Tag Archive: pesticides

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.

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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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Call on BASF, Bayer, and Syngenta to stop marketing highly hazardous pesticides.

PAN Germany, a charitable organisation which provides information on the adverse effects of pesticides and promotes environmentally friendly and socially just alternatives.

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Click on the banner to sign up.

We will send the following letter in your name:

To: Syngenta, Martin Taylor, Chairman of the Board of Directors
Bayer CropScience, Sandra E. Peterson, Chief Executive Office
BASF, Wayne T. Smith, Member of the Board of Executive Directors

Dear Mr Taylor,
Dear Ms Peterson,
Dear Mr Smith,

Every year, countless cases of pesticide poisoning occur. Syngenta, Bayer, and BASF, as the three largest pesticide companies worldwide, are to a large extent responsible; your company markets more than fifty highly hazardous pesticides worldwide.

Since the mid-1980s, programs for a safe use of pesticides have been implemented to prevent pesticide poisonings. Nevertheless, people, farm animals, and the environment continue to suffer considerable harm due to highly hazardous pesticides.

Twenty-five years are enough. I call on you to end the sale of highly hazardous pesticides.

Yours sincerely,

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

ACB’s Objection to Pioneer Hi-Bred’s commodity clearance application for GMSoya 305423 x 40-3-2

The ACB has come to the following conclusions about Syngenta’s application:

In terms of the molecular characterisation of the event:

  • It indicates several irregularities including open reading frames and a truncated constructs which could give rise to unintended gene effects
  • The transfer of the herbicide-tolerant trait to weeds could result in increased herbicide application. The potential for economically important weeds developing herbicide tolerance is a cause for concern
  • Glyphosate use has resulted in several unwanted effects on aquatic systems and terrestrial organisms and ecosystems
  • The US experience of Roundup Ready field trials has shown a marked increase in herbicide usage, particularly glyphosate
  • In the Argentinean experience, the large scale uptake of Roundup Ready Soya has had devastating impacts on food security and the environment

Furthermore, it is our contention that:

 

  • Reliance on the assessments of EFSA is fraught with problems given the criticisms and contradictions inherent within EFSA especially in respect of its methodologies and perceived pro-industry stance, which it is itself grappling with
  • The claims of the increased yield performance of GM crops are unsubstantiated
  • GMO plantings contribute to increased rather than reduced pesticide use
  • It is disingenuous to suggest that planting of GM crops will contribute to

ACB’s objection to GA21 x Bt 11

As usual, we have only been furnished with information that the developers deem to be ‘non-confidential’, so crucial data required to make a thorough independent assessment is missing. Excluded information included details of test data specific to South African growing conditions.

The cauliflower mosaic virus 35s promoter (35S-CaMV) is present in GA21 x Bt11. There is a substantial body of evidence from both the laboratory and field studies pointing to the risks of using this particular promoter in genetic engineering.

Bt11 secrets a toxin that is lethal to some plant pests. Claims that this leads to reduced applications of pesticides neglect to mention that the Bt11 toxin will be ever present in an environment where this is planted. In China, where over 10 million small scale farmers grown Bt cotton, famers are now having to use nearly as much pesticides as before its introduction to combat secondary pests that have thrived since the introduction of Bt11.

GA21 x Bt 11 is tolerant to glyphosate based herbicides (traded under the name Roundup Ready). In the United States the widespread planting of Roundup Ready crops has led to the emergence of ‘superweeds’ that are causing havoc for farmers. In Argentina,