Brazil ignored food safety agency warnings when it approved GM maize in 2007

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 by: L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
Tags: GM maize, Brazil, food safety agency

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(NaturalNews) Genetically modified maize seed that creates its own insecticide from a protein gene of E. coli bacteria is highly controversial but is now accepted in Brazil thanks to a former Monsanto lawyer who advises and regulates the flow of GMOs coming into the country.

Years ago, in 2007, this GM maize was accepted in Brazil because a council majority of 11 regulators gave it the okay based on the advice of this Monsanto insider. At that time, they ignored warnings from two Brazilian government ministries and approved the GM maize anyway.

Now it is seven years too late, as the GM maize has infiltrated Brazil's agriculture, spewing out its own insecticide while carrying around E. coli bacteria genes in the food supply. How does this affect people, especially when they are oblivious to the existence of these synthetic crops and the industry insider studies that helped to approve them?

Brazil's food and environment ministries ignored

When genetically modified maize was introduced in Brazil in 2007, acceptance was controversial, since Monsanto could not prove their crop was safe for both the environment and human consumption. Warnings from both the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environment documented problems that could arise from the approval of the untested GM maize. Their grave concerns were sent to the Biosecurity Council, which is a group of 11 ministers who oversee GMO approvals in Brazil.

Even after receiving grave concerns and dire warning from both ministries, one man on the Biosecurity Council gave the new Monsanto seed the green light. The other 10 members of the council followed his lead and approved MON810 GM maize, despite strong opposition from Brazil's food safety agency, ANVISA, and environmental protection agency, IBAMA.

Approved maize seed derived from E. Coli bacteria

In their report, ANVISA highlighted their concerns with the new MON810 variety of maize which contains a Cry1Ab protein that gives the seed insecticidal abilities. The Bt toxin protein used in Monsanto's tests was derived from a culture of genetically modified E. coli bacteria, rather than from the genetically modified maize.

ANVISA stated that Monsanto's tests were "inadequate to prove the safety of use for human consumption of GM maize expressing this insecticidal protein."

Monsanto presents misleading study, fooling some into approval

Renowned plant protein expert Dr. Arpad Pusztai addresses his concerns for countries who are accepting this kind of seed all around the world. Regulators are quick to go by Monsanto's short, 90-day rat feeding trial that is dishonest about the Bt toxin's negative effect on cells over time and its parent origins.

Countries in Europe may be fooled by this insider industry propaganda as regulators basically begin following each other like sheep, one after another, jumping off the side of a cliff. The studies they go by are Monsanto's own, which are representative of the protein isolated from E. coli bacteria and not the protein expressed by the GM plant. ANVISA addressed this misleading Monsanto tactic in its report, showing that MON810 was not substantially equivalent to the non-GM parent maize.

In IBAMA's report, Monsanto was exposed for giving misleading information about the new gene sequencing they present in their studies. The gene sequence in the new GM maize was different from how it was described by Monsanto. Independent research showed genetic rearrangements during the GM transformation process, concluding that the "GM gene did not encode for all the amino acids encoded by the native gene."

Approval suspended, but not for long

With both Brazilian agencies sounding the alarm, approval of the GM maize was suspended, but only for a short amount of time. After taking another look, the council ignored IBAMA and ANVISA advice, voting 7-4 in favor of approving the new Mon810GM maize. They were backed by Brazil's Office of the Presidency and the Ministries of Agriculture, Science and Technology, Development, Justice, Defense, and Foreign Affairs, GMWatch reports.

The Monsanto insider who pushed the dangerous GM maize through

Working inside the Biosecurity Council in 2007 was Beto Ferreira Martins Vasconcelos, who had worked as a Monsanto lawyer for five years. His networking experience, relationship with Monsanto, and knowledge of the law landed him a job as an adviser for the members of the Brazilian Biosecurity Council. In 2005, Vasconcelos was actually assigned to write Brazil's biosecurity laws which regulate GMOs coming into the country.

Since Monsanto gained an open door through Vasconcelos in Brazil, expect more controversial approvals of insecticide-germinating seed derived from E. coli bacteria to make their way into Brazilian agriculture.

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