Austria wants review of Europe’s policy on GM corn

vienna / reuters / Austria’s minister for agriculture and the environment is calling on the European Commission to review its approval process for genetically modified food after a controversial French study linked GM corn to higher health risks in rats.

The study — repudiated by many scientists — found rats fed on Monsanto’s GM corn or exposed to Roundup saw a higher incidence of tumours and organ damage and died earlier than those on a standard diet.

“One thing is clear: Given this study the European Commission has to rethink its verification practices and the approval process must get an in-depth review,” said Austrian Ag Minister Niki Berlakovich.

Austria has banned all the genetically modified plants allowed by the EU, Berlakovich noted, adding: “We want to decide for ourselves in the future as well and keep the ban on plantings to protect our environment and our consumers.”

Iran quietly makes massive wheat buy

paris / hamburg / reuters / Iran’s state grains agency has discreetly snapped up around one million tonnes of milling wheat, largely from Europe, in a two-week span last month.

The country, previously a wheat exporter, has been hampered by western sanctions over its nuclear program. But the wheat purchase demonstrates an ability to import food despite financial sanctions that make it difficult for importers to obtain letters of credit or transfer funds through banks.

“They are buying bigger volumes than what was expected, they have big needs,” said one trader.

“They have been taking almost anything that is available.”

A fair chunk of the milling wheat may end up as feed.

“They don’t have enough feed for animals, which means they are using milling wheat instead,” said another trade source.

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