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6-regulation: Brazil gets its transgenic law



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TITLE:  Brazil Gets Its Transgenic Law
SOURCE: Agência Brasil / Brazzil Magazin, by Irene Lôbo
        http://www.brazzilmag.com/content/view/1147/1/
DATE:   14 Jan 2005

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Brazil Gets Its Transgenic Law

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on January 12, sanctioned
the Provisional Measure that determines norms for the cultivation and
sale of genetically modified soybeans.

The law, which was published yesterday, January 13, in the Federal
Register (Diário Oficial), requires producers to sign a declaration of
commitment, responsibility, and adjustment of behavior by January 31, 2005.

In accordance with the law, producers who fail to sign the declaration
will be prevented from obtaining loans and other forms of financial
assistance from institutions that belong to the National System of Rural
Credit, as well as being denied access to eventual fiscal benefits.

The law also requires companies that produce seeds to present receipts in
order to be able to charge royalties (patent use rights) from producers
for the development of technology.


Controversy

The consumption of transgenic foods can lead to the development of new
diseases in mankind. This warning comes from the Brazilian theologian and
philosopher, Leonardo Boff, who recently talked about the subject.

According to Boff, "we don't know what the consequences are; the most
serious countries don't want anything to do with transgenics: This is
true of China, which, with its ancient wisdom, is rejecting them."

Defender of human rights and winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize in
Stockholm, in 2001, for his work in this area, Boff, author of 60 books,
including "Ecology, Cry of the Poor," recalled that science is still not
sure how new bacteria arising together with transgenics combine with
bacteria colonies already present in human organisms.

"The State must be ethical: If something is uncertain, it shouldn't be
used, even if this irritates businessmen or farmers. This is the
principle of responsibility," Boff proposed.

The writer observed that if changes in the climate are already causing
disasters, such as the cyclone Catarina that hit Brazil at the end of
March, global heating accompanied by a shortage of drinking water can be
expected to cause incalculable harm, in a very short period of time.

Brazil possesses 13% of the planet's entire stock of fresh water and
wastes 46% of what it uses. "Sufficient water to supply all of France,
Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and northern Italy," Boff emphasized.

In the writer's opinion, the global ecological problem will only be
resolved when social injustices are rectified.

"There are currently a billion people who go thirsty and two billion who
lack treated water. For this reason the World Health Organization (WHO)
says that nearly 80% of the diseases that currently affect the population
in poor countries are due to the use of contaminated water. In Brazil
two-thirds of the population does not have treated water," he points out.




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