Closeup: Reports on the surveys of GM canola volunteers by citizen groups and MAFF
MAFFfs survey report
On 23 August 2010, Japanfs MAFF announced the results of its survey of GM canola volunteers carried out around importing ports in the three years 2006 to 2008. The results for the surveys carried out in 2009 and 2010, years in which the spread of volunteers became conspicuous, were not included, and areas around edible oils factories and transport routes were not surveyed. In addition, only the cross fertilization of Brassica napus
volunteers with karashina
) and indigenous rapeseed was surveyed, the cross fertilization with other crops and weeds of the brassica family not being surveyed, making this a survey with extreme limitations. The report concludes that there is only an extremely small possibility that GM canola varieties will propagate and drive out non-GM rapeseed or spread through cross-fertilization with non-GM rapeseed varieties. The survey report leaves us with doubts about whether MAFF seriously intends to protect biodiversity.
Citizen groupsf 2010 survey report
Nationwide surveys of mainly areas surrounding ports, edible oil factories, transport routes and feed plants have been carried out following a call from the citizens group gNO! GM Food Campaignh. (See BJ November 2009
) A total of 862 samples were taken in the 31 prefectures surveyed. Of the samples, 90 were found to be positive, an increase in the number of positive samples that gives a strong impression of the spread of the genetic pollution.
The special feature of this yearfs survey results is that GM canola volunteers have spread in locations where GM canola has been found in previous years, such as Yokkaichi and Hakata ports, and that the environment is degenerating. Further, in Kamisu City, Ibaraki Prefecture, where countermeasures such as weeding out of volunteers and cleaning procedures have been implemented and where the environment appeared to be returning to its normal state, there has been an explosive spread of GM volunteers. In addition, a survey by gThe Central Japan Association for Thinking about GM Foodsh a cross-fertilized variety of the weedy plant hatazaogarashi
) was discovered in Mie Prefecture. This is evidence, along with the broccoli thought to be a crossed-fertilized variety discovered last year (see BJ January 2010
), that the genetic pollution is spreading.
|Table 1: 2010 Results of Nationwide Survey of GM Canola Volunteers from Seed Spillage|
|Survey Site (Pref.)||Sample No.||Positive samples|
|Other (24 areas)||548||0||0||0|
|* RR=Roundup tolerant canola, LL=Basta tolerant canola|
|** Since several samples were sometimes tested at the same time in the Fukuoka Prefecture survey, 15 samples showed a positive response to both RR amd LL, but it is unclear whether these samples had both RR and LL resistance or not.|