EU commission ´admitted GM food uncertainty´
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The European commission has been approving genetically modified crops for human consumption while secretly warning about their impact on health and the environment, a report published recently reveals.
According to an article, published in the British Guardian, Papers obtained by two environmental groups under freedom of information laws show the commission pushed through the approval of seven GM foods. They were approved despite admissions that there were "large areas of uncertainty" and "some issues have not yet been studied at all".
The released papers formed the backbone of the commission's case during a dispute with the US, Canada and Argentina - which produce 90% of the world's GM crops - over a Europe-wide ban on GM foods in member states between 1998 and 2004. The 340-page document reveals that, in support of its stance, the commission told the World Trade Organisation that "it is apparent from the scientific advice ... that there is no unique, absolute, scientific cut off threshold available to decide whether a GM product is safe or not".
It also said that because of a lack of data concerning chronic conditions such as cancer and allergies, there was "simply no way of ascertaining whether the introduction of GM products has had any other effect on human health". As the WTO case continued in 2004, the commission ended its six-year moratorium on GM foods and has since approved more than 30 GM crops. "We have found that the European commission has had double standards over crops and the safety to the environment with regard to GM foods," Clare Oxborrow, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth, which co-authored the report with Greenpeace, said.
"On the one hand, they have been pushing forward with new GM foods and saying they are safe. But the commission clearly knew this was not the case and was prepared to recognise the risk behind closed doors." The commission said the report's authors were selectively quoting from "a very long and complex document".
"The commission naturally rejects the accusation of double standards made by Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace," it said in a statement. Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace have called for the immediate suspension of the use and sale of all GM foods and crops until the safety issues have been addressed.
SOURCE: The Guardian, UK, by James Sturcke
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