Genetically modified crops in your neighbourhood? March 3, 2008Posted by Andreas in Environment, genetic engineering, Press Release, South Africa, Sustainable Living.
Do you know if there are any trial fields for genetically modified crops near where you live? According to the African Centre for Biosafety:
Their ability to escape into the environment is well known. Their safety for people with allergies remains in question. Yet we continue to experiment with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and some have even been commercially released. And yes, they may be growing, undetected, unmarked and right out in the open in a field near you.
How would you ever know? If the Department of Agriculture and the biotechnology industry have their way, you should never find out. Unless, of course, you fall ill.
“Questions around GMO field trials in South Africa continue to be asked – where exactly are they happening, when will there be adequate environmental risk assessment and post–release monitoring, what are the effects on neighbours of GMO field trials and what are the cumulative effects of all the field trials that have happened in South Africa?” says ACB director, Mariam Mayet.
“The latest report contains both good and bad news,” says Mayet. “The good news is that there were significant refusals as a result of anti-GMO activism. More good news is that there were far fewer field trials during 2007 than 2006.”
The bad news is that there were 21 different field sites in 2007, as well as 11 medical clinical trials including GM HIV vaccine and GM TB vaccine. “The 21 field sites involved GM potatoes, GM cotton, GM maize, GM sugarcane, GM groundnuts and GM maize. Trials were conducted by both the gene giants and also public sector research institutions.”
“One of the biggest problems is that neither biotech companies nor the Department of Agriculture are prepared to reveal exactly which fields have been planted with GMOs,” says Mayet. “This is considered ‘commercially confidential information’.”
Find out if there are any trial plots near you by consulting the ACB’s updated biohazards map: