GMO regs "likely to have a huge impact" / GM law "a blow for science" (1/12/2004)

Couple of items below that throw light on the coexistence issue.

"This law is going to have dramatic consequences. Planting GM crops in Germany is now an economic risk. Simply an economic risk."

It always was but in Germany it will be a direct risk to the perpetrators and boy are they belly aching!

And still they keep claiming co-existence is easy?!!!!! Here's the kind of thing they're keen to tell you when they don't have to put their money where their mouth is:

"OK, we know that cross-pollination will occur but we've got thirty years of experience to say we know how far pollen will travel. And therefore what we've done is we'll grow a GM crop at a distance away from a non-GM crop, so the people that want non-GM can buy non-GM, and the people that want GM can buy GM. The two will not get mixed up. Everybody will have the right to choose." http://www.lobbywatch.org/p2temp2.asp?aid=23&page=1&op=2

Warning exports could be hit
Bangkok Post, 30 Nov 2004

The European Union's new regulation on labelling and traceability requirements on products containing genetically modified organisms was likely to have a huge impact on the Thai agricultural and food export industry, the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (Biotec) warned yesterday.

"Food and animal feed products from Thailand will be rejected or destroyed if exporters fail to comply with the new regulation,'' said Biotect's deputy director Darunee Edwards.

"Reliable GMOs inspection and labelling process must be put in place urgently in order to protect the country's export industry,'' she said.

The EU is the fourth largest importer of Thai agricultural and food products.

Under the new regulation, which took effect in April, food and animal feed products which contain more than 0.9% of GM materials must be labelled.

Exporters must also identify the sources of GM materials even if the amount is less than 0.9% of overall ingredients.

The EU's regulation was much stricter than Japan, the second largest importer of Thai food products, which requires the products to be labelled if its overall ingredients or one of its three main ingredients contained more than 5% GM materials, said Mrs Darunee.

"Complying with the EC's labelling and traceability rules is a heavy burden for Thai exporters. The requirements would also force a sharp increase in production costs, considering that GMOs-testing costs about 2,000 baht a sample and a large number of samples are needed for one export shipment,'' she said.

Because of the absence of a reliable system in segregating GM from non-GM materials here, it was very likely that Thai food and animal feed products would be accidentally contaminated with transgenic materials.

Sunthorn Sritawee of the River Kwai International Food Industry, said the new regulation had had no significant impacts on food exported so far since the EU had listed Thailand as a "non-risk'' country.

2.GM law 'a blow for science'
German researchers and industry decry a new crop law as being detrimental to innovation
By Ned Stafford
The Scientist, December 1, 2004

The final passage of a highly restrictive genetically modified (GM) crops law is being hailed as a major victory by German Agriculture Minister Renate Künast, but the bioscience community and biotech sector see the new legislation as a blow to German science and industry.

Among the most controversial aspects of the new law are clauses holding planters of GM crops liable for economic damages to adjacent non-GM fields even if they followed planting instructions and other regulations. Opponents say this will create a financial risk some German universities, research organizations, and companies will not take.

Mark Stitt, managing director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, told The Scientist: "I think the law, as it now stands, is going to have a very detrimental effect on innovation in Germany."

"Germany has potentially one of the most flourishing bioscience industries in the world," Stitt said. "But now, research will be leaving Germany. Firms will be leaving Germany."

"I have no problem with liability," Stitt said. "If you do something wrong, you should pay for it. But with this law, you have liability without blame. This is an absolutely impossible situation."

The new law had a rocky ride through the German legislative process. It was passed in June by the Bundestag, Germany's lower house, with strong backing of the Greens, a junior coalition partner of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's SPD party. The law was then nullified in early November by the Bundesrat, or upper house, which is controlled by a slim majority of opposition parties. However, the opposition was not able to muster the two thirds vote needed to kill the law, throwing it back into the Bundestag for an ultimate vote.

In the decisive Bundestag vote on Friday (November 26), Schröder's SPD party held ranks with the Greens, with a slim majority voting to resuscitate the law. It will now take effect on January 1.

Stitt said the law goes far beyond EU GM law, which he called "sensible and reasonable." He noted that EU law allows non-GM plants to be "contaminated" with up to 0.9% of pollen from neighboring GM plants, while the German law is purposefully vague, saying that non-GM farmers who suffer a decline in the value of crops due to contamination can seek reimbursement. In Germany, so-called "bio" products must contain less than 0.1% GM contamination in order to obtain the bio stamp, Stitt said.

"This law has gone far beyond what is necessary," Stitt said. He noted that Syngenta, the world biggest agro-chemicals group, based in Basel, announced that it had halted all its European field trials of GM plants and seed material varieties because of public resistance and had moved the programs to the United States. Earlier this year, anti-GM activists in Germany destroyed GM wheat fields coordinated by Syngenta.

Jens A. Katzek, chief executive officer of BIO Mitteldeutschland GmbH, which promotes the biotechnological industry in central Germany, told The Scientist that any farmer, researcher, firm, or organization considering planting GM crops now must decide whether to risk the possible economic consequences.

"This law is going to have dramatic consequences," Katzek said. "Planting GM crops in Germany is now an economic risk. Simply an economic risk."

Katzek said that his home state, Saxony-Anhalt, has already announced it will challenge the new law in federal court. During the past year, Saxony-Anhalt has been promoting itself as a biotechnology center, which has included helping to coordinate a major GM corn project.

An aspect of the law Katzek finds especially worrying is a clause that requires GM crop planters to publicly register exact location of fields. Proponents of the clause said that non-GM farmers have the right to know if neighboring fields contain GM crops.

Links for this article
Mark Stitt

N. Stafford, "Law 'may stifle German science," The Scientist, June 28, 2004.

N. Stafford, "German GM wheat trials continue," The Scientist, April 13, 2004.

Jens A. Katzek
http://www.biomitteldeutschland.de/xml/frames.xml?site=team.xml ?node_id=10&nav=nav.xml

BIO Mitteldeutschland GmbH

Go to a Print friendly Page

Email this Article to a Friend

Back to the Archive