Comment by GM-free Ireland
[on Monsanto letter below]:

Monsanto's letter is full of lies

*Farmers around the world have reported problems with GM crops. These include crop failures, reduced yields, contamination, GM superweeds, liability and patent infringement lawsuits, loss of ownership, and loss of market share. See

*Many farmers use GM seeds only because the seed companies don''t offer any alternative. See

*Monsanto''s Roundup weedkiller (the world's most commonly used herbicide) is far more toxic than previously thought. An epidemiological study in the Ontario farming populations showed that glyphosate exposure nearly doubled the risk of late spontaneous abortions. See

A study on the toxicity and endocrine disruption potential of Roundup (''Time and Dose-Dependent Effects of Roundup on Human Embryonic and Placental Cells'') by the French Committee for Independent Information and Research on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN), published in May 2007 states ''Roundup exposure may affect human reproduction and fetal development in case of contamination. Chemical mixtures in formulations appear to be underestimated regarding their toxic or hormonal impact''. For details see

A separate study of Roundup published in the June 2005 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, reports glyphosate toxicity to human placental cells within hours of exposure, at levels ten times lower than those found in agricultural use. The researchers also tested glyphosate and Roundup at lower concentrations for effects on sexual hormones, reporting effects at very low levels. This suggests that dilution with other ingredients in Roundup may, in fact, facilitate glyphosate's hormonal impacts. For details see

* June 2007, Monsanto bought Delta & Pine Land, the US seed company which jointly holds three US patents on Terminator technology with the US Department of Agriculture. In 2000, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity recommended that governments not approve Terminator for field tests or commercial use. This created what is now recognized as an international moratorium. The top 10 largest seed companies control half the world''s commercial seed market. If Terminator is commercialized, corporations will likely incorporate sterility genes into all their seeds. That''s because genetic seed sterilization would secure a much stronger monopoly than patents - instead of suing farmers for saving seed, companies are trying to make it biologically impossible for farmers to re-use harvested seed. For details see

*The chief scientist of Ireland's denial of the health risks of GM food is not surprising, because he''s a member of EAGLES, an initiative of the European Federation of Biotechnology lobby group designed to secure EU funding for European biotech companies to promote GM food and farming in the developing countries. For scientific evidence of GM food health risks see Genetic Roulette: the documented health risks of genetically engineered foods, and

Unfair comments on GM foods
Irish Independent, Letter to the editor, 30 October 2007

It is somewhat surprising that the Irish Independent continues to print wild, unsubstantiated statements concerning GM foods and Monsanto from Dick Barton (Letters, September 20).

He derides the economic benefits of GM crops despite the fact that millions of farmers around the globe, including within the EU, are annually reaping the benefits of the technology.

Put simply: farmers don't waste money, they use GM seed because they provide vastly improved yields with much smaller inputs.

He accuses Monsanto's Roundup of being a health risk. This is totally unfounded. Roundup is extremely safe for humans, animals and birds.

As for the hoary old chestnut the ''terminator gene'', Dick Barton has it completely wrong again.

This gene does not exist. It is a myth. Dick Barton attacks the integrity of hte Government's chief scientist, Prof. Patrick Cunningham, because of his recent comments on GM foods.

I think we can safely deduce that it is because this eminent scientist has concluded, as so many other scientists also have, that GM crops and GM foods are safe, something which Dick Barton simply cannot accept.

Patrick O'Reilly
Monsanto Ireland
Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath