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GMOs and their first victims in Chile

GMOs and their first victims in Chile

By Olga Larrazabal Saitua

When the European Union decides that GMOs are dangerous and we have already contaminated our crops, will we be able to export our fruits? Won't it be late? We can no longer choose. They will enter this debate and make themselves heard, and also the common people will be informed of what is happening in this field.

GMOs: Mickey Mouse Syndrome


El Ciudadano Digital Newspaper published on 1/25/2008 the news: Pesticide poisoning in transgenic cornfields The newspaper adds "This incident broke the official secret, revealing one of the many places in the country where transgenics are grown for export. . The poisoning occurs in the midst of an intense campaign by the business community and the government in favor of the bill approved in the first process by the Senate (January 2008), which aims to release transgenic crops in the country. Currently only those destined for the production of transgenic seed for export are allowed. " (Full text: The Citizen)

Surprise, surprise, as the gringos say, so we were producers of transgenic seeds.

And if those seed crops for export had pollinated our neighbors, it means that dangerous biological mutations are already circulating in our corn, tomatoes, potatoes etc. and we had no idea. It is no wonder that tomatoes, even if they are of the ancients, have no taste at all.

For those who do not know, transgenic are the plant or animal products whose genetic code has been modified to obtain some advantage, generally economic. Thus, genes are inserted that make the plant produce toxins naturally and attack certain pests, or so that it grows faster, or produces harder fruits or of another color or so that its seeds are sterile, since with that they have captive clients that they they have to buy seeds every year, etc. And we add that the genetic material of plants is highly transmissible between species, so that our traditional species may have already acquired these mutations. But, as in Nature everything depends on everything, in a dynamic equilibrium in which it adjusts itself according to immanent laws that current scientists do not master, every time the human being intervenes violently, it spoils everything. Just like Mickey Mouse in the Walt Disney movie "Fantasy" in the story "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", when for the sake of his laziness and recklessness, the apprentice steals the witchcraft manual from his employer and multiplies and gives life to millions of brooms that carry water from the well and that end up producing a flood because, without mastering the total of magic, the apprentice does not know how to stop the creatures he gave life to.

I remembered then a TV program that they gave, it seems to me, in December 2007 and that it dealt with a Hungarian biologist, Doctor Pusztai, who worked at the Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland, and who undergoing health safety tests human to transgenic potatoes to which a lectin had been modified to make it resistant to a plague, these not only did not pass the test but also proved to be extremely poisonous, it depressed the immune system and the rats fed with that food developed smaller internal organs. Dr. Pusztai emphasized that there are substances in foods subjected to Genetic Engineering that have a slow effect that is not detected since the official tests approved to examine them do not require long-term tests. Official regulations in the UK prescribed an approval procedure based on the principle of "substantial equivalence" which consists in "comparing the transgenic product with its natural counterpart using a limited number of characteristics and if they are found to be similar, there is no reason. to subject the product to more thorough testing. "

“This premise has no foundation in science. It does not take into account the possibility that in each individual case, the insertion of genes into DNA can cause metabolic disturbances, or the unpredictable generation of potentially toxic substances. This is based on molecular-biological reasons and has also been shown in experimental cases. Very slow reacting toxic substances can be very difficult to detect. For this reason, there is a considerable risk that they would not be detected if the superficial tests used to establish "substantial equivalence" are applied. (Millstone E, Brunner E and Mayer S, "Beyond Substantial Equivalence", Nature 401: 525-526, 7 Oct 1999.)

So we see that the scientific community does not strictly accept the control of toxicity based on the "substantial equivalence" principle used in all institutions that have declared that GMOs are safe for human health. And therein lies the great controversy. It would be necessary to find out what controls there are in Chile for those who import transgenic material.

Well, the Doctor of yore was humiliated and shaken until the independent laboratories agreed with him and it was seen that the Institute where he worked received large donations from a transnational that has a monopoly on transgenics and was not as independent as everyone believed. Here the controversy is confused, and one begins to doubt about the impartiality of certain scientists, politicians and institutions.

I read in Food Magazine an article dated 3/14/2007 where Professor Gilles Séralini of the Committee for Independent Research on Genetic Engineering of the University of Caen declares with respect to the Monsanto MON863 corn variety approved in Europe that “Our control evaluation shows that there are signs of toxicity and that no one can scientifically and seriously say that the consumption of MON863 corn is safe and good for health "This was proven in a scientific study published online in the journal of the scientific community" Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology ”. And Professor Gilles Séralini continues: "We have the first signs of toxicity appearing at the level of body weight, kidneys and liver, and that differs with sex, indicating profound hormonal effects." (See also: Foodnavigator)

Researchers are concerned about the methods used by Monsanto to report on the safety and safety of corn. The critic says that the statistical methods used are insufficient to observe bio-chemical disturbances. In other words: the tests used by Monsanto are not what the scientific community considers safe in the long term.

I read a study published in Chile in 2004 whose reference I include (Ríos Núñez, Sandra (2004) "Transgenic crops in Chile" in Observatorio de la Economía Latinoamericana, number 38. Full text at http://www.piensachile.com/content / view / 3753/1 /) and I feel scared to see that already in 2004 most of the packaged food products consumed in Chile contained transgenic material. And I see that the labels say ..... NOTHING Don't we have the right to know what we eat? What about the Ministry of Health and labeling? Surely there are no laws, there are loopholes. And who makes the laws?

And the icing on the cake was to find out that the Senate is discussing the granting of permission in Chile to grow transgenics that are not only seeds for export, but for any use.

And I wonder: Do the Honorable who are going to vote on this project read scientific journals? Because if the laboratories of Europe have made a mistake in reviewing the effects of GMOs in use since the scientific community is questioning their evaluation methods, does SAG have better, finer, more advanced tests to protect us? Have they realized that the future of the health of our children, the contamination of our species, that they are playing to be like the Mickey Mouse in the story are at stake? Because Human Rights not only refer to the victims of the dictatorship, who died 35 years ago, they refer to us now, now, because if we don't want to eat packaged food that has this transgenic material, we can even go to La Vega and cook our own food without fear of being slowly poisoned. Because the current genocides are no longer going to put people in the furnaces, they go for the contamination of the world allowed by those who hold power and endorsed by the merchants, who are above all merchants, not examples of community ethics or morals.

And then they will say "I didn't know, nobody informed me" like all those who have gone crazy with all the killings in history. A personal digression.


Well, that scientific work done by Séralini in France was accepted by the scientific community and introduces new knowledge that should modify the very relaxed points of view that are held here in Chile. I have no doubt that the European Community will begin to reconsider, as they are the ones who suffer. From the start, the food labeling rules in Europe have been made more stringent:

“The law approved by the European Parliament essentially establishes the mandatory labeling of all transgenic foods, so that consumers from the Old Continent can choose whether to eat them or not. This obligation will cover all types of GMOs, whether they are raw materials —such as soybeans or corn produced by Argentina—, their derivatives (flours or oils) or foods made from those ingredients. The law even imposes the identification of meat and milk from animals fed with transgenic grains ”, said the Clarín de Buenos Aires in its edition of 3/7/2003, given the fears that transgenic exports would decrease, since they were the second in the world exporting genetically modified organisms and feared that European consumers would reject their products.

Europeans are still debating these issues because the pressure from GM manufacturers is enormous and the laboratories are not independent, in fact it is an expensive activity that needs to be sponsored.

But there are also responsible people in the world; There is a group called Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology that is fighting to repeal the use of "substantial equivalence" as a principle of control of transgenics and apply scientifically validated control standards for that matter.

A little boy in my family has thyroid cancer. His grandmother tells me: The doctors told us that since the French did nuclear experiments in Mururoa, thyroid cancer in Chile has multiplied. I know it is not a scientific observation but an empirical one, but there we are with the record of being the third in the world in gastric cancer, for example. He could not choose, the radioactivity that accumulates in glaciers in the high peaks of the Andes is having its effect and there is nothing we can do to prevent it.

When the European Union decides that GMOs are dangerous and we have already contaminated our crops, will we be able to export our fruits? Won't it be late? We can no longer choose.

I, who usually cook, have seen our tastiest species get lost: the small and irregular grain corn that is used for the corn cake, Rengo's large tomato, misshapen and tasty, the Cristal pepper, aromatic and others. And by the way they give us other things in bad taste and that maybe they send us on tourism to the Beyond before the budget.

In short, there are three things that we should demand regarding GMOs:

• One, that we adopt the rules of the European Common Market in the labeling of products to know what we are eating and

• Two, that GM crops are not allowed in Chile for any purpose, since the advantages for the Chilean community of producing GM crops are highly debatable and unclear, and once these crops are extended there is no going back. I do not think that the climb to the progress bandwagon goes through these crops and the social cost is unpredictable.

• Three, that the current control tests on these foods incorporate the observations of the scientific community, and not remain in homologations that are apparently not valid for these new products.

It would be uplifting if the Chilean scientific community, biologists, doctors, toxicologists, environmentalists, geneticists, etc. They will enter this debate and make themselves heard, and also the common people will be informed of what is happening in this field.

February 2008 - Published in Piensa Chile - http://www.piensachile.com


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