GMO news related to Germany

10.04.2018 |

Harvest of greed: Bayer and Monsanto

German pharmaceutical company Bayer wants to acquire US GM seed giant Monsanto, to become the world's largest supplier of agricultural chemicals. The deal is controversial because Monsanto produces the heavily debated toxic pesticide glyphosate.

The marriage of Bayer and Monsanto: A long-established German company with a solid reputation agrees to buy an American company that produces genetically modified seeds and the controversial weed killer glyphosate. Many farmers find glyphosate an effective tool, but critics say it’s carcinogenic. Despite these misgivings, Brussels recently approved the use of glyphosate in the EU for another five years. Agricultural chemicals are a big business, and that shows no signs of changing any time soon.

07.04.2018 |

German environmental minister urges action to prevent decline of insect populations

BERLIN, April 6 (Xinhua) -- Svenja Schulze (SPD), new German minister for the environment, has identified the protection of insect populations as a key goal of her legislative term on Friday.

"Preventing mass species extinction is one of the overriding political tasks of our generation", Schulze told the "Funke" media group. She warned that if "the insects disappear, so will the birds, as well as all of the valuable contributions which insects make towards pollination, water clearing and improving soil fertility."

The minister has consequently announced the launch of a programme, together with Agricultural Minister Julia Kloeckner (CDU), to prevent a further decline in German insect populations. "I want to take the agricultural minister's statement at face value that bees are critical for the functioning of wider ecological systems and need to be protected", Schulze said.

The SPD politician argued that toxic pesticides and herbicides would have to be used with greater moderation in order to avert irreparable damage to the environment. "We need a full exit from glyphosate (a controversial herbicide produced by U.S. agrochemical company Monsanto) during this legislative period. Glyphosate kills everything that is green, depriving insects of their food source", Schulze demanded.

14.03.2018 |

EC forced to reopen 2015 decision on allowing GMO soy imports

The EU Commission has been forced to revisit a 2015 decision to allow the import of genetically-modified soybeans after a court rules it breached a technicality on deciding that the modified oilseed had no impact on human or animal health or on the environment.

The European Court of Justice said Wednesday the EU executive must review whether the EU’s food and safety body should have consulted with non-governmental organisations when declaring GMO oilseeds fit for consumption in 2015.

An executive director for the complainant company – Berlin-based anti-GMO lobby group TestBiotech – told Agricensus that the internal review on the environmental impact of GMO beans would now be reopened.

“We are using the law to increase the level of protection but importing these [genetically modified] soybeans will be a political decision in the end,” Christoph Then said.

“The current risk assessment is not in accordance with the law and there are gaps in it,” he added.

In November 2015, the EC rejected an application by TestBiotech to review a decision by its food safety body to allow genetically modified soybeans in the EU market because the body did not consult with civil society - as required under the Aarhus Regulation.

03.03.2018 |

Bayer-Monsanto merger plan protests

Campaigners say the proposed Bayer-Monsanto EU deal will create a large conglomerate with too much market share

Sources say the German drugs and crop chemicals maker Bayer is on course to win conditional EU anti-trust approval for its its $62.5 billion bid for world No.1 seed company, Monsanto.

The takeover would create a company with a share of more than a quarter of the world's seed and pesticides market.

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Protests

The Bayer-Monsanto tie-up has sparked criticism from environmentalists and some farming groups.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has received more than 50,000 petition emails and more than 5,000 letters opposed to the deal.

"Approving this merger would create the world's biggest agribusiness company, potentially crushing competitiors and establishing an unprecedented monopoly on lucrative farming data," said Adrian Bebb at environmental lobbying group Friends of the Earth Europe.

"Public opinion is against the merger, and farmers and consumers would have every right to be outraged by the Commission giving it the green light."

07.02.2018 |

Germany′s Angela Merkel finally reaches coalition deal with SPD

Agriculture: The pesticide glyphosate, a source of much friction between the CSU and SPD , will be banned, along with genetically modified crops. On top of that, the two parties agreed to limit animal experiments and to introduce a new "animal welfare label" to help ensure better conditions in industrial farming. That measure was already being planned by current Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt of the CSU.

17.01.2018 |

Syngenta fails at the European Patent Office

A patent on the breeding of maize will not be granted

17 January 2018

At a public hearing, the European Patent Office (EPO) today rejected an appeal filed by Syngenta. The company wanted the EPO to grant a patent on the breeding of higher-yield maize plants (EP2121982). At the same time, Syngenta also wanted the EPO to abolish existing restrictions in the field of plant and animal breeding that have only recently been put in place. The EPO also rejected this attempt.

Decisive for the EPO’s decision were technical reasons. Therefore, the content of the patent claims was not defined clearly enough. With this specific patent, maize plants with hereditary factors were to be crossed to achieve higher yielding offspring. However, as the description of the patents shows, the specific genes required to achieve these characteristics were unknown. In this particular instance, sequences of marker DNA that can indicate the presence of the desired genes were to be used for the selection of suitable plants.

12.01.2018 |

Call to Action for 20 January 2018 - Stop the agro-industry!

Together for peasant-friendly farming, healthy food, animal welfare, global peasant rights and fair trade!

Four more wasted years of agricultural politics in Germany? We cannot afford that! Now more urgent than ever we need more regional and eco-friendly farming and healthy food for all! But there is something stopping this change: the powerful agri-business lobby. Enough of that! We have to make sure that politics finally follow the interests of people, instead of helping corporations to gain more power. That's why we - the powerful, colorful, and loud “We are fed up!” movement - must stand up to corporations and hold the new government to account.

We are fed-up with the fatal reality of the agro-industry - and we know how to do it better:

10.01.2018 |

EU Commission uses the Christmas period to grant authorisation for imports of genetically engineered soybeans

A gift made to Bayer and Dow without anyone knowing

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The EU Commission has granted six further authorisations for genetically engineered plants, including some controversial genetically engineered soybeans with triple herbicide resistance.

The decision to grant authorisation was made on the quiet by the EU Commission during the Christmas holiday period. Testbiotech has proven that the real risks from consumption of these soybeans were not investigated. But the EU Commission failed to respond to any of these scientific arguments. Instead, a letter dated 21 December was sent to Testbiotech in which the Commission set out purely formalistic arguments to the effect that no new evidence had been provided. The letter was sent at the same time the EU Commission made their decision to give green light for the soybeans, without mentioning in the letter.

30.11.2017 |

Genome-edited foods must be labelled as GMOs – industry body

o preserve consumer transparency, Germany's new government must ensure that genome-edited plants do not escape GMO regulations and labelling, warns GMO-free food industry body VLOG

The "Ohne Gentechnik” (Without Genetic Engineering) sector is growing in Europe. As reported by VLOG, the German Association for Food Without Genetic Engineering, the number of members and licensees of VLOG has risen by 52 percent to over 600 companies in the past 12 months. This year, food manufacturers will turn over more than 4.6 billion euros with more than 7,000 foodstuffs bearing the "Ohne GenTechnik" seal.

Alexander Hissting, executive director of VLOG, warned that this booming industry needs a reliable political framework in order to fully exploit its economic potential. That means, he said, that the new coalition government must ensure that "genetically engineered plants do not make their way without labelling through the back door to the fields and supermarket shelves".

Hissting is referring to the new genetic engineering processes such as CRISPR/Cas. GMO proponents want plants produced by means of genome editing to be excluded from biotech regulations. This would put an end to the transparency and freedom of choice enjoyed by consumers with regard to genetically modified food. "Genetic engineering must be regulated and labelled as genetic engineering", Hissting said.

30.11.2017 |

The time is ripe for a poison-free agriculture

In spite of the EU renewal of glyphosate, herbicides based on the chemical are on their way out and other agrochemicals must follow, says Dr Angelika Hilbeck

The German agriculture minister Christian Schmidt sparked outrage on Monday when he approved a five-year renewal of the EU licence for glyphosate, the active ingredient of Monsanto's flagship herbicide Roundup, in spite of opposition from the environment minister Barbara Hendricks. He apparently acted not only without the knowledge of Chancellor Angela Merkel but also counter to the agreed position of the coalition government.

Germany has abstained in past EU votes on glyphosate in deference to the lack of consensus within the government. Schmidt’s unilateral backing for glyphosate allowed the chemical to be re-approved with the backing of a qualified majority of member states, although the Commission was within its rights to approve it unilaterally if no qualified majority for or against was reached, as was the case in previous votes.

Schmidt and Hendricks belong to different political parties that were brought together in Merkel's last coalition government. In the wake of the recent elections in Germany, Merkel is struggling to form a new coalition. Schmidt's "rogue" behaviour on glyphosate has strained the already difficult negotiation process between the potential coalition partners.

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