Archive for ‘GMO’

February 7, 2011

Controversial plans to relax the EU’s zero-tolerance on GM food

by Jasmina Nikoloska

According to the E.U.’s zero-tolerance policy any imported food of animal feed must be GMO free from the substances that have not been approved by the E.U. Council.

Currently only several varieties of GM soy, corn, cotton, potato, sugar beet, and canola (rape seed), are approved for planting and use in the E.U.

The EU plans for elimination of the zero-tolerance policy alarmed many environmentalist and GMO sceptics.

There is a possibility for permitting import of animal feed that could contain traces of unauthorised GM crops.

Although GM supporters argue that it zero-tolerance policy could result with a shortage of feed for livestock and GM traces does not jeopardise food security, campaigners against GM food think that GM industry only wants to push its products and technology and by relaxing GM zero-tolerance policy they are opening it’s gates for imported GMO in EU.

The push for Europe to drop its zero-tolerance policy began in 2009 after EU authorities found traces of GM maize in soy shipments from the US and refused to allow its entry. Such recalls are expensive and those affected are unlikely to receive compensation, the Guardian published on 6th of February 2011.

Written by Jasmina Nikoloska

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February 5, 2011

First GM chickens resistant to bird flu created

by Jasmina Nikoloska

The journal Science published a study of genetically modified [GM] chickens that are resistant to bird flu.

According to the researchers at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, this achievement could stop bird flu from spreading and possibly reduce the risk of bird flu epidemics that could lead to flu virus epidemics in humans.

The researchers believe that the technology has the potential to create a variety of GM farm animals resistant to viral diseases.

They think that the genetic modification they have introduced is harmless to the chickens as well to people who might eat the birds and possibly it could an alternative to vaccination.
As the researchers explained, they inserted an artificial gene into chickens, which diverts an enzyme crucial for transmitting the H5N1 strain. Still the birds get sick and eventually die but they didn’t pass on that virus to other chickens.

Although the technology offers a benefit, British public is sceptical over GM food and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) should conduct a full detailed safety evaluation before any of this GM produce could enter the market.
And Tim Elsdale, who is an organic farmer in East Sussex, told BBC News that it was better to adopt good farming practices to avoid animals getting diseases in the first place than to create GM farm animals.

On the other hand human population is growing rapidly and eventually feeding the world is going to be a real problem.

Written By Jasmina Nikoloska