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Genetically Modified Crops Heat Up Brazil’s Environment Meeting

The transposition of the São Francisco River and transgenic foods are the issues generating the most sparks at Brazil’s 2nd National Environmental Conference. The debates got underway Sunday afternoon, December 11.

After discussing and voting the internal rules of the Conference, the participants split up into five groups to discuss the nearly 3,800 proposals made at 27 state environmental conferences.

The groups are divided according to themes: biodiversity and forests; water and hydric resources; environmental quality in human settlements, mechanisms of sustainable development, and the strengthening of the National Environmental System (Sisnama) and social control.

The way laws on transgenic foods are being handled in Brazil is the most frequent target of criticisms voiced by the participants.

"Transgenics are free to be planted in the country," complains the national coordinator of agricultural policy in the Federation of Family Farm Workers (Fetraf), Gilmar Pastorio.

For the participants, the question is not limited to whether genetically modified foods are legal or not, but involves the choice of the technical model the country wants to follow. "We defend an economically sustainable model based on agroecology," he affirms.

Pastorio explains that transgenic cultivation leads to "an economy based on monoculture and eliminates one of the most important categories, family farming. It is impossible for family farming to compete with transgenic cultivation, because transgenic cultivation was developed for large properties and is exclusive," he explains.

There is also a concern over the impacts. "No environmental impact or public health studies exist that say what will happen to human beings, animals, and biodiversity ten or fifty years from now," he points out.

The delegation from Bahia came to the conference to defend the Labeling Law. "We are in favor of the Law, so that consumers will know what they are consuming," informs Iêda Dominhos, from the Recitec environmental consulting firm.

According to the Law, food intended for human or animal consumption that has been genetically modified or contains transgenic ingredients is required to bear a symbol on its label, a yellow triangle with the letter "T" in the middle, identifying the product as transgenic. The name of the transgenic substance or ingredient must also be specified on the label.

At the end of the meeting, each of the five groups will present its proposals for a floor vote, leading to a final report that will contain guidelines and proposals to be sent to the National Environmental Council (Conama).

Agência Brasil

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  • Guest

    Have you heard of the Monsanto Company??
    Good to know that Brazil is disucssing transgenic farming. This type of seed used for agriculture is generally known as Genetically Modified (GM) or Genetically Engineered (GE) seeds. This article chose to use the term transgenic but the definition is rather equal, being “Of, relating to, or being an organism whose genome has been altered by the transfer of a gene or genes from another species or breed.” The leader in the biochemical industry is Monsanto Company, with its’ head office located in St. Louis, Missouri. (An office is located here in Sao Paulo.) Robert Shapiro is president of the company, who continually aquires large bichemical and chemical companies in an effort to obtain complete global control over the worlds’ seed/crop productions. From any search engine on the internet one has only to enter a few keys words and is allowed to view the controversial aspects of this controversial company and the ill effects that GM’s have on the animal kingdom, but especially on humans. The delgate, Mr. Pastorio, is sadly mistaken when he stated that no studies exist to validate the impact on human health nor on animals. This is far from the truth. In fact, two of the United States FDA’s (Food And Drug Administration) top experts on soy and the effects of GM soy bean, strongly apposed the FDA approval of GM soy bean. They pleaded with their employer to inform the public of their scientific experiment findings but to no avail. The two doctors, Sheehan and Doerge, went public and where promtly and legally gaged by the FDA and the court order disallows them to speak of their findings indefinitely. Gratefully, the two scientist told the frightening details to a nation that is first in soy bean production and consumtion. Other GM crops include corn, conola, rape seed, potatoes just to name a few. All this information and more is just a few “clicks” away from interested and concerned individuals. It is the family famer, yes, that pays a price when large corporations step in with their deep pockets. But, GM’s crops, in particular soy bean, have gained appreciation and acceptance and now is visible on nearly any food ingredient label. The ill effects are considerably and long lasting. We shouldl all be concerned and remember that when a big corporations are pushing their products hard, you should be aware. Their main objective is the all mightly dollar.

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