News

17.05.2021 |

Slow Food Europe Podcast: What’s Going on with New GMOs?

Episode 1 | What’s Going on with New GMOs?

What are new GMOs? How do they differ from old GMOs? What are the EU latest developments on the matter? We asked three experts to answer these questions and many more:

Elisa D’Aloisio, peasant farmer at the European Coordination Via Campesina with a PhD in genetics and practical expertise in GMOs

Martin Sommer, policy coordinator at IFOAM Organics Europe, the association for organic food and farming in Europe

Madeleine Coste, Policy Officer at Slow Food Europe

13.05.2021 |

OCA sets guidelines to prevent GMO contamination in organic cotton

The Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) has released the Non-GM Cottonseed Production Guidelines to safeguard the integrity of the entire Indian organic cotton value chain from seed to shirt. These guidelines aim to create a standardised industry approach for the production of non-genetically engineered (non-GM) seed marketed to organic cotton growers.

Led by OCA, these guidelines have been developed in consultation with sector experts and via field pilots at three Indian seed producers. They are now made available to producers of non-GM cottonseed who want to implement solid practices to monitor and prevent GMO presence along their seed supply chain, OCA said in a press release.

07.05.2021 |

Gene editing ban reviews spark Unite union concern

Trade union Unite is urging caution over moves by both the UK and the EU to relax rules governing the commercial use of gene editing in agriculture.

06.05.2021 |

Why China and the US Joined Forces to Fight the Fall Armyworm

China and the United States have found common cause in exerting influence at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Global food production could be permanently changed.

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During that visit, Chinese and US officials negotiated what appears to be a gentleman’s agreement that would allow the two countries to work together in FAO. That understanding appears to have been built on a common economic interest of the two countries, namely the continued expansion of commercial technologies in animal and crop health, including pesticides and pest-resistant genetically modified (GM) crops, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia—regions adversely affected by the fall armyworm but in which the application of these technologies is still relatively low. In other words, areas that represent large potential markets for agricultural technologies.

The mainly Western corporations producing these technologies, with robust support from the US Agency for International Development, have long lobbied to move commercial agricultural practices such as pesticides and GM crops into Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the developing world now alarmed by the arrival of the fall armyworm. At the same time, there are clear signals that China intends to compete against the West, with hopes to dominate those markets.

05.05.2021 |

Genetically engineered fish and meat coming to your table... soon?

Public's opportunity to demand more testing and stricter regulation ends on May 7

BELLINGHAM, Wash., May 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Genetically engineered animals are being developed at an accelerating pace, and could, with few regulations and limited testing, be arriving on dining room tables in the US in 2021. That's due in part by efforts made by the previous administration to deregulate biotechnologies. On the final day of Sonny Perdue's tenure as head of the US Department of Agriculture, a proposal was made to move oversight and regulation of GE animals from the FDA to the USDA -- a move that would significantly reduce the safeguards that protect the US public dating back to the Obama administration.

03.05.2021 |

Nigeria: Stakeholders decry dangers of GMOs, lament negative impact on ecosystem

A coalition of civil societies, under the aegis of GMO-Free Nigeria Alliance and the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), on Thursday, called for the urgent ban on genetic modifications of food crops and animals due to negative impacts on agriculture and the ecosystem.

Members of GMO-Free Nigeria Alliance and the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) also demanded the repeal of the National Biosafety Management Agency Act (NBMA) due to enormous discretionary powers conferred on the agency and little room for oversight.

Displaying placards with inscriptions such as “No to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), Our food, our life,” the group, marched round the city centre in Benin and submitted a petition to the Edo State Ministry of Environment and Sustainability.

30.04.2021 |

EU Commission wants to reform GMO regulation

Testbiotech points to already existing legal flexibility

30 April 2021 / The EU Commission has published a report on new genomic techniques (New GE, genome editing) in plants and animals. They have concluded that the current EU GMO regulation should be reformed. Its fundamental goals are to promote New GE applications in agriculture and to foster international trade, technology and product development. The Commission is also demanding that decisions on market approvals should consider the potential benefits and not only the outcome of risk assessment. Safety for health and environment should nevertheless be guaranteed. A public consultation will be held in the coming months to resolve open questions.

Testbiotech plans to contribute to the consultation and also sees the need for some adjustment. One reason: in many cases, the risk assessment of the New GE applications is much more complex compared to ‘Old GE’. At the same time, Testbiotech also points out that current regulation provides enough flexibility for adjustments. This is not only relevant for standards in risk assessment. For example, the EU Commission can already take potential benefits into account in its decisions on market approvals. However, as Testbiotech emphasises, these aspects must not be confused with scientific questions of risk assessment.

30.04.2021 |

Commission under fire for new 'deregulatory' approach to GMOs

The EU's existing legislation on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is not "fit for purpose" for new genomic techniques and needs to be adapted to contribute to sustainable food systems, a European Commission study has concluded.

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EUobserver recently revealed how the NGO Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) uncovered new lobbying techniques aimed at deregulating new GMOs via climate-friendly narratives.

"DG SANTE [the EU Commission branch responsible for this report] has clearly listened more to the biotech lobby than to anyone else. Its study on new GMOs is yet another example of the corporate capture of EU decision-making," said Nina Holland, a researcher at CEO.

These groups have previously warned that the unintended effects of new GMOs are still unpredictable, amid concerns about the possible loss of agricultural diversity.

"GMOs by another name are still GMOs, and must be treated as such under the law," said Greenpeace.

30.04.2021 |

Genetically modified mosquitoes released in Florida Keys, first in US

On Thursday morning, workers from a British company placed basketball-size cardboard boxes into six yards in the Florida Keys.

Then they added water.

In a week or so, 12,000 male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes will – one by one – begin buzzing out of each box, the first genetically modified mosquitoes to be released in the United States.

30.04.2021 |

GMO laws needs overhaul; environmentalists protest: EU study

BRUSSELS: A new European Union study finds that the two decade-old legislation on genetically modified organisms should be revamped, a process environmentalists claim will open the door to a new generation of bio-engineered crops being allowed into the EU market without proper checks.

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“The European Commission has fallen hook, line and sinker for the biotech industry’s spin, and has set the future of food and farming in the EU down a dark path," said Mute Schimpf of Friends of the Earth Europe, reflecting the views of many environmentalists.

She said that the study was “suggesting tearing up decades of the precautionary principle, by allowing new GM crops onto our fields and plates without safety tests".

EU officials were insisting though that the study was the first step in a long legislative process that needed to get approval from the bloc's member states and the European Parliament where big changes could be made.

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