Greenpeace releases report on ‘dangers’ of Bt eggplant

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MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/17 April) – Greenpeace released today a report “confirming the dangers” of cultivating genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

The report, which focuses on Bt eggplant, a GMO variety currently being field-tested in the Philippines, details how the spread of the genetically-modified Bt gene can cause eggplant to be an “aggressive and problematic weed, threatening to overpower similar varieties.”

In addition, Greenpeace maintains that GMOs grown in fields contaminate normal crops, threaten farmers’ livelihoods, and are dangerous to human health.

The report is posted in its website www.greenpeace.org.

The group called on the Department of Agriculture to stop all field trials of GMOs in the country.

It warned that the government’s “loose and cavalier policy favoring the open cultivation of GMO crops is effectively transforming the Philippines into an unprotected test site for dangerous crops with far-reaching and irreversible ecological consequences.”

“GMO crops should not be cultivated outdoors anywhere in the world. When they are grown in important areas of diversity, like the Philippines, the serious risks of widespread contamination are magnified. In the case of Bt talong, with its built-in insect-resistance gene, this poses risks of creating aggressive weeds that may wreak havoc to local agriculture and natural habitats,” the report quoted Daniel Ocampo, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia as having said.

“GMOs have never been proven safe, which is why they are highly regulated and even banned in many countries and regions. This report is but the latest addition to the growing body of scientific evidence which shows that GMOs are dangerous to our health and our environment, and pose significant threats to sustainable farming practices,” Ocampo added.

Greenpeace cited the results of 90-day lab tests conducted by GMO proponents on mice fed with Bt eggplant, which reportedly showed signs of toxicity in the liver and kidneys of the animals.

Studies on Bt corn varieties, already being planted in the Philippines, also show similar results, it said.

Field trials of Bt eggplant are currently being carried out in four provinces with plans to propagate the controversial crop in other places in the country. In December 2010, the local government of Davao City, citing an ordinance promoting organic agriculture, uprooted Bt eggplants that were field-tested inside the UP Mindanao campus.

The field trial was financed by seed giant Monsanto Philippines. (MindaNews)

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