NO NEW POSTS WILL OCCUR HERE....see my new home at
After a bit of a break to travel I'm finally back to posting. The above link is my new home. Lots to post, so stay tuned.
GM crops may reappear in Ireland. This blog will be a blow by blow commentary on the GM food debate in Ireland. A commentary based on facts and not the spin of eirther the Pro-GMOers or Anti-GMOers. THIS BLOG PURELY REPRESENTS MY PERSONAL VIEWS AND NOT THOSE OF MY EMPLOYER, WIFE, FAMILY, FRIENDS, PETS OR ANYTHING ELSE.
NO NEW POSTS WILL OCCUR HERE....see my new home at
In an amazing redefinition of 'GM free' and contrary to Green Party policy, Green Junior Minister Trevor Sargent has now stated GM free is 'not about banning imported GM feed' according to the Irish Independent (Oct 2, 2007)(see below) and confirmed by a Department of Agriculture official press release see HERE
Click here for earlier posting for background
The genetically modified maize variety, Herculex, is expected to be approved in the coming weeks - but not by Europe's politicians. The continued ban on the GM maize variety will come before EU Agriculture Ministers next Wednesday, 26 September.
Ireland's voting intention has yet to be confirmed, although Farmers Journal sources suggest we are likely to abstain.
Despite the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) giving the product the all-clear, it appears unlikely that the product will be approved by the Council of Ministers. However, the EU Commission is likely to approve the product in the coming weeks. This has been the pattern for previous approvals of GM material.
Speaking to the media at the Agricultural Science Association (ASA) conference in Trim last Friday, Minister for Agriculture, Mary Coughlan, said that Ireland had yet to decide a voting stance. "We haven't decided yet. We need to look at the overall picture on feed - we're big importers.'' The Minister added that "the price rise might concentrate minds''.
Interestingly, the Minister also clarified that the Programme for Government stated that "Ireland would look towards the establishment of a GM-free Island''. This did not mean a definite policy had been decided, she indicated.
The Minister also pointed out that 50,000 tonnes of maize by-products were successfully imported in the past 10 days.
Given European consumer resistance to GM food, there may be marketing advantages to Ireland developing a so called "GM-free zone''. However, due to the widespread adoption of GM crop varieties across the world, such a move could lead to unsustainable increases in feed costs in this country. Furthermore, as more and more GM varieties come on stream, we risk being left at a major competitive disadvantage.
Speaking at the ASA conference, Professor Cunningham, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser said: "Repeated surveys show that over 70 per cent of European citizens are against Genetically Modified (GM) food. This reality cannot be ignored. At the same time, the scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that food derived from GM crops, or from animals fed on GM feeds, is safe.
Referring to the idea that Ireland be declared GM-free, he said: "This could possibly have advantages in marketing the €8bn of food products that we export.
"However, in order to realise this objective, a number of challenges would have to be overcome. The first is that, as Austria and Italy have found, declaring a region GM-free may conflict with EU rules permitting authorised GM varieties to be grown. The second is that, with effectively open borders between North and South, it would require a declaration in two jurisdictions. And the third is that with GM corn and soybean constituting a growing proportion of global supplies of these two crops, and with Ireland needing to import some two million tonnes per annum of such feed grains for its pig, poultry and dairy sectors, it will be increasingly difficult to source a GM-free feed supply.''
In early July, the EU Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health voted to reject imports of GM maize. Despite a commitment that Ireland would be voting in favour of allowing imports of 'Herculex' maize, a last minute intervention by Minister of Food and Green Party TD, Trevor Sargent, led to a reversal of this commitment and Ireland abstained in the vote.
Just a quick post to inform everyone that as of Oct 1st I am heading back to university to finish my Ph.d. The insights gained here will be very useful. From Oct 1st I will cease blogging here......we are examining options for providing a similar info service from a National University of Ireland perspective
After defamatory claims that left Michael O'Callaghan from GM FREE IRELAND offering a correction on the facts and an apology, it has now come to light that O'Callaghan's economy with the truth seems to be ongoing.
Below is a recent piece in the respected Irish Farmers Journal rapping O'Callaghan for his disinformation and "anti-fact campaign".
This coupled with some iffy finance claims it seems GM FREE IRELAND and Michael O'Callaghan need some remedial help with the facts.
GMO and the anti-fact campaign
July 7, 2007
Irish Farmers Journal
Needless to say, last week’s Irish Farmers Journal story on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) has led to a flurry of press releases from Michael O’Callaghan (Co-ordinator of the GM-free Ireland Network). He attempted to claim all sorts of agendas on our part. We are happy to state that our report was based on the facts of the situation, with no anti- or pro-GMO bias on our part. The majority of our story actually came from an official EU Commission report on the topic.
One of GM-free
However, Jackie Cahill told the Dealer that this is factually untrue. He also said that, of late, attempts have been made to misrepresent the position of the ICMSA on the question of GM food. “ICMSA – and only the ICMSA – was entitled to state its own position” he said. And what is that position?
An official at ICMSA set out the position as follows:
“The reality is that
Jackie Cahill said that the Irish Government position “must be fully clarified so that
Them’s the facts. Now let’s hope everyone in the GM debate will stick to them
After written requests to GM Watch to remove defamtory material were ignored their own service providers have now disabled GM Watch's site to ensure compliance with their Acceptable Use Policy
GM FREE IRELAND issues a correction with an apology.
Gmfreeireland.org would like to correct a claim previously made that Shane Morris made "fraudulent scientific claims". Gmfreeireland.org acknowledges such a claim has no legal basis and would like to point out that:
- No findings of fraud were ever made by the British Food Journal in regards to the claims in the publication in question.
- The paper in question remains published as a valid piece of scholarly research.
- The academic award for the paper remains valid.
- A letter of explanation on the matter was published in the British Food Journal 2006 Vol 108, Issue
Wow, what a couple of weeks...very busy on the GM front in Ireland but most importantly wee Lyanne has started to smile (she is now 9 weeks old)....
The Green’s pre-election policy had nine clear points (see below) that led with a promise to “immediately declare
The commitment to simply “seek to negotiate” is the epitome of biopolitics. It is very clear the likelihood of a truly GM free zone for Ireland is zero considering that in Ireland BASF already has an EPA license to carry out field trials of blight resistant GM potatoes until 2010 if they decided to and the fact that the EU this week voted to allow more GM material into food products, including organic products. However, the Greens in government
Its obvious that the Green Party in
“A moratorium on the release of genetically modified organisms into the environment and on the marketing of any foods which contain any genetically modified ingredient, or which was produced using any genetically modified organism”
only to state less than two years later that:
"Stability and predictability in policy are also important in terms of underpinning the competitiveness of the biotechnology sector... The area of Irish economic interest where biotechnology, particularly modern biotechnology / genetic modification, has greatest potential is in agriculture...".
It is evident that biopolitics is alive and well on the isle of “Forty shades of Green”, a title now politically more fitting than Johnny Cash could have ever imagined.
The Green Party/Comhaontas Glas in Government would-
1.1 immediately declare Ireland to be a GM-Free zone and prohibit the use of GM ingredients in animal feed and any testing or growing of GM crops and ban transgenic farm animals;
1.2 immediately begin negotiations with the
1.3 establish a GM-Free regulatory authority to ensure that rigorous testing is put in place to verify that animal feed is free of GM inputs;
1.4 veto any EU proposed legislation that would allow a certain threshold for GM contamination in conventional seeds before the seeds had to be labelled as containing GM traces;
1.5 oppose the patenting of seeds;
1.6 ensure that the Irish Seed Savers Association receives adequate funding. (This voluntary organisation is dedicated to the location and preservation of traditional varieties of fruit and vegetables. The ISSA maintains a seed bank and plays a vital role in saving our genetic diversity for the future.) We will also ensure that naturally occurring or conventionally bred rare and native varieties of seed can be freely sold.
1.7 introduce strict liability laws, holding GM companies and users of GM crops responsible for any GM contamination in Ireland in violation of Ireland's GM-free status;
1.8 At a local level, Green Party members of Local Authorities will campaign to make their Local Authorities GM-Free and assist local farmers to organise into GM-Free regions;
1.9 At EU level, Green Party MEPs will campaign to make the EU GM-Free and, at a minimum, to insist there is no lifting of the EU moratorium on GM crops and food until the new EU regulations on labelling and traceability are in place; there is an enforceable system of liability agreed; and the problems of coexistence of GM and non-GM crops have been resolved.
Wow, what a few weeks....my first born, Lyanne, came into our life (who says gene flow can't be good), a general election in Ireland, and finished up at work for 9 months of parental leave (full pay, Yeah Canada!)...it sure has been a busy diaper/nappy filled existence.
Lyanne Erin Morris was born at 1.08pm EST on Monday, May, 7th 2007 weighing in at 6.18lbs. She's perfect and adorable.
It seems that my recent letter to the Irish Medical News has created a bit of a stir. This week Dr. Elizabeth Cullen (pictured opposite speaking at GMFree Ireland press conference) responded in a letter that her recent
Silence can often tell you a lot. A deafening silence has beset the anti-genetically modified (GM) food lobby in Ireland. A silence that stems from the defeat of a motion at the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) AGM calling for a moratorium on the sale and growing of genetically engineered crops in Ireland. No where do we find journalists reporting that the professional body representing doctors in Ireland don't feel there is an issue with the safety of GM food. Also, those who have been trying to tell us that GM foods are unsafe are now mute on the IMO's position.
The Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference will take place in Ireland for the very first time in August 2008. The conference provides a forum for internationally renowned speakers to address the challenges facing the global biotechnology industry.
Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Seeds of Deception, who the anti-GM groups often quote, has said that GM crops are inherently "unsafe" due to the insertion of genes (for example see HERE by GMFREE Ireland). By the way, this book is a non-peer reviewed text with tens, if not hundreds of scientific errors and misleading statements.
Its nearly spring time again......yes, the time of year when those considering planting GM field trials should be getting organised. BASF, of course has EPA permission (obtained last year) to carry out such trials in Ireland this year and for the next two years. However, I'd like to offer some advice to BASF....
As published in Nature Biotechnology this month..................
Merry Chrismas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyful Kwanzaa to all…..
After much delay I've found some spare time and published a piece in in the peer-reviewed journal Trends in Biotechnology. The paper is based on a blog posting I did last April - It's all Greek to me!!