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Southern Brazilian state bans GMO import, sale, planting

(Thursday, Oct. 16, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Associated Press: RIO DE JANEIRO - A southern state in Brazil has approved a law banning the import, planting and sale of genetically modified organisms.

Tuesday's move comes weeks after Brazil's federal government issued a provisional decree allowing farmers already in possession of genetically modified soy beans to plant and market them, overriding a ban in place since 2000.

The new measure, supported by Parana state Gov. Roberto Requiao passed in the legislature by a vote of 36 to 12.

The federal decree mainly affected farmers in Brazil's southernmost Rio Grande do Sul state, which neighbors Parana, where farmers have long been planting genetically modified soybeans smuggled in from Argentina.

The Parana state law bans the cultivation, manipulation, importation, industrialization and the sale of genetically modified organisms.

The state legislature, however, removed a clause that would have banned the transport of genetically modified organism across the state.

``If by 2006 there are scientific studies showing that it doesn't affect human food and doesn't harm the environment, there's no reason why we can't change the law,'' state legislator Elton Welter told reporters in Curitiba, 420 miles (680 kms) southwest of Rio de Janeiro.

Welter said the move was aimed at protecting the states' exports to European markets where genetically modified foods are widely frowned upon.

Related story: Brazil state wants GM-free zone, soy growers don't... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2115