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From: Barry Hearn
Subject: Independent on Sunday prefers European hypochondria over food aid
In response to the following article in *The Independent On Sunday* EVAG
has opened a mailgate complaint form to let the Indy know not everyone
approves of Shiva's inane blathering.
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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/UK/Environment/2000-06/gmfood180600.shtml Rejected GM food dumped on the poor
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Correspondent
18 June 2000
Hundreds of thousands of tons of genetically modified food, rejected by
European consumers, are being dispatched to the world's poorest people,
The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
The GM food aid ˆ provided by both the United States government and the
United Nations ˆ has alarmed senior UN officials and was denounced by
leading aid groups last night. It is being seen as a way of bailing out US
farmers who are growing GM crops, produced by companies like Monsanto, but
have now found their markets disappearing through a widespread refusal to
New US government figures show that the planting of GM corn and soya is
decreasing, after years of rapid expansion, and even US shoppers are
turning against the foods.
Both the US Agency For International Development (US Aid) and the United
Nations World Food Programme (WFP) told The Independent on Sunday last
week that they supplied GM food, grown in the US, to third world countries
The US gives just over two million tons of it directly to the Third World
each year, while the World Food Programme distributes another one and half
million tons donated by the US.
US Aid says it does not distinguish between GM and non-GM food, and the
WFP said that it distributed food that "meets the safety standards for
domestic consumers in the country where it is produced".
The Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, based in New
Delhi, India, has taken a sample of a mixture of corn and soya provided by
the US government as food aid after last year's cyclone in Orissa, and
sent it off for testing at a US laboratory, which found it to contain
"significant levels of genetically-modified DNA".
Doctor Vandana Shiva, the head of the foundation, said: "This proves that
the US has been using the Orissa victims as guinea pigs for GM products
which have been rejected by consumers in Europe. We demand that the US
government stop using the money meant for relief to the poor for
subsidising the biotech industry and helping it to use emergencies to
create market access and market entry for GM products."
Ruchi Trapathi, food rights administrator for Action Aid, said that the
news would "concern many people worried about the safety of GM food."
She added: "It must be questionable to give food rejected in Europe to
countries which lack the resources to test it. Poor people have the same
rights to health as those in the West."
The news will add to the long-running concern over food aid. Half of US
aid, and a fifth of the United Nations aid, is given as routine "programme
aid" to poor people.
Development experts have attacked this as a means of subsidising US and
other rich world farmers (because their governments buy the food from them
before donating it) at the expense of the poor farmers of the Third World.
The free food undercuts local farmers and drives them out of business.