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You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2002 / 0613


13 june 2002: roma, italy

gmos are not the solution to hunger

industrial nations and biotech companies have shown they cannot control their technology

Six years after the 1996 World Food Summit, Friends of the Earth deeply regrets that once again world agriculture and food policies are not addressing the real causes of hunger and instead remain locked in mythical policy solutions that have no chance of ever bringing benefits to the world’s hungry. A clear example of a mythical solution to world hunger problems is biotechnology which while widely discredited as a genuine solution to hunger, nonetheless has been the focus of a powerful lobby campaign by the biotechnology industry and the US Administration in the run up to the Rome Summit.

The widespread condemnation during this week’s Summit of the discovery that food donated by USAID comprised of GM corn StarLink not authorized for human consumption anywhere in the world reflects the complete lack of control that biotech companies have over their products. Friends of the Earth US has requested the US Administration to recall the StarLink corn and to require Aventis to pay for any costs incurred by recalls and replacements (see

According to Juan Lopez of Friends of the Earth International, "The promises of the biotech companies are broken every time one of these contamination incidents happens. FAO should think twice before getting so closely in bed with biotechnology."

Additionally, as illustrated by contamination results recently reported from Mexico, distribution of whole seed intended for consumption likely leads to planting in centers of origin threatening agricultural diversity. Corn seed sent as food aid to Guatemala has been confirmed to contain GMOs not authorized in the European Union. In Nicaragua the presence of GMOs was also confirmed in corn seed as food aid in a donation made by Germany.

"The fact that Germany is financing corn seed contaminated with GMOs and has sent it to a center of origin of corn such as Nicaragua is another proof of the irresponsible management of this technology" said Julio Sanchez from Centro Humboldt-Friends of the Earth Nicaragua.

Other discovery of genetic contamination in food aid has also happened in several Latinoamerican countries in the last months.

“Food Aid programmes when used systematically in impoverished countries serve as instruments for the dumping of production surplases from Northern countries and contribute to the destruction of local production and create dependency” says Ana Lucia Bravo Acción Ecológica-Friends of the Earth

Ecuador. Friends of the Earth Latinoamerica is requesting the Governments in the Summit, the FAO and the WFP to forbid GMOs in food aid programmes, in accordance with the precautionary principle.

Increasing numbers of organizations have been expressing concern about the promotion of biotechnology as a solution for developing countries. The international development organization, Oxfam International, recently announced a moratorium on GMOs and the needf for improved enforcement of monitoring systems to stop GMOs from entering countries in food aid.

Contact: Juan Lopez, FoEI, tel. 3397449630



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