March Against Monsanto welcomed by Prendergast

Phil Prendergast MEP has welcomed the large international turnout for the March Against Monsanto, which sought to draw attention to the harmful effects of genetically modified (GM) food. The protests across more than 300 cities worldwide, including Cork and Dublin, served as a warning that the use of GM food has been growing in recent years, as has evidence of serious environmental and health consequences.

“According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, some of the known health effects include an increase in severe allergic reactions, and the transfer of antibiotic resistance. As a former nurse and midwife, I believe that the increasing body of research provides proof that the harmful side effects of GM food is not outweighed by the supposed benefit touted by Monsanto, and the other major agribusiness firms.

“In the European Parliament in 2011, I voted in favour of a bill that would allow each member state to individually restrict or prohibit GM crops. I will continue to support EU legislation that safeguards our health and our environment by ensuring that GM food is properly labelled, and that GM crops are limited in Ireland’s farming practices.

“Because the health and environmental effects are long-term, and because the short term benefits seem so promising, it can be difficult to see the true harm in GM food. But all we have to do is look to the United States, where there is increasing consumer pressure to turn back the tide of GM food, to see the potential future for Ireland if we do not act now, before it undermines our food supply as it has theirs.

“Organisers of the March Against Monsanto said that more than 2 million people joined in protest on May 25. Across the world, everyday citizens stood together as a voice for change on an issue that affects us all. I fully support these protests and will continue to fight as well for the health and safety of Irish consumers.”

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