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[SANET-MG] register of GM food and feed pollution
The register of GM food and feed contamination is a brilliant idea.That
the matter was raised in Canada is ironic. Canada should come under a
blanket entry as all GM polluted. Canola seed stocks in Canada, for
example , are essentially all polluted and Japan is learning the hard
lesson not to trust Canada. Canada carried on open field trials of GM
wheat for Monsanto years after Monsanto declared that the company had
stopped testing GM wheat. It is predictable that much of the wheat is GM
polluted along with the maize.
Call for tighter GM controls
Pressure groups release first international register of contamination
mishaps as governments meet to discuss problem
Paul Brown, environment correspondent
Wednesday June 1, 2005
The first register of GM contamination incidents across the world, which
includes eight in Britain, is being published today as governments meet
to discuss how to protect the environment from unauthorised releases.
Details of all known contamination of food, feed for animals, seed and
wild plants since GM crops were introduced in 1996 are available on a
website launched by GeneWatch UK and Greenpeace. More than 60 incidents
of illegal or unlabelled GM contamination have been documented in 27
countries. Cases of illegal releases of GM organisms and damaging
side-effects such as the development of super-weeds are also included.
Governments are meeting in Montreal, Canada, to try to develop rules to
allow all GM products to be traced so that if they were accidentally or
deliberately released into the environment the extent of the
contamination among non-GM plants or animals could be tracked. The
second thorny issue governments are dealing with is liability - who pays
when either the natural environment is damaged by the spread of GM genes
or organic and conventional farmers lose markets through contamination.
This is an issue on which the British government has so far failed to
develop a policy.
Progress in these areas has been slow internationally and governments
are anxious to complete work this week on the agreement called the
Caragena protocol, part of the convention on biodiversity, to prevent
further contamination incidents. The US and the large agribusinesses
which market GM are anxious to avoid any liability for unauthorised
Campaigners compiled the register to show the extent of the problem and
put pressure on governments for action.
Sue Mayer, the director of GeneWatch UK said "No government or
international agency has established a public record of contamination
incidents or other problems associated with GM crops. The official
approach of turning a blind eye is not good enough when dealing with a
technology like GM where living organisms are released into the
Campaigners believe that only strict rules with liability regulations
applied by governments can stop the unauthorised spread of GM seeds and
products. "If states do not act and set strict rules now GM crops will
further contaminate lands, seeds and food around the world," Doreen
Stabinsky of Greenpeace International said yesterday.
The worst single contamination incident was of StarLink Maize, a GM
variety approved only for animal feed which entered the human food chain
in seven countries, the US, Canada, Egypt, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Japan and
The maize was found in taco shells, a popular snack, and had been
genetically modified to produce an insecticidal toxin to protect the
plant against boring insects. It does not break down in gastric acid, a
characteristic shared by many substances which can cause an allergic
reaction. Thousands of stores across the world were forced to withdraw
products from sale because of the illegal contamination.
Other illegal releases into the environment or food chain include cotton
in India, cotton and soya in Brazil, rice in China, maize in Croatia,
papaya in Germany and cotton and papaya in Thailand.
Trial and error
There have been eight incidents of GM contamination in Britain:
1. In September 2000, during the UK field trials of herbicide tolerant
GM sugar beet, Aventis reported some plants did not die even when they
were sprayed with a different herbicide designed to kill them.
Investigations showed that some of the original seed was tolerate to two
herbicides and this had probably happened as a result of
cross-pollination during production of original seed in Germany.
2. Aventis (now Bayer) revealed in 2002 that oilseed rape used at 12
sites in the UK's farm trials was contaminated with an unapproved GM
variety. The seed had been used at a total of 25 British trials dating
back to 1999.
3. The Food Standards Agency surveyed food and food ingredients in 2002
and found GM soybean in some products, including several labelled
non-GM. None were above the 1% level requiring a GM label under EU law,
but failure to segregate GM and non-GM crops was thought to be the cause.
4. Friends of the Earth tested 21 samples of food and three of animal
feed in 1999 and found five contained GM material. Only one was
labelled. The companies concerned changed their suppliers.
5. Routine tests by the Soil Association in 2002 of animal feed labelled
organic found GM contamination even though GM is not permitted in
organic products. The feed is believed to have come from Italy.
6. In 2001 trading standards officers in the Medway, Kent, sampled a
range of foods and found low levels of contamination in 10% of the
processed food sampled.
7. Ten samples out of 25 health and organic foods screened were found to
contain GM soya at levels below 1%, above which there is a legal
requirment to label them, but eight of those were wrongly labelled as
non-GM or organic.
8. In May 2000 the government admitted that Advanta seeds had imported
an oilseed rape variety called Hyola, which was contaminated with GM
herbicide tolerant seed because of cross-pollination. The seed was sown
on 4,700 hectares before the mistake was discovered. The company Advanta
Seeds eventually paid compensation to farmers who were forced to plough
up their crop because it was unsaleable.
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