Tag Archive: maize

Open letter to the National Chamber of Milling on GMO labelling and the development of a GM-Free market

In July 2012 the National Chamber of Milling (NCM) posted a ?position on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on its website, in which it supports the principle of consumer choice and pledges to ?encourage identity preservation within the grain supply chain to enable clear labelling of our product to the consumer market?.

However, the biotech industry lobby group AfricaBio, who have lobbied vociferously against the labelling of GM food in South Africa, has also claimed to have ?forged a strategic partnership with the NCM? to engage with government on the GM labelling issues. That being the case, the ACB has written an open letter to the NCM asking for clarification of its relationship with AfricaBio, to push for a stringent and accurate labelling and identity preservation system (including establishing GM free maize and soya chains) and supporting the independent, long term and transparent risk assessment of GMOs in South Africa.

2012 Tests

2013 Tests

FutureLife:

100% GM Maize, 37% GM Soya

Purity’s Cream of Maize: 56% GM maize

Purity Baby First: 71% GM maize

Bokomo Wheat free Pronutro:

90% GM maize, 71% GM soya

Ace supermaize meal: 78% GM maize
Ace maize rice: 70% GM maize
Ace instant porridge:

CIVIL SOCIETY PETITION TO TIGER BRANDS t/a PURITY

Outraged by the results of tests conducted by the ACB.
We, the undersigned members of civil society, are outraged by the ACB’s test results showing that Purity’s Cream of Maize tested positive as containing 56.25% GM maize; and Purity’s Purity Baby First tested positive as containing 71.47% GM maize.

We note with alarm, that this is not the first time that Purity’s Cream of Maize cereal tested positive for GM. In 2008, consumer watchdog SAFeAGE revealed the product to contain more than 24% GM maize.

We are deeply disappointed to learn that neither of these baby foods are labeled as containing products derived from genetically modified maize. We are of the view that Tiger Brands has acted disingenuously and deprived parents of crucial information about their baby’s nutrition. We do not want to eat GM food, much less feed our babies with GM cereals.

During September 2012, Professor Gilles-Eric S?ralini, and his research team at the University of Caen in France, published the results of a two-year animal feeding study in which rats fed with Monsanto’s herbicide tolerant GM maize, event NK603, and glyphosate residues, developed tumours and showed signs of liver and kidney damage.

South Africa exports ?unapproved? GM maize to Zimbabwe, continues to export to Mexico, contaminating both the region and centre of origin

African Centre for Biosafety, ETC Group, FoodMattersZimbabwe and CTDT

The ACB is deeply concerned by the news that the South African GMO authorities have permitted over 25,000 tons of GM maize to be exported to Zimbabwe. This is the first time that South African GM maize grains have been commercially exported to our neighbour north of the Limpopo, and adds to a growing list of African countries that have received bulk shipments of live GM grains from South Africa, including Swaziland, Mozambique, Kenya and Somalia.

Read the release in Spanish.

According to a spokesperson for the FoodMattersZimbabwe group ?Zimbabweans are under the impression that maize would be imported from Zambia and will be deeply upset by this news to import GM maize from South Africa. The government of Zimbabwe is currently promoting the use of open pollinated varieties (OPVs) of seed to strengthen our farmers? self-reliance. The importation of GM maize poses a serious risk of contaminating our OPV varieties; at the very least this GM maize must be milled before entering the country. ?

However, a cloud hangs over the legality of the shipments and whether the South African GMO authorities have indeed received an explicit written approval

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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