Friday, July 20, 2012
GM animals coming soon to Europe despite public distaste
By Mute Schimpf
Public Service Europe
July 20, 2012
There is one thing genetically modified foods always bring to the table - controversy. And there is one thing European Union authorities and biotech companies seem intent on ignoring: the fact that nobody wants GM crops or animals on their plates. Last month, European food authorities took steps to open our markets to genetically modified animals, by publishing guidelines for their introduction. The guidelines, commissioned by the European Commission on behalf of the European Food Safety Authority give biotech companies the capability to seek permission to develop GM animals like salmon, pig, sheep and chicken.
This move by the commission comes even though there is no appetite among consumers for GM milk or meat, and no appetite from food processors or retailers to sell them - and for good reason. Nowhere in the world is any GM animal authorised for food production. Even in the United States, where there is less resistance to GM than in Europe, the planned introduction of the first GM animal - a salmon - caused widespread concern. Environmental, human health and economic problems have been identified with GM salmon.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
EU Commission (temporarily) stops approvals for cultivation of genetically engineered crops
July 18, 2012
Munich/Brussels - Recent investigations reveal that new approvals for the cultivation of genetically engineered crops in Europe in 2012 are unlikely. The Commission returned the dossiers for three maize lines to the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA). MON810, Bt11 and maize 1507 have all been considered safe by EFSA numerous times. In a letter to the EU Commission, EFSA announces a new opinion on maize MON810 till December.
”In our view, this is a first sign that the Commission acknowledges that the present risk assessment for genetically engineered crops must be improved considerably. If EFSA was honest they would admit that there isn’t even any precise knowledge about the content of insecticidal Bt toxin in the plants”, says Christoph Then for Testbiotech „During the last ten years, there have been manifest problems with the independence of EFSA’s GMO experts. Now, opinions that were already finished with are being put to test again. However, there is a reasonable assumption that EFSA’s safety checks will in fact be more critical than in the past.”
In June, the GMO Panel was partly re-established but according to an assessment of Testbiotech, the majority of experts still can be seen as proponents of genetically engineered plants in agriculture.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Expert warns of illegal GM papaya on EU market
June 29, 2012
The food and fruit industries to be vigilant against a banned variety of genetically modified papaya coming into the EU from Thailand, say experts.
The warning comes after a ‘wave’ of genetically modified (GM) papaya was rejected by European Union Border Controls in June.
Richard Werran, Managing Director of Cert ID Europe, noted that Thailand is an important global producer of papaya – with a significant percentage exported primarily to Europe.
“Although genetically modified crops are not permitted in Thailand, there is support for GM technology and it would appear that GM seeds for an EU banned variety of papaya have been illegally distributed to farmers across Thailand,” he suggests.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Syngenta corporation faces criminal charges for covering up livestock deaths from GM corn
By Ethan A. Huff
June 27 2012
Biotechnology giant Syngenta has officially been outed for deliberately hiding data that proves the company’s genetically-modified (GM) Bt 176 corn is directly responsible for killing livestock. Dr. Eva Sirinathsinghji writing for QW Magazine explains that Syngenta is now facing criminal charges for willfully concealing the results of an internal, company-run study on Bt 176 corn from 1996 that was abruptly ended when four cows died after just two days of consuming the “Frankencorn.”
Gottfried Gloeckner, a German farmer from Woelfersheim, originally filed the suit roughly a decade after dozens of his own dairy cows died from exposure to Syngenta’s Bt 176 corn. Gloeckner first began feeding his cattle Bt 176 corn as part of their diet back in 1997 when Syngenta gained government approval to run field trials of the crop on Gloeckner’s property. And by 2000, Bt 176 corn was the only thing Gloeckner was feeding his cows.
As this transition from natural feed to GM feed was taking place, however, Gloeckner noticed that his cows were increasingly developing serious illnesses, many of which resulted in the animals’ rapid death. By 2001, five of Gloeckner’s cows had died, and another seven died by 2002, upon which Gloeckner decided to remove all GMOs from his livestock feed. But most of Gloeckner’s remaining cows ended up suffering intestinal damage, decreased milk production, and other ailments that resulted in their having to be put down as well.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Hungary passes law limiting GMO crops
All About Feed
June 18, 2012
Last week Hungary’s parliament approved unanimously a new regulation that will restrict the genetically modified crops allowed in Hungary, which are currently authorised by the European Union. The ministry of rural development welcomed the law, which maximises chances of the country remaining GMO-free. The new regulations will place a strict limit on genetically modified crops in Hungary which are currently authorised by the European Union, as well as potential future GMOs, the ministry said. The law will enable farmers, local communities, local councils and regions to practice their autonomous rights more effectively while backing grassroots initiatives to establish GMO-free regions. It hands increased powers to controlling authorities over imports of unlicensed products, and firms up penalties if rules relating to licenced activities are transgressed, it added. The GMO ban will apply to public production but private growers will be allowed to experiment on plots as long as the surrounding environment is properly protected.