Tag Archive: US


The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today released results of tests conducted on 7 baby formulas and cereals, by an independent and accredited GM testing laboratory. The results reveal that Purity baby cereals contain extremely high levels of GM content whereas Nestl?’s infant formulas and cereal indicate that Nestle appears to be going GM free. Aspen’s infant formulas also indicate GM avoidance. Shockingly, comparisons also reveal that Purity’s GM baby cereals cost 250% more than non-GM cereals, exploding the myth that GM free food is an expensive and impractical luxury.


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.

Neither of these baby foods were labeled as containing products derived from genetically modified maize. 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.

“Why has Purity not labeled its products? By failing to label, Purity has acted disingenuously and deprived parents of crucial information about their baby’s nutrition. Adult consumers in SA do not want to eat GM

GM Maize in SA

Genetically modified maize in South Africa

Genetically modified (GM) maize is big business globally. In 2011, farmers grew about 51 million hectares of GM maize.
Most of this production happened in the United States where the majority of GM crops are being grown. There are just four major GM crops grown in the world today and maize and soya make up the bulk of these. We have been told that GM crops are the answer to world hunger but the majority of this maize is not grown for food. It is grown mostly for animal feed and shipped around the world by massive agricultural commodity trading companies such as Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Bunge. These grain trading companies are some of the wealthiest corporations in the world. In 2010, these three companies together earned about 200 billion US dollars from trading maize, soya and other grain crops on the global market. Makes you wonder, do GM crops feed hungry people or hungry corporations?

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Agrochemical giant DuPont to sell Bolivian sorghum gene

In 2012 multinational giant DuPont plans to begin selling sorghum varieties containing a valuable gene taken from a sudangrass that was collected in 2006 in Bolivia. The gene, branded as ‘Inzen A II’, makes sorghum plants tolerant to herbicides made by DuPont and other companies, and was acquired under exclusive license from Kansas State University (KSU)in the United States KSU hasfiled for patents in the US under the patent cooperation treaty.KSU, DuPont, and the two professors who claim to have ‘invented’ the Bolivian gene have all refused to explain how they acquired the Bolivian Seed.

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African Millet Under Threat

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has focused several recent reports on new international commercial interest and patent claims on the African native crop sorghum. This includes the issues raised by the proposed widespread use of sorghum for the production of agrofuels.
This report extends ACB‘s examination of new international commercial interest in African native crops, by including a focus on pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and related African native grass species in the Pennisetum genus.i

Globally, pearl millet is less widely sown than sorghum, yet it is a key food and feed crop in arid and semi-arid parts of Africa and Asia (particularly India). Pearl millet occupies smaller but significant markets in the US, Europe, and elsewhere, where it is mainly grown for animal feed and forage. In the US, for example, pearl millet is grown on about 600,000 hectares each year. To a lesser extent, it is also grown outside Africa for human food.

Other African pennisetums, such as Napiergrass, are also economically important outside Africa. They are sold in the lucrative landscape plant markets, as lawn grasses, and as feed and forage for the bird and exotic game hunting industries.1 In the

Sorghum and the Antioxidant Craze: What Benefit for Africa’s Farmers?

A highly successful health food company in the United States, Silver Plate Inc, is seeking to cash in on the health benefits of sorghum. More particularly, it has begun to commercialize foods rich in sorghum anthocyanins, natural “antioxidant” chemicals found in some strongly coloured plant foods that are believed to have heart and other health benefits.

Unlike many major cereal crops, high antioxidant genetic traits are readily available to sorghum breeders. This is because of the work of generations of African farmers, who selected and bred coloured sorghums for various purposes, including dyes for fabric, making food crops resistant to depredation by birds and disease resistance.

The owners of Silver Palate have a successful track record in the health foods sector. In 2007, they sold one of their companies, which makes fat-free imitation butter, for US $490 million.1 Now, these same entrepreneurs are interested in sorghum. They have entered into agreements with major US supermarket chains to sell sorghum products, including breakfast cereals, baking mixes and crackers.
Silver Palate is negotiating to gain rights to sorghum varieties held by Texas Agricultural & Mechanical University (Texas A&M), from its enormous collection belonging to African farmers. Although it is a public

Force-feeding South Africans: Monsanto’s Smartstax 8 gene GM maize coming to a store near you!

Johannesburg 21 April 2010. Monsanto has made an application to the South African GMO authorities for permission to import Smartstax maize, one of the most controversial and risky GMOs ever produced for commercial use.

The ACB recently published a report featuring Smartstax titled ‘The stacked gene revolution: A biosafety nightmare’. We pointed out that while the majority of commercially cultivated GM food crops contain 3 new genes at most, Smartstax contains 8! Several prominent scientists at the United Nations have expressed grave concerns about the biosafety implications of this, and also the lax safety assessments carried out. Smartstax has been approved in the US and Canada for commercial cultivation.

According to Mariam Mayet, Director of the ACB, ?Stacked GMOs represent the biotech industry’s blitzkrieg for increased control of the food chain. The more genes ‘stacked’ into their seeds, the higher their profits.? One and two trait GM seed varieties are being replaced by their more expensive multiple stacked varieties.

In November last year, Monsanto chairman Hugh Grant hubristically claimed that he expected the gene giant to triple its 2007 gross profits by 2012. Smartstax was to be one of the cornerstone’s of this expansion. However, Monsanto is

GM climate craze seizes African food

Media Release by the African Centre for Biosafety

Johannesburg 1 October 2009

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today released a report exposing the patents and players involved in appropriating key African food crops to produce genetically modified (GM) climate crops. According to the report, biotechnology is being used to identify ?climate genes? in African crop plants, which are able to withstand the stresses that are likely to become prevalent as the world’s climate changes. By patenting genes that can withstand stresses like drought, heat and salinity corporations are positioning themselves to turn a fat profit.

Monsanto, working through strategic partnerships, is at the forefront of patenting key African food crops such as sorghum, maize, peanut, cotton, wheat, manioc, sugar cane and banana for their climate’ properties including stress tolerance, biomass accumulation and drought tolerance.

Israeli company Evogene, partially owned by Monsanto, is claiming more than 700 ?climate gene? sequences in a single patent application. The claims extend to the use of gene sequences in key crops in Africa such as millets and sorghum, and even targets African Teak wood species. Another Monsanto partner, US based Ceres Inc, is aggressively filing patent

Swaziland – GMO Legislation


We have been approached by civil society groups in Swaziland to provide comments on the Draft National Policy Document, “Creating an enabling environment for the safe use of biotechnology and its products in Swaziland” and the Biosafety Bill, 2005.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)/World Food Programme (WFP) crop and food supply assessment mission to Swaziland, 20051, the country is gripped by yet another food crisis. They estimate the cereal import requirement for 2005/06 marketing year (March/April) to be 110 600 tonnes, of which 69 700 tonnes are expected to be commercially imported from South Africa, its main trading partner and producer and importer of genetically modified (GM) maize, Soybean and cotton. By March/April 2005, approximately 6 200 tonnes of food aid was on hand and in the pipeline, but a deficit of 34 700 tonnes remains to be provided by additional donor assistance.

Swaziland is a net food importing country. Maize is virtually the sole staple for the majority of the population and is the dominant crop grown by the majority of rural households in the communal Swazi Nation Land (SNL), which accounts for about 86% of the land area planted.

BT-Maize 176 / Syngenta

Protest letter by the African Centre for Biosafety, the South African Freeze Alliance on Genetic Engineering, Biowatch, and the Safe Food Coalition
  • Demand for a Ban on Imports of Bt176 and for a Public Enquiry into Safety of Food Derived from Genetically Modified Crops
    African Centre for Biosafety, the South African Freeze Alliance on Genetic Engineering, Biowatch, and the Safe Food Coalition, May 2004
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  • European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Report

Dear Honourable Madam Ministers

We wish to bring your attention to the decision taken by the Spanish government on the 29th April 2004, to ban Syngenta’s genetically modified (GM) Bt176 maize for commercial cultivation on the grounds that it may confer resistance to ampicillin. (EIEstado espanol retirara un OGM a instancias de la UE. El maize Bt 176 Podrian provoca resistencisas a los antibioticals, GARA). According to Richard Lopez de Haro, Spain’s Office of Crop Varieties, Spain’s food safety authority banned Bt 176 after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published its report on the utilisation of antibiotic resistance market genes in GM plants.

We also point out that even the United States, the world’s largest grower and exporter of genetically modified