|November 26, 2014|
THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE
Many cases of unintentional transboundary movements have taken place since the introduction of GMOs. Some of these are also illegal transboundary movements, which are addressed by Article 25 of the Protocol.
In the absence of a global monitoring system, GeneWatch UK and Greenpeace International launched the GM Contamination Register database (www.contaminationregister.org) in 2005 to record all publically documented incidents of contamination arising from the intentional or accidental release of GM organisms as well as illegal plantings of GM crops and reported adverse agricultural side-effects.
An analysis of the Register database has been recently published. From 1997 to the end of 2013, 396 incidents in 63 countries were recorded. There have also been nine cases of contamination associated with GM lines with no authorisation for cultivation anywhere in the world, hence these have not been risk assessed. An analysis of the data concludes that “GM contamination can occur independently of commercialisation”, as evidenced by GM rice which has never been grown commercially but which records the highest number of contamination incidents. GM maize, soya and oilseed rape, all grown commercially, rate next.
Once GM contamination has happened, it can be difficult to contain it. However, the detection of GM contamination is dependent on routine and targeted regimes, which is inconsistent across countries. Furthermore, the lack of analytical methodology to detect GM crops at the field trial stage poses an obstacle to detecting any arising contamination.
The Abstract and Conclusions of the paper are reproduced below.
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Becky Price and Janet Cotter
International Journal of Food Contamination 2014, 1:5
Since large-scale commercial planting of genetically modified (GM) crops began in 1996, a concern has been that non-GM crops may become contaminated by GM crops and that wild or weedy relatives of GM crops growing outside of cultivated areas could become contaminated. The GM Contamination Register contains records of GM contamination incidents since 1997 and forms a unique database. By the end of 2013, 396 incidents across 63 countries had been recorded.