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CONTAMINATION & REGULATION: GM in your cornflakes? Fears as U.S approve new engineered maize



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   GM IN YOUR CORNFLAKES? FEARS AS U.S APPROVE NEW ENGINEERED MAIZE

SOURCE:  The Daily Mail, UK

AUTHOR:  Sean Poulter

URL:     http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1359109/GM-cornflakes-Fears-U-S-approve-new-engineered-maize.html

DATE:    21.02.2011

SUMMARY: "The US Department for Agriculture has allowed the growing of Syngenta?s 3272 Amylase Corn without water-tight controls to ensure it is kept separate from food crops. [...] The issue turns the spotlight on the attitude of the British Government and the beleagued Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, to GM crops. Britain is currently lobbying within the EU to allow crops tainted with low levels of non-approved GM varieties to be imported from other parts of the world."

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GM IN YOUR CORNFLAKES? FEARS AS U.S APPROVE NEW ENGINEERED MAIZE

Wheat growers and millers in America, fear that food crops will become contaminated with the GM maize

Breakfast cereals, including corn flakes, bread and snacks are under threat after the US authorities approved the growing of a new GM maize.

The warning is significant because it comes from the North American Millers? Association, a food industry trade body, rather than green campaigners.

The new maize or corn has been genetically modified to be used to create ethanol, which is being promoted as a substitute for petrol.

However, wheat growers, food companies and millers in America, fear that food crops will become contaminated with the GM maize, which has been developed by biotech company Syngenta.

They say that changes made to the corn would taint any food products that it gets into.

The US Department for Agriculture (USDA) has allowed the growing of Sungenta?s 3272 Amylase Corn without water-tight controls to ensure it is kept separate from food crops.

Once the crop is grown on a large scale in the US, there is every chance it will become mixed with food standard corn and be exported around the world, including the UK.

The issue turns the spotlight on the attitude of the British Government and the beleagued Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, to GM crops.

Britain is currently lobbying within the EU to allow crops tainted with low levels of non-approved GM varieties to be imported from other parts of the world.

The Millers? Association said it was ?disappointed? the GM corn had been approved without conditions.

It warned: ?Syngenta?s own scientific data released last month shows if this corn is co-mingled with other corn, it will have significant adverse impacts on food product quality and performance.?

Association president, Mary Waters, said: ?USDA has failed to provide the public with sufficient scientific data on the economic impacts of contamination on food production.?

The corn contains a powerful enzyme that breaks down the starch inside the plant, which is a cost saving function for ethanol production.

The association said that it if were to enter the food processing stream, the same function that benefits ethanol production will damage the quality of food products like breakfast cereals, snack foods, and battered products.

The concerns are all the more important because the association is a well-known supporter of GM crops and food.

Director of the Britiish lobbying group, GM Freeze, Pete Riley, said: ?UK ministers are supporting EC moves to allow low level GM contamination of unapproved GM traits in animal feed and are reported to be pressing for an extension of this ill conceived policy to cover food imports as well.

?The history of the biotech industry in the US shows a trail of contamination incidents and Syngenta?s starch decomposing maize will surely get into the food chain and create major economic problems and health scares.

?The developing row between the giant US food companies, the US Department of Agriculture and Syngenta is a taste of what could happen in the UK if the zero tolerance policy on unapproved GM crops is dropped.

?Mrs Spelman has to take note and cast the UK?s votes against the EC plans to contaminate our food chain.?



                                  PART 2

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

TITLE:   EU BEEKEEPERS STAGE WIN AGAINST GM CROP PRODUCERS

SOURCE:  Deutsche Welle, Germany

AUTHOR:  Nina Haase

URL:     http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,14843153,00.html?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

DATE:    15.02.2011

SUMMARY: "The EU?s highest court may classify honey containing traces of genetically modified material as ?food produced? from modified plants. Such a ruling may enable beekeepers with hives close to GM crops to seek damages. Beekeepers with hives close to fields of Monsanto genetically modified maize can?t sell their honey in the European Union without regulatory approval, an adviser to the European Court of Justice has said. The presence in honey ?even of a minute quantity of pollen? from the maize is reason enough to restrict its sale, Advocate General Yves Bot told the court last week."

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EU BEEKEEPERS STAGE WIN AGAINST GM CROP PRODUCERS

The EU?s highest court may classify honey containing traces of genetically modified material as ?food produced? from modified plants. Such a ruling may enable beekeepers with hives close to GM crops to seek damages.

Beekeepers with hives close to fields of Monsanto genetically modified maize can?t sell their honey in the European Union without regulatory approval, an adviser to the European Court of Justice has said.

The presence in honey ?even of a minute quantity of pollen? from the maize is reason enough to restrict its sale, Advocate General Yves Bot told the court last week.

Food containing material from a genetically modified plant, whether that material is included intentionally or not, must always be regarded as ?food produced? from modified plants,? said Bot. Acting as an independent adviser to the court, he was tasked with suggesting a ruling, based on previous EU decisions. If the EU tribunal follows Bot?s advice, which it is expected to do, the ruling could have consequences across the bloc.

This would be a huge success for ?anyone wanting to prevent food and animal feed from being more and more contaminated with genetically modified material,? said Achim Willand, a lawyer representing food producers. ?Beekeepers are especially susceptible because bees collect the pollen of GM plants within a radius of three to five kilometers,? he told Deutsche Welle.

Monsanto?s genetically modified corn type MON 810 has not been authorized for sale on the European food market. If new regulations are established, making it impossible for beekeepers to sell their product because it has been contaminated by pollen from MON 810 crops, the beekeepers may be able to claim damages from Monsanto.

Zero tolerance policy

Yves Bot didn?t use the word, but the opinion basically translates into a zero tolerance policy,? said Thomas Radetzki, an advocate for German beekeepers against genetic engineering in agriculture. ?It would mean that any produce with even the slightest trace of genetically modified crop would become a GM food product, with all the consequences.?

Beekeeper Karl-Heinz Bablok, from Kaisheim near Augsburg in Southern Germany, originally brought the case to court. His hives were two kilometers away from fields where research was being conducted with Monsanto?s MON 810 maize. He went to court trying to get the research stopped or get protection for his produce. Researchers argued that the bees weren?t interested in pollen from maize.

In an attempt to prove the researchers wrong, Bablok put his hives 500 meters away from the maize fields. He had to throw away the honey his bees produced, because he found it was contaminated with traces of GM pollen.

Lack of protection

Thomas Radetzki of the beekeepers? action group said beekeepers who have hives close to GM crop fields have not had enough protection, despite the existence of protective laws.

Currently, Monsanto is banned from testing its maize in Germany. Meanwhile, the beekeepers case is being watched closely by the agricultural sector. ?If we?re successful, others may follow, and then the matter may be brought to other national courts too,? said Radetzki.

No winner declared yet

Achim Willand, the lawyer representing food producers, said the Advocate General?s suggested ruling could have implications for anyone seeking permission to grow genetically modified plants in the EU.

But Thomas Radetzki said, while opponents of GM crops may be pleased at the moment, the case hadn?t been won yet. Advocate General Yves Bot based his suggested ruling on laws which are in place right now. Radetzki warned that, even if the EU tribunal were to follow Bot?s advice, ?the EU Commission can always change its laws. Then we?d have to start from scratch.?



                                  PART 3

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

TITLE:   PRELIMINARY EU RULING SAYS HONEY WITH GMO IS NOT AUTHORIZED

SOURCE:  Lexology, USA

AUTHOR:  Mark Anstoetter & Madeleine McDonough

URL:     http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=d05addca-d0b8-4461-b1a6-94b643b7c465

DATE:    18.02.2011

SUMMARY: "According to an advocate general opinion, which is not binding on the European Union Court of Justice, honey that contains genetically modified organisms due to the proximity of the hives to experimental GMO maize fields is considered a food produced from a GMO and therefore cannot be marketed unless authorized. Heinz Bablock v. Freistaat Bayern, Case No. C-442/09."

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PRELIMINARY EU RULING SAYS HONEY WITH GMO IS NOT AUTHORIZED

According to an advocate general opinion, which is not binding on the European Union (EU) Court of Justice, honey that contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs) due to the proximity of the hives to experimental GMO maize fields is considered a food produced from a GMO and therefore cannot be marketed unless authorized. Heinz Bablock v. Freistaat Bayern, Case No. C-442/09 (Advocate General?s Opinion, issued February 9, 2011).

The case was referred from a German administrative court considering the claim of a beekeeper who alleged that the state of Bavaria had rendered his apicultural products unfit for marketing or consumption by growing the experimental GMO maize near his hives. The maize DNA was apparently detected in samples of his honey.

While the advocate general determined that pollen from GMO maize is ?no longer viable and is thus infertile? and as such ?cannot be regarded as a GMO,? still its presence renders the honey a food ?produced from GMOs.? His opinion concluded that ?food containing material from a genetically modified plant, whether that material is included intentionally or not, must always be regarded as food produced from a GMO.? The GMO maize and a number of food products derived from the maize were authorized in the EU, but the honey was not and could not therefore be sold. The EU Court of Justice is now considering the matter. See EU Court of Justice Press Release No 5/11, February 9, 2011.