Wordsmith.org: Today's Word

Commentary, news, new ideas, links, quote of the day and much more

Today's Quote:

Saturday, September 23, 2006

GMO Problems - the Tip of the Iceberg

EU chases GMO-tainted rice strain in four countries - Yahoo! News
By Jeremy Smith Thu Sep 21, 1:45 PM ET

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe's problems with shipments of unauthorized genetically modified (GMO) rice have taken a turn for the worse as two U.S. shipments tested positive for an illegal biotech strain, the EU executive said.

The Belgian food safety agency said it was likely that some of the rice had been eaten by consumers but the food did not constitute an "imminent threat to public health."

The two bargeloads within a 20,000-tonne cargo that had passed through the Dutch port of Rotterdam in August had first tested negative for the LL Rice 601 strain, developed by Germany's Bayer AG as resistant to a herbicide.

But Dutch counter-tests contradicted those first results,
European Commission spokesman Philip Tod told a news briefing on Thursday, adding that EU procedures for testing U.S. long-grain rice imports would now be strengthened.

"In the light of these developments, the European Commission intends to take further action to strengthen the measure ... requiring the testing of U.S. long-grain rice imports for LL 601," he said, declining to specify what action was envisaged.

In August, the EU tightened requirements on U.S. long-grain rice imports to prove the absence of LL Rice 601. Its decision followed the discovery by U.S. authorities of trace amounts of LL Rice 601 in long-grain samples targeted for commercial use.

No biotech rice is allowed to be grown, sold or marketed on the territory of the 25
European Union countries.

Then, EU authorities were informed about a shipment loaded in New Orleans that arrived in Rotterdam in late August carrying the equivalent of one month's average EU imports of U.S. long-grain rice.

Later, one EU official said France, Britain, Germany and Belgium had been asked to conduct checks to trace any rice from the bargeloads. That was because the shipments were accompanied by certificates showing they were GMO-free, he said.

One of the two consignments that the Dutch tests revealed as carrying the LL Rice 601 strain is still under the control of the Dutch authorities. The other was sent to Belgium, where it is also being held by the national authorities.

A further 11 consignments that were initially certified as GMO-free were sent to Britain, France and Germany, he said.

"We have asked the authorities in those countries to carry out counter-tests," he told reporters.

"There are a lot of questions to which we don't have answers," he said. "All we know is that they were in possession of valid certificates and that is why they were released."

The Rotterdam cargo was split into 30 consignments each equating to the volume of one barge. In 2005, EU states imported 300,000 tonnes of U.S. rice, of which 85 percent was long grain.

The above problems with keeping GMO out of other similar crops is but a tiny tip of the problems Genetically Modified Organisms can (and probably WILL) cause in the future. It is impossible to keep GM seeds, or even pollen out of non-GM fields. Many farmers have been complaining about this, since patents are held on the GM crops and testing is regularly done by the patent holders to make sure no one is "stealing" their work. But wind, rain, and animals spread GM crops to the fields of farmers who are not using and do not want to use the patented food products. The patent holders are nevertheless intent upon charging them for the use of the patented product! What is even worse is that many if not most of the GMO's have a built-in sterility factor which causes subsequent plantings to produce no seed at all. Farmers everywhere depend on the previous year's production to also provide the seeds for the next year. When the GMO goes wild, every farmer is at risk. This is true especially in the huge "under-developed" world where the GMOs are being aggressively marketed. Poor farmers expecting to pay once for the product, find themselves forever dependent on the GMO provider to ensure continuing production of their crops. Those who may be aware of the dangers or who don't want to become dependent on foreign suppliers, will be forced to do so because the GMO product travels from the original fields to others. The clincher is that these GMOs are often designed to make the plant resistent to certain chemical control agents (weed control, pest control, disease control. Once the crop is introduced, the chemical control must also be used because the natural unmodified crops are destroyed by the chemicals. And like the spores and pollen of the GM food crops, the chemical controls are spread by wind and other factors killing non-modified crops. A very lucrative cycle is thus set up by the patent holder of the GMOs who are usually also the patent holders of the chemical controls! Imagine that all our food crops become hostage to one or two huge multinational chemical companies and what do you foresee? Who controls the world? Obviously, whoever controls the food supply, controls the world!

No comments:

About Me

My photo
I live on the Pacific slopes of the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica. My adult children live in the United States. I have a Masters Degree in Gerontology but have worked as a migrant laborer, chicken egg collector, radio broadcaster, secretary, social worker, research director, bureaucrat, writer, editor, political organizer, publicist, telephone operator, and more. My hobby of photography has garnered some awards.

Blog Archive