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Checkbiotech: Call for GM crop ban as Europe over-rules its ministers
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: September 07, 2005 07:24AM ; ;

The European Commission has approved the import of Monsanto's genetically
modified oilseed rape, making it available for food and animal feed across
the EU, September 2005.

The decision came despite the decision of the UK, and most EU Member State
governments, not to support the application.

And Friends of the Earth warned that approval could create GM hybrids in the
wider environment.

The environmental campaign group condemned the decision and called on the
Government to impose a ban on the oilseed rape.

'Not only has the Commission ignored the opinion of 19 European environment
ministers and recent scientific findings, but it is also allowing Monsanto
to decide whether our countryside is contaminated,' said FoE's GM campaigner
Clare Oxborrow.

'It is disgraceful that once again the Commission has failed to act to
protect the environment.

'The UK Government did not support this approval. Now it must take matters
into its own hand and impose a national ban on this GM seed.'

The oilseed rape variety, known as GT73, is resistant to Monsanto's own

Most of EU Member States voted against the application or abstained last
year because of unanswered questions over safety and impact on the

Tests have shown that rats fed the oilseed rape showed increase in liver
weights and there are also concerns over the impact of seed spills into the

In addition, recent UK Government research has reported the discovery of the
first genetically modified 'superweed' - the result of GM oilseed rape
cross-breeding with the common weed charlock in the UK farm scale trials.
The weed is resistant to the herbicide used on GM crops.

Member states voted 13 to six with six abstentions, including the UK, to ban
imports of the crop and products made from it.

But the Commissioners ignored the vote and agreed to allow the crop into
Europe on the basis of an opinion by the European Food Safety Authority.

And although the Commission accepted that the possibility of cross-breeding
was an area of concern, it failed to specify safety measures to prevent

Friends of the Earth is calling on the UK Government to use the provisions
in EU law to impose national bans on the GM seed.

The decision will make it even harder for farmers who want to provide non-GM
feed for their livestock.

BOCM Pauls Ltd say most of their products now contain GM material, with the
exception of its organic range of sheep feed and three beef diets - Eco beef
grade nuts, Eco beef rolls and Eco beef mix 34, which contain less than

In a letter to the Welsh anti-GM campaigner Josie MacDonald the company says
there is currently no demand for non-GM ewe or lamb feeds.


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