Japan to test Canadian rapeseed / US Bt tainted cargo no.14 / Vow to destroy GM crops (24/12/2005)

1.Japan to test Canadian rapeseed for unapproved GMO
2.US Bt tainted cargo no.14 found in JPN
3.Activists vow to destroy GM crops

Re item 1, this is only the latest headache for Canadian rapeseed (canola) exports. Thanks to growing GM rapeseed, Canada has lost its former $32.68/tonne premium over Australian rapeseed, with its rapeseed now selling for $30/tonne less than Australian (non-GM) rapeseed. It has also lost markets.

1.Japan to test Canadian rapeseed for unapproved GMO
Friday, December 23, 2005

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan plans to test rapeseed imports from Canada to check if they contain an unapproved strain of genetically modified (GMO) oilseed developed by U.S. agricultural products maker Monsanto Co..

An official at Japan's Health Ministry said on Friday that Canadian cargoes might be contaminated with RT73 Brassica rapa, a herbicide-resistant GMO rapeseed strain that is not approved for human consumption in Japan.

Japan has a zero-tolerance policy on imports of unapproved GMO crops, and importers of crops tainted with illegal GMOs must destroy them or ship them back to exporting countries.

"We will start testing rapeseed cargoes from Canada if we can develop a method to detect the strain," the official said, adding that it might take several months to develop.

The Canadian government told the ministry that RT73 Brassica rapa was planted by a small number of farmers in Canada in 2004 and 2005, and part of the production was already on the market.

RT73 Brassica rapa is approved as human food and animal feed in Canada. But it was taken off the list of seeds for commercial production in Canada in 2003, as requested by Monsanto.

The Canadian government has told the ministry that it had identified farmers who planted RT73 Brassica rapa this year, and rapeseed from those farmers was consumed domestically, the ministry official said.

But the GMO strain harvested last year may have been mixed with supplies from other farms and exported, he said.

Canada is a major producer and exporter of rapeseed, while Japan is one of the biggest importers of the crop.

In the first 10 months of this year, Japan imported 1.92 million tons of rapeseed, of which 1.52 million tons were from Canada and 397,943 tons were from Australia.

Rapeseed is crushed to make cooking oil.

Currently Japan tests corn cargoes from the United States to detect illegal Bt-10 biotech corn.

Japan has discovered 13 U.S. feed grain cargoes tainted with Bt-10 since it began testing last May.

Bt-10 is a corn strain that is genetically modified to produce a toxin that kills pests. It is made by Swiss agrochemicals group Syngenta AG but not approved for distribution.

2.US Bt tainted cargo #14 in Japan
Japan finds 14th US corn cargo tainted with Bt-10
KTIC 840 Rural Radio

TOKYO, Dec 22, 2005 (Reuters) - Japan's Agriculture Ministry said on Thursday it discovered a 14th U.S. feed grain cargo tainted with Bt-10 corn, and told the importer to destroy the tainted portion of the cargo or ship it back to the United States.

The cargo arrived on Dec. 2 at the port of Hachinohe in northern Japan, and samples containing Bt-10 had been taken from 1,095 tonnes of corn on the vessel.

The ministry did not name the importer.

Bt-10 is a genetically modified (GMO) corn strain made by Swiss agrochemicals group Syngenta AG.

It has not been approved for distribution.

Japan has a zero-tolerance policy on imports of unapproved GMO crops.

The ministry started tests on arriving U.S. feed corn cargoes on May 23, after Syngenta said in March that some of its corn seeds in the United States had been mistakenly contaminated with Bt-10 between 2001 and 2004.

The tainted portions of the cargoes are barred from entering Japan, but the ministry allows the rest to enter the country. Tainted U.S. corn supplies to Japan have so far totalled 39,258 tonnes.

Checking a shipment thoroughly for Bt-10 takes several weeks to complete, and the process has been disrupting corn distribution to Japan's livestock industry, which needs a massive 12 million tonnes of the grain annually for feed.

To ensure stable supplies from the United States, from which Japan sources over 90 percent of its corn requirements, the ministry has proposed accepting U.S. feed corn cargoes tainted with up to 1 percent of Bt-10 corn, which would allow most cargoes to enter unimpeded.

But the plan is subject to approval by Japan's Food Safety Commission, an independent agency. The commission has been discussing the issue since July but has yet to reach a conclusion.

Discoveries of tainted U.S. corn have become less frequent, as more cargoes have been tested and certified as free of Bt-10.

In response to requests from Japanese importers, U.S. grain shippers have been stepping up testing of their corn shipments to ensure tainted supplies are not exported to Japan.

The latest discovery comes more than a month after the report of the 13th case. In August Japan found five tainted cargoes.


3.Activists vow to destroy GM crops
16 Dec 2005
Source: Michael Fitzpatrick

Just Food

Anti-GM activists in China have vowed to trash China’s first commercial GM rice crop if the authorities give the green light to full-scale production of the controversial grain.

China's GM rice, modified to contain Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) a bacterium that produces stronger pest resistance, is currently in the final stages of field tests and according to some [PRO-GM!] sources approval for its wide deployment will come in 2006.

Already Greenpeace has blown the whistle on GM rice seeds being sold in China that were not yet approved for commercialization. Chinese anti-GM protestors close to Greenpeace have vowed to destroy the first commercial plantations.


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