200,000 petition calls for strict labelling of GM foods (3/5/2004)

1. Save Our Seeds - 200,000 petition
2.Groups slam biotech proposal
3.Save Organic Food Coalition

1.Petition calls for strict labelling of genetically modified seeds
[shortened] http://www.eubusiness.com, 03 May 2004

European Union Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstroem was Monday handed a 200,000 signature petition calling for the strictest possible labelling of genetically modified (GM) seeds.

The initiative, by a group calling itself "Save Our Seeds", comes as the commission is preparing to adopt a controversial directive authorising the "accidental or technically inevitable" presence of between 0.3 percent (for oil seed rape and maize) and 0.5 percent (for beetroot, potatoes and cotton) of GM organisms (GMOs) in batches of seed.

The group, composed of 300 farming, ecologist, trade union and cooperative organisations, denounced the plan Monday as "illegal, non-scientific, unjust and completely unnecessary".

"These thresholds of tolerance are going to lead to massive contamination in agriculture and massive problems for farmers," said Greenpeace's European spokesman Eric Gall.

Other critics denounced the project as the end of the European model of farming based on high quality products and accused the commission of being the GMO industry's Trojan horse.

According to Wallstroem's spokeswoman the proposal is not the final version but critics of the scheme said the very principle of thresholds of tolerance should be ruled out and GMOs present in seeds should be labelled once they could reliably be detected at all.

The campaigners also accuse Brussels of wanting to make conventional or organic farmers pay the cost of protecting their crops from what they say will be the inevitable contamination by GMOs from fields of GM crops.

The commission itself has shown signs of internal disagreement, with Wallstroem arguing in January for the thresholds of tolerance to be lowered...

for the rest of the article: http://www.eubusiness.com/afp/040503172436.2i3zlinh

2.Green groups slam biotech proposal
http://www.eupolitix.com, 3 May 2004

Proposed new laws on permissible levels of genetically modified organisms in seeds are "illegal, unscientific, and unfair", according to a green coalition.

Speaking in Brussels on Monday, the group of six NGOs hit out at a leaked draft proposal on GM thresholds for seeds, which would allow trace levels of GMOs in food with no labelling.

The proposal sets these levels at 0.3 and 0.5 per cent, depending on the crop, and follows on from laws establishing a 0.9 per cent GM level for food.

Benedikt Haerlin, group co-ordinator, said that allowing any GM contamination of conventional food was "like telling a vegetarian that 0.5 per cent sausage in his food was unfortunately unavoidable".

Haerlin said the proposal broke 2001 EU laws on the 'deliberate release of GMOs'.

Fellow campaigner Eric Gall added that the commission "does not have any reliable scientific basis" for its proposal, as it was using data from 2001 – since which time new studies have emerged.

The 2001 scientific committee opinion referred to also presupposed a one per cent level for food, rather than 0.9 per cent.

Environmentalists say this means the tolerable thresholds suggested for seeds would actually have the knock on effect of a higher level than 0.9 per cent GMOs in the end food products.

The European community of consumer cooperatives (Euro Coop) said that the commission proposal would "make it impossible to meet consumer demand for non-GM food".

And the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) upped the stakes still further by saying that allowing biotech contamination would be the "end of the European way of agriculture, which is based on high quality".

He explained that the green groups would like to see a 0.1 per cent threshold - as is currently in practice the case in Europe.

But this will become much harder with the likely approval of new gene altered crops in the future.

The commission proposes 0.3 per cent for rape and maize, and 0.5 per cent for sugar beet, fodder beet, potato and cotton.

It has thus far set no levels for crops such as tomatoes, wheat or soybeans.

But the biotechnology industry said environmentalists were being "anti-technology" and "unrealistic".

for rest of article: http://www.eupolitix.com/EN/News/200405/491225e2-c9ad-41b4-bc1c-e963c6d698f3.htm

3.Save Organic Food Coalition Launches Effort to Protect Organic Foods From Biocontamination

SEATTLE, May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- [shortened] The Save Organic Food coalition and web site (http://www.saveorganicfood.org) are officially being launched this week as The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods(http://www.thecampaign.org) undertakes a new effort to protect organic food from contamination by genetically engineered crops.

"The American public has really embraced organic food in the past several years. Organic food is one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. food industry," says The Campaign's Executive Director, Craig Winters. "But at a time when the popularity of organic foods is soaring, organic crops are also at great risk. Across the country, organic farmers are reporting that their crops are being contaminated by genetically engineered crops being grown on neighboring farms."

The Save Organic Food web site  (http://www.saveorganicfood.org) features instant e-mails and form letters that citizens can send to Representatives and Senators urging them to make sure the USDA lives up to its responsibilities to protect organic farmers and the environment from the hazards of genetically engineered foods.

"We're also encouraging folks to join the Save Organic Food coalition," adds Winters. "Membership is free for citizens, organizations, businesses and farmers, and it helps create a powerful voice in the effort to keep organic foods pure."     T he Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods is a 501(c)4 (non-tax deductible) non-profit political advocacy organization. (http://www.thecampaign.org)

Contact: Craig Winters, Executive Director The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods Phone: 425-771-4040, 425-876-6800 (cell) [email protected] http://www.thecampaign.org http://www.saveorganicfoods.org

SOURCE The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods Web Site: http://www.thecampaign.org

Go to a Print friendly Page

Email this Article to a Friend

Back to the Archive