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#418877 - 10/15/11 02:06 PM BAHA explains the importation of GMO seeds
Marty Online   happy

An explanation as to how GMO corn seeds were allowed into the country was issued today in a statement. Shasta Wade reports.

Shasta Wade, Journalist
Last week, the Ministry of Agriculture burned a number of GMO corn seeds after Cabinet made it clear that it has not given permission for the controversial seeds to be imported into the country. BAHA had granted a permit for the importation and the question has been, “how did that happen?”. Well, a press release today says that BAHA had received information on August 17 that Cabinet had granted permission for a permit to import the seeds. Now the release says that BAHA got that information from – quote “ a very credible source” end quote. Who exactly is that source was not mentioned in the release but the permit was granted by BAHA for two GMO trials to be conducted in Belize. BAHA says the decision was made to allow the importation of the seeds under special conditions. The release also says that the Biosafety Council was involved in the entire decision making process and several Ministries have representation on that council, including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, just to mention a few. Even after the GMO seeds were destroyed last week, there are still unconfirmed reports of illegally planted GMO corn in Belize. BAHA says it will be collecting samples from suspect corn fields for testing at a reference laboratory outside of Belize.



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#418879 - 10/15/11 02:12 PM Re: BAHA explains the importation of GMO seeds [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Who gave GMO go ahead? Who is planting?

Aside from the ninth, there is another issue that is becoming controversial and we have not heard the last word on Genetically Modified Organisms. A release from the Scientific Steering Committee of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority on the Importation of GMO Corn Seeds for Trials in Belize, indicates that there might be farmers who have illegally planted the seeds into the country. But although these are unconfirmed reports, BAHA feels strong enough to investigate that possibility. BAHA says it will collect samples from suspect cornfields for testing at a laboratory outside of Belize. The Bio-safety Council will also consider the necessary structures that must be in place before the country conducts GMO trials. Last week, the government ordered the destruction of some imported seeds which were intended for two trials. But who gave permission for the seeds to enter? The carefully worded release skirted the issue when it said, “On seventeenth August 201l the Belize Agricultural Health Authority received information from what it presumed to be a very credible source that Cabinet had decided that a permit should be issued for two GMO trials.” The credible source was not named by BAHA but Prime Minister Dean Barrow has chided the CEO in Agriculture, Gabino Canto as the person who falsely stated that the importation of a batch of seeds had Cabinet’s green light.

Channel 5


BAHA Says It Was Tricked Into Allowing Importation Of GMO's

One week ago, the controversial GMO corn seeds were destroyed at Central Farm. And today, the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA spoke out on the issue. It says it applauds the decision to destroy the corn seeds. Quite remarkably, it adds that BAHA was basically tricked into allowing the importation of the seeds by quote, "what it presumed to be a very credible source".

That source told BAHA, falsely, that Cabinet had decided that a permit should be issued for two GMO trials to be conducted in Belize. And so BAHA allowed the importation of the seeds under special conditions.

But some say those conditions were ignored, and based on unconfirmed reports of supposedly illegally planted GMO corn, BAHA will be collecting samples from suspect corn fields for testing at a reference laboratory outside of Belize.

Channel 7


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#418939 - 10/15/11 11:55 PM Re: BAHA explains the importation of GMO seeds [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
BAHA ISSUES PRESS RELEASE ABOUT GMO CORN SEEDS:

Press Release from the Scientific Steering Committee of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority on the importation of GMO corn seeds for trials in Belize

The Scientific Steering Committee of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority applauds the decision of the Prime Minister in regards to the destruction of the Genetically Modified corn seeds that were imported for two trials.

On 17th August 201l the Belize Agricultural Health Authority received information from what it presumed to be a very credible source that CABINET HAD decided that a permit should be issued for two (2) GMO trials to be conducted in Belize. Given that BAHA cannot go against Government policies but taking into account its legal mandate to safeguard agricultural health and food safety, the decision was made to allow the importation of the following events under special conditions.

Those specific conditions for the importation were as follows:
1. The seeds would be of the 30K73 and 30F32 with the TC 1507 event;
2. BAHA would have custody of the seeds upon arrival and hand it over to CARDI to be kept secure until the import risk assessment was completed and the protocols for conducting the trials finalized;
3. That before any GMO trial is conducted that a socio and economic impact assessment be conducted to determine whether GMO corn should be produced commercially.

The Biosafety Council was involved in the entire decision making process and several Ministries have representation including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment just to mention a few.

At this point in time, given the unconfirmed reports of supposedly illegally planted GMO corn, BAHA will be collecting samples from suspect corn fields for testing at a reference laboratory outside of Belize. Additionally, a recommendation will be provided, once more, to the Biosafety Council, on the necessary framework that needs to be in place before Belize even begins to consider the possibility of conducting GMO trails in this country.

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#419103 - 10/18/11 02:30 PM Re: BAHA explains the importation of GMO seeds [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

GMO destroyed; all gone?

On Friday, the Scientific Steering Committee of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority issued a press release on the importation of genetically modified corn seeds into the country in mid-August. The release came a week after the destruction of twenty pounds of GMO kernels following instructions given by the government. In the memo, BAHA officials express concerns that there might be farmers who have illegally planted the corn seeds and as a result, an investigation has been launched. Despite not having disclosed their sources, BAHA officials say they received credible information, (quote) “that Cabinet had decided that a permit should be issued for two GMO trials” (unquote). Today News Five spoke with Mark Miller of Plenty Belize who told us that there were indeed two different types of hybrid corn that were imported by a farmer in Spanish Lookout.

Mark Miller, Exec. Dir., Plenty Belize

“From what I’ve seen in the press release it shows that they brought in two different types of GMO corn and these were two different hybrid varieties of corn with the same GMO imbedded in them. So in their release they showed 30K73 and 30S72. Those would be hybrid corn seeds, and then the TC1507 is the GMO trait that was put into those types of corn so that it’s not just corn but corn with an insecticide in it.”

Isani Cayetano

“There have been certain concerns that have been raised with regards to the destruction of the corn seeds a week before. There are some who are of the impression or the belief that not all of it has been destroyed and as a matter of fact some has already been planted. Can you share with us your knowledge of anything to the contrary or confirming what has been raised?”

Mark Miller

“I’m not able to confirm one way or the other. I know that there are concerns because the manner in which the seeds were obtained and the manner in which the seeds were destroyed didn’t have enough independent verification to know what was being destroyed was the right thing, and even that what was brought in never moved out before the destruction time. So we can’t really say for certain. I think it’s great in reading this press release that BAHA would collect samples from suspect corn seeds and have it tested at a lab outside of the country as they don’t have a lab to do it here at this time.”

Isani Cayetano

“Do you have an idea more or less who the individual or individuals who were given the green light to go ahead and import GMO corn seeds into the country? Has that been disclosed?”

Mark Miller

“I haven’t seen an official document but as I understood it it’s a Mr. Henry Wolfe of Midwest Steel in Spanish Lookout who I also understand sits on the bio-safety panel who was doing the imports. So it was someone who is on the panel, I mean I’m not sure what his affiliation is that brings him on to the panel that was to be the importer who received the approval.”

We have also been unable to confirm whether or not the person identified has indeed planted the GMOs.

Channel 5


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