Wednesday, March 7, 2012

GM Free Ireland-Next Target In GM Invasion

GMO Free Ireland: Keep It That Way


Please sign our petition to stop GMO potato trials in Ireland
(Sign at the link.)

On 27 February 2012, Teagasc (the Irish Government's Agriculture and Food Development Authority) made a formal notification to our Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting consent for a 4-year field trial of GMO potatoes that have been genetically modified in hope of making them resistant to late blight potato disease.

The proposed experiment is part of the AMIGA project funded under the EU Framework 7 programme, involving 22 partners in 15 EU countries and Argentina, and co-ordinated by Italy's National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) – even though there is widespread consumer rejection and no market for GM food in Europe.

Unless the EPA refuses consent, the field trials would begin this Spring and continue until November 2016. The deadline for stakeholders to make submissions to the EPA is 5pm on 27 March (see note from EPA).

The GM-free Ireland Network has written to our international network of scientific advisers to help identify potential flaws in the design of this experiment and to recommend reasons for the EPA to refuse consent. Watch this page for related news and developments in the days and weeks ahead.

Destroying our reputation as Ireland – the food island

If the EPA allows Teagasc to go ahead with this experiment, these taxpayer funded government agencies will immediately terminate Ireland's reputation for safe food and our status as a GMO-free crop zone, which provides great untapped potential for Irish farmers, food producers and tourism operators to secure an econonomically valuable and completely unique selling point: the most credible GMO-free food brand in Europe. For more on this subject see:
• GM-free Irish label good for business: Added value, increased market share, better branding and unique selling point: the most credible GM-free food brand in Europe. GM-free Ireland Network press release, 17 November 2009.

• GM-free production: a unique selling point for Ireland - the food island. 47-page briefing with GM-free market survey, 17 Nov. 2009 (1.2MB pdf).

• Video: GM-free food production: a unique selling point for Ireland - the food island 17 November 2009 press conference on the business case for Ireland's GM-free label, with Richard Corrigan (Michelin star chef and TV host), Darina Allen (Slow Food Ireland, Good Food Ireland, Free Choice Consumer Group, Artisan Food Forum, and the Farmers Market movement), Malcolm Thompson (Irish Cattle and Sheepfarmers Association), Evan Doyle (the Taste Council, Organic Trust and Euro-Toques Ireland), Dr. John Fagan (Cert ID), and Michael O'Callaghan (GM-free Ireland).

• Designating Ireland as a GMO-free Biosafety Reserve for Europe: presentation to Food & Democracy - the 5th European Conference on GMO-free Regions in April 2009.

Please sign our petition to stop GMO potato trials in Ireland
(Sign at the link.)

You can make a difference

Back in 2006, when the world's largest chemicals company, BASF applied for consent to release GMO potatoes in County Meath, the GM-free Ireland Network organised protests and submissions which led BASF to abandon its plans.

Under EU law (sub-article 16(1) of S.I. No. 500 of 2003), concerned stakeholders can make submissions requesting the EPA to require conditions and/or refuse consent for this experiment. Submissions must be accompanied by a cheque or money order for €10 (ten euro) made out to the EPA, and sent to this address before the deadline of 5pm on 27 March (see note from EPA).

Unacceptable location

The location of the proposed open air experiment is the Teagasc facility at Oak Park (see maps), just North of Carlow town. The site is inappropriate because:
• It is surrounded by conventional and organic farms which do not want to be contaminated by GM crops, which would then be difficult if not impossible to sell as they would have to carry a GM food label.

• It lies on the bank of the Barrow river (Ireland's second longest at 193 km) – a favoured tourist destination for fishing (brown trout, salmon, bream, tench, rudd and pike) which could be contaminated by DNA from the GM potatoes and/or from the associated toxic herbicide which Teagasc plans to use as part of the field trials.

• Teagasc's notification to the EPA admits it intends to spray the test site with Monsanto's highly toxic herbicide Roundup to remove unwanted leftover GM potatoes. Roundup (and its main active ingredient glyphosate) cause total human cell death within 24 hours at very low levels, and are scientifically linked to birth defects, spontaneous abortions, placental damage, embryo damage, endocrine disruption, cancer, non-hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and other diseases. Roundup is also lethal to amphibians and causes DNA damage in cells. For more info, see page 2 of the summary of the Health Effects of Glyphosate scientific report published by the GLS Bank in Germany.

• The inevitable runoff of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide from Oak Park to the adjacent river Barrow (a few meters away) would contaminate and jeopardise the health of the inhabitants of Carlow town, along with the Barrow's entire watercourse and its tributaries, its fish, and anyone who consumes them as for as the Irish Sea.

• The site is only a few hundred meters from the border of County Kildare, a GMO-free zone whose County Council unanimously declared its jurisdiction off-limits to GM crops in a 2006 Motion stating "that this County Council takes all possible measures necessary to promote and maintain Kildare as a genetically modified crop-free zone, in order to protect the interests of farmers and to encourage development of our valuable agricultural industry". (See 2006 press release).

The experiment also risks contaminating potatoes in County Meath and County Westmeath, both of which have also declared themselves as GMO-free crop zones.

• Oak Park is only 30 km from the Wicklow Mountains National Park, and is close to numerous designated ecological sites including Nature Reserves, SACs (Special Areas of Conservation for wildlife habitats under EC law), SPAs (Special Protected Areas for birds under EC law), Natural Heritage Areas, Refuges for Flora, Refuges for Fauna, and Natura 2000 sites (Atlantic Bioregeographical region Sites of Community Importance listed in 2004/813/EC) which must not be contaminated by GMOs of any kind.

• Ireland's prevailing Atlantic winds blow from the West and North-West, and frequently reach gale force. If these winds were to carry GMO potato pollen from the field trials the relatively short distance across the Irish sea, they could easily contaminate many of the 40 English counties which have declared themselves as GMO-free crop zones, along with Scotland and Wales which strongly oppose the introduction of GMO crops. Further afield, the experiment could contaminate farmers in France, Luxembourg, Holland and Germany, causing expensive product recalls and contamination lawsuits. Unless Teagasc has secured liability insurance, Irish taxpayers would have to foot the bill for any contamination in Ireland and overseas.

end of excerpt.

Spray Monsanto's Round Up here?! In this beautiful land of mystery? Is no place sacred? For those who do not take this seriously because greed and apathy rule the motivations for their cavalier attitude about nature and their working against it. One day they may come to appreciate the sacrifices of those who worked to preserve the circle of life!

1 comment:

  1. Eating organic food is a great step towards a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, many organic fruits and vegetables are a bit more costly. To combat the increased cost, and to ensure that the food you are eating is 100% organic, you may want to start your own organic garden.


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