viernes, 30 de octubre de 2009

South African Govt rejects GM potato !!

**South African Govt rejects GM potato **

Johannesburg-15 October 2009

In a damning and ground breaking ruling, South Africa’s GM body,
the Executive Council (EC), has rejected attempts by the Agriculture
Research Council (ARC) to bring GM potatoes to the South African
market. The EC cited no less than 11 biosafety and socio economic and
agronomic concerns for rejecting ARC’s commercial release
application. These support the objections raised by the ACB that GM
potatoes pose unacceptable risks to human health, the environment and
the farming community.

The ARC has touted the GM potato, engineered to resist tuber moths,
as a new agricultural technology that will benefit smallholder and
commercial farmers. Its five year field trial programme has chewed up
considerable public funds as well as having been bankrolled by USAID
and Michigan state university.

According to Haidee Swanby of the ACB, “the precautionary decision
taken by the EC concluded that ARC’s toxicology studies were
inadequate, scientifically poorly designed and fundamentally flawed.
It was unconvinced that the GM potato would benefit small holder
farmers, who are faced with more fundamental production problems such
as access to water and seed, and found that the Potato Tuber Moth is a
low priority for most farmers.”

“We are elated with this decision because it confirms our
contention that the GM potato was not developed in answer to pressing
problems faced by South African farmers , but rather as a solution
developed in search of a problem” said Mariam Mayet, Director of the

According to Swanby, “Potatos South Africa, representing commercial
and small holder potato farmers opposed ARC’s application. Fruit and
Veg City, Simba and McDonald’s also expressed their opposition to GM
potatoes. Consumers in South Africa have also overwhelmingly expressed
their opposition.”


The ACB’s objection to the ARC application can be found at:

The ACB’s research booklet on GM Potatoes titled Hot Potato can be
found at:


ACB Director: Mariam Mayet 083 269 4309

ACB Researcher/outreach officer: Haidee Swanby 082 459 8548


South Africa is the only country on the continent to have
commercially released GM food crops (maize and soya) and the only
country in the world to have allowed the genetic modification of the
staple food (maize).
Attempts to release GM potatoes onto markets in the United States,
Canada and Egypt have all failed in the past. There are no GM potatoes
on the market globally.
Potato South Africa objected to the permit application on the
grounds that the technology did not provide significant advantages for
farmers while damaging consumer confidence.
The ARC received technical support in the development of GM potatoes
from Michigan State University and was funded by USAID. The patent on
the genes is held by the multinational Syngenta.

According to minutes on the Department of Agriculture’s Website,
the EC denied the General RElease of SpuntaG2 on the grounds that:

The Socio-economic impact study indicates that the commercial
farmers do not anticpate this event to present a significant lowering
of inputs as the same spraying regime is required to manage other
pests which this even does not target
Small scale farmers identified more pressing challenges relating to
production such as lack of water, seed availability, fertilizers, etc
No evidence is presented that other pest management strategies
against PTM have been considered or compared with the release of
The applicant presents several arguments of the value of this event
for small scale farmers; however, entry of these GM potatoes into the
formal trade remains a particular concern. Segregation of GM from
non-GM potatoes would require an Identity Preservation System which is
currently not in place.
The capacity of small scale farmers to implement risk management
measures could potentially be onerous
Considering the biology of potatoes, vegetative material (tubers)
may be used for propagation, which may complicate risk management
PTM is not a major pest for stored potatoes but rather rodents
The Western Blot of transformed potatoes was limited to protein
extracts from leaves and there is an assumption that one band
represents the Cry1 la1 protein. No data is presented of expression
levels in tubers
Concerns on the toxicity testing by use of an animal feeding study
was conducted with cooked (boiled) potato although raw freeze dried
potato would have been better suited
No evidence is presented that known allergens of potato, namely Sol
t1 (patatin) are not over expressed in the GM potato
No actual toxicity data of the cry-protein on the target organism
PTM is presented

These minutes can be found at

under divisions/biosafety/information/july minutes

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario