Science

Abordarea agriculturii de catre UE – un „Muzeu al Agriculturii”

Abordarea agriculturii de catre UE - un „Muzeu al Agriculturii”; Europa ar trebui să conducă calea inovării agricole; stiri agricole

Abordarea agriculturii de catre UE – un „Muzeu al Agriculturii”

agrimanet

Abordarea agriculturii de catre UE - un „Muzeu al Agriculturii”; Europa ar trebui să conducă calea inovării agricole; stiri agricole

În ultimele două decenii, Europa a decis să meargă de una singura în politicile agricole. În timp ce atât America de Nord, cât și America de Sud și, de asemenea, Japonia s-au mutat într-o agricultură modernă și mai mult bazată pe tehnologie, Europa a mers înapoi și continuă să interzică progresele și metodele noi din agricultură. În discuțiile comerciale recente, diplomații americani de top au râs în mod repetat de cadrul de reglementare al UE, considerându-l invechit.

„Trebuie să eliminăm constrângerile pentru adoptarea de noi abordări și tehnologii inovatoare, inclusiv restricții de reglementare excesiv de greoaie și inutile.”

Acestea au fost cuvintele secretarului agriculturii din SUA, Sonny Perdue, într-o declaratie publicată de Euractiv în februarie. Într-o manieră ceva mai puțin diplomatică, ambasadorul SUA în Regatul Unit, Woody Wilson, a caracterizat abordarea agriculturii de catre UE ca fiind un „Muzeu al Agriculturii”.

Atât Perdue, cât și Wilson susțin că restricțiile Uniunii Europene asupra tehnologiei agricole moderne nu sunt durabile și limitează sever acordurile comerciale viitoare.

A judeca dacă acestea sunt corecte sau nu, nu este legat de cât de mult iubești sau urăști Statele Unite, ci cât de mult îți place sau urăști stabilitatea prețurilor la produsele alimentare. Noi, europenii, putem fi judecătorii acestui lucru.

Să evaluăm situația așa cum este. Atât agricultura convențională, cât și cea ecologică se ocupă de dăunătorii de care trebuie să scape pentru a nu pune în pericol securitatea alimentară și stabilitatea prețurilor pentru consumatori. Ambele necesită substanțe chimice ca parte a instrumentelor de protecție a culturilor.

Așa cum se intampla in Africa, invazia de lăcuste pot fi devastatoare pentru securitatea alimentară, iar știința climatică ne permite să detectăm că anumiti dăunători vor veni din locuri îndepărtate spre zonele noastre mai devreme, ceea ce face ca insecticidele să fie necesare. Pentru a evita ciupercile și micotoxinele mortale, folosim fungicide.

Din punct de vedere politic, aceste instrumente de protecție a culturilor chimice nu sunt populare, deoarece grupuri din ce în ce mai mari si mai radicali de ecologiști îi împing pe politicieni să le interzică.

Ceea ce pare să conteze este că instrumentele moderne de protecție a culturilor sunt etichetate ca fiind nesustenabile. Cu toate acestea, sustenabilitatea este insuficient definită și, astfel, a servit drept scuză pentru a îmbogăți concepțiile greșite existente despre agricultură.

Sustenabilitatea ar trebui să se bazeze pe o agricultură modernă și inovatoare

Sustenabilitatea ar trebui să se bazeze pe o agricultură modernă și inovatoare care să răspundă nevoilor mediului, siguranței alimentare, securității alimentare și prețurilor competitive pentru consumatori. Aceste instrumente sunt disponibile astăzi.

Prin inginerie genetică, oamenii de știință au găsit o modalitate de a reduce utilizarea produselor tradiționale de protecție a culturilor, crescând totodată randamentul culturilor. Însă încă o dată, o suspiciune politică față de inovația agro-tehnologică reprezintă o frână, în acest caz prin Directiva OMG din 2001, care practic interzice toată ingineria genetică în scopul culturilor.

Schimbările climatice modifică modul în care producem alimente indiferent dacă le dorim sau nu. Bolile rare sunt tot mai prezente.

Modificările genetice specifice ne permit să depășim mutațiile aleatorii ale trecutului și să dezvoltăm schimbări precise în domeniul alimentelor.

Statele Unite, împreună cu Israel, Japonia, Argentina și Brazilia, conduc lumea cu reguli permisive pentru editarea genelor. Această nouă tehnologie poate îmbunătăți speranța de viață, securitatea alimentelor și prețurile produselor alimentare pentru toți consumatorii. Prin comparație, regulile UE au 20 de ani și nu sunt bazate pe știința actuală.

Vor americanii să concureze cu fermierii europeni și să vândă cantități din ce în ce mai mari de mâncare pe acest continent?

Acest lucru nu este doar în mod evident, dar este, de asemenea, reciproc. Dacă am investi cât mai mult timp în demonizarea produselor americane si în promovarea produselor europene peste hotare, atunci fermierii noștri s-ar extinde masiv pe piața americană cu produse superioare. În acest scenariu, consumatorii își păstrează opțiunile de hrană, iar comercianților cu amănuntul și producătorilor trebuie să li se solicite etichetarea originii alimentelor.

Cel mai mult, modificarea regulilor noastre privind noile tehnologii editarea genelor ar trebui să se facă în interesul consumatorilor europeni mai mult decât în ​​cazul exportatorilor americani.

Europa ar trebui să conducă calea inovării agricole și să dea lecții pentru inovare, nu să primeasca lectii din Statele Unite. În interesul consumatorilor europeni, ar trebui să permitem inovația, iar apoi să fim un lider global în aceasta.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

La faillite intellectuelle du “gastro-nationalisme”

A travers l’Europe, les protectionnistes du secteur alimentaire sont de retour. Avec l’excuse du COVID-19, ils prétendent que la concurrence commerciale internationale est un problème pour les producteurs nationaux. Dans plusieurs législations européennes, on propose d’imposer des quotas de produits locaux aux commerçants, dans d’autres ce sont des ministres qui font des appels au “patriotisme alimentaire”. C’est dans ces moments qu’il convient de rappeler à quel degré ce gastro-nationalisme est problématique.

Dans un article pour l’AGEFI Luxembourg, j’avais analysé les origines du mercantilisme, connu de nos jours sous le nom de protectionnisme. Par cet article, on aurait pu croire que cette pensée politique est d’origine française, i et qu’elle a ensuit été exporté à l’Union européenne à travers des mesures des subventions et standardisation des produits. Cependant, il s’avère que les exemples de protectionnisme sont présents dans tous les pays, y compris dans le monde anglo-saxon.

Les lois sur le maïs (Corn Laws) étaient un parfait exemple de protectionnisme au 19e siècle : les grands propriétaires fonciers conservateurs de Westminster ont décidé que le Royaume-Uni devait taxer fortement les céréales provenant de l’étranger, dans le but d’avantager les producteurs locaux. 

Le résultat de cette politique commerciale semble aller de soi : alors que les producteurs britanniques en profitaient, le prix des céréales a explosé dans les années 1830. Dès que la concurrence a été neutralisée, les grands propriétaires terriens ont pu augmenter les prix, ce qui a surtout nui aux classes ouvrières. Le 31 janvier 1849, par une loi votée en 1846, les résultats catastrophiques des Corn Laws sont enfin reconnus. Ils seront abrogés et les taxes à l’importation disparurent.

Remplacer le mot “maïs” ou “Royaume-Uni” par tout autre produit ou pays ne fera pas de différence sur la réalité des principes économiques : le protectionnisme ne fonctionne pas, il appauvrit les consommateurs et en particulier les plus pauvres.

Dans un reportage pour RTL Radio Luxembourg, l’eurodéputé Charles Goerens expliquait que si nos voisins décidaient d’appliquer les solutions des gastro-nationalistes, notre industrie laitière devrait réduire sa production de trois-quarts, ce qui reviendraient à la fin de l’agriculture dans le Grand-Duché. Malheureusement, ce message ne semble pas impressionner nos voisins français. Le ministre de l’Agriculture Didier Guillaume a appelé les Français “au patriotisme alimentaire” même si “la tomate française coûte plus cher”, titre RTL Radio France. Le ministre ne mâche pas ses mots dans le reste de ses déclarations sur la chaîne radio :

“Il faut que nos concitoyens achètent français. Il faut développer notre agriculture si on veut de la souveraineté alimentaire, de la souveraineté agricole. Mais comme c’est un peu plus cher, nous devons travailler afin d’être plus concurrentiels. L’agriculture française doit être compétitive. Les prix payés aux producteurs doivent être plus forts que ce qu’ils ne sont aujourd’hui.”

Depuis mars, le gouvernement français est en pourparlers avec les supermarchés du pays pour l’achat de produits frais locaux. En conséquence, les plus grandes chaînes de distribution françaises, comme Carrefour et E.Leclerc, ont transféré la quasi-totalité de leurs approvisionnements vers les exploitations agricoles locales.

D’autres pays sont allés plus loin que la France.

Le gouvernement polonais a dénoncé 15 transformateurs nationaux pour avoir importé du lait d’autres pays de l’UE au lieu de l’acheter à des agriculteurs polonais.

“Le patriotisme économique de ces entreprises suscite des inquiétudes”, a déclaré le gouvernement dans une circulaire qui est restée en ligne, même après la suppression de la liste des usines laitières ayant utilisé du lait étranger au premier trimestre 2020.

L’opposition vient de Berlin. Avant la vidéoconférence des ministres de l’agriculture d’il y quelques semaines, Julia Klöckner, ministre de l’agriculture allemande, a déclaré que la crise du Coronavirus soulignait l’importance du marché unique, et que les pays de l’UE devaient s’abstenir de mettre en œuvre des politiques protectionnistes pour aider leurs économies à se redresser.

“Les chaînes d’approvisionnement transfrontalières et la libre circulation des marchandises sont essentielles pour garantir la sécurité de l’approvisionnement aux citoyens. Et c’est pourquoi je mets en garde contre le “nationalisme de consommation”. Ce n’est qu’une force supposée qui s’efface rapidement. Nous ne devons pas mettre en péril les réalisations du marché intérieur”, dit la déclaration.

Du côté de l’Union européenne, il est intéressant de constater  que le commissaire du marché intérieur, Monsieur Thierry Breton, semble déterminé à s’opposer à tout mouvement protectionniste (du moins en dehors du cadre protectionniste déjà établi par l’Union elle-même). 

Bruxelles a lancé une procédure judiciaire contre la Bulgarie, après que son gouvernement ait imposé de nouvelles mesures aux commerçants, les obligeant à favoriser et à promouvoir les produits alimentaires nationaux, tels que le lait, le poisson, la viande et les œufs frais, le miel, les fruits et les légumes. Les détaillants sont également censés acheter 90% de leur lait et de leurs produits laitiers aux producteurs nationaux.

En dehors des considérations économiques, ces décisions produisent des  injustices sociales évidentes vis-à-vis des commerçants spécialisés. Si par exemple la Belgique obligeait les commerces de détails  de respecter des quotas, comment les magasins de spécialité polonaise pourraient perdurer? 

Héritier du mercantilisme, ce nouveau “gastro-nationalisme” est une fiction nationaliste qui démontre l’illettrisme économique de ses défenseurs . Il est essentiel que les personnes souhaitant défendre le bien-être de la population et des travailleurs se mettent en avant et défendent  le libre-échange et fassent valoir leurs points de vue.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Gene Editing, Pandemi Corona, dan Perlindungan Hak Paten

Ketika Anda mendengar istilah gene editing, apa yang terlintas di benak Anda?

Ada kemungkinan, hal pertama yang terlintas di pikiran Anda adalah berbagai pahlawan super yang hadir di berbagai film Hollywood. Spiderman, Hulk, X-Men, dan Fantastic Four merupakan beberapa tokoh superhero yang mendapat kemampuan super karena susunan genetik di dalam tubuh mereka berubah dan bermutasi.

Gene editing memang merupakan salah satu hal paling populer yang dieksplorasi oleh para pembuat film Hollywood, khususnya film-film fiksi ilmiah. Gene editing telah membuka pintu kreativitas yang sangat lebar bagi para pembuat film, yang telah memukau miliaran penonton di seluruh dunia.

Namun, teknologi gene editing sendiri bukanlah sesuatu yang hanya hadir di film-film fiksi ilmiah, namun juga di dunia nyata tempat kita tinggal, yang memiliki potensi untuk menyelamatkan nyawa jutaan manusia. Gene editing sendiri merupakan salah satu bentuk rekayasa genetika, di mana susunan DNA di dalam genom organisme diubah dan dimodifikasi.

Gene editing memiliki potensi yang sangat besar untuk mengatasi dan mencegah terjadinya berbagai penyakit kronis yang dialami oleh jutaan orang di seluruh dunia. Dan di tengah pandemi Corona saat ini, gene editing merupakan salah satu teknik yang digunakan oleh ilmuwan dalam membuat vaksin virus tersebut.

Sebagaimana kita ketahui, pandemik Corona saat ini sudah berada di hampir seluruh negara dan teritori di dunia. Setidaknya, virus yang berasal dari kota Wuhan, China, ini telah menginfeksi lebih dari 3 juta jiwa, dan menyebabkan 200.000 lebih orang kehilangan nyawa. Sebagian besar dari mereka yang meninggal adalah orang-orang lanjut usia dan yang memiliki riwayat penyakit.

Pandemi ini sudah merubah total kehidupan sehari-hari milyaran orang di seluruh dunia. Sebagian besar negara memberlakukan kebijakan lockdown total dan memaksa penduduk mereka untuk berdiam di rumah. Jutaan orang kehilangan pekerjaan atas pandemi tersebut, dan ribuan usaha terpaksa ditutup dan gulung tikar.

Vaksin untuk virus Corona tentu merupakan hal yang saat ini sangat mendesak. Tidak mungkin dunia dipaksa berhenti total untuk waktu yang sangat lama. Oleh karena itu, berbagai pemerintahan dan lembaga yayasan di seluruh dunia berlomba-lomba mendanai para ilmuwan untuk menemukan vaksin bagi Covid-19.

Rekayasa genetika sendiri bukanlah sesuatu yang baru. Rekayasa genetika melalui teknik bioteknologi, yang secara langsung mengubah genom organisme, sudah dilakukan sejak dekade 1970-an. Pakar biokimia asal Amerika Serikat, Paul Berg, adalah ilmuwan pertama yang membuat DNA rekomninan (DNA hasil buatan di laboratorium) dengan mengkombinasikan DNA virus SV40 dan virus Lambda (Jackson, Symons, dan Berg, 1972).

Seiring berjalannya waktu, rekayasa genetika juga terus berkembang. Tidak seperti metode rekayasa genetika pada masa lalu, di mana ilmuwan hanya bisa memasukkan atau menambahkan material genetik tertentu secara acak, gene editing sendiri merupakan salah satu teknik rekayasa genetika yang paling mutakhir. Teknik tersebut memungkinkan ilmuwan untuk mengubah bagian tertentu dari susunan genom organisme secara akurat (Smithsonian Magazine, 2019).

Ilmuwan dari North Carolina State University, Rodolphe Barrangou, menulis dalam jurnalnya bahwa, salah satu teknik gene editing yang saat ini paling berkembang adalah CRISPR gene editing. CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) merupakan rangkaian DNA yang terdapat di dalam bakteri prokariotik (Barrangou, 2015).

Barrangou menambahkan, rangkaian DNA ini terbentuk dari pecahan DNA bakteri virus yang sebelumnya menginfeksi bakteri prokariotik tersebut. Rangkaian ini berfungsi untuk mendeteksi bila ada virus yang sama yang kembali menginfeksi bakteri tersebut, dan menghancurkan DNA dari virus tersebut, Dengan kata lain, CRISPR merupakan sistem pertahanan yang dimiliki oleh bakteri prokariotik (Barrangou, 2015).

Enzim yang digunakan oleh CRISPR untuk mendeteksi dan menghancurkan DNA virus yang menginfeksi bakteri tersebut adalah Cas9. Pakar genetik menemukan bahwa Cas9 dapat digunakan sebagai alat pendeteksi bila seseorang ingin memodifikasi lokasi tertentu yang spesifik di dalam genom organisme (Esvelt, Smidler, Catteruccia, dan Church, 2014).

Melalui CRISPR gene editing ini berpotensi besar untuk memusnahkan segala bentuk penyakit kronis yang dialami manusia saat ini, seperti kanker dan penyakit genetik lainnya. Teknik ini juga berpotensi besar dapat memperkuat sistem imun yang ada di dalam tubuh manusia (Science Daily, 2019).

Terkait dengan upaya untuk menyelesaikan pendemik Corona, pakar biologi sintesis saat ini sudah dapat membuat beberapa bagian dari virus Corona secara sintesis dengan menggunakan CRISPR. Upaya ini dilakukan untuk menemukan vaksin bagi virus tersebut. Salah satu lembaga yang berperan besar dalam mendanai penelitian tersebut adalah Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Statnews, 2020).

CRISPR juga dapat digunakan sebagai “mesin pencari” untuk genom spesifik tertentu yang dimiliki oleh virus Corona. Hal ini membantu para peneliti untuk dapat mendeteksi pasien yang terkena virus Corona dengan prosedur yang lebih cepat dan sederhana (Synthego, 2020).

Pandemi Corona saat ini tentu bukanlah pandemi terakhir yang akan dialami oleh manusia. Besar kemungkinan di masa depan, virus ini akan kembali bermutasi dan menjadi virus yang lebih sulit untuk diatasi. Selain itu, di masa depan, tidak mustahil pandemi lain akan muncul dan disebabkan oleh virus atau bakteri dengan jenis yang lain.

Rekayasa genetika merupakan salah satu bidang ilmu pengetahuan yang paling terdepan, yang berpotensi akan membawa banyak manfaat bagi umat manusia. Oleh karena itu, sangat penting bagi kita untuk mendorong penemuan terbaru di bidang bioteknologi dan tidak membatasi melalui serangkaian regulasi sangat ketat yang berpotensi menghambat kemajuan dan merugikan masyarakat yang tidak bisa mengambil manfaat dari hasil temuan tersebut.

Selain itu, perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual (HAKI) di bidang rekayasa genetika juga sangat penting untuk mendorong kemajuan. Profesor ekonomi dari Universitas California, Berkeley, Brian D. Wright misalnya, menyatakan bahwa perlindungan hak paten terhadap produk rekayasa genetika dapat mendorong inovasi dan kemajuan.

Wright memberi contoh sejak dekade 1980-an, perlindungan hak paten terhadap produk hasil rekayasa genetika di Amerika Serikat semakin menguat. Hal ini membuat bidang rekayasa genetika di negeri Paman Sam tersebut semakin maju dan berkembang, karena berbagai lembaga swasta berlomba-lomba untuk melakukan riset dan menemukan teknik rekayasa genetika yang terbaru (Wright, 2006).

Sebagai penutup, rekayasa genetika, khususnya gene editing, merupakan salah satu bidang ilmu bioteknologi yang paling terdepan untuk saat ini, yang berpotensi besar membawa banyak manfaat kesehatan bagi umat manusia, khususnya di masa pandemi seperti sekarang.

Untuk itu, sangat penting bagi pemerintah agar tidak memberlakukan regulasi yang sangat ketat yang dapat menghambat perkembangan tersebut. Pemerintah juga harus bisa memastikan penegakan atas perlindungan paten terhadap para inovator dan investor yang melakukan riset dan menginvestasikan dana mereka, untuk memastikan insentif dan kompetisi di bidang rekayasa genetika dapat semakin maju dan berkembang.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Modern agriculture is actively under threat – we need to save it

Mycotoxins represent an active and palpable threat to the health of consumers, with millions affected particularly in developing nations. The open hostility towards certain crop protection measures has emphasised this problem, as fungicides are coming under fire. The scientific method and consumer health should be the metrics of public agricultural policy.

We’ve come a long way from how our ancestors produced and prepared food.

Mechanisation, agricultural intensification, synthetic fertilisers, and even drones are now part of modern farming. This allows us to feed billions on a daily basis.

But with the emergence of the mass-production of food came its opponents, often environmentalists unhappy with resource use, animal use, or consumerism. Picture traveling back in time and explaining to people that there will be a world in which average people can actually afford fresh vegetables and refrigerated meat, which is available at all times but there are simultaneously people who oppose this immense progress and want to deprive others of its wonders.

There is nothing inherently wrong with being nostalgic. Even today, there are farming initiatives that promote and practice “peasant farming”, and live off their own production in a commune. No harm done, the world economy and developing nations will remain untouched by this first-world luxury.

That said, environmentalists have gone far beyond the realm of romanticising the old days: they have set their eyes on implementing it by force, if necessary through distorting reality.

A vast network of organisations, including known players such as Greenpeace, are throwing a myriad of unscientific publications at the wall in different European countries, in the attempt to find out what sticks. Their latest target is fungicides.

Fungicides are used to fight fungus spores, which if carried from the outside of the plant to their inside, are dangerous to human health. These molds produce mycotoxins, which are toxic metabolites.

Mycotoxins are divided into subcategories, namely aflatoxins, ochratoxin A (OTA), fumonisins (FUM), zearalenone (ZEN), and deoxynivalenol (DON – also known as vomitoxin), which can all be ingested through eating contaminated food, including dairy products (as infected animals can carry it into milk, eggs, or meat).

The most dangerous kinds are aflatoxins, which can affect corn, wheat, rice, soybeans, peanuts, and tree nuts, and can cause cancer. Most disconcertingly, up to 28% of all liver cancer can be attributed to aflatoxins, and its immunosuppressant features leave humans weakened against other diseases.

In Africa, this is a deadly epidemic. Aflatoxin exposure is more deadly than exposure to malaria or tuberculosis, with 40% of all liver cancers in Africa being related to it. Mycotoxin contamination can occur through inadequate food storage, but more importantly it occurs in absence of the correct crop protection measures, including chemicals.

As a result of mycotoxins, food products are prevented from entering Europe, and Africa loses millions in unusable food every year.

However, this is not only an issue in Africa. According to 2017 data, Europe is also at severe risk of mycotoxin contamination. A 10-year survey conducted by the BIOMIN research centre in Austria found that approximately 20% of Central European grain feed and almost 12% of Southern Europe’s grain feed exceeded EU regulatory limits.

In 2013, France requested to have its maize samples exempted from EU regulation on mycotoxins, because its harvest would have been largely unusable. The 2018 data showed 6% of field and 15% of French silo maize samples were contaminated with aflatoxins.

The European Union, as well as national food safety authorities, have authorised a dozen of SDHI fungicides, which fight mycotoxins, and have been re-confirmed as safe as recently as last year.

On the other side of the argument, environmentalists rely on the results presented by a handful of French researchers, presented in 2018 in a non-peer reviewed publication by the name of bioRxiv. Their claims: SDHI fungicides can cause rare cancers and neurological impairments, and the current toxicological reports are inaccurate.

The French Authority for Food Safety (ANSES) released a report which debunked those claims. The agency found no basis for the publication’s claims, explaining that SDHIs are rapidly metabolised and eliminated from the body and that despite these fungicides having been on the market for a long time, that no scientific evidence points towards adverse effects to human health or the environment.

Despite attacks on the integrity of ANSES (which had offered both dialogue and publishing all of its SDHI data available for review), these activists have not presented further evidence for their theory. This hasn’t prevented environmentalist groups from demanding the ban of all fungicides, and an extreme pivot to a form of agriculture that shuns any and all biotechnology.

If they prove successful in banning SDHIs in France, these same activists would take their quest to the next level: the European Union. A long battle would ensue over the future of conventional agriculture, and there is no doubt that facts will be distorted and bogus science will rise to the surface.

But we cannot let it go that far. Food security and the health of consumers are at stake. If the argument is that genetic engineering provides cheaper and better ways to fight insects and mycotoxins, then that is a valid scientific argument that ought to be supported.

However, environmentalists have shown little openness to new breeding technologies, and in turn endorse “agroecology”, or peasant farming. Our ancestors would be rightfully horrified at the thought of that happening. We need to make reasoned arguments in favour of the scientific method to prevent that from happening. It’s the only way we can keep the future from becoming the past.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Federal attack on patents will hurt innovation

Hundreds of global pharmaceutical manufacturers have narrowed their sights on a vaccine or cure, which is a considerable undertaking in terms of cost.

By speeding up the approval process for any vaccine or drug intended to treat Covid-19, Health Canada has shown that it can be responsive in this pandemic. But, not every decision the federal government has made has been for the better. Especially when it comes to amending the Patent Act and completely sidestepping the patent process in our country, which will have some serious negative externalities. 

In amending this law, the government has given itself the power to override patents for drugs, vaccines and medical equipment allowing for manufacturers to create generic copies of patented drugs, without having to negotiate or settle with the patent owners. Only after the fact will patent holders be compensated, at a rate unilaterally determined by the government.

While “sticking it” to Big Pharma may sound fashionable, it will actually end up hurting more people in the end. Suspending patents via compulsory licensing runs the risk of seriously hindering the innovation process that creates new drugs in the first place. Medical innovation is needed now, more than ever, under the threat of Covid-19, and we must pursue it at any cost. What regulators fail to see in their move is that innovation and intellectual property are intrinsically linked and people would suffer without them both. 

Hundreds of global pharmaceutical manufacturers have narrowed their sights on a vaccine or cure, which is a considerable undertaking in terms of cost. IP rights are what provide incentives for these manufacturers to create innovative treatments and get a return on their investment to create new drugs. Even modest IP protections ensure that manufacturers recover costs, which allows them to continue the process of heavily investing in research and development. That’s something we should encourage, not erase.

An example of a patented medicine saving the lives of hundreds of thousands, without compulsory licensing, can be seen in the vast expansion and availability of Gilead’s Hepatitis C drug. Under a very extensive partnership campaign, Gilead licenses out their drugs to local partner firms in middle and low-income countries, offering the drugs at-cost. What easily clocks in at $100,000 USD is sold for hundreds to ensure that patients have access – all without upending patents.

Outside of innovation, the federal government’s patent retreat may not even work in the first place. Upending intellectual property rights doesn’t all of a sudden mean that newly permitted manufacturers have the knowledge and resources needed to scale up production. A generic manufacturer, as a result of changes to the Patent Act, may have the formula for a drug, but that doesn’t mean they can simply flip a switch and produce that drug at scale. 

Many of these generic manufacturers will not have the proper supply chain infrastructure needed to produce these drugs, and won’t be able to access the active ingredients needed in the face of growing medical export bans. India, one of the world’s largest producers of ingredients for medicines, has already implemented an export ban for 26 pharmaceutical ingredients and products, further compounding supply chain problems for producers of generics. 

In that sense, suspending patents is a lot like giving producers of generics the blueprints without access to the tools, labour, or raw materials needed to turn a building plan into a finished product.

While it may sound good to suspend patents in a pandemic, it should be recognized that doing so runs the risk of severely hindering both present and future innovation, which are so desperately needed. Added to that, examples like Gilead’s partnerships in middle and low-income countries prove that upending patents isn’t required to ensure drug availability. Rather than shredding intellectual property rights and patents to respond to Covid-19, the Canadian government should focus elsewhere.  Easing the regulatory approval process, fast tracking drugs approved by health regulators in other OECD countries, and eliminating tariffs on medical equipment would have more of an impact. 

We all want medical innovation and for Canadians to have access to the care and drugs they need. Let’s not make it more difficult to achieve that with bad public policy. 

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

La sostenibilidad y la innovación deberían ir de la mano en la UE

En las últimas dos décadas, Europa ha decidido seguir su propio camino en las políticas agrícolas. Si bien tanto América del Norte como América del Sur, y también Japón se han movido a una agricultura moderna aún más impulsada por la tecnología, Europa ha retrocedido y sigue prohibiendo cada vez más avances y métodos científicamente probados en la agricultura. En conversaciones comerciales recientes, los principales diplomáticos estadounidenses se han burlado repetidamente del marco regulatorio en la UE como anacrónico.

«Debemos eliminar las restricciones a la adopción de nuevos enfoques y tecnologías innovadores, incluidas restricciones regulatorias excesivamente onerosas e innecesarias, y vamos a decir la verdad a nuestros ciudadanos sobre tecnología, productividad y seguridad».

Esas fueron las palabras del Secretario de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos, Sonny Perdue en un artículo de opinión publicado en Euractiv en febrero. De manera un poco menos diplomática, el embajador de Estados Unidos en el Reino Unido, Woody Wilson, acuñó el enfoque de la UE «Museo de la Agricultura». en un artículo de opinión para The Telegraph solo este marzo.

Tanto Perdue como Wilson sostienen que las restricciones de la Unión Europea a la tecnología agrícola moderna no son sostenibles y limitan severamente los futuros acuerdos comerciales.

Juzgar si son correctos o no no está relacionado con cuánto amas u odias a los Estados Unidos, sino cuánto amas u odias la estabilidad de los precios de los alimentos. Nosotros, los europeos, podemos juzgar esto nosotros mismos.

Vamos a evaluar la situación tal como es. Tanto la agricultura convencional como la orgánica se ocupan de las plagas de las que deben deshacerse para no poner en peligro la seguridad alimentaria y la estabilidad de precios para los consumidores. Ambos requieren productos químicos como parte de sus herramientas de protección de cultivos.

Como muestra África, las plagas de langostas pueden ser devastadoras para la seguridad alimentaria, y la ciencia climática nos permite detectar que ciertas plagas vendrán de lugares distantes a nuestras costas más temprano que tarde, lo que hace que los insecticidas sean necesarios. Para evitar hongos y micotoxinas mortales, utilizamos fungicidas.

Políticamente, estas herramientas de protección de cultivos químicos no son populares, ya que una cantidad cada vez mayor de ambientalistas empuja a los políticos a prohibirlas. Esto ha dejado el espectro político de izquierda vs. derecha y se distribuye equitativamente en ambos lados.

Desafortunadamente, si las autoridades de seguridad alimentaria nacionales e internacionales han demostrado que estos productos químicos son seguros o no, en el contexto de la política moderna posterior a la verdad, es muy poco.

Lo que parece importar es que las herramientas modernas de protección de cultivos están etiquetadas como insostenibles. Sin embargo, la sostenibilidad no está suficientemente definida y, por lo tanto, ha servido como una excusa para envalentonar los conceptos erróneos existentes sobre la agricultura.

En todo caso, la sostenibilidad debe basarse en una agricultura moderna e innovadora que satisfaga las necesidades del medio ambiente, la seguridad alimentaria, la seguridad alimentaria y los precios competitivos para los consumidores. Esas herramientas están disponibles para nosotros hoy.

A través de la ingeniería genética, los científicos han encontrado una manera de reducir el uso de productos tradicionales de protección de cultivos, al tiempo que aumentan el rendimiento de los cultivos. Sin embargo, una vez más, una sospecha política hacia la innovación agro-tecnológica impide el camino a seguir, en este caso a través de la directiva de OGM de 2001, que prácticamente prohíbe toda la ingeniería genética con el propósito de los cultivos.

El cambio climático altera la forma en que producimos alimentos, lo queramos o no. Las enfermedades raras y no tan raras nos obligan a adaptar nuestro suministro de alimentos a los consumidores que lo necesitan. Las modificaciones genéticas específicas nos permiten superar mutaciones aleatorias del pasado y desarrollar cambios precisos en el campo de los alimentos.

Estados Unidos, junto con Israel, Japón, Argentina y Brasil, están liderando el mundo con reglas permisivas para la edición de genes. Esta nueva tecnología puede mejorar la esperanza de vida, la seguridad alimentaria y los precios de los alimentos para todos los consumidores. Las reglas de la UE, en comparación, tienen 20 años y no están enraizadas en la ciencia, ya que una cantidad cada vez mayor de científicos ahora explicando.

¿Los estadounidenses quieren competir con los agricultores europeos y vender cantidades crecientes de alimentos en este continente?

Esto no solo es obviamente el caso, sino que también es mutuo. Si invertimos tanto tiempo como lo hacemos en demonizar los productos estadounidenses aquí para promover los productos europeos en el extranjero, entonces serían nuestros agricultores expandiéndose masivamente en el mercado estadounidense con productos superiores. En el escenario, los consumidores mantienen sus elecciones de alimentos, y los minoristas y productores deben estar obligados a etiquetar los orígenes de los alimentos.

Sobre todo, la modificación de nuestras normas sobre nuevas tecnologías de mejoramiento genético (o edición de genes) debe hacerse en interés de los consumidores europeos más que en el de los exportadores estadounidenses. Europa debería liderar el camino hacia la innovación agrícola y dar lecciones para la innovación, no tomarlas de los Estados Unidos. En interés de los consumidores europeos, debemos permitir la innovación y luego ser un líder mundial en ello.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

La durabilité et l’innovation devraient aller de pair dans l’UE

Au cours des deux dernières décennies, l’Europe a décidé de suivre sa propre voie dans les politiques agricoles. Alors que l’Amérique du Nord et du Sud, ainsi que le Japon sont passés à une agriculture moderne encore plus axée sur la technologie, l’Europe a reculé et continue d’interdire de plus en plus de progrès et de méthodes scientifiquement prouvés dans l’agriculture. Lors de récentes négociations commerciales, les meilleurs diplomates américains se sont moqués à plusieurs reprises du cadre réglementaire de l’UE comme anachronique.

«Nous devons lever les obstacles à l’adoption de nouvelles approches et technologies innovantes, y compris des restrictions réglementaires excessivement lourdes et inutiles, et vouloir dire la vérité à nos citoyens sur la technologie, la productivité et la sécurité.»

Ce sont les mots du secrétaire américain à l’Agriculture Sonny Perdue dans un éditorial publié sur Euractiv en février. De façon un peu moins diplomatique, l’ambassadeur des États-Unis au Royaume-Uni, Woody Wilson, a inventé l’approche de l’UE « Museum of Agriculture » dans un éditorial pour The Telegraph en mars dernier.

Tant Perdue que Wilson soutiennent que les restrictions imposées par l’Union européenne aux technologies agricoles modernes ne sont pas durables et limitent gravement les futurs accords commerciaux.

Juger s’ils sont corrects ou non n’est pas lié à combien vous aimez ou détestez les États-Unis, mais à quel point vous aimez ou détestez la stabilité des prix des aliments. Nous, Européens, pouvons nous-mêmes en juger.

Évaluons la situation telle qu’elle est. L’agriculture conventionnelle et biologique traite des ravageurs dont ils doivent se débarrasser afin de ne pas compromettre la sécurité alimentaire et la stabilité des prix pour les consommateurs. Les deux nécessitent des produits chimiques dans le cadre de leurs outils de protection des cultures.

Comme le montre l’Afrique, les fléaux acridiens peuvent être dévastateurs pour la sécurité alimentaire, et la science du climat nous permet de détecter que certains ravageurs viendront de lieux éloignés sur nos côtes plus tôt que tard, rendant les insecticides nécessaires. Afin d’éviter les champignons et les mycotoxines mortelles, nous utilisons des fongicides.

Politiquement, ces outils chimiques de protection des cultures ne sont pas populaires, car des quantités croissantes d’écologistes poussent les politiciens à les interdire. Cela a laissé le spectre politique de gauche contre droite et est également réparti des deux côtés.

Malheureusement, la question de savoir si ces produits chimiques se sont révélés sûrs ou non par les autorités nationales et internationales de sécurité sanitaire des aliments – dans le contexte de la politique post-vérité moderne – très peu.

Ce qui semble avoir de l’importance, c’est que les outils modernes de protection des cultures sont étiquetés comme non durables. Cependant, la durabilité est insuffisamment définie et a donc servi d’excuse pour enhardir les idées fausses existantes sur l’agriculture.

Au contraire, la durabilité devrait être basée sur une agriculture moderne et innovante qui répond aux besoins de l’environnement, de la sécurité alimentaire, de la sécurité alimentaire et des prix compétitifs pour les consommateurs. Ces outils sont à notre disposition aujourd’hui.

Grâce au génie génétique, les scientifiques ont trouvé un moyen de réduire l’utilisation des produits traditionnels de protection des cultures, tout en augmentant le rendement des cultures. Encore une fois, une suspicion politique à l’égard de l’innovation agro-technologique empêche la voie à suivre, en l’occurrence à travers la directive OGM de 2001, qui interdit pratiquement tout génie génétique à des fins de cultures.

Le changement climatique modifie la façon dont nous produisons les aliments, que nous le voulions ou non. Les maladies rares et moins rares nous obligent à adapter notre offre alimentaire aux consommateurs qui en ont besoin. Des modifications génétiques spécifiques nous permettent de surmonter des mutations aléatoires du passé et de développer des changements précis dans le domaine de l’alimentation.

Les États-Unis, avec Israël, le Japon, l’Argentine et le Brésil, sont en tête du monde avec des règles permissives pour l’édition de gènes. Cette nouvelle technologie peut améliorer l’espérance de vie, la sécurité alimentaire et les prix des aliments pour tous les consommateurs. Les règles de l’UE, en comparaison, ont 20 ans et ne sont pas enracinées dans la science, comme l’expliquent de plus en plus de scientifiques.

Les Américains veulent-ils rivaliser avec les agriculteurs européens et vendre des quantités croissantes de nourriture sur ce continent?

Ce n’est pas seulement évidemment le cas, mais c’est aussi réciproque. Si nous investissions autant de temps que nous le faisons dans la diabolisation des produits américains ici pour promouvoir les produits européens à l’étranger, alors nos agriculteurs se développeraient massivement sur le marché américain avec des produits de qualité supérieure. Dans le scénario, les consommateurs conservent leurs choix d’aliments et les détaillants et les producteurs doivent être tenus d’étiqueter l’origine des aliments.

Surtout, la modification de nos règles en matière de nouvelles technologies de sélection (ou d’édition de gènes) doit se faire dans l’intérêt des consommateurs européens plus que dans celui des exportateurs américains. L’Europe devrait montrer la voie en matière d’innovation agricole et donner des leçons pour l’innovation, et non les prendre aux États-Unis. Dans l’intérêt des consommateurs européens, nous devons permettre l’innovation, puis devenir un leader mondial dans ce domaine.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Jaminan Hukum atas Perlindungan Hak Kekayaan Intelektual di Indonesia

Perlindungan Hak Kekayaan Intelektual (HAKI) merupakan salah satu hak dasar yang dilindungi oleh produk-produk hukum di berbagai negara. Tak hanya itu, jaminan atas HAKI juga dicantumkan oleh beragam dokumen dan kesepakatan internasional.

Deklarasi Universal Hak Asasi Manusia (Universal Declaration of Human Rights / UDHR) misalnya, dalam Pasal 27 ayat (2) menyatakan bahwa, “Setiap manusia memiliki hak untuk mendapatkan perlindungan, baik secara moral, maupun kepentingan material, yang dihasilkan dari hasil karya saintifik, literatur, maupun seni yang dibuatnya.”

Indonesia sendiri juga sudah memiliki kerangka hukum untuk menjamin HAKI. Diantaranya adalah Undang-Undang No. 28 Tahun 2014 tentang Hak Cipta dan Undang-Undang No. 13 Tahun 2016 tentang Paten. Dalam Pasal 1 UU Hak Cipta misalnya, dinyatakan bahwa “Hak Cipta adalah hak eksklusif pencipta yang timbul secara otomatis berdasarkan prinsip deklaratif setelah suatu ciptaan diwujudkan dalam bentuk nyata tanpa mengurangi pembatasan sesuai dengan ketentuan peraturan perundang-undangan.”

Sementara itu, dalam Pasal 1 UU Paten, disebutkan bahwa paten adalah “hak eksklusif yang diberikan oleh negara kepada inventor atas hasil invensinya di bidang teknologi untuk jangka waktu tertentu melaksanakan sendiri invensi tersebut atau memberikan persetujuan kepada pihak lain untuk melaksanakannya.

Sejarah produk hukum perlindungan HAKI di Indonesia juga bisa ditarik hingga sebelum Indonesia merdeka. Pemerintah Kolonial Belanda misalnya, memberlakukan Undang-Undang Merek pada tahun 1885 dan Undang-Undang Hak Cipta tahun 1912. Pasca kemerdekaan, tahun 1953, Menteri Kehakiman Republik Indonesia mengeluarkan peraturan nasional pertama tentang paten, yakni Pengumuman Menteri Kehakiman no. J.S 5/41/4.

Akan tetapi sayangnya, meskipun Indonesia sudah memiliki kerangka hukum perlindungan HAKI yang diikuti sejarah yang panjang, namun implementasi atas Undang-Undang tersebut masih terlalu minim.

Berdasarkan indeks Perlindungan Hak Kekayaan Intelektual tahun 2020 dari Kamar Dagang Amerika Serikat (U.S. Chamber of Commerce) misalnya, dari 53 negara yang disurvei, Indonesia menduduki peringkat ke 46. Hal tersebut tentu merupakan sesuatu yang sangat memprihatinkan, dan seyogyanya harus bisa diperbaiki di kemudian hari (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2020).

Tidak hanya secara global, Indonesia juga menduduki peringkat bawah dalam hal perlindungan HAKI untuk negara-negara di kawasan Asia. U.S. Chamber of Commerce mencatat bahwa perlindungan hak cipta, ditengah maraknya pembajakan, merupakan salah satu permasalahan besar di Indonesia terkait perlindungan HAKI.

Bagi seseorang yang banyak menghabiskan waktu di Indonesia, khususnya di kota-kota besar seperti Jakarta, hal ini tentu merupakan sesuatu yang bisa dengan sangat mudah kita temui. Bila kita pergi ke berbagai pusat perbelanjaan misalnya, kita tidak akan bisa menutup mata dari banyaknya toko-toko yang menjual berbagai produk bajakan, mulai dari film, album musik, fashionsoftware komputer, dan video games. Berbagai produk tersebut dijual dengan harga yang sangat jauh di bawah produk aslinya.

Seseorang misalnya, dapat membeli film atau album lagu dengan harga di bawah Rp10.000, atau membeli produk fashion dengan harga di bawah 10% dari harga aslinya. Hal ini tentu sangat merugikan mereka yang sudah bekerja dan berpikir keras untuk berkarya dan berinovasi.

Selain itu, U.S. Chamber of Commerce juga mencatat bahwa Indonesia tidak memiliki penelitian yang sistematis yang meneliti mengenai hubungan antara perlindungan HAKI dengan pertumbuhan ekonomi. Hal ini tentu membuat insentif pemerintah untuk menegakkan aturan perundang-undangan yang melindungi HAKI menjadi berkurang, atau bahkan tidak ada.

Ada beberapa penelitian yang menunjukkan hubungan antara perlindungan HAKI dengan pertumbuhan ekonomi. Park & Ginarte (1997) misalnya, menemukan ada hubungan yang erat antara kedua hal tersebut. Perlindunan HAKI dapat meningkatkan akumulasi faktor produksi, seperti modal research and development. Adanya perlindungan HAKI dapat mendorong mereka yang bergerak di bidang penelitian untuk berinvestasi lebih besar dan mengambil resiko yang lebih tinggi, yang tentu akan mendorong pertumbuhan ekonomi (Mrad, 2017).

Meskipun demikian, U.S. Chamber of Commerce juga mencatat ada beberapa perkembangan positif terkait perlindungan HAKI di Indonesia. Diantaranya adalah implementasi perlindungan hak cipta yang lebih baik dalam ranah dunia maya, dengan menutup beberapa situs streaming gratis, dan koordinasi pada tingkat kabinet yang semakin baik terkait penegakan perlindungan HAKI.

Contoh inisiatif kebijakan pemerintah terkait perlindungan HAKI di Indonesia, salah satunya dapat dilihat dari upaya yang dilakukan oleh Kementrian Hukum dan HAM (Kemenkumham) melalui Direktorat Jendral Kekayaan Intelektual (Ditjen KI). Pada tahun 2017 lalu, Ditjen KI memberlakukan kebijakan untuk memperkuat fungsi Penyidik Pegawai Negeri Sipil (PPNS) dalam menegakkan perlindungan HAKI di Indonesia.

Salah satu hal untuk meningkatkan fungsi PPNS Ditjen KI ini diantaranya adalah menambahkan wewenang PPNS untuk melakukan proses mediasi bila ada sengketa terkait perkara HAKI. Mediasi ini merupakan salah satu bentuk alternatif untuk menyelesaikan sengketa terkait HAKI di luar dari lembaga peradilan (Direktorat Jendral Kekayaan Intelektual, 2017).

Hal ini tentu merupakan sesuatu yang patut dirayakan dan diapresiasi. Perlindungan HAKI di Indonesia tentu merupakan sesuatu yang sangat penting, untuk menjaga hak para inovator, seniman, dan pembuat konten kreatif agar mereka bisa menikmati hasil kerja keras dan kreativitas yang mereka lakukan.

Dengan demikian, diharapkan tentu akan semakin banyak para inovator dan orang-orang kreatif yang lahir di Indonesia, yang dapat membawa dampak yang sangat positif bagi perekonomian dan peningkatan kesejahteraan.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Neue Meta-Studie: „Insekten-Apokalypse findet nicht statt”

Eine neue Studie zeigt zwar einen Rückgang der Landinsekten, gleichzeitig aber eine Zunahme der Süßwasserinsekten. Klimawandel und Landwirtschaft beeinflussten dies nicht. Streit ist vorprogrammiert.

Schmetterling

Eine neue Meta-Analyse zu Insektenpopulationen dürfte die Diskussion um das Insektensterben wieder anheizen. Der Analyst Bill Wirtz von der Firma “Consumer Choice Center” aus Brüssel hat nach eigener Aussage die bisher größte und umfassendste Auswertung von Insektenstudien und Zählungen durchgeführt, die es bislang gab.

Seine Ergebnisse würden einige „der Missverständnisse zum vermeintlichen Artensterben der letzten Jahre“ korrigieren, wie der Senior Policy Analyst am Freitag in einer Presseinformation mitteilte. Er hoffe, dass die Diskussion wieder in eine weniger sensationsgetriebene Gangart rücken wird.

“Diese Analyse von 166 Langzeitstudien, die zwischen 1925 und 2018 an 1.676 Standorten auf der ganzen Welt durchgeführt wurden, gibt den vorhandenen Studien zu diesem Thema endlich die nötige Nuancierung. Seit Jahren wurden weniger tiefgreifende Forschungsergebnisse herangezogen, die behaupten, dass wir es mit einem Insektenrückgang apokalyptischen Ausmaßes zu tun haben. Wir wissen jetzt, dass dies nicht zutreffend war”, sagt Wirtz.

Seiner Aussage nach hat diese Studie einen Rückgang der Insektenpopulation festgestellt. Dies sei sicherlich ein Grund für weitere Untersuchungen, doch die Zahlen zeigten, dass der Effekt ungefähr sechsmal geringer sei als in früheren Studien. Ein Teil des Rückgangs der Landinsekten werde durch eine Zunahme von Süßwasserinsekten wie Mücken und Eintagsfliegen ausgeglichen, erklärte er weiter.

Während in früheren Studien der Verursacher im Klimawandel und in der modernen Landwirtschaft gesehen wurde, habe diese Meta-Analyse keinen klaren Zusammenhang zwischen Klimawandel und Insektenpopulationen gefunden, so Wirtz weiter. „Was Landwirtschaft betrifft, so zeigt diese Studie, dass der Anbau von Nutzpflanzen tatsächlich den Insektenpopulationen zugute gekommen ist. Die Forscher haben gezeigt, dass die Zerstörung des Lebensraums durch die Urbanisierung zum Rückgang der terrestrischen Insektenpopulationen geführt hat.“

“Eine Reihe von Medien haben frühere Studien genutzt, um auffällige Schlagzeilen zu schreiben. In dem Bemühen, den Nachrichtenkonsumenten ein vollständiges Bild zu vermitteln, hoffe ich, dass diese Medien jetzt über diese neuen Erkenntnisse berichten”, so Wirtz abschließend.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

What comic book super heroes and villains tell us about plant and human gene editing – and the coronavirus

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Humanity is currently facing a huge challenge imposed by the coronavirus. Borders are being shut down, planes grounded, and factories closed. At the same time, scientists and public health professionals are working on tests, treatments, and vaccines to soon provide a medical response. Coping with corona might be one of the largest tests humans have faced in the past decades but it won’t be the last virus we need to defeat. It is time to embrace bioscience and allow more research and applications of genetic alteration methods.

For the layman, all this technobabble about mutagenesis and genetic engineering is difficult to comprehend and it took me personally a good amount of reading to start grasping what different methods exist and how these can massively improve our quality of life.

Let’s first look at the four most common ways to alter the genes of a plant or animal:

  • Dr. Xavier – Mutations per se just happen regularly in nature – This is how some amino acids ended up being humans a billion years later. Biological evolution can only happen thanks to mutations. Mutations in nature happen randomly or are caused by exogenous factors such as radiation (e.g. sun). For the comic book readers among us, X-men have mutations that (in most cases) occurred randomly.
legion professor xavier x
  • The Hulk – Mutation through exposure (mutagens): One of the most common ways to manipulate seeds is exposing them to radiation and hoping for positive mutations (e.g. higher pest resistance). This method is very common since the 1950s and a very inaccurate shotgun approach aiming to make crops more resistant or palatable. It requires thousands of attempts to get a positive result. This method is widely used and legal in nearly every country. In our comic book universe, the Hulk is a good example of mutations caused by radiation.
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  • Spiderman – Genetically Modified Organisms (transgenic GMO): This often-feared procedure of creating GMOs is based on inserting the genes of one species into the genes of another. In most cases, GMO crops have been injected with a protein of another plant or bacteria that makes the crop grow faster or be more resistant towards certain diseases. Other examples can be seen in crossing salmon with tilapia fish which makes the salmon grow twice as fast. Spiderman being bitten by a spider and suddenly being able to climb skyscrapers due to his enhanced spider-human (transgenic) DNA is an example from the comicverse.
  • GATTACA/Wrath of Khan – Gene Editing (the scissors): The latest and most precise way of altering an organism’s genes is so-called Gene Editing. In contrast to traditional GMOs, genes are not being implanted from another organism but changed within the organism due to a precise method of either deactivating certain genes or adding them.
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This can be even done in grown humans that are alive, which is a blessing for everyone who suffers from genetic disorders. We are able to “repair” genes in live organisms. Gene editing is also thousands of times more accurate than just bombarding seeds with radiation. Some applied examples are deactivating the gene responsible for generating gluten in wheat: The result is gluten-free wheat. There are several methods that achieve this. One of the most popular ones these days is the so-called CRISPR Cas-9. These ‘scissors’ are usually reprogrammed bacteria that transmit the new gene information or deactivate defunct or unwanted genes. Many science fiction novels and movies show a future in which we can deactivate genetic defects and cure humans from terrible diseases. Some examples of stories in which CRISPR-like techniques have been used are movies such as GATTACA, Star Trek’s Wrath of Khan, or the Expanse series in which gene editing plays a crucial role in growing crops in space.Related article:  Viewpoint: How Germany’s anti-GMO, pro-organic politics benefit US ag companies

What does this have to do with the Coronavirus?

Synthetic biologists have started using CRISPR to synthetically create parts of the coronavirus in an attempt to launch a vaccine against this lung disease and be able to mass-produce it very quickly. In combination with computer simulations and artificial intelligence, the best design for such a vaccine is calculated on a computer and then synthetically created. This speeds up vaccine development and cuts it from years to merely months. Regulators and approval bodies have shown that in times of crisis they can also rapidly approve new testing and vaccination procedures which usually require years of back and forth with agencies such as the FDA?

CRISPR also allows the ‘search’ for specific genes, also genes of a virus. This helped researchers to build fast and simple testing procedures to test patients for corona.

In the long term, gene editing might allow us to increase the immunity of humans by altering our genes and making us more resistant to viruses and bacteria.

This won’t be the last crisis

While the coronavirus seems to really test our modern society, we also need to be aware that this won’t be the last pathogen that has the potential to kill millions. If we are unlucky, corona might mutate quickly and become harder to fight. The next dangerous virus, fungus, or bacteria is probably around the corner. Hence we need to embrace the latest inventions of biotechnology and not block genetic research and the deployment of its findings.

Right now a lot of red tape and even outright bans are standing between lifesaving innovations such as CRISPR and patients around the world. We need to rethink our hostility towards genetic engineering and embrace it. To be frank: We are in a constant struggle to fight newly occurring diseases and need to be able to deploy state of the art human answers to this.

Fred Roeder is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost. Follow him on Twitter @FredCyrusRoeder

A version of this article was originally published at Consumer Choice Center and has been republished here with permission. The center can be found on Twitter @ConsumerChoiceC


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

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