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2-Plants: 600 hectares field test?



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Below a letter from Ekologiska Lantbrukarna to Commissioner Bjerregaard re a de
facto commercialisation of a starch potato in Sweden under the research and
development procedure (Part B) of 90/220.

Enclosures available on request, only in Swedish however. Any further inquiries
may be directed to me at peter.einarsson@ekolantbruk.se or

EKOLOGISKA LANTBRUKARNA
  (Swedish Association of Ecological Farmers)
Peter Einarsson
Björkeryd
SE-360 13 Urshult
Sweden
Ph/fx +46-477 401 60
http://ekolantbruk.se


*****

EKOLOGISKA LANTBRUKARNA
Sågargatan 10 A
SE-753 18 Uppsala



To
Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard
Rue de la Loi 200
BE-1049 Bruxelles




Dear Commissioner Bjerregaard,

We write to bring to your attention a case of very inappropriate use of the GMO
deliberate release directive (90/220).

Ten days ago, the Swedish government approved an application for commercial
production of a genetically modified starch potato on almost 600 hectares during
1999, a surface which corresponds to more than 6 per cent of the total starch
potato cultivation in Sweden.

This approval was given under the research and development part of the directive
(Part B), even though it is very clearly stated in the application that the sole
purpose of the release is to produce raw material for industrial scale starch
production.

An application for placing on the market of the potato clone in question was
submitted already two years ago, and approved by the Swedish competent authority
in December 1997. Due to objections from several other member states, no decision
has yet been reached regarding this Part C application.

Under the circumstances, it seems clear to us that the Swedish competent
authority is using the provisions under Part B to circumvent the normal procedure
and allow the applicant to enter into a commercial phase despite the pending
objections from other member states.

It may be true, as the applicant claims and the competent authority accepts, that
the release need not be technically regarded as a 'placing on the market' because
neither the seed potatoes nor the final product are offered for sale on an open
market. However, as virtually all starch potato growing takes place under
contract in a very similar manner to the present case, it can then probably be
argued that no starch potato ever is 'placed on the market' in this technical
sense.

In any case, we maintain that this can not be regarded as an appropriate use of
the 90/220 provisions. In our judgment it will, if allowed, serve to undermine
the credibility of European Union GMO policy.

We would much appreciate if you could urgently look into the matter and take any
remedial action you find suitable.


/For Ekologiska Lantbrukarna
Sincerely yours,

Peter Einarsson


Enclosures:
- Application from Amylogene HB
- Ekologiska Lantbrukarna comments to competent authority
- Competent authority decision



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