Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

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30.11.2006 |

GM Potatoe: BASF Amflora to be approved next week?

Beginning next week, the EU Commission will ask its 25 members to allow cultivation of a genetically modified potato owned by BASF AG, the first time the EU has proposed allowing a gene crop to be planted since a ban on the products ended.

28.11.2006 |

Congress: Science and Society – the Frontier of the Invisible

"Science and Society – the Frontier of the Invisible", is an annual international congress that provides an opportunity for an exchange between society, research and the most advanced knowledge in the biotechnology sector. In this, its third year, the congress will address the topic of biotechnological innovation from three points of view: certification of scientific information and the institutional use of that information, genetic engineering as the last step in the industrialization of agriculture, and the political/social governance of biotechnology.

The congress takes place in Rome between 30 November and 2 December 2006.

27.11.2006 |

Hungary set to pass 'strictest' GMO crop law

Hungary is set to impose strict rules on genetically modified crops that would mostly block their cultivation even if the EU overturns the country's GMO ban. The law, supported by the opposition as well as government parties, is expected to be passed on Monday in case the European Union forces Hungary to abandon its complete ban. "This is Europe's, perhaps the world's, strictest GMO law," Agriculture Minister Jozsef Graf said.

25.11.2006 |

Biggest Russian food and feed importers adopt GE free policy

After three weeks of intensive campaigning against imports of genetically engineered food (GE) and feed coming into Russia, Greenpeace received an announcement from two major Russian food and feed importers that they have adopted a policy of only using non GE products. Sodruzhestvo, the biggest soya importer in Russia, which supplies 70% of all soya used in the Russian food and feed industry, has stated that it will turn its new factory currently under construction in Kaliningrad into a GE free zone. The new oil-extraction and feed-processing plant will not only produce GE free soya oils and feeds, but also GE free maize and GE free oilseed rape products. Following the move by Sodruzhestvo the feed producer Rybflotprom, which controls 7 % of the Russian feed market and is 80 % owned by the French company Provimi, also announced it has adopted a GE free policy for all its products.

23.11.2006 |

WTO rules EU illegally blocked biotech food from U.S., others

The World Trade Organization on Tuesday ruled that European countries broke international trade regulations by preventing imports of genetically modified foods. Argentina, Canada and the United States - which brought the dispute to the WTO - said the decision proves there was no scientific evidence to justify the ban. The three urged the 25-nation European Union to immediately bring into compliance its laws on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

22.11.2006 |

GM Rice: Bayer blames God and farmers

In a 30-page response Bayer Crops Science offers the first clue to how the company plans to defend itself against the 15 class-action lawsuits filed by farmers, who allege that they stand to lose millions of dollars because of the contamination. Denying any culpability, the Bayer response variously blames the escape of its gene-altered variety of long-grain race, LL601, on "unavoidable circumstances which could not have been prevented by anyone"; "an act of God"; and farmers' "own negligence, carelessness, and/or comparative fault."

Meanwhile, in an effort to "purge" rice seeds from Bayers contamination, the Arkansas Rice board has banned the rice variety "Chernier" from planting in 2007.

21.11.2006 |

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.

21.11.2006 |

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.

17.11.2006 |

Brazil: Transgenic soybean seeds increase herbicides

The Brazilian environmental institute Ibama reports from 2000 - 2004 the domestic consumption of glyphosates has increased by 95% while the soybeans planted area rose 71%, showing the introduction of genetic modified soybeans Roundup Ready seeds from Monsanto, led to a larger use of agrochemicals.

Rio Grande do Sul, which hosts most of the transgenic soybeans agriculture shows a rate of 162% on glyphosate consumption and 38% in the soybeans planted area. Rio Grande shows what would happen in other states with the uses of genetic modified seeds. There soybean farmers have increased by 106% the consumption of herbicides from 9,800 to 20,200 m tons (2000 - 2004) of which 19,300 m tons of glyphosates used in an area of4.1 mil ha of soybeans plantations. Consequences of the massive use of herbicides are still to be seen, but researchers from Embrapa already noticed the growing resistance of plagues to glyphosates.

[Source: Valor Economico]

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