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Swiss ban GM farming

Five-year moratorium

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Swiss farmers will for the next five years be banned from farming GM plants and animals after voters decided on Sunday in favour of a moratorium on genetically-modified organisms. According to Reuters, the nays won the day with 55.7 per cent of the vote, which does not apply to GM research or the import of GM food.

The proposed ban had widespread support from ecologists, farmers and consumers' groups. Daniel Ammann, a spokesman for the triumphant anti-GM coalition, said: "All the farmers' organizations were behind this proposal, which they see as a chance for Swiss agriculture.

"Swiss farming was already very ecologically sound and animal-friendly, and farmers are convinced now that with the added label of 'GMO-free', they will be able to emphasize the quality of Swiss produce."

In reality, Reuters notes, the ban will have little real effect. Amman added that just one per cent of research performed in Switzerland involves GMOs, although the country is home to biotech company Syngenta which earlier this year found itself caught up in a GM maize rumpus after non-approved GM seed was accidently released into the system.

The cock-up led to a EU ban on the import of US GM maize products unless "there is proof they are untainted by an illegal genetically modified organism" and provided GM opponents with ample opportunity to question the safety of the technology. ®

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