GMO-free news from France

27.09.2018 |

New GMOs: the European Commission in no hurry to act

The judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of July 25th does not particularly disturb the European Commission. In its view, it’s up to the Member states to implement the ruling and initiate exchanges on potential difficulties they face. A quite simple analysis but partly deficient. Explanations.

On July 2018 the 25th, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that only GMOs “obtained by means of techniques/methods of mutagenesis which have conventionally been used in a number of applications and have a long safety record” are excluded from the scope of directive 2001/18. The organisms obtained through the use of a new technique of genetic modification giving rise to one or several mutations must therefore be considered and regulated as GMOs. Has this ruling, which is immediately applicable, already been enforced?

Regulating new GMOs like transgenic ones

During the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed which took place on September 11th, the Member states and the European Commission discussed the ruling. Interviewed by Inf’OGM, the European Commission explained that it is “carefully analysing the ruling” and announced other talks would take place in October. But things went a bit further on September 11th. According to a EU source, the Commission told the Member states that it considers it has nothing particular to do for the moment: in the Commission’s opinion, it is now up to Member states to implement the court ruling at all levels and to be more specific on what they expect from the Commission.

02.06.2018 |

France will start labelling meat which was fed with genetically modified crops

Sustain member Beyond GM believes that labelling isn’t enough - we need to start producing food that people can trust.

French politicians have backed mandatory labelling for GM animal feed as part of the Food and Agriculture Bill. The bill will also make it mandatory for labels to include details of pesticide use used on fruit and vegetables.

If accepted by the Senate, the new labelling laws will start by January 2023. The on-pack information would have to include information on the conditions in which the animal were raised and whether they have had GM animal feed.

Pat Thomas, the director for Beyond GM (who are part of the Sustain alliance) believes that the UK should take note of the ruling in France:

“At the heart of the French action are the issues of provenance and authenticity of the food we eat, as well as its nutritional quality and safety. France has been very publicly struggling with these issues – and opening the doors to important conversations.

16.03.2018 |

GMO directive : the origins of the mutagenesis exemption

In his opinion on the « Mutagenesis » case [1], the Court of justice Advocate general considered there is no link between the mutagenesis exemption and the recital which states that the directive should not apply to organisms obtained through certain techniques of genetic modification which have conventionally been used in a number of applications and have a long safety record. However, the study of the preparatory work shows the mutagenesis exemption appeared at the same time as the recital in question...

The European Union GMO legislation does not apply to all organisms obtained through genetic modification. Since the first European GMO directive, genetically modified organisms obtained through mutagenesis are exempted, under certain conditions, from the obligations laid down in the directive. As a consequence, these GMOs can, under certain conditions, be cultivated without having been subject to an environmental risk assessment and they can be marketed without traceability or labelling.

15.02.2018 |

French Wine Study Shows Humans Can Taste Pesticides

The results of the first ever study on the ability of humans to recognize the taste of pesticides in wine have been published in the Food and Nutrition Journal.

Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini and the chef Jérôme Douzelet’s study involved 195 blind tests carried out by professionals from the wine and culinary industry.

06.02.2018 |

At the S&D’s request, the European Parliament creates a special committee to scrutinise the Monsanto scandal

Today the plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg backed the creation of a special committee to find out whether the multinational producing glyphosate - an active ingredient in broadly used pesticides - tried to influence independent scientific research and therefore EU legislation. The mandate, however, will be broader in order to analyse the system by which pesticides are approved into the European market.

S&D vice-president for sustainability Kathleen Van Brempt said:

We have strong concerns on the potentially harmful impact of glyphosate on human health, and we want to know what was behind the renewal of its license. This special committee on pesticides will analyse whether the positive reports on glyphosate by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) were influenced by its developer.

17.01.2018 |

Commission and council dig in on GMO opt-outs

The issue of genetically modified organisms is heavily contested, with EU member states unable to reach a common position

The European Commission and the EU's national governments have passed each other the buck on who should make the first move on a heavily-criticised proposal on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food.

The proposal would allow EU member states to ban GMOs - even if those GMOs had received an EU-wide stamp of approval.

There are widely diverging views on the benefits - and dangers - of GMOs, and the EU can be roughly divided into one-third pro-GMO countries, one-third anti-GMO countries, and another third which abstains from voting in the approval process.

The commission has often seen itself forced to approve GMOs without the backing of member states, because no majority was either in favour – or against – it.

The current plan has been stuck in the legislative pipeline since 2015, after more than 80 percent of members of the European Parliament (EP) rejected it.

It can only become law if both the parliament and the Council of the EU – where national governments meet – agree on its content.

21.11.2017 |

The Monsanto Papers, Part 2 — Reaping a bitter harvest

In order to save glyphosate, the Monsanto corporation has undertaken an effort to destroy the United Nations' cancer agency by any means possible. Here is part two of an investigation from Le Monde.

Editors Note: This month Le Monde won the Prix Varenne Presse quotidienne nationale (Varenne award for the national daily press) for their Monsanto Papers series, an investigation on the worldwide war the Monsanto corporation has started in order to save glyphosate, originally published in June.

Below is part two, originally published June 2, 2017, translated by the Health and Environment Alliance.

They had promised it was "safer than table salt" – but that was in the advertisements.

It is the most widely used herbicide in the world. It is the main ingredient in their flagship product, Roundup, the bedrock on which their firm has built its economic model, its wealth and its reputation. A product which has been on the market for more than 40 years and became a best-seller with the development of genetically-modified seeds called "Roundup Ready."

It is this product, glyphosate, that could in fact be carcinogenic.

20.11.2017 |

The Monsanto Papers, Part 1 — Operation: Intoxication

In order to save glyphosate, the Monsanto corporation has undertaken an effort to destroy the United Nations' cancer agency by any means possible. Here is the part one of an investigation from Le Monde.

Editors Note: This month Le Monde won the Prix Varenne Presse quotidienne nationale (Varenne Award for the national daily press) for their Monsanto Papers series, an investigation on the worldwide war the Monsanto corporation has started in order to save glyphosate, originally published in June.

Below is part one, originally published June 1, 2017, translated by GM Watch and the Health and Environment Alliance.

"We have been attacked in the past, we have faced smear campaigns, but this time we are the target of an orchestrated campaign of an unseen scale and duration." Christopher Wild's smile quickly faded. Through the window of the high rise where the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is headquartered, the rooftops of Lyon, France, spread out behind his tall figure.

Christopher Wild is the director of the agency so he weighed every word—speaking with a seriousness appropriate for the situation. For the past two years, a blazing onslaught has targeted the institution he is running: the credibility and integrity of IARC's work are being challenged, its experts are being denigrated and harassed by lawyers, and its finances weakened.

For nearly half a century IARC has been charged, under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO), to draw up an inventory of carcinogens. But now the venerable agency is beginning to waver under the assault.

07.11.2017 |

EU: 4.3% drop in GM crop cultivation

In 2017, not one hectare was sown with genetically modified maize in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia. And in Portugal and in Spain, the surfaces [planting area] of transgenic crops decreased. All in all, throughout the European territory, this surface declined from 136,338 to 13,571 hectares, a decrease of 4%.

Transgenic crops do not exactly have the wind in their sails in the European Union. In 2016, only four countries of the European Union continued to cultivate MON810 maize (the only one allowed for cultivation in the European Union): Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Two of those countries have abandoned these crops in 2017 : the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The crop surfaces strongly decrease in Portugal, and a little in Spain. The drop in the transgenic maize area (-4.3%) is higher than the drop in the total maize cultivation area (including conventional, GM, and organic) (-1.3%) .

26.10.2017 |

French Health Regulator Withdraws Licence for Bayer Weedkiller

PARIS — French health and environment regulator ANSES said on Thursday it had withdrawn the licence for Bayer's Basta F1 weedkiller made with glufosinate-ammonium, citing uncertainty over its effect on health following a review.

The product, which is used to spray vineyards, fruit orchards and vegetables, was the only weedkiller containing glufosinate authorised in France, ANSES said in a statement.

EnglishFranceDeutsch