From Bio Journal - December 2001

GM Seed Contamination Discovered in Japan

Oct. 19, 2001, Stop GM Seeds Network Japan announced that they had found the unapproved GM corn "StarLink" in fodder maize seeds imported from the US for domestic cultivation purpose in Japan. Stop GM Seeds Network Japan tested 12 seeds, 4 of which were contaminated. The test results show that 3 of the 4 GM contaminated seeds were contaminated with 2 different types of GM genes in each seed. Japan has given approval for domestic cultivation for feed use only for Monsanto's GA21 (Glyphosate tolerant maize), not for Aventis' CBH351SL (also known as "StarLink"). Moreover, the government of Japan only allows marketing of seeds for cultivation use for single genetically modified crops, not multiple genetically modified crops.

Masaharu Kawata, Assistant Professor of the School of Science, Nagoya University, Japan, voiced his concern that since seed purity is strictly controlled, multiple seed contamination during the distribution process is unthinkable. Thus, the only way this kind of seed contamination can occur is through the spread of GM pollen on farms by insects and the wind.

MHLW Starts GMO Tests on Animals

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has started to feed GMOs to animals as a part of its scientific program. This animal testing will be conducted by a research team lead by Dr. Tomoyuki Shirai at the medical department of the University of Nagoya City. According to the Inspection and Safety Division, Department of Food Safety, Pharmaceutical and Food Safety Bureau, MHLW, the animal tests have two different purposes. One purpose is to establish a method for safety assessment, and the second purpose is to see if GMOs are actually safe or not. The safety assessment will evaluate only the acute virulence, not chronic virulence. The GM crop to be used in the tests is herbicide tolerant maize developed by Aventis.

(English Index)