GMO news related to Germany

15.03.2019

US example shows why "new GM" crop plants must be regulated

Risk assessments and labelling needed for each "new GMO" to protect people and environment

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has already given non-regulated status to more than 20 plants genetically engineered with so-called genome editing techniques, according to research by Testbiotech. None of the applications registered at USDA were referred for further more detailed assessment. The Testbiotech report published today shows that there are, however, significant differences in methods of production, traits, and risks of the non-regulated plants, in comparison to those derived from conventional breeding.

These differences are not caused by the newly introduced gene sequences but by the patterns of genetic changes. "Gene-scissors" such as CRISPR/Cas can delete whole families of gene variants all at once – but this is either impossible or barely possible with current conventional breeding methods. A further specific difference is that in a first step, older methods such as the "gene gun" (biolistic method) or gene transfer via Agrobacterium tumefaciens are commonly used. However, USDA completely ignores these differences to conventional breeding.

14.03.2019

Am I Regulated? The US example: why new methods of genetically engineering crop plants need to be regulated

New methods of genetic engineering, also known as genome editing, are increasingly at the centre of controversial public debate. One crucial question is, how the risks of organisms resulting from this methods

should be assessed.

In the EU, all genetically engineered organisms must undergo a mandatory risk assessment. In the USA, on the other hand, there are no such legal requirements, instead individual cases are registered at the US Department of Agriculture resp. the APHIS division (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) to assess whether they need to be regulated.

For the purposes of this report, we have chosen organisms already registered with the APHIS division of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which offers a program titled “Am I Regulated?”. The applications filed at APHIS are especially relevant because some of the organisms (mostly plants) are intended for cultivation in the near future, and for use in food and feed production.

06.02.2019

French, German farmers destroy crops after GMOs found in Bayer seeds

PARIS (Reuters) - Bayer said on Wednesday that farmers in France and Germany were digging up thousands of hectares of rapeseed fields after traces of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) banned for cultivation were found in seeds sold by the company.

GMO crops are widely grown across the world, but they remain controversial in Europe, where very few varieties are authorized for growing and some countries like France have completely outlawed their cultivation, citing environmental risks.

Checks by the French authorities during the autumn showed minute quantities of GMO seeds, estimated at less than 0.005 percent of the volume, in three batches of rapeseed seeds sold under the Dekalb brand, Catherine Lamboley, Bayer’s chief operating officer for France, said.

Dekalb was previously a Monsanto brand before the U.S. company was taken over by Bayer last year.

22.01.2019

We are fed up: Protests call for climate smart food as ministers launch UN digital council

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Berlin on Saturday (19 January) to put pressure on political leaders to promote climate smart agriculture, higher animal welfare standards and farming practices that promote biodiversity.

20.01.2019

35,000 Hit Streets of Berlin to Demand Agricultural Revolution

Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals, and rural farmers.

Many held placards reading "Eating is political" at the action in Berlin, which coincided with the so-called "Green Week" agricultural fair.

The protest also featured a procession of 170 farmers driving tractors to the rally at the Brandenburg Gate.

20.01.2019

Thousands protest in Berlin against industrialized agriculture

BERLIN - Thousands of protesters, backed by a procession of farm tractors, marched in Berlin Saturday for environmental protection and against the industrial agriculture lobby.

Police put the number of demonstrators at over 12,000, while organizers said 35,000 turned out.

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More than 100 organisations took part in Saturday's colorful march, with 171 tractors descending on Berlin from several parts of the country.

The ministerial quarter around Brandenburg Gate remained partially blocked for several hours before the protest broke up peacefully.

19.01.2019

German farmers protest agro-industry, back healthy foods

BERLIN -- Thousands of farmers from across Germany and their supporters have protested at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate, calling for climate-friendly agriculture and healthy food.

Organizers say 170 tractors drove in from farms around the country to join 35,000 other protesters for the Saturday demonstration under the motto "we are fed up with the agricultural industry."

We are fed-up 2019
Call to Action for 19 January 2019

17.01.2019

AXE EU FUNDS for argo-industries!

Stand up for low-impact farming, animal welfare, climate justice and good food!

Climate-friendly agriculture, good food and the continuation of small-scale, community-based farming is at stake! In 2019, the German government takes part in decisions that will determine the future of EU agriculture. The EU CAP reform (Common Agricultural Policy) will define what type of agriculture benefits from €60 billion in EU subsidies every year. Under current rules, those owning most land receive most money, regardless of their farming methods. This must end! We cannot continue to prop up agro-industries with public funds.

The transformation of our farming system towards sustainable farming cannot wait. With our pots and pans we sound the alarm for sustainable farming and call on the German government to support only those who are willing to convert their farms to climate-, nature- and animal-friendly farming with public funds.

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You vote with what you eat!

In our cities and rural communities, we show we can do better. More and more farmers are producing food without pesticides and GMOs, and invest in the welfare of their animals. More people take part in foodsharing, community-supported agriculture and choose locally produced food. Together we vote with our wallets and raise our forks for a farming revolution: for diversity, equality and sustainability – and against discrimination, exploitation and fear!

10.01.2019

Monsanto Merger Migraine: Roundup Is Toxic for Bayer

In Werner Baumann's world, the truth is one-dimensional, as he likes to put it, based on facts and scientific findings, studies and expert opinions. That's why the head of Germany's Bayer Group has no doubts about the safety of glyphosate. He says he would acquire Monsanto, the American manufacturer of the controversial crop herbicide at any time, "without any ifs, ands or buts."

But the world outside Bayer Group views things differently. A large segment of the public considers glyphosate to be toxic and Monsanto itself to be the epitome of evil. Thousands of farmers with cancer have filed lawsuits against Monsanto's new owner, and investors now view Bayer shares as high-risk stocks they don't want to include in their portfolios. This has made the past year one of the most difficult in Bayer Group's 155-year history. The new year could prove to be even more turbulent, and it's possible the situation could grow even more perilous for the company.

07.11.2018

Baysanto “patent on severed broccoli” revoked

Success for coalition against patents on seeds

7.11.2018 / The European Patent Office (EPO) has revoked patent EP1597965 covering traditionally bred broccoli. The plants are supposed to grow a little bit higher so that they can be harvested more easily. The patent was granted in 2013 to Monsanto, which has meanwhile been bought up by Bayer. The revocation follows an opposition filed in 2014 by a broad coalition of organizations.

The decision of the EPO is based upon new rules for the examination of patents adopted in 2017. Accordingly, patents on plants and animals can no longer be granted if they are derived from conventional breeding using methods like crossing and selection. It is the first time that these new rules have resulted in the revocation of a patent. However, there is still some legal uncertainty: just recently, in October 2018, the EPO rejected oppositions against patents held by the Carlsberg & Heineken breweries on conventionally bred barley.

“This is an important success for the broad coalition of civil society organizations against patents on plants and animals. Without our activities, the EPO rules would not have been changed and the patent would still be valid. The giant corporations, such as Bayer, Syngenta and BASF, have failed in their attempt to completely monopolize conventional breeding through using patents,” says Christoph Then for No Patents on Seeds!. “But there are still huge legal loopholes as shown in the case of conventionally bred barley. Political decision makers now have to take further action.”

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