Share The Wealth by Chris Gupta
September 06, 2008

GM Potatoes

Action items are more effective when you also write, print out the petition and send it by snail mail, or telephone your representative directly and don't forget to be persistent! Send follow up letters and/or fax, phone and keep demanding a response on how and what they will actually do to mitigate concerns outlined. Often reading the petition will empower you to better deal with the establishment propaganda....

Please follow through on Ingrid's plea as united we win divided we loose....

Here is what I sent in the comments when signing the petition

Here clearly is, yet again, another example of government industry collusion to introduce untested products for consumption. When problems arise they are deflected on the consumer to prove harm, instead of the rightful onus on industry to prove safety of their products. This, not so clever, tactic has essentially defrocked the consumer. Who essentially is defenceless and forced to become the industry guinea pig as little remedial or future preventative action can be made.

Surely putting their own families at risk is the height of greed and stupidity! Are the regulators so stupid not to see this? Apparently yes. Maybe it needs to be spelled out to knock some sense into these ignoramuses....

Chris Gupta


Dear Chris,

Unleashing this highly toxic potato into the environment and our food chain must be stopped at all cost and I would appreciate it if you would circulate this alert. The "scientists" who developed this toxic concoction (aided and abetted by the Michigan State University with funding from USAID - go figure!) allege that this GM potato will control the potato tuber moth, which allegedly causes the industry huge losses. The irony, however, is that although the tuber moth may chomp on potato leaves in the field, that exercise nevertheless has no effect on tuber yield and genetic modification would only become effective during storage. If tuber moths would automatically attack each and every potato field, then there wouldn't have been any need to "fly in" hundred thousands of the little chompers to conduct field trials, which, by the way, were kept secret from the South African public, thus constituting yet another violation of our constitutional right to information.

This toxic concoction poses immense health risks due to the fact that it contains the cauliflower mosaic virus, which is closely related to the Hepatitis B and HIV virus and, due to its recombination hotspot, is prone to break and join with other DNA to integrate into the cell's genome, which could activate host genes and lead to all sorts of cancers. In addition, the virus is inserted in "naked form" (without its viral coat) and thus is even more infectious and may well be taken up by mammalian cells including our own.

As if that wasn't enough, each and every cell of this potato contains the antibiotic KANAMYCIN, which crosses the placenta and produces detectable serum levels in the fetus! There have been several reports of total irreversible bilateral congenital deafness in children whose mothers received that drug during pregnancy and Kanamycin has been classified by the manufacturer as pregnancy risk category D. In addition, it also enters breast milk.

Unleashing this GM potato into our food chain will inevitably create superbugs and multi-drug resistant diseases.
Please help stop this insanity and blatant violation of our human rights.

Ingrid Blank/South Africa

See also: Why Genetically Modifying (GM) Food Products Are A No No




The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) has been conducting field trials for several years with genetically modified potatoes, which are being pushed by the Michigan State University with funding from USAID. They have now applied to the South African GMO Council for a general release permit for the first variety of these potatoes, called Spunta G2 meaning that the GM potato will be given to farmers to grow and sell. These potatoes are genetically engineered to contain Bt genes that produce a pesticidal toxin to kill the Tuber Moth.

Releasing these GM potatoes has the potential to wreak havoc with the local potato industry, and infringes on our basic human right to choose the food we want to eat. A growing body of research is showing that GM foods are dangerous to eat and do not benefit emerging farmers or the environment. The multinational, Syngenta, owns the patent on the key gene in this GM potato.

Please check out and sign this petition on the activist website here.

The campaign is initiated by the African Centre for Biosafety and supported by SafeAge, Biowatch SA and urban sprout.

What can your signature do?

The GMO council will be deciding on whether or not to allow this permit to commercialise GMO potatoes. THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS IS THIS MONDAY. Your signature will be collated to send to the GMO Council as well as Potatoes SA, which is the body representing potato farmers and industry. Your signature will help to show that South Africans are not willing to eat or grow GM potatoes, and can help to sway their decision.

Thanks! And please pass this on far and wide


To download a booklet on the GM potato in the context of the South African potato industry here.

For more information on the application and campaign email or


posted by Chris Gupta on Saturday September 6 2008

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