Government wants to give public chance to decide on GMOs (31/8/2004)


How refreshing - item 1
1.Government wants to give public chance to decide on GMOs
2.GM protest in Slovakia

1.Government wants to give public chance to decide on GMOs
Czech News Agency, August 26, 2004

PRAGUE, Aug 26 (CTK) - The cabinet of Stanislav Gross (Social Democrat- CSSD) would like for Parliament to return the chance to decide on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to the general public, submitting a bill on Wednesday to the Chamber of Deputies that would allow for this.

The bill, which requests that public and regional government representatives should have a say in all administrative proceedings concerning such organisms, specify the conditions for allowing the growing of genetically modified plants and the sale of foods made from them. However, an initiative from the Chamber earlier this year excluded this right from the law.

"The bill that the government approved on Wednesday at the urging of the Environment Ministry returns the right of the public to take part in the decisions and also grants the right to regional governments. It is in reaction to a request from the Usti nad Labem (north Bohemia) region that regional governments also have a say," Jakub Kaspar from the Environment Ministry press department told CTK.

According to Environment Minister Libor Ambrozek (Christian Democrat-KDU-CSL), the introduction of GMOs into the environment, as well as into human consumption, is a very sensitive issue.

"The public must have the right to be informed about these matters, and to take part in hearings," he said in comment on the government's decision. Ambrozek added that he was convinced that deputies and senators would see the necessity of the change and approve the bill.

The law on the handling of GMOs, which was intended to harmonise the law from 2000 with the requirements of the European Union, was signed by President Vaclav Klaus in early February.

For over two years, Czech manufacturers and sellers are required to mark foodstuffs containing genetically modified organisms or products that were made from them even if the final foodstuff no longer contains them. Most frequently, customers encounter products made from genetically modified soy beans.

Risks from the growing of genetically modified plants have been stressed by various environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, which believe that it is uncertain how these plants will behave in the wild and influence existing vegetation.

2.GM protest in Slovakia

The Grocer August 28, 2004

Activists staged protests at a Tesco store in Bratislava, Slovakia. While Tesco was moving to ensure own label products in the UK and Hungary were non-GM, it had not offered such reassurances to Slovakian customers, claimed the pressure group.

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