GMOFORUM.AGROBIOLOGY.EU :  Phorum 5 The fastest message board... ever.
Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Checkbiotech: GMO - govt to reveal all
Posted by: DR. RAUPP ; madora (IP Logged)
Date: February 28, 2005 07:48AM ; ;

The Pretoria High Court has made an order compelling the government to
provide information on all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) brought
into or manufactured in South Africa, February 2005.

The court made the order on Thursday, on the application of the
environmental lobby group Biowatch.

Acting Judge Eric Dunn ordered the registrar of genetic resources, the
Executive Council for Genetically Modified Organisms and Minister of
Agriculture and Land Affairs Thoko Didiza to provide Biowatch with access to

The data relates to risk assessments accompanying requests for trials and
commercial releases of GMOs, including field-trial risk assessments as well
as commodity import and animal-consumption risk assessments.

Biowatch must also be given access to information about all applications for
permits and other authorisations submitted under the Genetically Modified
Organisms Act. Information about all permits granted and all applications
pending in respect of imports, exports, field trials and general releases
must also be provided.

This includes a description of the GMO, the name and address of the
applicant and the purpose of the contained use, or release and location of

The methods and plans for the monitoring of the GMOs, emergency measures in
the case of an accident and the evaluation of foreseeable impacts --
particularly any pathogenic or ecologically disruptive impacts -- must also
be supplied.

The government bodies must also provide all records pertaining to:
public participation since the commencement of the GMO Act;
a register of academic and research institutions;
the minutes of all meetings of the Executive Council for GMOs and its
advisory committee; and
records pertaining to all people currently represented on the advisory
They were also ordered to provide Biowatch access to all records pertaining
to the areas of the field trials and commercial releases.

However, Dunn ruled that Biowatch has no statutory right to be furnished
with the exact coordinates of the locations of the trials and commercial

The registrar is entitled to refuse access to certain records on the grounds
contained in the Promotion of Access to Information Act (which includes a
refusal to reveal information that is confidential or contained trade
secrets), but has to provide written reasons for such a refusal.

Dunn said Biowatch established that it has a clear right to some of the
information and that the registrar's failure to grant access to the
information was an infringement of Biowatch's rights.

However, he stressed that the environmental lobby group has no absolute
right of access to information.

He said biotechnology company Monsanto's bold denial that there has been
"disastrously harmful experiments with, and releases of, GMOs" does not
detract from Biowatch's point that GMO technology is unpredictable, and that
public health and environmental safety issues arise from the use, control
and release of GMOs.

None of the respondents disputed that potential dangers existed in GMO
experimentation. This could hardly be disputed since Parliament itself has
recognised that statutory intervention is required for the proper governance
of matters pertaining to GMOs, Dunn said.

Dunn refused to make a full order about the legal costs, except to order
Biowatch to pay the costs of biotechnology company Monsanto, which was
forced to come to court to protect its interests.


Posted to Phorum via PhorumMail

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.