Environmentalists fear seepage of GM cotton in food stuffs

November 17, 2008 - Australia

Environment groups in Australia are up in arms against the recent decision to lift the freeze on use of genetically modified cotton (GM) in the Ord river basin. They are apprehensive of the fact that GM substance will enter the food supply.

The groups fear that the effects of GM cotton will seep through the homes of average citizens through the use of cotton seed oil which is widely used while cooking and in margarines. This fear is not unfounded since a lot of cotton seed is pressed for oil and used as a raw material in margarines.

The government on its part has defended the decision by saying that this pronouncement was made after a lot of environmental trials and tests and studies conducted in the last ten years in the region and added by saying that since 90 percent of cotton crop in the country was from GM seeds, the use of the same in oil and margarine must already be at high levels.

Leading geneticists overrule the arguments of environmentalists by saying that it was rare of a DNA of a GM seed to penetrate refined cooking oil and traces if so, should be taken lightly as genes used in GM cotton are safe. Farmer groups on the other hand are demanding easing of restrictions in using of GM cotton seeds while cultivating cotton.