Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture


26.02.2009 |

Pressure mounts on national GM bans in the EU

This will be the second time Hungary’s GM ban has gone to the vote. In February 2007, national ministers reached a qualified majority against the European Commission’s decision to force Hungary to repeal its ban. But Europe’s hostility to biotechnology risks a further trade conflict with the US, which could even target anti-GM countries with retaliatory trade action. Sharon Bomer from BIO, a US association of bio-industries, said that the US had ”lost” its corn market in the EU because of the bans.

24.02.2009 |

Luxembourg, European Capital, declared ”GMO-free City”

The city of Luxembourg, a European capital, has declared itself a ”GMO-free city” along with two thirds of the local city communes, thereby refusing the release of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) on its lands and in its funded food catering services. The GM-free Luxembourg intitative is a coalition of 25 civil society organisations which founded and launched the ”GM-free Luxembourg” campaign in the summer of 2006. Since then, two thirds of the Communes [local authorities] declared themselves ”GM-free Communes”.

23.02.2009 |

EU prepares for battle over growing GM maize crops

European Union biotech experts will discuss next week whether to allow more cultivation of genetically modified crops but little progress is expected to break years of EU deadlock on biotechnology. Two GM maize types are to be considered at the Wednesday meeting. If the experts fail to agree, which officials and diplomats say is the most likely outcome, both applications will be escalated to EU ministers for a decision.

23.02.2009 |

German Minister for Environment supports calls for GMO maize ban

Germany should reconsider its policy of permitting farmers to grow maize with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and consider banning biotech crops, Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Friday. Gabriel is the second minister to raise a change of GMO policy this week, following Farm Minister Ilse Aigner’s statement she may review permission to grow MON 810 GMO maize, developed by U.S. biotech group Monsanto Co..

23.02.2009 |

EC Fails to Lift GM Maize Bans in France, Greece

French and Grecian fields will remain free of genetically modified (GM) crops for the time being after the European Commission (EC) failed in its bid to force the two countries to lift their controversial bans. The bans targets MON810, an insect-resistant strain of maize manufactured by GM heavyweight Monsanto. It is currently the only GM crop approved for planting in the EU.

19.02.2009 |

Aigner auf der BioFach 2009
Aktion gegen Gentechnik auf der BioFach 2009 (Photo:SaveOurSeeds)

GMO-free Europe needs Germany

At the opening ceremony of the Biofach organic trade faire in Nuremberg organic farmers from France, Austria, Hungary and Greece petitioned German Minister of Agriculture Ilse Aigner to vote against an EU Commission proposal to force the countries to lift their ban on the cultivation of the genetically modified maize line Mon 810.

In her opening speech, Aigner criticized the cultivation of Mon 810 and announced that she would prohibit further cultivation should monitoring requirements not be met.

Aigner would not make any binding statements as to how Germany will vote in the upcoming EU Council of Ministers meeting on March 2nd that will decide on the national bans.

18.02.2009 |

Location of GE crop trials must be released to public, European Court says

The EU’s highest legal body, the European Court of Justice, has ruled that the public must have access to information about location of genetically modified crops. It’s the latest decision on a very controversial issue. [...] ”The right of public access to information applies to releases of genetically modified organisms,” the ECJ said in its decision. ”The information relating to the location of the release can in no case be kept confidential.”

17.02.2009 |

Biotech industry signals new effort to win EU acceptance for GE crops

The biotechnology industry, claiming the backing of European Union governments, signaled a new effort Monday to win greater leeway to grow genetically modified crops in Europe, a region where citizens have long been skeptical about the safety and value of the technology. [...] Biotechnology industry executives say that a bigger vote expected next week could lead to two additional engineered corn seeds being given permission to be marketed in the EU by year-end.

30.01.2009 |

Hungary to defy European Commission call to scrap ban on GMO crops

Hungary will keep its ban on GMO (genetically modified organisms) maize imports and the planting of GMO seeds, Agriculture Ministry undersecretary Zoltan Gogos announced.

The European Commission recently called on Hungary to entirely lift its GMO ban. Last week the EU's executive arm backed proposals that would grant standard ten-year licences for the two GMO maize types. Hungary, one of the region's biggest grain producers, became the first country in eastern Europe to ban GMO crops and foods in 2005, when it outlawed the planting of MON 810 maize seeds, which are marketed by the US biotech company Monsanto.

13.01.2009 |

Biotech industry tags ’GE-free’ labels as misleading

The biotechnology industry remains firmly opposed to the labeling of food products as ”biotech-free” or ”genetically engineered-free.” Such labels wrongly plant the idea with consumers that biotech food products are inferior or pose a health threat, Bill Olson, director of federal government affairs for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, told Farm Bureau members at an issues conference at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 90th annual meeting. ”A non-GE label leads consumers to believe there is a difference between GE products and those produced by traditional methods. There is no difference,” Olson emphasized.


Local Organising Committee