Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

Networking For A Better Future - News and perspectives you may not find in the media

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September 08, 2004

EU Allows Monsanto GM Maize - Move Called 'A Disaster'

US biotechnology industry giant Monsanto, has successfully pressured the European Commission into officially accepting 17 of its genetically engineered varieties of Maize to be cultivated in Europe. Monsanto enlisted the help of the Bush administration, which complained to the WTO over European 'intrasigence' on the question of GM in agriculture.

One would think that the disastrous GM experience in Argentina and more recently in Mexico should have taught us something, but it appears that "free trade" mechanisms are powerful enough to ride roughshod over both public preference and government - in this case even European regional - resistance.

It would appear that the EU is giving up the fight, pushing that responsibility further down to the member countries - and even to the public - to sustain. In this connection the words of Health Commissioner David Byrne, who also oversaw the passing of a controversial ban on high dose and advanced formulation food supplements, are revealing. Byrne, in a leaked memo available to Friends of the Earth, stated that "any Member State may object to the marketing on their territory of any such GM variety if they consider there is a risk for human health, the environment or agronomic reasons." One might be tempted to ask whether Byrne is keeping his options open for lucrative employment with big business after his stint at the EU Commission, which is drawing to a close...


Friends of the Earth Europe

September 2004

Friends of the Earth urges Governments to ban GM seeds

Brussels, 8 September - Friends of the Earth has condemned today's decision by the European Commission to allow farmers to commercially grow up to 17 different types of genetically modified (GM) maize seeds in fields across the whole of Europe. The Commission also dropped from the agenda any decision to legalise the widespread GM contamination of conventional crops.

Friends of the Earth, Europe's largest grassroots environmental network, believes the proposals will threaten Europe's food and farming and take away consumers right to avoid GM food. They have called on Governments to use EU law to ban the seed varieties. (1)

Geert Ritsema, GMO Campaign Coordinator of Friends of the Earth Europe said:

"The European Commission's proposals are a recipe for disaster. They will lead to the widespread contamination of Europe's food, farming and environment and take away consumers ability to avoid GM. European member states must step in where the Commission has failed and ban these GM seeds."

Commenting on the decision not to discuss seed contamination, Ritsema continued:

"Friends of the Earth welcomes this decision and believes that the Commission now has a golden opportunity to bring out better proposals that will protect people and the environment. Public safety must come before the financial interests of the biotechnology industry.."

At today's meeting the outgoing European Commission decided to add 17 varieties of a GM maize made by Monsanto to Europe's Common Catalogue of seeds. (2) The seeds will now be commercially available to farmers across the whole EU, the first time that a GM seed has been added to the common catalogue. Only one country - Denmark - has so far put in place "co-existence" measures aimed at preventing the uncontrolled spread of GMOs in the food chain and the environment. Without coexistence rules the widespread contamination of conventional crops is highly likely, posing a massive threat to Europe's food, farming and environment.

According to a leaked Communication from Commissioner David Byrne "any Member State may object to the marketing on their territory of any such GM variety if they consider there is a risk for human health, the environment or agronomic reasons." (Whole communication available from Friends of the Earth)

Monsanto's MON810 maize, which is modified to produce a toxin to resist a type of insect, already has a EU wide licence through GM legislation. However, up to now it has not been made available to farmers through the EU common catalogue. Six of the varieties are already on the national seed lists in France (but not grown commercially as far as we are aware) and 11 are listed on the Spanish seed list.

See also related:

Permission for GM maize threatens contamination, warn campaigners The Independent - UK

Public rejection of GM food mounts

PAN-AMERICAN ADVENTURE: Oaxaca, Mexico - Transgenic contamination of Mexican corn adds insult to NAFTA injury

Americans Win Disclosure Ruling Against Untested GM Crops

GM Watch

GMO-Food Foes Turn to Film - By Jason Silverman
Wired News, Jul. 08, 2004


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Wednesday September 8 2004
updated on Wednesday December 15 2010

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These articles are brought to you strictly for educational and informational purposes. Be sure to consult your health practitioner of choice before utilizing any of the information to cure or mitigate disease. Any copyrighted material cited is used strictly in a non commercial way and in accordance with the "fair use" doctrine.



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