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public notice when gm sneaks
Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2008-01-08 10:56
On the 9th September 2001, while the Twin Towers were collapsing in a heap on television sets around the world, Labour Party aide, Jo Moore, penned a memo at 2.55pm UK time: "It is now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury. Councillors expenses?".
Aside from terrorist attacks, natural disasters or world cup sporting events, other times of the year to ensure news does not get read includes Easter, Christmas and other public holidays.
Syngenta chose to publish their (obligatory) public notice to import genetically modified maize into the country on 16th Dec - the Day of Reconciliation. It's also roughly the time civil society NGO's wind up for the year, along with the rest of us consumers, and go and lay on the beach. Considering that there are only 30 days to object to the Registrar of Genetically Modified Organisisms (by 16th Jan) is this just inconsiderate timing or is their intention to place the notices so that minimal objections are received?
Actually two notices were published in the Sunday Times Business Times classified section, on separate pages probably so as not to draw undue attention to themselves.
They are both titled "PUBLIC NOTICE Commodity Clearance of Genetically Modified Maize" and should the Registrar of Genetically Modified Organisisms issue the permits it would entitle grain traders to import these particular types ("events") of GM Maize. Quantities are not mentioned in the notice so I assume that once the Registrar gives the nod, it is open hunting season and that the permits serve as a blanket authority to import any quantity the grain traders see fit. The grain will be "for use as [human] food, [animal] feed, and / or processing in South Africa".
I have objections with genetically modified food being grown or imported in SA, in general terms, without looking at the specifics of these two maize varieties. Here are a few:
Some info about the proteins contained in the maize products we'll all soon be ingesting if the Registrar issues these two permits to Syngenta:
MIR604 expresses the following proteins:
GA21 expresses the following proteins:
Genetic engineering is still playing Russian roulette with Nature. The truth is we are not quite sure what we are doing and what the long term effects will be on human health and natural systems. Yes there could be positive applications of GM technology, but the short-term, for-profit thinking is clouding the view of what could be an eco and health disaster. This has been demonstrated with the anti-biotic resistant marker gene that was in common use now being restricted in the EU because of fears of an anti-biotic resistant superbug developing. Studying the effect of a genetic experiment in 10 Mice and 10 Rainbow trout is hardly representative of the havoc we could wreak by letting an organism that is capable of replicating itself into the wild. A crazy experiment indeed.
Call me conservative, but I'd rather be eating what nature intended and not what a multinational company deems necessary to please its shareholders.
For comments or objections contact: Registrar: Genetically Modified Organisms; Private Bag X973, PRETORIA, 0001; Fax 012 319 6329