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'Frankenfood' potatoes turn up in Swedish field

AFP/The Local · 6 Sep 2010, 16:59

Published: 06 Sep 2010 16:59 GMT+02:00

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"Obviously there was a blunder which took place," said a spokesperson for the European Commission, which is responsible for licensing products long labelled 'Frankenfoods' in media.

"The wrong potato was sent to Sweden," the spokesperson said, triggering the summons to "explain" why "flowers" of Amadea, a GM crop currently being prepared by BASF, but which is not yet authorised, were found in the field.

Brussels is also gathering authorities from Sweden, Germany and the Czech Republic, the three territories where Amflora -- a strain of potato that is authorised for the likes of glue or paper-making, but not human consumption -- is legally grown.

According to Greenpeace, the potato has been "grown illegally in open fields in Sweden for months" by Plant Science Sweden, a subsidiary of BASF.

The environmental campaigners say that while Amadea has been cleared from the field, planted on June 11, Amflora has been allowed to remain, after "a deplorable lapse in bio-security" that a spokeswoman said showed that such companies "can't be trusted."

Greenpeace said the case echoed one in which "thousands of hectares of unauthorised GM maize had to be destroyed after being grown illegally across

Germany this summer."

The commission spokeswoman asked: "Who knows what the effects of growing a largely untested GM crop for months in the open environment will be?"

Story continues below…

BASF admitted on its website that it had found "extremely small quantities of Amadea potatoes in Amflora fields" during "regular in-house quality controls."

It said that the "level of comingling is less than 0.01 percent, which translates to 47 Amadea plants among approximately 680,000 Amlora plants," all of which had been "removed."

Amadea was submitted last week for regulatory approval in the EU.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:45 September 6, 2010 by dwb5555
Come on GMO are a good thing.
18:28 September 6, 2010 by Rick Methven
"Come on GMO are a good thing"

So you want to eat

"a strain of potato that is authorised for the likes of glue or paper-making, but not human consumption"

I suppose if you want your guts all glued up go ahead be a Guinea pig
19:28 September 6, 2010 by jack sprat
Strange then that there are millions of guinea pigs thriving on it with no ill affects.

On the contrary many GM products have been proved in tests to be of superior quality.

One day the nutters in Brussels will see the light, as they eventually did after wasting millions of taxpayers hard earned dosh on their square tomatoes and straight cucumbers.
00:24 September 7, 2010 by Taxalien
There is a lot more than just Frankenfood that is franken in Sweden.
00:29 September 7, 2010 by ISayWhatPeopleThink
If you've ever been to the "fresh fruit and veg" section of a Swedish supermarket, you'd know that these potatoes aren't half as scary as some of the nastiness Swedish people willingly put up with (and pay full price for).

Big deal.
01:37 September 7, 2010 by Venturisection
Greenpeace is involved no doubt nothing will be discussed scientifically and the worlds most prolific terrorist organisation responsible for the deaths of millions is still getting away with its lies and deciet.

I hope their days are numbered they are a disgrace to the scientific community that spawned it and has been taken over by nut jobs and liars bending everything to their own ends. Screw them.

: watch penn n tell bullshit episode on gm food
03:38 September 7, 2010 by för30årseden
Why do people worry about intentional genetic modifications when all the organisms that the normally eat are just a combination of natural genetic mutations and variations? The GMO stuff is picked for benign genetic modifications.

If you looked at the natural ancestors of most modern food crops, you wouldn't even know what you were looking at. Read about the origin of corn (also called Indian corn or maize) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/science/25creature.html -- Now the most important single grain crop. The American Indians learned to modify a native grass, teosinte, probably by selective breeding.

I suspect that this fear of GMOs goes on more in Europe because Europeans have renounced organized religion. In America, not only does organized religion survive, but there are all these tent meetings with everyone jumping up and down and talking in tongues. In Europe, they have all these beautiful churches that no one goes to because they pretend to be modern atheists.

But European atheists don't have the courage of their faith. The are all drawn to some form of substitute, disorganized religion that boils down to some weird nature worship: pantheism or some reversion to pre-Christian pagan religion like Druidism. The only real core belief is that you are not supposed to allow other people to intervene in nature. So modifying potato gene for disease resistance becomes taboo. Europeans fall back on the "precautionary principle" while ingesting ancient herbal remedies that have never been tested for safety in a modern lab (not to mention fine Moroccan hashish).

In the meantime, Americans, who don't pretend to be atheists, go to church, jump up and down and shout, roll on the floor talking in tongues, and finish off a great Sunday of fun with a church picnic of genetically modified corn bread and potato salad.
05:36 September 7, 2010 by millionmileman
Not so bad, you could deep fry them and eat a genetically altered snack called Chips (crisps).

Actually 10,000 years ago, when man started to farm with agriculture instead of hunting one of the first crops to be developed was wheat. The wheat was genetically selected to make stronger strains. This happened in the Jericho near the Dead Sea, which is the world's oldest city.
06:03 September 7, 2010 by waffen
There must be something in the water this week.

The level of ignorance shown on this blog about the Roma,

and the abysmal genetically modified food--an American invention--defies common sense, logic and any hint of scientific

observation or knowledge thereof.

This blog might as well be in Tennessee or Alabama c. 1950.
06:14 September 7, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Europe has a thing agaist GMO because thier farmers are unionized.
08:46 September 7, 2010 by jhk
There is a huge difference between selection for characteristics and inserting a "gene" within a chromosome using genetic engineering.

Genes do not act in isolation and chemical pathways are altered (otherwise it would have no effect).

The genes being inserted are not always from the same species.

The risk is unexpected effects will occur due to full lack of understanding about the pathways in each organism.

I am for GMO, but its should be supervised and controlled. The fact that an experimental batch somehow "got out" should be a huge concern. How fast do you think a gene can spread? The fact the the EU as an organisation on behalf od all Europeans is doing something I think is great, coordination and a level playing field, what's wrong with that ?
11:37 September 7, 2010 by Audrian
Re: For30årseden

I don't understand what religion has to do with anything. The discussion on GM food is a discussion between two groups of scientists. One group is bribed scientists, who depend on GM corporations for their survival as researchers, while the other group has nothing to do with them.

I agree with you Europe is less religious than the Americas or the Moslem world. For the fundamentalists, life in this world is transient and unimportant compared to "life after death that is permanent". For Europeans this world is the best they have and would like to make a better of it not just for the greedy corporations but also for the rest of society. .
11:39 September 7, 2010 by Freyja14
It is INSANE that so many people are for GMO foods. When did people start thinking they are smarter than nature? Have you watched Food INC? GMO foods do not taste better, use more pesticides, cause a wide range of illnesses, allergies to food and INFERTILITY in humans, etc..,etc..GMO crops that produce an insecticide may be the greatest threat to sustainable agriculture on the planet. Many organic farmers rely on a natural bacterial spray to control certain crop pests, but the advent of "insect-resistant" crops is likely to lead to insects that are no longer killed by this natural pesticide. When the natural bacteria is rendered ineffective, other farmers will turn to toxic chemicals to deal with the "superbugs" created by GMOs-but organic farmers will be out of options. If you've ever lived in the US you've probably heard about the honeybee population on the verge of extinction. What does this mean? No honeybees=no crops, no crops=no food. Why are they dying? GMO crops. Not to mention the fact that if a farm is pollinated from a GMO crop without consent from the farmer, that farmer then has to pay money to Monsanto for using their crop technology. This is not a joke. Research it yourself and think for a minute who is benefiting from these crops and it's not people, it's companies.....Eat GMO foods and you'll make yourself sick and it's all just another vicious cycle. Oh well, the pharmaceutical companies will make more money off of you being sick. It's only about money and power these days. Open your eyes......
12:12 September 7, 2010 by Rick Methven
Monsanto has the aim of controlling the food production of the whole world with its GM seed which is resistant to its herbicide Roundup.

For them it is a win win situation.

1. create a GM seed that is roundup resistant ( lets not talk about the effects of the nasty stuff in roundup getting into the food chain)

2. Get farmer A to grow the GM crop and let nature (wind) spread the GM pollen to Farmer B's field.

3. Illegally trespass on Farmer B's field and 'prove' that Farmer B's non-GM crop has traces of Monsanto's GM seed in it which Farmer B has not paid for (because he did not want to have the Monsanto GM grain). Monsanto then forces Farmer B to pay them a licence fee for growing the GM crop that he never wanted.

4. As well as the GM pollen that fertilised Farmer B's crop, The roundup that Farmer A is now using in large doses to kill the weeds around his roundup resistant GM crop is also blown on the wind to Farmer B' crop which is not roundup resistant and kills his non GM crop.

Monsanto then tells Farmer B that if he just knuckles under and buys There GM seed and roundup, he will be just as happy as Farmer A and a slave to Monsanto for the rest of his life
12:19 September 7, 2010 by CarlBlack
@Freyja14: Are you able to provide at least one reliable source for your accusations? As for bees, their decline is observed also in areas without GMO and one of the main reasons are pesticides - the need to use them would actually be reduced if more GMO was used. There exists no evidence of any negative effects of GMO on honey bee populations. You can look it up on wikipedia.

"When did people start thinking they are smarter than nature?" This is not about smartness, but different purposes: The crop is meant as a human food which is somehow not the original reason why these species had evolved. All crops grown now are already modified by human by crossbreeding, and it is definitely more efficient than the original species.
12:27 September 7, 2010 by Audrian
Rick Methven has pin pointed the crucial issues in the debate. Companies like Monsanto aim to control the farming system of the world. Their hope is to become the sole reproducers of seeds and chemicals to the world. In due course the natural seeds cannot any more able to grow because of the new plant diseases that spread because GM crops. The strategy is similar to a germ welfare, those who have masks can survive the onslaught. In this case the masks are owned by Monsanto!
12:28 September 7, 2010 by Freyja14
I can provide many resources but I would suggest finding the information for yourself. Maybe you can open your mind a little to the harsh reality of GMO foods. And I wouldn't trust anyone who cites Wikipedia as a source either. Go watch Food Inc. and research how Monsanto is trying to control farming and food around the world and how they are making small farms go bankrupt. If you support something like that then your priorities are obviously in the wrong place. Free your mind.....
13:32 September 7, 2010 by för30årseden
@Audrian I was making fun of you. You are like those people who used to run around yelling hundreds of years ago that machinery was the Devil's invention or tried to burn Galileo at the stake.

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT INTENTIONAL GENE VARIATIONS ARE MORE DANGEROUS THAT THE THOUSANDS OF NATURAL MUTATIONS THAT HAPPEN ALL THE TIME? The same gene mutations that allowed natural evolution? Your belief system seems more religious than scientific.

And it is foolish to think that just because someone disagrees with you that they are bribed. It is foolish and smacks of a certain self-righteous arrogance.

The purpose is that GMO foods can produce far more food per hectare. It's that simple.
14:34 September 7, 2010 by gotyboy
Then why do they put recessive genes in there GMO?...i don't think thats a 'natural mutation' is it?

Maybe someone should do us all a favour and feed these 'recessive genes' to the people who start thinking that it is :)
17:02 September 7, 2010 by Swedesmith
Gene modification is a tool. It has a lot of positive potential. Unfortunately it has a lot of negative potential due to abuse or accidents. It is this bad side of GMO's that scare the living tar out of a lot of people. Especially when Monsanto continues to experiment with seed termintion technology whereby the seeds a plant produces become sterile, thereby preventing what Monsanto calls "seed piracy". What if that gene accidently made it's way out into the environment?
17:57 September 7, 2010 by Chuy
I can't speak to this particular situation or to Europe's situation in general (I live in North America) but I can say that genetically modified foods here do not taste like anything, they don't smell like anything and I'm not much of a fan of GMO's. There seems to be a lack on long-term studies on the impact of GMO's, or at least it is not public knowledge in the States. However, it is difficult to discern the positive as well as the negative impact of GMO's due to the preservatives that are added to our foods here in the States. It literally takes a human corpse 1/3 longer to decompose nowadays than 100 years ago because of preservatives. Sorry for the gruesome fact....
18:18 September 7, 2010 by reason
I agree with Josh Ozersky's comment in a recent Time Magazine article: "Like -zilla or from hell, Franken- is a lazy gag that has been on borrowed time for years, kept alive only by the unimaginative."
18:41 September 7, 2010 by dwb5555
Fro what I can tell you most of you seem to be CSI type scientist. Meaning you can watch a moive or read a story in a paper and think you know it all. How about you ask the scientist, you know the ones who spend 12 years or more going to school and really know what they are talking about.

@jhk "inserting a "gene" within a chromosome" maybe you need to read a little more and you would know they don't just insert a gene into chromosome it also requires a promoter.
09:35 September 8, 2010 by americanska
There are no studies that say GMO's are bad. However, in Europe they tend to base policy on what they feel, rather than science. We've had hybrid crops for no less than 100 years(in europe too) , and doing it in a lab(GMO) only makes the process more efficient.

How dare America for trying to feed the world!!!
11:38 September 8, 2010 by gotyboy
There is already enough food in the world to feed the starving, its just the fat american greed thats stopping the flow actually and Monsanto definatley aint trying to feed the world, when they stop a family farm in mexico for example, from making there own seeds, because the crop next door cross polinated with theres and now they get finded for it AND cannot produce seeds anymore due to there very clever patented 'seed termination'....very kind american compnay feeding the world??. yeah right!!!

Enjoy your money now america...one day it will only be good for compost....do you remember what that even is?
11:59 September 8, 2010 by americanska
Oh yea - how could I forget. Private companies should spend millions on R&D so some mexicans can steal it. Silly me!

If there is enought food in the world to feed the growing population - it is only because of GMO. The Investment...the labs...The researchers - all that needs to be paid for.

The USA sends huge amounts of food to poor countries - this would cost far more if we farmed like the cavemen in Europe.
14:31 September 8, 2010 by gotyboy
If you dont know what 'cross pollination' means miss americaska, maybe you should exit the discussion.. :)
15:14 September 8, 2010 by americanska
not sure what your going on about. i grew up on a farm.
16:19 September 8, 2010 by gotyboy
'not sure what your going on about. i grew up on a farm.' Hahaha sounded like a George W Bush quote!!! :) Brilliant!

Which part of my tragic mexican saga didnt you get?

Mexican tomato farmer (Pepo) has been sewing the seeds from his own fruit for 15 generations, every year he plants these to get his new crop, then one day his tomatoes stop making seeds that will grow...curiously he gets some samples analised to find that 'Pedro' his neighbours dirty GM crop of tomatoes has 'CROSS POLINATED' with his, and as Pedro's crop was using terminator technology (seed sterilization), then this has been passed onto Pepo's crop...So then Pepo has no seeds to grow with...so he buys some more with money he wasn't prepared to spend, and the same thing happens again..What the f"¤ck....this time he complains to the loving people at Monsanto, who then sue his poor mexican A$$ for using there 'technology'.....

Comprehende? No steeling little mexican? just steeling big fat american again? Can you see poor little Pepo's predicament? :D
17:41 September 8, 2010 by americanska
Farmers don't grow there own seeds - unless they are bad farmers.

By selling all the crop you grow you more than make up for the seed you have to buy next year. Plus that seed you buy will yeild a far better crop.

I don't see any other solution for Monsanto - if they didn't use seed terminator technology all the farmers that wanted to steel traits that were developed for millions could do so.

Why does microsoft make you enter an activation code??? TO KEEP PEOPLE FROM PIRATING WHAT THEY HAVE DEVELOPED!
20:56 September 8, 2010 by Freyja14
Bankrupting small farmers so that a big corporation can make money? And you support companies like that @AMERICANSKA?!?! Wow, ignorance must be bliss in your little world, so American to support greed. All for the sake of a quick penny at the cost of lives. If farmers never signed up to have their farms contaminated with seeds from Monsanto then how could you say that person or farm is trying to steal or "pirate" their technology?!?!?!?!?!

"In less rich countries, hundreds of millions of people rely heavily on small farms which produce foods for the region. If these farms begin to use Monsanto's terminator technology, and cannot afford to buy new genetically engineered seeds from Monsanto the following year, many of the people in the region may starve. Under normal circumstances, food could be brought in from other regions. However, many of those other regions will likely have the same problems with famine due to Monsanto's terminator technology. "It's terribly dangerous," says Hope Shand, "half the world's farmers are poor and can't afford to buy seed every growing season, yet poor farmers grow 15 to 20% of the world's food and they directly feed at least 1.4 billion people - 100 million in Latin America, 300 million in Africa, and 1 billion in Asia. These farmers depend upon saved seed and their own breeding skills in adapting other varieties for use on their (often marginal) lands."
21:51 September 8, 2010 by NoGmo
Go take a look here GMO lovers it may just open your eyes!!

22:19 September 8, 2010 by americanska
I'm fairly sure that the eurofag politicians, etc. attack GMO crops because it puts the focus on the USA.

Let me break it down for you

Non GMO (conventional) crops require harsh chemical cocktails for both insect and weed control.

GMO crops require no pesticide and they only require very light chemicals like roundup for weed control. Yes - you brainwashed fools - Roundup actually breaks down into harmless components once it makes contact with the ground. It only kills a plant if it makes contact with the leaves on the way from the sprayer.
22:40 September 8, 2010 by JuditR
The research on GMO potatoes has already been done and it is detrimental to the immune system response and the gut of humans (where 80% of our immune response comes from).

Dr. Arpad Pusztai Phd formerly of the UK's Rowett Institute was fired after he told the truth on UK TV regarding the effect of GMO potatoes on lab animals and their immune system--he said it was terrible. Do the research online yourself and you'll find it all there.
23:16 September 8, 2010 by Da Goat
This article seems like a beat up

it made no sense at all to me

1 potatoes are not normally propagated with flowers or seeds so the talk of flowers is just plain weird

2 the other type is not for human cumsuption it seems .... then what are we worried about ?

is it just make a noise because we can?
00:42 September 9, 2010 by Kooritze
I blame the US for all this GM stuff!!!
08:28 September 9, 2010 by Taxalien
Monsanto's list of research and development achievements are fantastic:

Agent Orange



Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone

--- and Aspartame.

...and then there is the usual IG Farben connection as well.

Now it won't go wrong with terminator seeds and roundup as well, don't you think?

Surely not, nothing to see, move along!
09:06 September 9, 2010 by americanska
@taxalien - Roundup has been around for decades. And their list of acheivements

So many of you are so completely brainwashed by your euromedia and europoliticians.

you reject science when it comes to GMO because it makes you feel better about your backwards agriculture.

when claim to embrace science when it comes to climate change because it makes you feel better about not being able to spend afford as many "things" as the "greedy" americans.

In a way i don't blame you because non of you know anything about modern agriculture. But I have news for you, the EU will have to give in to GMO or else you will all be paying 500kr for a tomato and all your farmers will be bankrupt.
09:16 September 9, 2010 by Rick Methven

"Roundup actually breaks down into harmless components once it makes contact with the ground. It only kills a plant if it makes contact with the leaves on the way from the sprayer"

You either work for Monsanto or are very gullible. Roundup is classed as a dangerous chemical, that should not come into contact with the skin and is detrimental to animals. that come into contact with it. It kills fish if it gets into rivers. If you think is so harmless why not drink a bottle full?

Roundup currently kills anything it comes in contact with except Monsanto's own Roundup resistant seed. But Mutations always happen in all forms of life and already new roundup resistant weeds are coming up. So Monsanto is developing new herbicides that will kill these new weeds and of course anything else that it comes into contact with that is not produced by Monsanto.

The most worrying aspect of GM seed is not the seed itself but the fact that because it is resistant to Roundup farmers can spray it heavily, and they do. The chemicals go into the plant and remain in the food that is produced from the roundup sprayed plants.

When I first started farming in the 1950's DDT was the most common pesticide and we all used it, believing the assurances of companies like Monsanto that it was safe and it sure as hell killed them pesky bugs. DDT was finally banned in the US in 1972 and in the rest of the world a year later.

Although I am no longer a farmer, I still grow my own produce and I propagate my own seed. I will never buckle under to Monsanto and become just another slave.
12:15 September 9, 2010 by americanska
Dude - you need to wake up. Unless everyone farms organic - (in which case the worlds populations would need to probably be cut in half)- GMO allows for a much less chemical use than traditional farming.

I like how you ignored that fact that pesicides are not needed with GMO crops.

The farmers in Sweden are using far more dangerous chemicals - and spending a lot more on input costs on chemicals as well.

No offense, but if you were a farmer in Europe then you really don't know much about modern aggriculture.
15:24 September 9, 2010 by gotyboy
ya just cant argue with american ignorance
17:34 September 9, 2010 by Rick Methven
Yup Americanska is paid by Monsanto
11:58 September 10, 2010 by Freyja14

P.S there is nothing wrong with being American, I'm an American living in Sweden and i love where I'm from and I love where I am now. But I also have a brain and I use it. I don't buy into the corporate b/s that is fed to the American public. I research things myself. Monsanto and GMO foods are not the answer. They never will be the answer. These foods make people sick, they bankrupt small farms, they kill wildlife, they are bad for the environment, they use more pesticides, etc. etc. etc. And these corporate giants know they are making people sick but they don't care because they are making $$$ Watch for Food Inc and find out for yourselves.
14:30 September 10, 2010 by americanska
You are all so brainwashed it's amazing. It's a pretty easy stance to say GMO is bad. But you can't just make things up to support your fellings.
15:11 September 10, 2010 by james_g
Selective breeding is assisted natural evolution. Playing about with genes across species which CANNOT interbreed naturally is a totally different kettle of fish! Besides which, as a scientist myself I would not trust companies like Monsanto (there are plenty of others) to acknowledge unpalatable (or unprofitable) truths or to have any concern for the welfare of the planet and the vast majority of its residents. As for ethics...
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