Executive summary: Spread of genetically engineered canola contaminationconfirmed across Japan – Canadian GE canola the culpritIn the latest proof that genetically engineered (GE) crops present an uncontrollable danger, Japanese researchers have found that GE canola (oilseed rape / rapeseed) plants have escaped into the wild at major shipping ports along the Japanese coast. The escape of GE canola seeds into Japanese ecosystems results from spillage of the GE canola seeds during importation operations and subsequent transportation. A recent report from the Japanese National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) confirms that herbicide-resistant genetically engineered canola plants were identified in five of the six Japanese ports where samples were collected. The GE canola strains were engineered to be resistant to herbicides supplied by the GE seed and chemical companies Monsanto and Bayer. Japanese farmers are now facing an uphill battle against herbicide-resistant GE crops growing wild in many regions, and the serious threat of genetic contamination of related crops and weedy relatives.Japan imported over two million tons of canola seed in 2003, 80% of it from Canada. GE canola coincidently accounts for an estimated 80% of all canola grown in Canada. This has resulted in GE contamination of much of the canola seed grown in Canada, which is itself part of a larger problem involving escalation of GE contamination in traditional seed varieties. GE canola has also caused contamination of conventional and organic canola crops in Canada and now it appears to be the cause of GE canola contamination in Japan.Japan imports canola seeds for crushing into food oil, feed and fertilizer – not for growing. However, GE canola has now been found growing wild around ports and transport routes in Japan, threatening the same and worse contamination as has already been witnessed in Canada. This report (i) reviews the current status of GE canola contamination in Japan and (ii) outlines the threats presented by GE canola import.
Num. pages: 12