The French National Assembly Tuesday adopted a law that bans cultivation of genetically modified maize, according to documents posted on the Assembly website.
The new law follows a March decision by the country's agriculture ministry to halt planting of Monsanto's MON810 maize, the only GM variety currently approved for cultivation in the EU, Reuters reported.
Reuters' report adds that the law adopted by the Assembly is similar to a law the Senate, upper house, dismissed in February when it was deemed unconstitutional.
Jean-Marie Le Guen, the minister in charge of relations with parliament, told the National Assembly that the bill strengthens the decree passed last March by "preventing the immediate cultivation of GMO and extending their reach to all transgenic maize varieties," Reuters reported.
If farmers are found non-compliant, the law gives the government authority to destroy the crops in question, the bill text said.
French farmers and seed firms have already challenged such bans in the country's top administrative court, which struck down similar measures in 2011 and 2013, saying there was insufficient justification, EU's AgriGate says. Meanwhile, the European Commission is considering an opt-out measure that would allow individual countries to ban GM crops.
The Ag Ministry's ban and subsequent action by the National Assembly was likely timed to get ahead of France's typical planting season, which begins in late March, Reuters said.