Tag Archive: NK603

Setting the record straight on the Seralini GM maize rat study: why the SA government must urgently intervene

In this briefing we respond to the main criticisms of the Seralini GM maize rat study (which have been appearing ad nauseum in the world’s mainstream media); provide some background as to the importance of the NK603 GM maize to the biotechnology industry (and hence the scale of their reaction); and place the attacks on Seralini in the context of previous experiences of those whose research has uncovered some inconvenient truths about the nature and risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). We also reiterate our calls for urgent intervention by the SA government to inter alia, ban the said GM variety.

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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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ACB objections to Pioneer Hi-Bred’s field trial applications for four new GM maize variety

Pioneer Hi-Bred, who are currently attempting to acquire South Africa‘s largest remaining seed company, Pannar Seed, have submitted applications for field trials of four GM maize varieties. These are all stacked varieties inferring varying combinations of insect resistance and herbicide tolerance. Of particular concern is that all four varieties have been engineered to be used with glufosinate, a highly toxic herbicide that is set to be banned in the European Union.

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Open Letter to Minister of Agriculture on Monsanto GM Crop Failures

In April 2009, the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) learnt that three of Monsanto‘s genetically modified (GM) maize varieties had failed to pollinate, leaving up to 200 000 hectares of mielie fields barren across several provinces. We were informed that the varieties that flopped were Monsanto‘s MON 810, NK 603 and its stacked GM maize MON 810 x NK 603. The ACB is of the view that the matter has not been dealt with sufficiently by the Executive Council, the GM regulatory body in South Africa that approved these three events in the first place, nor has the public been sufficiently informed of the EC’s final decision on the matter.

The handling of this matter has not engendered public faith in the regulation of GMOs, an already highly contentious technology. The ACB requests that the Executive Council publicise the biosafety procedures followed in reaching their final decision on the crop failures and the scientific basis upon which they have come to their decision. Public support for such an explanation is steadily growing at: http://www.activist.co.za/.

We reiterate our demands for a ban on all GMOs.

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Three varieties of Monsanto‘s genetically modified maize failed to produce crops during the 2008/9 growing season, leaving up to 200 000 hectares of fields barren of cobs and crop losses across several provinces in South Africa. According the GRAIN SA, the varieties are: MON 810, NK 603 and MON 810 x NK 603. These seeds were sold to commercial maize farmers and provided to resource poor farmers in South Africa.

Monsanto has compensated commercial farmers who lost their yield, and barred these farmers from speaking to the media or public. Monsanto has claimed that a mistake was made in the breeding process. No further details regarding this mistake or how it might have similarly affected all three varieties has been forthcoming from Monsanto. Why the veil of secrecy on Monsanto’s part and the gagging of affected commercial crop producers?

The South African biosafety regulatory authority, which approved the commercial release of these three maize varieties, has not seen fit to make any statement regarding the crop failure to the consuming public. Should we assume that the regulatory authority has uncritically accepted the Monsanto explanation? South Africa is a signatory to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety,

Bt-Maize 1507 x 59122 x NK 603 / Dow Agrosciences


African Centre for Biosafety, Jan 2006

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The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has to date, lodged objections to the following applications by Dow Agrosciences for commodity import clearance:

GM Maize event 59122
GM Maize event 59122xTC 1507
– GM Maize event 59122x NK603

We will thus not repeat the grounds upon which we have based our comprehensive objections, but reiterate them here, and request that the Executive Council take these into account in considering this application. For more details on those three GM maize events read the respective pages on this web site.



    We are utterly amazed that Dow Agrosciences is persisting in seeking regulatory approval for the current GM maize event 1507x 59122 x NK 603, in the light that the cry genes Bt Cry34Ab1/Cry35Ab1 used in event 59122 have not yet been registered by the Environment Protection Authority in the USA. According to information

Monsanto Nk603 X Mon863x Mon810

Objection To The Application By Monsanto For Commodity Clearance Of Its GM Maize Varieties Nk603 X Mon863x Mon810 to The National Department Of Agriculture, South Africa prepared by the African Centre For Biosafety

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August 2006

SUPPORTED BY: Bishop Geoff, Southern African Faith Communities’ Environmental Institute; South African Freeze Alliance on Genetic Engineering; Earthlife Africa Ethekwini branch; GRAIN; SEED Trust; Ekogaia Foundation; Safe Food Coalition.

The African Centre for Biosafety (?ACB?) has already submitted its objections to Monsanto‘s application for commodity clearance in respect of its genetically modified (GM) maize 863 and 863 x MON 810. It has also objected to a commodity clearance application by Pioneer Hi-Bred in respect of GM maize 59122X NK 603, as well Dow Agrosciences’ application for commodity clearance of triple stacked GM maize 1507 x 59122 X NK 603. The scientific and legal concerns raised in these objections are pertinent to the current GM maize application brought before the Exco by Monsanto.

The current application by Monsanto will join the applications to which the ACB has objected to (above), and form part of those commodity clearance applications on hold until the outcome of a study being