Monsanto heads-up - South Africa (25/10/2007)

Letter from Leslie Liddell, Director of Biowatch
Cape Times, October 25 2007

Thank you, Bright Breytenbach of Monsanto, for admitting in an article in the Cape Times of October 22 that there is regular cross-pollination from genetically modified (GM) maize fields to non-GM fields.

It's something your company would probably have said would not occur, when it applied to our government to grow GM plants. So, we hope the government has read what you said and is thinking again about all those GM permits it has granted.

The article also boasts of increases in Monsanto's sale of GM maize seeds and gleefully notes the infiltration of GM maize into the South African food chain. We hope consumers and farmers will think carefully about whether this is good for our environment - the third most biodiverse in the world.

GM is radically different to the modifications that humans have been making to plants and animals over the centuries because it involves transferring genetic material between species that are unrelated in nature.

Unlike many other countries. South Africa has no compulsory separation and labelling of GM crops. Farmers who choose to go the GM-free route must make their own arrangements to keep their products uncontaminated.

It also means consumers have no choice about whether they want to eat the products of this risky new technology. None of the GM crops currently on the market are more nutritious than conventional ones.

Leslie Liddell
Biowatch South Africa director


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