Objection to Public Notice by Monsanto SA (Pty) Ltd, Published in BUSINESS DAY, Monday, 19th January 2004: Application for commodity clearance permit for genetically modified wheat African Centre for Biosafety, February 2004.

Endorsed by Safe Food Coalition; Ekogia Foundation; Steering Committee, South African Freeze Alliance On Genetic Engineering (Safeage); Earthlife Africa Ethekwini; Earth Women; African Rainbow Circle; Ukudla Kwethu; Mdumiseni Ndlela; Freedom Extravaganza Group; Khuzwayo; Wray White & Riaz Tayob, read more.


We, the undersigned organisations, groups and individuals, hereby lodge our objections to the above application. We ask that the decision-making authority, the Executive Council established in terms of the Genetically Modified Organisms Act (No. 15 of 1997) (“GMO Act”) either on its own, or in consultation with the Advisory Committee reject Monsanto’s application. We are of the firm belief that ample grounds exist for Monsanto’s application to be rejected out of hand, alternatively, that Monsanto’s application is rejected on the basis of the precautionary principle, which is well established in the body of environmental law and policy in South Africa. Our objections are principally based on the following, which is fully canvassed in this document:

  1. Monsanto has not been able to discharge its onus of proving that its Roundup Ready genetically modified (GM) wheat is safe for human and animal consumption, biodiversity and the environment and is therefore not in a position to submit adequate scientific data for consideration under the GMO Act for any or any reliable food, feed and safety assessment to be made.
  2. Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GM wheat is unsafe for human and animal consumption and poses unacceptable risks to human and animal health, biodiversity and the environment.
  3. Monsanto’s application and the provisions of the GMO Act/Regulations are inconsistent with the intention, spirit, objectives, principles and provisions of the Biosafety Protocol.
  4. Monsanto’s application is calculated to exploit the biosafety regulatory deficiencies inherent in the GMO Act, in order to avoid complying with the Biosafety Protocol. Monsanto’s underlying motive for this application is to convince regulatory authorities and farmers in North America that markets for its Roundup Ready GM wheat exist. The application is also a pre-emptive bid to secure access to the lucrative African wheat market when GM wheat becomes available for commercial production in the future.
  5. The GMO Act does not provide any or any adequate biosafety measures to protect the environment from negative ecological impacts during the transportation and milling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) imported for direct use as food, feed and processing.