10.04.2003 |

Green Conference "Co-existence or contamination?"

On May 28th The Greens in the European Parliament, Friends of the Earth, Heinrich Boell Foundation and Euro-Coop will organise a conference at the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss what steps are needed are to ensure co-existence of GM and non-GM crops without contamination and how the European Union should react to this challenge. The conference will debate all these questions with scientists, farmers, food processors, consumer and environmental organisations, representatives from the biotech industry, competent authorities and politicians.More details to follow soon. Contact: registration@foeeurope.org

04.04.2003 |

Kraft CEO calls for stricter GMO rules in the US

Kraft Co-CEO Betsy Holden is calling for stricter rules for planting crops that are bio-engineered to produce pharmaceuticals. The issue is gaining urgency because about 20 companies are splicing corn, rice, soybeans, tobacco and other crops to try to mass-produce medicines. Kraft spokesman Michael Mudd said if the federal government refuses to outlaw pharmaceutical crops or to ban their planting in farm states, Northfield-based Kraft "wants there to be every regulation possible so commingling will not happen."<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/output/business/cst-fin-biopharm04.html">Report in the Chicago Sun</a>

19.03.2003 |

European Parliaments Agricultural Committee votes for strict rules on GM contamination of conventional seeds

On 19 March 2003, the European Parliaments Committee for Agriculture adopted amendments to the present EU seed legislation, which foresee strict minimum standards or the adventitious/ accidental GM contamination of conventional seeds. These minimum standards, if finally accepted by the Plenary and Council of Ministers would prevent the Commission and the Standing Committee for Seeds from adopting thresholds between 0.3% and 0.7 % as proposed by the Commission in July.</p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/downloads/ep_agri_vote_19_03_03.pdf">Short report and amendments</a>

18.03.2003 |

NGOs criticise EU Commissions Round Table on Co-existence

A round table organised by the EU Commission on April 24th, which invites various stakeholders to listen to and comment on presentations of scientists and industry represenatitives on the technical details of cross-pollination in maize and rape seed, has been criticised by leading European NGOs. While an exchange of scientific evidence might be useful, such a meeting does not include all aspects of co-existence and does not match the democratic standards of a fair round table of stakeholders say Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace International, European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Coordination Paysanne Europeenne (CPE) and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). They would only participate in the meeting if a proper stakeholder round table was organised in addition.</p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/downloads/ngos_round_table_18_03_03.pdf">Open letter of NGOs to the Commission</a>

14.03.2003 |

EU Scientific Steering Committee adopts guidance for GMO risk assessment

The SSC (Scientific Steering Committee) adopted an opinion to accompany the "Guidance document for the risk assessment of genetically modified plants and derived food and feed". This document will guide industry in submitting applications for product approval in the field of GM plants and derived products. It will also be a useful guide for risk assessors in their safety evaluations. It was prepared by a Joint Working Group on Novel Foods and GMOs composed of members of the Scientific Committees for Plants, Food and Animal Nutrition.</p><p><a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/ssc/out328_en.pdf">Opinion of the Steering Committee</a></p><p><a href="http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/ssc/out327_en.pdf">Guidance document</a>

14.03.2003 |

GMOs in the European Parliament and Institutions: What happens when?

Attached is a fully referenced overview "for specialists" on the status of all pending European legislation regarding genetically modified organisms (deliberate release, novel food and feed, labelling, traceability, Biosafety Protocol, Seed legislation etc.) with dates of their reading in the European Parliament and other institutions.</p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/downloads/ep_gmo_lex_overview.pdf">EP Status report of pending GM relevant EU legislation</a>

13.03.2003 |

European Parliament to vote on GMO Seed Contamination

The European Parliaments Agricultural Committee will vote on March 18th on a report regarding the European Seed Legislation, to which the Commission had proposed a technical change regarding the finance of certain testing procedures. Using the opportunity the Parliaments raporteur Danielle Auroi introduced 7 amendments addressing the contamination of non-GMO seeds with GMOs. If the Agricultural Committee adopts these amendments the Parliament would have a direct legal opportunity to influence Commission proposals on Seed contamination. The Commission had so far proposed GMO contamination tresholds between 0,3 and 0,7 percent (see Save our Seeds) using a procedure, which would circumvene the Parliaments co-decision.</p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/downloads/ep_seeds_memo_10_03_03.pdf">Memo explaining the procedure and amendments and how to promote them</a></p><p><a href="http://www.europarl.eu.int/meetdocs/committees/agri/20030318/488130en.pdf">Report and amendments to be voted by Agricultural Committee 18th March</a></p><p><a href="http://www.europarl.eu.int/committees/agri_home.htm">List of members of the Agricultural Committee</a>

06.03.2003 |

EU Commission announces guidelines on co-existence

After discussion of a paper presented by Agricultural Commissioner Franz Fischler (see below) the European Commission today issued a statement, which announces guidelines on this issue to be presented soon. It excludes the possibility that member states could establish GMO free zones, insists that co-existence measures would only deal with the economic consequences of potential contamination of non-GMO seeds with GMOs and questions whether additional liability measures are needed. Reactions of environmental and agricultural organisations were critical about this approach.</p><p><a href="http://europa.eu.int/rapid/cgi/rapcgi.ksh?p_action.gettxt=gt&doc=IP/03/314-0- RAPID&lg=EN&display=">Commission press release on co-existence</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/downloads/Communication_Fischler_02_2003.pdf">Fischlers Communication on co-existence (pdf)</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/downloads/Communication_Fischler_02_2003.rtf">Fischlers Communication on co-existence (rtf)</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/downloads/reuters_05_03_03.pdf">Wires on coexistence</a></p><p><a href="http://ens-news.com/ens/mar2003/2003-03-07-04.asp">Environmental News Service</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/downloads/copa_pe_05_03_03.pdf">Press Release of Copa Cogeca</a>

04.03.2003 |

Environment Ministers call for stringent co-existence measures

The council of the EUs environment ministers today discussed the approval of new GMO varieties and co-existence between GM and non GM crops. Regarding new approvals the ministers were ensured that no approvals would be granted before the end of this year. Regarding co-existence a majority of ministers insisted that legaly binding regulations on EU level were needed and that non-GMO farmers needed to be protected.</p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/downloads/env_council_04_03_03.pdf">unoffical report from the Council meeting</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/downloads/french_pe_04_03_03.pdf">Press Release of the French Minister for the Environment</a>

03.03.2003 |

Fischler presents co-existence communication to Commission and Council

A communication of EU agricultural Commissioner Franz Fischler "regarding the Co-existence of genetically modified, conventional and organic crops" will be discussed in the EU Commission on Wednesday 5th of March and probably also at the Council of Environment Ministers tomorrow. The communication, which has be leaked today, describes the problem as concerning exclusively "the economic consequences of adventitious presence of genetically modified (GM) crops in non-GM crops" and proposes that "the burden of applying measures to deal with co-existence should fall on the economic operators (farmers, seed suppliers, etc.) who intend to gain a benefit from the specific cultivation model they have chosen." It also reiterates the Commissions proposal for contamination thresholds in seeds of 0,3 to 0,7%. Weighting different options the paper concludes that "the most efficient and cost-effective measures for ensuring co-existence are likely to be different from one Member State to another and from one region to another; makes an approach based on subsidiarity appear to be most suitable." It also states that "for organic farming the situation still has to be clarified". Environmental groups in Brussels criticised Fischlers suggestions for putting the burdon of costs and measures on those who wish to stay GMO free and demanded hard legislation on the issue.</p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/downloads/Communication_Fischler_02_2003.pdf">Fischlers Communication on co-existence</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/downloads/enviro_pe_03_03_03.pdf">Joint press release of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and EEB</a></p><p><a href="http://www.zs-l.de/gmo/downloads/greens_03_03_03.pdf">Background briefing on the issue from European Parliaments Green group</a></p><p><a href="http://www.euractiv.com/cgi-bin/cgint.exe/3503602-951?targ=1&204&OIDN=1504844&-home=home">Coverage - EurActive: EU Heading for fierce debate on genetic contamination</a>

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