Save Our Seeds

Saatgut ist die Grundlage unserer Ernährung. Es steht am Anfang und am Ende eines Pflanzenlebens. Die Vielfalt und freie Zugänglichkeit dieses Menschheitserbes zu erhalten, das von Generation zu Generation weitergegeben wird, ist die Aufgabe von Save Our Seeds.

Foto: Weizenkorn Triticum Karamyschevii Schwamlicum fotografiert von Ursula Schulz-Dornburg im Vavilov Institut zu St.Petersburg

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="">unoffical report from the Council meeting</a></p><p><a href="">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="">Fischlers Communication on co-existence</a></p><p><a href="">Joint press release of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and EEB</a></p><p><a href="">Background briefing on the issue from European Parliaments Green group</a></p><p><a href="">Coverage - EurActive: EU Heading for fierce debate on genetic contamination</a>

01.03.2003 |

EU States Opposing GM Cite Lack of Crop Mix Rules

Feb. 27 - By Jeremy Smith BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A call by several EU states for tighter rules to prevent gene-modified seeds from contaminating other crops may be their next tactic to delay an end to the bloc`s virtual ban on GM food, officials said on Thursday. The European Commission will publish a report next week on how farmers can separate GM and non-GM crops.</p><p><a href="">full story from Reuters</a>

22.02.2003 |

EU Agricultural Ministers discuss co-existence with EU Commissioner Fischler

The Council of Agricultural ministers discussed on Thursday 21st Feb the co-existence of GMO and non-GMO farming. EU Commissioner Fischler annouced a first suggestion on March 5th and a round table to be held on the issue end of April. A first paper of a Steering group on Life Sciences and Biotechnology within the EU Commission presents various options how to deal with contamination of conventional and organic crops with GMOs, but takes a rather economic approach so far. While a majority of member states requested formal legislation on the issue, the Commission rather prefers a lose code of conduct and wants to leave the enforcement to the member states. On March 4th the Council of Environmental Ministers will also discuss the issue.</p><p><a href="">Short report from the Council of Ag Ministers</a></p><p><a href="">Working Paper of the Commissions Steering Group on Co-existence</a>

11.02.2003 |

EU Commission published 13 new GMO applications

The European Commission has published 13 new applications for marketing authorisation of genetically modified organisms since the beginning of this year. Most of them are for import for processing as food and feed, but others are for cultivation of the GMOs as well. All of them are either herbicide tolerant or insect killing varieties including maize, soybeans, rape-seed, beet and potatoes. The Companies Monsanto and Bayer have filed now in a concerted effort all GMO varieties presently marketed in the USA, Argentina and Canada. Whether they will be approved depends upon the reaction of the Member States, which can request further information and also object to the approvals within the next weeks.<b>European citizens can place their comments and objections to the GMOs directly</b> on the EU Commissions website.</p><p><a href=" applications.pdf">Overview and explanation of procedure</a></p><p><a href="">Commission web site with description of GMOs and opportunity to place your comments</a>

28.01.2003 |

EU Agricultural Ministers discussed co-existence of GMO and non GMO farming

Upon the request of the Italian EU agricultural ministers discussed the "coexistence of conventional, organic and biotechnological forms of agriculture". Agricultural Commissioner Fischler announced a round table on the issue to be held in April this year and his intention to subsequently present sustainable solutions on this matter. A majority of member states supported the Italian view that no new authorisation of GM seeds should proceed until the issue of co-existence was resolved.</p><p><a href="">Submission of the Italian delegation</a></p><p><a href="">Provisional minutes on the Council of Agricultural Ministers 28th January</a>

21.01.2003 |

Danish Report finds GMO and non-GMO coexistence feasible for some crops, but difficult

A report from a working group of Danish scientists on the co-existence of genetically modified crops with conventional and organic crops concludes that for maize, beets, potatoes, barley, wheat, oats, triticale, rye, lupine, broad beans and peas coexistence seems feasible, if an extensive list of farming measures was taken. However for "oilseed rape, grass seed, clover seed, and vegetable seed, the problem is so extensive, that further evaluation is required" the scientists write. Additional costs for farmers will vary considerably the group estimates.</p><p><a href="">Summary of the working group report</a></p><p><a href=" ">More information, some in English, available here</a>

14.01.2003 |

Gene flow - so what - Scientific and legal issues

Already 15 years ago when the discussion on effects of the release of genetically modified plants started in Europe, gene flow from genetically modified plants to conventionally bred plants of the same species or to its close relatives was one of the major concerns. However, representatives of the relevant industry usually stated that gene flow would not occur, or if it ever did occur, genes would not persist in those populations. Nowadays the occurrence of gene flow and the persistence of transferred genes are no longer questioned. But supporters of genetically modified plants are asking: gene flow - so what - A Special Issue of the<a href="">Oeko-Institute</a>(Freiburg, Germany)special newsletter tackles this question. What are, or could be, the consequences of gene flow from genetically modified plants - What is known about gene flow - What kind of research is done in this field or what should be done - And what about regulations and law on this issue?><a href="">Gene flow so what?</a>

03.01.2003 |

UK Study finds high incidence of contamination from GMOs in farm trials

Studies carried out between 1994 and 2000 by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany on GMO farm trials in the United Kingdom show that genes from GM oil seed rape, specially engineered to be resistant to herbicides, contaminated conventional crops as far as 200 meters away. GM oil seed rape that escaped from a crop harvested in 1996 persisted for at least four years, until studies ended in 2000. In another case, the report adds: "It was found that some combine harvesters were not cleaned after the harvesting of the GM crop,'' and "subsequently flushed out'' the GM seed on to ground intended for conventional crops "causing contamination of this field.'' Most worryingly of all, the report shows that the GM crop readily interbred with wild relatives and weeds, wild turnip, giving it resistance to herbicides and thus raising the prospect of the development of "super weeds". The report concludes: "if transgenic oilseed rape is grown on a large scale in the UK, then gene flow will occur between fields, farms and across landscapes".</p><p><a href="">Summary and full study published by DEFRA</a></p><p><a href="">press release of Friends of the Earth UK</a>

30.12.2002 |

New "Starlink" contamimation found in Japan

One year after the recall of a genetically engineered corn variety "Starlink" of Aventis (now Bayer) has been completed in the US and growing of that GMO is banned there, Japanese authorities have stopped a cargo of US corn on Dec 26th as it was contaminated with the illegal GMO. Traders at the Chicago board of trade expect falling imports as a result. The US Department of Agriculture said is was unable to identify the sources of the contamination so far.</p><p><a href="">Reuters on Starlink 30 Dec 02</a>

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