Tag Archive: Precautionary Principle

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,

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

Open letter to Minister of Agriculture, SA for Immediate banning of all Roundup Ready maize from cultivation and import in South Africa

The ACB and several organisations and individuals have sent an open letter to
Ms. Tina Joemat-Pettersson Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for
the immediate banning of all RR maize in SA following the release of the
Seralini NK603 study (“French Study of GMOs on rats”)

Open Letter

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French Study

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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“.

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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This document is endorsed by:

SANBI STUDY RAISES ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS WITH GMOS

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE AFRICAN CENTRE FOR BIOSAFETY
31st January, Johannesburg

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), tasked by law, with monitoring the impacts of GMOs on the environment, has released its first report on 28th January 2011. The report co-produced by SANBI with premier biosafety unit, Genok in Norway and a number of South African universities record the findings of a three- year study on the impacts of Monsanto‘s GM maize, MON 810, on the South African environment. MON 810 is used extensively by maize producing commercial farmers in South Africa.

The study found that populations of insect pests have already developed resistance to the Bt maize in the North West Province (one of South Africa‘s most important maize growing areas). This has been exacerbated by gene flow between GM and non-GM maize varieties. The study also found that current refugia were hopelessly insufficient to manage resistance in areas where this has already developed.

At the molecular level, the study found that the size and expression of certain proteins differed between GM and non-GM maize plants analyzed. Further, Monsanto‘s Bt gene was found to differ significantly in size to that occurring naturally. These,

Biosafety Protocol: Ten years on and lagging far behind

Biosafety Protocol: Ten years on and lagging far behind

Mariam Mayet attended COP MOP 5 in Nagoya Japan. Indeed, she has been following the Biosafety Protocol discussions since 1999. In this brief, she argues that the Biosafety Protocol lags far behind the biosafety challenges faced by developing countries such as South Africa. She also expresses deep disappointment with the loss of a international civil liability regime for GMOs. In its place, Parties to the Biosafety Protocol have adopted the Nagoya Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, a set of administrative measures for clean up by the state/responsible persons in the event of damage being caused to biodiversity.

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