The Brazilian Government has announced it will allow the commercial production of genetically-modified seeds for the first time. The Brazilian Agriculture Minister, Marcio Fortes, said the decision would only affect the production of a specific type of soy bean developed by the American biotechnology company Monsanto. Environmental activists say they will challenge the government's decision in court. The genetically-modified bean was approved by the Brazilian national agency for biotechnology and safety in 1988, but its sale was blocked in court by environmental and consumer groups who said there was no proof that the bean was safe for human consumption. The Monsanto bean is widely used in neighbouring Argentina and in the United States.