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Italy to set up tighter barriers against GMO imports

(Friday, Dec. 19, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Agricultural Policies Minister Gianni Alemanno was cited as announcing at the 23rd International Conference on Biodynamic Agriculture that is due to wind up in Sabaudia today that the Italian government is going to be launching a decree as soon as possible to confirm zero tolerance on GMOs "until tests have been conducted on their impact on neighbouring crops." The minister was quoted as stressing that the decree is both necessary and urgent "because seeds have already been approved in other countries in the [European] Union, that may contain genetically modified parts varying from 5 per cent to 10 per cent, and we are in danger of finding them on the market". The issue was addressed also by EU Commissioner Fischler in Venice. So that is how the man in charge of agricultural policies has responded, by his actions, to an appeal launched by FAI [Italian Environment Fund] Chairwoman Giulia Maria Mozzoni Crespi when she asked him to "save us from the transgenic catastrophe which has not been sufficiently well explained to people".

Alemanno was further quoted as saying, "When a genetically modified organism comes into contact with the environment, we do not know what it may generate. But what we certainly do know is that seven years after an experiment conducted on a terrain in Italy for a single season, powerful traces are still being found of genetically modified material that tends to transfer to subsequent crops. What are the consequences of this? Well, that terrain cannot be used for any other kind of crop because we absolutely do not know what might happen." The minister went on to criticize "Europe, which has made only generic recommendations", noting that the [EU] Court of Justice has set a procedure in motion "against Austria that declared itself GMO-free, and it is getting set to do the same against Puglia and Tuscany"

Source: Dec. 2, 2003 http://www.genet-info.org