Tag Archive: maize

GM Industry Called to Account: ISAAA’s report mischievous and erroneous

The Africa Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has dismissed the findings of the biotechnology industry’s flagship annual report, published by the GM industry funded ‘NGO’, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), as mischievous and erroneous.
According to the report, South Africa’s GM crop area increased by a record 26% or 600,000 hectares over the last 12 months. However, Mariam Mayet, director of the ACB points out: “The ISAAA in its desperate attempt to bolster the popularity of GM crops in the media, has overestimated the spread of GM crops in SA by a staggering 400%! According to the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), the combined maize and soybean cultivation in South Africa increased by less than 150,000 ha over the stated period and the area planted with GM cotton has declined by 3,000 ha.”

In fact South Africa has witnessed an increase in non-GM maize cultivation. Between the 2010/11 and 2011/12 growing seasons, the area of non GM maize cultivation increased by 38% (or 210,000 ha). “It is likely that the issue of insect pests developing resistance to the toxins produced by GM maize is a major factor behind this

African Civil Society Statement: Call for a ban on GMOs

Download the petition for a ban on GMOs to the African Union.

 

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[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_tour interval=”0″][vc_tab title=”English” tab_id=”2e3d9241-4a0f-cl”] Introduction
We, the undersigned, members of civil society organisations from across the African continent, hereby call for an immediate and complete ban on the growing, importing and exporting of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the African continent.

We call upon the governments of Africa to take the necessary steps to protect the health of their populations by supporting this call and commit to conducting independent and authoritative long-term food safety studies.

We also call upon the governments of Africa to take note of our additional strong objections to GMOs. These concern the patenting of life forms and privatisation of agriculture, which has led to the dependence by farmers, rural communities and indigenous people on external private and monopolistic seeds suppliers. We are also extremely concerned about the adverse impact of industrial and GM based agriculture on biodiversity and climate change. We cannot ignore the suicide epidemic of farmers in India- a direct result of farmers’ dependence on GM cotton- and the resultant increased costs and unmanageable debt.
Scientific uncertainty about food safety
During September 2012, Professor Gilles-Eric S?ralini,

Consumers win GM labelling victory

Consumers in South Africa have won a hard earned victory with regard to the labelling of genetically modified (GM) foods. Yesterday, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) published draft amendments to the regulations governing the labelling of GM food. According to the draft amendments, all locally produced and imported food containing 5% or more GM ingredients or components must be labelled as “contains genetically modified ingredients or components”. The food industry has to date, taken the view that current GM labelling laws are ambiguous and do not apply to processed food.

Mariam Mayet, Director of the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB), congratulated the DTI and praised the huge role played by consumers in demanding their right to know. According to Mayet “the proposed amendments convey the clear intention of government that the food industry must now step up to the plate and label their products.”
However, Mayet expressed disappointment that labelling will only be triggered when there is 5% or more GM content. The 5% threshold is not based on any scientific measure but purely on commercial considerations.

South Africa has been growing GM crops since 1999 and consumers have been largely unaware that their staple food, maize, has

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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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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South Africa’s Seed Systems: Challenges for food sovereignty

The African Centre for Biosafety and Trust for Community Outreach and Education, have the pleasure of sharing with you, our new study, which provides an overview of the structure of the seed system in South Africa, the types of seed in use and their pros and cons, the legislative and policy environment, and the role of the public sector in seed production and distribution in South Africa. It aims to identify the trends in the seed sector and consider possible points of intervention to advance the agenda of strengthening small-scale resource-poor farmers in control over and access to appropriate seed for seed sovereignty, which sits at the heart of food sovereignty.

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UNLABELLED FOOD TESTS POSITIVE FOR GM

OUTRAGE AS GM LABELLING LAWS FLOUTED IN SA

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) is outraged that several food products, including baby cereal, maize meal consumed as a staple, a renown and heavily promoted dietary supplement for active sports people and wheat free cereal, have tested positive for GM– yet are all unlabelled.

From the 1 October 2011, food producers, importers and packagers are required by law, in terms of the Consumer Protection Act and its Regulations, to label GM foods and marketing materials where the genetically modified (GM) content is at least 5%. In other words, the trigger for labelling is where the GM content is 5% or more.

The internationally respected and independent GMO testing facility at the University of the Free State conducted several thorough qualitative PCR screenings: GMO double screens at the request of the ACB in respect of a number of food samples. The results are astonishing.

  • Nestle’s Infant cereal, Cerelac Honey was found to contain 77.65% of GM maize DNA in relation to the total maize DNA.
  • Bokomo’s Wheat Free Pronutro was found to contain both GM maize and GM soya: 90.36% GM maize and 71.42% GM soya. “This despite

GM Soya in SA

Genetically modified soya in South Africa

 
It might surprise you to learn that there are very few kinds of GM crops growing in the world today ? the four major crops are soya, maize, cotton and canola. The most commonly grown GM crop is soya ? it makes up almost half of all GM crops grown around the world. This soya has been genetically engineered to survive applications of herbicides (weedkiller), the most common one being Monsanto?s ?RoundUp?. South Africa is a tiny player on the world soya market, but has completely adopted GM soya production.

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GM Maize in SA

Genetically modified maize in South Africa

 
Genetically modified (GM) maize is big business globally. In 2011, farmers grew about 51 million hectares of GM maize.
Most of this production happened in the United States where the majority of GM crops are being grown. There are just four major GM crops grown in the world today and maize and soya make up the bulk of these. We have been told that GM crops are the answer to world hunger but the majority of this maize is not grown for food. It is grown mostly for animal feed and shipped around the world by massive agricultural commodity trading companies such as Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Bunge. These grain trading companies are some of the wealthiest corporations in the world. In 2010, these three companies together earned about 200 billion US dollars from trading maize, soya and other grain crops on the global market. Makes you wonder, do GM crops feed hungry people or hungry corporations?

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