The Consumers Rights for Safe Food (CRSF), which is a broad coalition of organizations and individuals pushing for food safety, reaffirmed its commitment to oppose all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food and non-food during the GMO orientation that the group recently organized.
GMOs are product of genetic engineering (GE) wherein genes of plants and animals are altered in the laboratory to host a gene from another organism which is of a different species. The foreign gene gives the host organisms characteristics that would probably never develop on its own in nature.
CRSF based their opposition to GMOs on the following grounds:
Genetic Engineering is Extremely Inexact: Tampering with genes may result in unexpected and unpredictable results. For example, there were pigs which are genetically engineered so they will grow fast but which also developed bristly hair and wide muzzles. Their offspring developed arthritis, ulcers, enlarged hearts, dermatitis, vision problems and organ abnormalities.
GMOs Pose a Serious Risk to the Environment and Health: In human epidemics and animal experiments, GMOs have been reported to have caused: antibiotic resistance, allergies, breathing difficulties, muscle weakness, lupus/multiple sclerosis-like symptoms, malnutrition, internal organ damage, diabetes, various forms of cancer and /or infertility. Some symptoms appeared even after 3 generations. Studies also show that non target beneficial species such as monarch butterflies, ladybugs and bees have been also affected by GM crops.
GMOs require large doses of pesticides and herbicides like in the case of Roundup Ready GE crops. Roundup is the brand-name of a herbicide produced by Monsanto. Its active ingredient glyphosate was patented in the 1970s. Roundup is widely used by in the backyards and farmers in their fields. Roundup Ready plants are resistant to the herbicide Roundup produced by Monsanto, so farmers that plant these seeds must use Roundup to keep other weeds from growing in their fields without harming their crops.. Roundup Ready use has produce d “superweeds” which have developed resistance to the pesticide so that larger and larger doses must be used to be effective. This affects soil quality because helpful microorganisms are also eradicated. RR seeds have notoriously been referred to as “terminator seeds.” This is because the crops produced from Roundup Ready seeds are sterile. Each year, farmers must purchase the most recent strain of seed from Monsanto. This means that farmers cannot reuse their best seed. Read more about terminator seeds.
GMOs pose a risk to our country’s food security and economic sovereignty: Multinationals will eventually control our food supply because of their patents on GMO seeds. Native varieties will slowly die out. The common plants that are genetically modified are corn, soya and canola and cotton. Most of these crops are grown in the US, Argentina, Brazil and Canada. They enter our food supply as ingredients like syrup, oil and flour and in many processed foods. In the Philippines CRSF has opposed the field test, commercial release and use of Bt Corn, Bt Eggplant and Golden Rice.
Countries with strict GMO laws may reject Philippine food exports if contaminated by GMOs. Countries with labeling laws include European Union, Australia, Japan and China.
Many countries now ban the production and or sale of specific/all GM foodstuffs: Countries like Luxemburg, Germany, France, Ireland, Hungary, Greece, Venezuela, Austria, Egypt and South Africa already enforced bans on GMOs. Other countries on the other hand like Australia, the European Union, Taiwan, Japan, Russia, Hong Kong and South Korea, require labeling to give the consumers the choice whether to buy or not.
Participants in the forum resolved to promote awareness of the dangers associated with GMOs, work for labeling laws that are currently pending in Congress and eventually get rid of these products in our food supply. They likewise urged consumers to patronize natural and organic products as more nutritious and safer food.
As an immediate action, the group called for consumers to sign and share the “1 Million Petition against Golden Rice”, saying that this GE rice variety is not the answer to Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) because of the risks associated with GMOs, because cheaper, safer alternatives are available such as low – cost vegetables like malunggay and camote and because our country has been winning the fight against VAD without having to resort to this dangerous technology.
CRSF also encourages the consumers to write the members of the Philippine Senate and Congress to ban GMOs and to pass the labeling laws that are currently pending in the halls of both Congress and Senate.
And finally, CRSF urges the consumers to Go Organic by buying or promoting organic products.