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6-Regulation: Brazil environment minister seeks GMO ruling delay

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TITLE:  Brazil environment minister seeks GMO ruling delay
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   Jan 6, 2003

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Brazil environment minister seeks GMO ruling delay

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Brazil's new Environment Minister Marina Silva
yesterday asked the federal advocate general to suspend a ruling due on
Feb. 14 on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The ruling concerns a request by the previous government of President
Fernando Henrique Cardoso that an environmental impact study was an
unnecessary precondition for legalizing the commercial production of GM food.

In a statement, the Environment Ministry said that the new government of
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, which took office on Jan. 1, needed
more time to re-examine the issue.

In addition, the National Environmental Council, which controls GMO
licensing, decided in June 2002 that it was up to the Environment
Ministry to implement the measures.

Brazil is one of the few major agricultural producers that still bans the
sale of GM seeds and foodstuffs.

Bioscience seed companies like Monsanto (MON.N) have been trying for
years to persuade Brazil to authorize commercial GM crops. Monsanto is
seeking approval for its Roundup Ready soybeans that need less herbicide
protection and allow farmers to make considerable cost savings.