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US Dumping GE Soy & Corn As "Food Aid" for Latin America

US Dumping GE Soy & Corn As "Food Aid"
for Latin America

From: Elizabeth Bravo <ebravo@hoy.net>
Organization: Accion Ecologica
Subject: Transgenics found in food aid programs
Links:
Columbia
Ecuador
Peru
Bolivia

TRANSGENICS FOUND IN PROGRAMS OF FOOD AID IN
TREE COUNTRIES IN THE ANDEAN REGION

The Network for a Free-GE Latin America, carried out some genetic tests
of products used for food aid in four Andean countries: Colombia,
Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. In the three first mentioned countries, a
high percentage of transgenics was found in the products distributed in
these programs. The studies were made at Genetic ID, Fairfield - United
States of America.

The analyses were made as a response to the fact that the main soya and
corn markets coming from the United States, specially Japan and Europe,
have neglected the transgenic products.

Last year, the United States donated 500.000 tons of corn and corn
products for aid international programs, and the former president
Clinton assigned US$ 300 millions for a program called "Global Food for
Education", through which 680.000 meter tons of soya, corn, wheat and
rice surplus will be exported to Latin America, Africa, Asia and
Oriental Europe.

During the last years, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia have received
great amounts of soya and corn coming from the United States as part of
food aid programs, especially for poor children, who are the most
vulnerable population in the society.

FINDINGS

In Colombia, the sample taking was carried out by Colombia Consumers
(COCO). An evaluation of the soya used in the National Program of Food
and Nutrition Program carried out by the Institute of Family Welfare,
for the provision of a type of food called "Bienestarina" and soya
beans, was carried out.

At the moment, most of the imported soya comes from the USA, although it
says in the initial agreement of the Food National Program, that all
soya used would be national production.

The samples were collected in three warehouses, located in the facilities
of the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, with the assistance of an
expert in sample taking, and the participation of both, the central
Government and local government representative.

The results of the analysis demonstrates that 90 % of the soya used in
the program is genetically modified.

This is not the first time that transgenics are found in Colombian food.
In February, 1999. The international organization Greenpeace, found Bt
corn in samples taken from a ship from USA at the Santa Marta's Port.

****

In Ecuador, in January 2000, several Ecuadorian organizations peacefully
occupied a ship containing soya cake, donated under the USA PL-480
program.

Considering that the Political Constitution on Ecuador (91.3 Art.)
establishes that the importation of transgenic products must be done
under the most strict biosafety, guidelines, a judicial inspection was
ordered and soya cake samples were sent to Genetic ID at the United
States to find out if it was transgenic soya.

The results were positive; therefore, the organizations put a complain
in the Constitutional Court, which they win this March, in order to
avoid that this soya enters into the country. An important judicial
precedent was established regarding the illegality of transgenic
products in the country.

During year 2000, the country has received thousands of tons of food aid
from the United States. Different sources said that these programs
included transgenic soya.

In February 20th, 2001 a judicial inspection was carried out for sample
taking of different food aid programs that are carried out in the
country, with the participation of representative of the Obdusman, and
a specialized professional in sample taking.

After the analysis, it was found that the soya used in the programs "Mi
Papilla" and "Mi Colada", aimed to infants (6 months to 2 years) and to
pregnant and breastfeeding women, had a 55% of transgenic material.

The program technical specifications said that transgenic products could
not be used, and that national material should be used. For this reason
the following requests were made to the World Food Program
Representative by the Ministery of Public Welfare:

1. To stop the production of the products "Mi Papilla" and "Mi Colada",
2. To stop the distribution of products available in stock
3. To destroy those products, which raw material has a transgenic
origin.

The findings show that transgenics enter Ecuador through two channels in
the context of food aid: the transgenic soya paste enters the country,
and is sold (as proven by results obtained in January 2000). With the
money that comes from the soya cake, GE - USA soya is bought for
distribution to poor infants and mothers.

*********

Peru is a country highly dependent on food aid. During Fuji Mori's
Government, the Peruvian agricultural sector was highly weaken.

In Peru, there is the problem of food sovereignty, since first the
insurgent forces and later 10 years of Fuji Mori's Government, destroyed
the peasant sector of the country. This makes Peru strongly dependent
upon food aid. In some regions this dependence reaches a 60%.

In March 10th, 2001 a corn sample was taken, used in the program "Vaso
de Leche" (Glass of Milk) at the "La Libertad" district in Lima. In the
test applied to the Peru material, transgenic were found in the
detection limit of 0.05%.

The result indicated that the sample contains transgenic ADN.
Nevertheless, the quantity is very low. The recommendation in this case
would be that since traces of transgenic material were found in the
analyzed material, it is necessary to make take new samples in the
future.

*********

In Bolivia between 1955 and 1986, 90% of the total food aid comes from
the PL-480 program; mainly wheat, as flour and also in the form of bulgur
and fortified bulgur (cracked wheat and cracked wheat with soya daily
food); besides powder skim milk, oil and a series of blended foods,
among the following: corn flour with soya flour, wheat flour with soya
flour. Additionally there are products known as Coarse Grains:
sorghum, corn, crushed oats, lentil, pea.

The food aid management and administration of the food by the World Food
Program is carried out through two different channels: the private
institutes and the government through its Prefectures (Country
Program). In the other hand, the assistance provided by the USA
government is channelized through private institutions (NGOs) such as
CARE, FHI, ADRA y PCI, all of them with branches at the United States.

Sample of the products donated under the PL-480 program were sent in
April 16, 2001. The recollection was made in the presence of a Notary.

In a mixture of soya and wheat the presence of transgenic wheat was
found in a concentration higher than 10%, and transgenic soya between
10-3%.

In a mixture of wheat and soya a concentration of transgenic soya was
found between 1-3%.

We would like to expose these facts to the public opinion, and reject
the United States action to use the impoverish population of Latin
America and the victims of disasters in two ways: as a excuse to
promote a new, dangerous and unnecessary technology; and as guinea-pigs
to place transgenic products that have been rejected in Northern
countries, especially in Europe.

We want to call again to a moratorium to the production of transgenics
food. This is the only way to protect and guarantee our food
sovereignty; otherwise, industries will always find a market to place
their garbage.

Network for a FRE-GE Latin America

More information: transgen@accionecologica.org
Consumidores Colombia consumidorescolombia @hotmail.com
FOBOMADE <fobomade@mail.megalink.com>
Accion Ecologica - Ecuador ebravo@accionecologica.org

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