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
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.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Database on the Risks Of Genetically Engineered Crop Plants
December 15, 2011
Munich - Testbiotech is today publishing a database designed to give an overview of the risks associated with genetically engineered plants allowed for marketing in the European Union, or being about to be authorised soon. The current version of the database, called PlantGeneRisk, gives an overview of thirteen genetically engineered crops, four soy plants and nine maize plants. Ten of these plants already have EU authorisation for use, import and usage in food and feed, one of them is also allowed for cultivation. The plants produce insecticides or are tolerant to herbicides, and many also have a combination of both. So far, thirty eight genetically engineered crops have been authorised within the EU for use in food and feed, but no public database is available giving an overview of their risks. In the existing databases provided by state authorities or by institutions which have a close affiliation with industry, the actual risks are mostly marginalized.
“Genetically engineered plants raise similar problems to the finance sector: Everybody is concerned by the problems, but hardly anybody has an overview of the actual risks, says Christoph Then from Testbiotech. “So far, most information comes from industry. By establishing this new database we are offering some much needed counter-expertise.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Dennis Kucinich: Allow Consumers to Make Informed Choices
The State Column
December 05, 2011
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today issued the following statement upon announcing legislation that would require the labeling of all foods that contain or are produced with genetically engineered (GE) material.
“Genetic engineers have dramatically altered the food we consume, disrupting entire ecosystems and contaminating crops with potentially devastating effects on our long-term health. Despite mounting evidence of the irreversible changes caused by genetic modification, the agribusiness and pharmaceutical industries ask us to believe that experimenting with Mother Nature causes no harm. Already there is ample evidence that this kind of manipulation does have an impact on our bodies and on the ecosystem we all depend on. We cannot rely on the Food and Drug Administration or the U.S. Department of Agriculture to protect us from the threat of GE organisms when those same agencies allowed genetically engineered organisms into our food and pharmaceutical supplies without first requiring objective studies to show they were safe.
“Since GE crops were first approved, the concerns about their very real threat to farmers have become widespread and the questions about the safety of eating GE organisms have steadily grown. Meanwhile the industry has resisted objective study of the issue. To this day, biotechnology companies are largely allowed to self-regulate. Enough is enough. The American people are demanding a right to know. My legislation puts the onus on Congress to be responsive to the will of the people. It gives the power to consumers to make an informed choice about the products they consume.
“Big agribusiness fought efforts to inform consumers about the basic truths of their products. GE crops now cover 10% of global farmland. Now, biotechnology companies heralding a false solution to world hunger want to slip onto supermarket shelves a genetically modified salmon engineered to grow to twice the size of a normal salmon. My common sense legislation will finally allow informed consumers to make their own decisions and to vote with their wallets. People have a right to know how their food is made and whether or not it has been genetically modified,” Kucinich said.
H.R. 3553, The Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act, would for the first time, require genetically modified food to be clearly labeled. It would also require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to periodically test products to ensure compliance.
Kucinich introduced The GE Food Right to Know Act as part comprehensive regulatory framework for all Genetically Engineered (GE) plants, animals, bacteria, and other organisms, including fish.