International GMO news briefs
(April 12, 2002 – CropChoice newsbriefs) – The following briefs cover some of the agricultural biotechnology news over the course of the week.
- The French want more soybeans to produce livestock feed. But they want those beans to be non-transgenic, soy they’ve been buying them from Brazil instead of the United States, where most of the soybeans that farmers grow are genetically modified, according to a report from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. The French feed industry is requesting that suppliers label soybeans and soybean meal if its genetically modified content exceeds 1 percent.
- Next door, in Germany, the supermarket chains Famila and Combi announced last week that the pork and beef they sell will come from livestock whose feed contained no transgenic soybeans or antibiotic growth hormones.
- Dole Japan announced in January that, in Japan, at least, it sells only non-genetically modified papayas, all of which come from the Philippines. http://www.fas.usda.gov/gainfiles/200204/135683885.pdf
- Numerous news reports from Brazil claim that genetically modified soybeans are growing throughout the country, despite a nearly four-year-old moratorium on the commercial sale or planting of transgenic seeds. Brazilian MP Ronaldo Vasconcellos even conceded in his recent report on the problem that it is in the interest of biotech proponents to push these stories so that policymakers will think it pointless to continue the moratorium.
See story:Brazil has a good thing goin' with non-GM beans; http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=608
- According to a report from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Japan is "in the process of making safety assessment and approval of biotech feed ingredients a legal requirement. Unapproved biotech feed ingredients must be segregated from the export channel to Japan; however, there will be a one percent tolerance for adventitious presence of such segregated unapproved products with the condition that they are approved in other countries under the OECD standards. The timing of the start of implementation has not been announced, but is expected to be within the calendar year 2002. "
The report is available at http://www.fas.usda.gov/scripts/gd.asp?ID=135683880
- While Spain imports wheat, lentils, rice, dry beans and garbanzos from the United States, this isn’t the case with corn. In compliance with the European Union moratorium on genetically modified crops, Spain doesn’t buy U.S. corn. The new EU regulation on novel feed could mean the cessation of U.S. exports of NGFI, including corn gluten feed to the country. http://www.fas.usda.gov/scripts/gd.asp?ID=135683898
- In line with creating a regulatory framework for genetically modified crops, the European Commission will vote on proposed limits for genetic contamination of conventional seed. If the level of transgenic material were to exceed the threshold, then the seeds would have to be labeled as genetically modified. The proposed level for cotton is 0.3 percent; 0.5 percent for tomatoes, beets, corn and potatoes; and 0.7 percent for soybeans.
Also under consideration is greater separation distances between transgenic and conventional crops. (See related story:U.S. trade rep forgetful of facts in his pitch for GMO acceptance; http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=563
Were the Commission to approve the proposals, they could begin by the end of 2002.
Sources: FAS, Reuters