Emerging as the world’s second largest importer of GMO crops, South Korea seems to be a big believer in feeding its citizens GMOs. Oddly enough, though, the country already has a government ban on their cultivation – likely as a means to protect its land from potential GMO dangers while still ‘benefiting’ from GMO foods.
But despite an in-house ban and only accepting imports, GMO mystery plants have been taking root all over the country – providing hard evidence that GMO contamination is real and that even importing GMOs can disrupt a local ecosystem.
A National Institute of Ecology (NIE) monitoring report on the effects GMOs have on the natural environment showed GM corn and cotton discoveries across the country in 2013. Corn was found in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province; Gimje, North Jeolla Province; and Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province. Cotton was found in no fewer than fifteen locations.
“Analysis of 521 suspected GM samples collected from 647 regions showed a total of 21 GM crops in eighteen regions,” the NIE said.
“The NIE says it’s expanding the area of its studies to prevent imported GMO spillage from disrupting the ecosystem, but it can’t possibly investigate every pathway of import or distribution,” said Shin Ji-yeon, secretary-general of the Korean Women Peasant Association. “Obviously the farmers are very worried about what kinds of GMOs are growing and where.”
“If they really want to prevent GMOs from spilling and sprouting in transit, then preventive measures are every bit as important as import and distribution pathway studies and after-the-fact measures,” Shin added. “We’re not seeing those kinds of efforts from the government.”
Indeed, GMO contamination is nearly impossible to control – especially if large amounts of GMO imports are being accepted – even despite an instituted ban of GMO crop cultivation. The claim by the biotech industry that GMO crops can be contained and kept away from organic farmers who have chosen not to use genetically modified ‘suicide’ seeds is being proven grossly fallacious. A third of organic growers are now reporting problems with cross contamination, according to a new survey. More than 80% of farmers who participated in the survey are ‘concerned’ about the impact of genetic seeds, and 60% are ‘very concerned.’
A report clarifies these issues by concluding that the GMO contamination issue is much more serious than previously thought, and the concerned experts couldn’t be more correct.
Choi Jun-ho, chief of policy for the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement, raised questions about the findings.
“Monsanto and others claim the chances of GM crops growing after spilling during the import/transit process are low, but the NIE studies show that the fears of ecosystem disruption in South Korea from GM crops are already becoming a reality. South Korean food companies and livestock farms chiefly import GM soybeans, corn, and rapeseed (canola), and the damage to farms if GM canola spills into nearby farms and breeds with similar domestic cabbage varieties, or if GM soybeans mixes with organic glycine soja, could be enormous,” Choi Jun-ho said.
An NIE source said that the discovery of unapproved GM crops in South Korea “is not a matter that can be taken lightly in terms of ecosystem protection.”
“We are conducting GMO monitoring this year, and the research team is immediately collecting any of these GM crops it discovers and subjecting them to high-pressure sterilization,” the source added.
This is even more evidence that nothing other than a ban will likely be able to protect the planet from GMOs.
This article originally appeared at Natural Society.
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