GMO linseed developed in the EU

Here is the Summary Notification (#B/SE/04/8254) made by Plant Science Sweden designating the delliberate release of a modified linseed line (modified for oil composition) for planting in regions in Sweden 2005-2009. Consent was given by EC for this event in 2005. As far as I can tell, project went as planned. How come this has never come to light given the recent Triffid issue? Unfortunately, the final report on this is in Swedish.

http://gmoinfo.jrc.ec.europa.eu/gmp_report.aspx?CurNot=B/SE/04/8254

 

Fischer Boel: an EU voice for advocacy in ag and trade

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes extracted from speeches by the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Mariann Fischer Boel:

“Technology is needed to “produce more food with less”…As climate change gathers pace, and as water shortages and disease become more serious, we can’t afford to shut our minds to the possible benefits of GM crops with improved resistance to disease and environmental stress. It’s essential that, around the world, we listen clearly to the voice of science when taking decisions …” (World Summit on Food Security, Rome – November 17, 2009)

“Month after month, GMOs receive a clean bill of health from EFSA, but then get stuck because Member States cannot reach any qualified majority, in favour or against, when it comes to the vote on a proposal for authorisation. So first the relevant committee decides nothing; then the Council decides nothing; and finally, the Commission grants authorisation, as laid down in the rules. This process swallows huge amounts of time…vital time is being lost in procedures. The result is that a growing number of GM products are widely used in other parts of the world, but are not yet authorised in the European Union – not because we’ve found evidence of risk, but because the political decision is being knocked around like a ball in a slow-motion tennis match…For the farm sector, the imbalance between the European Union and the rest of the world is a clear and present financial threat…We must vote on the basis of science, not prejudice…” (Policy Dialogue at “European Policy Centre”, Brussels – October 15, 2009)

NY Times Article of Interest – Can GM Food Cure the World’s Hunger Problem?

Interesting article in today’s issue of the New York Times: “Can Biotech Food Cure World Hunger?”… includes commentaries from six experts (academics, activists, authors) on the subject.

I am particularly fond of Paul Collier’s (economist with Oxford U) encouragement for us to put aside our prejudices: “Genetic modification is analogous to nuclear power: nobody loves it, but climate change has made its adoption imperative.” Particularly, Collier says, for countries like Africa. He says, “African governments are now recognizing that by imitating the European ban on genetic modification they have not reduced the risks facing their societies but increased them. Thirteen years, during which there could have been research on African crops, have been wasted. Africa has been in thrall to Europe, and Europe has been in thrall to populism.”

Johnathon Foley, director of the new Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, expounds upon “The Third Way”… “Currently, there are two paradigms of agriculture being widely promoted: local and organic systems versus globalized and industrialized agriculture. Each has fervent followers and critics. Genuine discourse has broken down: You’re either with Michael Pollan or you’re with Monsanto. But neither of these paradigms, standing alone, can fully meet our needs.” Foley suggest a “hybrid” of the two: “…take ideas from both sides, [create] new, hybrid solutions that boost production, conserve resources and build a more sustainable and scalable agriculture.”

http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/26/can-biotech-food-cure-world…

Just the Flax, ma’am, just the Flax…

All is quiet on the flax front… a little too quiet, perhaps.

What could be next? Seven more notifications on the RASFF Portal (https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/rasff-window/portal/index.cfm?event=searchResultList&orderby=notif_date&orderDir=desc) posted by Germany and Sweden this past Thursday in the product category cereals and bakery products. It makes one wonder where the food inputs (and potentially outputs) are held in the companies that have apparently discovered the FP967 event in their products. Are they kept in storage? Incinerated perhaps?

In other (related?) news… 9.7 million children were reported to have died of malnutrition before their fifth birthday in 2006. (UNICEF – State of the World’s Children 2008 / http://www.unicef.org/health/files/The_State_of_the_Worlds_Children_2008.pdf).

“Poverty is when you hide your face and wish nobody could see you just because you feel less than a human being. Poverty is when you dream of bread and fish you never see in the day light…Poverty is when the hopes of your fathers and grandfathers just vanish within a blink of an eye. I know poverty and I know poverty just like I know my father’s name. Poverty never sleeps. Poverty works all day and night. Poverty never takes a holiday.” (one impoverished African quoted in http://cozay.com/)