Agri Business

‘Anti-GMO campaign gaining ground in US'

K.V. Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on November 10, 2017 Published on February 06, 2011

Mr. Jeffrey M Smith, Executive Director of the US-based ,Institute for Responsible Technology. (PHOTO BY ARRANGEMENT)

The United States, which has embraced genetically modified organisms (GMOs), has begun to see a steady opposition to GM foods, with activists taking to technology to spread the word. They have built iPhone and iPad applications, communications through Facebook, and are taking webinars.

The applications promote ‘Shop No GMO' campaign, while the Web site non GMO shopping guide provides a list of all foods that contained GMOs.

Mr Jeffrey M. Smith, Executive Director of The Institute for Responsible Technology, shot to limelight with his books ‘Seeds of Deception' and Genetic Roulette, has said activists have set up Non GMO action groups in 44 States in the United States to spread the word about health risks GM foods brought in.

“The Non GMO Tipping Point Network takes up campaign that ultimately forces companies to withdraw GMOs from their products. The movement has grown very strong in the US. Seventy-five per cent of all milk and yoghurt produced in the country was from cows that were not injected with bovine growth hormone. About 100 dairies have stopped using this,” he said.

Myths

He alleged that GM companies had built several myths and could make people believe that GM food was safe. “That GMOs are safe, well-tested, improve yields and reduce use of chemicals in agriculture are just PR (public relations) myths. Several animal studies across the world have proved that they result in reproductive problems and changes in physiology,” he said.

“In the US, we have seen doubling of peanut allergy (an allergy largely reported in kids that force them not carry peanuts to schools in their snack boxes) during the first five years (from 1997-2002) of introduction of GM foods. Though there was no GM in peanuts, we feel that other GM crops could have resulted in peanut contamination,” he said.

Hyderabad declaration

Meanwhile, a group of doctors, nutritionists, agricultural scientists and farmers have called for democratisation of debate on genetic engineering to save “India from the assault on food sovereignty by corporate biotech industry through genetic engineering in food and farming.”

The roundtable, held at the National Institute for Rural Development, criticised the veil of secrecy that shrouded biotechnology related policies being pursued by the Government.

The Hyderabad Declaration asked the Government to make India GM free, considering the proven health hazards to the human and the animal, economic loss to farmers and loss of biodiversity.

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Published on February 06, 2011
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