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Science agency hits court’s GMO ruling

The National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines on Wednesday expressed concern over the impact of the Supreme Court decision to stop the field tests for genetically modified organisms on food security and scientific research.

NAST-PHL in a statement asked the high tribunal to review the decision in light of the issues and serious consequences it might cause.

The Supreme Court ordered a ban on the field trials of genetically modified organisms including the Bt eggplant last year.

It also ordered a temporary ban on approving applications for the contained use, import, commercialization and propagation of GMO crops.

The court said the Agriculture Department’s Administrative Order No. 8 lacked minimum safety requirements under Executive Order 514.

NAST-PHL said the court’s conclusion that there was a lack of consensus on the safety of genetically modified crops was derived from a very limited literature survey and some from questionable sources.

The science body said none of the references covered the statements of the academies of science of many developed and developing countries that there was no difference in the risks between GM crops and conventionally-bred crops. 

“The information sources cited by the court, in fact, recommend that further research be conducted to assess the risks in the deployment of GM crops. Unfortunately, by permanently stopping the field tests of Bt eggplant, the research that would have provided the answers to the reservations on the safety of Bt eggplant can no longer be continued,” the group said. 

The group said DAO-08 was a carefully-crafted document and  provided effective guidance “for the importation and release into the environment of plants and plant products derived from the use of modern biotechnology” for the last 12 years.

“It must be pointed out that this move, if not clarified, will have serious repercussions on the research and development activities especially in plant breeding as well as the flow of the supply of food and feed specifically those that are based on crops largely harvested from transgenic lines, like soybean and corn,” the group said. 

“ The possible disruption in the supply chain may cause food security issues in the near future,” the group said.

Topics: NAST-PHL , GMO
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