental issues. “The safeguard clause, which concerns the cultivation in open field of Maize MON 810 is based on serious risks for the environment and not only sanitary risks”.