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GMO moratorium extended for three years

A moratorium on genetically engineered plants and animals in Swiss agriculture has been extended by three years.

The Senate on Wednesday agreed – in line with the House of Representatives - the final details of an amended law which will be valid up to November 2013.

The law was initially approved in 2005 for a limited period of time to allow a national research programme to examine the possible risks and benefits of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Opponents of the moratorium, particularly members of the centre-right Radical Party and the rightwing Swiss People’s Party, said it would hurt Switzerland’s position as a research centre.

However, supporters pointed out during debates in parliament this week that research with GMOs remains permitted, including field trials at the Federal Institute of Technology and Zurich University.

The government, which came out in favour of an extension, said Swiss agriculture could benefit from its GMO-free status.

The final report of the scientific study will be available by 2012.

Urs Geiser, with agencies

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