News

2015-04-23 |

EU proposal on GMO food criticised by Greenpeace, industry

Juncker breaks promise Juncker breaks promise

The European Commission's proposed new rules on the approval of food derived from genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), published on Wednesday (22 April), have immediately attracted criticism from both environment NGOs and the agribusiness sector. For the first time, the proposal formally allows EU countries to opt-out from the Europe-wide approval system.
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Only one GM crop is currently grown in Europe, Monsanto's maize MON810, in Spain and Portugal.

But the new proposal attracted criticism by Greenpeace, which said the proposed reform would still allow the Commission to authorise the import of GMOs, even when a majority of national governments, the European Parliament and the public oppose them.

“The Commission’s proposal is a farce because it leaves the current undemocratic system untouched. It would allow the Commission to continue ignoring major opposition to GM crops, despite president Juncker’s promise to allow a majority of EU countries to halt Commission decisions on GMOs," said Greenpeace EU's food policy director Franziska Achterberg.

2015-04-21 |

Fertile soils key to food security and sustainable development

Soil A handful of fertile soil (Photo: Pat Dumas/flickr.com)

Healthy soils are the foundation of global food production and ought to become a top priority on the political agenda. This was one of the key messages of the opening pannel at the Global Soil Week, which started in Berlin on Monday. „If humanity’s overarching need for food security and nutrition, climate change mitigation and sustainable development is to be met, soil resources have to be given the global attention they deserve,” said Moujahed Achouri, Director of FAO’s Land and Water Division, in his opening address. However, the level of soil degradation is alarming in many countries. „Every year, 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil is lost: through erosion, development, flooding, mining - or through intensive agriculture,“ says Jes Weigelt of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Germany, which organises the conference together with partners such as FAO, UNEP or the European Commission. Global Soil Week brings together more than 550 land and soil management experts from 78 countries. Under the slogan „Soil. The Substance of Transformation“, this year’s meeting highlights the importance of land and soil in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals, to be adopted by the UN General Assembly in autumn, will succeed the Millennium Development Goals and form the political foundation for sustainable development in both developing and industrialised nations. But a new IASS research paper released on Monday shows that the land demands made in the SDGs exceed the world’s existing land resources. Twelve of the proposed SDGs relate to the sustainable use of natural resources and several depend on the use of additional land resources, e.g. Goal 2 on food security and sustainable agriculture, as well as the goals on energy supply (Goal 7), production and consumption (Goal 12) and the sustainable use of ecosystems (Goal 15). IASS Executive Director Klaus Töpfer concluded: “The 17 SDGs are therefore not consistent. The demands for biomass and land that they make are far more than we can possibly meet. We need to set priorities, for example, where food security is concerned.” According to the publication, consumers play an important role as well. “The choices we make are of great importance: not only our decisions on what to consume, but also our decision to buy food in a way that it does not end up being wasted.” (ab)

2015-04-21 |

EU clears path for 17 new GM foods

Seventeen new genetically modified food products will be authorised for import to Europe before the end of May in a significant acceleration of biotech trade, the Guardian has learned.

2015-04-21 |

US forced to import corn as shoppers demand organic non-GM food

A growing demand for organics, and the near-total reliance by U.S. farmers on genetically modified corn and soybeans, is driving a surge in imports from other nations where crops largely are free of bioengineering.

2015-04-21 |

US farmers turn to GMO-free crops to boost income

This is an interesting article about a small but significant farmer shift from GMO to non-GMO crops in the GMO heartland of Iowa.

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