Consumers International intensifies anti-GM campaign (5/12/2005)

Consumers International intensifies anti-GM campaign
Angola Press, 30 Nov 2005

Dakar, Senegal, 11/30 - Consumers International (CI), the worldwide federation of consumer organisations, together with the Foundation for Consumers, Thailand`s leading independent consumer group, has launched a global campaign against genetically modified (GM) crops and foods.

A CI release said the "Consumers say NO to GMOs" campaign would "press governments and international bodies for a moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in seeds, crops and foodstuffs, while putting stringent safeguards in place for GM foods already in the market."

Speaking at the launch in Bangkok, Amadou Kanoute, Director of Consumers International Africa Office (CI-ROAF), touched on efforts to introduce GM seeds and crops to African countries.

He warned that "rather than solving hunger in Africa GM would further impoverish African farms by making them totally dependent on corporate giants, such as Monsanto, who would have a monopoly on seed supply."

According to CI, about two-thirds of GM crops are grown in the USA, with the remainder in a few key countries.

But most countries have not switched to GM crops, partly because of widespread consumer resistance to GM foods.

Michael Hansen, from the Consumers` Union (United States) and an expert on the effects of biotechnology on agriculture, explained the basics of genetic engineering and some of the dangers it posed.

He said some of the science that supposedly supported GMOs was dubious, stressing that precautionary principle must prevail.

Saree Aongsomwang, Director of the Foundation for Consumers, outlined the current situation in Thailand and explained why it was so vital for Thai farmers to resist the pressure to adopt methods based on GM crops.

She pointed out the inadequacy of labelling laws in Thailand, showing how some labels were hidden or inadequate, while others were missing altogether.

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