GENET archive


APPROVAL / PLANTS: Greece and Cyprus negative on GE crops

                                 PART I
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TITLE:  Greece continues to ban GM corn for planting
SOURCE: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, USA 
AUTHOR: Global Agriculture Information Network Report Number: GR7005,
        by Stamatis Sekliziotis
DATE:   23.04.2007

Greece continues to ban GM corn for planting

Approved by:
Robin Gray
U.S. Embassy Rome

Report Highlights:

The Government of Greece (GOG) does not allow GMO seed to be sold or
planted. Conventional corn seed can be imported as long as the
adventitious presence of transgenic material does not exceed 0.5% (for
cotton seed this level is "zero").

Just last week, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Mr. A. Kontos signed a
new revision of a January 2006 ministerial decree that prohibits
commercialization and usage of GMO hybrid corn seed varieties of the MON
810 series in Greece. This revision raised the number of banned
varieties from 31 to 47. The continuing GOG justification for the ban is
that these hybrids pose a risk to the environment and to domestic
conventional varieties. The research to support these contentions is
unknown. Greece has yet to implement any coexistence legislation.

In a separate, but GMO related action last week, the same Deputy
Minister of Agriculture, Mr A. Kontos, ordered the confiscation of 88
tons of Chinese rice protein meal at the Greek Customs Port of Pireaus
for containing an unapproved GM event (Bt 63). The product was to be
used as animal feed. The total tonnage originated with three 3 different
shipments of 48, 20 and 20 tons of bagged product. Ministry of
Agriculture border authorities will have the product destroyed or re-
exported. Reportedly, the EU Alert System has been informed of these GOG
actions. The GMO tests were conducted in Germany. Another 90 tons of
similar Chinese origin product is being held in Pireaus customs awaiting
laboratory test results.

The discovery of the Chinese GM rice has led to the promulgation of a
public order to Greek Customs and local agricultural authorities,
requiring that all shipments of imported rice be subjected to laboratory
testing before clearing through customs, and that entry controls are not
to rely only on accompanying documents and certificates.

Mr. Kontos declared to the media that, "We keep our positions fixed
against the commercialization and cultivation of GMOs and we are
intensifying the implementation of our preventive measures"....

Comment: Ironically, it seems that Greece is more than willing to tie up
valuable border and lab resources chasing GMOs rather than have them
available to deal with well documented human and animal health risks.

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                                 PART II
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TITLE:  Greece: Bans on 16 new GM maize varieties
SOURCE: GMO Compass, Germany
DATE:   19 April 2007

Greece: Bans on 16 new GM maize varieties

Although all GM maize varieties have been approved for cultivation in
the EU, the Greek government raised its total of maize bans to 47 on
April 13th by disallowing 16 additional genetically modified maize
varieties. This action is based on claims that scientific research
raises doubts about the crops' biosafety and, furthermore, that this
research had not been considered when the crops received EU approval. By
applying the precautionary principle, Greece thus has prohibited once
more the planting of any GM crops, despite their approval for commercial
cultivation in the EU.

EFSA opinion on previous Greek bans on GM maize

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                                 PART III
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TITLE:  Christofias calls for total GM ban
SOURCE: Cyprus Mail, Cyprus
AUTHOR: Nassos Stylianou
DATE:   27.04.2007

Christofias calls for total GM ban

HOUSE President Demetris Christofias yesterday called for a total ban on
genetically modified (GM) foods. Christofias, who was speaking at an
event against GM products, said that the solution to the dilemma was
simply zero-tolerance. "The solution to the problem will not be found in
the imposition of restrictions and checks but by enforcing a full ban,"
he said. The AKEL Secretary General said that the issue was of added
importance to an island the size of Cyprus.  "The matter is a very hot
topic in the case of Cyprus, especially taking into account the small
size of the island and the simplicity with which all crops can become
polluted," he added. Christofias ended his speech by claiming that the
Cypriot slogan on the matter should be: "Away from our land. Not on our
plates!" Christofias has been warned in the past about implementing a
bill to separate genetically modified foods on supermarket shelves
reaching the plenum. Washington had warned that such legislation would
hurt Cyprus-US relations. Last year, the EU Commission also quashed the
notion of Cyprus being allowed to display products with genetically
modified (GM) content separately on supermarket shelves, calling the
idea "inadmissible".

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