Contamination Matters – Why GM crops can’t be managed at a national level

Rob White at GM Freeze in Manchester, England, tells us that GM (genetically modified, genetically engineered) crops can’t be managed at a national level.

As you know I’m quite discouraged about this biotech. Is the GM crops war over? I’m especially concerned about the power of huge corporations to control people’s crops, food, textiles and livelihoods.

The GM Freeze briefing draws our attention to these examples.

– Three GM rice (Oryza sativa) varieties called LL601, LL62 and ‘a third unidentified LL contamination’. Each of those, made by the chemical and biotech giant Bayer, escaped from field trials in the Americas. Legal action followed but plants don’t care whether or not a commercial licence is in place. Nor do they care about national boundaries.

– A GM rice called Bt63. That variety, which from its name I think must have been an insecticidal Bt crop, was developed at Huazhong Agricultural University, China. It escaped and spread far beyond China.

– A herbicide-resistant GM flax (linseed, Linum usitatissimum) called Triffid was developed at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. It escaped and spread to European food.

GM Freeze tells us that the European Council will vote, on 20th June 2014, about whether to let European Union Member States make their own decisions about each GM crop that’s proposed. Guess what? GM crops don’t care about national boundaries. Among other concerns, says GM Freeze, the change in European law would leave countries open to legal action under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership now being negotiated.

‘[All] the farmers and other businesses caught up in the contamination incidents had to choose between carrying the losses and cleanup costs themselves or going to court against powerful companies because there is no clear means to hold the GM industry liable for the environmental or economic damage done by their products.’

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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9 Responses to Contamination Matters – Why GM crops can’t be managed at a national level

  1. Pingback: Will England grow GM maize? | Science on the Land

  2. Pingback: Green light for GM? | Science on the Land

  3. Pingback: U.S. Calls on Europe to Ease Limits on Gene-Altered Food | Science on the Land

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