View from the fence

Social, environmental and economic issues surrounding GM foods, and the latest news

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The final say from my UKIP MEP

Quick recap: I wrote to my MEPs asking them to make an evidence-based decision about the regulation of New Breeding Techniques, and a UKIP MEP’s political advisor replied that he has “no mandate to support legislative proposals from the unelected European Commission”.

I emailed him back to clarify the situation, to which I got more info about why Britain should leave the EU (and a link to Nigel Farage’s book – let me know if you’re aching to read it…). I wanted to be sure I’d understood him correctly in relation to my original query, so I posed the question:

“For the McIntyre Report, am I right in thinking that there was indeed a vote, but that Mr Agnew decided not to participate because he does not wish to further the aims of the EU?”

The response: Continue reading

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It all comes back to Brexit – a letter from my UKIP MEP

A few days ago I blogged about the impending EU decision about whether to regulate New Breeding Techniques as GMOs, partly to distract myself from Brexit. It failed.

Writing the post caused me to stumble across a call by GM Freeze to write to your MEPs to ask them to vote to regulate New Breeding Techniques as GMOs. I promptly wrote to my MEPs asking them to make a decision based on science.  Continue reading


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The EU decisions I’m eagerly awaiting

The Brexit debate has reached fever pitch, so I am trying to ignore it and focus my attention on another impending EU decision: will New Breeding Techniques be regulated as GM?

These techniques include using enzymes to make small and precise changes in a genome, or using current GM techniques to transfer genes from different varieties of the same crop.

There are a few major issues if the EU does regulate NBTs in the same way as GMOs: Continue reading

177-Maize crop copy 2


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News – April 2016

A few items have caught my attention recently:

‘Monsanto has infiltrated governments’ is a standard claim , and now we have the reverse: there’s a claim that scientific bodies have been ‘infected’ by environmental activists. The classification of glyphosate (the herbicide most widely associated with herbicide-tollerant crops) as ‘probably carcinogenic’ has certainly been controversial, although I enjoyed this analysis on why it isn’t a conspiracy.

An annual report on GM crops in 2015 has been launched. Globally 179.7 million hectares of GM crops were planted by 28 countries, a decrease of 1% (1.8 million hectares) from the 181.5 million hectares in 2014. This decrease is likely related to the current low prices of commodity crops such as soybean and cotton.

The US has decided that a non-browning mushroom developed using genome editing (CRISPRwon’t be regulated as a GMO.

And there’s another role reversal. Anti-GM petitions seem to be common, but a signatures are being collected for a petition calling on the Canadian government to continue its investment in biotech research.

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