GM CROPS: WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Multinational companies are aggressively promoting genetically modified (GM) crops around the world, claiming that they are 'the way to feed the hungry'. These crops have had genes from other species added to them, in a haphazard and unpredictable process which often involves the use of bacteria and viruses.
Most GM crops are 'engineered' to be resistant to specific patented herbicides like glyphosate, some of which are highly toxic. Nobody knows for sure what the effects of these plantings or the herbicides will have on human health or on the environment. Agrochemical companies are manipulating and patenting living organisms, and are releasing GM crops into the environment on a large scale without having any idea what the long-term consequences may be, and without devising any means of controlling their spread or "recalling" them in case of disaster.
- Evidence from more than ten years of GM plantings in North America shows increasing use of herbicides, problems with herbicide resistant 'superweeds' and falling yields
- Once released, there is no way to prevent GM pollen contaminating bees and native plant species and no way to prevent seed spillage and contamination due to mismanagement.
- DNA from GM crops has been found in wild maize growing in remote mountains in Mexico, 62 miles from the nearest GM crops in California and 4 years after Mexico introduced a moratorium on all GM plantings. The number of GM "contamination incidents" worldwide has reached almost epidemic proportions, involving GM rice, GM maize, GM canola and many other varieties.
- A director of Monsanto has said that his company "should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible". Like the other biotechnology multinationals, Monsanto systematically resorts to fraud in its own GM research and promotion work, and systematically suppresses "inconvenient" evidence relating to GM health and safety.
- There is increasing evidence of physiological damage to animals fed on GM components during feeding trials, and of environmental damage associated with GM crops and their associated herbicides. This evidence is frequently sidelined or belittled by regulatory bodies in the UK, EC and USA, since these bodies are for the most part packed with hand-picked GM scientists.
- Most of the approvals for GM crops are based upon "advocacy science" provided by the GM companies in dossiers which are often protected from public scrutiny by "commercial in confidence" provisions. Inconvenient or potentially damaging evidence is systematically omitted from these dossiers.
- Much of the research presented in support of GM applications is non-replicable, since the GM multinationals will not allow their seeds to be used by genuinely independent researchers for public- interest research.
- GM crops and foods do nothing to alleviate global hunger and poverty, and evidence from around the world shows that in areas where GM crops are introduced, small farmers and whole communities become serfs in a system dominated by high costs, viciously enforced contracts, chemical management methods, and corporate feudalism.
This all adds up to a system which is thoroughly corrupt, and which places public health and safety at risk. That is why GM Free Cymru, and many other organizations, are fighting for sound science and a GM regulatory system that places the public interest above the narrow commercial ambitions of the biotechnology multinationals.