GMO permits contribute to the deforestation of the Amazon

By 2017, the EU (European Union) has authorized around 63 GMO lines for food and feed. These originate from five different GMO giants: BASF, Bayer, Dow, Monsanto and Syngenta. The EU has authorized; 19 unique types of genetically modified soya, 26 unique types of genetically modified maize, 5 unique types of genetically modified oilseed rape, 12 unique types of cotton and one type of genetically modified sugar beet. It is worth noting that the EU has also withdrawn permission for 9 unique genetically modified types: 6 unique types of maize, 3 unique types of oilseed rape. These genetically modified plants are illegal to use as food, feed or for cultivation in Norway.

In Norway, genetically modified garden carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) have been permitted for distribution and sale as cut flowers for decorative purposes. Carnation lines have been genetically modified to change flower color to, for example, blue, violet and purple. The color has been changed by genetic modification for an increased content of cyanidin and delphinidin-based autocyanins. Autocyanins are approved as food additives. The five genetically modified clove lines that are not banned in Norway are: 123.2.38 (Moonlite), IFD-26407-2 (Moonvelvet), 123.8.12 (Moonaqua), IFD-25958-3 (Moonberry), and genetically modified clove line SHD- 27531-4.

Mainly maize, soya and rapeseed, but also cotton, are the genetically modified plants for which approval has been sought for use in food and for use in feed in the EU and Norway. Meal and oil from their seeds can be processed into food and feed. Animal feed mainly consists of flour from these four genetically modified crops. The oils from these seeds are used for food and many other things. Soybean oil is widely used for the production of biodiesel. The residues from the process are converted into soybean meal. Feed made from this genetically modified soybean meal is mainly used to feed poultry and pigs in the world.

Profitable production of biodiesel from soybean oil has contributed to the rapid deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon. In Brazil, forests have mainly been converted to pasture for cattle to graze on. This beef production, as well as leather and dairy products is profitable until the pasture is covered with indigestible wild grass. Then it is most profitable to move to nearby rainforest areas that provide cheap grazing from clearing and seeding grass.

Soya, mainly genetically modified soya in large-scale agriculture, is the second major cause of deforestation since the nineties. Soy production has become lucrative for large-scale agriculture around today's remaining Amazon forest. Recent regulations imposed have attempted to reduce this rapid growth of deforestation for soybeans by assisting soybean farmers in converting cattle land to soybean fields. There is interest from fish farming in feed from soymeal that originates from GMO-free soy. This is to become less dependent on the more expensive proteins from the sea. GMO-free soy is also grown on soil from the Amazon forest.

In 2016, approx. 15.8 million tonnes of fish catch reduced to fish meal and fish oil. These two products are highly sought after and expensive in fish feed. Increased costs steer fish feed producers towards alternatives. Soy is considered an alternative protein source. Fish farming will probably need soy without traces of the herbicides that can harm fish. Genetically modified soy from Brazil is sprayed with glyphosate and other herbicides that can be toxic to fish such as salmon, trout and other aquatic organisms. The rate of deforestation in the Amazon in 2016 was greater than in any year since 2009.


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