Wednesday, November 9, 2011

US strong-arms Turkey

US asks Turkey to change GMO regulation
Hürriyet Daily News
November 8, 2011

US authorities have asked Turkey to be more tolerant with its legislation on GMO, a Turkish daily reports. Meanwhile, the Turkish Agriculture Minister denies the claims

U.S. officials have asked for changes to be made to Turkey’s regulation on genetically modified organisms (GMO) exports to Turkish markets, daily Radikal reported yesterday.

The request came in response to a request by Turkish officials, who asked the U.S. to ease customs regulations for importing fresh food to the U.S. market. Turkey’s Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker denied the claim.

“The U.S. officials said that if Turkey wants easier custom procedures for its exports to U.S. market, the country should start dealing with the current GMO regulation, which brings hard penalties,” Radikal reported yesterday. According to the report, officials said the suggestions were made during the Economic Partnership Commission meeting between officials from both countries Oct. 3 in Ankara.

[Read More…]

Friday, November 4, 2011

Peru’s GMO ban

Peru’s Congress approves 10-year GMO ban
November 4, 2011

Peru’s Congress announced Friday it overwhelmingly approved a 10-year moratorium on imports of genetically modified organisms in order to safeguard the country’s biodiversity.

The measure bars GMOs — including seeds, livestock, and fish — from being imported for cultivation or to be raised locally.

Exceptions include the use of GMO products for research purposes in a closed environment, but those will be closely monitored, the legislature’s official news service said.

The bill, approved late Thursday, now goes to President Ollanta Humala to be signed into law. Humala, who has been in power since late July, has repeatedly said he opposes GM programs.

[Read More…]

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

EPO’s reply to accusations

A noisy silence - EPO’s reply to civil society’s accusations
Press Release (Translated from Italian by Emilia Mancini)
November 02, 2011

Last week, in spite of uninterrupted rain, over 300 million protesters gathered in Munich to voice their refusal of EPO’s patent policy. The large crowd included a wide range of environment activists, farmers and development organizations from several European countries.

Just outside the main entrance to the majestic building owned by EPO (European Patent Office), the protesters reported the irregularities found in the latest patents granted on living matter (which represents the most precious common good). Such patents even exceed the rather loose limitations imposed by European laws. In fact, not only do they concern plants and animals reproduced through biotechnological processes, but also those reproduced through ‘essentially biological methods’, which do not need to be patented according to the European Patent Convention or to the Directive 98/44 named ‘Directive for the protection of biotechnological inventions’.

Following an appeal filed against the patent on broccoli (EP1069819), it was decided that such a plant would represent a ‘judicial case’ for EPO and that, based on the decision of the High Court of Appeal (the EPO’s inner court), it should be decided whether patents should also be granted on plants reproduced through conventional methods. The Court’s decision was long awaited and arrived three years later. In December 2010, EPO announced that the patent on broccoli’s reproduction procedure was revoked, whereas the patent for the plant itself was left on a standby status.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

GM ‘ambassadors’

Biotech group bids to recruit high-profile GM ‘ambassadors’
By John Vidal and Hanna Gersmann
October 20, 2011

Leaked documents claim Sir Bob Geldof, Kofi Annan and Lord Patten have shown interest in EuropaBio outreach programme

Europe’s largest and most influential biotech industry group, whose members include Monsanto, Bayer and other GM companies, is recruiting high-profile “ambassadors” to lobby European leaders on GM policy.

Leaked documents from a PR company working for Brussels-based EuropaBio claim to have “had interest” from Sir Bob Geldof; the chancellor of Oxford University and BBC Trust chairman, Lord Patten; former Irish EU commissioner and attorney general David Byrne, and “potentially” the involvement of former UN secretary general Kofi Annan and pro-GM science writer Mark Lynas.

The 10 or more ambassadors will not be paid directly, but the lobbyists have offered to write, research and place articles in their names, arrange interviews and speaking engagements with the Financial Times and other international media, and secure for them what could be lucrative speaking slots at major conferences.

In addition, EuropaBio says it will introduce them to the highest-level European bureaucrats and MEPs in order for them to make the case for GM within EU institutions.

[Read More…]

Thursday, October 13, 2011

GM in wild species

GM cotton genes found in wild species
By María Elena Hurtado
October 13, 2011

SANTIAGO, CHILE - Genetically modified (GM) cotton genes have been found in wild populations for the first time, making it the third plant species — after Brassica and bentgrass — in which transgenes have established in the wild.

The discovery was made in Mexico by six Mexican researchers investigating the flow of genes to wild cotton populations of the species Gossypium hirsutum.

They found transgenes from cotton that had been modified to resist insects, herbicides or antibiotics in just under a quarter of the 270 wild cotton seeds assessed for that purpose. One of the contaminated seeds came from a wild plant located 755 kilometres away from the nearest GM cotton plantation. Others were beyond first-generation hybrids because they carried multiple and different transgenes.

According to the researchers, the GM seeds could have been dispersed by long distance lorry drivers transporting seeds for animal feed or oil extraction; by mild or strong winds; by fresh or salt water; or by birds and animals that had eaten them.

[Read More…]

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