PALAU TRIGGERS COUNTDOWN ON GENETIC FOOD ACCORD

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SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, June 15) - An international
protocol to tighten trade in genetically modified (GM) foods will come into
force in September.

The Pacific nation of Palau has become the 50th member country
to what is called the Cartagena Protocol on Bio-safety, setting off a 90-day
countdown until the treaty comes into force.

Under the new rules, countries exporting GM foods will have to
provide detailed information, including descriptions of the organism involved,
to recipient countries in advance of any shipment.

The recipient country may then reject the import or donation,
even without scientific proof, if it fears it poses a danger to its traditional
crops, and local culture.

Many European and African countries have ratified the Protocol,
although Australia and the United States have so far refused to sign.

June 16, 2003

ABC News Online: www.abc.net.au 

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