Action: Say NO to more GMOs in our food
Plans are afoot to allow more GMOs into our food. Please take part in the consultation before Tuesday 25 January to ensure that Ministers know they do not have public support for a high-tech takeover of the food chain
The Food Standards Agency (FSA – covering England and Wales) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) plan to recommend to Ministers that nine genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are approved for use across the UK food chain. Four of the GMOs are already in use here but the approval that allows them into our food is overdue for renewal. The other five are new. All are engineered to poison insects, to withstand spraying with weed killers, or both.
This is the first time that UK Ministers will decide whether or not to allow specific GMOs into the food chain as we previously followed rules agreed in Brussels. The European Union has already approved all nine applications and FSA/FSS plan to recommend approval here. However, they have also asked for our views so it is important that they hear from those of us who see no role for GMOs in a responsible, fair and sustainable food system.
How to have your say
You can respond by email to RPconsultations@food.gov.uk, using the subject line Response to [application number/s] consultation where the application number/s relate to the different applications, listed below. If you want to send a single email about two or more of the applications we would suggest listing all the relevant application numbers in your subject line.
You can also use the online form on the FSS website.
You might want to use the FSS form if you live in Scotland and email FSA if you do not. However, FSA and FSS have said that they will share information with each other so please use the method that works best for you.
Whichever method you use please be polite, use your own words and have your say by Tuesday 25 January.
Useful things to consider in your response
The questions posed in the consultation are:
1. Do you have any concerns on the safety of the products/events which have not been considered [in the FSA/FSS Opinions] with respect to the intended consumers, stakeholders or impacts?
2. Do you have any comments or concerns on the impacts in consideration of authorising or not authorising the individual GMOs, and if in favour of authorisation, the terms on which the GMOs are authorised (as outlined in the FSA/FSS opinions)?
3. Are there any other factors that should be considered by Ministers that have not been highlighted?
4. Do you have any other feedback?
It can be helpful to use these questions as a framework but please express your thoughts on the proposal to allow yet more GMOs into the food chain in your own words, focusing on what matters most to you. Issues you might like to consider include:
- Independent organisations with significant expertise in this area have criticised the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) risk assessments on which the FSA/FSS opinions are based. GeneWatch UK’s submission to the consultation includes significant detail on this and other areas of concern.
- These GMOs are not considered safe for cultivation in the UK. If we wouldn’t allow them to be grown here we shouldn’t be importing them from other countries.
- No assessment has been made of the environmental or other impacts of growing these GM crops, which are all designed to prop-up the failing industrial food production system. We have a moral and ethical responsibility to reduce harm across the whole food chain.
- Weed killer linked crops mean more chemicals will be sprayed on our food.
- Insect poisons kill whole classes of bugs – they don’t differentiate between pests and beneficial insects.
- Agricultural pests – both insects or weeds – are very good at evolving. The GM model responds to this with a chemical arms race, as we can see with the “stacked” trait GMOs that now feature multiple poisons and can be sprayed with cocktails of different weed killers. We need a food and farming system that works with nature, rather than trying to overpower it.
If you work in food or farming, or if you have any special expertise, please say so in your comments. If you are part of a group, company or other organisation that shares your views, consider whether you could submit a response on behalf of the organisation, either instead of or as well as your own as an individual.
Please share your submission with us by emailing a copy to info[at]gmfreeze.org.
The new GMOs they plan to allow into our food
This is a weed killer linked AND insect-killing maize owned by Syngenta. It can withstand weed killers that contain glufosinate ammonium so the fields in which it is grown will be repeatedly sprayed with this chemical, damaging the ecosystem and encouraging the development of resistant super weeds as well as adding to the cocktail of chemical residues in our food. It also produces a poison in its own cells, affecting all sorts of beetles, many of which play an essential role in the ecosystem.
This application from Bayer (which bought Monsanto) is for range of maize crops with “stacked” traits. Ministers are being asked to approve eleven different combinations all at once, even though some of the combinations have not been assessed or tested. The traits are designed to encourage the use of glyphosate based weed killers (which have been linked with cancer in humans) and to produce several different insect poisons attacking beetles, moths and butterflies.
This application from Bayer is (like RP535) for a group of maize crops with stacked traits. The crops are designed to encourage the spraying of glyphosate, to kill beetles, moths and butterflies and to harm a particular rootworm.
This application from Bayer is for a group of soya crops that share one or more of four traits designed to kill butterflies and moths and/or to encourage the use of glyphosate and dicamba. Dicamba is a weed killer that spreads very easily to neighbouring farms where it has destroyed many healthy non-GM crops.
This application from Bayer involves maize with five different GM traits that can be combined in 31 different variations, only some of which have been assessed. The crops are designed to kill moths and butterflies and support the use of glyphosate. Some of them also include genes for antibiotic resistance which could contribute to the worldwide problem of antibiotic resistant infections.
The GMOs already in our food chain but whose approval is up for renewal
This is an insect-killing maize owned by Syngenta. It produces a poison in its own cells with the intention of killing “pests” but many beneficial insects are also vulnerable and evolution will soon allow the pests to adapt, leading to more toxic spraying.
This application from Syngenta is for a maize that kills moths and butterflies and can withstand repeated spraying with weed killers containing glufosinate ammonium.
This application from Bayer is for a maize that encourages the use of glyphosate based weed killers and poisons beetles.
This application from Bayer is for a maize that produces two different insect poisons targeting moths and butterflies.