Greece has been ordered by the European Commission to lift its ban on the planting of GMO maize seeds developed by the American company Monsanto.

The ban was introduced in April last year on the grounds that the plants presented a “health danger”. The EU’s Council of Ministers was subsequently unable to reach a qualified majority either to approve or disapprove the Greek action and Brussels has now stepped in to uphold the plantings, saying Greece did not give the “necessary information” to justify its action.

The decision enraged Greenpeace which said the Commission was “showing its contempt for the majority of EU citizens and 165 regions that say they do not want GMOs.”

Greek farmers are also up in arms – the farm union GESASE is demanding that the country’s agriculture minister appeal against the Commission decision in the European Court of Justice.

The EU’s GMO policy provides for case-by-case authorisation for GMO products which carry safety certificates.