domingo, enero 20, 2008

From Food First's newsletter

The ban on genetically modified corn has been extended in France
The French government announced January 2008 that it would extend a ban on the only GMO crop currently grown in France. The government cited new evidence about MON 810, the Monsanto maize variety that produces the pesticide Bt in its stem, raising concerns about biodiversity, its affect on aquatic organisms, and its wide dissemination.
Earlier this month.French farmer and activist, Jose Bove, and 15 of his supporters launched a hunger strike, vowing not to eat until France's food supply was safe from GM contamination. Bove is a spokesman for the international peasants' movement, Via Campesina, and has been involved in campaigns on behalf of small farmers all around the world.
The French ban was announced just as international debate over the right of nations to reject GM food took a serious turn. Washington is actively looking for ways to pry open the European market for American biotech companies. The European Union had until Friday to lift its ban on imports of GM food, but there is little indication that GM imports into EU nations are increasing. Washington could go to the WTO to push for stronger sanctions on the EU as early as this week.
In France, Bove and the 80% of French people polled who are opposed to GM food may be celebrating, but the evidence invoked by President Sarkozy to ban the GM maize is still subject to review by the European Commission. The EC has 60 days to review the new evidence presented by France's panel of government appointed scientists. If they find the scientific foundations behind the ban invalid, the EC could order France to remove its ban before the spring maize planting begins. If the ban holds up however, it represents a major victory for the right of people to democratically determine the shape of their food systems.

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