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Belizeans Against GMOs (BAGMO) calls on the Government of Belize to recognize illegal smuggling and planting of GMO soy to be an act of Biopiracy.
Belizeans Against GMOs are responding to the disclosure that GMO soybeans are illegally growing in Belize. BAGMO views the planting of illegal, smuggled soy seed to be an act of BIOPIRACY.
Belize has banned trawling in Belizean waters, burned illegally cut rosewood, and burned rejected GMO corn in 2011, efforts at regulation and protection that were applauded across the globe. It is with this same sense of urgency that we implore that a strong and swift message be sent to all those farmers who undermine the regulation of food safety and protection by smuggling contraband genetically modified seed, which has never undergone a thorough and scientifically rigorous risk assessment, the established policy of the Belize Government.
BAGMO calls on the Government of Belize to provide BAHA with the authority and necessary materials to conduct random and thorough testing throughout Belize for the presence of GMO crops and to immediately eradicate all GMO plant material that is found. BAHA must be allowed to create a precedent of zero tolerance for any illegal agricultural practices that would undermine the safety of Belizean food and the environment.
GM seeds can, by their very nature, contaminate the surrounding environment (including water systems, numerous non-targeted animals, insects and organisms, and the soil) with a man-made protein whose characteristics and actions are barely understood. Vertical transfer and resistance are already being noted in scientific studies indicating that these proteins are indeed having impacts well beyond those desired by the biotech industry.
The world is rapidly awakening to the existence of adverse and understudied GMOs - to their many and serious dangers and negative effects. As Belizeans become more aware of the serious implications to their own health and how the health of the environment affects their own health, they are becoming more vocal in their rejection of GMOs in their food supply and environment. Outside of Belize, worldwide, people are waking up and saying no to foods that contain GMOs. The demand and salability of GMO food products is going down as the demand for non-GMO food is now going up. Meanwhile, the organics industry shows an ongoing upward growth. Belize would be far better served to direct future agricultural efforts into non-GMO crops and less commercial pesticide use.
A country as rare in natural beauty as Belize, whose very appeal to the rest of the world is her healthy and lush natural biodiversity, can demand no less than to keep GMOs available only as items on the grocery store shelves where we can choose not to buy them... never in her fields where they will contaminate and cause havoc within this environment as well as with the natural seed handed down through centuries of farming.
Belizeans Against GMOs (social network group: https://www.facebook.com/
Media contact: Denise Frank, Belize City