NOTE: At the end of October the French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that three former Environment ministers were calling for a revision of the market authorizations for Roundup and 's NK603 maize.
That number now stands at five and the support for a review of GM approvals appears to be growing.
NKM (alias Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet) and Chantal Jouanno rally to the call of three former Environment Ministers
AFP, 9 November 2012
*Corinne Lepage, Dominique Voynet, and Segolene Royal have launched an appeal calling for a revision of GM approvals...
After the controversy ignited by the Seralini study about the possible toxicity of a GM maize, five ex-Ministers or Secretaries of State for the Environment have dispensed with the traditional left-right divide in order to unite in defence of the precautionary principle.
"We're not going to succumb to pressures from industry," claimed Chantal Jouanno, Secretary of State in the Fillon government from (2009-2010). The centrist senator (UDI) who has rallied to the call made at the end of October by three ex-Environment ministers, Segolene Royal (PS), Dominique Voynet (EELV), and Corinne Lepage (Cap 21), which was rapidly supported by former UMP minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.
"The party political approach is irrelevant"
Coming from the left, the right, and the centre, the five women have asked in their joint appeal for the studies allowing the approval of NK603 – the Monsanto GM maize studied by the biologist Gilles-Eric Seralini - to be reappraised, as is possible under national and [European] community law.
The study published on 19 September 2012 by the researcher in question [i.e. Seralini], exposed the possible toxicity of this maize genetically modified to tolerate Roundup, a herbicide also marketed by the American company [Monsanto]. Two French health agencies have since refuted the alarming conclusions, while recommending research to evaluate the long term effects of consuming GMOs, which is almost non-existent up to this point.
The three initiators of the call invoke their "attachment to the precautionary principle" which they say "should take precedence over the presumption of non-toxicity for these products." This call "must be heard" according to NKM, even though she does not share the political views of her co-signatories. "On a subject that affects health, the party political approach is irrelevant," confirms Chantal Jouanno.
"At a Party level, there is no common outlook on this question"
In political terms, the GM debate is not a simple question of left versus right. When she was Secretary of State for the Environment, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, brought down the wrath of her side in 2008 during a parliamentary debate on GMOs. She had to apologise to her UMP party leader Jean-François Cope, and her senior minister Jean-Louis Borloo, after she had hinted to the press that they did not fully support her. In the case of the Seralini study, UMP deputy Bernard Accoyer was the most virulent at the hearing accorded to the researcher by three parliamentary committies in the National Assembly at the beginning of October. But another UMP senator, Francois Grosdidier, helped finance the [Seralini] study by drawing 100,000 euros from the parliamentary reserve in 2006, when he was a deputy.
"The emergence of an awareness of GMOs in France was less a question of parties than of personalities, often in a minority," explains Benoit Hartmann, spokesman of France Nature Environnement (FNE). "At the party level, either of the left or right, there is no common outlook on this issue, with the exception of the Greens," adding that the "real division is between those who are informed and those who aren't sufficiently informed and who allow themselves to be manipulated."
Without signing up to the call from the  former ministers, the centrist politician Jean-Louis Borloo, who held the Environment portfolio between 2007 and 2010, also reckons that, "having established the [French] moratorium on Monsanto's MON810 [maize] (in February 2008), it is indispensable to reform the terms under which expert advice is obtained."