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6-Regulation: Brazil court says CTNBio can regulate use of GMOs butkeeps GE soy ban

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Brazil court says CTNBio can regulate use of GMOs
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   1 Jul 2004 

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Brazil court says CTNBio can regulate use of GMOs

SAO PAULO, Brazil - A federal court ruled that Brazil's National
Technical Committee on Biosafety (CTNBio) has the power to regulate
genetically modified products, but left in place a previous court ban on
Monsanto Co's GMO Roundup Ready soybeans.

Brazilian courts have been examining the genetically modified (GMO) soy
issue since 1998 when CTNBio waived a five-year environmental impact
study for Monsanto Co.'s (MON.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Roundup Ready
soy and cleared the U.S. biotech seed producer's GMO soy for commercial use.

Immediately after which, the Consumer Defense Institute (Idec) and
Greenpeace won a court ruling to stop the GMO's release, claiming that
CTNBio had acted beyond its powers. And in 1999, a court ruled in favor
of Idec and Greenpeace.

After a five-year appeal process, the federal government and Monsanto won
recognition of CTNBio's powers to waive environmental studies late this week.

"It's up to the CTNBio to decide on whether an environmental impact study
is necessary for the release and commercial use of GMOs," Judge Antonio
Ezequiel Silva said in a statement released this week night.

Silva was the last of the tribunal's three judges to vote.

Although backing CTNBio's autonomy he said Monday's ruling would not
overturn the earlier court decision in 1999 to stop the release of
Monsanto's Roundup Ready soy due to the lack of an environmental study.

Nonetheless, Monsanto released a statement this week afternoon praising
the court's decision.

"The decision of the court was an important step in the direction of
development for Brazilian agriculture," Richard Greuble, president of
Monsanto Brasil, said.

But Greuble added that the company was waiting to see if the
constitutional interpretation by the court leads to the creation of
definitive rules to regulate the planting of GMOs and the commercial sale
and planting of RR soy in Brazil.

Brazil's Federal Regional Court is unlikely to be the end of the issue.
Greenpeace and Idec were not immediately available for comment.

In view of the legal confusion, the government last year granted amnesty
to planters of illegal GMO soybeans for the current crop.

GMO planting for the next harvest hinges on Congress approval of a
Biosafety Bill.

Brazil is the last major agricultural exporter to ban GMO food crops.
However in recent years illegal planting of RR soybeans has spread and
now covers over 30 percent of the national crop.


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