30 January 2002
WIDESPREAD GM CONTAMINATION IN EVERYDAY FOODS / SO WHAT PRODUCTS ARE CONTAMINATED? / GM SEPARATION DISTANCE MUST BE AT LEAST 5 KM / DUTCH PARLIAMENT ON DUTCH GOV. BIOTECH POLICY
1. WIDESPREAD GM CONTAMINATION IN EVERY DAY FOODS
2. So what products are contaminated?
3. GM SEPARATION DISTANCE MUST BE AT LEAST 5KM
4. Dutch Parliament on Dutch Gov. Biotech Policy
1. FIVE YEAR FREEZE - PRESS RELEASE
Embargoed until 00.01.00 on Thursday 31st January 2002
CONSUMERS UNAWARE OF WIDESPREAD GM CONTAMINATION IN EVERYDAY FOODS
In response to the Food Standards Agency survey to-day on improvements in testing foods for GM content, the Five Year Freeze is disappointed to note that over 15% of the baked goods (bread, baps, cakes, pies and pastries) tested, contained traces of genetically modified soya.
Consumers believe that they are not eating foods containing GM ingredients. Supposedly supermarkets and food producers in the UK had gone to great lengths to remove GM ingredients from their products in response to public demand. The results of this survey, set up to examine the efficiency of testing methods, will come as a shock to consumers and severely dent confidence.
Under current labelling regulations foods containing less than 1% GM ingredients do not have to be labelled. In the survey three products were found to have more than the 1% threshold but this was not declared on the package. And one of the samples containing traces of GM was labelled organic - despite organic certification following a zero contamination policy.
Five Year Freeze Co-ordinator, Clare Devereux, said:
'The danger of sloppy traceability, poor enforcement and the contamination of food is a lesson the Government should have learnt from the BSE crisis. It appears not to have done so in the case of GM foods. We welcome the fact that the FSA is monitoring this issue. However it must now show its teeth and put the interests of the consumer first in acting on the results of thissurvey. If not, it is in danger of being seen to collude with the GM industry in allowing irreversible contamination of the food chain and the removal of consumer choice forever. The first step the FSA must take in this matter is to disclose the names of the products tested in order to help consumers make informed choices.'
For more information contact Clare Devereux, 020 7837 0642 (office), 012373 82270 (home), 07803 002825 (mobile).
 The Five Year Freeze campaign is run by the Genetic Engineering Alliance, a coalition of over 120 national organisations calling for a moratorium on the growing, importing and patenting of GM foods. Members inlcude UNISON, Friends of the Earth, the Soil Association, the National Federation of Women's Institutes, the Council for the Protection of Rural England, Oxfam, WWF. For a full list of members see www.fiveyearfreeze.org
Food Standards Agency: Assessment of the performance of real time PCR to quantitatively determine genetically modified soya in processed food products, 1 Feb 2002.
FIVE YEAR FREEZE CAMPAIGN
The Genetic Engineering Alliance
94 White Lion Street
Tel: 020 7837 0642/01273 822700
Fax: 020 7837 1141
2. Subject: Media enquiry: Study shows improvements in GM testing
Could you provide the names of products and suppliers for the 3 samples which contained illegal unlabelled GM soya content in excess of 1%?
As the Food Standards Agency supports consumer choice, it is to be hoped that you can provide this information, so that the consumer can choose not to purchase these GM-contaminated products.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks & regards
Editor, "Genetically Modified Food - UK and World News"
3. FRIENDS OF THE EARTH PRESS RELEASE
Immediate: Wednesday 30 January 2001
FOE CHALLENGES GOVERNMENT OVER GM CROP TRIALS
GM SEPARATION DISTANCE MUST BE AT LEAST 5KM
Friends of the Earth has welcomed Environment Minister Michael Meacher's promise today  that the Government will take public concern into account before making any decision on whether to allow the commercial development of GM crops.
Later this week the Government will announce the next round of farm scale evaluations (FSEs) of GM crops. FOE is challenging the Government to increase the separation distance around the GM oilseed rape crop trials to 5km to safeguard neighbouring crops from unacceptable levels of GM contamination. The current separation distance between GM oilseed rape and conventional varieties is 50 metres .
Last September the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission published a report  which was critical of the FSEs. One of its recommendations was that "the programme of FSEs should be completed subject to...the Government working with SCIMAC and representatives of the organic farming industry to set adequate separation distances for the remaining trials to ensure that the interests of all parties are accommodated." Earlier this month Environment Minister, Margaret Beckett, responded that "the separation distances for the FSEs have been set to ensure that cross-pollination is a maximum of 1%. However...there is a case for separation distances to be greater so as to ensure a maximum of, for example, 0.1% cross-pollination ". To achieve this FOE estimates that separation distances should be at least 5 km. Last year the EC said that a 5km separation distance would be needed to ensure that oilseed rape seed production achieved a contamination threshold of 0.3%.
Adrian Bebb, GM Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: "GM crops should not be grown in the UK against the wishes of the public. We are delighted that the Government now appears to accept this principle, and that there will be a public debate on this issue.
"The Government now admits that the separation distances around the GM crop trials are not large enough to protect neighbouring crops and honey from significant levels of GM contamination. When the new GM oilseed rape trials are announced later this week the separation distance must be at least 5km. Anything less will be totally inadequate."
 Today programme 30/1/02
 The separation distance around GM crops is 50 metres for
conventional crops and 200 m for organic or seed production.
4. Dutch Parliament on Dutch Gov. Biotech Policy
Wytze de Lang <email@example.com>
The last two weeks a special biotech-commission of Dutch Parliament talked about and with the government on its policy towards biotechnology. Main points of this policy are: 189-275 million euro investment in Genomics.
Moving cautiously ahead with biotechnology.
Though Parliament started the debate critically and with some good questions, the endpositions are much weaker. Basically parliament takes over the government’s line of being optimistic of what can be achieved with biotechnology, but that it needs to be done carefully, with limiting the risks as much as possible. The only real good thing probably is the request of parliament that the goverment makes a real effort to establish a segregated feed-sector. This no doubt was accepted under the pressure of the recent "public debate" which showed that the public has strong reservations/strong rejection of GE in food. A request by the greens and the small christian party to support the existing European de facto moratorium was rejected by the Minister of Environment who said that he did not support the moratorium politically, but that he did support the content of it. It is not likely the request by the two parties will be supported by a majority in Parliament, which votes on the issue tomorrow. Parliament also asks for the establishment of an ethical framework which should be used in judging GE applications. It is not expected that this will change much in current practice. Dutch Minister of Health may join her Belgium colleague in a procedure against the BRCA-gene patent of Myriad Genetics. In all, a rather weak performance of Parliament here.
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