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[SANET-MG] EU bans
I have been following the efforts to obtain basic information on the the
DNA sequence of the transgenes in Bt10. That is the information that
Syngenta has been withholding. There "tests" will never be accepted
until there can be independent confirmation of the the tests, and that
will require full release of DNA sequence information but that is where
syngenta are currently stone walling.
The US claim that they have determined that Bt10 is safe for consumption
is just simple "hogwash". They assume that Bt10 is safe because it
produces a protein somewhat similar to the Cry1Ab toxin. That protein
was not tested.
Of course, many of the "scientists" involved in plant biotechnology are
lobbying to stop all the testing right now because the crops can be
assumed to be safe. Many of those scientists do not really believe in
experimentation and they believe that if we all pretend that GM foods
are safe, they will be safe! It is sad that so many of the anti science
advocates are in the government bureaucracy and in the universities.
E.U. Votes Ban on U.S. Corn Gluten
By Raf Casert
Saturday, April 16, 2005; Page E01
BRUSSELS, April 15 -- European Union nations voted Friday to ban U.S.
shipments of suspect corn gluten animal feed unless they are assured
that the imports are free of unauthorized genetically modified corn.
The vote could affect millions of dollars' worth of corn gluten exports.
The dispute centers on a batch of Bt10 genetically modified corn that
Swiss agrochemicals company Syngenta AG inadvertently sold in the United
States and exported to Europe without approval.
"This is a targeted measure which is necessary to uphold E.U. law,
maintain consumer confidence and ensure that the unauthorized GMO Bt10
cannot enter the E.U. Imports of maize products which are certified as
free of Bt10 will be able to continue," said E.U. Health and Consumer
Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou.
The ban will effectively shut out all imports of U.S. corn gluten, since
there is currently no effective way of testing for Bt10, which has not
been approved by U.S. or European regulators. E.U. spokesman Philip Tod
said Syngenta was working to develop and validate such a test, but they
could not say when it would be ready for use.
Michael Mack, chief operating officer of Syngenta Seeds, said it would
quickly have a workable test for the E.U.
"We will make operational within a matter of days a valid test method to
detect for Bt10," Mack said. Such a test would still need further
approval from E.U. authorities. It was not immediately clear how long
such approval would take.
U.S. shipments of corn gluten feed to the E.U. totaled 347 million euros
($450 million) last year.
The United States said the ban was exaggerated.
"We view the E.U.'s decision to impose a certification requirement on
U.S. corn gluten due to the possible, low-level presence of Bt10 corn to
be an overreaction," said Edward Kemp, spokesman for the U.S. mission to
"U.S. regulatory authorities have determined there are no hazards to
health, safety or the environment related to Bt10," Kemp said. "There is
no reason to expect any negative impact from the small amounts of Bt10
corn that may have entered the E.U."
The ban is to come into force early next week, pending approval by the
E.U.'s head office.
Environmental campaigners welcomed the move. "Europe now has a de facto
ban on the import of many U.S. animal feeds," said Friends of the Earth
spokesman Adrian Bebb.
However, Greenpeace said stricter controls are needed to prevent more
cases of unauthorized biotech imports.
"Europe is currently helpless to defend itself from contamination by
GMOs that are suspected to harm human health and the environment," said
Christoph Then, genetic engineering expert for the group.
"As long as E.U. authorities have no means to test imports for all the
GMOs being released in the U.S. and elsewhere, it must say 'no entry' to
the E.U. for any food, feed or seeds that are at risk of contamination,"
The E.U. said it is in continuous contact with U.S. authorities on the
issue, but its decision to ban suspect corn gluten imports further
strains trans-Atlantic trade relations.
Syngenta said last week it has reached a settlement with the U.S.
government over the inadvertent sale to farmers of Bt10.
The company said in a written statement that under the settlement
reached with U.S. authorities, it would pay a fine of $375,000 and teach
its employees the importance of complying with all rules.
However, the E.U. has been annoyed that U.S. authorities allowed the
export of Bt10 to Europe after it was mixed up with an authorized
biotech Syngenta maize labeled Bt11.
About 1,000 tons of animal feed containing the corn are thought to have
entered the E.U. since 2001. The E.U.'s head office earlier had said
some food products, including flour and oil may also have been imported,
but its statement Friday said that, "according to current information
from the U.S. authorities and the European food industry, food products
in the E.U. are not affected."
Nevertheless, the case has underscored European concerns about biotech
foods, coming shortly after the E.U. relaxed restrictions on genetically
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