Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Environment

Experimental GMOS

Object to Syngenta setting up in SA  Posted on Pambazuka News

Biosafety Africa

19 May 2005


ACTION ALERT: PLEASE BLAST SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT FOR ENTERTAINING FLURRY
OF FOOD SAFETY APPROVALS FOR EXPERIMENTAL GMOS

FIRST IT WAS DOW AND PIONEER, NOW IT IS SYNGENTA

It has come to our attention that the Swiss agrochemical company, Syngenta,
has applied to the South African government for food safety approval
(commodity clearance) of its GM maize MIR 604, which is still undergoing
field- tests in the US.[1] In other words, this GM maize has not yet been
approved by the US for commercial growing, sale and export.

GM maize MIR 604, contains the Bt gene, "modified" cry3A, very similar to
the cry3A gene found in Monsanto’s controversial NewLeaf GM potatoes, which
even McDonalds and Burger King have rejected!

Please send your urgent and strenuous objections to Michelle Vosges,
Registrar: Genetically Modified Organisms Act MichelleV@nda.agric.za for the
attention of the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee, Professor Sibara.

GROUNDS FOR OUTRIGHT REJECTION

1.      The safety approval sought by Syngenta in respect of GM maize MIR
604 still subject to field tests in the US appears to be in conflict with
the principles and provisions of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to
which South Africa is a Party, because the Protocol applies to real
situations of cross border trade in GMOs and not to speculative trade in
respect of non- existent GMOs;

2.      An expert in food allergens from the Food and Drug Administration in

the US, has found that Cry3a has similarity to a known food allergen found

in cow’s milk, betalactoglobulin, making Syngenta’s "modified" cry3a a

potential allergen;

3.     Even if the Syngenta’s GM maize was to be approved in the US, the

methods accepted by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in the US to

test for allergenicity of pesticidal proteins are outdated and fail to meet

international standards as expressed in FAO-WHO. The FAO-WHO 2001 has been

endorsed by Kraft Foods, America’s largest food company;

4.     The digestive stability test accepted by EPA does not meet FAO-WHO

2001 standards for testing and proper testing is needed to determine whether

modified Cry3a is stable to digestion and hence a still more likely food

allergen;

5.     The American food industry – led by McDonald’s and Burger-King – has

rejected GM potatoes containing a very similar Cry3a protein. Why should

South African eats food containing foreign genes that Americans do not want

to eat; and

6.     The world’s leading allergists have greed to a protocol for testing

novel GM proteins for allergenicity; Kraft Foods has endorsed this protocol.

Yet the EPA continues to accept testing based on outdated, sub-standard

methods at the behest of GM crop developers such as Syngenta and Monsanto.

It goes without saying that the  South African government is only too happy

to follow the EPA’s example!

The Precautionary Principle enshrined in the Biosafety Protocol requires

that the South African government refuse Syngenta’s Application.

Although the deadline for objections has long since passed, we believe that

the government must consider our objections according to the principles of

procedural fairness and just administrative action required by the

Constitution of SA and the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act.

[1] http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/p
ips/current_pip_eups.htm

Syngenta Seeds, Inc.; 67979-EUP-4 issuance; Modified Cry3A Bacillus

thuringiensis protein and the genetic material necessary for its production

(via elements of pZM26) in Event MIR604 corn (SYN-IR6Ø4-5); March 23, 2005

through Otober 15, 2006 and associated activities such as collection of

field data; harvesting & processing of seed after last planting; 575 acres

modified Cry3A corn in Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas,

Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska,

Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin. Docket No.

OPP-2004-0227.

3 Comments

  1. will hearing from americans have any influence? in other words, will an email from me be of any help?

  2. Yes, I believe every email counts. We should bombard them with our emails – “bridge the divide”.
    thanks

  3. i have passed this along…