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GM foods threaten local farmers and environment

GM foods threaten local farmers and environment


Media Release 2 June 2003

GM foods threaten local farmers and environment

Agricultural biotechnology products such as genetically modified (GM) food threaten food security and the livelihoods of small farmers in the developing world and poses serious health and environmental dangers.

The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) angrily rebuts suggestions that GM crops are totally safe, and that it will be of most benefit to the poor and undernourished in developing countries.

"Multinational companies in the developed world are trying to make farmers in the developing world dependent on their laboratory produced seeds and crops," says PANG Coordinator, Stanley Simpson.

"Biotech companies are pursuing genetic engineering techniques and manipulating plant genes to make it impossible for farmers to save seed for replanting. Once local farmers use this seed, they become reliant on these corporations for their future crops. GM technology is not given freely."

"It is absurd to say that GM crops will solve world hunger by producing more crops. The world already produces more food per person today than ever before, but the problem lies in poverty, inequality and access to food," Simpson said.

"We cannot allow multinational food corporations and countries like the US trying to profit from the commercial use of GM seeds and crops to tell us that they are safe until proven dangerous, as the livelihoods of millions of people in the developing world, as well a sustainable environment is on the line," Simpson said.

"There is inadequate knowledge about the long-term effects and risks of these new GM organisms on the ecology and human health. While it may seem safe today, it is wrong and irresponsible to assume that the manipulation and altering of the genetic make-up of living things is therefore totally safe."

"Right now only God knows the dangers these introduced genetically modified species will produce, science will take many years to establish this."

"GM products must be put on hold until all the risks are looked at thoroughly and with time."

Genetic engineering may cause harmful changes in the biochemical processes of living things in ways that are impossible to predict with present knowledge, once released into nature the genetically engineered organisms and their altered genes may spread widely and uncontrollably, the changes may have very complex effects that could endanger human health and the environment.

For further information please contact Stanley Simpson on Phone: 3316 722 Mobile: 9259 643 E-mail: pang@connect.com.fj

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