Illegal GM corn found in Brazil (2/12/2005)

1.Illegal GM corn found in Brazil
2.Brazil - Monsanto Seeds Smuggled in from Argentina

Looks like Brazil's paying the inevitable price for Lula's cowardice over illegal GM soya cultivation.

1.Illegal GM corn found in Brazil
Luisa Massarani
Source: SciDev.Net, 2 December 2005

[BRASILIA] Genetically modified (GM) corn is being illegally sold in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, according to an accusation by the state deputy Frei Sergio Antonio Gorgen .

Frei Sergio, who presented his claim to the Federal Public Ministry on 11 November, received an anonymous tip-off last month that a company in Barao de Cotegipe (north of Rio Grande do Sul) was selling modified corn smuggled from Argentina.

In a sample bought from the company, the researchers found a GM corn (GA21) produced by the company Monsanto. Tests showed that more than one quarter (27.5 per cent) of the seeds were genetically modified.

The risk of contaminating local varieties of corn with GM strains is greater than with soya, says Frei Sérgio, because pollen can be carried up to nine kilometres away by insects, birds and wind.

Last month, Brazil enacted a law allowing GM crop commercialisation in the country (see Brazil enacts GM and stem cell law after 8-month wait). However, the companies must obtain permission to sell such crops from CTNBio, the national commission for biosafety.

"No permission was provided for growing GM corn in Brazil, because in the case of corn it is not excluded that it might contaminate native species," says Jairon Alcir Santos do Nascimento, executive-secretary of CTNBio.

"This is a very serious problem, since it shows that there is no suitable bio-vigilance in the border between Brazil and other countries," says Rubem Nodari, manager of genetic resources in the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture. He adds that this also raises concern over the possible emergence of plagues and agricultural diseases.

Rio Grande do Sul has been a stage for controversies since 2003 (see Brazil faces dilemma of 'illegal' GM soya), when it was found that about 90 per cent of the soya grown there was genetically modified due to seeds smuggled from Argentina.

2.Brazil - Monsanto Seeds Smuggled in from Argentina
Latin American News, 24 Nov 2005

24/11 - Farmers in the Southern state of Rio Grande do Sul buy corn seeds that have been genetically manipulated and smuggled into Brazil.

Trading genetically manipulated corn is illegal in Brazil. However, there are complaints that a company in the town of Barão de Cotegipe is selling these seeds, which has recently been confirmed by newspaper Brasil de Fato. A sample of corn sold in Cotegipe was analyzed in the Alac laboratory in the city of Garibaldi. The results confirmed the presence of 27.5% of the GA21 gen.

This gen is used for the production of corn RR GA21, which is produced by US multinational Monsanto which dominates the market in Argentina.

Jânio Luciano Campesato is the owner of the company that sells the genetically manipulated corn in Barão de Cotegipe. According to one of his clients who made the accusation without identifying himself, the entrepreneur receives a weekly shipment of the product and does not provide receipts when he sells the seeds.

The seeds are sold at 15 reales (about $6.50) per kilo. Conventional corn seeds are priced at between 3 and 4 reales. (PULSAR)

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