ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
26 February 2003


1.Dutch subsidiary firm stops work on GMOs in India
2.Powers to stop the planting of GMOs strenthened in WA
3.GMO opponents slam green light for field-testing
4.EPA Approves Monsanto's New Type of Corn


1.Dutch subsidiary firm stops work on GMOs in India

Date Posted: 2/25/2003

India Business Insight via NewsEdge Corporation : Nunhems Seeds, the Indian subsidiary of Nunza B V of Netherlands, has suspended work on genetically modified organisms (GMO) in India. The company has taken the decision fearing that the Government of India may not approve commercial cultivation of such crops.

The company has suspended research on GMO after the decision on GM mustard was deferred by the Genetic Engineering Approval committee.


2.Rules for planting GM crops to be strengthened

ABC News

The Western Australian Government is preparing legislation to strengthen its powers to stop the planting of genetically modified (GM) crops.

Agriculture Minister Kim Chance says cabinet has approved the drafting of legislation giving him the power to specify areas where GM crops cannot be cultivated.

The government is worried a current five-year moratorium on GM food crops might be difficult to enforce because legislation to support it is still being examined by a parliamentary committee, which is not due to report back until June.

Mr Chance says the interim legislation will leave the government's position in no doubt.

"I'm happy with the arrangements we have so far, but I also think it's our responsibility to ensure that we have adequate legislation to put in place our policy," he said.


3.GMO opponents slam green light for field-testing

The Nation, Thailand
Wednesday, February 26, 2003  08:36

The Agriculture Ministry's proposal to allow field testing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) met strong opposition yesterday from environmentalists and consumer groups.

And they said the plan plays into the hands of the United States, which wants to push global GMO trade at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum to be held in Thailand this year.

"GMO safety is still being debated worldwide, and Thailand should not take any risks. There has been no scientific confirmation regarding safety or ecological impact," a representative of the BioThai organisation said.

Agriculture Minister Sora-at Klinprathum on Monday said he would seek Cabinet approval for the field tests, despite the fact that GMOs were formally banned by the govern?ment on April 3, 2001. Sora-at said he would seek the Cabinet resolution's revocation. BioThai had previously called on the government to stand by its resolution, but is now calling for the passage of a bio-safety bill to protect Thai con?sumers, or at least regulate GMO research.

"Current law is too weak to guard against possible risks from GMO research," said BioThai's Witoon Lianchamroon.

He urged authorities to disclose the contractual elements of GMO papaya research by the multinational Biotech Corp and two state authorities, the Agriculture Department and the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.

Witoon said he suspected that the deal was intended to promote the testing of GMO papaya farming in the country, which he warned could put natural papaya at risk - as well as consumer health."The impact would be vast if they do field-testing on papaya because Thai people eat a lot of papaya in their daily lives," he said.

"The field tests would be a serious violation of consumer rights," said Foundation for the Consumer secretary-general Saree Ongsomwang. Witoon said Thai environmentalist and consumer groups are worried that the government's policy regarding GMOs is being influenced by a top GMO promoter, Deputy Agriculture Minister Newin Chidchob, who once allowed field tests on GMO cotton and caused what opponents called "vast" damage.

"The Thai public should keep a close eye on him," one activist said yesterday.


4.EPA Approves Monsanto's New Type of Corn

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - A new corn genetically designed to resist rootworm can go onto the market, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday.

"This new variety of corn pest control holds great promise for reducing reliance on conventional insecticides now used on millions of acres of corn in the U.S." said Stephen L. Johnson, an assistant administrator at the EPA.

Monsanto, a St. Louis biotech company, designed the corn variety so it would produce its own insecticide to fend off rootworm, a pest whose larvae feed off the plant's roots. The plant's pesticide is derived from a protein contained in a natural soil bacterium called Bt, or Bacillus thuringiensis.

Farmers have had to depend on chemical insecticides and alternating soybean and corn crops every other year to control rootworm.

Monsanto officials said the government's approval came just in time for the 2003 planting season. The variety will be sold as YieldGard Rootworm corn.

"The registration of YieldGard Rootworm corn is great news for the hundreds of seed companies and tens of thousands of U.S. farmers who are seeing the benefits of biotech products," said Jennifer Ozimkiewicz, a Monsanto spokeswoman.

EPA officials said they want to reduce the risk of rootworm developing a tolerance to the corn's pesticide by requiring Monsanto to ensure that 20 percent of the acreage where the seeds are planted is kept as a buffer zone.

The zone would be a refuge for rootworms that won't be in contact with the pesticide. EPA officials expect the unexposed rootworms to mate with those exposed to the Bt bacterium, which should prevent the insects from passing on their tolerance and help the pesticide remain effective.

Gregory Jaffe, biotech director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, warned that setting aside 20 percent of the acreage to prevent resistance development isn't enough. He said at least half the acreage should be set aside for the buffer zone as an extra precaution.

Environmental Protection Agency:

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