Sent 28 January 2008
(Poland announced it would stick to its ban on 12 February 2008 http://www.farminguk.com/index.asp?show=newsArticle&id=6466 )
I write on behalf of the Institute of Science in Society (I-SIS), a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing critical scientific information to the public and to promoting social accountability and ecological sustainability in science.
We have been monitoring and reviewing extensive scientific literature and empirical evidence on genetically modified (GM) crops and livestock over the past ten years, which strongly suggest that the process of genetic modification may be inherently hazardous. We have also documented how national and international regulators have been ignoring damning evidence against the safety of GM food and feed while colluding with industry to manipulate scientific research to promote GM produce.
The latest example is a research paper given the “Award for Excellence for Most Outstanding Paper in 2004”, claiming to show that consumers prefer to buy GM sweet corn over conventional sweet corn. It was exposed to be “flagrant fraud”, based on manipulations of the shoppers' preference, not reported in the paper. When evidence of the manipulations emerged, one of the authors, an employee of the Canadian Government, attempted to suppress the evidence, even resorting to threatening legal action in the UK and Ireland. More than 40 scientists have now signed an open letter condemning the incident for bringing science into disrepute and calling on the journal to retract the paper and withdraw the award (see Wormy Corn Paper Must be Retracted ).
In June 2007, I-SIS joined up with an international panel of independent scientists and Members of the European Parliament to present a full dossier of our evidence to the European Parliament ( GM Science Exposed ), which documents serious health hazards, adverse environmental impacts as well as violation of farmers' rights. We repeated our call for a Europe-wide and worldwide ban on the further environmental release of GM crops (and livestock) ( Scientists and MEPs for a GM free Europe ), first presented in 2003, along with a demand on a comprehensive shift to non-GM sustainable agriculture (see The Case for A GM-Free Sustainable World ).
GM agriculture has all the shortcomings of industrial monoculture only worse. GM varieties are more genetically uniform and hence more susceptible to disease, pests and climate extremes, they are more dependent on fossil-fuel intensive inputs of pesticides and fertilizers, as well as water. GM crops are clearly a dangerous diversion from the urgent task of making our agriculture and food system sustainable for mitigating climate change as fossil fuels and water are increasingly in short supply.
I-SIS has now assembled a powerful report Food Future Now, documenting how organic agriculture and localised sustainable food (and energy) systems have the potential to compensate for all greenhouse gas emissions due to human activity and free us entirely from fossil fuels ( http://www.i-sis.org.uk/foodFutures.php ).
The evidence of hazards inherent to GM agriculture is succinctly summarised in a scientific paper recently published ( GM Food Nightmare Unfolding in the Regulatory Sham , Ho MW, Cummins J and Saunders PT, Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 2007, 19, 66-77), an online published version of which is enclosed.
Since our briefing in the European Parliament in June, there have been significant moves towards a GM-Free Europe (see GM-Free Europe Beginning? ), coinciding with a worldwide rejection of GM agriculture (see No to GMOs, No to GM Science ). Poland has been at the forefront of this movement.
Please do not compromise Poland's leading role in this endeavour to save Europe and the world from the disaster that a commitment to GM crops will surely bring, and do not hesitate to contact me if you need further assistance.
Minister of Agriculture:
Ministerstwo Rolnictwa i Rozwoju Wsi
ul. Wspolna 30
tel.: 0048 22 623 15 10
fax: 0048 22 623 17 88
Minister of Environment:
ul. Wawelska 52/54
Tel.: 0048 22 57 92 400, 57 92 222
Fax: 0048 22 57 92 224
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho
Institute of Science in Society
Article first published 14/02/08
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