GMO Regulatory Issues
Civil Society Calls for PUBLIC Parliamentary Hearings on Genetically Modified Food PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Monday, 09 September 2013 12:32

On the 6th of August 2012, the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB), supported by 18 health professionals, more than 7000 individuals, 22 organisations and the Honourable Cheryllyn Dudley of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), submitted a petition to the National Assembly. The petition called for a review of the government decision to allow the import of "agent orange" maize, a review of GMO risk assessment procedures and an open, public hearing on GMOs.

Over the past year, those who signed this petition have repeatedly called on the ACB for progress on this issue. Since we have had no response from government we opened up the signatures again and prepared this follow-up text to be handed in to Parliament on the 13th September 2013, together with new signatures, now totaling 10 000.

We have noted with great concern that the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' briefing on the 13th September 2013 on GM food in South Africa only includes presentations from government departments and excludes representatives from civil society, health professionals and scientists.

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Comments on: Draft amendments to regulations to the Consumer Protection Act related to labelling of GMOs 8 November 2012 PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Thursday, 15 November 2012 12:08

Comments on: Draft amendments to regulations to the Consumer Protection Act related to labelling of GMOs 8 November 2012.

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Letter to Minister of Health requesting investigation into GM maize and associated pesticides as a result of French study. PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 11:26

South Africa is the only country that has allowed the genetic modification (GM) of its staple food - maize.

Serlini ratElsewhere in the world this crop is grown primarily for the global livestock sector. However, in South Africa some 77% of our maize production is genetically modified and provides the nation with their daily intake of carbohydrates. The debate on the long term health impacts of GM foods has raged around the globe for almost 2 decades now and to date there is no scientific agreement on their safety. The United Nation's Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is based on the Precautionary Principle in recognition of this lack of scientific knowledge and agreement. Our own GMO regulations, paraphrasing the Precautionary Principle set out in the 1992 Rio Declaration on the environment and development, stipulate that a lack of scientific knowledge or scientific consensus shall not be indicative of an absence of risk. Our GMO Act also allows the Executive Council to revise any decisions made in the light of new scientific evidence.

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Download the letter to the SA Minister of Agriculture to ban Monsanto's Roundup and the French scientific study that found tumors and more health effects on lab rats.
ACB comments on biofuels mandatory blending PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Monday, 09 January 2012 11:35

The ACB hereby lodges its objections and comments to the draft regulations regarding the mandatory blending of biofuels with petrol and diesel.

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Critique of SANBI's Studies on Monsanto's MON 810 PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Monday, 09 May 2011 09:14

GMO-SANBI-StudyDuring early in 2011, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) published a report titled “Monitoring the Environmental Impacts of GM Maize in South Africa”. The report was a culmination of a study by the Environmental Biosafety Cooperation Project (EBCP) aimed at developing a framework for monitoring of insect resistant maize, Mon810, belonging to Monsanto.

The project, coordinated jointly by SANBI and the Directorate of Nature Management (DNI) in Norway, included contributions by the Norway based Centre for Biosafety (GenØk) and the South African based, University of the Free Sate, University of Fort Hare and North West University.

The assessments were carried out over two planting maize seasons, 2008/2209 and 2009/2010 and were based upon a series of scientific studies that included field, glasshouse and laboratory assessments. The primary areas of interest included impacts on target and non-target organisms, impacts on soil organism biodiversity, as well as the impact of gene flow and its subsequent contribution to the development of insect resistance.

In this document, we take a critical look at the SANBI studies, and conclude that the SANBI studies for the most part only describe observed effects with no real or in-depth discussion of the causes for such effects, several of which are only now beginning to be understood within the broader scientific community. What the SANBI studies do indicate is how event specific the monitoring is and how a monitoring programme devised for Mon810 cannot be applied unaltered to another GM event. The proteomic data will differ between events, as will the specific modification and its target effects. The framework developed by SANBI must be seen as a preliminary framework because on the current scale of the studies, only limited conclusions were possible. It is encouraging, however, to see that SANBI has taken this initiative towards the development of such a framework.

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