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Conference on "GMOs - co-existence or contamination?", 28 May2003, Brussels

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"GMOs - co-existence or contamination?"
The challenge to ensure co-existence of organic and conventional farming with genetically modified crops

Conference on Wednesday 28th May 2002
European Parliament, Altiero Spinelli Building, 1st Floor, Room G02 "Petra Kelly", 
Rue Wiertz, B-1047, Brussels, BELGIUM

The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament, Friends of the Earth Europe, Euro Coop and the Heinrich Boell Foundation will hold a conference on "GMOs - co-existence or contamination?" on 28 May 2003 in Brussels.

In 2002, the European Environment Agency published a report that described several genetically modified crops, in particular oilseed rape, as "high risk crops for pollen mediated gene flow from crops to crop and from crop to wild relatives". The same report showed that certain genetically modified crops can transfer their transgenic traits to conventional varieties that are grown over 4km away. 
English Nature, an official advisory body to the UK government, warned in 2002 that altered genes can turn plants into weeds that are harder to control and "that farmers might have to use different and more environmental damaging herbicides to control them". The extensive study showed that genes from separate GM (genetically modified) varieties can accumulate ('gene stacking') in plants and that in Canada these plants are now resistant to several widely used herbicides. In effect these plants are on the road to becoming nuisance weeds.

However, consumer surveys indicate that the vast majority of consumers do not want GM food on their plates. Moreover, there is a broad consensus that at the very least consumers should have the right to choose whether to eat or not GM food. To what extent does "GMO contamination" threaten this right to choose? If GM plants are cultivated on a large scale and without any precautionary measures, will all food and feed grown in the European Union sooner or later be more or less GM? What steps are needed to ensure co-existence of GM and non-GM crops without contamination and how should the European Union react to this challenge? 

The conference "GMOs - Co-existence or Contamination?" will debate all these questions with scientists, farmers, food processors, consumer and environmental organisations, representatives from the biotech industry, competent authorities and politicians.

Translation in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish will be available.

For more background information, the programme of the conference and registration details, please visit: 

Kind regards,
Dan Leskien

Dan Leskien
Adviser on Genetic Engineering
The Greens/ EFA in the European Parliament
Office Brussels: PHS 06 C 69
European Parliament
Rue Wiertz
B-1047 Brussels

tel. +32-2-284.16.92
fax +32-2-284.25.60


Office Strasbourg: WIC M03004
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