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Consumers for GM Free Food

Genetic Modification of Crops by Sally Wylie

‘Any scientist who assures you that these (GM) products are safe is either very stupid or lying’. David Suzuki, geneticist.

‘Consumers for GM Free Food’ have been active in Margaret River for about 3 years.  I saw the film ‘The Future of Food’ which alerted me to the dangers inherent in the production of GM food and then prompted me to organise a showing of the film. From there a group was formed.

Photograph courtesy Augusta Margaret River Mail

The prime aim of the group is to educate people as to the” tsunami” that is GM crops. To do this we have stalls where we provide people with information, run film nights and fundraise. We have presently organised a showing of the highly acclaimed film ‘Food Inc’ in Margaret River on October 5, 2010.

Genetically Modified crops are alarming for several basic reasons.

These foods have never been independently tested; however small scale testing with animals points to severe health and reproductive problems. There is no evidence that these foods are safe. In Australia there has been a large increase in anaphylactic shock syndrome (severe allergic reaction) in children since the introduction of GM into our diet.

‘We need rigorous, independent and long-term studies to evaluate if these foods put the population at risk.’  Jim Willoughby, former President, American Academy of Environmental Medicine.

Up until now mankind has made its progress in the improvement of seeds through traditional plant breeding (which involves sex: a male and female of the one species).

GM takes a gene from one  species and blasts it into a  totally different species e.g. human liver gene into rice, so not only are we eating proteins man has never eaten before, scientists themselves do not know what happens within the cell which has been modified because this is crude science.

‘The products of genetic engineering today are still at the level of a dinosaur technology. We use genes which are foreign to a species, not knowing where they are inserted or what else will change in the whole chain from gene to protein.’ Cesare Gessler Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

These crops were originally released in the US against the advice of the US Food and Drug Administration scientists.

Monsanto, the most reviled company in the world, listed 581st out of 581 companies, owns the bulk of GM seeds.

They fight labeling laws and any attempts to test the effects of eating GM.

The motivation for GM seeds is corporate profit. These seeds are patented so farmers can not save the seeds and must sign a contract with Monsanto that is onerous.

What then compounds the issue is that GM crops contaminate non GM crops very readily; once introduced they can not be withdrawn. Our fear is that in a short time many conventional or organic foods will no longer be available GM free. Farmers in the US whose fields are contaminated are prosecuted by Monsanto for illegally using their seed.

In Australia once the GM food is processed it does not have to be labeled. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), has accepted every GM crop proposed for release in Australia by Monsanto, based on Monsanto’s data. FSANZ have been forced to admit they do not even read the data in many cases.

‘Up till now all technologies were controllable. GM is the first irreversible technology in human history.’ Prof. Susan Bardocz, biochemist and nutritionist.

Under the constant spraying of Round Up Ready GM crops, a huge problem with glyphosate resistant weeds has arisen in the US which results in the use of stronger and stronger herbicides. Some farmland has had to be abandoned.

Monsanto is strongly entwined with the US government, their officials moving in and out of key government departments. The fear is that Monsanto, a massive corporation, which sells the patented seeds, the fertilizer, the herbicides and pesticides (as well as the pharmaceuticals when they make us sick) will gain control of the world food supply. They have already bought out the largest seed companies in the world.

All this is very confronting and overwhelming but when folk become aware of the threat from GM seeds they become fierce opponents of the industry.

Shop GM free using the Truefood Guide, available at Blue Ginger, Margaret River; Greenpeace or online at http://www.truefood.org.au/truefoodguide/

Eat fresh food – organic if you can find it and afford it.

Would you like to know more?

If you would like more information or have questions please email Sally on kwylie@westnet.com.au

Further Reading:

Gene Ethics www.geneethics.org

MADGE www.madge.org.au

Books:  “Seeds of Deception” & “Genetic Roulette”, both by Jeffery Smith (available in Margaret River library if you are a local reader).

Jeffery Smith’s site: www.responsibletechnology.org

How you can help?

MADGE and other against GM groups hope you can help to get the message out Right Now.  Greenpeace has started a great campaign called “Aussie Kids aren’t Guinea Pigs”.  They have set up a quick automatic email to Health Minister Nicola Roxon https://www.greenpeace.org.au/issues/GE/

but there are other very important (and perhaps more immediate) things you can do right now to help…

Please visit the MADGE website, www.madge.org.au to find out more, including a recent campaign staged in Melbourne and Sydney by Greenpeace and concerned Australian mothers as a result of test findings of GM in infant formula.