LABB News Archive 2003-2005

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This archive includes some of the more significant news items which have previously appeared on the What's New page. These web-links are not regularly updated now and may well be out of date, so if you find a later link, please let us know. Some items (particularly those marked +) may be described in our Learning Links or Hot Topics pages.
6/11/03  + Mark Ruskell MSP publishes GM Liability Bill Consultation Paper for Scottish Green Party. A similar Bill [126K] for England and Wales is being backed by Friends of the Earth - but see 26/3/04.
13/1/04  + Government's advisors (ACRE) submit advice on the Farm Scale Evaluations to the UK Government and the Scottish Executive. See:  ACRE News Release , Margaret Beckett's statement and Allan Wilson's statement (Scotland).  The Soil Association's response is a good summary, and the full ACRE report [120K] is available.
5/3/04  + The Environmental Audit Committee of MP's describes the scope of the Farm Scale Evaluations as "very narrow" and says the results "cannot be regarded as adequate grounds for a decision to be taken in favour of commercialisation."  See Committee report and Friends of the Earth Press Notice.
5/3/04  + Scottish Ministers decide to approve GM maize, but ask farmers not to grow it. Sunday Herald article .
18/3/04  + Motion and debate led by Green Party in Scottish Parliament, to block approval of Chardon GM maize. An opposing amendment was carried by 60 votes to 59 (along party lines).
25/3/04  + Motion and debate led by Green Party in Scottish Parliament, registering concern that the Executive did not use its legal power to block approval of Chardon GM maize.  Motion defeated by Labour and LibDems.
26/3/04  Westminster debate on a proposed new law (see 6/11/03) blocked by a Labour MP using a little used Parliamentary device.  The law would have required that Parliament approve laws to prevent contamination and set up a liability regime before any GM crops could be planted in the UK. The Bill now goes back into the queue.
31/3/04  + Bayer Cropscience withdraws application to grow Chardon LL GM maize in UK.
15/4/04  Highland Region declared GM-free zone.
26/5/04  Moray Council decides to declare a GM-free zone  (Moray GM Concern: 01309 690796)
16/7/04 + UK Government announces plans for consultation on 'coexistence' of GM and conventional crops - criticised by Friends of the Earth, whose latest opinion poll shows massive support for anti-contamination laws.
22/8/04  + World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute, initiated by US, Argentina and Canada in May 2003 against the European Union 'moratorium' on GM imports, continues - the Panel decides to appoint scientific advisors. Genewatch reports and Friends of the Earth comments
8/9/04  Outgoing European Commissioners back off attempt to allow GM contamination of seeds up to 3 times detection level.  However they approved 17 varieties of Monsanto's GM maize seeds for sale in Europe.
8/10/04  A Highland organic farmer and three other anti-GM crop activists won their appeal against their convictions for taking part in a protest at Munlochy on the Black Isle in August, 2001.
20/10/04  + Government dismisses many concerns over coexistence, raised by the Commons EFRA Committee report of 9/7/04. (See 'In-Depth' links)  The Government statement seeks to justify high contamination levels in organic crops, but refers to the current consultation ongoing with selected 'stakeholders'.
26/10/04  Outgoing European Commissioners approve import of Monsanto's NK603 GM maize for human consumption.  A critical statement was published by Friends of the Earth.
19/11/04  US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new draft guidelines which would effectively legalise food contamination from unapproved GM plants.  Critique from Friends of the Earth.
29/11/04  European Union committee failed to overturn bans on specific GM crops in Austria, France, Germany, Greece and Luxembourg.  The same committee also failed to approve a new GM maize variety (MON863).
29/11/04  + Critique published of European Food Safety Authority and its bias in favour of GM industry.
2/12/04  + Official review recommends replacement of AEBC (Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission).  Guardian newspaper reports.
13/1/05  + Consumer organisation "Which" launches GM campaign : "Don't lose the right to choose".
23/2/05  + Mass lobby of Westminster MP's, calling for strong 'coexistence' controls on GM crops.
24/2/05  + Friends of the Earth reveals leaked submission by the European Commission to the World Trade Organisation complaints panel - despite promoting GM foods to the public the Commission admits there are significant safety concerns.
15/4/05  European Union adopts emergency measure requiring shipments of corn gluten feed and brewers grain from the US to be certified free of illegal Bt-10 GM maize, now known to contain an antibiotic resistance gene.  Friends of the Earth repeats its demand for investigation by the UK Food Standards Agency.
30/4/05  + AEBC (Agriculture & Environment Biotechnology Commission) disbanded , but website remains online.
10/6/05  German judges order disclosure of secret study on MON863 GM maize, showing worrying changes in rats fed on the maize.  (See 8/8/05)
22/6/05   Early Day Motion 396 on GM contamination and liability, and consumer choice
25/7/05  Herbicide-resistant charlock weed found by Government scientists following field trials of GM oilseed rape. DEFRA report available [258K].
26/7/05  Bayer withdraws application to grow GM oilseed rape in the European Union.
8/8/05  European Commission approves Monsanto's controversial MON863 GM maize as animal feed.  (See 10/6/05)
22/9/05  + Government research shows GM seed persistence for 15 years, suggesting legal 'coexistence' alongside conventional crops will be effectively impossible.
27/10/05  European Union extends controls on imports of US maize products for another 3 months. (In March 2005 Syngenta acknowledged that some of its maize was mistakenly contaminated with the Bt-10 variety, unauthorised in Europe.)
27/11/05  Swiss referendum approves a 5 year ban on use of GM plants and animals in agriculture.
19/12/05   Early Day Motion 1300 on 'Terminator' technology
21/12/05  European Commission drafts law which would allow GM contamination of organic farming.  FoE sounds warning.

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