1.Greenpeace urges EU to keep GM crops off menu
2.Calling on the EU to save our food
3.There's no market for GM crops

EXTRACTS: Greenpeace activists climbed the EU headquarters building in Brussels and unfurled a huge yellow banner saying "Stop GMOs!" (itm 1)

TAKE ACTION: Call on politicians to speak up, defy the GMO lobby, and vote for the environment and consumer protection
1.Greenpeace urges EU to keep GM crops off menu
The Associated Press, November 24 2008

BRUSSELS, Belgium: Greenpeace is urging the European Union to ban genetically modified crops from being used in food sold in the bloc.

The environmental group says genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, pose "unpredictable risks" to both consumers and the environment.

Greenpeace activists climbed the EU headquarters building in Brussels and unfurled a huge yellow banner saying "Stop GMOs!"

Environment ministers from the 27 EU nations plan on Dec. 4 to discuss how to authorize GMO use in the future.

Greenpeace says more research is needed to assess the long-term impact of altered before such crops can by approved for use.
2.Calling on the EU to save our food
Greenpeace, 24 November 2008

Brussels, Belgium - European Environment Ministers were asked to agree on strict controls ensuring food safety today, by our activists in Brussels. A giant banner displaying a 'scary' genetically modified corn plant and bearing the slogan 'Stop GMOs' was dropped from a building on Schuman square (at the quarter of European Commission and European Council buildings) as dozens GM maize caricatures were laid around the street - highlighting the risks posed by genetically modified organisms such as maize.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) runs inadequate safety checks on GMOs and just rubber stamps whatever the agro-chemical industry puts on the table. This process ignores the serious and unpredictable risks to human health and the environment.

The current risk assessment process contravenes EU law because it does not, among the other things, consider long-term impacts of GM crops. Recently the Austrian government commissioned a scientific study on the effects of a GM maize (to which EFSA gave the green light). The study revealed that the fertility of mice fed this type of maize was severely impaired compared with mice fed non-GM maize. This maize is authorised to enter the EU market to be used mainly in animal feed.

A safe decision needs to be made

On the 4th of December they have the chance to turn it around. The Ministers will be meeting to decide how to reform the EU authorization system of GMOs.
We're asking them to:

*Strengthen the risk assessment process and reform the EFSA  

*Suspend all GM crop authorisations until the risk assessment process and the EFSA is thoroughly improved and equipped to assess long term impacts of GMO crops

*Prevent GMO contamination of seeds

*Protect the right of member stated to establish GM-free areas   

*Ban all GM maize varieties

We are urging the EU to keep our food safe.

Learn more about GMOs in Europe.

The jury is out - GMOs are not worth the risk

GMOs are heavily promoted by the agro-biotech industry as the answer to the so-called food crisis. But existing non-GM farming methods can make a real difference in the developing world while at the same time being sustainable and not threatening the environment or human health. The most significant cause of starvation is not due to the lack of food production but the ineffective distribution of food and the way it is traded.

In contrast GMOs actually pose a major threat to food security due to their adverse effects on biodiversity, their continuous contamination of conventional crops and the monopoly of the global seeds market by big biotech corporations like Monsanto. There is growing scientific evidence of the health and environmental impacts of genetically modified crops. In addition to the recent Austrian study, several other recently published peer-reviewed studies point to numerous unexpected effects of GM cultivation. 

Who is trying to block the reform and spread GMOs in Europe?

Some Ministers are already on our side    (Austria, Hungary, Greece, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Cyprus, Poland and Lithuania) but many are still sitting on the fence (Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Slovakia). There is also a small but powerful group of countries willing to block any meaningful reform  (United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Portugal, Romania, Spain.) Meanwhile, the European Commission's President Barroso is actively pushing behind closed doors Member States to spread GMOs in the EU.

There is a serious risk that ministers will agree only on minor 'cosmetic' changes to the current assessment process. We can't afford to let this happen. The EU must ensure food safety and security by agreeing on tight controls.

TAKE ACTION: Only 10 days left until the EU Environment Council vote!

Call on politicians to speak up, defy the GMO lobby, and vote for the environment and consumer protection.
3.There's no market for GM crops
The Independent, 22 November 2008

The lack of GM test sites in the UK can be traced to the market rejection of GM crops in the late 1990s ("Government to defy critics with secret GM crop trial", 17 November). Monsanto's withdrawal from GM wheat research in 2004 amid global concerns from consumers and wheat farmers has also contributed. Why test crops for which there is no market?

Another significant reason has been the failure of GM herbicide-tolerant crops to gain commercial approval. The Government rejected GM oilseed rape and beet in 2004 because its own farm-scale evaluations found they caused long-term harm to farmland wildlife. GM herbicide-tolerant fodder maize was withdrawn by Bayer CropScience even after Margaret Beckett said it could be grown commercially.

As herbicide tolerance was the main GM trait being developed for the UK, it is hardly surprising that the need for test sites has largely disappeared.

Given that the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge Science and Technology for Development highlighted the urgent need to prioritise agro-ecological approaches to agriculture, why do ministers persist in pushing unpopular and outdated GM technology?

Pete Riley
Campaign Director, GM Freeze, Barnsley, South Yorkshire