Pro-GMO commission undermines EU democracy (21/6/2007)

1.Pro-GMO commission undermines EU democracy
2.Scientists and MEPs for a GM free Europe


1.Pro-GMO commission undermines EU democracy
70% of EU citizens opposed to GM crops, MEP tells conference
Green Party press release, 13th Jun 2007

THE UNELECTED European Commission is undermining EU democracy by supporting GM crops and foodstuffs despite the opposition of over 70% of EU citizens and more than half of the EU's member countries, Green MEP Caroline Lucas told a Brussels conference.

More than 170 EU regions and 4,500 other zones have now declared themselves GMO-free but in the absence of qualified majority in the Environment Council the Commission continues to authorise new GM varieties, and force countries to allow their cultivation, she said.

"It is outrageous that in the face of this overwhelming opposition we still have to constantly marshal our efforts to try to stop the drip-drip-drip of vested corporate and misguided economic interests seeking to force GMOs upon us."

She made her comments at a conference organised by the Institute of Science in Society at the European Parliament.

Dr Lucas, a member of the European Parliament's influential Environment Committee, also criticised the "secretive and pro-GMO" European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for its support for the GMO industry.

She warned that the risk of contamination meant it may be impossible for conventional and organic agriculture to stay GMO-free, and said liability for financial losses sustained as a result of GMO contamination should fall on the polluter.

"We must review GMO legislation to ensure that all impurities in seeds are labelled as far as possible, and that foods such as milk, meat and eggs are also clearly labelled if they derive from GM ingredients or feeds," Dr Lucas added.

"Until these urgent measures have been agreed and come into effect we must have a moratorium on all further approvals.

"Currently, there are at least 18 varieties of GM crops which have been authorised for cultivation in the EU, despite evidence that GM varieties pose a real threat to the environment. This is at least 18 too many."


2.Scientists and MEPs for a GM free Europe
ISIS Press Release 21/06/07

Independent scientists, MEPs, farmers and citizens united at the European Parliament condemning GMOs; the European Food Safety Authority to be sued

Sam Burcher and Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

Scientists from six countries joined forces with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to call for a Europe wide and worldwide ban on growing GM crops at a special briefing in the European Parliament in Brussels on 12 June 2007.

The briefing, organized by ISIS, Third World Network and Green Network, and hosted by Janusz Wojciechowski, MEP, the vice-Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development for the European Union, coincided with the publication of key scientific papers, GM Food Nightmare Unfolding in the Regulatory Sham (ISIS scientific publication) [1] and New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity (CRII-GEN) [2] on how national and international regulators have been ignoring damning evidence against the safety of GM food and feed while colluding with industry to manipulate scientific research to promote GM crops. The papers were presented at the briefing together with a comprehensive dossier containing more than 160 fully referenced articles from the Science in Society archives documenting the serious hazards ignored, the scientific fraud, the regulatory sham and violation of farmers' rights [3] ( GM Science: Hazards Ignored, Fraud, Regulatory Sham, and Violation of Farmers' Rights , ISIS CD Book, 2007).

All the MEPS who spoke on the panel thanked ISIS for bringing such crucial scientific input into the GM debate, a view overwhelmingly shared by other MEPs and members of the public who attended the briefing.

The paradox of the GM debate

Janusz Wojciechowski MEP, who chaired the briefing, referred to the paradox of rural development within the GM debate in the European Union (EU). Where c onventional and organic crops are concerned, there are political moves to reduce the production of fruit and vegetables crops, but where GM crops are concerned there is pressure to increase production for consumers. He said, "For me, it is obvious that decisions on GMOs must be based on public opinion and I do my best, in that regard as one of the decision makers in the EU, to safeguard the health of citizens above all."

Jill Evans, a Plaid Cymru MEP, and member of the Greens/European Free Alliance Group, picked up on the und ue influence of the pro-GM campaig n in the EU: the anti-GM campaign had to work ten times harder to make their voices heard. She said, "As an MEP my job is to listen to what my constituents in Wales say and represent their views in the EU. And it is clear that there is overwhelming opposition to GMOs in Wales. Our farming industry, food safety and environmen t are under threat from GM crops, food and feed. We must keep Wales GM-Free and have a European ban on GM crops."

Opposition to GM crops started in Wales in the year 2000 when GM field trials in Pembrokeshire were abandoned due to pressure from 80 organic farmers, which attracted local press, and the interest of members of all political parties. The National Assembly in Wales had also voted against GM crops, but in 2001 the UK Government gave them the green light. It was then that the campaign group GM-Free Cymru was set up, and there have been no more plantings in Wales since.

Evans stressed that The National Assembly is proactive in the EU, and has joined GM free networks, but feel that the Welsh decision regarding GM crops, and liability arising from the contamination of native crops, should be taken in Wales by its own advisory committee, and not as is currently done, by DEF RA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) in the UK. She said Wal es is in favour of asserting its right to GM free zones in accordance with the wishes of the people of Wales, and supported by the scientific evidence pr

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