Western Australia to officially ban the production of all GM food crops / Moratorium sought in Bulgaria (22/3/2004)

1.WA to ban production of GM food crops
2.Moratorium on GMO Proliferation Sought in Bulgaria

1.WA to ban production of GM food crops
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Western Australia will become the first state in Australia to officially ban the production of genetically modified (GM) food crops.  The decision by the State Government will ensure farmers can continue to market GM-free produce, in a sector that contributes more than $9 billion to the state's economy.

The Labor Party was elected to government promising a five-year moratorium on the commercial growth of GM food crops.

Agriculture Minister Kim Chance says the legislation will allow the State Government to grant exemptions for trials, including GM cotton and canola.

"There are two issues, but they spring mainly from the fact that there is no reason for us to adopt GM technology at this stage, and there are still so many questions unanswered as to the market aspects of GM technology," he said.

2.Moratorium on GMO Proliferation Sought in Bulgaria
Business: 21 March 2004

An environmentalist coalition called for the introduction of a moratorium on GMO proliferation in Bulgaria up to its EU accession.

"Bulgaria: Zone Free of Genetically Modified Organisms" demand that the bill on GMOs, which is to be discussed at second reading in Parliament, should be rewritten according to European standards.

They also seek to hold a wide public discussion on the issue.

Bulgaria's Parliament adopted at first reading the bill on GM organisms in the middle of February. It envisages fines ranging from BGN 10,000 to BGN 50,000 to be imposed on persons who release into the environment genetically modified (GM) organisms without a licence issued by the Environment Minister. The bill provides for property sanctions varying from BGN 20, 000 to BGN 50,000 should the regulations be broken by a legal person.

The modification of the genetic characteristics of a microorganism, plant or animal is made by inserting a modified gene or a gene from another variety or species. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) may be microorganisms designed for use as biopesticides or seeds that have been altered genetically to give a plant better disease resistance or growth.  

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