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Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 13:00:56 +0100
From: Richard Wolfson <email@example.com>
TOWARDS A GMO MORATORIUM
CHRONOLOGY OF GROWING RESISTANCE TO GMOs THROUGHOUT THE EU
Thomas Schweiger and Isabelle Meister
Greenpeace International Genetic Engineering Campaign November 1998
Greenpeace launches its international campaign against the commercial
releases of GMOs into the environment and food.
EU Environment Council: 13 of the 15 EU Member States state their
market approval of Novartis' GE-maize.
After the European Commission authorises the Novartis GE-maize Austria and
Luxembourg immediately apply EU legislation (Article 16 of Directive
90/220/EEC) to ban the sale of the product on their territory.
France prohibits the commercial growing of Novartis' GE-maize.
Italy applies Article 16 of Directive 90/220/EEC to ban the cultivation of
Spain declares that it will not allow the commercial growing of Novartis GE
maize until the issue of the national bans are solved at the EU level.
In Austria a People's Petition is hugely successful: 1,2 Million Austrians
(approx. 25% of the electorate) call for a ban on GE in agriculture and
The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to suspend the
market consent for Novartis' GE-maize.
The French Committee on Prevention and Precaution recommends that GE crops
containing antibiotic resistance genes - such as Novartis' GE maize -
should not be commercially released into the environment and food.
Italy withdraws its ban for the cultivation of Novartis' GE maize after the
European Commission proposes that Austria's and Luxembourg's ban should be
Norway, a member of the European Economic Area, bans the import of
maize and other GE crops containing antibiotic resistance genes.
France announces a moratorium on the commercial cultivation of all GE
crops, with the exception of Novartis' GE maize.
France announces a moratorium on the commercial use (i.e. including
all GE crops that contain antibiotic resistance genes, with the exception
of Novartis' GE maize.
A public survey shows that 62.6% of the French public wants its government
to withdraw the growing permit for Novartis GE maize.
EU Environment Council does not support the EU Commission's proposal to
over-rule the bans of Novartis' GE-maize in Austria and Luxembourg.
A French Citizen's Panel recommends a ban on all GE crops containing
A public survey shows that 75% of the British public want a ban on the
growing of GE crops until there has been further assessment of the
The French government declares a moratorium on the growing of GE crops that
wild relatives in Europe (i.e. beet and rape).
English Nature, an advisory body to the UK government, calls for a
releases of GMOs containing herbicide resistance genes.
10 September 1998
The EU's Economic and Social Committee (ESC) adopts its report on the
revision of Directive 90/220/EEC, recommending: 'As a precautionary measure
to protect the environment and health, the ESC is therefore of the view
that no antibiotic-resistant marker genes should be used when genetically
modified organisms are deliberately released into the environment.'
11 September 1998
The EU Environment Council decides not to act against the ban of Austria
and Luxembourg, leaving the power to the Commission to decide.
25 September 1998
The French Conseil d'Etat, the highest administrative court, suspends the
authorisation to grow the Novartis GE maize in France until a final
verdict, expected not before December. This ruling comes in a case brought
forward by Greenpeace and other NGOs against the authorisation granted by
the French government. The court's justification for this immediate repeal
of the growing permit is that the Novartis dossier was incomplete as it did
not contain information which would allow the assessment of the long term
effects of the antibiotic resistance gene in the transgenic maize on human
health. This lack of information requires and justifies precautionary
action and the immediate suspension of the growing permit !
Following this ruling the French government decides that all of Novartis'
harvest must be segregated and stored separately until the final verdict of
Early October 1998
All of Austria's main supermarket chains declare that they do not want to
sell GE products and take them off their shelves.
2 October 1998
The Greek government decides to apply Article 16 of Directive 90/220/EEC
the import of GE rapeseed.
8 October 1998
For the first time, the Scientific Committee on Plants of the European
Commission advises against the release of a GMO a potato, containing
12 October 1998
The European Parliament's Environment Committee calls on the Commission not
to overrule the Austrian and Luxembourg ban but to instead impose a
moratorium on new GMO releases.
15 October 1998
The European Commission is quoted in the European Voice as 're-considering
its approach to the release of GMOs'.
19 October 1998
Denmark's Environment Minister is quoted in the national press saying he
wants to discuss a moratorium with his EU colleagues at the next
Environment Council (December).
21 October 1998
The UK government announces a de-facto three-year moratorium on
plants (e.g. Bt-resistant) and a de-facto one year moratorium on herbicide
resistant plants. The government has come to an agreement with the biotech
industry in the UK that industry would not apply for authorisation of any
of these plants during this time period.
... Outside Europe public opposition is growing too. Some recent
Brazil: a court prohibits the growing of Monsanto's GE soy in Brazil and
asks for specific labelling requirements of GE products.
Thailand prohibits the release of GE rice, because being a Center of Origin
it is worried about negative effects on its wild and traditional rice
In the USA the USDA is forced to withdraw a scandalous proposal of 'organic
standards' which would have included GE produce.
In Japan, the "NO! FOOD CAMPAIGN" is supported by 1.7 million Japanese
demanding that their Government prohibits GMO food, and at least clearly
all GMO food.
Farmer's Guardian (UK) 28 Nov 98.
Government on GM trial
The Government has come under attack for failing to act in an open and
transparent manner in rushing through Parliament new legislation which ends
the need for replicated trials to be carried out on genetically modified
crops, just six days after a consultation process was completed.
The ammendment to the law will do away with requirement for replicated
trials to be carried out both for future applications and for those
varieties currently undergoing National Seed Listing trials.
The ammendment was required following citicism by the Court of Appeal,
which said the Government had acted contrary to law by not requring
replicated seed trials of genetically engineered seeds, as the law demanded
under the 1982 Seed List regulation.
Patrick Holden , Soil Association director, said it was clear that pressure
had been brought to bear on the government in a quite unprecedented way.
"Previous proposals published by the Government on Sep 17, which we
welcomed , would have delayed commercial planting of genetically modified
crop varieties by at least one year."
Mr Holden accused the Government of failing to take into account huge
public opposition to the growing of genetically engineered crops in the UK,
highlighting the 77 per cent of people in a recent MORI poll, who had
opposed GE organisms being released into the countryside.
"It took the Government only six days six days after the consultation
process was over, before the law was rushed through Parliament. The
Government has not taken into account the concerns that the majority of the
British public have about the quick release of G/E organisms into the
enviroment. I believe this is a mistake which will enevitably lead to
future problems," he added.
Pete Riley, food campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said : "Genetic
Engineering is a new and still unpredictable technology. Halving the amount
of data needed shows once again that the Government is bowing to the
interests of the biotech companies and is in total contempt of the growing
Richard Wolfson, PhD
Consumer Right to Know Campaign,
for Mandatory Labelling and Long-term
Testing of all Genetically Engineered Foods,
500 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, ON Canada K1N 6N2
tel. 613-565-8517 fax. 613-565-1596
Our website, http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/geindex.html
contains more information on genetic engineering as well as
previous genetic engineering news items
Subscription fee to genetic engineering news is $35 for 12 months
See website for details.
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--
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