18.06.2003 |

Field Testing of Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States

"Our environment is being used as a laboratory for widespreadexperimentation on genetically engineered organisms with profound risksthat, once released, can never be recalled," said Richard Caplan,author of a reprot for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group on GMO field trials in the US.Between 1987 and 2002 US Dep. of Agriculture authorized 15,461 field releases of genetically engineered organisms on 39,660 field test sites .Monsanto submitted the most requests (3,309), or five times the number submitted by the next most active company. Of the top 10 institutions applying to conduct field tests in 1995, seven have now merged into two companies (Monsanto and DuPont). USDA has rejected only 3.5 percent of applications for reasons such as incomplete applications or other minor paperwork errors. The percentage of field tests being conducted with introduced genes considered to be Confidential Business Information has increased nearly every year, from 0 percent in 1987 to more than 69 percent in 2002. The tests include 333 sites of genetically engineered wheat and 344 field test sites of crops engineered to produce pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, or other so-called biopharmaceuticals.</p><p><a href="http://pirg.org/ge/GE.asp?id2=10195&id3=ge&">Summary and download of the report</a></p><p><a href="http://www.agriculture.com/worldwide/IDS/2003-06-18T150438Z_01_N17371067_RTRIDST_0_FOOD-BIOTECH.html">Reuters: USDA lacks data - oversight of biotech crops</a>

18.06.2003 |

GM seeds `spread by human activity'

Seeds may be a bigger danger than pollen in allowing GM crops to escape into the countryside.Seeds can be carried long distances on farm machinery to cross with wild relatives, a French study has found.Seeds can be spread in soil on farm machinerGenes from commercial sugar beet turned up in wild plants growing more than 1.5 kilometres away, according to scientists at Lille University. The study, published in a journal of the Royal Society, comes as a nationwide debate on GM crops takes place in the UK.</p><p><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2998000.stm">BBC report</a></p><p><a href="http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/templates/press/showpresspage.cfm?file=461.txt">Royal Society press release</a></p><p><a href="http://de.news.yahoo.com/030618/295/3hxwo.html">Gensaat wird durch Menschen verteilt</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/news/Arnaud_evidence for gene flow.pdf">Download stduy of Prof. Arnaud:_evidence for gene flow in beta vulgaris</a>

18.06.2003 |

International Biosafety Protocol enters into force September 11

With the State of Palau having been the 50iest country to ratify the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety under the Convention of Biological Diversity the international agreement, which regulates transboundary movement of genetically modified organisms - or "Living modified organisms" as the Protocol calls them - will enter into force 3 months later. Its entry into force will coincide with the next ministerial meeting of the WTO in Cancun, where GMOs will be one of the most contentious issues. The global Protocol provides inter alia that member states can prohibit the import of GMOs on the basis of the precautionary principle. Whether WTO regulations would supersede the Protocols provisions or not was one of the hardest battles fought between the US lead "Miami group" and developing countries supported by the EU. The US has not signed the Protocol, and not even its umbrella Convention on Biological Diversity.</p><p><a href="http://www.biodiv.org/doc/press/pr-2003-06-13-bs-02-en.pdf">Press release of the United Nations Environment Programme</a></p><p><a href="http://www.biodiv.org/biosafety/ratification.asp">official web site of the Biosafety Protocol with all details</a></p><p><a href="http://wwwdb.europarl.eu.int/oeil/oeil_ViewDNL.ProcedureView?lang=2&procid=5973">EU implementation legislation of the Protocol</a>

17.06.2003 |

Independent Science Panel warns of GMO use in Agriculture

A panel of 24 international scientists has made "The Case for a GM-free Sustainable World". The scientists criticise inter alia a lack of critical public information, of public accountability in the GM science community, of independent, disinterested scientific assessment of the hazards of GM, partisan attitude of regulatory and other public information bodies and pervasive commercial and political conflicts of interests in both research and development and regulation of GM.</p><p><a href="http://www.indsp.org/gm.php">ISP homepage with full report and executive summary</a>

16.06.2003 |

co-existence meeting in Sweden calls for EU regulations

<a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/news/sweden_16_06_03.pdf">report from stakeholder meeting at Swedish government</a>

15.06.2003 |

Background: The official GM debate in Great Britain

On June 3rd a nationwide debate on the use of GM crops in agriculture has been officially launched by the UK government, which is set to continue throughout June and July and will be concluded by a governments decision whether to go ahead with the commercial planting of GMOs in the UK in September. Civil society organisations have dubbed the debate as a biast exercise of Tony Blair, who they think has long made his decision. So far the discussion has not become a major issue within the UK. The man who kicked off the debate on June 3rd, Environment minister Michael Meacher, appears to be the first victim of the debate. He was sacked by Blair on June 13. Meacher was known for his cautious approach to the issue.Here is a selection of web-sites covering the GM debate in Great Britain:<a href="http://www.gmpublicdebate.org.uk/">GM Nation - official debate site</a></p><p><a href="http://www.strategy.gov.uk/2002/gm/summ.shtml">Blairs cabinet debate site</a></p><p><a href="http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/gm/debate/index.htm">Dep. of Environment, Forestry, Agriculture debate site</a></p><p><a href="http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/gmplants/">The Royal Society debate site</a></p><p><a href="http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/real_food/">Friends of the Earth real food campaign</a></p><p><a href="http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/contentlookup.cfm?ucidparam=20030514113331&MenuPoint=D-I&CFID=142412&CFTOKEN=39743866">Greenpeace debate site</a></p><p><a href="http://www.soilassociation.org/web/sa/saweb.nsf/cfff6730b881e40e80256a6a002a765c/62b3b08dfb6cdaea80256a9500473789!OpenDocument">Soil Association (organic farmers and consumers)</a>

13.06.2003 |

Chirac says not yet ready to accept GMOs

French President Jacques Chirac on Friday said the conditions for his country to accept genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were not yet fulfilled and that each country should be left free to accept or refuse them.</p><p><a href="http://www.agriculture.com/worldwide/IDS/2003-06-13T133529Z_01_L13502341_RTRIDST_0_FOOD-FRANCE-GMOS.html">Reuters report</a>

12.06.2003 |

German Ag minister Künast out of US biotech Expo

Germany`s agriculture minister has pulled out of the upcoming international agriculture ministerial conference in Sacramento, leaving it without a European Union official on the program.The minister`s announcement comes at the same time some U.S. politicians have stepped up criticism of European countries for not embracing genetically engineered food. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman told reporters Wednesday that biotechnology wasn't the only facet of the upcoming conference. But she also made it clear that she'll promote what genetic engineering can do to reduce pesticide use and increase productivity.</p><p><a href="http://www.sacbee.com/content/business/story/6844204p-7794241c.html">The Sacramento Bee: German official out of ag expo</a></p><p><a href="http://www.fas.usda.gov/icd/stconf/conf_main.htm">homepage of the USDA Agricultural Show for developing countries ministers</a></p><p><a href="http://www.foodfirst.org/progs/global/ge/sactoministerial/events.php">"Food First" page on alternative events in Sacramento</a>

11.06.2003 |

Monsanto to collect royalties from illegal GM soybean planting in Brazil

Negotiations of Monsanto with major soybean exporters in Brazil will most likely result in patent fees being collected by the exporters for Monsantos Roundup Ready beans. Planting of these GM crops however is illegal in Brazil. The company claims it has no influence on the smuggling of GM beans even though its main business is the sale of Roundup applied on them.</p><p><a href="http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=2915801">Reuters: Brazil soy exporters to pay '04 GM royalty-Monsanto</a>

10.06.2003 |

Austria, Slovenia, Italy create Europe`s first GMO-free bioregion for growing organic food

Ljubljana - 10 June 2003 Today, the presidents of organic farmers associations from Slovenia: Union of Slovenian Organic Farmers`s Associations (USOFA), Austria: Bio-Ernte Austria from Carinthia and Styria, Italy: APROBIO from Friuli-Venezia Giulia and AVEPROBI from Veneto signed a declaration to create a bioregion dedicated to the growing of organic food. The bioregion should comprise the whole of Slovenia, the Austrian provinces of Carinthia and Styria and the Italian provinces of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Veneto.Agriculture Ministers from Slovenia, Carinthia and Friuli-Venezia Giulia were present at the ceremony and expressed their support to this initiative.</p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/news/gmofree_region_100603.pdf">press release</a>

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