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Soapbox for the 99%: when will politicians answer questions about GM contamination and the global control of food supplies?

From a Cumbrian farmer by email:

The way DEFRA minister Paterson et al continue to try and soften up the public to get them to accept something they do not want is, to me somewhat distasteful, akin to a sort of grooming.

He has claimed those who are anti GM have caused blindness in poor communities world wide , but vitamin drops or even carrots would have prevented it.

Never do those in favour answer questions on GM contamination, unfair prosecutions of those whose crops are contaminated and global control of food supplies.

An article in the current Royal Horticultural Society magazine claims there is still a threat that the EU legislation will criminalise gardeners who exchange seeds with neighbours

However, last minute changes were made to this draft regulation after intense lobbying. ARC 2020 reports that in a communique published by the Romanian news agency Agerpres, EU Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Cioloş declared that under new regulation small producers can continue to freely exchange seeds and register new varieties at no extra cost.

He went on to say that all traditional seed varieties that are already on the market will be recorded in a separate register at no cost to small producers. The Commissioner made these declarations at the opening of the 36th World Congress of Vines and Wine  in Bucharest, adding:

“(An initial version of the draft regulation proposed by the European Commission) has been amended at my initiative, because we wanted to be consistent with the goal of giving small producers new market opportunities. I asked for the introduction of a series of issues into this regulation that separately recognize the production and marketing of seeds by small producers.

The full text of the draft legislation is here


DEFRA Minister Paterson: listen to the GM contamination evidence – not the biotech companies

Megan Noble and Lawrence Woodward: “UK’s push for GM crops looks ill considered and irresponsible”.

GM wild2Does Owen Paterson – described as the biotech companies’ latest PR man – know about the recent experience of GM contamination in Oregon, Switzerland, Western Australia and other regions? The fear is that GMOs cannot be contained in the field, the food chain or even in research trials.

  • South Korea doesn’t grow genetically engineered crops but imports animal feed. It is finding GM plants growing wild in areas around major ports, factories, livestock farms and roads. The most commonly found GM species were maize (corn), cotton and rapeseed. The National Institute for Environmental Research reported that there has been a 33% increase in the level of detected GMO contamination cases in the wider environment since 2009.
  • GM canola (oilseed rape) is being spilled as it passes through the Rhine port of Basel and along Switzerland’s railway system. Bernard Nicod, a member of the executive committee of the Swiss Farmers’ Association said, “It would be hard to separate the cycle of production and distribution of conventional agriculture from that of transgenic agriculture. We are not sure we can cope with the extra costs of that kind of separation.”
  • Genetically modified (GM) wheat growing in Oregon led to Japan and South Korea banning imports of US white winter wheat. The discovery was made by the University of Oregon and forwarded on to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Neither Monsanto or the USDA has explained how the contamination occurred. See the Guardian this week.
  • Currently beset by fracking-related problems, earlier this month a local paper reported tests on genetically modified wheat in North Dakota. These are being conducted by Monsanto – following the discovery of contamination in neighbouring Oregon – under a ‘cloak of secrecy’, a local farmer said Monsanto, which owns a wheat development company based in the nearby city of Bozeman, didn’t respond to a request for comment last week. In 2010, Nature reported GM canola growing wild in the region.
  • Legal proceedings are still under way after an organic farm in Kojonup Western Australia was contaminated, in 2010, with genetically modified canola contamination. The WA government revoked Steven Marsh’s organic certification.
Lesley Docksey, in Global Research, writes:

“This constant dishonest pressure on the public from people like Paterson to accept something they do not want must stop.  It is dishonest because their ‘facts’ are at the least unproven, and at worst, untrue.  Nor do they really care about feeding the world.  If they did they’d stop the waste of so much food and ensure people had equal access to what the earth can provide.  This is all about giving the biotech companies control over the world’s food”.

Noble & Woodward conclude: “Until a solution to prevent contamination is found the answer is to stop transporting these genetically engineered crops across the world; stop feeding them to animals; and even to stop growing them”.