From today’s Reuters.
Brazil Burns Soy in Battle Over Biotech Foods
SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) - Agents in Brazil burned 21 tons of illegal genetically modified soy this week, police said as the battle over bioengineered foods heated up in Latin America’s largest agricultural power.
The destroyed genetically modified soy was part of a larger batch of more than 55 tons whose recent confiscation has led to the arrest of at least 15 farmers in two southern states.
Another batch of the genetically modified soy was burned last October in Brazil, one of the
world’s largest agricultural producers to have banned planting genetically modified seed.
Federal prosecutors indicted the farmers, from the soy states of Rio Grande do Sul and Parana, for possession of illegal genetically modified soy, but have offered pre-trial deals to those who cooperate and turn over the black-market beans.
“I have recommended to the court that the charges against eight farmers in Rio Grande do Sul be suspended. All have agreed to turned over their GM seeds and cooperate,” public prosecutor Paulo Mazzotti Girelli told Reuters Saturday.
He added that officials would test the farmers' crops after harvest to determine if they also would be confiscated. Girelli said all the estates were larger farms, but he gave no exact size.
Brazil’s Seed Producers Association (Abrasem) said recently that more than half of the soy crop in Rio Grande do Sul, country’s No. 3 soy state, may be the illegal genetically modified variety sown from Monsanto’s leading GM Roundup Ready beans smuggled across the border from Argentina.
In the state’s municipality of Julio de Castilhos alone, Girelli charged seven farmers for possession of more than 55 tons of contraband genetically modified soy.
The government recently stepped up operations to curb the thriving biotech black market by sending agents into the soy-rich southern states to test for illicit soy, but it also has pushed for legalizing genetically modified crops in Brazil’s Congress.
Accusations and protests by opponents have become near weekly events in the face of the government’s efforts to open Brazil’s farming market to multinational biotech companies like Monsanto.
The congressional Committee on Genetically Modified Foods was about to vote on a bill on Wednesday that would permit genetically modified foods and crops in Brazil when raucous protests in the assembly led to a shoving match among committee members that delayed the vote until next week.
A GM-Free Brazil, a group composed of 50 nongovernmental organizations, is planning to demonstrate again at the committee vote on Wednesday, said Greenpeace GM specialist Mariana Paoli.
So, my question would be this -- did burning the soy release the phytoestrogens into the atmosphere?