Italy tells EU it will opt out of growing GMO crops: statement

ROME (Reuters) - Italy has told the European Commission that it will ban growing crops with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) under a rule that allows European Union countries to opt out of GMO cultivation, a government statement said on Thursday. Italy's Agriculture, Environment and Health ministers wrote to the commission to "request to exclude cultivation of all the GMOs authorised at an EU level from all of Italian territory," the statement said. An EU law approved in March cleared the way for new GMO crops to be approved after years of deadlock. But the law also gave individual countries the right to ban GMO crops even after they have been approved as safe by the European Commission. On Wednesday, Germany sent a similar letter to Brussels, and Bulgaria also said it would opt out of GMO cultivation. (Reporting by Steve Scherer)