1.Check if US imported rice is genetically modified!

2.Greenpeace demands GMO-free rice supply on eve of World Consumer Day

3.Farmers' group warns against importing rice from the US


1.Check if US imported rice is genetically modified!
RESIST/KMP News Release, April 1, 2008
Militant farmers caution consumers against buying US rice

The broad coalition Resistance and Solidarity against Agrochemical TNCs (RESIST) and the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) cautioned the public against buying the US imported rice until it is checked if it is genetically modified (GM). If it is from Bayer and it is the variety of Liberty Link (LL) 62 then it is definitely genetically modified and in fact there is a temporary restraining order issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on the application of Bayer Philippines Inc. to use its genetically modified (GM) rice LL62 for food, animal feed and processing.

The group said that the LibertyLink (LL) 62 rice variety should be considered a 'plant pest' because it will contaminate conventional and organic rice; create difficult-to-control weeds, lead to increased chemical residues on rice, and cause economic harm to rice farmers. The GM rice LL62 is not (knowingly) grown anywhere in the world due to universal opposition from the rice and food industries.

According to Dr. Romeo Quijano, 'LibertyLink rice is engineered with a bacterial gene to survive application of glufosinate, the active ingredient in Bayer's proprietary Liberty herbicide. The inevitable transfer of the glufosinate-resistance gene to weedy red rice already among the worst weeds in the Southern rice belt via cross-pollination threatens creation of 'super weeds.' Glufosinate-resistant weeds would also be created by the increased use of Liberty anticipated with commercial plantings of LibertyLink rice.'

'The increased use of Liberty would mean more chemical residues in rice and besides no variety of LibertyLink rice had been adequately tested to detect potentially hazardous side effects of genetic engineering (GE)2. European and international food safety agencies acknowledge the need for comprehensive testing of GE foods for hazardous side effects, including animal feeding trials with the GE crop,' said Quijano.

'We urge the Arroyo government to look into these issues and not discount any risks on GMO as what happened in the US that illegally contaminated their food supply. The government should protect the farmers and consumers from these risky experimental foods. They should not just import and try to make 'pogi points' but are endangering the lives of our people. They are even selling it at a higher price of P25 a kilogram. We are asking consumers not to but this US rice until proven that it is safe, it has become common practice for the US in recent years to dump GM rice here like the Uncle Sam long grain the past year 'said Rafael Mariano.

'It is often argued that GMOs are the only way to boost food production and meet the demand of a rising population. But GMOs are the wrong answer to the wrong problem. The problem is not that there is not enough food, but that too many people have no access to adequate food. Besides, GMOs will increase the stranglehold of transnational corporations in our country. They will dictate the terms and farmers as well as consumers will be at the losing end. So what's the use of increasing yields or having rice now when you’re pushing millions of small farmers deeper into perennial poverty and consumers to health hazards?' ended Mariano.


Dr. Romeo Quijano, RESIST Convenor and president, PAN Philippines Rafael Mariano, RESIST Convenor and national chairperson, KMP

RESIST is a national broad coalition of 52 organizations represented by farmers’ organizations, NGOs, support institutions, scientists, health workers, environmentalists, academes and concerned individuals in opposition to agrochemical TNCs, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and chemical pesticides. It promotes and advocates for natural and sustainable agriculture and pushes for genuine agrarian reform as the foundation of food security and social justice.


2.Greenpeace demands GMO-free rice supply on eve of World Consumer Day
Dominican Today, 1 April 2008

[image caption: Greenpeace activists wave post-harvest rice stalks at the Philippine Department of Agriculture in Manila]

Manila. Greenpeace activists marched to the Department of Agriculture waving post-harvest rice stalks to remind the government to keep the Philippines's rice supply free of risky contamination from genetically-modified (GMO) varieties.

The peaceful protest, at the eve of World Consumer Rights Day, is part of Greenpeace's on-going campaign to protect rice from GMO contamination which poses inherent risks to consumer health, the environment, and farmers' livelihoods.

During the activity the environmental activists also displayed a banner with the demand 'Keep our rice GMO-free!' and hung the rice stalks on the DA's gates. Greenpeace also delivered a letter to DA Secretary Yap demanding a commitment from the government to stop plans to commercialize and test GMO rice varieties in the country.

'Greenpeace is unrelenting in our demand that the country's rice supply be protected from unsafe and unproven GMO technologies. GMOs threaten biodiversity, food security, farmers' livelihoods, and consumer health. We believe that is time for the government, through the DA, to signify a strong commitment to keep the country's rice supply safe and secure by rejecting GMO-tainted rice,' said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Genetic Engineering Campaigner Daniel Ocampo.

Last month Greenpeace exposed how a 44,000 metric ton US long grain rice shipment into the country has put the country's rice supply at risk from possible GMO contamination. In the past two years, US long grain rice stocks have figured in a massive GMO contamination scandals which have cost the US rice industry billions of dollars in losses.

Since last year, 23 US rice shipments declared GMO-free by American authorities were barred in the EU for GMO contamination. To protect the country's rice supply, Greenpeace is asking the National Food Authority to quarantine the recent US shipment to the Philippines until more stringent tests have been conducted to verify the supplier's claim that the rice is indeed GMO-free.


3.Farmers' group warns against importing rice from the US
AMITA LEGASPI GMANews.TV, 1 April 2008

MANILA, Philippines - A militant farmers' group on Tuesday warned the National Food Authority (NFA) against importing rice particularly from the United States as these may be genetically modified.

In a telephone interview with GMANews.TV, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas spokesman Carl Ala said importing rice from the US increases the danger of exposing local consumers to genetically modified rice.

'Kailangang maging maingat sa pag-iimport lalo na galing sa US. Mas malaki ang danger na mapasukan tayo ng genetically modified rice dahil walang mechanism para ma-detect ito (We need to exercise caution in importing rice from the US. There is now a bigger danger that genetically modified rice could get through, especially since we do not have a mechanism to detect this),' Ala said.

Ala noted that upon the request of environmental group Greenpeace, a Quezon City court last year issued a temporary restraining order against the entry of rice variety Liberty Link 62 (LL-62). LL62 - produced by Bayer Crop Science Inc. - is genetically modified to resist a powerful weed killer.

Greenpeace had questioned the apparent lack of public voice and public consultation on GMO approvals by the Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Plant Industries.

In the interview, Ala said the NFA should closely scrutinize rice imports from the US, saying genetically modified rice can easily be mixed with normal rice. He said what makes the matter worse is that the Philippines has no law regarding GMOs.

'Pag pinalitan ng sako paano mo pa malalaman? Nalusutan na tayo last year (If they place it in a different sack, how can we still detect? Genetically modified rice have already passed through the checks last year),' Ala said referring to the rice imported by Bayer.

'Tina-try na mapasok sa Pilipinas e bawal yan sa ibang bansa. Dito sa atin gustong i-test (They have been trying to get it into the Philippines because it has been banned in other countries. They want to test it here),' he added.

On the other hand, the NFA said it only import rice that have been cleared to be GMO-free, noting that the government has ways to determine if the rice is genetically modified.

In a telephone interview, Rebecca Olarte, NFA assistant public affairs manager, assured that quality checks are being conducted at the source country.

'Sinisigurado na na-clear yung bigas bago i-import... May representative from the Bureau of Plant Industry na nagche-check ng quality ng bigas bago i-load. Pina-certify yan sa isang certification agency (We ensure that the rice are cleared before they are imported here... We have a representative from the Bureau of Plant Industry who checks the rice quality before they are even loaded for importation. We have them certified by a US certification agency),' Olarte said.

Olarte, however, admitted that the NFA has yet to obtain the document which certifies the 10,000 sacks of rice that arrived at the NFA warehouse on Monday.

She said they are ascertaining whether the new batch arrival is part of the importation batch of some 44,000 sacks of rice that arrived in Subic last week which was cleared by a US certification agency to be GMO-free.

In the interview, Olarte further clarified that it was not the government that imported the rice which was found to be contaminated with genetically modified organism last year. 'Private company ang nag-import n'un. Lahat ng stocks na yun sinunog then na-dispose (It was a private company that tried to import it here. Upon discovery, all its stocks were burned and later disposed),' she said. - GMANews.TV