Tag Archive: GM Maize

FOOD FASCISM IN SOUTH AFRICA: TIGER BRANDS, PIONEER AND PREMIER FORCE FEEDING THE NATION RISKY GM MAIZE

The ACB has today, released test results on the most extensively consumed maize brands in South Africa, which indicate that the entire maize supply is utterly saturated with GM maize. ?The majority of South Africans are not only eating GM maize without their knowledge and consent but have no choice or alternative whatsoever even if the products were correctly labelled. This is totally undemocratic and unacceptable. It smacks of outright food fascism? said Mariam Mayet, Director of the African Centre for Biosafety.

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Civil Society Calls for PUBLIC Parliamentary Hearings on Genetically Modified Food

On the 6th of August 2012, the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB), supported by 18 health professionals, more than 7000 individuals, 22 organisations and the Honourable Cheryllyn Dudley of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), submitted a petition to the National Assembly. The petition called for a review of the government decision to allow the import of “agent orange” maize, a review of GMO risk assessment procedures and an open, public hearing on GMOs.

Over the past year, those who signed this petition have repeatedly called on the ACB for progress on this issue. Since we have had no response from government we opened up the signatures again and prepared this follow-up text to be handed in to Parliament on the 13th September 2013, together with new signatures, now totaling 10 000.

We have noted with great concern that the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ briefing on the 13th September 2013 on GM food in South Africa only includes presentations from government departments and excludes representatives from civil society, health professionals and scientists.

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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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ACB?s objection to Dow?s application for field trials: MON 89034 x TC 1507 x MON NK603

The ACB has submitted an objection to an application by Dow Agro-sciences to conduct a field trial of the stacked GM maize event MON 89034 x TC 1507 x MON NK603. Most of the information required for an independent assessment has been omitted on the grounds that it is ?confidential business information?. What information has been provided is woefully inadequate, relies on discredited scientific principles, such as substantial equivalence, and makes broad claims of environmental and socio-economic ?benefits? without reference to any peer-reviewed studies.

The ACB believes that Dow?s application has failed to adequately show that MON89034 x 1507 x NK603 is safe for human, animal and environmental health, and should therefore be rejected by the Executive Council. The submission has been endorsed by the Southern Cape Land Committee.

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Tiger Brand snubs consumers on GM Purity baby food concerns

Baby FoodTiger Brands has snubbed South African consumers who petitioned the company about high levels of genetically modified (GM) maize found in Tiger Brand?s Purity baby food products.

In April 2013 GMO watchdog organisation, the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB), sent two Purity products to an independent GMO testing laboratory to test for the presence of ingredients derived from GMOs. The results showed that Purity Baby?s First contained 56.25% GM maize while Purity Cream of Maize contained 71.47% GM maize. Neither of the products were labelled as containing GM, as required by law.

Consumers were shocked to learn that they were feeding their babies the controversial foodstuff and outraged at the lack of labelling. 1000 consumers sent a petition to Tiger Brands demanding that the company go GM-free, or at the very least, label their foodstuff so that consumers could avoid GM food if they wish. One signatory said, ?people need to be in charge of what they eat – NOT the biotech companies. ALL food containing any GM product MUST be labelled?.

Managing Executive of Tiger Brands, Mr Martin Lind, responded to the petition by assuring consumers that they are using ingredients that have been approved as safe

South Africa exports ?unapproved? GM maize to Zimbabwe, continues to export to Mexico, contaminating both the region and centre of origin

African Centre for Biosafety, ETC Group, FoodMattersZimbabwe and CTDT

The ACB is deeply concerned by the news that the South African GMO authorities have permitted over 25,000 tons of GM maize to be exported to Zimbabwe. This is the first time that South African GM maize grains have been commercially exported to our neighbour north of the Limpopo, and adds to a growing list of African countries that have received bulk shipments of live GM grains from South Africa, including Swaziland, Mozambique, Kenya and Somalia.

Read the release in Spanish.

According to a spokesperson for the FoodMattersZimbabwe group ?Zimbabweans are under the impression that maize would be imported from Zambia and will be deeply upset by this news to import GM maize from South Africa. The government of Zimbabwe is currently promoting the use of open pollinated varieties (OPVs) of seed to strengthen our farmers? self-reliance. The importation of GM maize poses a serious risk of contaminating our OPV varieties; at the very least this GM maize must be milled before entering the country. ?

However, a cloud hangs over the legality of the shipments and whether the South African GMO authorities have indeed received an explicit written approval

Setting the record straight on the Seralini GM maize rat study: why the SA government must urgently intervene

In this briefing we respond to the main criticisms of the Seralini GM maize rat study (which have been appearing ad nauseum in the world’s mainstream media); provide some background as to the importance of the NK603 GM maize to the biotechnology industry (and hence the scale of their reaction); and place the attacks on Seralini in the context of previous experiences of those whose research has uncovered some inconvenient truths about the nature and risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). We also reiterate our calls for urgent intervention by the SA government to inter alia, ban the said GM variety.

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Open Letter to AGRI SA: Response to its unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of GM maize in SA

Snippet from the letter below.

The ACB read with interest an article published in the Business Day (2nd October, ‘AgriSA backs gene-modified maize’), in which you argue that the curtailment of cultivating GM maize in South Africa would lead to lower yields, higher maize prices, and an increase in the use of agricultural pesticides. You then further go on to claim that GM crops are less susceptible to pests and drought. We find these claims to be spurious, unsubstantiated and completely detached from the day to day realities of our agricultural system.

 

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South Africans call for immediate ban on GM maize after shocking cancer study

Explosive results from a new French study conducted on the long-term health impacts of genetically modified (GM) foods published in the peer reviewed journal ‘Food and Toxicology’ last week, suggest that consumers in South Africa face a very serious threat from one of their staple foods.

The results have the biotechnology industry spin doctors, and those of Monsanto in particular, on high alert to refute evidence that GMOs could cause cancer and have serious impacts on liver and kidney functioning. The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) supported by several organisations and members of the South African public are calling for an immediate ban on the import and cultivation of the maize in question: Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready Maize NK603. The South African government stands alone in the international community in allowing its populations’ staple food to be genetically modified, placing South African consumers at particular risk from this GM maize.

Typically, studies to test the impact of consuming GM foods are carried out over a very short period of time-a mere 90 day period-by the developers of GMOs, on laboratory animals. These industry tests always show that GMOs are safe. What is different about this new French study is that

Letter to Minister of Health requesting investigation into GM maize and associated pesticides as a result of French study.

South Africa is the only country that has allowed the genetic modification (GM) of its staple food – maize.

 

Elsewhere in the world this crop is grown primarily for the global livestock sector. However, in South Africa some 77% of our maize production is genetically modified and provides the nation with their daily intake of carbohydrates. The debate on the long term health impacts of GM foods has raged around the globe for almost 2 decades now and to date there is no scientific agreement on their safety. The United Nation’s Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is based on the Precautionary Principle in recognition of this lack of scientific knowledge and agreement. Our own GMO regulations, paraphrasing the Precautionary Principle set out in the 1992 Rio Declaration on the environment and development, stipulate that a lack of scientific knowledge or scientific consensus shall not be indicative of an absence of risk. Our GMO Act also allows the Executive Council to revise any decisions made in the light of new scientific evidence.

 

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Download the letter to the SA Minister of Agriculture to ban Monsanto’s Roundup and the French scientific study that found tumors and more health effects