GM Eucalyptus to be discussed in Brazil, but critical information is missing

A public hearing about transgenics eucalyptus is going to be held in Brasília, Brazil’s federal capital on the September 4th.

Futuragene-Suzano wants to make Brazil the unique country in the world to adopt this technology. But the company itself recognizes that did not assess the effects of the genetic modification that makes the plant increase wood production [1]. Besides that, sustains that it missed the timing to study the impact on bees and honey production [2].

Eucalyptus are mainly pollinated by bees and honey is a product of high medicinal and nutritional value. The company recognizes that bees fly more than 6 km and that other plantations may be contaminated [4], but claims this is not a problem since today clones are used instead of seeds. On the other hand, only in 2013 the Instituto de Pesquisas Florestais (Forest Research Institute) comercialized 525 kg of eucalyptus seeds [5], which would be enough to plant more than 10.000 hectares.

The company also failed to assess nutritional aspects from the honey produced by bees that visited transgenics trees and did not run any trial regarding its toxicity and alergenicity [6]. It is thus impossible to say whether it is safe or not to consume this honey.

What will happen with hives and honey production? And what about the organic production?

Socioenvironmental certificates like the FSC do not accept genetically modified trees [7].

Futuragene-Suzano states that the H421 eucalyptus produces higher yields and will than avoid deforestation. The industry nevertheless projects a growth by 50% until 2020, reaching 9 million ha in Brazil [8].

There are no studies available to date to assess the potential impacts of the GM eucalyptus. A reliable decision cannot be reached without this information. That is what foresees the precautionary principle, present in the first article of the Brazilian biosafety law (11.105, from march 24th 2005).

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Contacts:

Prof. Paulo Kageyama – pkageyama@usp.br

João Dagoberto dos Santos, PhD – jdsantos43@gmail.com

 

[1] Ex. p.12, 56, 67 e 69 from the dossier available at http://bit.ly/eucaliptoGM

[2] Idem, p. 17, 76 e 134.

[3] Ibidem, p. 225.

[4] Ibidem, p. 11, 13, 125, 129.

[5 Relatório IPEF 2013.

[6] http://bit.ly/fsc-gm-trees

[7] ABRAF, 2011.

 

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