GENET archive


6-Regulation: EU Commission postpones decision on GMO seed labels

                                  PART I
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TITLE:  EU Commission drops decision on GMO seed labels
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   8 Sep 2004 

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EU Commission drops decision on GMO seed labels

BRUSSELS, Sept 8 (Reuters) - The European Commission on Wednesday
withdrew its controversial proposal setting purity levels for labelling
of seed containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). However, the
EU's executive decision-making body continued to discuss plans to
authorise the first genetically modified (GMO) seeds for commercial use.
An official said the Commission had not yet made a decision on that
issue, part of a raft of legislation to end Europe's near total ban on
the cultivation of new types of GMOs. The draft proposal on seed purity
has been a year in gestation within the Commission due to its
controversial nature. It was withdrawn because it was felt "it was not
mature yet", an EU official said, declining to reveal further details.
The latest version of the proposal would force seed makers to label
batches of conventional or standard maize and rapeseed containing more
than 0.3 percent of GMOs as genetically modified. Batches of conventional
seed with GMO material below this level would not have to be labelled.
Green groups feel this threshold is too high and should be set at 0.1
percent, the lowest technically feasible level, to protect the
environment and safeguard human health. The seed purity proposal is one
of the final legislative pieces in the EU's efforts to end its five-year
ban on GMOs. While the use of new types of GMOs in food has been
permitted, no cultivation of new GMO crops has taken place, putting the
EU way behind some other big crop producers, particularly the United
States, in the use of GMO seed. Green groups have campaigned against any
loosening of the EU's moratorium on genetically modified products, saying
biotechnology is dangerous. They want GMO-free zones to be created in
Europe where no biotech crops would be planted.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  New EU executive likely to rule on GMO seed purity
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   8 Sep 2004 

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New EU executive likely to rule on GMO seed purity 08 

BRUSSELS, Sept 8 (Reuters) - The next European Commission will probably
set purity levels for seeds containing genetically modified organisms,
the Commission's chief spokesman said on Wednesday, following the
postponement of a decision. The outgoing 25-member Commission, leaving
office at the end of October, was unable to reach agreement at today's
meeting. Spokesman Reijo Kemppinen said more information on the economic
impact of allowing seeds to contain GMOs was needed. "It's not very
likely that this Commission will have time to return to this issue,"
Kemppinen told a news conference. The draft proposal would have allowed
maize and rapeseed to contain 0.3 percent of GMOs before being labelled
as genetically modified. It is one of the final pieces of legislation
aimed at ending the bloc's nearly six-year ban on growing new types of
GMO crops. Biotech food imports were authorised earlier this year.

                                  PART III
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

DATE:   6 Sep 2004 

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(AGI) - Rome, Italy, September 6 - "Next Wednesday the European
Commission will tackle the decisive question of the tolerance level for
accidental GMO contamination of seed harvest areas. It is a fundamental
issue, because having pure seeds has always been a condition of freedom
of choice of agricultural producers". This is what the Agriculture
Minister Gianni Alemanno has declared regarding the forthcoming
regulation of the allowed GMO threshold in traditional seed harvest
areas. "This is particularly true for GMOs, because to accept a tolerance
level of even 0.3 percent, as in the proposal by Commissioner Fischler,
means depriving agricultural producers of the possibility of producing
GMO-free food agriculture lines". All checks carried out in these years
in Italy" - continued Alemanno - "show that a 'technical zero'
contamination is certainly not possible; You just have to think that in
the last seed campaign following stringent checks by the State and
regions, less than 5 percent of cases of contamination cases on the whole
national territory were found". "There are no reasons therefore" said the
minister, "to induce the European Commission to accept a level of
contamination in seed harvest areas, that is why I am appealing to
President Prodi and commissioners competent, so that the right of choice
for producers and consumers is not breached".


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

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