A Hard Look At GM Crops

Oct 2, 2013 | Pratirodh Bureau

Even as India dithers over implementing the ban on GM crops, Hungary has taken a bold stand against biotech giant Monsanto and genetic modification by destroying 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds, according to Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development LajosBognar. Unlike many European Union countries, Hungary is a nation where genetically modified (GM) seeds are banned. In a similar stance against GM ingredients, Peru has also passed a 10 year ban on GM foods.Almost 1000 acres of maize found to have been ground with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary, deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development LajosBognar said.

The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said LajosBognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added.

Aside from many issues and controversies that surround GM crops/foods, the one that is creating furore in the world is a new research report published by Eric Gilles Seralini, a professor in France’s Caen University in a scientific journal called Chemical and Food Toxicology which showed that when particular pedigree of laboratory rats were fed with a particular variety of GM corn for two long years it resulted in ghastly cancerous tumors..

A joint parliamentary committee and a Supreme Court of India appointed Technical Experts Committee (TEC) have issued damning reports on GM crops acknowledging Seralini’s papers. TEC has recommended a ban on even the field testing of hundreds of GM crops that are under development in both private and public sector laboratories for more than a decade.

Only 30 countries in the world are growing GM crops for the past two decades.

List of countries that have banned genetically modified crops in one way or another:

In Australia: Several Australian states had bans on GM crops but most of them have since lifted them. Only South Australia still has a ban on GM crops, though Tasmania has a moratorium on them until November of 2014.

In Japan: The Japanese people are staunchly opposed to genetically modified crops and no GM seeds are planted in the country. However, large quantities of canola are imported from Canada (which is one of the world’s largest producers of GM canola) and there is now GM canola growing wild around Japanese ports and roads to major food oil companies. Genetically modified canola such as Monsanto’s Roundup Ready canola have been found growing around 5 of the 6 ports that were tested for GM contamination.

In New Zealand: No GM foods are grown in the country.

In Germany: There is a ban on the cultivation or sale of GMO maize.

In Ireland: All GM crops were banned for cultivation in 2009, and there is a voluntary labeling system for foods containing GM foods to be identified as such.

In Austria, Greece, Bulgaria and Luxembourg: There are bans on the cultivation and sale of GMOs.

In France: Monsanto’s MON810 GM corn had been approved but its cultivation was forbidden in 2008. There is widespread public mistrust of GMOsthat has been successful in keeping GM crops out of the country.

In Madeira: This small autonomous Portugeseisland requested a country-wide ban on genetically modified crops last year and was permitted to do so by the EU.

In Switzerland: The country banned all GM crops, animals, and plants on its fields and farms in a public referendum in 2005, but the initial ban was for only five years. The ban has since been extended through 2013.

In India: The government placed a last-minute ban on GM eggplant just before it was scheduled to begin being planted in 2010. However, farmers were widely encouraged to plant Monsanto’s GM cotton and it has led to devastating results.

In Thailand: The country has zigzagged in its support and opposition of GM crops.