28 organizations and a thousand delegates joined forces as the Coalition for an ‘ITALIA-EUROPA liberi da OGM’ (GMO Free Italy-Europe) this week in Rome. The gathering served as the opening meeting for the first National Consultation on GMOs and agricultural development. A resounding number of farmers, modern distributors, artisans, small and medium-scale companies, consumers, environmentalists, scientists, educators, and international associations will join the consultation to promote public debates on the issue from September 15- November 15, 2007.
The coalition aims to collect over three million signatures on a proposed referendum to initiate greater public research on GMOs. Already more than 200 scientists and academics are working for the Responsible Science for Sustainable Food cause.
Cinzia Scaffidi, director of the Slow Food Study Center, remarked that, ‘The research that studies and supports GMOs is almost always private research with enormous funds at its disposal, but its aim is not the production of knowledge, but the production of products for the market … True science questions and investigates nature to find solutions, without presuming to be a substitute for it’.
Funding may now be shifting away from pro-genetic modification studies as many European companies recently took the decision not to sell GMO foods. Protected designation of origin (PDO) cheeses and protected geographical indication (PGI) poultry and beef have made the transition to GM-free feed. But, the European Union recognizes that this decision is not set in stone and will not continue if production fails to meet demand.
A network of over 42 GM-free countries and the Committee of the Regions are also holding a conference in Brussels on December 5-6. The meeting will bring together producers, companies and academics to discuss the implementation of GM-free animal and feed industries.
Participants will obtain information form and contact producers from Brazil, the United States, Canada, India and South Africa, while developing a better understanding of the strategy of European distributors of GM-free animal feed. The WTO and European Union institutions plan to take part in the talks while speakers cover issues such as regional agricultural strategies, non-GM feeds, legal conditions, organic agriculture, agricultural processing, market/retail strategies, certification and national policy.
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