PRESS RELEASE of NO GMOs! (Network Opposed to Genetically Modified Organisms!)

(PAKISAMA, an AFA member in the Philippines, is a member of NO2GMOs.)

Contact person:
Nina Somera, Third World Network
+63 9177014286

International anti-GMO advocate Jeffrey Smith arriving in Manila, urges PH to label GMO products

GMO labeling advocate Jeffrey Smith joins his Filipino counterparts in urging the Philippine government to require the labeling of products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). As of February 2013, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) has so far approved the entry of about 70 GMO products for food, feed and processing as well as for propagation into the local market, without any information to consumers that these have GMO contents.

“The Philippines FDA was being overly optimistic when they claimed that the GMOs on the market meet the FAO/WHO safety assessment criteria. In fact, the Bt-corn, Roundup Ready soy, and GM papaya all fail their criteria. Furthermore, companies refuse to use the FAO/WHO safety testing guidelines, choosing instead research protocols that are far less capable of finding health problems.” Smith points out. Earlier this week, the country’s Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory declaring GMO food products safe.

Smith’s visit in the Philippines coincides with the recent decision of the Court of Appeals stopping the field trials of eggplants that have been genetically modified to express Bt (Bacillus thuriengensis) toxin, citing that these are unsafe.  In the US, the contamination of an 80-acre wheat field in Oregon recently led to the suspension of US wheat imports by Japan, South Korea and some European countries, which all have GMO labeling requirements. Connecticut and Maine have approved their respective state labeling laws which are expected to be replicated in other states.

“The US federal government has essentially been controlled by Monsanto and the biotech industry on the GMO issue. But consumers aren’t taking it anymore. The state legislatures of Connecticut and Maine passed GMO labeling requirements, and groups in more than 30 other states are working to do the same,” he remarks.

Smith, who authored best-selling books Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, further explains, “Given the scientific studies demonstrating health impacts from genetically modified foods, the numerous reports by physicians and consumers that link GMO consumption to a variety of symptoms, and the significant religious opposition to these foods, labeling of GMOs is the minimum safeguard that a government should put into place to give people their right to avoid them.”

Smith is in the country for a series of speaking engagements in Metro Manila, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and South Cotabato: including a policy forum on labeling (2 July, 1 pm, Department of Health), a seminar on GMOs, Golden Rice and consumer concerns with academicians (3 July, 3 pm, Miriam College), civil society community dialogue (4 July, 9 am, Social Security System), a seminars on Golden Rice and consumer concerns with urban poor communities (4 July, 7 pm, Malate Church), women farmers (5 July in Nueva Ecija) and church workers and advocates (6 July in Marbel). A briefing for members of the media will be held on 3 July 2013, 10 am at Max’s Restaurant within the Quezon City Memorial Circle.

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