GMO corn seized in the Philippines
Inquirer Visayas (Phillipines), 8 April 2009
BACOLOD CITY - The provincial government seized last Saturday P18 million worth of corn seeds found to be genetically modified, Negros Occidental Gov. Isidro Zayco said on Monday.
Zayco said the provincial government has ordered the corn seeds to be held at a warehouse at the port of the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. (Bredco) in Bacolod City.
A GMO team from the provincial government gave the order to seize 15,746 bags, or 750 tons, of genetically modified corn seeds worth P18 million that were shipped by Bounty Fresh Foods from La Union and Ilocos to Negros consignee Bounty Agro Ventures, Zayco said.
The seeds were subjected to testing and found to be positive for genetically modified organisms (GMO) in violation of Provincial Ordinance 007 Series of 2007, he said.
Provincial Ordinance No. 07 Series of 2007 banned the entry of genetically modified plants and animals into Negros Occidental, the governor said.
The ordinance explained that the ban on GMO products was aimed at "instituting stringent measures towards the protection of biodiversity and attainment of the status of Negros as an Organic Food Island in Asia."
The seeds were kept at the Agro Ventures warehouse at the reclamation area in Bacolod City with orders for them not to be released, Zayco said.
A dialogue with the owner of the seeds will be held, he added.
In March, the provincial government directed the release of 994 metric tons of corn grains that arrived at the Bredco port from General Santos City that were held for lack of a National Food Authority (NFA) shipping permit, Negros Occidental provincial agriculturist Igmedio Tabianan said.
The corn shipment turned out not to be genetically modified and was released to the Negros Occidental market after the shipper was fined for failing to acquire an NFA shipping permit, Tabianan added.
Protests greeted the introduction of GMOs into the country, with groups saying GMOs could contaminate the country's food supply with chemicals that could harm humans.
GMO advocates, however, defended the genetic modification of food, saying it was through this technology that scientists and manufacturers could keep the supply of food going.
Critics of GMOs have referred to these types of food as "Frankenfood," referring to the fictional monster that was created by Dr. Victor Frankenstein.