11 March 2002
Five arrests at GM crops protest - Nearly 100 white-suited protesters ripped up parts of a field of genetically-modified oilseed rape in Warwickshire, central England. Police said they arrested five people on suspicion of criminal damage, and were monitoring the situation to prevent further action. The protesters, wearing masks, climbed over a fence and rampaged across the field in the village of Long Marston. Then, on their hands and knees they ripped up the plants. Police moved into the field, chased the protesters and began taking people away. (Agence France Presse)
Five arrested at GM crop protest - Five people have been arrested by police after crops were uprooted during a GM protest on Saturday. (BBC Online)
Italian consumers still not convinced by GM - Italian consumers are still not convinced about GM foodstuffs, but are open to the use of the technology in medicine, according to a survey presented today [Thursday] by the Milan-based Giannino Bassetti Foundation. Italy is currently the largest producer of organic foods in Europe, and the Italian public seems notably less keen to embrace biotechnology than some of its continental neighbours. The latest report revealed that just 20% of Italians would prefer GM food products if they tasted better. Furthermore, only 10% would buy GM foods if they were cheaper than non-GM equivalents. A massive 95% of Italians believe that all GM foods should be clearly labelled as such. (just-food.com)
Farms at risk from GM test - MORE than 100 organic farms could be at risk of contamination from the current round of genetically-modified-crop test sites, according to research published today. The Soil Association said planting is due to start from Friday 15 March at a number of sites, despite new government confusion over buffer zones to prevent the spread of GM pollen. Their study shows that 111 organic farms are close to the 44 fields of GM spring oil seed rape, sugar beet and fodder beet. More farms could be affected by the next round of GM maize planting, said the Soil Association. The government is recommending that a 200-metre buffer zone is kept between GM and other similar crops. The association said this is 25 times lower than the 5km limit for oil seed rape put forward by the European Commission to protect seed purity. Even with this safety margin, the commission has admitted 0.3 per cent of organic and non-organic oil seed rape seed could be contaminated. In the US, where GM contamination is now widespread, double the UK buffer zone (400 metres) is used. (The Scotsman)
GM food safety checks agreed on by WHO body - YOKOHAMA An international group on food safety reached a preliminary agreement Friday to establish international standards covering genetically modified food. The standards include rules for analyzing genetically modified foods and guidelines on how to check its safety. The preliminary agreement, the first of its kind approved by an international body, was reached during a subgroup meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission held in Yokohama. (Kyodo)
BT cotton approval coming up - CHANDIGARH: Cotton-growers may be allowed to grow the legally-approved genetically modified cotton variety in the coming kharif season.
(The Times of India)
NO DECISION ON BT COTTON YET
NEW DELHI: The Union environment ministry's genetic engineering approval committee (GEAC), now set to meet around March 26, has only one message, loud and clear: We haven't taken a decision yet, don't try to pre-empt us.
The GEAC, comprising experts and representatives of various ministries
and departments, is expected to decide whether it should allow what would
be India's first commercially-grown transgenic crop - pest-resistant, Bt
cotton. Large-scale trials have been on for the past two years, with the
data generated - and its accuracy and quality - hotly debated between those
in favour of genetically-modified crops and those against them. It is understood
that there is little that is adverse in the reams of data now generated.
But sources say the GEAC has to discuss and take a view on ''serious, scientific
questions'' which may be well beyond the scope of the data. The crux: What
would be the net effect on biodiversity of a GM crop? Are we prepared to
take the risk of possibly losing certain species? "The second major issue
is regulation, and enforcement.
(The Times of India, March 9))
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