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BIOTECHNOLOGY IN EUROPEAN AGRICULTURE

Last century brought several biotechnology methods in breeding and plant and animal propagation. This contribution is focused on plant breeding, which was up to the seventies based on random occurrence of new traits. Recombinant DNA technique provided an opportunity to introduce desired new traits selectively and rationally by transgenesis. This breeding technology when used properly brings benefit to farmers, consumers and environment...
by Jaroslav Drobnik on BIOTECHNOLOGIE 2008, February 14, České Budějovice Entire Article ...

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 CO-EXISTENCE MORE POLITICS THAN SCIENCE

Let the science-based debate among stakeholders start soon before Europe becomes an outdoor museum of last-century agriculture
by Jaroslav Drobnik on workshop TRANSCONTAINER - Plovdiv, May 2008
PowerPoint presentation. Entire Article ...
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 Sweet corn for EU

European Union feels ever harder the trap it fell into when scaring people with Frankenstein food to create a consumers´ anti-import barrier for agrarian products. It was succeeded with help of pressure organisations. Completely against valid legislation, some member states established a moratorium in 1998 on further GMO registrations for use in EU.

That way they put a large skeleton in the closet of the international position, which tied their hands on the grounds of WTO when they wanted to defend against American steel taxation or strategy of tax paradises use. The embargo needed to be removed. But how? Entire Article ...

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British Medical Association
Board of Science and Education

Genetically modified foods and health:
a second interim statement

The 1999' interim report of the British Medical Association is used as a very strong argument by all opponents of GMO.

Therefore it is useful to learn the second interim statement that can be found on www.bma.org.uk . We are presenting here the Introduction and Conclusions. Entire Article ...

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The Nuffield Council on Bioethics
- Britain's most respected scientific ethics group - issued a Discussion Paper on 
'The Use of Genetically Modified Crops in Developing Countries' 

on Dec. 28, 2003. This Discussion Paper is a follow-up to the Council's 1999 Report, Genetically modified crops: the ethical and social issues. The Paper reassesses the recommendations and conclusions in the light of recent developments in science and policy. Download at http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/publications/pp_0000000017.asp

The repost says Britain is ignoring a moral imperative to promote GM foods suitable for tropical and sub-tropical nations. GM varieties of rice, bananas, sweet potatoes and soybean could save these countries' crumbling economies. However, their benefits are not being investigated by Western agricultural companies. Entire Article ...

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MORE RATIONAL APPROACH OF EU?

Bellow we bring official report on the approval of the RR corn in EU.

The field test in UK - see our reference to Royal Society - revealed that the corn tolerant to broad-spectrum herbicide supported biodiversity better than standard corn.

The introduction this crop in the food chain will probably be accompanied with standard slogans of a compulsory list of global pseudo-religious opponents of GMO. These slogans have no relations to facts. Therefore let us repeat certain facts: Entire Article ...

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Byrne: Europeans must face facts

"IF WE FAIL TO MAKE PROGRESS, 
THERE IS A VERY REAL DANGER THAT 
AN ANTI-SCIENCE AGENDA 
MAY TAKE ROOT IN EUROPEAN SOCIETY." 
DAVID BYRNE

 Entire Article ...

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EUROEPAN GMO PSYCHOSIS - WHERE IT COMES FROM?

When analyzing the sources and nature of the "GMO psychosis" in Europe, we usually distinguish five roots of it:

  1. Natural conservationism of Europeans particularly in culinary habits;
  2. Tradition in European agriculture, which is often part of the national identity;
  3. European policy to protect less effective agriculture by building an import barrier from the "GMO fear" of citizens which results in zero demand;
  4. The wrong strategy of companies developing GMO, as they did not offer crop with obvious benefit to final consumer supposing consumer will eat what he/she finds on shelf;
  5. Competition between companies owing patents on GMO and the rest of agroindustry.

Some time ago we analyzed the point c). Let us go to the points d) and e) by the commentary of New York Times: Entire Article ...

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What with "Zero limit"?

It is clear that the claim of organic farmers to guarantee "zero content of GMO" in their products is as realistic as zero content of heavy metals or mycotoxines. Such demand is based from the side of organic farmers by the desire to profit on "GMO psychosis" and has nothing to do with consumer safety or protection of environment. From the side of Greens is the "zero contamination" another weapon in their war against GMO.

It is just the question of time when realistic approach will come. Following report from Germany shows that the time is coming: Entire Article ...

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Remarks by David Byrne
European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection
Informal Agriculture Council Nyborg, Denmark
Tuesday 10th September 2002
(Bold by BIOTRIN)

"European consumers expect the food they eat to be safe and of high quality. They expect food to meet their nutritional needs, to be wholesome and tasty, and they value variety of choice. Consumers also expect their food to be produced and processed in accordance with good farming practices, with greater respect for the environment and for the welfare of animals. And they want to be informed, in a precise and accurate manner, about the composition, the nutritional value, the durability, and, in certain cases, about the origin and the method of production of the food offered to them." Entire Article ...

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VIOLENT ACTION OF GREENPEACE IN BRANISOVICE

Zpravodajstvi CTK informs on June 24 that a group of 25 persons consisting of employees of the Czech office of Greenpeace and invited foreigners from Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Finland and the Netherlands invaded a test area in Branisovice where a study of an effect of Bt corn on insect community was going on. Their goal was to hamper the test by stretching of polythene bags over plants. The test had an official approval and therefore the invaders were led away by the police. Let the reader make his/her own opinion of this event. We shall only list some facts, which are not known to the media or they do not consider them important or they omit them on purpose. Entire Article ...

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But here in Europe 
we have been suffering 
from what might be called 
"GMO psychosis". 

David BYRNE
Commissionaire for Health and Consumer protection
European Voice Conference "Farm to Fork" 
Brussels, 22 November 2001

HOW (and by whom) THE "GMO PSYCHOSIS" IS GENERATED

Opponents of GMO are of two types: one is looking for possible risks, studies them and eventually publishes results supported by scientific facts. The other type constructs a set of statements of pseudo religious character - they have to be accepted as true and if facts show opposite, it is bad luck for facts - such facts are dismissed.

Five scientific studies showed two years ago that Bt corn in field conditions does not harm monarch butterfly, but certain pressure group keeps repeating that it "kills harmless butterflies". This is calculated for the effect on lay public that does not read scientific journals. Entire Article ...

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IT IS TIME TO STOP FOOLING EUROPEANS

The activity of pressure groups that are misusing slogans about environment and public health lead to distorted perception of modern biology (such as "standard tomato has no genes", etc) and in turn set burden to the development of science, technology and eventually competitiveness of Europe.

Responsible politicians are aware of it and decided to stop pressure groups in their propaganda and attacks against GMO. Sometimes these groups are presented as "citizens initiatives" or "voice of people". This is completely wrong. These groups are based on principles of company organisation lacking even traces of democracy. The directors are employed by headquarters and the chiefs of anti-GMO campaign are just employees hired by local directors and approved by headquarters. If media call them "activist" they may call activist salespersons of any car producing company. No elections, no member voting, no member conferences, no member approval of strategy and methods applied. All is designed in headquarter and local employees are paid just for propagating and executing the politics set in the centre. Thus these groups have responsibility only to their global headquarters and to nobody else.

We are presenting the position of

bulletPhilippe Busquin, commissioner for research of the EU Commission, Entire Aticle ...
 and of 
bulletTony Blair. Entire Article ...
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ANOTHER COMMISSIONAIRE OF THE EU URGING RATIONAL POLICY REGARDING GMO

In addition to Margot Wallström (Environment), Philippe Busquin (Science and Technology), David Byrne (Health and Consumer Protection) and Erkki Liikanen (Enterprise and Information Society) also Franz Fischler (Agriculture) called for rational approach to the application of biotechnology.

Associated Press February 13, 2002
By PAUL GEITNER BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP)

EUROPE RISKS BEING LEFT BEHIND IN THE BOOMING BIOTECHNOLOGY SECTOR

unless it finds a way to address public fears about genetically modified organisms, a top European Union official warned Wednesday.  Entire article ...

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Summary of the study on health relevant and environmental aspects
of different farming systems:
organic, conventional and genetic engineering

InterNutrition, the Swiss Association for Research and Nutrition, has carried out a comparison based on published scientific papers concerning the biological, conventional and genetic engineering methods used in agriculture and nutrition. Biotrin has available a summary in English.

The key question in the study was whether consumer perception of organic, conventional and genetically modified food is corresponding with scientific findings.  Entire article ...

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Cloning of human cells - Yes or No?
(This report was issued for a press conference on ISSP research in 2000 - Environment, March 26, 2001)
Petr Soukup

The main findings:

  1. Majority of the Czech population is informed about a possibility of cloning of human cells (83%). More informed are the ones who have reached a higher degree of education.
  2. According to their own words, 60% of the Czech population have an idea of what is the basis of cloning process. People who have reached higher degree of education understand the processes relating to cloning significantly more often.
  3. 40% respondents would ban cloning for a potential misuse. Therefore, support of cloning of human cells prevails in the Czech Republic. People with lower degrees of education and especially believers would ban cloning for moral reasons (47% believers would ban cloning).
  4. Majority of population considers cloning of living creatures a playing with nature (three quarters of the Czech population shares this feeling). People who believe in God perceive it this way more often.
  5. Genetically modified food that are closely related to cloning are perceived as little dangerous in the light of other risks for the environment (43% people consider it exceptional or very dangerous). Older people consider genetically modified food more dangerous.

 Entire article ...

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