COMMENT by GM-free Ireland: Mr Creed's statement is not worth the paper it is printed on. He begins by demolishing the credibility of his own call for a 'civilised and frank' debate on GMOs by denying the growing scientific evidence of GM food and farming risks, and then accusing those who wish to keep GM crops out of Ireland of 'lies and scaremongering'.
His suggestion that we 'have to face up to the reality of GM foods' 'whether we like it or not' comes directly from the biotech industry's current public relations strategy designed to convince people that there is nothing you can do to stop the GM invasion. The successful opposition to GM crops by the vast majority of EU governments and consumers has resulted in the reality that only one variety of GM crop is allowed for cultivation in the EU, and that this is only grown in two provinces of Spain, where it has already contaminated the seed supplies and fields of both conventional and organic farmers.
Creed's naive belief that GM crops are required to feed the world is akin to belief in Leprechauns. No GM crop currently in commercial release is designed for higher yields or resistance to drought or other climate changes. Reports published only yesterday prove that the existing GM crops have reduced yields, and lead to GM superweeds and GM-resistant pests.
His assertion that the regulatory bodies 'have stated that GM products were in no way harmul' is extremely misleading:
*In WTO documents made public under the Freedom of Information act, the EC admits there are 'large areas of uncertainty about the health risks posed by GM produce,' and that 'some issues have not yet been studied at all.'
*The EC also admits 'there simply is no way of ascertaining whether the introduction of GM products has had any other effect on human health,' and 'no unique, absolute, scientific cut off threshold is available to decide whether a GM product is safe or not.'
*The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is run by a former director of a biotech industry lobby group that lost its right to parcipate in World Health Organisation meetings in 2006 for hiding its funding sources. FSAI has totally failed to conduct its own scientific risk assessments on GM feed and food. Instead, it routinely accepts as valid those risk assessments provided to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) by the applicant companies.
FSAI admitted this at a hearing of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Local Government on 24 November 2004, when FSAI Chief Biotechnology Specialist Dr. Pat O'Mahony said 'We are a law enforcement agency so we do not carry out research', and FSAI Director of Food Science and Standards and Deputy CEO, Alan Reilly, admitted 'We rely on scientific opinion from the European Food Safety Authority.' For full transcript, see Irish Parliamentary Debate, Vol. No. 38, Scrutiny of EU Proposals, Wednesday, 24 November 2004 http://www.gmfreeireland.org/downloads/GMO-24november2004.pdf. See also 'First live GMO animal feed legalised in the EU', GM-free Ireland press release, 2 September 2005: http://www.gmfreeireland.org/press/GMFI21.pdf.
*EFSA's risk assessments are scientifically dodgy because they are assumption-based, they do not follow standard protocols, allowing results of feeding studies based on a single ingredient rather than the entire GMO, discard troubling evidence, and are based on the applicant companies' conclusions while refusing to make public the original data. EU Commissioner Stavros Dimas said 'the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) cannot deliver a sound scientific opinion on GMOs; they only examine short term effects and they do not take into account the opinions of member states; there is [also] the question of whether scientific opinions relied solely on information supplied by companies which produce GMOs.'
*And contrary to what Fine Gael claims, there is no such thing as the 'US Federal Drugs Authority'. US food and farming policies on GMOs fall under the remit of the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), both of whom have NEVER conducted any risk assessment of GM animal feed or GM food. The USFDA has, however, classified all the GM Bt maize crops, as 'pesticide' because every cell of these crops, which are widely sold to Irish farmers, is modified to produce a pesticide.
Fine Gael has swallowed the agri-biotech propaganda hook, line, and sinker!
---Creed calls for GM debate
Irish Farmers Journal, 16 February 2008
Fine Gael want a 'civilised and frank' debate on GM, claiming that Ireland, as a country, has to face up to the reality of GM foods.
They claim that the Government's 'GM free stance' is unsustainable. And in a pointed criticism of the Green Party's influence on Government policy in this area, FG Agriculture spokesman, Deputy Michael Creed said this week: 'It is ironic how those who accept the science behind global warming as gospel are often the first to deny the growing scientific support for genetically modified foods.'
Creed said he wanted an end to the 'lies and scrare mongering' in the GM debate.
'Whether we like it or not, we have to face up to the reality of GM foods sooner or later. We are living in a time when populations are swelling and global climate changes are having an adverse affect on different crop yields,' Creed said.
'Last year, Irish agriculture took a â‚¬ 160m hit due to the EU Commission dragging its heels in permitting the use of certain GM products in the production of animal feeds. All the while, the EU are importing animals from other regions that are being fed on the very same products that the EU are banning,' he added.
He accused the Government of pursuing a non GM agenda despite the fact that the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the European Food Safety Authority and the US Federal Drugs Authority have stated that GM products were in no way harmful.