2.NFA urged to hold distribution of rice recently shipped from US
EXTRACTS: ...a GE scandal in Kenya is exposed as Kenyan environmental and farmers' organisations confront the government and United States seed giant Pioneer Hi-Bred with evidence of GE-contaminated maize seed in their country... In the Netherlands, rice [recently] shipped from the US to Rotterdam was found to be contaminated with GE varieties not permitted for consumption outside of the US. (item 1)
1.Biotech industry impunity fuels global GE contamination spread
Most of the contamination involved such staple crops as rice and maize, but also included soy, cotton, canola, papaya and fish
Greenpeace, 28 February 2008 http://www.newsfood.com/Articolo/International/2008-02/20080228-Biotech-industry-impunity-fuels-global-GE-contamination-spread.asp
AMSTERDAM, International ”” Biotech companies are acting with impunity as cases of genetic engineering (1) contamination continue on a global scale, a new report launched today reveals, GM Contamination Register Report 2007, by Greenpeace International and GeneWatch UK, details 39 new instances of crop contamination in 23 countries over the past year.
Most of the contamination involved such staple crops as rice and maize, but also included soy, cotton, canola, papaya and fish. Since 2005, the GM Contamination Register has recorded 216 contamination events in 57 countries since GE crops were first grown commercially on a large scale in 1996.
This year's annual report on the Register is released on the same day a GE scandal in Kenya is exposed as Kenyan environmental and farmers' organisations confront the government and United States seed giant Pioneer Hi-Bred with evidence of GE-contaminated maize seed in their country, and Greenpeace activists in the Netherlands protest shipments of illegal GE-rice varieties to Rotterdam.
'The contamination documented in the report is just the tip of the iceberg. Genetic polluters must pay. If a company contaminates our food and our environment, it must pay for the clean-up, compensate farmers, traders and consumers. We need international liability standards under the Biosafety Protocol to hold biotech companies to account (2),' Greenpeace International agriculture campaigner Dr Doreen Stabinsky stressed.
In Kenya, Greenpeace, in cooperation with local organisations, commissioned independent tests of maize seed varieties sold commercially. Pioneer's seed maize PHB 30V53 was found to contain MON 810, a GE variety which has no approval for planting in Kenya and is banned in several European countries (3).
In the Netherlands, rice shipped from the US to Rotterdam (4) was found to be contaminated with GE varieties not permitted for consumption outside of the US. Greenpeace Netherlands' genetic engineering campaigner Marietta Harjono says Rotterdam harbour is one of the world's biggest 'GE contamination hotspots', due to its role as first port of entry for much of the GE contaminated foodstuffs that enter Europe from the US.
'Ongoing GE contamination in the world;s major food crops, particularly in rice and maize, shows genetic engineering companies are failing to keep control of their artificial genes. Without decisive government action, the world's food and seed supplies will be under threat,' Stabinsky warned.
1) Genetic engineering (GE) is also known as genetic modification (GM) or genetically modified organisms (GMO).
2) From 12-19 March, in Cartagena, Colombia, governments will continue to negotiate international rules on liability for damages caused by genetically engineered organisms. These negotiations take place under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Some developed countries such as the United States, Japan and New Zealand are opposing a global agreement on GE liability. The continuing threats to developing country agriculture posed by GE contamination, as evidenced by these latest contamination scandals, demonstrate the need for legally binding, global rules that ensure that polluters pay if anything goes wrong with GE.
3) Greenpeace, in cooperation with several environmental and farmers’ organisations in Kenya, commissioned tests on 13 different seed varieties bought in seed stores across the country. The tests, conducted by an independent European laboratory, revealed Pioneer’s seed maize PHB 30V53, sold in the Eldoret region of Kenya, is contaminated with MON 810 maize, a genetically engineered variant that is insect resistant. The contaminated seeds were produced by the South African branch of Pioneer. The GE seeds have no approval for planting in Kenya. All other varieties from both local and international seed companies were not contaminated.
In February 2008, the French government decided to ban the cultivation of Monsanto’s maize MON 810 due to environmental concerns. These include the impossibility to prevent the spread of GE maize, and the possibility of toxic effects on non-target organisms, such as earthworms. France, Austria, Greece, Hungary and Poland have banned the commercial growing of GE maize MON 810 on the basis of environmental and health concerns.
4) Dutch authorities found illegal rice varieties in two shipments. Bayer's rice variety LLRICE62 was found in a batch of long grain parboiled brown rice shipped by Riceland Foods and Bayer LLRICE601 was found in a batch of long grain milled rice from shipper Riviana Foods. One of the shipments has since been returned to the US, the other remains at the port.
2.NFA urged to hold distribution of rice recently shipped from US
GMANews.TV, 28 February 2008 http://www.gmanews.tv/story/82639/NFA-urged-to-hold-distribution-of-rice-recently-shipped-from-US
Subic Bay, Philippines - Environmental activist group Greenpeace is urging Philippine authorities to hold the distribution to the public of the rice shipped recently from the US until the grains are proven uncontaminated with genetically modified rice.
Greenpeace on Thursday said that the rice shipment, now being offloaded at a Subic Bay port, might be contaminated with genetically modified grains not yet proven to be safe for human consumption.
'The National Food Authority (NFA) must quarantine this shipment and run stringent tests based on European Union protocols before the rice is distributed to the public,' said Daniel M. Ocampo, genetic engineering campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
He said that the US and Philippine genetically modified organism testing procedures are unreliable as they require only a GMO test sample of 100 grams from 50,000 tons - one grain out of every 500 million grains.
In contrast, the EU procedure requires a minimum of 2.5-kilogram sample for testing, making it easier to detect the presence of GMO grains, Ocampo said.
Greenpeace said that from 2007 to 2008, 23 rice shipments from the US, obviously cleared by American authorities, were barred in the EU for GMO contamination.
In 2006, the group also revealed the presence of GMO-contaminated rice (Bayer’s herbicide resistant LL601) from the US in supermarkets in Manila.
According to Ocampo, the finding even prompted the NFA to issue an order requiring imported rice to be free from GMOs. It also stopped the importation of the staple from the US since late 2006.
Ocampo also cited that Purefeeds, the distributor of American GMO-contaminated rice, had to recall the remaining stocks from store shelves and replaced it with rice from Thailand.
Bayer, the developer of GMO rice varieties that contaminated the US rice supply, is facing lawsuits from farmers and US rice traders whose combined losses are estimated to hit US$ 1.2 billion.
'Importing rice from the US exposes Filipinos to the inherent risks of GMOs on human health and threatens our staple food with genetic contamination,' Ocampo said. - GMANews.TV