GM no threat

James Moffet (‘The whole GM truth’, 6 July, pg 8, letters page) has either never read the GMO Act or fails to understand it.

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The misinformation that the GMO Act puts all responsibility and liability on the user has been deliberately constructed by mutilating the correct interpretation as in the act and has been circulating for the past 10 years. ‘User’ means everyone that in some or other way uses genetic modified organisms.

This covers the scientist in the lab doing genetic research to modify genetic DNA, the public or private institution involved, the owner of the intellectual property, the seller of GM seeds, GM microbes or GM vaccines, the retailer/distributor of such GM seeds/vaccines/microbes, the farmer who grows the GM seeds, or the doctor who administers the GM vaccine, plus the trader who handles GM seeds.

There are various laws that have an impact on the above-mentioned users: the National Environmental Act (NEMA) and the NEMA Biodiversity Act, the Consumer Protection Act, various health acts, etc. The only parties not covered under these acts are the purveyors of fraudulent information. Moffett’s assertion that the ‘‘number of ill people in our country attests to the quality of food on the shelves” is absolute rubbish.

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More than 80% of food in our supermarkets, excluding bread, vegetables and fruit, contains genetically modified ingredients. These products are consumed annually by 50 million people with no substantiated medically or scientifically adverse effects over the past 12 years that GM crops have been grown in SA. This is borne out by the latest analysis of the European Food Safety Authority that MON 810, Monsanto’s genetically modified maize in the EU (also grown in SA) poses no risk to humans, animals or the environment (EFSA Report, April 2012.)