Arguing for 'safe' biotechnology

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July 3, 2007

Speaking at a recent European Biotechnology Open Day, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said, "There is an economic risk in Europe if we fall behind the global economy in approving safe biotechnology". Instead of remaining outside a global market that Mandelson said "is slowly working its way through the issues raised by GM [genetically modified] food," the trade commissioner argued that Europe should take the lead in shaping a global system of clear, science-based biosafety rules. Mandelson noted how the world's population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050, with world demand for food to double by then. He also cited the demand for agriculture to supply more energy crops and raw materials for industry. According to Mandelson, "It is simply not responsible or defensible to calmly refuse to assess the role of GM food in meeting those demands." Referring to the EU's "backtracking" on GM approvals, Mandelson stated that "If we fail to implement our rules, or implement them inconsistently, we can - and probably will - be challenged" again at the World Trade Organization (WTO). He also expressed concern about Europe's continued ability to source non-GM animal feed from abroad, and he said there is growing discontent with the EU's strict standards in developing countries. Nnimmo Bassey of Friends of the Earth in Nigeria said he rejects Mandelson's arguments, and that GM crops have yet to offer benefits to Africa or to consumers anywhere in the world. The article can be viewed online at the link below. Source: EurActiv through Food Security and FS-AgBiotech (FS-AgBiotech) News