GMO potato: cultivation authorized in Europe


GMO potato: cultivation in Europe authorized by the European Commission

March 12, 2010

On March 2, the European Commission approved by written procedure, the authorization for the cultivation of the Amflora potato (patent of the German BASF group) in the territory of the European Union, a genetically modified potato as it was possible to neutralize the gen which produces the enzyme. responsible for the synthesis of amylose so as to obtain a product that contains 100% amylopectin, used above all in the production of paper and whose residues would then be used in animal feed.

This decision has greatly surprised as it is since 1998 that the European Union had placed an embargo on generically modified crops.

The ups and downs of this potato start from about thirteen years ago, when BASF asked for its approval for the first time, denied precisely for thirteen years. Why now this change of course?

The problem that must worry is that this potato, even if it is not formally intended for human consumption but for industrial use (to obtain starch to be used in paper mills), in fact, will still enter the human food chain because its waste will be used as animal feed. . Concerns are linked to the fact that in the Amflora potato the genetic mutation has caused the production of a gene (maker) resistant to two antibiotics Neomycin and Kanamycin, two "antimicrobials extremely important for human health" as defined by the WHO (World Organization of Health).

It is not clear why EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, expressed a positive opinion, on which the European Commission then based its decision, despite the EU Directive 2001/18 prohibiting the use of GMOs containing genes resistance to antibiotics important for human health and the negative opinion expressed by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Perhaps it will be necessary to make a worldwide edict in a universal language that can be received by every grain of soil, by every animal, by every vegetal creature of the planet to which it must be said that if in a field there is the Amflorao potato if this is given as feed, you have to stay away because it must not cross that imaginary line that makes Italy is Italy, France is France and so on, if in a particular country it is not appreciated. In our opinion it is the fact that the President of the European Commission Barroso has specified that he does not want to impose GMOs on Member States but that they can appeal to the "safeguard clause" with which each State can prohibit the cultivation of transgenic products on its territory!

Green light from Europe to the cultivation of GMOs: the transgenic potato Amflora is on the way

The much feared news, but which was in the air, has arrived: the European Union, after 12 years, has the cultivation of genetically modified organisms has been re-authorized. And so, to the famous corn Mon810 produced by Monsanto, from today the green light also to two other species of transgenic corn always from the same multinational and to GMO potato Amflora developed by the German chemical giant Basf.

Although an effective solution has not yet been found to avoid the contamination between GM and non-GM crops, the EU executive body paves the way for 5 types of GMOs. The news that continues - finally - to bounce on all the media, however, does not arrive like a bolt from the blue. The scents of new wave of biotech in Europe and consequently also in Italy, they were all there, as explained in a our study a few weeks ago. But this does not mean that the thing does not leave you puzzled. Because it resembles the very first piece of what is a greater fear: all the doubts that circulate around the Codex Alimentarius, of which very few speak, appear today always fewer collective delusions and they begin to have their own logic.

Because despite the fact that the decision of the European Union is based as assured "" on a considerable number of rigorous scientific knowledge ", the effects that genetically modified organisms have on human health.

There Amflora potato, for the moment, it will not be grown for food purposes and, as explained by the Commissioner for Health and the Environment John Dalli in the press conference responding to a journalist, "it will not be possible to grow it in the garden". “Basf will be able to sell the product only to designated producers who in turn have designated the final recipients, paper manufacturing industries, with the consequent benefits in terms of energy savings and less environmental pollution“.

As expected the news sparked an avalanche of reactions in Europe and throughout Italy where alongside the environmental, agricultural and consumer protection associations that reiterate the "no" to biotech, there are also voices in favor of GMOs. So if Coldiretti and CIA take the field to defend the typicality of Italian products, the position taken by is more possible Confagricoltura that you see in genetically modified organisms new possibilities in agriculture. Also divided the Vatican between those who consider GMOs a risk also for farmers, especially those in poor countries, and those who, first and foremost pope, consider them a tool to reduce hunger in the world.

But the Amflora potato, at least for the moment, will not contribute to the cause since it will not be planted for food purposes, at least not directly, because thetransgenic vegetable produced by the German company it will be used, yes, to produce cellulose, but also as animal feed.

Hence the concerns expressed by several fronts that warn about a potato gene immune to some antibiotics which, when introduced into the food circuit, could trigger a bacterial resistance towards life-saving medicines, including drugs also used to treat tuberculosis:

"This GMO poses unacceptable risks for human and animal health, as well as for the environment - warns Federica Ferrario, head of the GMO campaign of Greenpeace Italy - Now his authorization is waved in the face of science, public opinion and European laws ".
“It is shocking to see that for six years President Barroso has been trying to bury the scientific evidence about the safety concerns of this GMO potato. - continues Ferrario - With his new Commission he forced the decision without even confronting all the Commissioners. Commissioner Dalli, in agreement with Barroso, used the so-called "written procedure" to authorize this crop, thus avoiding having to face the debate in the Commissioners' College ".

There authorization procedure for the Amflora potato it had been started in Sweden in 2003 and, within one month needed to conclude the process, it will officially become final.

But a decision he made shout the European greens to the referendum who accuse her of not take into account the sovereignty of individual EU member states even if Europe, as Brussels clarifies, cannot force them to cultivate GMOs as each individual state can appeal to the so-called "safeguard clause" provided for by thearticle 23 of the EU directive 2001/18, the same has already been invoked by six countries (Austria, Hungary, France, Greece, Germany and Luxembourg) against the cultivation of maize Mon810, the only one planted in Europe so far.

And in Italy, Minister Zaia is the first to put his foot down: “We will not allow the EU decision to question the sovereignty of the member states in this matter. We will not allow such a measure, dropped from above, to compromise our agriculture. As long as we are there, GMOs will not enter Italy “.

But then, we are asked, Minister, why in the new agricultural code that you have developed which will come into force shortly. Is there an article, 36, which does not provide for them?

Simona Falasca

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Amflora, a GMO potato is wandering around Europe

Once the chemical giant Basf he was famous for films. Today it is one of the panzers of the transgenic sector and also “produces” potatoes. His latest creation is the GM potato “Amflora", Or Emphlora, designed to produce starches for the paper industry and animal feed.

But Amflora turned into one hot potato, symbol of the anti and pro GMO battles in Europe.

Authorized in March 2010 by the European Commission which, for Amflora, had interrupted a precautionary moratorium on transgenics that lasted 12 years, it was blocked on 13 December last year by European Court of Justice. A sentence, which, among other things, highlighted the regulatory confusion and the many possible authorization shortcuts: the EU Court rejected the previous authorization of the European leaders because "simply" the updated opinion of EFSA was missing, the food safety authority.

The clumsy green light for the Amflora potato had, however, opened a door to GMOs. The other GMO symbol is the Mon810 GMO corn from Monsanto that the union has authorized amid a thousand controversies and after the new EU agricultural policy instead pushes towards an agriculture that respects and, indeed, improves the environment.

This is why there are many who no longer understand anything about it.

A recent survey confirms public opinion against the feared collapse of the anti-transgenic dam. In Italy alone: ​​as many as 8 out of 10 citizens (76 percent) are against the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture.

Italy, also due to strong pressure from agricultural organizations, is for now a country where the cultivation of GMOs would be prohibited even though Minister Nunzia De Girolano has shown considerable hesitation on this game.

In Europe, five out of twenty-seven countries (Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania) cultivate GMOs, with just 129,000 hectares of Mon810 transgenic maize planted in 2012.

A negligible percentage of the Community's agricultural area equal to much less than 0.001% of the total area of ​​160 million hectares cultivated in Europe.

For agricultural organizations, genetically modified organisms not only pose serious problems of environmental and food safety, but above all they pursue a development model that is the great ally of homologation and the great enemy of typicality, distinctiveness and Made in Italy.

Farmers' unions ask that the EU does not impose GMO crops on member countries but that the sovereignty and autonomy of individual states be recognized and guaranteed. And they ask that the Italian government, after the anti-GMO declarations, take action, proceeding as soon as possible with the activation of the safeguard clause envisaged to protect national productions.

The European Court of Justice blocks the GM potato Amflora.

The European Court of Justice cancels the authorization for the cultivation in Europe of the controversial GMO potato Amflora, resistant to antibiotics.

Thus, the Greenpeace association opens up to invite the European Commission to also withdraw the Pioneer-DuPont 1507 proposal to authorize the cultivation of GMO corn, drawn up last November. Today's ruling shows that the EU Commission has committed the same legal errors for both authorizations.

As also happened in the case of the GMO potato examined by the European Court of Justice, after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued new scientific opinions on GMO corn 1507, the EU Commission did not ask the committee of experts of the countries members to vote on the new authorization proposal. The Commission, after the new assessments, modified the proposal and sent it directly to the Council of Ministers, while according to the ruling, it should have submitted it again to the Member State Committee.

Basf's Amflora potato was authorized by the EU Commission in March 2010. In response, Greenpeace collected, together with Avaaz, over one million signatures, accusing the Commission of ignoring both existing scientific concerns and strong public opposition. towards GMO crops. In May 2010, Hungary appealed to request the cancellation of the Amflora authorization and immediately afterwards France, Luxembourg, Austria and Poland intervened in the proceedings in support of Hungary.

GMO potato: cultivation authorized in Europe

(Adnkronos / Aki) - Many other voices have in fact been raised against the choice of the EU Commission at all levels. In particular, the Greens, who in Italy said they were "ready to present a referendum question as early as next week to prevent GMOs from being grown in Italy" because "the authorized crop has very high risk profiles because it would have a gene marker that causes resistance to an antibiotic important for human health ". Legambiente also agrees on the concern for the consequences on human health, which invited the minister "to issue the famous decree that would prevent the execution of the sentence of the Council of State which authorizes the cultivation of GMOs without waiting for the guidelines on coexistence, to protect the 'quality agriculture, organic and Italian excellence ".

For Coldiretti, the decision of Brussels "in full contrast with the will of the citizens", "will finally give Italy and the sixteen regions that have already declared themselves GMO free the possibility to ban cultivation in their territories. - underlined President Sergio Marini - may Europe also authorize what it wants so much in Italy, we will continue not to cultivate them ".

On the other hand, Futuragra, the association that fights for the introduction of biotechnologies in Italy, has a different opinion, which judges the green light of Brussels to the GM potato "a positive signal, even if it is since 1998 that responses from the EU were expected. Meanwhile, while Europe is moving forward, in Italy, after the sentence of the Council of State, which sanctioned the right of farmers to sow GMO corn, the Government has not yet given any answers ".

GM potato: stop by the European Court of Justice at BASF's Amflora

Amflora GMO potato rejected by European Court of Justice. The Court revoked the authorization for the diffusion of the patented potato by the multinational Basf. Therefore, the debate related to the possibility of the single European States to introduce the cultivation of GMO independently.

The hope is therefore that of aagriculture not subject to multinationals, free from GMOs and capable of feeding the planet, as it is in harmony with the environment. The debate reopens at the European level, where voices in favor and against GMOs and their spread clash. As communicated by Legambiente, the rejection re-launches the comparison on the modification of the Directive 18/2001, to ensure that States can independently declare their refusal to GMOs, for example for agronomic and socio-economic reasons.

They are the farmers the first to be damaged by GMOs: this is why environmental associations seek support from them, as well as from consumers, who are personally involved in the choice of food to bring to the tables. The Amflora potato is not the only GM crop in play.

Greenpeace calls on the European Commission to also withdraw the proposed authorization for the cultivation of GMO corn 1507 of Pioneer-DuPont, drawn up last November. In the opinion of Greenpeace, in fact, the sentence on the potato produced by Basf shows that the EU Commission has committed the same legal errors for both permissions. Greenpeace announces that:

"As also happened in the case of the GMO potato examined by the European Court of Justice, after theEuropean Food Safety Authority (Efsa) has issued new scientific opinions on GM corn 1507, the EU Commission has not asked the committee of experts of the member countries to vote on the new authorization proposal. The Commission, after the new assessments, modified the proposal and sent it directly to the Council of Ministers, while according to the sentence, he should have submitted it again to the State Committee members ".

Greenpeace has collected, along with Avaaz, as well 1 million signatures, accusing the Commission of ignoring both existing scientific concerns and strong public opposition to GM crops. In May 2010, Hungary appealed to request the cancellation of the Amflora authorization and immediately afterwards France, Luxembourg, Austria and Poland intervened in the proceedings in support of Hungary.

"Today's ruling demolishes the EU Commission's plans to quickly obtain authorization for the cultivation of Pioneer-DuPont 1507 GMO maize. The Commission must withdraw its proposal, in line with the legal requirements set by the EU. " - he has declared Federica Ferrario, Greenpeace Italy Agriculture Campaign Manager.

The Court ruled that the Commission has not complied with Community rules on authorization procedures relating to GMO products. So what moves should we expect for the future? Second Coldiretti, the stop to the genetically modified potato is positively welcomed by 8 out of 10 citizens and 76% of the Italian population would be against genetically modified organisms. Furthermore, as pointed out by Coldiretti, GMOs not only pose serious environmental and food safety problems, but above all they pursue a development model that is the great ally ofapproval and the great enemy of typicality, distinctiveness and Made in Italy

Europe will allow Italy and other member states to respect the will of the majority of citizens?

Video: Testing a GM Potato in Ireland

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