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BUSINESS & POLICY: UK set for GM food push in Europe



                                  PART 1


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

TITLE:   UK SET FOR GM FOOD PUSH IN EUROPE

SOURCE:  The Financial Times, UK

AUTHOR:  Louise Lucas, Joshua Chaffin & Jim Pickard

URL:     http://www.ft.com/cms/s/bcdb19c0-87e5-11e2-8e3c-00144feabdc0,Authorised=false.html

DATE:    08.03.2013

SUMMARY: "Britain is preparing to champion genetically modified crops in Europe in an attempt to overturn entrenched resistance among many EU members, including Austria and France. Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, is drawing up plans for a key speech backing GM with the firm backing of George Osborne, the chancellor. Meanwhile, ministers from several departments are preparing to launch a new agri-tech strategy this spring that will make a strong case for the science."

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UK SET FOR GM FOOD PUSH IN EUROPE

Britain is preparing to champion genetically modified crops in Europe in an attempt to overturn entrenched resistance among many EU members, including Austria and France.

Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, is drawing up plans for a key speech backing GM with the firm backing of George Osborne, the chancellor.

Meanwhile, ministers from several departments are preparing to launch a new agri-tech strategy this spring that will make a strong case for the science.

Brussels has so far approved only two EU-grown GM products for human consumpion, in contrast to the US and many other parts of the world where GM food is more widely accepted. 

The EU is under pressure to ease its stance amid fears of supply shortages and increased prices because of Europe?s aversion to GM products. British farmers are reported to have written to supermarkets warning them that they will not be able to guarantee that chicken are fed solely on non-GM feed by May.

Yet Mr Paterson faces an uphill struggle not only in Brussels but also convincing the public of the benefits of so-called ?Frankenstein foods? ? not least after the horsemeat scandal increased sensitivity over food safety. 

George Freeman, a Tory MP advising Whitehall on the UK?s new agri-tech strategy, said that if the EU remained hostile to crop research then ?we should look . . . to the derogation of GM product licensing back to nation states?.

Mr Freeman said the debate about health safety was over. ?Over one trillion meals containing GM food have now been eaten in what is effectively the biggest ever global clinical trial in the history of mankind, without one adverse health report,? he said. ?The world is adopting genetic crop science. . . The only question is whether the UK ? inside the EU ? is going to benefit or not??

Mr Paterson has taken a more aggressive stance on GM than his predecessors, saying recently that the government should not ?be afraid of making the case to the public? about its potential benefits. 

There is broad coalition backing for GM; subject to public support, detailed labelling and the resolution of questions over cross-contamination.

However, since the eruption of the horsemeat scandal, some coalition strategists now fear that the public will not stomach ?more chat about messing with food? for now.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the government wanted to ?get the EU regulatory regime into a more sensible place? over GM crops.

However, it is still not clear how Britain would be able to force Brussels? hand unilaterally.

?Trying to push this issue on its own could undermine a raft of other agreements. It would affect the principle of joint decision-making,? said one Whitehall official.

GM proponents are closely watching forthcoming EU-US free trade talks, with American politicians wanting to see liberalisation as part of a wider deal. But José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, gave warning last month that the EU was not prepared to compromise on the issue.

In 2010, the commission proposed giving back control over GM crop approval to member states. But this was abandoned last year after opposition from countries including Germany and France.



                                  PART 2

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

TITLE:   OWEN PATERSON ?TO CALL FOR EU TO ALLOW MORE GM CROPS TO BE SOLD?

SOURCE:  The Telegraph, UK

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/agriculture/9921601/Owen-Paterson-to-call-for-EU-to-allow-more-GM-crops-to-be-sold.html

DATE:    11.03.2013

SUMMARY: "Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, is to call for the sale of more genetically-modified crops to be allowed in Europe, despite fears about the so-called "Frankenstein foods" it was reported. [...] Some fear that tampering with the genes in crops could damage natural ecosystems or even have an effect on human health, but Mr Paterson has dismissed such worries as "complete nonsense". He has described opponents of GM has "humbugs" and said the case for the technology needed to be made "emphatically" in Britain. Mr Paterson believes that Britain should be open to using the science to boost crop yields and prevent disease. "

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OWEN PATERSON ?TO CALL FOR EU TO ALLOW MORE GM CROPS TO BE SOLD?

Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, is to call for the sale of more genetically-modified crops to be allowed in Europe, despite fears about the so-called "Frankenstein foods" it was reported. 

Only two GM crops have so far been approved for human consumption by the EU, though their use is much more widespread in the US and China. 

But proponents of the technology argue that Europe could suffer food shortages and become increasingly reliant on imports if it fails to embrace it. 

Now Mr Paterson, who has previously spoken about the benefits of GM, will make the case for a change in a high-profile speech, the Daily Mail reported. 

He is said to have the backing of George Osborne, who believes it could provide economic opportunities for British farmers. 

Some fear that tampering with the genes in crops could damage natural ecosystems or even have an effect on human health, but Mr Paterson has dismissed such worries as "complete nonsense". 

He has described opponents of GM has "humbugs" and said the case for the technology needed to be made "emphatically" in Britain. 

Mr Paterson believes that Britain should be open to using the science to boost crop yields and prevent disease. 

However latest figures suggest the public may remain sceptical. A survey last month by the Food Standards Agency found two out of three shoppers wanted products from animals fed a GM diet to be labelled. 

The Environment Secretary also faces a battle in winning over countries such as France or Germany that are firmly against GM farming or food. 

One option may be for separate EU nations to be allowed to set their own rules about whether to allow GM food to be sold. 

An aide to Mr Paterson told the Mail: "He wants to have a national conversation about it, based on scientific evidence, and the Prime Minister supports that."



                                  PART 3

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

TITLE:   UPHILL STRUGGLE: ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY OWEN PATERSON WILL ATTEMPT TO TURN THE TIDE ON LIMITED USE OF GM FOOD IN EUROPE WITH A HIGH-PROFILE SPEECH

SOURCE:  The Daily Mail, UK

AUTHOR:  Tamara Cohen

URL:     http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2291334/Time-Europe-let-British-farmers-grow-GM-food-says-environment-minister.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

DATE:    11.03.2013

SUMMARY: "Genetically modified crops should be sold in Europe, despite consumers? concerns about ?Frankenstein foods?, the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson will say. Mr Paterson, who has previously spoken out about the benefits of GM technology, has decided to make a high-profile speech in the hope of turning the tide on the issue. It is understood he has the firm backing of Chancellor George Osborne, who believes GM food could provide opportunities for British farmers. Brussels has so far only approved two GM crops for human consumption, although they are widely used in the US and China, and can be fed to animals in the EU. Supporters say Europe will suffer food shortages and be more reliant on imports if it continues to reject GM products."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


UPHILL STRUGGLE: ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY OWEN PATERSON WILL ATTEMPT TO TURN THE TIDE ON LIMITED USE OF GM FOOD IN EUROPE WITH A HIGH-PROFILE SPEECH

- Time for Europe to let British farmers grow GM food, says environment minister

- Owen Paterson believes the UK should be open to using the GM science

- He has decided to make high-profile speech in the hope of turning the tide

- Mr Paterson has previously dismissed fears over 'Frankenstein foods'

- He is understood to have the backing of Chancellor George Osborne

- Minister faces uphill struggle to convince public after horsemeat scandal

Genetically modified crops should be sold in Europe, despite consumers' concerns about 'Frankenstein foods?, the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson will say.

Mr Paterson, who has previously spoken out about the benefits of GM technology, has decided to make a high-profile speech in the hope of turning the tide on the issue.

It is understood he has the firm backing of Chancellor George Osborne, who believes GM food could provide opportunities for British farmers.

Brussels has so far only approved two GM crops for human consumption, although they are widely used in the US and China, and can be fed to animals in the EU. Supporters say Europe will suffer food shortages and be more reliant on imports if it continues to reject GM products.

But the Mail has highlighted concerns over 'Frankenstein foods' for years, amid fears that tampering with the genes in crops could damage natural ecosystems or even affect human health.

The Environment Secretary has dismissed these concerns as 'complete nonsense?. He believes Britain should be open to using the GM science to increase crop yields and prevent disease. 

Last year he called critics of the technology 'humbugs' and said the case for GM  food needed to be made 'emphatically' in Britain.

'Frankenstein foods': Brussels has so far only approved two GM crops for human consumption

But Mr Paterson, who has been criticised for his handling of the horsemeat scandal, faces an uphill struggle convincing the British public of the benefits of GM food. 

A survey last month by the Food Standards Agency found two out of three UK shoppers wanted products from animals fed a GM diet to be labelled.

Mr Paterson will also have to win over countries who are deeply opposed to any form of GM farming or food such as France and Germany. 

His most viable option is for every nation to be allowed to choose whether to sell GM food in their shops.

In 2010, the EU Commission considered giving back control over GM crop approval to member states.

But this policy was abandoned last year after widespread opposition, as the food industry is too globalised for it to work.

An aide to Mr Paterson  said: 'He wants to have a national conversation about it, based on scientific evidence, and the Prime Minister supports that.'

Tory MP George Freeman has been advising Whitehall on the UK?s agri-tech policy. He believes the safety debate is over.

He told the Financial Times: 'Over a trillion meals containing GM food have now been eaten in what is effectively  the biggest ever global clinical trial in the history of mankind, without one adverse health report.

'The world is adopting genetic crop science. The question is whether the UK is going to benefit or not??

The Coalition has so far allowed scientists to carry out small-scale GM cultivation trials, but its use in consumer products is effectively banned.

However, British farmers have reportedly written to supermarkets warning them that they will not be able to guarantee chickens are fed on solely non-GM feed by May.