ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

31 January 2003

GM FREE FOOD AID TO ZAMBIA/THE U.S. AND WORLD OPINION

Finally, after sitting on their hands for months to pile on the pressure... "This was the WFP's biggest consignment of non-GM relief food to Zambia since the government rejected 50 000 tons of genetically modified food aid from the US government and ordered it removed from the country last August." (item 1) Actually, last June and with plenty of indications of concern before that. see:
http://ngin.tripod.com/forcefeed.htm

The letters to the International Herald Tribune in item 2 on GM and Iraq seem to hang together: "Regarding the report "Alliances with Europe: Bush redraws map" (Jan. 24): The problem with Bush drawing anything is that he only uses two media, crayons and gunpowder. What an embarrassing time this is for America."

1.Non-GM food donated to Zambia
2.The U.S. and world opinion, Genetically modified food

***

1.Non-GM food donated to Zambia

30/01/2003 13:29  - (SA)

Lusaka - The World Food Programme (WFP) has donated 80 000 tons of non-genetically modified food aid to Zambia, a spokesperson for the agency said Wednesday.

Meeting top government ministers, WFP special envoy for humanitarian needs in southern Africa, James Morris said 85 per cent of the UN's appeal to donors for 611 million dollars to feed starving people in southern Africa had been met.

Morris added that negotiations would soon be concluded for the remaining amount.

This was the WFP's biggest consignment of non-GM relief food to Zambia since the government rejected 50 000 tons of genetically modified food aid from the US government and ordered it removed from the country last August.

Relations between the Zambian government and the WFP were strained following the rejection of the controversial grain, worsening the food crisis in the country.

President Levy Mwanawasa's government cited health and environmental risks for its refusal of the grain and said it would not allow Zambians to be used as guinea pigs just because of the hunger crisis.

Three million Zambians are faced with severe hunger and aid agencies have warned the situation could get worse with poor rainfall experienced this farming season.

WFP was put in the hot seat over its distribution of GM food aid to drought stricken southern African countries without informing recipient governments.

Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are
experiencing critical food shortages as a
result of severe drought that swept
across the region for two farming seasons. -
Sapa-DPA

***

2.The U.S. and world opinion, Genetically modified food

International Herald Tribune
Thursday, January 30, 2003
Letters:
Genetically modified food

Regarding "Don't make Europe gag" (Views, Jan. 27) by Clyde Prestowitz: The European Commission, against the will of 14 out of 15 member states, pushed through in 1996 the first authorization of genetically modified organisms in Europe, concerning maize made by Ciba Geigy of Switzerland. How come? The commission could rely on decision-making based on a nontransparent, nonaccountable, creaky bureaucratic system.

Civil society cried wolf and mobilized political support. National governments supported a moratorium on genetically modified organisms until there was appropriate testing, labeling and traceability.

Why doesn't the U.S. government listen to the demands of its civil society as well as business? Since 1992, 55 nonprofit groups have lobbied the Food and Drug Administration for stronger regulation of genetically modified food, to no avail.
 
Consequently, the American consumer is not free to choose and market transparency has gone out the window.

Brigid Gavin, Bruges,
Belgium
...
The U.S. and world opinion

Regarding the report "Bush accuses Saddam of 'contempt' for UN" (Jan. 29): In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, President George W. Bush accused Saddam Hussein of "utter contempt for the United Nations, and for the opinion of the world."

In recent months, Bush and his cabinet have repeatedly noted that they reserve their "sovereign right" to attack Iraq, regardless of UN support. Last week Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismissed the concerns France and Germany had expressed about going to war in Iraq. Their opinions were irrelevant, Rumsfeld said, dismissing the two countries as "Old Europe."

Contempt for the United Nations and the opinion of the world? These are things that the Bush administration knows well.

Trineesh Biswas, Geneva
...
Regarding the report "Alliances with Europe: Bush redraws map" (Jan. 24): The problem with Bush drawing anything is that he only uses two media, crayons and gunpowder. What an embarrassing time this is for America. The Supreme Court justices who now have the right to appoint losers should at least canvass the opinions of allies first.
Linda Deak, Wassenaar, Netherlands
 
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