viernes, enero 29, 2010

Puerto Rico GMO: Biotechnology Bill 202 approved
by KR.Avilés-Vázquez y Carmelo Ruiz Marrero

We condemn the hasty signing of Bill 202 by the Governor Fortuño on August 10, 2009. The "Promotion and development of agricultural biotechnology in Puerto Rico” Bill, fast tracks services and permits for genetically engineered crops’ (genetically modified, GM) research & development companies in the island.

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With the apparent intent of preempting the objections of those who warn about the risks of GM products, Bill 202’s preamble suggests that this brand of "genetically improved" crops are simply a continuation of ancient agricultural and food preparation techniques, like the Egyptian fermentation process. This is a lie, GM crops are not an improvement on the genetic code or existing traditional farming. GM organisms are living beings whose genetic codes have been modified and carry gene combinations that would have never occurred in nature. Such manipulations have no precedent in human history or even in the history of life itself. These products require thourough safety testing, nevertheless, such controls are not being implemented.

Focusing on economic incentives, this legislation proposes eliminating the few regulations that exist to protect citizens' health. Law 202 facilitates permits tailor-made for the GM industry on the basis of inaccurate information; information that is provided by the very companies who shall benefit from these projects.

This is not a new practice. These companies have already established themselves in other countries with the same lies, supported by local governments. Presented with the promise of economic development, governments have agreed to “agricultural biotechnology”, and its development without the proper research or basic rules for assuring the safety of the population, local agriculture and the ecosystem.

This law’s definition of biotechnology is incredibly vague, hindering any future legislation to regulate GM crops specifically. However, the benefits of the law for biotech companies are specific: accelerating permits for access to water and land, along with agricultural subsidies and exemptions to help these multimillion-dollar companies.

The law is based on the idea that new agricultural technology and biotech companies would do better with the least possible regulation. Despite this premise, there is no law that limits GM crop development, while there is solid evidence of the risks involved. In May 2009 the American Academy for Environmental Medicine (AAEM) stated that GM food represents a serious risk to health and called for a moratorium on these foods. With the results of several studies on laboratory animals, AAEM concluded that "there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects" and that "GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health." Existing evidence suggests there is a need for more, not less, legislation and more, not less, time to discuss and deliberate on these products.

Besides the risks to human health, there is no way to protect traditional local non-GM varieties from being contaminated by their GM counterparts. Genetic alterations include, but are not limited to, pesticide secretion by the plant itself (known as Bt crops), and herbicide resistance (known as Roundup Ready); there are also future plans for seed auto-termination after a single harvest- the so-called “Terminator” technology. Through the natural processes of pollinization and reproduction, the genetically modified seed leaves the designated cultivation areas and crosses with other varieties located downwind. This genetic contamination can occur in several ways; such as inventory errors, seed dispersal or cross-pollinization; pollen and seeds can travel long distances through the action of birds, insects and wind.

The case of Mexico highlights the futility of thinking that natural reproduction of organisms can be controlled or contained in a given area, even at a distance. On his studies of Mexican corn Molecular biologist, Ignacio Chapela found GM corn contamination in the most remote regions in the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico. This is not a unique case. Worldwide, 216 cases of contamination have been found in 57 countries over the past ten years, including 39 in 2007. Therefore, GM agriculture cannot coexist with any other type of agricultural production -contamination is inevitable. Furthermore, biotech companies patent genes in order to protect what they claim are their intellectual property rights. In the United States and Canada, farmers that have suffered from GM contamination have been persecuted by biotech companies, accusing them piracy and patent infringement. In many of these cases the farmers have lost everything because of fines and legal fees. We are totally opposed to the patenting of life, as it is immoral and a threat to food security, and because it is the product of an antisocial worldview. No one has the right to privatize genes and organisms through patents – whether they be GM or not. The sole purpose of these patents is to force every farmer and gardener in the world to pay royalties for the seeds they plant.

Quite predictably, the law’s authors justify it with alleged job creation and business opportunities in the agricultural sector, together with an increase in food production. But these arguments presuppose that these biotech companies generate more jobs than traditional non-GM agriculture, which has proven to be false. Evidence suggests that small-scale diversified agriculture generates more and better jobs, providing greater economic stability to each farm. In addition, hunger and starvation are not related to food scarcity or low production. People are dying of hunger in areas of high agricultural production due to a lack of access to food and an inadequate distribution of available food stocks. The 2008 global food crisis was due neither to a lack of products and technology, nor low production. The crisis was caused by hoarding and speculation, along with free trade agreements that limit barriers that protect local agricultural production, combined with dumping of agricultural commodities.

GM crops and biotech companies do not address the structural economic and political causes that lead to starvation or lack of jobs. Even if it really were a production problem, there is no evidence that GM crops yield more. Governor Fortuño argues in his public statements that these products reduce costs by requiring fewer chemicals. But, just look at the example of countries that, like Puerto Rico, have adopted a public policy of promotion of biotech companies and their products; and study the results. The argument that these products will lead to reduced use of pesticides does not hold. To the contrary, the increased use of agrochemicals associated with GM crops and their decreasing effectiveness is well documented. GM crops are designed to work only if you use the correct chemicals and seeds.

Farmers who plant them end up in a downward debt spiral, entering into a physical and economic dependence with these companies, without ever seeing the benefit in increased production, or decreased costs that our governor so uncritically and blindingly forecasts. The situation has degenerated so much that in the rural areas of many developed and developing countries that banked on the promises of modern biotechnology, unemployment, poverty and suicides have increased greatly. An extreme case example is that of India, where farmer suicides have skyrocketed in recent years due to the failure of GM cotton crops.

In his recent declarations promoting Bill 202 the governor has demonstrated that he lacks necessary information. His arguments betray that his advisers have only listened to the biotech companies and have not assessed the devastating impacts this type of agriculture has had across the globe. These companies are not concerned with the health, and much less, the nutrition of human beings- their main concern is profit, without any consideration to the havoc wreaked in the places they have done business in. The governor needs to have better counsel. We are available to educate in order to make sure we avoid a tragedy in Puerto Rico such as those that have occurred and are occurring in countries where GM crops are being planted.

Puerto Rico Coalition for Ecological Agriculture spokespersons:

Carmelo Ruiz Marrero, Puerto Rico Project on Biosafety (787) 203.2615

Katia R. Avilés-Vázquez, Puerto Rico Chapter of the Latin American Agroecological Scientific Society (SOCLA-PR) (787) 378.9038

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EU Farmers Face Genetic Contamination of Seeds

By Julio Godoy

BERLIN, Jan 29, 2010 (IPS) - Biodiversity, already decaying fast as a result of climate change and intensive farming, is under further threat by genetic modification (GM) of seeds, says a leading German ecological activist.

Genetic modification of seeds is dangerous, "since it is at the beginning of the agricultural chain, and can spread all over," says Benedikt Haerlin, former campaign manager at the environmental organisation Greenpeace and former member of the European Parliament.

Haerlin now leads the global ‘Save our Seeds’ campaign in cooperation with some 300 environmental organisations across Europe.

The campaign is currently calling attention to plans by the European Commission (EC) to tolerate "accidental or technically unavoidable" contamination of conventional seed with GM varieties.

In September 2004, the EC sought to pass a directive allowing up to 0.7 percent of GM organisms (GMO) in maize and oilseed rape seed without being labelled.

But fierce protests by organic farmers and environmental organisations forced the EC to withdraw the proposal. Since then, EC has not submitted any new recommendations.

Some commissioners, such as Stavros Dimas, who was in charge of environment between 2004 and 2009, have even questioned whether thresholds are necessary. Although the mandate for the present EC ended last October, Dimas is still serving as commissioner for environment until a new commission is approved and takes office.

"The official position of the EC remains, however, that a new proposal for the specification of threshold values for genetic contamination of seed is in the works," Haerlin told IPS.

Haerlin said that calling such contamination "accidental or technically unavoidable" with GMOs is misleading. "For fodder or even food, that genetic contamination under 0.9 percent is not declared can be acceptable," Haerlin explained. "At least, I can be sure that such contamination won't spread to other areas of life."

This is not the case with seeds, he said. "GM seeds can contaminate the fields of peasants and farmers who oppose them. After contamination, they would be forced to prove the origin of the pollution.

‘’Farmers using what they believe are organic seeds, but which have been genetically contaminated, would continue using part of the polluted crop as seeds for the next season, and multiply and spread the contamination, " he said.

"The most important impact of GM agriculture is on the social and economic conditions of farmers," Haerlin told IPS. "In general, GM agriculture makes farmers dependent on the big agrochemical business, and also provokes conflicts between peasants and landowners."

Haerlin accused the agrochemical giants that control the market for GM seeds to use "back doors and bad legislation to put their seeds on the market. They know that otherwise they would not sell their seeds."

Haerlin warned that research and development in agriculture is taking place "more and more only in the chemistry labs, and not on the field, and are concentrated in only a handful of companies." Because of this, organic, traditional seeds are disappearing, he said.

"The environmental consequences are enormous and extremely dangerous, and, once they have happened, it will be too late to turn back the tide," Haerlin said.

According to environmental and agriculture experts, 25 years ago there were at least 7,000 seed growers worldwide, and none of them controlled more than one percent of the global market.

Today, after a takeover spree, ten major biochemical multinationals, including Monsanto, DuPont-Pioneer, Syngenta, Bayer Cropscience, BASF and Dow Agrosciences, control more than 50 percent of the seeds market.

"The goal of these companies is, of course, to make profits," Haerlin told IPS. "In order to improve their profits, they all apply one strategy to increase their control of the market: they impose upon farmers worldwide the so-called vertical integration of inputs, from seeds to fertilisers to pesticides, all from one brand."

Such "vertical integration of agricultural inputs" has transformed agriculture in developing countries into a two-class business, Angelika Hillbeck, researcher on bio-safety and agriculture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, told IPS.

"In the developing countries there is a class of farmers with large plantations and enough money who can afford to buy all inputs from the major biochemical companies, from seeds and fertilisers to pesticides and conservatives,’’ she said.

But there are small farmers for whom the biochemical markets are out of reach. Additionally GM seeds have crowded out organic seeds, reduced botanical diversity, especially in developing countries, and contributed to a further decimation of biodiversity.

All European Union (EU) member countries have joined the United Nations campaign declaring 2010 ‘The Year of Biodiversity’ in an effort to emphasise the need to protect variety in flora and fauna. The U.N., which launched the campaign on Jan. 11 in Berlin, has recognised that the objective set in 2003 to stop the decimation of biodiversity by 2010 would not be reached.

This European engagement in favour of biodiversity appears to be only lip service to the environment cause since, in reality, European institutions support biochemical multinationals that are out to make genetic contamination legal.

Additionally, European institutions appear to have revolving doors connecting some of their leading officers to private biochemical and agribusiness companies - as the case of Suzy Renckens shows.

Renckens was until 2008 head of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)’s GMO Unit and coordinator of the European scientific expert panel dealing with GMOs. One month after she quit the EFSA, Renckens became head of Biotech Regulatory Affairs for Europe, Africa and Middle East at Syngenta, one of the largest European agribusiness companies.

In her own words, Renckens now lobbies on behalf of Syngenta to influence EU decision-making on genetically engineered organisms. This is the very same issue she was responsible for regulating while with the EFSA.

Haerlin said that ‘Save our Seeds’ has formulated a petition, addressed to the EC and other political authorities in Europe, calling for a ban of GMOs in seeds.

The petition, which has been so far signed by well over 200,000 citizens all over the EU, says that "the uncontrolled spread and propagation of GMOs is incompatible with the precautionary protection of the environment and human health."

The petition also says that "the purity of seeds has to be ensured by those who produce or wish to grow GMOs and not by those who wish to continue farming and consuming products without GMOs."

"Costs arising from this obligation must not be borne by consumers and certainly not by farmers," the petition adds. "Liabilities will have to be covered by the producers of GMOs. Such a guarantee may have to be ensured in other directives, regulations and legislation before the proposed directive enters into force."

The initiative ‘Save our Seeds’ is being coordinated by the Berlin-based Foundation on Future Farming, which primarily supports the development and breeding of organic seed.


Etiquetas: , ,

Genetically Modified Wheat

Monsanto, the agricultural biotechnology company, genetically modified a variety of hard red spring wheat to resist the company's Roundup herbicide.

The environment and economy of the Northern Great Plains are threatened by the potential introduction of this genetically modified (GM) wheat. Questions about market acceptance, farmer liability, segregation, and risks to the environment and human health remain unanswered.

We are working to prevent the commercial introduction of GM wheat until these questions are answered.

In May 2004, Monsanto announced that it was shelving research and development on genetically modified (GM) wheat. The announcement followed five years of opposition by wheat farmers, consumers, and food safety activists to the commercial introduction of Roundup Ready wheat.

Market resistance to GM wheat

A 2003 report by Dr. Robert Wisner - a leading grain market economist at Iowa State University - shows the commercial introduction of genetically modified wheat in the next several years could cause major risk to the U.S. wheat industry.

After examining data on existing markets, consumer trends, and grain handling and transportation systems, Dr. Wisner concluded that the commercial introduction of genetically modified wheat could result in the loss of 30% to 50% of U.S. spring wheat export markets, and a reduction of up to one-third in U.S. prices for hard red spring and durum wheat.

On August 23, 2006, WORC released a second update to the Market Risks report. The update found that consumer attitudes towards GM crops are unchanged. The update also responds to claims made by some U.S. wheat growers that GM wheat would reverse declining wheat acres.

* Read WORC's news release for Dr. Wisner's response.

WORC issued a third update of the report by Dr. Neal Blue, a grain market consultant and former research economist at Ohio State Universityon January 27, 2010. A Review of the Potential Market Impacts of Commercializing GM Wheat in the U.S. concludes that wheat buyers in Europe, Japan, and other Asian countries are likely to switch to GM-free
wheat from other countries if GM wheat is introduced in this country. As a result, the price of U.S. hard red spring wheat would fall 40%, and the price of durum wheat would drop 57%.

* Read news release of Dr. Blue's report.


providing background information for the
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)

phone....... +49-531-5168746
fax......... +49-531-5168747
email....... hartmut.meyer(*)
skype....... hartmut_meyer


jueves, enero 28, 2010

The Puerto Rico Coalition for Ecological Agriculture steps up its campaign against genetically modified crops

Press Release

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jan 28 2010 - With the start of the New Year the Coalition for Ecological Agriculture intends to step up its campaign against genetically modified (GM) crops and Governor Luis Fortuño’s anti-environmental policies, which include fast-track approval for the establishment of agricultural biotechnology industries in the island.

Last August, the Coalition condemned the deceitful way in which governor Luis Fortuño signed into law a bill for the promotion of research and development of agricultural biotechnology industries in Puerto Rico. Coalition spokesperson Ruiz-Marrero noted “it is a fallacy to say that GM crops are an improvement on the genetic code and over existing traditional agriculture. Genetically modified organisms are living beings whose genetic codes have been altered and contain genetic combinations that would have never occurred naturally.” Ruiz-Marrero, author and environmental educator, is an investigative journalist with a focus on biotechnology.

The signed bill “shows a lack of adequate information and assessment regarding the devastating impacts of GM agriculture.”

Another Coalition spokesperson, ecologist Katia R. Avilés-Vázquez, maintained that “by signing the GM law, the governor speeds up, in ‘fast-track’ fashion, the approval of services and permits for GM agri-businesses in the island”. Ruiz-Marrero, accused the governor of “eliminating the few regulations that exist to protect the health of the island’s citizens”. A trend the governor and his administration intensified throughout the year 2009 against community environmental conservation in favor of big business. The Coalition augurs a year of increased struggle to reclaim lost terrain in the fight for sustainable agriculture and environmental justice.

The Coalition is a non-governmental organization that advocates for agricultural practices to improve the nation’s health, as well as its ecological and socio-economic well-being. One of its objectives is to raise awareness, engage the citizenry and have an impact on agricultural public policy.

The introduction of GM crops and biotechnology industries does not address the structural, political and economic causes of unemployment and the fiscal crisis in the island” stated Avilés-Vázquez, member of the Puerto Rican chapter of the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology (SOCLA-PR).


Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero

Katia Avilés-Vázquez

Puerto Rico Coalition for Ecological Agriculture:


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- European Union and Japan opposed to biotech wheat

- Lost exports could send U.S. spring wheat down 40 pct (Adds comments)

CHICAGO, Jan 27 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat prices could fall by 40 percent or more if industry efforts to develop a biotech wheat succeed, according to an industry report issued on Wednesday.

The report, issued by the Western Organization of Resource Councils, a farmer and rancher group, cited persistent opposition to genetically modified wheat in Europe, Japan, and other Asian countries. It said buyers in those countries probably would shift purchases away from the United States, if a biotech wheat was commercialized here.

The price of U.S. hard red spring wheat would fall 40 percent, the report predicted, and the price of durum wheat would drop 57 percent.

”Introduction of genetically modified wheat in the United States is a risky proposition,” said the report’s author, industry consultant Neal Blue, a former research economist at Ohio State University.

Any biotech wheat is still years from commercialization as companies like Monsanto Co, Dow AgroSciences, and others research various improvements to the crop through genetic modifications and other means.

Monsanto, a leading developer of corn and soybeans genetically altered to tolerate herbicide treatments and resist pests, backed off a plan to commercialize herbicide-tolerant ”Roundup Ready” spring wheat in 2004. At the time, the industry feared the new wheat would hurt U.S. export business.

Monsanto said last year it was starting a new biotech effort focused on making wheat plants more drought tolerant, more efficient in the use of nitrogen and higher yielding.

U.S. wheat acres have been declining in recent years as farmers shift to more profitable crops. Several wheat industry groups have asked Monsanto and rival seed companies to develop better wheat seed.

Currently no biotech wheat is grown on a commercial scale anywhere in the world due to opposition from consumers and food industry players.

The report issued Wednesday said consumers in the European Union and Japan remained opposed to biotech wheat, and labeling and traceability requirements would make it difficult to sell genetically modified wheat there, the report said.

”Some in the wheat industry seem intent on pushing genetically modified wheat,” said Todd Leake, a wheat farmer and member of the Dakota Resource Council. ”This report strongly suggests they should be very cautious and listen to the customer.”

U.S. Wheat Associates President Alan Tracy said the wheat industry was working to improve international acceptance of biotech wheat in advance of commercial introductions, which are still several years away.

”The U.S. wheat industry has pledged to our customers that we will continue to supply them with the products they need,” said Tracy. ”U.S. wheat growers generally recognize that, if our industry is to prosper, we need to take advantage of technological changes, and that to feed 9 billion people by mid-century, the farmers of the world need to do so as well.” (Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by David Gregorio and Walter Bagley)



Dear Friends and colleagues,

RE: As Weed Resistance Grows, GM Herbicide-Tolerant Crops Fast Becoming Useless

Weeds in GM cotton fields in the US have developed resistance to the herbicide glyphosate to such an extent that this could threaten the sustainable use of glyphosate-resistant crop technology, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. (Items 1 and 2)

This highlights the growing number of cases of GM crops developing resistance to the popular chemical used by numerous GM farmers around the world, most of whom grow Monsanto’s GM crops which are developed to resist the company’s Roundup herbicide.

In its new report (Item 3), GM Freeze said overuse of Monsanto's best selling product on monocultures employing zero tillage has created the conditions for weeds to evolve resistance very rapidly. It cited three examples of Roundup resistant weeds, namely Johnsongrass in Argentina, Horseweed and Palmer amaranth in the USA, which have infest thousands of acres where GM soya is grown. Weeds have also developed multiple resistance to two or more different types of weed killers, thus farmers are fast running out of herbicides to kill them.

The race to develop more chemical-based herbicides needs to end and a non-chemical method of weed control is the only solution to long-term, sustainable farming, according to the report.

With best wishes,

Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister,
10400 Penang ,
Website: and


Item 1

GM cotton crops in US useless

By Will Ockenden

ABC, 12 January 2010

Genetically modified cotton crops in the United States are becoming useless, as weeds evolve a resistance to the herbicide glyphosate.

In the southern cotton crops, mutant weeds are becoming so bad mechanical harvesters are being damaged, and weed control must be done by hand.

A scientific study has found that the herbicide resistant weed population could threaten GM crop technology.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

In this report: Dr Todd Gains, study's lead author, University of Western Australia


Item 2


Gene amplification confers glyphosate resistance in Amaranthus palmeri

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2010 107:955-956

1. Todd A. Gaines(a), (1)
2. Wenli Zhang(b),
3. Dafu Wang(c),
4. Bekir Bukun(a),
5. Stephen T. Chisholm(a),
6. Dale L. Shaner(d),
7. Scott J. Nissen(a),
8. William L. Patzoldt(e),
9. Patrick J. Tranel(e),
10. A. Stanley Culpepper(f),
11. Timothy L. Grey(f),
12. Theodore M. Webster(g),
13. William K. Vencill(h),
14. R. Douglas Sammons(c),
15. Jiming Jiang(b),
16. Christopher Preston(i),
17. Jan E. Leach(a) and
18. Philip Westra(a),(2)

Author Affiliations

1. (a) Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins , CO 80523
2. (b) Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin , Madison , WI 53706
3. (c) Monsanto Company, St. Louis , MO 63167
4. (d) Water Management Research Unit, US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Fort Collins, CO 80526
5. (e)Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois , Urbana , IL 61801
6. (f) Crop and Soil Science Department, University of Georgia , Tifton , GA 31794
7. (g) Crop Protection and Management Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Tifton , GA 31794 8.
8. (h) Crop and Soil Science Department, University of Georgia , Athens , GA 30602
9. (i) School of Agriculture , Food and Wine, University of Adelaide , Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia

(1) Present address: Western Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative, School of Plant Biology , University of Western Australia , Crawley , WA 6009, Australia .

1. Edited by Charles J. Arntzen, Arizona State University , Tempe , AZ , and approved October 29, 2009 (received for review June 16, 2009 )


The herbicide glyphosate became widely used in the United States and other parts of the world after the commercialization of glyphosate-resistant crops. These crops have constitutive overexpression of a glyphosate-insensitive form of the herbicide target site gene, 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS). Increased use of glyphosate over multiple years imposes selective genetic pressure on weed populations. We investigated recently discovered glyphosate-resistant Amaranthus palmeri populations from Georgia , in comparison with normally sensitive populations. EPSPS enzyme activity from resistant and susceptible plants was equally inhibited by glyphosate, which led us to use quantitative PCR to measure relative copy numbers of the EPSPS gene. Genomes of resistant plants contained from 5-fold to more than 160-fold more copies of the EPSPS gene than did genomes of susceptible plants. Quantitative RT- PCR on cDNA revealed that EPSPS expression was positively correlated with genomic EPSPS relative copy number. Immunoblot analyses showed that increased EPSPS protein level also correlated with EPSPS genomic copy number. EPSPS gene amplification was heritable, correlated with resistance in pseudo-F2 populations, and is proposed to be the molecular basis of glyphosate resistance. FISH revealed that EPSPS genes were present on every chromosome and, therefore, gene amplification was likely not caused by unequal chromosome crossing over. This occurrence of gene amplification as an herbicide resistance mechanism in a naturally occurring weed population is particularly significant because it could threaten the sustainable use of glyphosate-resistant crop technology.


  • (2) To whom correspondence should be addressed at: Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, 1177 Campus Delivery, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523. E-mail:
  • Author contributions: T.A.G., S.T.C., S.J.N., J.J., C.P., J.E.L., and P.W. designed research; T.A.G., W.Z., D.W., and B.B. performed research; D.L.S., W.L.P., P.J.T., A.S.C., T.L.G., T.M.W., W.K.V., and R.D.S. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; T.A.G. analyzed data; and T.A.G. wrote the paper.
  • The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.
  • This article contains supporting information online at


Item 3

GM Herbicide Tolerant Crops Escalate the Herbicide Arms Race

GM Freeze, Immediate release: 19 January 2010

Farmers urged to take lead on herbicide resistant weeds and adopt non-chemical approach

A new report [1] on the spread of herbicide resistant weeds in the world calls upon farmers to take the lead in dealing with the problem if scientists and governments fail to do so. Without such action GM herbicide tolerant crops will cause an explosion of herbicide resistant weeds.

Promises from agri-biotech companies that GM herbicide tolerant crops would make weed control in crops such as soya, maize and cotton easier and cheaper now look hollow. This year the GM industry will again try to use the ISAAA report to paper over the cracks and paint GM as a success in world agriculture. This research shows exactly how much more costly HT crops are becoming over time as serious problems spread.

GM Freeze has reviewed the latest evidence on weeds resistant to one or more weed killers in the report published today. The rapid increase in weed resistance, and the key role played by GM herbicide tolerant (GMHT) crops that encourage farmers to depend on one herbicide (Monsanto's Roundup), are highlighted. Overuse of Monsanto's best selling product on monocultures employing zero tillage has created the conditions for weeds to evolve resistance very rapidly.

Three examples of Roundup resistant weeds highlighted in the report (Johnsongrass in Argentina , Horseweed and Palmer amaranth in the USA ) are now all resistant to Roundup and infest thousands of acres where GMHT soya is grown. Farmers are attempting to control them using cocktails of weed killers, which in Argentina includes spraying them from the air. This has serious implications for the local people and environment because spray drifts off target into villages and other crops.

The report also highlights the problem of weeds with multiple resistance to two or more different types of weed killers, including Roundup, in the US soya and maize belt. The options to rotate the use of different weed killers, to spray mixtures of weed killers or to use soil acting weed killers to kill off problem weeds as they germinate are limited by weeds that have already evolved resistance during decades of chemical weed control.

The complexity of planning weed control on all crops will increase as resistance grows. Weed control costs are rising steeply. There is no prospect for development in the next 5-10 years of an effective, new, safe chemical weed killer to substitute for Roundup or other products with resistance problems.

The report calls for greater use of agroecological methods of weed control, including cover crop planting (such clover), crop rotation, crop breaks, mulching with cover crops and other organic materials and mechanical methods. It concludes:

The weed control and monoculture systems adopted for GMHT crops ignore these good agricultural principles and practices despite the fact that "farmers who practice continuous cropping, or intensive cropping, run a much greater risk of developing resistance".[2 ]

Pete Riley of GM Freeze said:

"We are fast running out of chemicals that kill weeds thanks to overuse and poor farming practices. GM herbicide tolerant crops are accelerating the problem, and before too long chemical weed control options could be very limited in some areas. It only requires one weed to develop Roundup resistance for chemical use to escalate. People in Argentina are already facing frequent bouts of aerial spraying with mixtures of weed killers. This is not good for people, the environment or farming.

"Farmers need to make certain that non-chemical weed control methods are being developed in research institutions. They cannot rely on agro-chemical companies and governments to solve a problem they helped create, as all they have to offer is yet more chemicals. We need a revolution in agricultural research and arable farming to make sure we put an end to the pesticides arms race and adopt sustainable approaches to weed control based on agroecology."


Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341065 or 0845 217 8992


[1] To view the full report see

[2] Chaudhry O, 2008. Herbicide Resistance and Weed-Resistance Management. See

miércoles, enero 27, 2010

Worldwatch on Africa biotech

COMMENT: This is one outrageously naive piece. I can't believe this is the same Worldwatch Institute that published Claire Cummins' exposes of biotech follies not too long ago.

For alternative views on biotech crops in Africa go to this link then scroll down:

Danielle (right) and Daniel Kamanga, communications director for Africa Harvest. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Danielle (right) and Daniel Kamanga, communications director for Africa Harvest. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

This is the first of a two-part series to Africa Harvest, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In our Nourishing the Planet project we’re looking at how farmers and researchers all over the world are combining high-tech and low-tech agricultural practices to help alleviate hunger and poverty. One place they’re trying to do this is at Africa Harvest/Biotech Foundation International. The organization’s mission is “to use science and technology, especially biotechnology, to help the poor in Africa achieve food security, economic well-being and sustainable rural development.”

And while the biotechnology component of their mission may be controversial to some, Africa Harvest is determined that Africa will not be left behind when it comes to the development—and use— of the technology by African researchers and farmers. As a result, the organization is focusing on breeding African crops for Africans. “If you want to make a difference on this continent,” says Daniel Kamanga, communications director for Africa Harvest, “you have to look at African crops.” These include staples such as banana, cassava, and sorghum, which are all important sources of nutrients for millions of Africans.

But these are also crops that are heavily impacted by diseases and pests. Bananas, for example, are susceptible to sigatoka virus, fusarium, weevils, nematodes, and others. To combat these problems, Florence Wambugu, the CEO of Africa Harvest and a scientist who formerly worked with Monsanto, helped develop Tissue Culture Banana (TC banana). Banana diseases are often spread through “unclean” planting material. But TC banana technology allows scientists to use biotechnology for the “rapid and large scale multiplication” of disease free bananas—a single shoot can produce 2,000 individual banana plantlets.

Africa Harvest is also working on biofortifying sorghum with Vitamin A, creating “golden sorghum.”

“But of course, there remains the thorny issue of control—among the biggest stumbling blocks for sharing any technology across countries and regions. Biotechnology has so far been largely owned by the private sector.” So, in addition to researching crop production, Africa Harvest is also working to improve capacity building for scientists all over Africa. “If we’re going to have GMOs on the continent,” says Kamanga, “we want scientists who know how to do it.” Along with that, Africa Harvest is working to strengthen regulatory systems for biotechnology.

And how does Africa Harvest respond to criticism about the development and use of biotechnology in agriculture? According to Kamanga, it’s an “old debate” and one that takes place in 5-star hotels, not in farmers’ fields. The issue now, he says, is how we make the best use of this technology.

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Monitoring Environmental Impact of GMOs in South Africa

The ACB has recently lodged an objection to Syngenta's application for the commercial release of its GM maize GA21, and we have also today lodged an application with the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) for a full environmental impact assessment for this GM maize to be conducted. To date, despite more than ten years of commercial growing of GMOs, the South African government still has to call for an EIA for any GMO release. We have in the past made several representations to the SA government for EIAs to be conducted but these have to date, been unsuccessful.

Download the report

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El Mundo según Monsanto (en español)

El Mundo según Monsanto traza la historia del principal fabricante de organismos genéticamente modificados, cuyos granos de soja, maíz y algodón se propagan por el mundo pese a las alertas ecologistas. El documental señala los peligros resultantes del crecimiento exponencial de los cultivos de transgénicos, que en 2007 cubrían 100 millones de hectáreas, con propiedades genéticas patentadas en un 90% por Monsanto.

La directora del documental, la francesa Marie-Monique Robin, centró su película -y un libro del mismo título- en la empresa de Saint-Louis (Misuri, EEUU), que en más de un siglo de existencia fue fabricante del PCB (piraleno), del agente naranja usado como herbicida en la guerra de Vietnam y de hormonas de incremento de la producción láctea prohibidas en Europa.

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lunes, enero 25, 2010


Dear Friends and colleagues,

RE: Negative Effects of Three Approved GM Maize Events

Three commercialized GM maize events (NK 603, MON 810, MON 863), which are present in food and feed in many parts of the world, have been found to have negative effects on rats fed on the GM maize, in feeding trials conducted by Monsanto.

In their findings which have been published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences, researchers from the Committee of Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) and Universities of Caen and Rouen showed that although there were different levels of adverse impacts on vital organs, nonetheless there were specific effects associated with consumption of each GMO, differentiated by sex and dose. Their analysis of the raw data from Monsanto's 90-day feeding trials found adverse impacts on the kidneys and liver as well as different levels of damage to the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system.

The researchers have concluded that all the three GMOs that they have studied contain novel pesticide residues that will be present in food and feed and may pose grave health risks to those consuming them.

Regulatory approvals for the GM maize have been given by the European authorities despite the negative side effects. The scientists therefore have called for the immediate prohibition on the import and cultivation of these GMOs and have recommended that additional research of longer duration be conducted, especially focusing on the kidney and liver.

The full report of the findings is available at:

With best wishes,

Third World Network

131 Jalan Macalister,

10400 Penang ,



Website: and


Item 1

International Journal of Biological Sciences 2009; 5:706-726
Research Paper

A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health

Joël Spiroux de Vendômois1, François Roullier1, Dominique Cellier1,2,
Gilles-Eric Séralini1,3 ?

1. CRIIGEN, 40 rue Monceau, 75008 Paris , France
2. University of Rouen LITIS EA 4108, 76821 Mont -Saint-Aignan, France
3. University of Caen , Institute of Biology, Risk Pole CNRS , EA 2608,
14032 Caen , France

How to cite this article:
de Vendômois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D, Séralini GE. A Comparison of the
Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. Int J Biol Sci
2009; 5:706-726. Available from


We present for the first time a comparative analysis of blood and organ system data from trials with rats fed three main commercialized genetically modified (GM) maize (NK 603, MON 810, MON 863), which are present in food and feed in the world. NK 603 has been modified to be tolerant to the broad spectrum herbicide Roundup and thus contains residues of this formulation. MON 810 and MON 863 are engineered to synthesize two different Bt toxins used as insecticides. Approximately 60 different biochemical parameters were classified per organ and measured in serum and urine after 5 and 14 weeks of feeding. GM maize-fed rats were compared first to their respective isogenic or parental non-GM equivalent control groups. This was followed by comparison to six reference groups, which had consumed various other non-GM maize varieties. We applied nonparametric methods, including multiple pairwise comparisons with a False Discovery Rate approach. Principal Component Analysis allowed the investigation of scattering of different factors (sex, weeks of feeding, diet, dose and group). Our analysis clearly reveals for the 3 GMOs new side effects linked with GM maize consumption, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs. Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system.

We conclude that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.

Item 2

Committee of Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN)

Address: 40, rue de Monceau - 75008 Paris France

Three Major GMOs Approved for Food and Feed Found Unsafe

Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(7), 706-726

Caen , 14 December 2009 : In what is being described as the first ever and most comprehensive study of three major GMOs about assessing the effects on mammalian health, researchers from CRIIGEN and Universities of Caen and Rouen have highlighted a number of new sex and often dose dependent side effects linked with their consumption. Their study of the 90-day feeding trials data of insecticide producing Mon 810, Mon 863 and Roundup herbicide absorbing NK 603 varieties of GM maize clearly underlines adverse impacts on kidneys and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, as well as different levels of damages to heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system. Ironically, the confidential raw data of Monsanto about feeding trials on rats that these researchers have analyzed allowed the international authorization of these three commercialized GMOs in different parts of the world.

Although different level of adverse impact on vital organs were noticed between the three GMOs, the research done by J. Spiroux de Vendomois, F. Roullier, D. Cellier and G.E. Seralini and appeared in the International Journal of Biological Sciences shows specific effects associated with consumption of each GMO, differentiated by sex and dose. Their research follows in the wake of European Governments obtaining the raw data related to feeding of rats for 90 days and making it publically available for scrutiny and counter-evaluation.

The researchers have concluded that all the 3 GMOs that they have studied contain novel pesticide residues that will be present in food and feed and may pose grave health risks to those consuming them.

They have, therefore, called for immediate prohibition on the import and cultivation of these GMOs and have strongly recommended additional long-term (up to 2 years) and multi-generational animal feeding studies on at least three species to provide true scientifically valid data on the acute and chronic toxic effects of GM crops, feed and foods.

CRIIGEN denounces in particular the past opinions of EFSA, AFSSA and CGB, committees of European and French Food Safety Authorities, and others who spoke on the lack of risks on the tests which were conducted just for 90 days on rats to assess the safety of these three GM varieties of maize.

While criticizing their failure to examine the detailed statistics, CRIIGEN also emphasizes the conflict of interest and incompetence of these committees to counter expertise this publication as they have already voted positively on the same tests ignoring the side effects.


Prof. Gilles-Eric SERALINI,; tel. 33 2 31 56 56 84, or 33 6 70 80 20 87.

de Vendômois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D, Séralini GE. A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:706-726.

Available from

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domingo, enero 24, 2010

Nature editorial on synthetic biology

Ten years of synergy

Contributions to and from basic science are the part of synthetic biology that most deserves celebration.

It was an eclectic crowd of engineers, chemists, computer scientists — and, yes, a few biologists too — that gathered in Irvine, California, in November for the US National Academies Keck Futures Initiative discussion on the future needs of 'synthetic biology'. Their very definitions of the field were correspondingly divergent. But when pressed to focus on concrete examples, most discussion groups, at one point or another, pointed to a defining pair of experiments in tailored gene regulation that were published on 20 January 2000: the first synthetic biological oscillator — the 'repressilator' (M. B. Elowitz and S. Leibler Nature 403, 335–338; 2000) — and a bistable gene-regulatory network, or 'toggle switch' (T. S. Gardner et al. Nature 403, 339–342; 2000). So those in the field may not agree on what it is, but they seem to know when it started.

Since then there have been ten years of vibrant interdisciplinary science, and much public discussion both in policy circles and in the media. No such fame could have been predicted at the outset. 'Synthetic biology' was not a common phrase, and many considered the gadgets merely practical extensions of genetic engineering at best, or irrelevant tricks at worst.

Both of those pioneering experiments transposed two great traditions of physics to biology: first, to understand something one must build it, and second, start from the simplest imaginable principles. These directives have set the basic-science agenda for synthetic biology: to design, and thus define, the minimal systems sufficient to produce a given function. As this multidisciplinary field grew, practitioners envisaged bolder applications, such as building collections of interchangeable parts and devices, and transforming microorganisms into factories for biofuels or drugs.

Bringing these applications to reality has proved much harder than was originally hoped (see page 288). But the difficulties have proved instructive. Indeed, the decade-old papers raised several new and fundamental issues in biology, for example by pointing to the crucial role of noise in gene expression, both as a nuisance and as a great computational opportunity. It is now an active area of research.

More importantly, the difficulties encountered when building such basic circuits announced the demise of intuition as a reliable guide to biological understanding. It took endeavours in synthetic biology to illustrate what systems biology perhaps should mean: to enlist mathematical formalism in producing biological insights that are beyond the reach of mere intuition. In that aspect, synthetic and systems biology now seem indissociable, a theme illustrated by the selection of 'synthetic systems biology' papers published in Nature over the past ten years, and gathered in this week's web focus (

Undoubtedly some strands of synthetic biology are media friendly and run the risk of hype. But it is not an overstatement to say that the potential of synthetic biology remains enormous: clean and sustainable biofuels, cheap drug production and synthetic organs are just a few of the applications that have been advanced, albeit through small, painfully incremental steps, in the past decade. Full realization of such elating prospects demands patience as well as the efforts and ingenuity of a rich diversity of biologists, physicists, chemists, mathematicians and engineers.

New gadgets will not be the only outcome. One goal of synthetic biology is to synthesize larger and more complex biological systems, as exemplified by the quorum of genetic clocks displayed by Tal Danino et al. in this issue (see page 326). As it develops along this and other paths, synthetic biology itself will demand more by way of new fundamental biological knowledge — quantitative, systematic, computational and biophysical. And conversely, one of the deepest lessons from these first ten years is that biological knowledge will require synthetic approaches if it is to become a mature and reasonably predictive science.


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sábado, enero 23, 2010

Five hard truths for synthetic biology

Can engineering approaches tame the complexity of living systems? Roberta Kwok explores five challenges for the field and how they might be resolved.

To read some accounts of synthetic biology, the ability to manipulate life seems restricted only by the imagination. Researchers might soon program cells to produce vast quantities of biofuel from renewable sources, or to sense the presence of toxins, or to release precise quantities of insulin as a body needs it — all visions inspired by the idea that biologists can extend genetic engineering to be more like the engineering of any hardware. The formula: characterize the genetic sequences that perform needed functions, the 'parts', combine the parts into devices to achieve more complex functions, then insert the devices into cells. As all life is based on roughly the same genetic code, synthetic biology could provide a toolbox of reusable genetic components — biological versions of transistors and switches — to be plugged into circuits at will.

Such analogies don't capture the daunting knowledge gap when it comes to how life works, however. "There are very few molecular operations that you understand in the way that you understand a wrench or a screwdriver or a transistor," says Rob Carlson, a principal at the engineering, consulting and design company Biodesic in Seattle, Washington. And the difficulties multiply as the networks get larger, limiting the ability to design more complex systems. A 2009 review1 showed that although the number of published synthetic biological circuits has risen over the past few years, the complexity of those circuits — or the number of regulatory parts they use — has begun to flatten out.

Challenges loom at every step in the process, from the characterization of parts to the design and construction of systems. "There's a lot of biology that gets in the way of the engineering," says Christina Agapakis, a graduate student doing synthetic-biology research at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. But difficult biology is not enough to deter the field's practitioners, who are already addressing the five key challenges.


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Struggling SynBio Gets a Boost

Pete Shanks, January 22nd, 2010

Nature image for SynBio

Nature has proclaimed the tenth anniversary of Synthetic Biology, dating the field conveniently to two papers they published on January 20, 2000. The magazine celebrates the moment with a "web focus" that gathers 22 papers (some with free access), plus a podcast and a video. There is also a link to Nature Biotechnology, which has more free articles, including 20 experts trying to define the term, and often disagreeing.

The Nature Editorial admits that "some strands of synthetic biology are media friendly and run the risk of hype" and that "bringing these applications to reality has proved much harder than was originally hoped." An accompanying survey article is titled "Five hard truths for synthetic biology" and presents a sober view of the field, concluding doubtfully:

As the cost of DNA synthesis continues to drop and more people begin to tinker with biological parts, the field could progress faster, says [Rob] Carlson [of Biodesic]. "It's a question of whether the complexity of biology yields to that kind of an effort."

The National Science Foundation has just announced that it is putting up $1.4 million in seed money for just such an attempt. The new BIOFAB (International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology) is joint effort by several of the major players in the field, including Adam Arkin, Drew Endy and Jay Keasling. The idea is to build on the more amateur efforts of the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition and the BioBricks Foundation (BBF) that have been running for several years.

The bioethical debate about Synthetic Biology (whose common abbreviation Nigel Cameron has noted is an unfortunate homonym of "SinBio") is barely started. There are worrying signs that the principals don't take it seriously enough, especially the ever-quotable Endy. He has said, "the questions of playing God or not are so superficial and embarrassingly simple that they're not going to be useful." (This in itself is a statement of limited value.) These developments certainly bear watching -- and discussing.

Previously on Biopolitical Times:



The Science Simplified: How genetic material from GMO corn finds its way to our gut

By Krista Beckley

There have been several reports recently about genetic material from GMO corn making its way into soil, animals and insects. (The study these reports refer to appeared in the Journal of Chemical Ecology in July - Hart et. al 2009) The concept of how these genes enter into other organisms and food systems is often convoluted, and worth laying out again for readers who may have questions.

However the implications for the uptake of certain genes into the food system could have far reaching effects on human health well before scientists are aware of what is actually going on.

The process of how genes move from crops, for instance RoundupReadyⓇ corn, to the environment is not an effect of the use of GMOs, it is a process that occurs naturally in every ecosystem because of bacteria. Bacteria is present in everything in the food system from the soil to the plants themselves. Bacteria undergoes what is called transformation- DNA is taken up through cell-to-cell connections and is utilized by the bacteria in several ways. It is generally believed that this occurs in order to aid the bacteria such that new DNA can help it evolve, gain higher fitness, or for other novel functions. The DNA during transformation does recombine with the bacterial DNA, however, this does not necessarily mean that the DNA will be expressed or change any function of the cell.

The concern raised by this recent study is that bacteria which undergoes transformation is also present in the gut of animals and insects. This means that even though the odds are low that the DNA taken up by eating plant material with transgenic modification will effect our gut cells, the possibility for a change in function of these cells is always there. Although this is true with anything we ingest, the human population has evolved with the plants we eat and thus problems associated with transformation are rare and due to novel genomes of food stuffs.

Although studies have yet to be conducted in large scale human populations, animals can uptake foreign DNA into the blood stream and intestinal cells (Schubbert et. al. 1993) and mice fed transgenic Bt crops have shown structural changes in their intestines (Fares, et, al. (1999). These findings are in addition to the fact that transgenic feed can alter the level of nutrients actually available for the body to use (Malatesta (2009)- which could, for instance, decrease the strength of the body to fight infection and disease.

The reality is that given the amount of transgenic food we eat over our lifetimes, the odds that our gut bacteria will take up the part of the DNA that has been altered -which could negatively effect the function of our cells- increases significantly. The implications for these radical alterations to our cells due to transgenic crops are not well studied. However, it is well known that these constant assaults on our gut bacteria can lead to higher mutation rates of cells- which can lead to higher rates of disease and cancer.

Fares, Nagui H. and Adel K. El-Sayed (1999). Fine Structural Changes in the Ileum of Mice Fed on -Endotoxin-Treated Potatoes and Transgenic Potatoes. Natural Toxins Vol. 6 Iss. 6, 219-233.

Hart et. al.(2009) Detection of transgenic cp4 epsps genese in the soil food web. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 29, 497-501.

Malatesta, M. (2009). Animal feeding trails for assessing GMO safety: answers and questions. Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources 4, 068, 1-13.

Schubbert, R., Lettmann, C., Doerffler, W. (1994). Ingested foreign (phage M 13) DNA survives transiently in the gastrointestinal tract and enters the bloodstream of mice. Mol. Genet. 242, 495



viernes, enero 22, 2010


Organizaciones de agricultores, consumidores, ecologistas y de cooperación recurren ante el defensor del pueblo por la imposición de los transgénicos

Denuncian que el Gobierno favorece los intereses de las multinacionales frente al derecho a una alimentación y una agricultura libres de transgénicos.

Esta mañana se han reunido representantes de las organizaciones Amigos de la Tierra, CECU, COAG, Ecologistas en Acción, Entrepueblos, Greenpeace, Plataforma Rural, Red de Semillas y Veterinarios sin Fronteras con Enrique Múgica Herzog para trasladarle la enorme preocupación de la sociedad civil ante la agresión a los derechos sociales, económicos y culturales que supone el cultivo y el uso de los transgénicos en España.

Con la presentación del documento Exposición acerca del desamparo ante la ley de la alimentación y agricultura libre de organismos modificados genéticamente, estas organizaciones, que consideran imprescindible la misión del Defensor del Pueblo en la protección y la defensa de los derechos fundamentales y las libertades públicas, denuncian la actitud del Gobierno español en materia de transgénicos. La reunión ha sido satisfactoria para todos los asistentes y el defensor del pueblo se ha mostrado interesado en la queja que se ha formulado basada en la documentación entregada.

El Gobierno sigue tolerando el cultivo a gran escala de Organismos Modificados Genéticamente (OMG) en territorio español en contra de la mayoría social y frente a la actitud de precaución adoptada por países como Francia, Austria, Alemania, Hungría, Luxemburgo, Polonia, Irlanda, Grecia o Italia, que mantienen moratorias y prohibiciones a su cultivo. Los niveles de irresponsabilidad política en el Gobierno han alcanzado cuotas peligrosas. De hecho, y por primera vez, el Ministerio del Medio Ambiente, Medio Rural y Marino reconoció el pasado mes de octubre la existencia de personas y de empresas que han sufrido los efectos de la política de transgénicos llevada a cabo por el Ejecutivo español (1). Pero lejos de ejercer un contrapeso al constante y agresivo lobby de las multinacionales agrobiotecnológicas, sigue rechazando tratar los asuntos que las organizaciones ecologistas, agrarias y sociales llevan años poniendo sobre la mesa, tales como la falta de transparencia en los mecanismos de aprobación, evaluación y control, la ausencia de registros públicos de los cultivos transgénicos, las irregularidades en el etiquetado de los alimentos transgénicos, o los reiterados casos de contaminación, etc (2).

Desde hace una década las organizaciones de la sociedad civil denuncian los efectos sociales, ambientales y económicos de la presencia de maíz transgénico en España. La alimentación y la agricultura libres de transgénicos se encuentran en una situación de indefensión total y abocadas a la desaparición, de no poner una remedio inmediato a la actual situación. Frente a las 76.000 ha de maíz transgénico MON 810 de la multinacional Monsanto que se cultivan en España, la agricultura y la ganadería ecológicas siguen siendo víctimas de la multinacional y de la complicidad del Gobierno.

Además, las organizaciones que se han reunido hoy con el Defensor del Pueblo consideran que la situación actual no reconoce el derecho de consumidoras y consumidores a elegir si quieren o no ingerir transgénicos.

Las entidades presentes en la reunión han solicitado al Defensor del Pueblo:

· un dictamen sobre la situación de desamparo legal de la agricultura y alimentación 100% libre de organismos genéticamente modificados

· en su caso, una propuesta de modificación legislativa que garantizaría el amparo legal de la agricultura y alimentación 100% libre de OMG

· el traslado de su dictamen y propuestas a las instituciones pertinentes.


[1] En el orden del día de la Segunda Reunión del Grupo de Trabajo de OGM del Consejo Asesor de Medio Ambiente (CAMA), convocada para el 21 de octubre de 2009 por el Ministerio, aparece un punto en el que se dice textualmente: “Coexistencia de maíz modificado genéticamente con maíz convencional y ecológico. Experiencias de agricultores afectados”.

Ver Comunicado de Prensa del 22 de octubre de 2009

[2] Al informe presentado al Defensor del Pueblo le acompañan, entre otra, documentación sobre:

- Evidencias científicas sobre los impactos y riesgos del maíz transgénicos cultivado en España

- Casos de contaminación genética de agricultores y empresas ecológicas por transgénicos

- Datos que muestran la contaminación generalizada de los alimentos por transgénicos.

Para más información :

Liliane Spendeler, Amigos de la Tierra: 91 306 9921 – 653968935

Prensa de Amigos de la Tierra, Teresa Rodríguez: 680 936 327 - 913069900

Juan-Felipe Carrasco, Greenpeace: 91 444 14 00 - 626 99 82 44

Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción: 619 94 90 53

Prensa Ecologistas en Acción, José Vicente Barcia: 91 531 27 39 - 658654993

Andoni García, COAG: 636 451 569

Prensa COAG, Rubén Villanueva: 629164612

Ana Echenique, CECU: 619 955 277

Red de Semillas, Juanma González: 618-676-116

Fuente: Amigos de la Tierra