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GM crops in Britain, Germany, and seed testing in Illinois

(Thursday, Jan. 15, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- The Green Party governing partner in Germany has agreed to guidelines for the growing and labeling of genetically modified crops, according to the Irish Times. That means transgenic crops could end up in European supermarkets by the end of the Fall.

"European supermarkets will soon stock genetically modified food from Germany after the ruling Green Party dropped its long-standing opposition to finally agree GM guidelines. The upcoming April deadline for labeling such foods pushed the Party to drop its opposition," according to the Irish Times.

Meanwhile, in Britain, The Guardian reported that the scientific committee advising the government on genetically modified crops would recommend that certain ones could be planted safely. This means the government would have a few weeks to decide whether to allow biotech crops or to listen to the public, much of which expressed opposition to such crops.

The advisory committee on releases to the environment (Acre) concluded that carefully controlled planting of the crops wouldn't pose a significant environmental risk. It said that Bayer transgenic corn, already allowed for commercial planting in 1998, before the trials, could be planted in the Spring.

See the full story at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianpolitics/story/0,3605,1122595,00.html

Across the Atlantic, the Illinois State Department of Agriculture is opening a testing lab that will verify the genetic structure of seeds. It will provide results much faster -- in a matter of days instead of weeks -- than current testing.

According to the Associated Press: "The testing is necessary to help prevent mingling of grain that is modified to resist pests, disease or herbicide with conventional crops intended for export to countries that ban genetically altered grain, said Jeff Squibb, an Agriculture Department spokesman.

"'There are countries that are paying a premium for non-biotech corn and soybeans," Squibb said. 'You must have a system in place to segregate conventional and biotech crops, and that system begins with the seed.'"

See full story (after piece on cattle temperament testing) at: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040115/ap_on_bi_ge/farm_scene_1 Also check out:

Illinois Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Agricultural Product Inspection: http://www.agr.state.il.us/regulation

Illinois Crop Improvement Association: http://www.ilcrop.com