The South African government has rejected the Agriculture Research Council’s (ARC) application to provide genetically modified potatoes to local farmers, saying it was concerned about its safety and economic effect, reports Business Day.
“This is probably the most significant victory of my career,” said Mariam Mayet of the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB), which spearheaded the campaign against the GM potatoes. “For a pro-genetically modified government to refuse a commercial application on safety grounds is quite ground breaking.”
The ACB campaign focused on the ARC’s application for commercial release of its SpuntaG2 potato, which has been engineered to kill the tuber moth, a common pest that damages crops in the field and in storage.
Potatoes SA, fast food outlet McDonald’s, and food retailers Pick n Pay and Fruit and Veg City have also expressed objections to the ARC’s application, saying they were concerned about consumer choice.