Manila — Greenpeace today rubbished claims made by the Food and Drug Administration that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the market “have met international food standards and are safe as and as nutritious as the food derived from conventional crops, for direct use as food, feeds and for processing”. The group also demanded that the FDA stop misleading the Filipino public into thinking that field trials of GMOs are safe and pose no risks to the environment.
"The FDA should stop feeding the public with propaganda. They are not truthful in saying that GMOs are safe for consumption,” said Daniel M. Ocampo, Sustainable Agriculture and Genetic Engineering Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “There is no scientific proof that GMOs pose no danger to human health and the environment. Even the scientific community is divided on whether GMOs are safe,” he added.
The FDA made their pronouncement last week based on the Codex Alimentarius - the United Nations’ regulations on the safety of GM food. Greenpeace insisted that these are just protocols and guidelines for risk assessments of GMOs and that there are no existing standards set for consumption of GM ingredients in food.
There is a growing debate on GMOs, following the Court of Appeals’ recent decision on the Writ of Kalikasan, which ordered that all field trials of Bt eggplant must stop, as the release of GMOs into the environment violates the basic constitutional right of Filipinos to a balanced and healthy ecology.
Currently, there are 62 GMOs that are imported and fed to Filipinos without their knowledge and consent, while there are 8 kinds of GMOs that are allowed for propagation without farmers’ and consumers’ full understanding of its long-term impacts to their health and the environment.
In a letter sent to the FDA this week, Greenpeace appealed to the government agency to be more forthright in providing public information on the propagation of GMOs by disclosing that 80% of the GMOs in the world are planted only in four countries, namely the US, Canada, Brazil and Argentina. Elsewhere, such as in the EU, governments have set very strict regulations and have imposed moratoriums and bans on the importation and propagation of GMOs.
“Filipinos have a right to know about what goes into the food they eat. We call on the FDA to maintain its role as a regulator and to protect the welfare and health of the people by being more discerning in assessing the safety of GMOs,” Ocampo added. “We ask that the FDA retract its statement about GMOs being ‘safe’ and to stop making conclusive statements that may mislead the public into thinking that the safety of GMOs has already been established.”
For more information, please contact:
Daniel Ocampo, Sustainable Agriculture and Genetic Engineering Campaigner, , +63917-8110469
Virginia Llorin, Media Campaigner, , +63917-8228793