Germany bans Monsanto MON810 GM Corn

Posted on April 14th, 2009 Dan

Germany’s Minister of Agriculture, Ilse Aigner announced a decision today to ban the cultivation Monsanto’s MON810 genetically modified Bt maize (corn), due to serious health, agricultural, and ecological concerns.

4 out of 5 German consumers are opposed to the importation of the maize, and the German BMELF (Federal Minsitry of Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection) decision reflects that view.

MON810, also known as YieldGard, is genetically modified to express an insecticide (Cry1Ab) that naturally in bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

This Bt maize has been approved for human consumption and animal feed in the US, unlabelled, since 1996, [1] and many other countries, despite significant risk to humans and other species.

A 2007 study by Greenpeace showed inconsistent levels of Bt toxin expressed between plants when grown in non-controlled agricultural settings.  The study found that levels of the toxic protein in some plants were up to 100 times lower than Monsanto claimed, raising questions about both the effectiveness of the plant at controlling pests, and the actual potency of the expressed pesticide. [3]

A US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) risk assessment study that concluded the maize was safe for human consumption was based on 3 studies in mice, and none in humans.

Richard Wolfson, PhD points out the recklessness of using the Bt maize in light of wofeul inadequacy of existing research.  There exists a likelyhood of ampicillin (antibiotic) resistant bacteria forming in animals that consume the corn.   The use of Bt corn and other crops will almost certainly selectively breed stronger pests that threaten organic crops, and they have been shown to harmful to beneficial insect species [2].

It is poorly understood whether genes from Bt maize will transfect other corn, permanently affecting gene lines of non-GM crops.

Unfortunately in many western countries, especially the US, big agribusiness and biotechnology industry has a stranglehold on regulatory agencies.  In the US, produce labeled as organic (indicated by a number 9 before the PLU number) may not be genetically modified.  Any produce not labelled organic may be GMO (genetically modified organisms), and even perpared, mixed foods labeled as organic, may contan GMOs.

References:

  1. AGBios GM Database
  2. Importation of Ciba-Geigy’s Bt Maize Is Scientifically Indefensible.Richard Wolfson, PhD.
  3. How much Bt toxin do genetically engineered MON810 maize plants actually produce? Bt concentration in field plants from Germany and Spain. Antje Lorch, Cristoph Then.

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