Genetically Modified Soy and Corn is Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality

Genetically Modified Soy and Corn is Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality

URGENT  Ref. Draught Opinion of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development 2010/0208(COD)   10.1.2011

To Members of the European Parliament:

We hereby refer to the report of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development as addressed to the Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety concerning Directive 2001/18/EC as regards the possibility for the Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMO in their territory.

This document is cause for deep concern. It appears to fail to address the key concerns which confront both the majority of farmers and the majority of the general European public, as regards their wish to ensure an extension and further implementation of a European environment and food chain free from the threat of GMO contamination.

In spite of the fact that we now have the expert advice of some of the most respected independent laboratories in Europe that GM is a direct and insidious threat to animal and human health and a proven environmental contaminant, nowhere is the issue of considering a GMO moratorium or ban even raised.

Instead, The European Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and the Rural Economy appears to have leaned over backwards to ensure that the World Trade Organisation’s insistence on the supremacy of  ‘free trade’ over ‘public health’ never be called into question. As we know, exercising the  ‘precautionary principle’ on GM imports into the EU is seen by the WTO as a ‘restrictive’ ‘anti free trade’ measure and therefore in violation of WTO principles. But how can the European Commission establish a health and safety based ‘precautionary principle’ if it cannot challenge the WTO’s sanitary and phito-sanitary rulings and extend the safety measures of such a ruling to include socio-economic criteria resulting from the views of bona fide citizens who are negatively affected by applications of GMO – instead of only taking the opinion of outside scientists?

Public participation is a crucial component of reliable GMO risk assessment and is indispensable for legitimate WTO and EC regulatory safety measures.

It is clear to us that this Commission’s proposed revision of Directive 2001/18/EC is not the result of public pressure (which is well known) but a result of US government pressure to release 16 new GMO ‘events’ (most of which carry considerable safety concerns) that are currently awaiting approval. Thus, gaining Member State approval for a new agenda of national and regional administration of GM controls is seen as a way of softening these Member States resistance to new GM varieties that are waiting to be put on the European market.

This document is full of recommendations that, in practice, could either never be put into effect, or, could only be done so on a temporary basis and at the expense of the farmer (and citizen) who is defending his/her right to a GMO Free environment and GM Free food.

However, the most outstanding admission in this document lies in the European Parliamentary Committee’s full acceptance of ‘coexistence’: the right to plant GM crops and seeds within polluting distance of conventional, traditional and organic crops. This recommendation makes a mockery of millions of European citizen’s demand for GM free foods and a GMO free Europe. It also is a totally incomprehensible proposal in view of the hundreds of cases of cross-contamination that have already taken place between GM and non GM crops in all parts of the world, resulting in a gross distortion of the fundamental rights of rural stakeholders.

It would appear that either the European Parliamentary Committee has failed to grasp this reality. Suggesting that governments could somehow devise ‘robust coexistence’ to ensure no cross contamination between GM and non GM crops is a completely unrealistic expectation.

As if to reinforce the controversial nature of this position the document states:

“In accordance with Article 2(2) Member States should therefore be entitled to have a possibility to adopt rules concerning the effective cultivation of GMO’s in their territory after the GMO has been legally authorised to be placed on the Union market, provided that those rules do not affect the free movement and marketing of GMO products and seeds.”

What will the 70% of European citizens who have stated their clear opposition to GMO and who have been expecting the European Parliament to represent their views have to say about that?

While appearing to offer the regions the chance to ‘control’ GM planting regimes, the European Parliament Committee and the EU Commission are quietly absolving themselves of responsibilities to protect the health of European citizens, and instead appear to be preparing to open the door to US corporate trade cartels and the US government which have long since been pressurising for a freeing-up of EU restrictions on the import of foreign GMOs.

It seems all too clear that the European Parliamentary Committee has singularly failed in its duty to represent the voice of the great majority of its constituents. It has instead reinforced the Commission’s failure to act responsibly – through banning the import and planting of what have now been proved, by independent scientific bodies of the highest calibre, to be dangerous, life threatening and environmentally disruptive gene engineered products.

Our recommendation is for a thorough reworking of all aspects of this paper. As it stands today, it is an unacceptable document and should not be accepted by any member of the Committee.

We call upon all Euro Deputies to urgently review the advice which the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and the Rural Economy is proffering to the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, and to reach a more genuinely representative position on the adoption of measures, such as a moratorium on GM planting and using GMO in processing food and animal feed. Measures which adequately reflect the public expectation of a GMO Free food chain and an environment free from GM contamination.

Krzysztof Tarnawski, M.Sc.
Institute of Environmental Engineering
Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences
Pl. Grunwaldzki 24, 50-363 Wroclaw , Poland

By piotrbein