Friday, April 15, 2011

Costs of GM crops

Real costs of GM crops concealed
By Friends of the Earth Europe
Press Release
April 15, 2011

Brussels - A study released today by the European Commission has been criticised for downplaying the costs of GMO contamination in the food sector.

Friends of the Earth Europe says the document, which assesses the economic impacts of growing genetically modified (GM) crops, is fundamentally flawed. Estimates of the potential price of GMO contamination cannot be based on current figures when GM crops cover less than 0.1% of Europe’s arable land, the group says.

Friends of the Earth Europe is warning that the real costs of segregating GM from conventional crops is far higher and could push up food prices.

Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said: “The Commission’s analysis fails to account for the true environmental and economic costs of GM crops. With this report Commissioner John Dalli fails once more to protect the environment and the food sector against ongoing GM contamination. The biotech industry must be held accountable for damage caused by contamination – the costs must not be unfairly pushed onto farmers, consumers and taxpayers.”

Previous research by Friends of the Earth Europe has shown the hidden costs of GM crop cultivation that are being unfairly pushed onto the conventional and organic sectors – risking further GM-contamination and increased food prices.

[Read More…]

Thursday, April 14, 2011

EU freedom to ban GM crops

MEPs back national freedom to ban GM crops
EurActiv (http://www.euractiv.com)
April 13, 2011

The European Parliament’s environment committee yesterday (12 April) backed proposals by the EU executive to give member states a choice of whether to ban cultivation of GM crops on their territory, adding environmental impacts to a list of grounds on which restrictions could be imposed.

Background

In July, the European Commission proposed an overhaul of the EU’s policy for approving genetically-modified crops, which would give countries freedom to ban cultivation on their territory, in the hope of drawing a line under years of controversy regarding GMO approvals.

The proposal has drawn widespread criticism from both supporters and opponents of GMOs, who argued that the new system will create legal uncertainty for farmers and agri-businesses and lead to distortions in the internal market.

At present, EU member states are only able to restrict genetically modified (GM) crop cultivation under strict conditions, as authorisation licences are valid across the 27-country bloc in accordance with the principles of the EU’s single market.

After initial heavy criticism of the Commission proposal, the Hungarian EU Presidency said last month that it would be possible to make progress by restricting or prohibiting GMO cultivation in EU countries, or particular regions, for “well-grounded reasons”.

MEPs voted on Tuesday to amend a Commission proposal for an EU regulation that would allow member states to restrict or ban the cultivation on their territory of GM crops, which have been given safety approval at EU level.

The Commission’s initial proposal suggested that member states could restrict or ban the cultivation “on grounds other than those related to the assessment of the adverse effect on health and environment which might arise from the deliberate release or the placing on the market of GMOs”.

But the proposals have sparked a wave of criticism, with stakeholders fearing they could lead to fragmentation of the internal market and legal uncertainty for farmers. Some of the proposals are also deemed incompatible with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

The Commission’s indicative list of grounds upon which member states could restrict or prohibit GMO cultivation includes public morality - such as religious, philosophical and ethical concerns over GM technology - public order and avoiding GM contamination of other products or GM-free schemes.

[Read More…]

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Supermarkets: no clone meat

We won’t sell clone meat say supermarkets after minister sabotages ‘Frankenfoods’ label plans
By Sean Poulter
Daily Mail
March 31, 2011

Supermarkets have pledged to keep meat and milk from clone farm animals and their offspring off their shelves.

The move came after it emerged that the British Government and the European Commission have sabotaged efforts to regulate and label the controversial ‘Frankenfoods’.

The Daily Mail revealed yesterday how EU negotiations designed to draw up a policing regime for clone farming and food had collapsed.

The result is that meat and milk from the offspring of clones could go on to the shelves without any labels in a matter of months.

The Government, led by Caroline Spelman – the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – was in the vanguard of efforts to kill off any attempts at regulation.

Ministers claim that food from clones and their offspring is the same as that from other farm animals and therefore requires no special regulation or labelling.

However, this is completely at odds with public opinion in Britain and Europe, where consumers want to decide for themselves whether to eat this food.

Many also object on ethical and animal welfare grounds.

Yesterday the UK’s major supermarkets said that – regardless of the view of Mrs Spelman and the Government – they will not stock food from clones or their offspring.

[Read More…]

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

EU talks collapse

EU talks over cloned meat collapse
By Alistair Driver
Farmers Guardian
March 29, 2011 |

EU talks on the regulation of food from cloned animals have collapsed again, leaving the issue clouded in doubt.

The EU Parliament and the Council of Ministers had one final chance to reach agreement on updating the Novel Foods Regulation yesterday night (Monday, March 28). The talks failed at around 7am this morning, leaving the status quo in place, where food from cloned animals is subject to a pre-market authorisation.

Parliament wanted a ban on food from cloned animals and their descendents and highlighted negative attitudes towards the technology highlighted in a recent Eurobarometer survey.

MEPs said they were prepared to seek a compromise but said, as a bare minimum there should be a commitment to label all food products from cloned offspring.

The Council and the European Commission agreed that there should be a ban on cloning and that food from these animals should be banned. But they did not want a ban on food derived from the offspring of cloned animals, arguing that such a ban would be impossible to implement.

[Read More…]

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Anti-GM scientist wins probe

Anti-GM scientist wins probe into food safety
By Steve Dube
Western Mail
March 22 2011

A WELSH scientist and anti-GM campaigner has persuaded Euro MPs to call for an investigation into the European Food Safety Authority, Efsa.

Geologist and writer Dr Brian John of GM Free Cymru told the European Parliament’s petitions committee last week that the body that advises the European Commission over whether to approve genetically modified crops and food had a built-in pro-GM bias.

The committee unanimously called for an in-depth investigation into the allegations and for a moratorium in the meantime on further GM approvals.

The decision marked the final step in a campaign by GM Free Cymru that began more than two years ago to alert MEPs to the nature of Efsa’s GMO panel.

Dr John said the panel is entirely composed of scientists from research laboratories of university departments that are studying GM technology.

[Read More…]

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