18 Febbraio 2013

Banning the GMOs is prevented? A signature to act!

A petition to protect the freedom of each Member State of the European Union to ban the sale and cultivation of genetically modified crops

A recent judgment of the European Court of Justice, promulgated the 6th of September 2012, stated that the Member States are not allowed to take position against the European legislation, which establishes that the GMO corn, patented with the name of MON 810, can be cultivated throughout Europe. 

The low has been operative far-back, but especially France and Italy made every effort to avoid to apply it on their territories; in Summer 2011, even the European Parliament spoke out against the possibility of delegating the danger evaluation of the GMO seeds to Europe only.
The sentence of the 6th of September 2012 goes in the opposite direction, allowing the producers of the genetically modified seeds to cultivate them on the Italian ground: in a short time, the genetic contamination will make the natural corn indistinguishable from the GMO one, ceding the market to the Monsanto company. Indeed, when we can no longer write “GMO free” on packaging, the most powerful companies will win. 

This does not happen for corn only: a German honey producer detected traces of protein Cry1Ab inside the honey of his bees (protein Cry1Ab originates from the modified DNA of corn Mon810, extracted from a bacterium. It is useful to make the corn resistant to some insects that otherwise would eat it, reducing the profit): well, the judge consulted by the honey producer established that his honey has become GMO, and that this must be written on the label! 

There are many news about GMO seeds, and it is not difficult to read up. Nevertheless, it is important to clarify a few essential points: 

           - By now, it is recognized a certain subjection of Europe to the chemical multinationals of GMO seeds and many people are concerned about its outcome: GMO crops aimed to maximize productivity and profitability, turning the seeds market into an oligopoly which reduces the biological diversity of natural seeds;

           - GMO companies do not aim to produce healthy foods, but only more marketable foods: in fifteen years, in fact, the only improvement on a large scale has involved the resistance to insects and herbicides, rather than the production of healthier food for people;

           - Neither GMOs are a way to “reduce pesticides use”:  the herbicides consumption is increased 4-fold from 2000 to 2009 due to the introduction of herbicide-resistant plants, cultivated on huge surfaces in the 4 countries which produce the 80% of GMO plants all over the world: USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina. (Europe, with only the 0,06% of its territory dedicated to GMOs, is… a land of conquest!);

          - The purpose is not even to "fight hunger in the world": in fact, the GMO seeds impose to poor countries to give up their food sovereignty and security, buying sterile seeds or seeds on which they have to pay fees every seeding!

By the way, I would like to recommend a serious ONG of independent English scientists: the Earth Open Source, on whose website it is possible to find more detailed explanations of what is listed above. 

Now some information about the Monsanto chemical multinational.
This big company owns the patent of a corn which is resistant to Glyphosate herbicide, and meantime it is also the owner of this pesticide. In this way, the Monsanto group sells both the brewed seeds and the herbicide to destroy the weeds that reduces productivity. Damages to human health caused by Glyphosate have been recently reported by Greenpeace International, because it influence hormones production, gestation process, the development of lymphatic cancer, and probably the nervous system. 

It’s also worthy of attention the fact that Monsanto, founded in 1901, based its biggest business “inventing” and selling for tens of years the PBC (used as coolant until it was discovered their huge toxic potential) and the pesticide 245T, which is based on dioxin also employed as defoliant during Vietnam war (the notorious Orange Agent, which turned out to be carcinogenic and that it is still responsible for damages to the immune system of Vietnamese population). 

- Greenpeace International report about Monsanto.pdf

- Glyphosate tolerant crops in the EU.pdf 

- Herbicide tolerance and GM crops.pdf

All considered, we invite you to subscribe and share the petition promoted by Amerigo Sivelli on AVAAZ, who asks to the European Parliament the “Freedom to Ban the Sale and Cultivation of Genetically Modified Variety for UE Member States”, already included in the common catalog, reviewing, if necessary, the Legislation 2001/18/EC”.

From an ethic and scientific point of view it is important to reaffirm that genetic engineering is radically different from traditional methods of breeding and mutagenesis used for centuries, and from the production of varieties used in agriculture. The idea of the legitimacy to change life to suit ourselves implies the demand to control and take advantage of “natural resources”, as oppressors. However, interdependence and mutual causality are sovereign laws of nature: the operations of instantaneous changing of DNA trail behind unpredictable consequences, which are usually found years after.

Therefore, it is not correct to affirm that those who contrast GMO are against science: on the contrary, we support research, but we also ask to limit the testing ground in order to avoid risks, and that research could observe and replicate the existing networks of relationships; finally, we ask that this kind of research could be introduced in the environment with great caution, only after a deep consideration of all social and ethical (not only commercial) risks and benefits. 

For further information:

The ruling of the Court of Justice

The judgment of the Court

The relevant European directive

The mechanisms behind big multinationals such as Monsanto


You can find Avaaz’s petition in many languages:




Translated from the Italian version by Simone Semprini and Marianna Turriciano

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