The following is a briefing on the facts and myths of GMOs which I prepared for members of the Panamanian Government and interested citizens concerning the dangers of genetically modified or, as they are known in Panama, transgenic foods.
The briefing notes the Panamanian legal situation. In Panama, as in the US, GMOs are permitted in the food chain without any labeling at all. This is an ecological, medical and consumer’s rights disaster.
Only strong consumer advocacy, and market pressure against anything which might have GMOs in it (that means avoiding anything which is not labeled “organic” or “GM Free”) will change US policy. But once the environment, or your body, is contaminated with foreign DNA, there is no know way to reverse that process.
Codex, like the US, is totally untroubled by GMOs.
Here is the Myth and Fact Summary
Yours in health and freedom,
Summary of Myths and Facts RE: Transgenic Foods
Rima E. Laibow, MD
May 25, 2008
The provisions of Panamanian Law No. 48 of August 8, 2002 that created the National Commission of Biosecurity for GMOs, in Article 7 – Section 8 – that the Commission â€œPromote the permanent update of the registries, national and international, of organisms genetically modified based on the precautionary principal.â€ This principal requires the utmost caution in allowing transgenic products.
The Natural Solutions Foundation urges the Government of Panama to implement this provision of law by imposing an
immediate moratorium on any additional GMO approvals without strict risk analysis and competent scientific proof of
lack of risk.
Transgenic crops increase yield, reduce cost and reduce pesticide use. In fact, experience and analysis of the impact of GM crops have shown that none of these commercially useful, but unfounded, assertions is accurate.
Panama had registered coffee (arabica), yucca, yam, banana, banana tree, sugar cane, taro root, several varieties of rice, maize, pumpkin, kidney bean, sorghum, and strawberry with UPOV, the International organization, as of 2006 and is releasing a long grain transgenic rice in a few days.
Transgenic crops are carefully regulated before release in prepared foods or as crops
In the US, where virtually all transgenic crops originate, the FDA and USDA operate under a 1992 Executive Order which says that modified and unmodified foods are equivalent. Hence, no safety or other testing is required and both FDA and USDA refuse to require or examine safety testing. Only a patent is necessary to release a food into the food chain and environment. No environmental impact studies or statements are required.
Transgenic crops can be contained in the area where they are planted
Transgenic crops contaminate both same-species and other-species plants.
– Monsanto sues about 500 farmers per year for intellectual property rights through â€œvolunteerâ€ seeds trespassing on the farmersâ€™ land via pollen drift and pollinator contamination
– Organic and conventional plants are irreversibly contaminated by
o Although the US allows 10% GM contamination in certified organic foods (1), compared with most countriesâ€™ limits of 0.9% or 1.0%, organic foods sources are still in short supply in the US because of gross contamination of organic crops
o Conventional crops quickly become contaminated
o Louisiana rice crop contaminated with pharmaceutical rice grown by Bayer â€“ many farmers now growing corn instead to avoid contamination
o Pharmaceutical rice by Bayer Cropscience was shipped as human food to at least 30 countries
o All South African corn now contaminated with Monsantoâ€™s MON810 which has not been approved for human consumption and is considered unsafe in Europe
o New Zealand contaminated by 3 years of mislabeled shipment of maize by US
o All Mexican corn now contaminated by US corn
o Super weeds and super pests are prevalent wherever transgenic crops exist