Friday, December 23, 2011
Peru approves law banning GM production for 10 years
Unofficial translation from Spanish
Third World Network Biosafety Information Service
December 23, 2011
Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and Congress have heard the cries of Peruvian farmers and have banned GMOs for ten years.
The effects of GM foods on people who consume them and on their crops have generated enormous controversy. In this light Peru has taken an important step to protect their local food producers, establishing a moratorium on income and production of genetically modified organisms. This law, which was approved on November 4, was published on December 9 in the Official Gazette.
The president of Peru, Ollanta Humala said that it came to this decision after hearing “the cries of agricultural organizations and civil society to take this important step in the defense of our biodiversity.”
Living modified organisms (LMOs) for research are excluded from the norm, including those used as pharmaceuticals and veterinary as governed by specific rules.
Also the LMO or its derivatives for food imported for direct human and animal, or for processing, said the rule would fall in this first group of processed foods such as dairy meal, which have been manufactured using GMOs.
Congressman Jaime Delgado, who was the driver of the rule, said in a statement that the law establishes the moratorium in response to the need to avoid irreparable damage to the country’s biodiversity and to achieve a prior environmental land.
The National Convention of Peruvian Agriculture (Conveagro) also welcomed the enactment of the law and that Humala has taken the decision “without yielding to pressure from powerful groups.” In a statement, Humala said he “heard the cries of agricultural organizations and civil society to take this important step in the defense of our biodiversity.”
The president of Conveagro, Lucila Quintana, said: “Now we have to tap the potential of Peru’s diverse agriculture, food and tourism, as part of a national biosafety work and ensure agricultural production to achieve food security. “
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Anti-GMO crowd reacts to decision
By Jefferson Dodge
December 22, 2011
Activists opposed to genetically engineered foods are not singing the same tune when it comes to reaction to the Boulder County commissioners’ Dec. 20 decision to allow additional genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on taxpayer-funded open space.
On one side, leaders of the GM Know group are alluding to keeping up the fight in terms of voting down open space taxes and bringing in strong anti- GMO commissioners. But on the other side, GMO Free Boulder seems to have been pleased by aspects of the decision and is willing to work with farmers to find solutions.
After the commissioners’ unanimous vote on Tuesday to approve a cropland policy allowing genetically modified sugar beets to be added to the crops grown on county land (GM corn was allowed in 2003), anti-GMO activists said they weren’t surprised by the decision, but they differed on the next steps.
Scott Smith, co-founder of the grassroots group GM Know, told Boulder Weekly that “the Boulder New World Order is genetically modified organics” when asked about the commissioners’ decision to approve a cropland policy that allows for GM corn sugar beets, but no other genetically engineered plants.
“They saw the money to be made on sugar beets, and don’t see the health risks,” he says.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Coalition calls for FDA to halt approval of genetically engineered salmon
Center for Food Safety
December 20, 2011
Discovery of undisclosed infection of salmon eggs calls into question company claims that GE salmon are safe for the environment
Yesterday afternoon a coalition of 11 food safety, environmental, consumer and fisheries organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) calling for a halt to its approval of a genetically engineered (GE) salmon after learning that the company’s – AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. – research site was contaminated with a new strain of Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA), the deadly fish flu that is devastating fish stocks around the world.
“This new information calls into question the reliability of AquaBounty’s data and the validity of its claims that their fish are safe for the environment” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. “The FDA must respond appropriately and conduct their own environmental impact statement that looks at a broad range of environmental risks from these genetically engineered salmon, including the risk of spreading diseases such as ISA and antibiotic use for other diseases.”
AquaBounty has claimed that the company’s process for raising GE fish is safer than traditional aquaculture. However, documents that were revealed last week indicate that their production site was found by Canadian Authorities to have been contaminated in Nov. 2009. This information was hidden from the public and potentially FDA and other Federal agencies consulting on the GE salmon application. ISA is a deadly disease and is classified as a ‘Listed’ disease by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) – alongside diseases such as Anthrax, Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), Foot and mouth disease, rabies, sheep pox, swine fever, avian influenza, West Nile fever, scrapie, fowl cholera, bovine tuberculosis and myxomatosis.
“Infectious Salmon Anaemia threatens wild fisheries around the world and the communities whose livelihood depend on those fish” said Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth US. “ISA infections in Chile cost the industry around two billion dollars. A similar infection in Canada and the U.S. could be the last blow to wild Atlantic salmon populations and bring a collapse in wild salmon fisheries.”
The December 19 letter urged FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to release all health data on AquaBounty’s GE salmon and to suspend any approval actions until all the data is disclosed and the public has an opportunity to review the data. Additionally, the coalition asked the FDA to conduct a full environmental impact statement that includes review of the effect of fish diseases, like ISA, on wild fish populations that might come into contact with the AquaBounty fish. Currently, the FDA has only performed a less comprehensive environmental risk assessment.
This news comes on the heels of a Senate subcommittee hearing held last Thursday on the environmental risks of GE fish, the first hearing of its kind in Congress.
Boulder County agrees to allow some GMOs on public land
By Laura Snider
Boulder Daily Camera
December 20, 2011
The Boulder County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to allow some genetically modified organisms to be grown on county-owned open space land.
All three commissioners agreed that farmers should be allowed to continue to plant corn that has been genetically engineered to resist the herbicide glyphosate or to resist insects. Planting GMO corn was first approved in Boulder County in 2003.
And the commissioners supported the planting of Roundup Ready sugar beets, which also have been modified to resist glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup. But the commissioners said they would be reticent to approve any additional glyphosate-resistant crops that may be developed in the future.
The commissioners said they would consider GMO crops with other traits — such as drought resistance — in the future as they are developed.
“I don’t believe we should ban GMOs, but I do think we need to be very careful and limited in allowing them,” Commissioner Will Toor told the packed hearing room.
Tuesday’s vote ends a contentious public process that has dragged on for nearly three years.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Feds’ GM food proposal compromises food safety, say groups
By Omid Ghoreishi
December 18, 2011
A federal government proposal that would allow low levels of contamination from genetically modified foods from other countries is raising concerns among activist groups.
The proposed policy on “low level presence” (LLP) relates to the unintended presence in low amounts of unapproved genetically modified (GM) material in imported food.
“We think that’s a huge concern from a health safety standpoint. There is no justification for this policy from a public health point of view,” says Lucy Sharrat, coordinator of Ottawa-based Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), which is taking part in a government stakeholder consultation on the policy.
“The government is very clear that this is trade policy, and our position is that this is clearly trade policy that sacrifices food safety,” she says.
The proposal stems from an industry concern that the inevitable presence of traces of GM in imported food that has been approved in one country but not in the country of import could disrupt international trade.