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Friday, 12 December 2014

Babylon USA’s satanic plan to pollute global food systems : African Food Experts Slam US Human GM Banana Trials: These trials funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are being carried out under the leadership of Dr. Wendy White of the Iowa State University, on 12 young students, with the intention of introducing the GM banana first in Uganda and later, to other countries in East Africa. The GM banana, currently undergoing field trials in Uganda, was developed by scientists at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, similarly also funded by the Gates Foundation.

bananas

African Food Experts Slam US Human GM Banana Trials

Posted on Dec 10 2014 - 5:37pm by Sustainable Pulse


 The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), a Pan African platform comprising civil society networks and farmer organisations working towards food sovereignty in Africa, has submitted an Open Letter to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Wendy White from Iowa State University and the Human Institutional Review Board of Iowa State University expressing fierce opposition to the human feeding trials taking place at Iowa State University involving genetically modified (GM) bananas.




The Open Letter is supported by more than 120 organizations from around the world. Farmers, advocates, consumers and other communities from the United States are represented, including the US Food



Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA), FoodFirst, AGRA Watch/Community Alliance for Global Justice and La Via Campesina North America, as well as many from Africa, Europe, Latin America, the United Kingdom, Asia and Australia. Dr. Vandana Shiva, Dr. Jeanne Koopman, Dr. Eva Navotny and Professor Joseph Cummins are among the prominent scientists and academics also supporting the Open Letter.
The GM banana human trials are funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and carried out by Iowa State University under the leadership of Dr. Wendy White.




The human subjects of these trials are young female students from Iowa State University. Scientists at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia developed the GM banana, also with funds provided by the Gates Foundation. Touted as a ‘Super Banana’ the GM banana in question, has been genetically modified to contain extra beta-carotene, a nutrient the body uses to produce Vitamin A. The results of the human trials are designed to support the release the GM bananas into Ugandan farming and food systems.
According to Iowa State University, “Vitamin A deficiency is a major public health problem in Uganda and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and leads to decreased survival in children, impaired immune function and blindness.”



An outraged Bridget Mugambe, a Ugandan and AFSA Policy Advocate, says “Just because the GM banana has been developed in Australia and is being tested in the US, does not make it super! Ugandans know what is super because we have been eating homegrown GM-free bananas for centuries. This GM Banana is an insult to our food, to our culture, to us a nation, and we strongly condemn it.”




Iowa farmer George Naylor noted, “We’re told that GMOs are safe but we don’t even know if these genetically modified bananas should be tested on humans. People who are malnourished need good food, not another public relations stint that clears the way for more corporate, patented, high-profit technologies.”
“As AFSA, we are vehemently opposed to GM crops. Africa and Africans should not be used as justification for promoting the interest of companies and their cohorts. We do not need GM crops in this changing climate. What we need is the diversity in our crops and the knowledge associated with them,” commented Dr. Million Belay, AFSA Coordinator.




AFSA, USFSA and others supporting the Open Letter have demanded that it be shared with the human subjects of the trials in the US.







AFSA Open Letter Opposing Human Feeding Trials Involving GM Banana


To: 
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Sue.Desmond-Hellman@gatesfoundation.org
Chris.Elias@gatesfoundation.org

Dr Wendy S White, Iowa State University
wswhite@iastate.edu

The Director, Human-Institutional Review Board, Iowa State University
IRB@iastate.edu

Dear Sirs/Madam

We, the undersigned, representing diverse constituencies from across Africa and the world, working towards food sovereignty, are strongly opposed to the human feeding trials taking place at the Iowa State University involving the so called genetically modified (GM) ‘super banana’ - GM Matooke, Sweet and Roasting bananas.

These trials funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are being carried out under the leadership of Dr. Wendy White of the Iowa State University, on 12 young students, with the intention of introducing the GM banana first in Uganda and later, to other countries in East Africa. The GM banana, currently undergoing field trials in Uganda, was developed by scientists at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, similarly also funded by the Gates Foundation.

Despite claims to the contrary from the promoters and developers of GM crops, and to reiterate what nearly three hundred global scientists have stated in an Open Letter in December 2013[i], there is no consensus that GM crops are safe for human consumption. Most of the research carried out by independent scientists on GM crops directly contradicts the results of biotech industry-sponsored studies that claim no evidence of risk or harm.

This so-called ‘Super-banana’, has been genetically modified to contain extra beta-carotene, a nutrient the human body uses to produce vitamin A. Unlike current GM crops in commercial production where agronomic traits have been altered, scientists have spliced genes into the GM banana to produce substances for humans to digest (extra beta carotene). The GM banana is a whole different ballgame, raising serious concerns about the risks to African communities who would be expected to consume it. Production of vitamin A in the body is complex and not fully understood. This raises important questions including inter alia, whether high levels of beta- carotene or vitamin A may carry risks and what the nature of those risks might be.  While a risk assessment is a pre-requisite for GM foods under many national jurisdictions, the need for specific and additional food safety assessment for nutritionally enhanced GM crops such as the GM banana is acknowledged by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, as genetic modifications result in a composition that may be significantly different from their conventional counterparts[ii].

We question what firm conclusions can be drawn from feeding trials of young people residing in the United States for poor rural farmers and consumers in Africa, given all the differences in lifestyle and diets between these two populations?

What other foods will these students be eating with the GM bananas, and how will these be eaten? Will the participants in the USA be eating this in the same way? Will it have the same color and same levels of water composition? Would cooking the GM bananas result in a loss of beta-carotene? Will participants be given portions of fats and oils (such as butter) to supplement the banana, as was the case in feeding trials with Golden Rice to facilitate the absorption of beta-carotene? If so, then the GM banana feeding studies may be of little relevance to rural Ugandans and other East Africans who prepare the Matooke variety simply by steaming and mashing.

Great strides have been made in the Philippines, another target country for Vitamin enhanced GM crops, through government programs that supply supplements and improve access to vitamin A rich foods, to overcome Vitamin A deficiencies. This is done without the enormous costs or unknown long- term impacts on health, the environment and farming systems that are entailed by using GM crops. And it is more completely in control of the user society.

Africa, the USA, and indeed the rest of the world, do not need GM crops. These crops divert resources away from more locally appropriate and controlled agricultural solutions to nutritional concerns. If indeed the aim of those involved in the promotion of the project is truly to combat Vitamin A deficiency then surely they should be advocating for the consumption of more diverse fruits and foods, such as sweet potatoes that are rich in Vitamin A and that are in abundance in Africa. Ironically, the promotion of a GM food staple high in Vitamin A, risks perpetuating monolithic diets, the very causes of Vitamin A deficiency in the first place.
This letter is in solidarity with farmers and communities in Africa and around the world, which have resisted the genetic modification of their staple foods- from Ghana, Kenya and Zambia- to Mexico, India and the Philippines. We will not stand by idly as attempts are made to systematically genetically modify Africa’s staple foods and in the process gain a massive positive public relations coup by claiming to have conquered health problems at the unnecessary risk to Africans.

Finally, we demand that the full contents of this open letter are shared with the human subjects of these trials in the USA.

Bridget Mugambe

Policy Advocate
Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)
P.O.BOX 571,
Kampala, Uganda
Email: b_mugambe@yahoo.com
Tel: 256 775 692499

[i] No Scientific Consensus on Safety of Genetically Modified Organisms – Scientists Release Statement as World Food Prize goes to Monsanto and Syngenta http://www.ensser.org/media/0513/
[ii] See ftp://ftp.fao.org/codex/Publications/Booklets/Biotech/Biotech_2009e.pdf
Supported by:
  1. African Biodiversity Network  (Kenya)
  2. African Centre for Biosafety  (South Africa)
  3. Africa Europe Faith Justice Network (Belgium)
  4. African Network on the Right to Food (Togo)
  5. Agency for Integrated Rural Development (Uganda)
  6. AgriculturALMissions Inc (USA)
  7. AgriProfocus (Uganda)
  8. AGRA Watch/Community Alliance for Global Justice (USA)
  9. Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition (Nigeria)
  10. Alliance for Rural Advancement (South Africa)
  11. Biowatch (South Africa)
  12. Border Rural Committee (South Africa)
  13. Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association (USA)
  14. Centre for Information Policy in Africa (Uganda)
  15. Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) (Ghana)
  16. Centre for Participatory Research and Development (Uganda)
  17. Centro Internazionale (Italy)
  18. Civil Society Watch Project (Uganda)
  19. ‎Committee on Vital Environmental Resources (COVER) Nigeria
  20. Community to Community (USA)
  21. Community Development Resource Network (Uganda)
  22. Consumer Education Trust (Uganda)
  23. Commons for Eco Justice (Malawi)
  24. Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development- Africa
  25. CNCD- 11.11.11 (Belgium)
  26. CICODEV Africa
  27. Earthlife Africa (South Africa)
  28. Environmental Management and Livelihoods Improvement (Uganda)
  29. Entraide et Fraternite (Belgium)
  30. Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum (EASAFF-regional network)
  31. FAHAMU (Senegal)
  32. Farmer Support Group (South Africa)
  33. Family Farm Defenders (USA)
  34. Farm Workers Association of Florida (USA)
  35. Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa (West Africa)
  36. Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy
  37. Food Sovereignty Ghana (Ghana)
  38. Food Democracy Now! (USA)
  39. Food Matters Zimbabwe
  40. Food and Water Watch (USA)
  41. FOOD Watch (Australia)
  42. Friends of the Earth Africa
  43. FNQ Sustainability Alliance (Australia)
  44. Garden Africa
  45. Gaia Foundation (United Kingdom)
  46. Gene Ethics (Australia)
  47. GRAIN
  48. Greenpeace
  49. GM Free Australia (Australia)
  50. GM-Free Far North Queensland (Australia)
  51. Grassroots International (USA)
  52. Growth Partners Africa (Kenya)
  53. Hawai`i SEED
  54. Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) Nigeria
  55. International Development Exchange (USA)
  56. Institute for Culture and Ecology (Kenya)
  57. Institute for Research and Promotion of Alternatives (Mali)
  58. Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) Ethiopia
  59. Interface Development Interventions (Philippines)
  60. Iowa  Citizens for Community Improvement
  61. jAbL (Germany)
  62. JA!FOE (Mozambique)
  63. JINUKUN- Coalition to Protect African Genetic Heritage (Benin)
  64. Kenya Biodiversity Coalition (Kenya)
  65. Kenya Food Rights Alliance (Kenya)
  66. Land Loss Prevention Project (USA)
  67. La Via Campesina (Africa)
  68. La Via Campesina (North America)
  69. Legal Resources Centre (South Africa)
  70. MADGE Australia Inc (Australia)
  71. Mantasa (Indonesia)
  72. Melca (Ethiopia)
  73. Mississippi State Association of Cooperatives (USA)
  74. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns (USA)
  75. National Association for Professional Environmentalists (Uganda)
  76. National Family Farm Coalition (USA)
  77. Natures Friends Institute Demonstration Site (USA)
  78. Ndima Community Service (South Africa)
  79. Nkuzi Development Association (South Africa)
  80. Navdanya (India)
  81. Never Ending Food  (Malawi)
  82. Network of Farmers and Agricultural Producers’ Organisations of West Africa
  83. North East Organic Farming Association of New York (USA)
  84. Oakland Institute (USA)
  85. Pesticide Action Network- North America
  86. Partners for the Land and Agriculture Needs of Traditional Peoples (USA)
  87. PELUM Association (Regional network representing 10 countries in Africa)
  88. Right to Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty Campaign (South Africa)
  89. Rural Women’s Assembly (Southern Africa)
  90. Slow Food Youth Network (South Africa)
  91. Society for International Development (Italy/International)
  92. SOS Faim Luxemburg (Germany)
  93. Southern Cape land Committee (South Africa)
  94. Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (Uganda)
  95. Sovereign Seeds (Western Australia)
  96. Surplus people project (South Africa)
  97. The Ecologist Magazine
  98. The Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee
  99. The Acequia Institute (USA)
  100. Third World Network
  101. Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity (Tanzania)
  102. Terra Nova (Italy)
  103. Tropical Sustainable Foundation (Uganda)
  104. Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture (USA)
  105. The Committee on Vital Environment Resources (Nigeria)
  106. The Young Environmental Network (Nigeria)
  107. The Health of Mother Earth Foundation (Nigeria)
  108. Trust for Community Outreach and Education (South Africa)
  109. Transkei Land Service Organisation (South Africa)
  110. Pan-Africanist International (Belgium)
  111. Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (Uganda)
  112. Platforme Regionale des Organisations d’Afrique Centrale
  113. SEARICE (Philippines)
  114. Uganda Coalition for Sustainable Development (Uganda)
  115. US-Africa Network (USA)
  116. US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFA)
  117. Vijiji Foundation (Tanzania)
  118. Washington Biotechnology Action Council (USA)
  119. Women on Farms (South Africa)
  120. World Neighbours
  121. Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (Uganda)
  122. Zambia Alliance for Agro Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation (Zambia)

Individuals

  1. Dr. Vandana Shiva (India)
  2. Joanna Stodden (Seattle, USA)
  3. LanDinh (Philadelphia USA)
  4. Dr Jeanne Koopman (USA)
  5. SheilaKinsey (Rome, Italy)
  6. Sue Kalicinska (United Kingdom)
  7. Sue Edwards
  8. Reverend M Dele (USA)
  9. Dr. Eva Novotny (United Kingdom)
  10. Erik Dalhuijsen (Aberdeen Scotland)
  11. Franz Fischer (Zimbabwe)
  12. Dr. Michael Antoniou (United Kingdom)
  13. Sr. KumudineDassanayake (Holy Family of Bordeaux,  Sri-Lanka)
  14. Dr. Norman Albon (United Kingdom)
  15. Frances Moore Lappe
  16. Prof. Joseph Cummins (Canada)
  17. Dr. Marion Hersh (Scotland)
  18. MelleseDamtieDandi
  19. June WalkerThanthwe (Malawi)
  20. John Wilson (Zimbabwe)
  21. Philip L Bereano, Professor Emeritus
  22. Dr Devon G. Peña
  23. H.M Owens
  24. Jeanie Clark (Warracknabeal, Australia)
  25. Joan Gussow Professor Emeritus (Columbia University, USA)
  26. Eric Holt-Gimenez