In the wake of last month's Commission decision that paved the way for EU farmers to commercially grow up to 17 different types of GM maize seeds, the agriculture minister Gianni Alemanno had proposed a law strictly regulating the planting of GM crops.
"There is still a lot to know on GMOs and if we show ourselves to be too flexible now, we might one day find ourselves in an ungovernable situation," said the minister, explaining his cautious approach, adding that 12 Italian regions have declared themselves GMO-free.
Provoking a cleavage, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi branded the measure 'illiberal' stating it violated citizens' liberties. Antonio Marzano, minister for industry, backed Berlusconi, stating that "Italy cannot renounce on the development of GMOs". Altero Matteoli, the environment minister has also called for a less rigid decree.
CORDIS writes that in a recent survey, 68 per cent of Italians were found to distrust GM fruits and vegetables.