ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

22 May 2002


The regulatory burden, complexity and expense, of this technology goes on growing:
1. Government to share cost of rectifying GM error
2. India: Ajit Singh seeks Vajpayee's intervention on GM products


1. Government to share cost of rectifying GM error

Swiss time 09:41, Wednesday 22.05.2002

The federal testing laboratory attested that 1,000 tons of fodder were free from genetically-modified soya [Keystone]

The Swiss government has said it will pay about half of the SFr1.3 million ($820,000) costs related to the mistaken distribution of genetically modified feed.

Last year, the federal testing laboratory at Posieux in canton Fribourg wrongly attested that 1,000 tons of fodder were free from genetically-modified soya.

The fodder was later used to feed animals in farms from which the Migros and Coop stores bought meat and eggs for their organic labels.

Once the lab mistake was uncovered, both stores were forced to sell the products under conventional labels at lower prices. The faulty fodder was withdrawn from the market.

A spokesman for the Federal Agriculture Office, Juerg Jordi, said the SFr1.3 million cost took into account the withdrawal from the market and the losses the retailers incurred.

Jordi added that an out-of-court settlement had been reached in which the government, the importer, the animal feed producer and the two stores would contribute to the costs of rectifying the damage.

The fodder, which originated in Argentina, was first tested in August 2000 and was found to contain 1.7 per cent genetically modified soya - below the 3 per cent tolerance level in Switzerland - making the feed suitable for the market.

A second round of tests in February 2001 found the fodder to contain not 1.7 but 17 per cent genetically modified soya.


2. India: Ajit Singh seeks Vajpayee’s intervention on GM products

Financial Times Information Limited - Asia Africa Intelligence Wire
May 20, 2002

Agriculture Minister Ajit Singh has written to the Prime Minister requesting his intervention in creating a system that can detect entry of transgenic foods into the country.

He was particularly concerned about soyabean oil which comes in huge quantities  and is suspected to be made of genetically modified soya.

"With no response from the Environment Ministry on curbing import of Genetically Modified (GM) foods like soyabean oil, I have requested the Prime minister to intervene in the matter," Singh told newspersons. He clarified that he had not changed his stance on GM foods but since the the Environment Protection Act (EPA) already existed, the government just had to frame the laws to increase the safeguards.

He said that the Environment Ministry must issue a notification under the EPA, making it mandatory for importers to issue a declaration that their imported food products are not genetically modified at the point of entry into the country.

He regretted that despite the urgency of the matter, effective steps have not been taken by the Environment Ministry. He said that since the government has not decided whether they want to let these imports in, the Genetic Approval Committee has to decide on a case-to-case basis.

Singh also said that laboratories were put in place which would be able to conduct tests to detect whether this oil was made of genetically modified soyabean. "Although the tests are often not conclusive," he said. "Rules must be formulated, a system put in place and requisite tests conducted to ascertain whether the GM soya oil has a negative impact on the environment," he said.

Recently, Food Minister Shanta Kumar described the testing of soya oil for its GM sources as impractical and said such testing is likely to result in monopoly of palm oil in India's imports. Owing to a favourable tariff regime, soya oil imports shot up to 14.14 lakh tonnes in 2000-01 (Nov-Oct) from 6.87 lakh tonnes in the previous year.

 Copyright 2002.  All Rights Reserved.

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