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IAN & SPAIN

WELCOME TO MY BLOG. I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT SPANISH FOOD AND DRINK AND IN PARTICULAR MY OBSESSION FOR OLIVE OIL, ONE OF SPAIN'S MAJOR ASSETS AND GREATLY MISUNDERSTOOD BY THE MAJORITY OF CONSUMERS WORLDWIDE. I WILL ENDEAVOR TO PROVIDE YOU WITH ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO ENJOY THE WORLD OF OLIVE OIL WITHOUT BEING TAKEN FOR A RIDE! HOPE YOU ENJOY IT AND PLEASE LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS!

Scary Business - update
25 September 2013

Previous article : http://www.eyeonspain.com/blogs/ianandspain/11215/Scary-Business-.aspx

UPDATE:

The world’s first field trial of a genetically-modified olive fly could start in Catalonia next year if a British biotech firm wins approval from relevant authorities.
"Generally, we would look to outnumber the wild males by about 10 to 1"
Oxitec CEO, Hadyn Parry
Oxitec proposes to do the trial in collaboration with – and on land belonging to – the Catalan agriculture, food and aquaculture research institute IRTA.
Here, Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry answers our questions about the plan, which would also be the first field test of a GM insect in the European Union.
What stage are you at in the application process?
Hadyn Parry: It’s being considered by the Catalan government and at the Federal level by the Spanish National Biosafety Commission. The next step is the publication of the call for public comment of which there are two processes: one at the European Commission Joint Research Centre level, which is for information, and the other for comments to be submitted to the Catalan government.
The first of these has already taken place and we are anticipating the second one shortly. At that stage anyone can comment on the application. The Catalan authorities then need to assimilate the comments and determine if they need additional information from us or make a decision. We anticipate a decision in the (northern) spring.
Would it be the world’s first such trial of a GM olive fly?
Yes, it would. But of course we have trialed our GM mosquitoes with great effect in Cayman and Brazil.

Aside from potentially improving olive production, what impact could heavily reducing or eliminating wild olive fly populations have?

The impact of a reduction in the olive fly population is the same no matter what method you use to achieve it. If one was to release the Oxitec flies and then stop, the wild olive fly population would recover. In the same way, if you hit the population hard with pesticides and then stop, it comes back….

Read more here



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Olive oil prices can differ by up to two-thirds depending upon where you buy them, says FACUA
11 September 2013

PRICES of olive oil can vary by up to 64.2 per cent, according to leading consumer's union FACUA.

They analysed and compared price tags of 54 brands in six supermarket and hypermarket chains, encompassing 165 products in plastic bottles or tins of a litre or five litres, and the varieties of extra-virgin, virgin, intense, and light olive oil.

The average price as at August 29 this year for a bottle of extra-virgin was 3.75 euros for a plastic litre bottle, or 3.33 euros per litre in a five-litre bottle, rising to 4.50 in tin containers of five litres.

Virgin olive oil figures for the same types of container cost 3.70 and 3.10 euros respectively.

'Light' olive oil – so-described because of its taste, not its calorie content – is 3.22 euros a litre in plastic litre bottles or 2.91 euros per litre in five-litre bottles, whilst 'intense' olive oil is 3.15 and 3.03 euros respectively. 

Read more at thinkSPAIN.com



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Scary Business
04 September 2013

Genetically-modified olive flies will be released in a Catalan olive grove if a field trial proposed by British biotech company Oxitec is approved in Spain. According to German expert group Testbiotech, which opposes the trial, it would be the first release of GM animals in the European Union. The UK company Oxitec is planning to release genetically engineered olive flies into the environment in Spain (Catalonia) and Italy. The male insects are genetically manipulated in such a way that female descendants will die as larvae. The intention is to reduce the populations of olive flies. The larvae of these insects live inside the olives and can cause substantial economical damage. Oxitec plans to release an unspecified number of its genetically engineered male insects in Spain, near the town of Tarragona. The field trial will be netted to try to prevent the flies from escaping. Similar releases are planned in Italy. The experiments – as far as Testbiotech knows – have not yet been authorised by the national authorities, and it would be the first release of genetically engineered animals in the EU.

“Amongst other things, the trials imply risks for the olive farmers. If the genetically engineered flies escape, the harvest in the regions concerned would become nonmarketable. Genetically engineered larvae living inside the olives are not allowed for food consumption in the EU”, says Christoph Then for Testbiotech. “While the female descendants are supposed to die as larvae, the male individuals can survive for several months, mate and propagate further. If they escape, which according to the application of Oxitec, can not be excluded, they can move into the environment and spread without control. Olive flies are able to fly over distances of several kilometers.”
Currently olive flies are controlled with insecticides, or by using biological means such as insect traps and also irradiated sterile insects. However, the genetically engineered insects, which also inherit the DNA for fluorescent proteins cannot be compared with the irradiated insects. The Oxitec insects are manipulated with synthetic DNA, which is a mix of maritime organisms, bacteria, viruses and other insects. It is not known how these insects will interact with changing environmental conditions, so far they have only been bred in the laboratory.
Christoph Then says: “In 2012 Oxitec approached investors and commercial partners because of the releases now planned in southern Europe. The company also filed several patents on its insects. It is a matter of concern that these trials are driven by commercial interests rather than by finding a way to solve problems with olive flies. From the knowledge we have gained so far we recommend that these applications for environmental release are rejected.“

In my personal opinion I think this is realy scary, to think that we could set loose genetically modified insects into nature with no real way of knowing how this could effect the ecosytem, which it undoubtedly will. Anything genetically modified scares me and you need look no further then the US company Monsanto and see how they are monopolising the US crop sector with their genetically modified seeds. Insect would leave genetically modified lavae in the fruits and it would die inside them and these are the fruits or olives that would later be consumed by humans. I don't know you but I don't want anything genetically modified inside my organism. The worrying factor is that we are probably already eating genetically modified foods and we don't even know it and here we are just discussing flies, but what will be next?

 

 

[Sources: Oxitec / Olive Oil Times / Test Biotech]



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