On the 15th of May 2012, the Executive Council: Genetically Modified Organisms Act (the primary decision-making body in the Republic of South Africa concerning genetically modified organisms), approved Dow Chemical’s variety of genetically modified (GM) maize, DAS-40278-9, for importation as food, feed and processing.
This GM variety has been genetically engineered to withstand liberal applications of Dow’s toxic chemical herbicide 2,4-D. The GM variety has yet to be approved for growing anywhere in the world. An application for commercial cultivation has been lodged by Dow in the United States, where it is pending approval amid a maelstrom of protest from diverse sectors of US society, ranging from public health professionals to US farmers.
There is a direct link between this particular GM variety and the potential for higher residues of 2,4-D entering imported GM maize from the US. We therefore have a number of food safety concerns. Of further concern is that GM maize containing 2,4-D residues is highly likely to go undetected by South Africa’s porous food inspection system. In this regard, we have found that no testing takes place at all for herbicide residies in our food from current GM production and imports.
Dr. Charles Benbrook, a highly respected agricultural scientist from the United States (and former executive director of the US National Academy of Sciences) predicts that the widespread planting of 2,4-D tolerant maize could trigger a 30-fold increase in the herbicides’ use by the end of the decade.
Several public health professionals and academics have already supported the petition.
If you wish to support this petition, please contact Mariam Mayet at Mariammayet@mweb.co.za
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