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GENET mail out 7/99



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----------------------GENET-mail out 7/1999----------------------
  
                             July 2

- NEW MOVES TOWARDS A GM CROP/FOOD MORATORIUM
- EUROPEAN NGOs WELCOME EU COUNCIL DECISION ON TIGHTER GMO RULES
- YIELD INCREASES AND PESTICIDE SAVINGS BY GM CROPS QUESTIONABLE
- 500,000 U.S. CITIZENS CALLED FOR GE FOOD LABELLING
- ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH RISKS OF GLYPHOSATE

----------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch/ ------------------


NEW MOVES TOWARDS A GM CROP/FOOD MORATORIUM

-	WWF International seeks a moratorium on use or release into the
  general environment until  ecological interactions are fully
  researched and safeguards put in place.
-	The Greek government calls upon the EU to suspending new
  approvals concerning the placing on the market of GMOs, until
  the amendment of the Deliberate Release Directive is
  implemented. A political declaration was also signed by France,
  Italy, Denmark, and Luxembourg.
- According to the 6th Federal Court, Brazil, Monsanto is
  prohibited to commercialise GE seeds until the government has
  regulated and defined the rules of biosafety and labelling of
  GMOs.
-	The UK's top supermarkets and grocery manufacturers have set up
  a worldwide consortium to eliminate genetically-modified
  ingredients from all foods.
-	The chief of the U.S. agro-commodities retailer Archer Daniels
  Midland Co. said that ADM can offer to European food markets
  U.S. products guaranteed not to be derived from GE crops. The
  guarantee will come at a premium prize.
  
  June 14: WWF's call for a moratorium
  June 17: Greenpeace on the GREEK DECLARATION
  June 22: VICTORY in Brazil: No GE Soya; UK food stores go GM
           free
  June 24: U.S. commodity retailer ADM offers GE-free products


EUROPEAN NGOs WELCOME EU COUNCIL DECISION ON TIGHTER GMO RULES

The EU environment ministers moved closer to a moratorium on
authorising new GMOs, at least until new rules can be agreed to
reassure consumers of their safety. "Until new rules are in
place, we don't want any new products to be released," German
Environment Minister Juergen Trittin told a press conference. "It
will be a de facto moratorium, though legally-speaking we can't
call it that," he said. These new rules are said to be released
in 2001/02. Some details of the compromise, which in generally
was welcomed by European environmental and consumer NGOs,
lobbying since years against a deregulation of the 90/220:

IN:	 - precautionary principle in Article 1
     - ethical consideration
     - labelling and traceability requirements for GMOs and
       products thereof, also requirement for approvals under
       other (vertical) product legislation (e.g.seed directives)
     - first market approval for a GMO is granted for maximum of
       ten years
     - stronger risk assessment, post-marketing monitoring
OUT: - simplified/fast track approvals for market applications
     - approvals with implicit consent
     - clear definition of GMOs to include as well rPlasmids and
       rDNA
     - in case of GMO exports: requirement for Prior Informed
       Consent of import country
     - liability
     - socio-economic impact assessment

The last four points were demanded by the European Parliament and
might well be reintroduced in the final round of amendments.

  June 24: Tell the World we have a GMO Moratorium!
  June 25: Council Conclusions on GMO Directive 90/220 and
           Moratorium


YIELD INCREASES AND PESTICIDE SAVINGS BY GM CROPS QUESTIONABLE

The report "Genetically Engineered Crops for Pest Management" of
the USDA-ERS presents data on pesticide use on GE crops in 1997
and yield of GE crops in 1997/98 (www.econ.ag.gov/ whatsnew
issues/biotech). In the 12 region/crop combinations, 7 showed no
statistically significant differences in pesticide use on GE
versus nonGE crops. Four showed significant reductions in
pesticide use. In one region/crop combination significantly more
pesticides were used on Bt versus nonBt corn. In 1997, yields
were not significantly different in GE versus nonGE crops in 7 of
12 crop/region combinations. In 1998, yields were not
signifciantly different in 12 of 18 crop/region combinations. In
addition, extension specialists like A. Blaine, Mississippi State
University, report that RR soybeans had to be treated with
herbicide mixtures: "I am reluctant to admit it, but we have had
to apply conventional herbicides on several Roundup Ready fields
because of windy conditions. Given the amount of problems many
have had spraying Roundup, pre herbicides will probably play a
much bigger role in the future." A Canadian study, performed by
Tracy Baute, University of Guelph, on Bt corn concluded: "You
have to look at Bt as an insurance policy. You won't get a return
on investment unless there's heavy corn borer pressure." Under
the current situation growers can expect Bt to pay for itself one
year in three.
  
  June 30: Canadian study shows variability of Bt corn benefits
  July  1: Herbicide mixtures needed on RR soybeans
           No significant yield differences with GM crops
           according to USDA analysis


500,000 U.S. CITIZENS CALLED FOR GE FOOD LABELLING

Nearly a half-million Americans urged Congress to require labels
on foods containing genetically-modified food. A petition drive
by the Natural Law Party (NLP) is one of the first signs that
U.S. consumer support for bioengineered crops may be wavering.
NLP said the sheer number of signatures shows that the issue is
important to mainstream America. "We are not calling for a
boycott of genetically-engineered foods. We simply want labels on
them so consumers can make a choice about what they buy,"said
Adam Dobritsky, a spokesman for the party.

  June 23: 500,000 U.S. citizens called for GE food labelling


ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH RISKS OF GLYPHOSATE

A study by L. Hardell and M. Eriksson of Sweden has revealed
clear links between some of the world's biggest selling
herbicides to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), a form of cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, there has been an
alarming 80% increase in incidences of NHL since the early
1970's. In the study, the researchers also maintain that exposure
to glyphosate "yielded increased risks for NHL." They stress that
with the rapidly increasing use of glyphosate since the time the
study was carried out, "glyphosate deserves further epidemiologic
studies." Although Monsanto claims that glyphosate will not
appear in groundwater, Danish scientists could detect the
herbicide after routine investigations. Samples of groundwater
from up to one-and-a-half metres below one field on the island of
Funen contained more than 20 times the permitted level of
glyphosate and a metabolic breakdown compound AMPA, at 2
micrograms per litre. Danish environmental groups have repeated
earlier calls for the herbicide to be banned.

  June 21: Danish scientists find glyphosate in groundwater
  June 23: Swedish study shows links between glyphosate and
           cancer



-- 
===================================================
-| Hartmut Meyer
-| Co-ordinator
-| GENET
-| The European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering
-|
-| Reinhaeuser Landstr. 51
-| D - 37083 Goettingen
-| Germany
-| 
-| phone: #49-551-7700027
-| fax  : #49-551-7701672
-| email: genet@agoranet.be
===================================================

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