Christine Andrews' Testimony on GMO Moratorium

As members of the Maui County Council debate whether to independently pass the proposed ordinance for a moratorium on GMO cultivation and associated pesticides, I have attached  a pdf of the report, GMO Myths and Truths, 2nd edition, for your reference.  It is one of the best summaries of the science on the subject available for the layperson and produced by independent scientists that I have found.

I have provided the report’s “Summary” section at the end of this email.  The report is over 300 pages long, but you can download it for free to print out or read on your computer or other pdf-readable device.  I was able to print a double-sided copy at Office Max for about $34.

In addition to the above report, the organization GMO Free USA has a very thorough list of scientific studies related to GMOs and associated pesticides (mainly glyphosate) on their website:

Please feel free to share this email with friends and family, neighbors and colleagues.  Monsanto and its agribusiness friends, lobbyists, scientists, and spokespeople will continue to try to confuse Maui residents, voters, stakeholders, and policy makers by using the “tobacco strategy” to attempt to misrepresent the science and discredit responsible scientists in order to avoid meaningful regulation of their harmful products and practices.  The best way we can fight back to protect residents and agricultural workers, family farmers, and our native ecosystems from industrial agribusiness and pesticide companies is to educate ourselves and fellow voters.  It is ultimately up to us to stand up for the independent science that says that GMO crops and associated pesticides should be more stringently regulated and that a moratorium is the responsible course of action for a community that has been failed by its federal and state representatives and regulators.

In case you missed it, here is a link to the recent Notice of Violation issued by the Hawaii Department of Health to Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar.  These violations were denied by several levels within the Department of Health for years.  It took the efforts of myself and others for more than two years to independently document the violations and appeal to the EPA for intervention.  Our regulators in the state of Hawaii do not have the resources to appropriately enforce regulations intended to protect public health, which is one more reason to support the moratorium by voting “Yes” to the moratorium in November.

Christine L. Andrews, J.D.

Summary from GMO Myths and Truths, 2nd Edition

Genetically modified (GM) crops and foods are promoted on the basis of a range of far-reaching claims from the industry and its supporters. They say that GM crops:
➜➜Are an extension of natural breeding and do not pose different risks from naturally bred crops
➜➜Are safe to eat and can be more nutritious than naturally bred crops
➜➜Are strictly regulated for safety
➜➜Increase yields
➜➜Reduce pesticide use
➜➜Benefit farmers and make their lives easier
➜➜Bring economic benefits
➜➜Benefit the environment
➜➜Can help solve problems caused by climate change
➜➜Reduce energy use
➜➜Will help feed the world.

However, a large and growing body of scientific and other authoritative evidence shows that these claims are not true. On the contrary, evidence presented in this report indicates that GM crops:

➜➜Are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks from non-GM crops
➜➜Can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts
➜➜Are not adequately regulated to ensure safety
➜➜Do not increase yield potential
➜➜Do not reduce pesticide use but increase it
➜➜Create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-tolerant “superweeds”, compromised soil quality, and increased disease susceptibility in crops
➜➜Have mixed economic effects and disrupt markets
➜➜Harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity
➜➜Do not offer effective solutions to climate change
➜➜Are as energy-hungry as any other chemically-farmed crops
➜➜Cannot solve the problem of world hunger but distract from its real causes – poverty, lack of access to food and, increasingly, lack of access to land to grow it on.

Based on the evidence presented in this report, there is no need to take risks with GM crops when effective, readily available, and sustainable solutions to the problems that GM
technology is claimed to address already exist. Conventional plant breeding, in some cases helped by safe modern technologies like gene mapping and marker assisted selection, continues to outperform GM in producing high-yield, drought-tolerant, and pest- and disease-resistant crops that can meet our present and future food needs.

The quality and efficacy of our food production system depends only partly on crop genetics. The other part of the equation is farming methods. What is needed are not just high-yielding, climate-ready, and disease-resistant crops, but productive, climate-ready, and disease-resistant agriculture.

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