GMO news related to Switzerland


GM plants in bird feed found in non-GMO Switzerland

Authorities have identified the presence of genetically modified oilseed rape in bird feed sold in Switzerland. This could provide a pathway for the release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment.

Authorities have contacted bird feed importers to ensure GM seeds do not find their way into Switzerland, where a moratorium against all such crops is in place until 2021.

An assessment of bird feed carried out by national agricultural research centre Agroscope has revealed that 24 of 30 samples tested contain genetically modified oilseed rape. Eleven of these showed evidence of multiple contamination, some with up to three varieties of transgenic oilseed rape that are authorised as animal feed in the European Union: GT73, RF3, MS8. The majority showed a contamination rate of less than 0.5%.


Parliament backs extension of GMO moratorium

The Swiss parliament has approved a plan to extend the current moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture from 2017 to 2021. However, it wants nothing to do with cabinet proposals to create GMO zones in certain parts of the country after 2021.

On Wednesday, the Senate approved changes to the law on genetic engineering that would set in motion the extension of the GMO ban until 2021. A motion to extend it until 2025 was rejected. The House of Representatives had previously agreed the extension to 2021.

The current moratorium ends this year and the cabinet had previously said more time and debate was required on the use of GMOs in Swiss agriculture.

In 2005, the Swiss people voted for a five-year ban on GMOs, which was then extended by parliament in 2010 until 2013 and once again in 2012 until 2017.


Switzerland update

Information about Switzerland is updated.


Switzerland will extend moratorium on GM crop cultivation

Moratorium expected to remain in place until 2021

The Swiss Federal Council, meeting in Bern on 18 December 2015, has declared that it is in favour of continuing the country’s moratorium on the cultivation of GM plants until 2021.

The Federal Council said it ”has decided to maintain the ban on the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The current moratorium should be extended until 2021 under the Gene Technology Act (LGG)."

Currently, GMO cultivation is only permitted in Switzerland for research. The Swiss moratorium has been extended twice and expires in December 2017. Several cantons already have already indicated their interest in an extension of the moratorium and have adopted decisions to ban GM crops on their territory.

The Federal Council also asks that ”principles guaranteeing the protection of conventional crops as well as the free choice of consumers (coexistence) are specified.”


Patent on tomatoes about to be granted: New report shows the need for urgent political action

no patents on seeds

Press release

7 December 2015 Munich.

The European Patent Office (EPO) is granting more and more patents on conventional breeding. Now a final decision is about to be taken on a patent on tomatoes with reduced water content (EP1211926). Tomorrow, the EPO will have its final hearing on this patent, after which it will grant the patent with just some small changes to the wording. Together with a patent on broccoli (EP10698190), the patent on tomatoes has attracted major international attention and sparked intense debate over several years. At the end of March 2015, the EPO used these two cases to make a precedent decision in order to declare plants and animals derived from conventional breeding as patentable. There is currently growing opposition to this decision: Patent authorities and representatives of the governments of Austria, France, Germany and The Netherlands are amongst those who have publicly criticised the EPO decision.

“It is now up to politicians to show they can succeed in the fight against the well-organised interests of the patent business”, says Christoph Then, one of the speakers for the international coalition of “No Patents on Seeds!”. “The EPO, the patent attorneys and big corporations are all benefitting from these patents, but the negative consequences concern society as a whole. It is of the greatest importance that the existing prohibitions are properly implemented.”


Syngenta files complaint against accusers in corn case including Cargill, ADM

Syngenta is suing Cargill, ADM and other agribusiness groups in the US over their claims alleging serious damages incurred from the sale of the Swiss company’s Viptera seed into the US prior to Chinese trait authorization.


Top Supermarkets in Switzerland Remove Glyophosate From Shelves

Major Blow to Monsanto’s Glyphosate as Swiss Retailers Begin Removing Herbicides From Store Shelves

Why are the Swiss willing to protect their people over the risk of profits and from cancer but not US retailers?

Coop supermarkets and Coop Building & Hobby hardware stores in Switzerland are effective immediately removing all glyphosate-containing herbicides including Round Up from it’s shelves. Following in their footsteps Migros another major retailer has also stated they will be doing the same. No word yet if retailers Landi, Hornback and Jumbo would also remove all glyphosate from their stores. The push for a permanent ban in the Swiss nation is being made by via a petition.

The petition (link below) has been launched demanding that glyphosate be banned permanently in Switzerland. The petition demands “Glyphosate ban – now!

The petition can be signed here:

or here:


Illegal GM rapeseed spreading in Switzerland

Genetically modified rapeseed was found to be spreading along railway tracks and in a port in the cantons of Basel Country and Basel City. Volunteers from Greenpeace collected the samples and sent them to local authorities. Cantonal laboratories have a mandate from the Federal Environment Office to monitor this risk, as growing GMOs outside labs is illegal in Switzerland.


Swiss authorities give GM wheat trials the green light

The Federal Environment Office has given Swiss scientists the go-ahead to carry out crop trials involving genetically modified (GM) wheat. It said on Tuesday that two teams could carry out three GM field experiments near Zurich and Lausanne, including observations of potential crossbreeding between wheat and wild grass, but only under ”very strict conditions”. [...] The researchers say they will not be developing a product for the market and want to find out if GM wheat plants that have already been tested in laboratories, which show resistance to fungal diseases, behave similarly in normal agricultural conditions.

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