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2006-11-22 |

Rice exporters in India burn down GM-rice trials

While GMO critics have warned about GMO rice trials by Monsanto's Mahyco company in India, now rice farmers, who fear about their exports, have burned down such field trials in Haryana, India. And Robert Zeigler, director-general of the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute, says: “There is neither environmental assessment, nor human food safety assessment available for Bt rice. Proper precautions must be taken.”

2006-11-22 |

Codex Alimentarius discusses "low level" GMO contamination

U.S. officials are hopeful that the Codex ad hoc Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnology will approve a revised proposal for new work on low-level (adventitious) presence of unapproved transgenic material in food, when the task force meets next week in Chiba, Japan.

2006-11-22 |

U.S. hopeful on Codex Adventitious presence proposal

U.S. officials are hopeful that the Codex ad hoc Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnology will approve a revised proposal for new work on low-level (adventitious) presence of unapproved transgenic material in food, when the task force meets next week in Chiba, Japan.

2006-11-22 |

Heard on the Street: Seeds may help Syngenta grow

Better known for dark chocolate and fine cheeses, the Swiss are now aiming to become a force in one of the new world's most common commodities: corn. Syngenta AG, a Swiss company listed in Zurich with American depositary shares trading on the New York Stock Exchange, bets that if it builds the right genetically modified seeds, profits will come -- and some investors like its chances.

2006-11-22 |

Judge gives go ahead to FSA high court challenge over GM rice

A High Court judge has given Friends of the Earth permission to take its legal challenge against the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to a full hearing in the High Court. The environmental campaign group says that the FSA failed to take appropriate action to prevent unauthorised GM rice entering the UK food chain. The FSA had claimed that Friends of the Earth's challenge should not be allowed to proceed to a hearing because its case was `unarguable'.

2006-11-22 |

FDA cloning report draft coming soon

The draft may come before the end of the year, and is expected to conclude that food from cloned animals is safe for consumption. An FDA risk assessment draft on the subject of safety of food from cloned animals is expected as soon as December. "We understand that the conclusion will be that foods from livestock clones and their offspring are as safe as foods from animals raised conventionally," says Dr. Barb Glenn, Managing Director of Animal Biotechnology, Food & Agriculture Section, BIO.

2006-11-22 |

Firm blames farmers, 'Act of God' for rice contamination

The company that created the experimental variety of genetically engineered rice found this summer to have contaminated the U.S. rice supply contends that rice farmers and an "act of God" are to blame for the inadvertent release of the unapproved crop. Those are among the assertions by Bayer CropScience of Research Triangle Park, N.C., in response to a class-action lawsuit filed by hundreds of farmers in Arkansas and Missouri.

2006-11-21 |

UK Farms Executive shelves GM crops proposals until after election

The Executive is repeatedly delaying a crucial consultation on the threat of GM crops and has now announced that it will not take place until summer 2007, after the next election. Ministers were due to issue proposals on the "co-existence" of GM crops in summer 2005, and Greens argue that the latest delay indicates Labour and LibDems' fear of drawing attention to their support for GM crops. (1) Mark Ruskell MSP, Green speaker on environment, has proposed a bill at Holyrood to make GM companies strictly liable for any economic damage as a result of contamination caused by GM crop trials and commercialisation.

2006-11-21 |

Slovenia to aid Bulgaria in acquiring EU environment funds

Slovenian Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Janez Podobnik pledged Slovenia's support to Bulgaria in securing EU environment funds, as he met his Bulgarian host and counterpart Djevdet Chakurov in Sofia on Friday, 17 November. [...] The pair also concluded that both countries are among more conservative regarding genetically modified organisms, Podobnik said.

2006-11-21 |

India for common biosafety concerns

NEW DELHI, NOV 20: India has called upon other biodiversity-rich countries to work out a model for cooperation and make common efforts for conservation of biological diversity, ensuring biosafety and development. Inaugurating an international conference on the implications of the Cartagena Protocol on biosafety in Capital on Monday, the environment and forests minister A Raja said,"As responsible members of the international community that harbours the major part of the world's biodiversity, I would appeal to make our common biosafety concerns and our common desire for development of a model for cooperation."

2006-11-21 |

EFSA issues draft guidance on GM approvals

Europe's food safety authority has issued draft guidance for the renewal of authorisations of existing genetically modified products lawfully placed on the market. The guidance, from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), aims to assist applicants in the preparation and presentation of applications for renewal of authorisation of existing products according to articles 11 and 23 of regulation (EC) 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed.

2006-11-21 |

EU won't appeal WTO ruling on GMO moratorium

BRUSSELS, Nov 21 (Reuters) - The EU will not appeal against a World Trade Organisation ruling that it illegally blocked genetically modified (GMO) food imports, a case which pitted the bloc against the United States and other biotech crop producers. But the decision will not settle transatlantic differences over how the European Union currently allows GMO imports, which the majority of European consumers view with suspicion and some have dubbed "Frankenfoods".

2006-11-20 |

Genetic engineering no magic bullet for Africa's hunger

The Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced their joint $150 million Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa for the continent's 180 million impoverished farmers who - they claim - were bypassed by the Green Revolution. What? For 25 years, the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research - the entity that brings together the key Green Revolution institutions - invested 40 percent to 45 percent of its $350 million-a-year budget in Africa. If these public funds were not invested in a Green Revolution, then where were they spent? If they were spent on the Green Revolution, then why does Africa need another one? Either the Green Revolution's institutions don't work, or the Green Revolution itself doesn't work - or both. The Green Revolution did not "bypass" Africa. It failed.

2006-11-20 |

Annan warns of

ST. GALLEN, Switzerland - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that potential dangers from the rapidly growing biotechnology industry were increasing exponentially and urged creating global safeguards. Annan, speaking on Saturday in the Swiss university town, warned of "catastrophic" results if recent advances in biotechnology, including gene manipulation and work with viruses, fell into the wrong hands.

2006-11-20 |

Residents say

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 17 (Tierramérica) - Cultivation of genetically modified soybeans is expanding in Argentina, and with it, the use of herbicides. The "Paren de fumigar" (Stop the Fumigation) campaign warns against agro-chemical spraying in urban areas, as activists collect information about its impacts in order to denounce it. Behind the initiative are the Rural Reflection Group (GRR), the Nature Protection Centre and neighbourhood organisations. Jorge Rulli, with GRR, told Tierramérica that so far this year the campaign -- which began in January and covers all rural areas -- collected more than 60 complaints. He explained that "it is no accident" that most of them come from the provinces of Córdoba (central Argentina) and Santa Fe (central-east), which along with Buenos Aires province make up the country's epicentre of soybean cultivation -- and the associated use of the herbicide glyphosate.

2006-11-20 |

Government has 'open mind' on GE crops issue: Minister

CHENNAI: With farmers all over the State threatening a "war unto the finish" against genetically engineered crops, the State Government on Thursday said it had an "open mind" on the issue and would allow the crops only if they were proved to have no demonstrable side effects. "The company [Monsanto-Mahyco] approached us with a request to test the crops. The trial is only in the research phase now and the results will be sent to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and, later, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, to decide if the crops are harmful to farmers or not. We will go by whatever the committee decides. If the council gives a negative report, we will not allow cultivation in the State," Agriculture Minister Veerapandi Arumugam told The Hindu .

2006-11-20 |

Ban field tests of GM seeds: Jaya

Chennai, Nov 18: Seeking a ban on the field tests of genetically modified paddy varieties in the country, AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa said researchers should focus on seed varieties which protect soil fertility and give more yield. Charging multi-national companies with "selling poisonous BT seeds banned in Japan and European countries", she said these seeds would affect the fertility of the soil. Paddy grown out of genetically modified seeds would harm human beings as well as animals and birds, she said.

2006-11-20 |

GM cottonseeds could feed world’s starving millions

SCIENTISTS have genetically modified the cotton plant’s naturally toxic seeds to turn them into a potential food source for millions of people.
Researchers have found a way of reducing gossypol, a powerful toxin in the seeds, to a negligible level that allows them to be consumed by humans. At present they are thrown away or fed to cows.

2006-11-20 |

In a regular pilgrimage, Slow Food members follow the path toward ethical eating to Turin

TURIN, Italy -- For Slow Food enthusiasts every two years, all roads lead to this Piedmont city. [...] "We learned Europe is 80 percent non-GMO, Poland entirely GMO-free," said Barb Kline, referring to "genetically modified organisms" -- plants or animals whose DNA has been altered by corporations to create desirable traits by adding the DNA of other plants or animals. "I would tell our customers to buy seeds only from a company like Harvest Moon with a safe-seed guarantee. We may as well give up on corn. I'm sorry, if you're buying corn, you are probably eating GMO.

2006-11-17 |

"Non GM" gene technology challenges conventional genetic engineering

A "Rapid Trait Development System" (RTDS) has been presented by the US company Cibus as a smart and unregulated alternative to old fashioned "cut and paste" transfer of DNA between different organisms. The system induces gene alterations by bombarding a cell with a mixture of DNA and RNA, which triggers a site specific change of a known DNA sequence using the cells own gene repair mechanism, a process known as site-directed mutagenesis. Cibus expects to hit the herbicide-resistant seed market with oilseed rape next year and rice in 2008.

2006-11-17 |

EU drags heels on biotech food, U.S. lawmakers say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States must pressure the European Union to stop dragging its feet on approving new imports of bioengineered food, senior U.S. lawmakers said in a letter released on Wednesday. "The EU has avoided for too long its WTO obligations ... The illegal discrimination against biotech products on nonscientific grounds must cease," a group of lawmakers said in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab.

2006-11-17 |

GM crop breakthrough threat to Monsanto

A San Diego company will on Thursday unveil a technology that can deliver the benefits of genetic modification without inserting foreign genes into a crop in move that could transform the multibillion dollar agricultural biotech market. Cibus, which has been funded quietly for several years by a group of biotechnology investors in the US, believes there is huge potential in its non-transgenic technology for introducing "traits" such as herbicide resistance into plants.

2006-11-17 |

Farmers' association declares war on GE crops

CHENNAI: Representatives of the Tamil Nadu Velan Kappu Kuzhu said on Wednesday they would not allow genetically engineered crops to be tested or cultivated anywhere in Tamil Nadu. "We are ready to face any consequence in our fight against these crops, which endanger food security and poison the environment. If need be, we will confiscate GE seeds from shops that sell them and destroy them," K. Chellamuthu, chairman, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, told reporters.

2006-11-17 |

EU proposes fees for food safety authorisations

A proposal to charge companies fees for assessments by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) would impose too heavy of a financial burden on companies, says an industry consultant. Consultant Christopher Whitehouse says the proposal, which was submitted for public consultation yesterday by the European Commission, would allow EFSA to charge companies "potentially very substantial amounts" for processing the dossiers which EU legislation requires food product manufacturers to submit for consideration.

2006-11-17 |

GM grapevine tests face local opposition

Three organisations have independently conducted research and lodged formal objections to the Registrar of Genetic Resources opposing an application from Stellenbosch University’s Institute of Wine Biotechnology (IWBT) to conduct a field trial with genetically-modified (GM) grapevines in Stellenbosch.

2006-11-17 |

Declaration on Organic Agriculture and Trade inked

THE three-day international conference on organic farming held at the L'Fisher Hotel in Bacolod concluded as a success Thursday with the signing of a Declaration on Organic Agriculture and Trade by representatives from pro-organic organizations. The declaration is aimed at seeking to build upon windows for organic trade with Europe and the world.

2006-11-16 |

New report sets out future for world's most important staple food

‘Future of Rice’ highlights alternatives to genetic engineering in the lab and field
Chennai, India — New, environmentally sustainable and consumer-friendly technologies effectively render the imprecise Genetic Engineering (GE) technology both obsolete and unnecessary, according to a new report released today by Greenpeace.

2006-11-16 |

Organizations around the world demand ban of genetically engineered trees from Kyoto Protocol

WASHINGTON - November 15 - World Rainforest Movement and Global Justice Ecology Project have presented a demand to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Nairobi, Kenya to ban the use of genetically engineered trees under the Kyoto Protocol. GE trees have been proposed for use in plantations developed as climate sinks or for biofuels.

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