South Africa

South Africa

Open letter to the National Chamber of Milling on GMO labelling and the development of a GM-Free market

In July 2012 the National Chamber of Milling (NCM) posted a ?position on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on its website, in which it supports the principle of consumer choice and pledges to ?encourage identity preservation within the grain supply chain to enable clear labelling of our product to the consumer market?.

However, the biotech industry lobby group AfricaBio, who have lobbied vociferously against the labelling of GM food in South Africa, has also claimed to have ?forged a strategic partnership with the NCM? to engage with government on the GM labelling issues. That being the case, the ACB has written an open letter to the NCM asking for clarification of its relationship with AfricaBio, to push for a stringent and accurate labelling and identity preservation system (including establishing GM free maize and soya chains) and supporting the independent, long term and transparent risk assessment of GMOs in South Africa.

2012 Tests

2013 Tests

FutureLife:

100% GM Maize, 37% GM Soya

Purity’s Cream of Maize: 56% GM maize

Purity Baby First: 71% GM maize

Bokomo Wheat free Pronutro:

90% GM maize, 71% GM soya

Ace supermaize meal: 78% GM maize
Ace maize rice: 70% GM maize
Ace instant porridge:

Africa demands Tiger Brands to Go GM Free

Letter from ACB to Tiger Brands supported by 39 African organisations working at grass-roots on issues of agriculture, consumer concerns and primary health care calling upon Tiger Brands to go GM free. Tiger Brands operates in 25 African countries and has ownership of a number of food manufacturers on the continent including Chococam (Cameroon), Deli Foods (Nigeria), EATBI (Ethiopia), Haco Tiger Brands (Kenya), National Foods (Zimbabwe), UAC Foods (Nigeria), Dangote Flour Mills (Nigeria).

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Alarm over high GM content in Tiger Brands’ ?Ace’ Maize Products, misleading labelling

Just as consumers were welcoming the news that Tiger Brands has decided to ditch genetically modified (GM) ingredients in its baby food, GMO testing carried out by an independent laboratory on behalf of the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has revealed shocking results in respect of five of Tiger Brands’ most popular maize based products.

The test results on the five products were as follows:

– Ace super maize meal 78% GM maize content.
– Ace maize rice 70% GM maize content.
– Ace instant porridge 68% GM maize content.
– Lion samp and beans 48% GM maize content
– Jungle B’fast energy cereal 41% GM maize content.

The GM maize used in these products will almost certainly contain residues of toxic glyphosate based herbicides, since the vast majority of GM maize cultivated in South Africa has been geneticallly engineered to be resistent to Monsanto’s Roundup. There is now a substantial body of scientifically peer-reviewed data that links glyphosate exposure with severe human health impacts.

Tiger Brands’ Ace brands, consumed as a staple on a daily basis by the vast majority of South Africans, contained the highest levels of GM presence. Community groups are up in arms about these revelations.

Purity GMO Response

Dear Mariam

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write to us personally. We value feedback from our customers and concerned members of the public.

Attached please find our response.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Lind
Managing Executive HPCB
C/O Melinda Potgieter
PA to Martin Lind
TIGERBRANDS
Tel 011 840-4592

tiger-purity-thumb

Tiger Brands responds to the ACB following on from our petition – May 2013.

Comments by the African Centre for Biosafety on SA?s Plant Improvement Bill

According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (UNFAO), over the course of the 20th century, 75% of the world?s plant genetic diversity was lost, as local varieties and land races have been replaced with genetically uniform seed. A similar process in animal husbandry has put 53% of all livestock breeds at risk of extinction. At the turn of the 21st century, 12 plant and five animal species generated three quarters of the world?s food. This is no accident, but the result of a very particular system of food production that demands uniformity and yield, over diversity and nutrition and where vast monocultures can be grown, harvested, processed and then ?freely? traded over thousands of miles. It is a system that, by some estimates, contributes up to 57% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is also a system that, particularly in the USA and European Union, is propped up by a vast subsidy system.

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Letters to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for urgent interventions: Dow?s 2,4 D + glufosinate ammonium+ glyphosate tolerant GM soya.

Request for intervention to uphold the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health ? GM crops engineered to be resistant to three herbicides: 2,4-D, glufosinate ammonium and glyphosate.

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Previous letters sent to:

Mr. Anand Grover
Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health

Previous letters sent to:

Mr. Anand Grover
Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health

28-11-2012

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19-03-2013

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ACB Comments on National Strategy on Agroecology

The Department of Agriculture is in the process of developing a Strategy for Agroecology for South Africa, with the aim of achieving ?an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable agro-ecology sector that contributes towards poverty alleviation, job creation, food security, economic development, climate change mitigation and adaptation?. It is not clear where the drive for this Strategy emerges from, given that South Africa did not support the findings of the IAASTD when it was up for signature in Johannesburg in 2008. However, the proposed Strategy seems to posit agroecology as another production technology, an add-on to our current system, rather than a transformation of our deeply entrenched industrial agricultural system, which is based on the privatization of agricultural resources and knowledge to deploy an environmentally destructive production system, ever at the mercy of skewed global trade relations.

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Objections to Monsanto’s application for spate of field trials with GM drought tolerant maize, September 2012

Field trials with MON 87460 are currently underway in South Africa at Hopetown, Orania, Pretoria, Lutzville and Delareyville.

These field trials form part of a larger initiative under the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Project, a public-private partnership between African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF), Monsanto, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and the South African Agricultural Research Council (ARC). A combination of conventional breeding, marker-assisted breeding and transgenics are being used to develop maize with improved drought stress tolerance. WEMA also has partnerships with the national agricultural agencies of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique. According to the permit applications, “The goal of WEMA is to provide smallholder farmers in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa with access to water efficient transgenic maize hybrids, royalty free, enabling them to produce more reliable harvests”.

CONTENTS:

Introduction
Rational for this application
Status of approval of Monsanto‘s drought-tolerant maize in the USA
Our main concerns
The nature of drought resistance
Other approaches to drought
The mon87460 transgenic cassette
Lack of monitoring
Socio-economic impacts
Lack of biosafety capacity in South Africa
Conclusion
References

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The new generation of GM herbicide crops – poison cocktail for ailing agriculture

Dow’s 2,4 D & glufosinate ammonium soybeans-the case for its rejection

In this briefing, we outline our food safety concerns with Dow Chemical’s GM soybean genetically engineered to resist the herbicides, 2,4 D and glufosinate ammonium (DAS-6816-4). We also outline the reasons for the spate of these even more toxic GM herbicide tolerant crops and the markets that the introduction of these crops are designed to protect.

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We have submitted, to the SA GMO authorities, a detailed response to Dow’s application and deal with various issues, including: the paucity of the data received; fatal flaws in Dow’s food safety studies; and risks posed by both 2,4 D and glufosinate ammonium. You can download the response here.

The Pioneer/Pannar seed merger: deepening structural inequalities in South Africa

 

In this briefing, we deal with the Pioneer/Pannar seed merger, outlining the evidence led by the ACB in opposing the merger, what is at stake for South Africa if the merger is approved and the extent to which the merger will deepen structural imbalances in the South African economy.
 

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