GMO news related to Belgium

28.03.2017 |

European Nations Vote Against GMO Crops

The majority of European Union governments voted against a proposal to authorize two new strains of genetically modified (GMO) maize today.

The two varieties of maize, DuPont Pioneer's 1507 and Syngenta's Bt11, kill insects by producing its own pesticide and is also resistant Bayer's glufosinate herbicide.

If approved, the varieties would be the first new GMO crops authorized for cultivation in the EU since 1998.

However, as Reuters noted, the votes against authorization did not decisively block their entry to the EU because the opposition did not represent a "qualified majority."

A qualified majority is achieved when at least 16 countries, representing at least 65 percent of the European population, vote in favor or against. (Scroll down for the vote breakdown)

The majority of EU governments also voted against renewing the license for another maize, Monsanto's MON810, the only GMO crop currently grown in the EU. The votes against its renewal was not considered decisive either.

MON810 is banned in 17 EU countries and is grown on less than 1 percent of agricultural land, mainly in Spain and Portugal, according to Friends of the Earth Europe.

27.03.2017 |

EU grants approval to merger of agribusiness corporations and consolidates a global monopoly

Interview with Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe

In light of the approval by the European Commission of the $130 billion mega-merger between agribusiness corporations Dow Chemical and Du Pont, and anticipating similar authorizations for other agribusiness giants, organizations warn that a mega-monopoly has been consolidated with a complete control over agrochemicals and commercial seeds.

The EU´s decision in favor of the merger of US groups Dow Chemical and DuPont was made known today, March 27. The merger is valued at 130 billion dollars, according to a press release issued by the EU.

Although the decision adopted in Brussels includes some “conditions” to ensure it “does not reduce price competition for existing pesticides or innovation”, according to the EU, organizations of peasants, family farmers, pastoralists, environmental activists and rural workers point out that it sets a precedent in favor of agricultural monopolies.

The decision for the abovementioned US corporations foretells the EU´s opinion with reference to two other mega-mergers planned in the same sector: the acquisition by Chinese group ChemChina of Syngenta (Switzerland), a decision expected before April 12, and the merger between Monsanto (US) and Bayer (Germany).

A threat for food and farms

27.03.2017 |

Resistance to agri-business is rising

Together with 200+ civil society organisations, ASEED has signed an open letter to the EU Commissioner Vestager (responsible for competition and for regulating the mergers) and other relevant Commissioners to voice its opposition to giant agri-business mergers.

According to a Reuters article, the EU antitrust regulators are likely to approve the Dow Chemical – DuPont and ChemChina’s – Syngenta mergers this Monday (March 27th) or Tuesday (March 28th). Friends of the Earth Europe has therefore decided to deliver the open letter to the Commissioners today. The text is pretty straightforward and explains why signers are worried about the possible mergers in six points.

The signers of the letter state: “these mergers risk major monopoly outcomes that would further increase corporate control of agriculture, restrict farmers’ choices, curb consumer choice, increase chemical use and harm the environment, damage Europe’s food sovereignty and harm countries in the Global South and the right to food.”

27.03.2017 |

Governments and citizens reject GMOs, Commission must follow – Greenpeace

Brussels – Today, national government representatives failed to support the approval of three genetically modified (GM) maize crops for cultivation in Europe: two new ones and the only GM crop currently grown in the EU.

While no qualified majority was reached, the number of rejections shows that GMO opposition clearly outweighs support. It was the second vote by national governments on the European Commission’s proposals to approve the three GM crops. The first vote, held in January 2017, had also failed to deliver a qualified majority. Therefore, it is now up to the Commission to take the final

Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said: “When he was elected, Commission President Juncker promised more democratic decision-making. This vote leaves no doubt that approving these GM crops would break that promise. A majority of governments, parliamentarians and Europeans oppose them, and two thirds of European countries ban GMO cultivation on their lands. Instead of backing risky products peddled by multinational corporations, the Commission should support ecological farming and the solutions it provides for rural areas, farmers and the environment.”

24.03.2017 |

Glyphosate and the crucial battle for independent science

At its core, the political battle for transparency about the herbicide glyphosate is actually a battle for independent science and for the transparent and democratic functioning of the EU institutions, write five Greens/EFA MEPs

MEPs Heidi Hautala, Philippe Lamberts, Michèle Rivasi, Bart Staes and Benedek Jávor represent the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament.

Given the recent disclosure of the Monsanto Papers in an ongoing US court case on glyphosate, we took the initiative to write a letter to European Commission President Juncker on the issue today (24 March).

We are convinced that strong and truly independent European institutions like the EFSA (the food safety authority), EMA (the medicines agency) and ECHA (the chemicals agency) are crucial for defending public health and building public trust in the EU.

23.03.2017 |

Was Monsanto involved in EU glyphosate study?

Environmental organizations are accusing Monsanto of influencing the outcome of studies on the pesticide active ingredient, glyphosate. EU agencies have said it poses no risk of cancer to humans.

It's been a decades-long, controversial debate. Now environmental organizations are alleging that the chemical company, Monsanto, actively influenced studies on the risks and hazards of the pesticide active ingredient, glyphosate. Monsanto is said to have mislead regulators.

On Thursday (23.3.2017), a citizens' initiative called "Stop Glyphosate" publishes a 65-page report. The report "Glyphosate and cancer: Buying science" calls into question a number of scientific studies, accusing the researchers of conflicts of interest or that they are associated with Monsanto in some way.

These studies have been used by regulators in the US and EU to decide on the health risks involved in using the pesticide and herbicide agent. Those regulators include the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its European counterparts, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

14.03.2017 |

ECHA response heightens rather than alleviates conflict of interest concerns

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is due to publish a safety assessment of glyphosate, a controversial weedkiller linked to cancer by the WHO. Twenty health and environmental organisations expressed concerns regarding conflicts of interest and transparency at the agency. The executive director's response fails to address these concerns.

This page was updated on 14 March to include a second letter from ECHA to Greenpeace dated 10 March.

According to ECHA's own standards, the chairman and two members of the Risk Assessment Committee appear to breach the agency’s own conflict of interest rules. NGOs also criticise ECHA’s practice of basing assessments on unpublished industry studies.

13.03.2017 |

Ban glyphosate and protect people and the environment from toxic pesticides

Glyphosate, the main ingredient of Monsanto’s Roundup, is Europe's most heavily used weedkiller. Traces have been found in food, drinks and even in people’s urine. RIGHT NOW European leaders must take this opportunity - to protect people and the environment.

Take the first step to stop Glyphosate!

03.03.2017 |

ECI glyphosate petition herbicide agriculture farmers

Alongside numerous organisations from all over Europe, Corporate Europe Observatory supports the European Citizens Initiative #StopGlyphosate. You can sign the petition at the bottom of this page. We hope to collect signatures from at least one million EU citizens to urge the European Commission to propose the following to national governments:

Ban Glyphosate-based herbicides

The exposure to these has been linked to cancer in humans, and has led to ecosystems degradation. Glyphosate is still one of Europe’s most widely used pesticides, and its negative impacts on the environment and biodiversity are clearly documented. In addition, a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrates that glyphosate is also a serious threat to human health. EU Regulation 1107/2009 prohibits the use of pesticides when there is sufficient evidence in laboratory animals that these substances can cause cancer, based on IARC criteria. Therefore, the EU approval for glyphosate must be withdrawn.

#StopGlyphosate

02.03.2017 |

Say no to GMO: Tell your Ministries to block 3 genetically modified maize from entering EU fields!

Do you want GMOs in the EU’s fields? If not, tell your Minister now to block them!

Mid-March, the European Commission will propose to the Member States’ experts to allow two GM maize varieties (Bt11 from Syngenta and 1507 from Dupont) and to renew the authorization of one further variety- Mon 810 from Monsanto.

If enough member states’ experts are not voting against, there is a high risk that these regulations will pass, even though a clear majority of EU citizens is against the use of biotechnologies in fields and food. These GM maize would then be cultivated in the fields of several EU countries, and probably contaminate fields of neighboring countries.

The member states have the possibility to STOP GMOs from the fields NOW. If they are serious about environment and food safety they have no reason to hesitate! There are ample reasons not to allow GM cultivation in the EU. Tell your Minister that he/she has the choice to make the difference!

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