GM Canola Contamination Cases In Japan

How to reduce GM contamination cases?

Masaharu Kawata,
Japan Citizens’ Network for Sustainable Food and Agriculture

Side-event presentation at the MOP7 conference in Pyeongchang, South Korea

Countries must do more to implement the Strategic Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety 2011-2020. At our MOP7 side-event we discussed the adverse effects of LMO in different countries. Regarding corn, there have been reports of GM contamination in Brazil, South Africa and Kenya. As for Switzerland and Japan, wild growing GM canola has been found. Also, wild growing crops were found in South Korea, and citizens have started doing independent testing. How does this relate to the Strategic Plan?

We have been investigating GM canola contamination since 2004 at many locations around Japan. We have seen the effect of the unintentional transboundary movement of living modified organisms, such as hybridization of indigenous rapeseed as well as the advent of wild growing GM broccoli.

Cross pollination with local varieties of the related brassica species and weeds has repeatedly been found. Regarding identification, we discovered wild-growing plants that first tested negative using the inexpensive lateral flow test, but on later inspection using the PCR method revealed genetically modified traits. This is an example of potential adverse effects and an inadequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of LMOs. It is also an example of how the current risk assessment model fails to cover all the possibilities, once LMOs are released in the environment.

The economic-oriented GM development strategy needs to be replaced in order to protect biodiversity for future generations. We respectfully ask MOP delegates to fight harder for capacity building in their countries and ensure financial sustainability for the important work within the framework of the Cartagena Protocol.