Germany calls for moratorium on GM crops (26/11/2007)

1.Germany in push against GM plants
2.Europe may ban two types of genetically modified corn

1.Germany in push against GM plants
Agence France-Presse, 26 November 2007

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Germany called on Monday for authorisations of new genetically modified (GM) plants in the European Union to be temporarily halted to make sure that safety checks are thorough enough.

German Farm Minister Horst Seehofer said the complicated current authorisation procedure failed to sufficiently take into account public opinion.

'We should stop and see if the procedure is adequate,' Seehofer told journalists at a meeting of EU agriculture ministers focusing in part on GM plants.

Under his proposal, the halt to authorisations would target both the imports of GM products and the planting of GM crops in Europe, but only briefly while checks were carried out.

Under the current procedure, the European Commission makes recommendations to member states to authorise or forbid a plant strain on advice from the European Food Safety Agency.

However, because member states often cannot agree on whether to authorise a plant or not, the decision reverts back to the European Commission.

Seehofer found some support from Italy and France.

French Farm Minister Michel Barnier told journalists that 'we should take the time to put incontestable (checking) procedures in place' although he preferred to target only the planting of new GM crops, not imports.

However, EU Farm Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel warned that calling a halt to any new authorisations while the procedure is reviewed would lead to harmful, unintended consequences.

'To postpone any new approvals will have dramatic consequences,' Fischer Boel said.

'The result will be that the production of meat will move out of Europe and we will have to import meat that is fed with GM products that are approved in third countries but not in Europe,' she added.

Fischer Boel said that maize, or corn, prices were already 55 percent higher in Europe than in the United States due in part to the higher cost of keeping GM and non-GM grains separate.

The European Union is already under pressure from the World Trade Organisation to lift import bans on some GM products that the global free-trade referee has deemed to be illegal.

The World Trade Organisation has given the European Union until January 11 to lift the ban on imports of nine GM products, mainly maize and soya, which Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg have in place.


see also: Germany calls for EU moratorium on GM crops http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2007/11/26/afx4372877.html


2.A Kernel of Wisdom

Europe may ban two types of genetically modified corn Grist Magazine, 26 Nov 2007 http://www.grist.org/news/2007/11/26/corn/

Europe may end up sans two types of genetically modified corn, as E.U. environment officials have proposed a ban on the seeds. Officials say the GM corn, made by powerful biotech companies DuPont Pioneer, Dow Agrosciences, and Syngenta, could harm wildlife and disrupt food chains. E.U. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said the genetically modified corn could have 'unexpected ecosystem-scale consequences' and that 'potential damage on the environment' could be 'irreversible.' Well, we're convinced -- but the European Commission will have the final say.

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