| ||GM Information...
GM Crops, also known as Biotechnology Crops, include Soya, Canola Oil, Cotton and Maize, almost all of which are grown in America, Canada and Argentina. Most soya and maize, which are found in a lot of processed food, now contains GM-ingredients. The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology provides information on crops, quantities and distribution.
|Who says 'yes' / 'no'?|
Retailers and manufacturers in the EU and Japan say "No" to GM. But USA, China and Cuba say "Yes". Many institutions including UK parliament restaurants, local authorities (such as Devon and Cornwall) schools, clubs, and even a fish and chip shop in Lancashire have voluntary bans. Tesco supermarket chain says it will no longer sell meat from animals that have been raised on GM feeds. Tesco were challenged by EFRA Select Committee that the consumer is not always right, so why do they not take respnsibility to promote GM?
Virtually all countries voted in 2000 for the Biosafety Protocol on GM Organisms (GMOs), known as the Cartegena Protocol. This sets out procedures and rules concerning trade in biological products including agricultural commodities. The Protocol applies to the transboundary movement, transit, handling and use of most GMOs and allows use of the "Precautionary Principle" to make judgments. Developing countries have to make "Advanced Informed Agreements" before companies can transfer GMOs to them. Columbia are the latest country to sign up. The Protocol needs only one more country for it to be ratified and then implemented in September 2003.
Codex Alimetarius (the world "Food Code" body) produced guidelines in July 2003 to manage the food safety risks of GM foods uniformly across all countries. Provisions of the guidelines include pre-market safety evaluations and product tracing for recall purposes and post-market monitoring. (more)
The European Parliament passed laws in July 2003 lifting the moratorium of GM foods, but forcing labeling of all genetically modified food with more than 0.9% GM material and requiring separation of GM throughout the food chain. The USA, Canada & Argentina have requested the WTO to examine EU moratorium on biotech products, claiming it a barrier to their trade.
The EU moratorium will remain until the EU has put in place a raft of new rules on safety testing, labeling and tracing genetically modified organisms "from farm to fork." (Network of testing labs). According to Eurobarometer in 2001, 70% of the European public don't want GM food and 94% want to be able to choose whether or not they eat it. More
The Prime Minister's 'Strategy Unit' carried out a study into the overall costs and benefits associated with the growing of GM crops. The study concluded that the health risks were not as worrying as what may happen to the environment. They propose that there should be neither a total ban, nor should there be automatic clearance; every new crop should be on a 'case by case' basis. More at GM Science Review