GMO-free news from Norway

2015-01-13 |

Seed Banks Are Just a Start

Farmers will need to experiment to cope with climate change.

Cary Fowler helped create the world’s largest seed bank, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which stores more than 780,000 crop varieties in a mountain in the Norwegian Arctic. Climate change is the biggest challenge farming has ever faced, he says, and to survive it we need to learn much more about plants.

Why are seed banks important?
I call them an insurance policy for the globe. Without crop diversity, farming isn’t going to adapt to climate change, and neither are we. It’s the biggest challenge that agriculture has faced since the Neolithic days when agriculture began. We’re going to see a change in seasonality, growing seasons that no longer align with rainfall—everything will be out of whack. If you think the recent droughts in the U.S. Midwest and California were bad, we’ve got more of this coming, and it’s going to get worse.

Is it enough just to save seeds in seed banks?
No, you also need to know what you have there. To use an analogy, it may be in the library, but we don’t yet have it card-cataloged for the kinds of traits that we will need in the future. At the moment, virtually no seed bank is geared up for screening seeds and providing good answers to farmers who need new crop varieties in order to adapt to climate change. If a new disease comes along and you need resistance, and that resistance isn’t found in the crops that are already in your field, you’ll go out of business or starve.

2014-12-10 |

Norwegian Authorities Ban GM Fish Feed over Antibiotic Resistance Fears

According to the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has stopped approving (on a yearly basis) GMOs for use in fish feed that contain genes coding for antibiotic resistance. According to the Advisory Board, this applies to 8 out of 19 GMOs which the fish feed industry had previously been given permission to use since 2008.

2014-11-28 |

Norwegian food authority stops approving antibiotic marker gene-containing GMOs in fish feed

GMWatch: 28 November 2014

Move comes amid concerns about rise in antibiotic-resistant infections

According to the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has stopped approving (on a yearly basis) GMOs for use in fish feed that contain genes coding for antibiotic resistance. According to the Advisory Board, this applies to 8 out of 19 GMOs which the fish feed industry had previously been given permission to use since 2008.

An article on the website of the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board reports:

"The fear is that genes in the GM feed that code for antibiotic resistance may be taken up by various bacteria in the soil in the country where the GMO is produced, in the feed production chain, or in the gut of the fish. Scientists know little about to what extent, or if, this happens with genes that are inserted via genetic modification, but few would deny that it could happen. If the genes first have entered into a bacterium [during the genetic engineering process], they may quickly spread further."

2014-10-30 |

Norway allows import of GM maize for food

In a big shift from the position held by the previous government, the current Norwegian government will open the door for genetically-modified maize to be imported for food, the Norwegian news agency NTB reported on Wednesday.

2013-12-09 |

Norway: Marine Harvest, WWF call for proper GM salmon labelling

Marine Harvest, the world’s largest farmed salmon producer, does not support the introduction of genetically modified salmon and is calling for it to be labelled as GM if approved for the American market.

2013-02-04 |

Genetically modified salmon - a fast growing hype

The U.S. government may be about to approve genetically modified salmon from the company AquaBounty. If the salmon is allowed, it will become the first genetically modified animal heading for our dinner plates. The salmon is genetically engineered to grow faster, and the company therefore argues that the fish will help to feed a hungry world. “Here once again we have the GM industry proclaiming it is going to save the World. This time with a luxury product, salmon, of all things. In fact this salmon is a textbook example of why genetic modification is a dead end investment if you really want to feed the world”, says Bell Batta Torheim, advisor to the Development Fund.

2013-01-09 |

Genetically modified maize doesn’t reduce salmon growth according to Norwegian study

A recent study contradicts earlier findings of reduced growth and appetite in salmon. There were only minimal differences between salmon that were fed genetically modified maize and those on a diet of normal maize. These were the results of a study carried out by NIFES and the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science. The feeding trial lasted for three months, and the results are different from those found by an earlier experiment in 2007, which showed that salmon on a diet of GM maize ate less and grew less than salmon given ordinary maize. “It is still too early to draw any conclusions, but such a difference in the results suggests that it was not the GM maize that led to reduced growth,” says NIFES scientist Nini H. Sissener.

2012-07-27 |

Rats growing fatter on a GM maize diet according to international research project

An international research project is exploring the effects of GM food, studying the impact on rats, mice, pig and salmon. The wide-ranging study includes researchers from Hungary, Austria, Ireland, Turkey, Australia and Norway. [...] As part of the project, a group of rats were fed corn which had been genetically modified for pest resistance. Over a period of 90 days they became slightly fatter than the control group of rats fed non-GM corn. The same effect occurred where rats were fed fish which, in turn, had eaten GM corn. ”If the same effect applies to humans, how would it impact on people eating this type of corn over a number of years, or even eating meat from animals feeding on this corn?”, he asks. ”I don't wish to sound alarmist, but it is an interesting phenomenon and worth exploring further.”

2011-10-12 |

Gene technology to secure global food supply say Norwegian scientists

Rapid population growth and a swiftly changing climate compound the challenges of ensuring a secure global food supply. Genetically modified plants could help to solve the problem, believes a Norwegian crop researcher. Over 90 per cent of the global food supply consists of either plants or meat from production animals raised on plant-based feeds. By 2050, 70 per cent more food will need to be produced worldwide on roughly the same area of farmland to keep up with global population growth. At the same time, major changes in climate are expected to occur.

2011-06-09 |

Norway’s regulators say no to BASF’s GM potato

DN has evaluated the available information regarding the product’s risk to health and the environment, social benefit, contribution to sustainable development and ethical issues in accordance with the Norwegian Gene Technology Act and Nature Diversity Act. DN has concluded that the potato should not be cultivated, nor used for industry purposes or in animal feed in Norway. DN has also recommended against allowing unintended mixing of the potato in food and feed products up to 0.9%.

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