Genetic Contamination Registry Available
(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2005) Greenpeace and GeneWatch UK recently introduced the Genetically Modified (GM) Contamination Register, available on-line since June 1st. The registry is the first of its kind to list worldwide incidences of GM organisms contamination of conventional food, feed, animals, and wild plants.
The timing of the release of the on-line registry coincides with ongoing meetings of the Parties to the Biosafety Protocol, a group of international delegates working on the issues regarding international trade of genetically modified organisms. For more information on the Biosafety Protocol and trade regulations see our Pesticides and You article.
The recent meetings of the delegates specifically address the liability regulations for genetically modified crops. The groups responsible for creating the registry hope that its availability will influence the adoption of stricter regulations as well as increase public awareness of the hazards of GM organisms.
“If states do not act and set strict rules now, GM crops will further contaminate lands, seeds and food around the world" said Doreen Stabinsky, of Greenpeace International.
"No Government or international agency has established a public record of contamination incidents or other problems associated with GM crops. This register has been established because the official approach of ‘turning a blind eye’ is not good enough when dealing with a technology like GM where living organisms are released to the environment. We hope this register will form an important resource for citizens and regulators in the future," reports Dr. Sue Mayer, the Director of GeneWatch UK.
The registry thoroughly illustrates the widespread impact of GM contamination, which has been occurring since GM's introduction in 1996. The registry reports that 27 countries have experienced a total of 63 cases of GM contamination of food, feed, seed or wild plants. Eleven of these incidences occurred in the United States. Contamination from StarLink maize was found in 7 countries: USA, Canada, Egypt, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Japan and South Korea. Illegal releases of GM crops into the environment or food chain have taken place in India (cotton), Brazil (cotton and soya), China (rice), Croatia (maize), Europe, Germany (papaya) and Thailand (cotton and papaya). Six cases of negative agricultural side-effects have been recorded including deformed cotton bolls and the emergence of herbicide tolerant ‘super-weeds.’
For more information
contact about the registry:
Dr. Sue Mayer, GeneWatch UK +44 1298 871898
Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace International 202 285 7398
TAKE ACTION: Protect our land and food from genetically modified ingredients and crops. Buy USDA certified organic products. Lobby your supermarket to label GM food. Support local efforts to prohibit growing GM crops and contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative, U.S.EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson. For more information, see Beyond Pesticides' Genetic Engineering Page and Beyond Pesticides' Daily News Archive.