Academic and Science Community Applauds WTO GMO Ruling

Feb 07, 2006, 00:00 ET from AgBioWorld Foundation

    AUBURN, Ala. and WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Independent academics
 and scientists from around the globe applaud the long-awaited World Trade
 Organization ruling today which directs the European Union to end its defacto
 moratorium on biotechnology-improved crops.
     "This decision affects not only Argentina, Canada and the United States,
 who prevailed in this complaint, but the future of agricultural biotechnology
 for all countries," said Professor C.S. Prakash, president of the AgBioWorld
 Foundation.  "This favorable ruling gives European farmers the option to use
 safe, approved and proven tools to grow food crops, and gives consumers the
 right to choose those foods in grocery stores."
     Over 3,400 scientists, including 25 Nobel Laureates such as Dr. Norman
 Borlaug, Dr. James Watson, Dr. Arthur Kornberg, Dr. Marshall Nirenberg, Dr.
 Peter Doherty, Dr. Paul Berg, Mr. Oscar Arias Sanchez and Dr. John Boyer have
 signed a declaration of support for agricultural biotechnology sponsored by
 the AgBioWorld Foundation.  The Foundation hopes that the WTO panel decision
 will be an important step towards replacing special interest politics with
 sound science and responsible regulatory and market practices which will
 benefit consumers in Europe and throughout the globe.
     "This ruling enables developing nations to feel confident that they can
 adopt the modern crop technologies they need to feed their people while
 retaining access to European export markets," added Prakash.  "Independent
 scientific bodies, including the American Medical Association and the World
 Health Organization -- not to mention tens of millions of consumers across the
 globe -- agree that biotech crops with such beneficial traits as resistance to
 drought, pests and weeds offer the potential of increased agricultural
 productivity and improved nutrition, which can contribute directly to enhanced
 human health and development."
     The ruling supports a 15-year study funded by the European Union itself,
 which found that biotech plants and products have not "shown any new risks to
 human health or the environment" and concluded that these foods are in fact
 safer than conventional foods.
     Some 222 million acres were planted with biotech crops last year.  Of
 this, more than one-third was in developing countries.  Biotech crops are
 grown by approximately 8.5 million farmers, with roughly 90 percent living in
 developing countries.  That represents a huge contribution to the economies of
 the poorest countries in the world.
     C.S. Prakash is professor of plant biotechnology at Tuskegee University,
 Alabama and president of the AgBioWorld Foundation
     The AgBioWorld Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
 headquartered in Auburn, Alabama, and is run by Professor C.S. Prakash of
 Tuskegee University.  AgBioWorld aims to provide science-based information on
 agricultural biotechnology issues to various stakeholders across the world.
 Its website and e-mail service are a daily source of information for thousands
 of subscribers from dozens of countries.
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SOURCE AgBioWorld Foundation