Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

The Codex Alimentarius and GMOs

Conflicting concepts of food safety and their impact on the World Trade

Organiser: Bruno Heinzer, Greenpeace, Switzerland

Speakers:
Helen Holder (Friends of the Earth), Belgium
Bruno Heinzer (Greenpeace), Switzerland
Michael Hanson (Consumers International), USA
Philip Bereano (Washington Biotechnology Action Council), USA

Outline:
This workshop is about the different and contradictionary approaches to risk assessment, approval, labelling, thresholds and phytosanitary measures of GMO's within the the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius and the CBD Biosafety Protocol  and their relation to the WTO and its SPS and TBT agreement. We will look at the impact of these international agreements on governments measures related to GMO's, and how NGO's/regions and other stakeholders can participate in the negotiation process and how they can use the outcome of these UN bodies for their political or campaign work against the uncontrolled spread of GMO's into the environment and into our daily food.

Two basic concepts play an important role in both, the Biosafety Protocol and the Codex Alimentarius:

The "precautionary principle" which is supporting a rather critical approach of GMO's and
 the concept of “substantial equivalence”, which is used by the promoters of GMO's (and the most competent authorities responsible for the risk assessment of GM plants and GM foods) even though there is scientific agreement that this is not an appropriate way of handling the problem of GMOs.
While the WTO refers to the Codex as reference to all food related issues it does not consider the Biosafety Protocol. GMO industry and GMO exporting countries, such as the USA, Canada and Argentina, who are not members of the Biosafety Protocol intend to override its provisions by means of the WTO.
An introduction to the history and present state of that powerplay will be followed by reports on the present negotiations within the Codex …..
and an assessment of the WTO case on GMOs between the US and the EU and an analysis of its impacts on the global market.

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