Dairy Farmers warned over GM feed / Womens Institutes appeal to Lula (25/8/2005)

1.Dairy Farmers warned over GM feed
2.National Federation of Womens Institutes appeals to Lula

The first item is from Northern Ireland where Sinn Fein is one of the two biggest political parties.

1.Dairy Farmers warned over GM feed
Northern Ireland dairy farmers were today warned their industry could suffer if genetically modified feed is allowed into the country.
Press Association, 25/08/2005

Sinn Fein agriculture spokesperson Michelle Gildernew called on the farming industry to vigorously oppose moves to introduce genetically modified feed through an EU loophole and voiced concerns about the effect on milk quality and consumer reaction if it is fed to herds.

"The reality is that there is a very real risk of contamination of the food chain," the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP said.

"Across Ireland and throughout Europe consumers have consistently rejected food that is genetically modified.

"The result is that there are very few GM labelled products on the market. Indeed many companies make a point of labelling food GM free.

"However, there is a loophole in EU labelling regulations. Milk, eggs, meat and other animal-derived foodstuffs do not need to be labelled if the animals were fed GM foodstuffs.

"The majority GM maize grown in Europe is used as animal feed, meaning that consumers could unknowingly consume GM derived products, such as milk.

"Through advertising their products as pure and natural, they are misleading their consumers as their products risk being contaminated from the GM crops grown by their dairy farmers."

Ms Gildernew noted in Switzerland and Sweden, food manufacturers had ensured that GM animal feed was not used there.

In Austria, she also reported one large dairy company, NOEM AG, ensured its entire range of fresh milk products were GM free.

"Despite the debate about Monsanto's GM maize (MON 810) still ongoing, the European Commission gave approval for the GM maize to be grown in the EU in 2004," she said.

"As a result Austria, Greece, Hungary and Poland all have banned the maize. This is currently the only GM plant permitted to be grown throughout the EU although other GM maize and GE soya varieties, cultivated outside the EU, are authorised for import as animal feed.

"Sinn Fein believe that the milk industry, as well as those producing eggs and other livestock for the market, needs to take a stand on this issue and take steps to ensure that it is not using GM meal feed.

"There is a valuable competitive edge to be gained in producing foods for market that are genuinely GM free.

"We will also be working to ensure that the legal loophole that allows for the introduction of GM products into our food chain is closed."

2.From the National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI)
24 August 2005
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Palacio do Planalto
4' andar

Dear President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

In November 2004 the NFWI, together with campaign partners, met with a number of representatives within the food industry to discuss GM and the threat it poses to the global food chain.

The National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI) is the UK's largest women’s organisation with some 215,000 members in over 7,000 institutes in England and Wales many of whom are from farming communities, all of whom are active and concerned consumers. The issue of GM has been at the forefront of WI members' minds for several years. At the NFWI AGM in 1999, they voted for the following resolution:

The NFWI urges Her Majesty's Government to introduce a minimum five-year moratorium on the commercial growing and import of genetically engineered foods.

Again, at the NFWI's AGM in June 2004, WI members voted by an overwhelming majority in favour of a resolution, which, on the basis of the evidence that has emerged to date, called on the UK Government to ensure that, GM crops are not grown in the UK.

In the light of growing evidence that the current generation of GM crops are beneficial for neither people nor planet, this meeting strongly opposes the growing of GM crops in the UK and calls on HM Government to prohibit their cultivation./

In July 2005, the NFWI and its campaigning partners met with the food industry representatives for a second time to discuss the threat of GM soya being introduced in Brazil. Recent changes to the law now allow GM soya to be grown in Brazil and as such the NFWI believes that we have reached a crucial point if non-GM supplies are to be maintained in the future. Brazilian growers are currently willing and able to supply non-GM soya meal and derivatives, if orders are placed and appropriate premiums paid. If these orders are not placed they may be tempted to plant GM soya. As GM soya suppliers sign contracts for ten years the NFWI feels it will be difficult to quickly reverse any decisions to grow more GM.

The opinions of WI members reflect the broader consumer attitude towards GM - public anxiety remains about GM crops and GM ingredients in the food chain. However, UK public concerns about GM extend beyond issues of safety for people, animals and the environment and include corporate control of the food chain, the quality of corporate science and lack of trust in companies and the government. The NFWI would like to see the Brazilian Government take a firm stance on the issue of GM and ensure that non-GM contracts are maintained this year.

The NFWI very much hopes that you accept our petition and will support this position.

Yours sincerely,
Marylyn Haines Evans
Chairman, Federations of Wales

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