European GMO-Free Regions Conference

18.10.2019 |

The EU dilemma with the GMO industry and independent risk research

The EU should give higher priority to the protection of health and the environment, but when it comes to genetically engineered plants, the current standards of risk assessment are not sufficient to fulfil the legal requirements, writes Christoph Then, executive director at Testbiotech.

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Currently, more than 70 genetically engineered plants have approval for import into the EU. Most of these plants have more than one trait. One typical example is maize “SmartStax“, developed and marketed by Monsanto (Bayer) and DowDupont (Corteva): it produces six insecticidal Bt toxins and is tolerant to several herbicides.

The gaps in current risk assessment can be exemplified by the fact that this maize was allowed for import into the EU without a single feeding study with the whole food and feed to assess its potential health effects.

There is a long list of gaps in EFSA risk assessment.

16.10.2019 |

GMOs, synthetic biology have cultural, environmental impacts in Africa

African countries’ representatives of scientists, civil society and legal practitioners have said that technologies, such as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), synthetic biology and geo-engineering have cultural, sanitary, environmental, economic and social impacts in Africa. The experts, who spoke at an event at the School of Ecology organized by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation and ETC Group in Abuja on ‘New and Emerging Technologies and their Implications for Africa’,also said they can bring about the disruption of livelihoods on a massive scale.

16.10.2019 |

Gene Editing Mishaps Highlight Need for FDA Oversight

A Midwestern company’s quest to genetically engineer the world’s first hornless dairy cows hit a snag this summer when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found extra genes in the cows that weren’t supposed to be there. The mistakes that FDA caught – but the company missed – highlight the importance of government oversight of gene-edited foods at a time when industry groups are pushing for deregulation.

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Latham, a biologist and former genetic engineer, also points to recent findings from Japan that he believes may be more consequential than the FDA’s findings, and have greater implications for the regulatory landscape. In a 2019 study, Japanese researchers reported that edited mouse genomes had acquired DNA from the E. coli genome, as well as goat and bovine DNA. This stray DNA came from the gene editing reagents, the delivery method used to make the edits.

The findings, Latham wrote in Independent Science News, “are very simple: cutting DNA inside cells, regardless of the precise type of gene editing, predisposes genomes to acquire unwanted DNA.” He said these findings “imply, at the very least, the need for strong measures to prevent contamination by stray DNA, along with thorough scrutiny of gene-edited cells and gene-edited organisms. And, as the Recombinetics case suggests, these are needs that developers themselves may not meet.”

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Photo: © Sanjay Kumar

GMO-Free Europe, Berlin 2018

More than 200 participants from GMO Free Regions throughout Europe, as well as guests from North-America, Asia, New Zealand and Africa (35 nations in total) met in Berlin to discuss new an old challenges of genetic engineering in agriculture as well as the environment at large. They were relieved and reassured by the recent European Court of Justice’ decision that all forms of genetic engineering, including CRISPR-Cas and other forms of so called “gene editing” fall under the European directive on GMOs. This requires risk assessment and specific approval for each GM product, traceability and labelling. For further details and documentation see conference website.

GMO-Free Europe, Berlin 2015

From 6 to 8th May 2015 more than 400 representatives of regional governments, business, science and civil society from 60 countries and all continents met for the 8th conference and 10th anniversary of GMO Free Europe. For further details and documentation see conference website.

GMO-Free Europe
Brussels 2012

The 7th European GMO Free Regions Conference welcomed 200 participants from 33 countries inSeptember 2012 in Brussels. Key issues were the question of national bans for the cultivation of GMO crops. Sofia Gatica and Maria Godoy, two mothers from Argentina, called upon Europeans to stop the import of GM soybeans. Conference proceedings


GMO-Free Europe
Brussels 2010

300 people from 37 countries joined the 6th European Conference of GMO-Free Regions in Brussels and Ghent, 16-18 September 2010, including EU-Commissioner John Dalli, heads of supermarkets and leaders of the GMO Free movement inside and outside Europe.  Conference proceedings and audiovisuals

Food+Democracy
Lucern 2009

On 24/25th April 2009 the 5th European GMO Free Conference was hosted by the Swiss movement against GMOs in Lucern, including the Speaker of the National Council and the head of Parliament of the Canton Lucerne. They welcomed 250 representatives from 39 countries. Proceedings 


Planet Diversity
Bonn 2008

At the occasion of the UN Convention of Biological Diversity's meeting in Bonn, Germany, more than 700 representatives from 100 countries around the world gathered on April 12 to 16 in Bonn, Germany, to celebrate gmo-free agricultural diversity. A global festival, demonstration and 3 day conference with guests from all around the world marked the GMO Free Regions event 2008. Proceedings

GMO-Free Regions
Brussels 2007

300 participants from 37 countries gathered at the European Parliament in Brussels, 19-20 April 2007 to discuss strategies of the GMO free regions movement as well as burning issues such as the impacts of agro-fuels on sustainable agriculture. Proceedings

 

 

GMO-Free Regions
Berlin 2006

250 representatives of regional governments, municipalities, companies, farmers unions, consumer and environmental organisations and initiatives from 35 countries met in Berlin on January 14 - 15, 2006, for the 2nd GMO Free Regions conference.
Proceedings

GMO-FREE Europe, Berlin 2005

The First GMO Free Regions Conference took place in Berlin 22-23rd January 2005 in the Harnack house of the Max-Planck Society. 190 participants from 25 countries adopted the "Berlin Manifesto" of GMO Free Regions in Europe. More Details

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