Concerns mount about GM eucalyptus pollen in Brazilian honey
Brazil’s National Technical Commission on Biotechnology (CTNBio) approved the commercial production of GM eucalyptus trees at a meeting today (9 April). Corn and soybeans tolerant to 2,4-D herbicide were also approved.
The GM eucalyptus was developed by FuturaGene Brazil to be faster-growing. At the CTNBio meeting in Brasilia, there were 18 votes in favour and 3 against.
One member of CTNBio who opposes the GM eucalyptus release is the researcher at the Higher School of Agriculture (Escola Superior de Agricultura, ESALQ/USP), Paulo Kageyama. According to him, even given the reduced growing cycle from 7 to 5 years, the GM variety will consume more water from the soil, aggravating the water crisis.
Kageyama says that even non-GMO eucalyptus wastes water.
The researcher also pointed out risks to human health and the production and export of organic honey, if contaminated with GM pollen.
In favour of the release of the eucalyptus is another professor at ESALQ, Hilton Thadeu Couto. He claims that eucalyptus increases the amount of water in the soil by 20–30%.
Also, according to Couto, the protein produced by the GM eucalyptus “degrades rapidly in the intestinal tract of mammals”. However, this was also claimed of Bt toxins, but then they turned up in the blood of pregnant women and in the blood supplies to their foetuses.
No one knows if the Bt toxins came from GM crops or not, but the GMO proponents’ claim that they were broken down in the digestive tract was clearly untrue.
The organisation of Landless Rural Workers (MST) commented on CTNBio’s latest decisions in a statement: “Environmental, social and public health consequences are ignored by CTNBio, as most of its members are in favour of corporate interests.”
Source (Portuguese): CanalRural http://www.canalrural.com.br/noticias/agricultura/ctnbio-aprova-variedades-eucalipto-soja-transgenicos-55852
1. Aris A, Leblanc S. Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Reproductive Toxicology. 2011; 31(4)