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contamination by genetically modified organisms

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:20 PM

Numerous cases of contamination of non-GM crops by unauthorised, illegal or undesired GM crops have occurred following the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment.

ricefield.jpg New: Rice is the most consumed cereal grain in the world, constituting the dietary staple food for more than half of the planet’s human population. About 80% of the world's rice is grown by small-scale farmers in developing countries. Now our rice is under threat of being contaminated with genetic engineered varieties developed by the biotech industry and some scientists.

Unapproved gm rice found: ban on Chinese rice imports urgently needed

Unapproved gm rice found in the US

See FoEI briefing paper: GM Rice: a new threat to our food supply , September 2006

 

Numerous cases of contamination of non-GM crops by unauthorised, illegal or undesired GM crops have occurred following the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment. From Europe to North America, Asia to Latin America, once a GMO is released contamination has no boundaries. The contamination cases we see today are of huge concern, particularly because the contamination we know about is probably just the tip of the iceberg in comparison to that which we do not yet know. See GMO Contamination around the world.


Friends of the Earth has monitored the seed and food supply all over the world for the presence of illegal or inauthorized GMOs in every continent since 2000.


StarLink and other unauthorized GMOs found in the food chain around the world

In 2000 FoE US leaded the discovery of StarLink, a GM maize variety no t authorised for human consumption as food because of the potential allergenicity of the protein Cry9C that was genetically engineered into the maize. Nevertheless, in 2000 StarLink was discovered in ‘Taco Bell’ taco shells, a maize-derived food product eaten in the US purchased by FoE US Larry Bohlen. The magnitude and gravity of the StarLink contamination was breathtaking. More than 300 corn products were recalled across the United States. Despite the fact that StarLink was only planted on 0.4 per cent of total US corn acreage, the number of acres contaminated was much greater. More surprisingly, the contamination was not confined to just StarLink-branded seeds.

 

 

At the June 2002 United Nations World Food Summit in Rome, Latin American NGOs announced that StarLink had been found in US food aid in Bolivia. See Playing with Hunger


StarLink was found five years later again in Central America.


Biopharmaceuticals

The US experience provides another example of a major concern for the environment: “biopharmaceuticals”. “Biopharming” is an experimental application of biotechnology in which plants are genetically engineered to produce pharmaceutical proteins and chemicals that they do not produce naturally. A few known examples include a contraceptive, potent growth hormones, a blood clotting agent, blood thinners, industrial enzymes, and vaccines.

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