[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Duurzaamlijst] EU allows in new flood of GM food

On 13 Feb 2001, at 7:26, RBBAX@aol.com wrote:

Please circulate

 EU allows in new flood of GM food

 Special report: GM debate

 Jason Burke, chief reporter
 Sunday February 11, 2001
 The Observer

 European laws to be introduced this week will open Britain to a 
 wave of controversial genetically modified crops and foods. A new
 directive, which has been backed by the Government, will end a
 three-year de facto moratorium on granting licences for the
 commercial development of GM foods. The standstill was imposed 
 major European nations following concerns about the impact of the 
 crops on health and the environment.

 'The moratorium is dead,' said David Bowe, the British MEP who
 liaises between the European Parliament and the Commission on 
 issues. He welcomed the new legislation last week.

 'This is a significant step in terms of habituating people to GM
 products. There will soon be more GM foods in our shops but they 
 be safe. There is nothing here that will kill the world.'

 But anti-GM campaigners have grave concerns.

 'The [new directive] is not enough to protect the environment,
 consumers and farmers from GM crops,' said Adrian Bebb of 
Friends of
 the Earth.

 'The British government is ignoring the wishes of the vast bulk of
 British consumers. The public have made it very clear that they are
 unhappy about eating GM foods and about GM crops growing in 

 Fourteen applications from biotech companies for licences to plant 
 products for commercial use have been on hold during the 
 Dozens of requests to develop GM organisms are now expected 
 major multinational firms in the wake of the new legislation. The
 testing of GM crops for environmental impact has been allowed - 
 will be 96 such trials in the UK this year - but no planting for
 commercial use has been permitted. This will be changed by the 

 All fresh applications will be subject to approval by a majority vote
 in a committee made up of representatives of EU member states. 
 will have to pass the requirements of the directive.

 'The regulations are so strict that some natural foods wouldn't pass
 them,' said Bowe.

 However from this week it will be illegal under EU law for Britain to
 ban or stop the commercial planting of a crop cleared at a 
 level unless serious and justified concerns over environmental or
 economic impact can be demonstrated. Because of the time 
needed for
 trials, and the 'implementation period' allowed, the effect of the
 new laws is not likely to be felt for up to two years.

 GM products which have commercial licences pending include 
 with extra-thick skins that make them less likely to bruise during
 transport and harvesting. Pressure from the public has previously
 forced supermarkets to withdraw paste made from the modified

 The long-term effects of GM foods are not yet known. 
Campaigners now
 fear that supermarkets will be encouraged to 'have another go' at
 accustoming the British consumer to GM food. The Government 
 supported the new laws.

 A spokesman for the Department of the Environment, Transport 
and the
 Regions, which is responsible for the current UK non-commercial 
 crop trials, said the reform 'put in place new safeguards rather than
 opening any floodgates.'

 However there are clear signs that British consumer is not yet 
 to accept the new foods. Last month supermarket chains Tesco 
and Asda
 announced they would no longer sell the meat or milk of any 
 fed with genetically modified soya or maize.

 The two companies, which between them control 42 per cent of the
 grocery market, said they will switch their imports from North
 America to Brazil where commercial GM plantings are illegal. 
 Marks & Spencer, McDonald's and Burger King have already 
acted to
 remove GM in animal products.

 Tony Blair appeared to be an early supporter of GM foods, hoping 
 Britain could be a world leader in biotechnology if 'the tyranny of
 pressure groups' was resisted. However, recently he was more
 cautious: 'There's no doubt that there is potential for harm both in
 terms of human safety and in the diversity of our environment from 
 foods or crops.'

 The new laws face strong opposition from other European nations 
 could lead to a major row. The French have said that they will try to
 block all new licences for commercial growing of GM crops. They 
 that the question of the legal liability of biotech companies for any
 damage done by the new crops has not been satisfactorily 
resolved and
 are concerned about 'traceability' - provisions to ensure that
 consumers know what they are eating. Italy, Greece and 
Luxembourg are
 likely to back the French position.

De Duurzaamlijst: | Abonnement opzeggen? Stuur een E-mail aan:
voor nieuws,      | majordomo@ddh.nl en schrijf in het tekstdeel:
opinie en overleg | unsubscribe duurzaamlijst
Meer over de Duurzaamlijst op http://www.ddh.nl/duurzaam