Tag Archive: Biosafety

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.

Independent scientific biosafety assessment of the application for commodity clearance of transgenic soybean, DAS-68416-4

This is ACB’s objection to the application by Dow Chemicals for approval for import into SA of its GM soyabean 2,4 D and glufosinate ammonium (DAS-68416-4).

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Download additional information in a briefing paper “The new generation of GM herbicide crops – poison cocktail for ailing agriculture“.

SA’s food safety compromised by lack of testing for risky glyphosate

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today released its new study titled, “How much glyphosate is on your dinner plate? SA’s food safety compromised by lack of testing.” This study highlights numerous risks posed by the herbicide glyphosate to human and animal health as well as worrying regulatory failures, particularly in relation to the monitoring, inspection and testing of food for glyphosate residues.

South Africans consume glyphosatei ridden food on a daily basis: currently, 77% of maize grown in South Africa is genetically modified (GM) and of this 54% (about 1 million hectares) is modified to be glyphosate tolerant. Soya products on our market suffer the same fate: all of the GM soya planted in South Africa is tolerant to glyphosate, planted on 480 000 ha. South Africa also imports bulk shipments of GM grain from countries growing herbicide tolerant crops.

According to Mariam Mayet, Director of the ACB, “the ACB was desirous of testing food samples for glyphosate residues. In the course of trying to get these samples tested, the ACB learnt that while there are numerous private testing laboratories throughout South Africa, nine of which are ISO 17025

How Much Glyphosate is on your dinner plate? SA’s food safety compromised by lack of testing

This briefing paper forms part of a series of briefing papers on glyphosate to be released later this year by the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB). In this paper, we focus principally on food safety issues, highlighting our grave concerns about the utter regulatory failure concerning particularly, the monitoring, inspection and testing of food for glyphosate residues.

ACB_Glyphosate_parts_per_million

This situation is extremely worrying, given the dramatic increase in the use of glyphosate in food production in South Africa and the risks it poses to human and animal health.

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What you should know about Dows, 2,4-D GM maize

During May 2012, the South African GMO authorities1 approved Dow Chemical’s highly controversial GM maize variety, DAS-40278-9 for import into South Africa for direct use as food, feed and processing. This GM variety has been genetically engineered to withstand liberal applications of Dow’s toxic chemical herbicide 2,4-D and has yet to be approved for growing anywhere in the world. An application for commercial cultivation has been lodged by Dow in the United States, where it is pending approval, amid a maelstrom of protest from diverse sectors of US society, ranging from public health professionals to US farmers.

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‘Agent Orange’ tainted GM maize given green light in SA

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) is deeply dismayed and shocked that the GMO decision-making body has given the green light for the importation of Dow Chemical’s highly controversial 2,4-D tolerant GM maize (variety DAS 40278-9) into South Africa, where it will be used as food. The variety has yet to be approved in the US, where it continues to face vociferous opposition by civil society groups.

2,4-D was one of two active ingredients in the infamous chemical weapon, ‘Agent Orange‘, used to devastating effect during the Vietnam war. Exposure to 2,4-D has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells.

Epidemiologists from the National Cancer Institute in the USA regard this link as the strongest association yet found between a pesticide and a disease. Dozens of human and animal studies have shown 2,4-D to cause birth defects, neurological damage, and interference with reproductive function. The use of 2,4-D in Sweden, Norway and Denmark is banned because of these well publicised links.

The environmental risks of 2,4-D are no less acute, and will increase manifold with the introduction of 2,4-D tolerant maize; the use of 2,4-D in maize farming is expected to increase 30

Comments on COMESA’s Draft Policy on Commercial Planting, Trade and Emergency Food Aid Involving Genetically Modified Organisms.

On the 8th and 9th May 2012 COMESA held a meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, to review a draft policy on the regulation and trade of GMOs for the region. While the Biotech Industry was very well represented at the meeting, civil society was completely left out of the process. This policy is being drafted behind closed doors to suit the trade interests of the major sponsor of the Policy – the United States government. Rather than ensure the most effective biosafety procedures for the Region, this policy is crafted to create an enabling environment for the free trade of GMOs with few checks and balances. The policy poses a threat to the national sovereignty of Member States, all but excludes public participation in the decision making process on GMOs and lowers the bar when it comes to risk assessments.

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ACB’s objection’s to Monsanto extended field trial application for drought tolerant maize

In 2007 Monsanto was granted a trial release permit to conduct field trials for its ‘drought tolerant’ maize event MON8746. These comments are in respect of a further extension application, submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in May 2011.

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