71 organizations sent to the Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, a letter that details the reasons for this concern and demands for the cultivation of GMOs in Spain.
Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Ecologists in Action, the Coordinator of Agricultural and Livestock Organizations (COAG) and the Union of Small Farmers (UPA) have submitted to the president of a document that expresses the deep concern of these organizations for the current government's policy on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
In this letter, endorsed by 66 civil society organizations (including, for example, the Federation of Agricultural FEAGRA-CCOO, the Spanish Society for Organic Agriculture, SEAE, the Association of Committees of Agriculture Ecological INTEREC, the Spanish Confederation of Consumers and Users-CECU, Vida Sana, Facu, ATTAC, the Assamblea Pagesa de Catalunya, Plataforma Rural or WWF / Adena), recalled that since 1998, in Spain are being laid each year, thousands of hectares of maize crop which is in a technical, administrative and legal way unsatisfactory, especially the complete lack of regulation of the liability for problems caused by GMOs and the lack of measures to prevent pollution.
Given the large uncertainties about the safety of GM food for human and animal health (there are increasingly more scientific data to considerable doubt in their safety) and taking into account the increasingly evident impacts on the environment, this coalition of organizations believed that the Government headed by Mr Zapatero should take a more cautious to protect agriculture and consumers. This request is consistent with some of the commitments made by the PSOE.
In particular, the signing organizations deemed essential that the Government:
- Notes the rejection of the majority society
- Takes appropriate measures to prohibit the cultivation of GMOs, pending a review of mechanisms and approval of GMOs rectify the many loopholes.
- Shows a clear intention to establish a system which allows segregating the production of transgenic and carrying out a labeling and traceability to ensure freedom of choice to farmers and consumers.
- Establishes measures to ensure no contamination non transgenic agriculture, allowing agriculture and food completely free of GMOs.
- Establishes a system of liability for problems caused by GMOs.
- Takes appropriate measures to withdraw from the market's harvest Bt176 corn this year, grown illegally by law.
- Within the EU, it is opposed to the initiatives for increased introduction of GMOs into the European market.
Addition to being inadequate, the existing regulatory framework is currently not enforced. For example, this year has enabled the planting (and therefore harvested) 176 varieties of Bt corn, a corn of the multinational Syngenta, according to European law should have disappeared from the market no later than December 31st of 2004 but the Government has tolerated in 2005 despite all the legal and scientific advice.
The paper reported a series of issues such as: it fails year after year required to make public a record of the areas where GMOs are grown, registration must be made available to the public, the monitoring of GMOs released in environment that should make the companies selling these seeds do not conform to European legislation, have not been put in place appropriate mechanisms for traceability, although they are mandatory from April 2004, in Spain there is not a proper segregation of transgenic and conventional crops to facilitate labeling and withdrawal from the market if necessary. This situation is leading to serious problems, and in particular makes the GMO contamination of the supply chain is increasing.
Past 4 years have been instances of contamination by pollination, by inclusion of GM seeds in conventional seed lots, for a mixture of crops due to lack of cleaning of plant and machinery, etc. All cases have in common that the polluters pay instead of polluters. While the Government has submitted drafts of two royal decrees that aim at regulating the so-called "coexistence" between GM, conventional and organic, these texts have been rejected by a wide range of groups as it would not achieve the objectives of non - contamination of non-GM agricultural production, absolute protection of seeds, making available adequate information about the location of the fields of GM crops, taking charge of the polluter and the declaration of areas GM-free.
With respect to votes on GMOs in the EU, which in these months are mainly focused on approving new GMO products for entry into the European market, although the government of Rodriguez Zapatero has given some signs of change (mainly with regard to support for unilateral bans of certain Member States), while the mechanisms are reviewed for approval of GMOs and the European Union to equip itself with legislation to cover the gaps existing arrangements should oppose Spain any further authorization. One striking fact is that Spain tolerates the cultivation of varieties whose ban has been supported in other EU countries.