Well, I am leaving on a jet plane… heading to Amsterdam (three times a charm) for the Centre for Society & Genomics Conference “TEN YEARS AFTER – Mapping the societal landscape of genomics” at the Royal Tropical Institute on May 27-28th. It is yet another opportunity to present “…the flax, ma’am, just the flax!” Plus, I plan to connect with old colleagues and meet some new ones. On Friday, I head to Brussels for a meeting with representatives from COCERAL, the voice for the European cereals, rice, feedstuffs, oilseeds, olive oil, oils and fats and agrosupply trade as well as someone from European Commission. We are collaborating with this group to conduct the economic and social impact analysis of advantitious precense of Triffid flax on the industry (Canada and the EU). Ah yes, we do plan to solve the world’s problems one seed at a time!
So that’s work… but for fun, I hope to once again get to the Rijks Museum (check out some Rembrandts – booyeah!) and head to the Jordaan area of town (as recommended by colleague, Lars). Perhaps a boat tour of Amsterdam would be in order… haven’t done that before. I will keep the ‘Kaleidoscopers’ posted as to how things transpire!
‘Camster’ AKA ‘Hamster’ AKA ‘Rodentia Magnificus’ AKA ‘Ro-Mag’
Centre for Society and Genomic’s “Ten Years After: Mapping the Societal Genomic Landscape” Conference
The Flax Council of Canada announces changes to the existing Stewardship Program
(as of March 12, 2010 )
“The new stewardship option allows producers to use their own non-pedigreed seed for planting provided it first undergoes the same intense sampling and testing procedures as those used for certified seed being tested for Triffid. A representative 2 kg sample must be submitted to an approved laboratory for seed testing purposes. Each sample must represent a lot not exceeding 20 metric tonnes. The submitted sample must be clean of all weed seeds, chaff and straw.
Once received, the approved lab will follow the testing protocol requiring 4×60 gram grinds to be tested with positive results being defined as the detection of the presence of Triffid and negative being defined as no detection of any level of Triffid. There will be no threshold level of Triffid acceptable for planting seed. Only planting seed that has been tested negative is to be used for seeding purposes for 2010.”
As of today’s debate, Bill C-474 was not referred to Committee. Instead the Conservatives delayed action. There will be another hour of debate in April or sooner. The Conservative Party spoke against the Bill. The Liberal Party mostly spoke against the Bill but left the door open to a debate in Committee…
Quotes of note:
“We have a dominant position in the world in GMOs and so it is important that we consider our future…” Andre Bellavance, Bloc
“The content and ramifications of the Bill are complex. The wording is problematic. The Member Atamanenko has stated that the Bill was developed in response to the Flax contamination issue. The EU – 70% of our flax export market – was closed due to contamination…if this Bill had been the law at the time, and the study of impact on the market for flax would the knowledge have stopped GE flax and prevented market disruptions?….The Bill does not describe what “market” or “harm” means, we look forward to more debate in the House and maybe debate in Committee.” Francis Valeriote, Liberal, on Agriculture Committee
“This Bill raises the question of how best to manage the market impacts. But we need a process based on sound science. The Canola Growers Association warned to keep the politics out of the decisions. There are technical flaws in the Bill also.” Pierre Lemieux for the Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz
“We need to be very cautious about including any non-scientific issues like public attitudes – this has to be resolved by industry, not government. GMOs have been around for 50 years and are important.” Larry Miller, Conservative, Agriculture Committee Chair