Update GMO Campaign
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Update GMO Campaign. Mute Schimpf Friends of the Earth Europe Riga, October 2012. FoE Europes GMO campaign. Started 1991 Main aim: keep Europe's field GMO free Combines coordination of GMO activities with FoE groups and a few allies; advocay work on Brussels level, campaigning

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Update gmo campaign

Update GMO Campaign

Mute Schimpf

Friends of the Earth Europe

Riga, October 2012


Update gmo campaign

FoE Europes GMO campaign

  • Started 1991

  • Main aim: keep Europe's field GMO free

  • Combines coordination of GMO activities with FoE groups and a few allies; advocay work on Brussels level, campaigning

  • Key groups:FoE Latvia, FoE Hungary, FoE Germany, FoE Spain, allies in Bulgaria, Slovenia and Romania; FoE Malta, FoE Cyprus, FoE Sweden, FoE France, FoE Lithuania, FoE Estonia, FoE Georgia, FoE Ukraine partly active,

  • Ways of working:

    • groups have national campaign,

    • European Steering group guides the campaign

    • Joint advocacy activities as lobby letters to ministers, joint materials as briefings, exchange and support amongst groups


Update gmo campaign

GMOs in Europe: Where are we?

  • EU's field nearly GMOfree, in 2011 around 0.1% of arable land planted with GM maize Mon810 (around 100,000ha in Spain). Most countries never cultivated GM crops.

  • Authorized for cultivation: maize Mon810 (Monsanto, bt-plant protect maize to maize pest corn borer) and GM potato Amflora (altered starch) but BASF phased out the cultivation in 2012.

  • Several GMOs authorised for imports around 38 crops, EU imports a lot of Gmfeed, most of imported soybeans are GMO, parts of imported GM maize from North and South America

    • Reason: labelling gap in EU regulation 1829/2003, whilst food and feed produced by GMO must be labelled, dairy products, eggs and meat from animals fed with GM feed aren't labelled.

    • All leading Food retailers phased out GM labelled products early 2000 (with a few exemptions)

      EU Commission website with database about authorised GMOs:http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/index_en.htm


Update gmo campaign

How are GMO decisions taken in the EU:

Major changes in EU laws are decided on equal level amonst Eureopan Parliament, EU Commission and member states in Council – so called co-decision.

GMO authorisations as well as details about the implementation of GMO laws are decided in national expert meetings chaired by the EU Commission, so called Standing Committee meetings, name of the procedure is 'comitolgy' without involvement of Council or EU Parliament.You can find meeting agendas and minutes here:http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/standing_committees/sc_modif_genet/index_en.htm

EU Commission: all responsibilites shifted to Health Commissioner, other Commissioners are advised to accept the lead of Health Commissioner and not involved in the 'implementation of GMO laws'

This means: national ministers are the key personsand national campaigning more important than ever before


Update gmo campaign

  • last vote about the food and feed authorisation of GM maize Mir 162

  • FOR:

  • Cz, Dk, Est, Ire, Esp, Mal, NL, Port, Rom, Svk, Fin, Swe& UK

  • Abstaint: Bul, D, Fr & It

  • Against: Gre, Cyp, Lat, Lith, Lux, Hun, Aus, Pol, Bel & Sln


Update gmo campaign

Dropping zero tolerance for food

The EU’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy bans any food or animal feed imports found to be contaminated by a genetically modified organism (GMO) that has not been approved in the EU. This has been a key principle for GM rules in Europe. In 2011, this was dropped for non-authorised GMOs in feed imports (regulation 611/2011)


Update gmo campaign

Our political arguments:

Since GMO were introduced in Europe in 1996, consumers attitude towards GM food have not changed. 66% of European consumers are concerned about GM food and food processors and retailers are aware and organised their production to fulfil the demand for conventional and organic food.

 Consumers, supermarkets and food operators need full transparency. Introducing a threshold for 0.1 percent undermines this core principle of the main GMO laws on European level. This would also cause lost of consumers’ confidence.

The European Union has an existing authorisation system for GM food and feed (, framed by directive 2001/18 and the regulation 1829/2003). These legal requirements must not be bypassed by redefining testing methods in order to introduce new thresholds for non-authorised GMO in food.


Update gmo campaign

 Europe experienced two major contamination incidents in recent years (GM rice from US in 2006 and linseed from Canada in 2009). These cases show that there is a gap in EU legislation: the polluter pays principle is absent and there is no liability regime in force. Thus it was the European food industry which had to cover all the costs for product recalls, rather than the biotech industry which was actually responsible for the damage in the first place.

 If politicians aim to give more legal certainty for the food sector and minimize risks for expensive product recalls caused by illegal contaminations, the most efficient way is introducing strict liability rules and implementing the polluters pays principle. Dropping zero tolerance for non-authorised GM food would not contribute to this, this is out of the scope of the planned proposal from the Commission.


Update gmo campaign

What happened in the last months?

Early summer 2012: Lobbying in Germany resulted in rejection of the proposal by the responsible minster of consumer affairs. France and Austria also told media that they reject the proposal.

July 2012: the Commission planned to launch a draft regulation October 2012.

July 2012: FoEE successfully reminded the European Commission that such a fundamental change of GM laws should be carefully assessed and now they start an official impact assessment this means that public accessible text will be available and stakeholders will be consulted about it.


Update gmo campaign

  • Opportunities:

  • Real chance to urge the Commission to drop this proposal

  • Citizens care about food,

  • Higher media interest than for food issues

  • If, we would win this case and Dalli would stop the whole proposal, major impact for other GMO decisions

    Threads:

  • Complicated and technical issue

  • Very strong lobby from food lobbyist in Brussels and potentially on national level, need to convince individual organisations companies to become active

  • Unclear time lines

  • Decision taken under comitology rules 


Update gmo campaign

What are we planning:

Step one: looking for support from 3 leading supermarkets for a letter to Health Commissioner

Step 2: similar letters to national ministers

Mobilise around the Impact assessment

And whatever you want and organise


Update gmo campaign

How to block the GM crops

Re-authorisation of maize Mon810, Monsanto, Bt crop with tolerance to European corn borer, banned in 6 member states, re-authorisation is pending since 2009, re-sent to EFSA for another opinion in July 2012, expected in Dec 2012

Maize BT 11, Syngenta, tolerant to glufosinate and resists European corn borer, pending since 2005, with several updated EFSA opinions in the meantime. EFSA stated that the glufosinate tolerance is just used as a marker gene and therefore did not assess the herbicide tolerance in its opinions. re-sent to EFSA for another opinion in July 2012, expected in Dec 2012

Maize 1507, Pioneer Hi-Bred, tolerance to glufosinate and resistance to European corn borer, pending since 2005 with several updated EFSA opinions in the meantime. EFSA stated that the glufosinate tolerance is just used as a marker gene and therefore did not assess the herbicide tolerance in its opinions. re-sent to EFSA for another opinion in July 2012, expected in October 2012


Update gmo campaign

Maize GA21, Syngenta, tolerance to glyphosate, EFSA launched its opinion in 2011, discussed with member states in January 2012, in theory Commission can table it for a vote

Maize Mon88017, Monsanto, tolerance to glyphosate and resistance to Corn rootworms, EFSA launched its opinion in 2011, discussed with member states in January 2012, in theory Commission can table it for a vote

Maize NK603, Monsanto, tolerance to glyphosate, Efsa opinion 2009

Soybean 40-3-2, Monsanto, tolerance to glyphosate, EFSA launched opinion in June 2012, discussion with member states on 10 September.


Update gmo campaign

Preparations so far, lobby activities

Created Alert list for urgent mobilisation with key persons from several countries

January :Joint NGO letters to ministers before the discussion of GA21 and Mon88017 in the Standing Committee

May: Joint NGO letters to Environmental ministers sent

July: great news that Commission send back 3 maizes back to EFSA 


Update gmo campaign

What can you in your country?

Alert civil society about upcoming authorisations

Investigate how your government will vote about GM crops for cultivation

Meetings, communication with official why Europe must not repeat the mistakes from Americas and should reject the cultivation of GM crops.


Update gmo campaign

Public arguments

  • Increasing concerns amongst consumers about GM food (eurobarometer Nov 2010) increased to 66% since 2005

  • The GM model does not really fit into the European agricultural system

  • In North and South America increasing problems with herbicide resistant weeds and crops as weeds in other crops

  • News that event BT crops resistant starts to fail

  • Slow but increasing interest in Gmfree labels (Carrefour)


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