Monday, November 28, 2011
French court annuls ban on growing Monsanto GMO maize
By Sybille de La Hamaide
November 28 2011
PARIS - France’s highest court on Monday overturned France’s ban on growing a strain of genetically modified maize (corn) developed by U.S. biotech firm Monsanto, saying it was not sufficiently justified.
The decision follows a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in early September saying France had based its decision to impose a moratorium on the growing of Monsanto’s insect-resistant MON810 maize on the wrong EU legislation.
Suspension or banning measures ought to be taken at European Union level unless a member state can demonstrate a potentially serious risk to human or animal health or the environment, the courts said.
“Drawing on the consequences of the ECJ’s ruling, the State Council finds that the agriculture ministry could not justify its authority to issue the decrees, failing to give proof of the existence of a particularly high level of risk for the health and the environment,” the highest French court said.
The French agriculture ministry declined to comment.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Approving the GM potato: conflicts of interest, flawed science and fierce lobbying
Corporate Europe Observatory
How EFSA and BASF paved the way for controversial GM crops in the EU
In March 2010, the European Commission approved BASF’s genetically modified Amflora potato for cultivation in the European Union. CEO has investigated the background to this decision, including the controversial scientific advice provided by the European Food Safety Authority on the use of antibiotic resistant marker genes. CEO found that more than half of EFSA’s GMO panel had conflicts of interest, as defined by the OECD. Their advice, which contravened WHO guidelines, contributed to the approval of the GM potato - and is likely to lead to the approval of similar GM crops in the near future.
Monday, November 21, 2011
How much insecticide do Bt plants actually produce?
November 21, 2011
New publication shows inadequacies in risk assessment
A new publication by an international research consortium has revealed several inadequacies in current approaches to risk assessment of genetically engineered plants. The publication deals with methods used for measurement in so-called Bt-plants. These plants produce an insecticidal protein ( a so-called Bt toxin) that originates from soil bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis). One example is maize MON810 which is cultivated in some countries in the EU, many others can be imported and used in food and feed. Now for the first time, joint research involving four laboratories has shown that the results produced by industry and other institutions so far are not reliably reproducible and comparable because they are not determined and validated by standardized methods.
The actual content of these Bt toxins is highly relevant for assessing risks for the environment, and also for preventing resistance in pest insects. Without reliable data, the safety of these genetically engineered plants cannot be properly assessed.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
GE law probe a big surprise
By David Fisher
November 20, 2011
A highly sensitive Government study into how much money can be made by changing genetic engineering laws will be underway immediately after the election.
Environment Minister Nick Smith is facing embarrassment after admitting he knew nothing about the study.
The proposal from his Ministry for the Environment is in sharp contrast to his assurance GE laws will not change.
The study aims to find out how much money can be made by relaxing laws governing GE and the release of foreign organisms into our environment. The ministry has specifically ordered genetically engineered organisms be included in the study.
Details are in a tender document drafted and quietly released by the ministry this month.
The document - obtained by the Herald on Sunday - shows the Treasury, scientists and companies in the industry believe the country’s “economic performance” is suffering because of strict laws around release of new organisms into the environment.
It says there is concern other countries with more relaxed rules will get a competitive advantage.
Officials say there is no current estimate on how much money restrictive laws cost New Zealand and they want to know if a relaxation will make a difference. They say they want to know how much money the country can make if the law is changed.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Genetically modified crops - contamination without representation
By April Scott
November 17, 2011
If Oregon allows GM sugar beets to be deregulated, we may not stand a chance against full federal deregulation of all GM crops
(SALEM, Ore.) - A public hearing is being held in Corvallis, Oregon this Thursday, November 17th to determine if Genetically Modified sugar beets will be deregulated in Oregon.
Meanwhile, the public comment period maybe just a local distraction giving way to full federal deregulation without any representation of organic and conventional crop farmers.
Let us not forget that the U.S House of Representatives, Committee on Agriculture held a formal hearing on Genetically Modified (GM) Alfalfa on Jan 20, 2011.
The hearing corresponded with an open 30-day comment period, designed to provide relevant testimony with regard to deregulation of Genetically Modified Alfalfa.
The democratic process neglected to include a single organic or conventional farming representative. Throughout the two hour hearing various legislators publicly humiliated the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsak for even suggesting any compromise through talks with the organic and conventional communities. They all but ordered him to stand down his conversations with anyone but pro-GM enthusiasts.
Representatives left no seed unturned in honor of their allegiance to biotech crops and complete penetration into all foreign and domestic markets. In fact, Minnesota’s Representative Collin Peterson referred to organic producers and consumers as “our opponents”.