Media Releases

Media Releases

SA Rejects GM bulbs & flowers

Failed Application for Contained Use of Genetically Modified flowers and bulbs involving Ornithogalum dubium x thyrsoides Line A2 The South African GMO Authority, the Executive Council (EC), established
under the GMO Act has refused the first ever application for experimentation of GM bulbs and flowers outside a laboratory facility.

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ACB ALERT: Spate of New GM Experiments in SA

ACB ALERT: NEW GM EXPERIMENTS IN SOUTH AFRICA, JULY 2007 It is with extreme disquiet that the African Centre for Biosafety notes the recent spate of new applications for GM experiments in South Africa, see below. We are extremely concerned that our government has laid our country open to the wholesale experimentation involving a whole new range of GM applications, in a context where there is no room for public debate and consultation.

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Africa’s Sorghum Saved: Applause for Second GM Sorghum Rejection

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) hails the decision taken by the Executive Council (EC)-South Africa‘s GM regulatory body on the 30 January 2007 to turn down an application by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) to conduct experiments with genetically modified (GM) sorghum in a level three containment facility. This decision was taken against the backdrop that Africa is the centre of origin for sorghum where (including in South Africa), a large number of sexually compatible weeds, wild relatives strains and races of cultivated sorghum occur.

While the EC will make its reasons for the rejection available in due course, it previously (in June 2006) turned down a similar application when it cited environmental concerns about gene flow from transgenic sorghum to South Africa’s biodiversity.

The ACB lodged an objection to the application and raised strong concerns that GM sorghum would introgress into wild relatives. “Some activities just cannot be permitted and should be regarded as NO GO options” said Mariam Mayet, founder of the ACB.

?The risks posed by GM sorghum to sorghum wild and weedy relatives cannot be tolerated at all and the granting of a permit

Contaminated US Rice Must Be Recalled From Africa

African Groups Condemn US Decision To Authorize Illegal GM Rice Sent To Africa

Lagos (Nigeria), Johannesburg (South Africa), 27 November. Friends of the Earth Africa and the African Center for Biosafety are today urging African countries to monitor US rice imports and to recall all shipments contaminated with GM rice known as LibertyLink601 (LL601). This call follows the confirmation of the presence of the illegal variety LL601 in food aid and commercial imports of rice from the US in Ghana and Sierra Leone.

?This rice is not approved in Africa and must be immediately recalled from our countries? said Nnimmo Bassey of FoE Africa. ?Africa will not accept being the dumping ground for unwanted GM rice. Our governments must stay firm and not fall under the US pressure to accept this tainted rice?.

The presence of illegal rice was verified in 9 samples of U.S. food aid and commercial imports after tests were conducted in an independent laboratory in the U.S. The unapproved GM rice has been detected in rice sent to Ghana and Sierra Leone and the results were publicly announced by FoE Africa in a simultaneous press conference in both countries in the morning of the 24th

South Africa’s Wine Industry Threatened By GM Grapevine Trials

Issued by the African Centre for Biosafety and Earthlife Africa

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) and Earthlife Africa Ethekwini (ELA), are calling on the South African government to reject an application by the Institute for Wine Biotechnology (IWB) based at the University of Stellenbosch, to conduct open- air field trials in South Africa, involving genetically modified (GM) Sultana and Chardonnay grapevine varieties.

The groups believe that the risks of contamination of adjacent fertile grapevine varieties by the GM cultivars are unacceptably high, and thereby threaten South Africa‘s lucrative wine export market, especially to the European Union-South Africa’s biggest export destination, where consumers are still reeling from the recent contamination scandal involving illegal GM rice.

The African Centre for Biosafety has independently assessed the Institute for Wine Biotechnology’s scanty risk assessment and discovered that it relies heavily on inconclusive, outdated and abandoned biosafety studies conducted in Germany by the Institute for Vine Breeding (IVB). Indeed, the ACB has found that field trials of GM grapevines had been stopped prematurely by the German Institute, because the varieties, which had been genetically modified to possess resistance against fungal pests, failed hopelessly as they were found to

Groups in Latin America and Africa call for rejection of World Bank GEF biosafety projects

Two World Bank projects, with funding from the GEF (Global Environmental Facility), propose to introduce genetically modified crops such as maize, potatoes, cassava, rice and cotton into African and Latin American countries that are centres of origin or diversity for these and other major food crops. Civil society organisations warn that DNA contamination from genetically modified crops poses an unacceptable risk to staple crops that are the basis of peasant economies in these regions.

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South Africans support international GM opposition day

Earthlife Africa (ELA) and the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) are joining an international day of action on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on Saturday the 8th of April, in demanding that GM food for sale in South Africa is labeled as such. Currently, South Africa‘s labeling regulations do not require the mandatory labeling of GM foodstuff, thereby denying consumers the right to know what they are eating and to avoid GM food if they so wish.

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