GM foods found to have increased use of herbicides - despite manufacturer's promise

4 October 2012

 More research into genetically-modified food and herbicides must be done, in the light of more evidence that they fail to deliver the benefits their promoters claim, the Green Party has said.

The Green Party’s Leader, Natalie Bennett, spoke out after researchers found that herbicide use increased 11 per cent from 1996-2011 – despite claims from Monsanto that its Roundup plants and weed control products would "decrease the overall use of herbicides".

Ms Bennett said: "We have been here before and the response we must make remains the same. We have been far too quick to jump into a huge worldwide experiment, without understanding the likely outcomes."

A study published in Environmental Sciences Europe, by Charles Benbrook of Washington State University’s Centre for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, reported that although herbicide use decreased by two per cent from 1996-98, it then increased to 11 per cent higher than it had been before Roundup had been developed.

This is because non-crop plants quickly became immune to Roundup herbicide, so farmers had to turn to increasing levels of other herbicides to destroy them.

Ms Bennett said: "This seems to suggest we missed an important opportunity before planting these crops and relying on the promises of the people who manufactured them, to study the impacts of GM crops. Herbicides have broad environmental impacts, and their use should be reducing, rather than increasing.

‘It is clear that we have to move away from large-scale industrial agriculture and back to small-scale family farms that work with and respect the natural environment.’

ENDS

For more information contact Zoe Hall on 0207 549 0315 or zoe.hall@greenparty.org.uk

Notes 

  1. To view Charles Benbrook’s report Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the US, visit: http://www.enveurope.com/content/24/1/24/abstract
  2. For more information about Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, visit: http://nataliebennett.greenparty.org.uk/
  3. For more information about the Green Party, visit: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/

Spokespeople available for interview


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