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ActionAid under fire for claiming GM crops cause cancer

This news post is almost 8 years old
 

​ActionAid distances itself from aggressive campaign against GM crops

One of the world’s leading aid charities has admitted its staff told Ugandan farmers genetically modified (GM) crops would give them cancer.

A concerted campaign by ActionAid Uganda used pictures of rats with tumours to warn impoverished farmers against using GM seeds.

The Christian charity has mounted an aggressive campaign against GM products in Africa but admitted its tactics were wrong on this ocassion.

Jane Moyo of ActionAid said: “They should not have told farmers that GM causes cancer. We got in touch and they stopped it.”

Apart from cancer warnings, the charity had also commissioned radio adverts warning of the dangers of eating GM foods despite a ruling by the World Health Organisation that they have “no effects on human health”.

Moyo said that ActionAid as an organisation was “neither for nor against” GM but preferred to take a precautionary approach to the technology.

It has been alleged other NGOs have also used “wildly inaccurate scientific allegations” in their campaigns against GM food, despite the promise it can bring of greater food security.

Dale Sanders, head of the John Innes centre for research and training in plant and microbial science, said: “I find it very sad that NGOs whose stated aim is to improve food security and prevent malnutrition should be making false suggestions that GM crops are any less safe than conventional breeding.

“GM technology offers huge potential to improve yields and combat disease in crops that millions of people rely on.”

 

Comments

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Tiiu-Imbi Miller
almost 8 years ago
The rats did get tumours, when fed the GM food for a longer time than the usual tests, and pigs got stomach problems, some serious. The rat and pig studies were scientific, so claims that caution was based on non-scientific bias are not valid. You should be able to find links to these studies if you search in http://www.mercola.com, or for Seralini for the rats study. The nation where GM has been eaten long enough for it to be possible to assess long term effects in humans is the US, but this cannot be done because they don't label GM foods. So we don't know who has eaten them and who hasn't and cannot compare their health. The biotech companies who produce them are strongly opposed to such labelling. If they know them to be so safe why do they oppose labelling? That would allow for convincing safety tests for long term use in real life conditions and put a stop to the arguments. Nor is their benefit in increased yields so well demonstrated. Thousands of Indian farmers have committed suicide because of debts when the GM cotton failed to give the increased yields they were led to believe they would get when they bought the seed etc. on credit. GM is a powerful technology that surely should be able to provide benefits, but before it is imported over the world proper safety and yield studies should be done, and these have not been done adequately. We should not be relying on short term industry funded safety studies, which is what the WHO has. If anyone knows of long term, non industry funded studies I would be interested to get the references. I would also like references of well conducted, non industry funded studies showing that these foods increase greater food security.