02/16/2007, 00.00
PHILIPPINES

Stop US GM food, says Cardinal Rosales

Santos Digal
Manila archbishop calls for a moratorium on the importation of genetically-modified GM food. He says scientists have already warned that GM crops and food products could harm the environment and human beings.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, in a letter sent to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last February 9, has called on the government to recall and stop the sale of genetically-modified (GM) rice products imported from the US because they pose health risks to humans and to the environment.

“We believe that we should strongly oppose any experiment or attempt to use genetically engineered foods that are not safe or good to the environment. We should feed our people with food that are produced through natural means,” Cardinal Rosales said.

He endorsed the petition of the ecology desk of the Archdiocese of Manila and signed by 2,000 people who object to importation and sale of GM products in the Philippines. In particular, the petition mentions Uncle Sam Texas Long Grain Rice, distributed by Purefeeds Inc.

In addition to having GM food pulled from store shelves, the cardinal wants a moratorium imposed on the importation of GM rice from the US. He asked the Agriculture Department to do mandatory testing of imported rice and urgently stop the propagation of genetically-enhanced food products. He also demanded an urgent bill be adopted to impose mandatory labelling of all imported, processed food products.

“As a church institution, we have a moral obligation to protect the interest of God's people and their inherent right to a safe food and healthy environment,” he said.

“Independent and environmentally-concerned local and international scientists already warned that genetically-modified crops and food products could be very harmful to the environment and to human beings,” he added.

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