Zambia don't want GM food help


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The United States has criticised Zambia's decision to refuse genetically-modified food aid, saying the move places even more Zambians at risk of starvation.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the Zambian government had disregarded scientific evidence about the safety of the maize offered by the United States. full article
Ok, that's an old article but I recently discovered that problem... I saw it on TV a few days ago. That's interesting to see what's the US/Euro behaviour in front of this GM problem.
I don't want to create a new "political" thread about US vs Europe but it seems that the USA, that already use GM, want to give it to Africa while the Euros don't. Zambia don't want to have this kind of help because they don't trust in GM. That's their right no?
Here is the point of the thread : dealing with GM and other "unknown" sciences, can we use the poor countries to try these new sciences or to produce them? I mean even if it can help them...

Lets say that you've got 1 bottle of water. A product has been added to the bottle. Following the scientist, this product will allow you to only drink 1 bottle/week. What a great economy of water!!! You need to drink but you don't know if the strange thing that has been added in the bottle is dangerous or not for your health.
IMO, that's the same problem than with the GM : will you use it (with a risk for your body/environment) or will you try to find natural stuffs (with maybe less production)?
I liked the last part of the article ‘US officials deny that there is any risk involved with GM food and point out that it is eaten every day by millions of Americans.’ As the article points out they could have asked for it to be milled, but unlike the Americans they would have been eating it as their only staple in much larger qualities. I found in a story by the Lancet that Local people later broke into the stores and stole the GM maize. Monsanto’s involvement is quite funny. Is this the industry is moving away from saying that GM will provide amazing plants that ‘traditional’ breeding can’t and bypassing the GM mud slinging?
You might be able to make arguments that eating genetically modified food is unhealthy, but could you really argue that it's unhealthier than starvation?
Originally posted by Nasor
That's not the main problem! It's dangerous for the nature because the GM are stronger than the "natural" ones. I could also add the money problem that everyone know... So don't come with your starvation! We could feed them with non-GM.
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Well, its not so much that they are stronger, but they are weaker, often requiring more water, fertilisers etc etc. Whereas the home grown varieties of crops are generally hardier and survive local conditions better. That case in Mexico a year or two ago of GM crops being found far away from any official plantings was apparently likely to have been people planting food aid they had recieved. So, there is a chance the genes would spread around into local varieties, with not entirely predictable effects.
The other problem is if the new plants will somehow spread and cross breed with African native plants. As far as I can tell, they have only field tested in the USA, where the local flora and fauna is radically different than in Africa. So the potential outcome is unknown. If they do the field tests, then they need the infrastructure to make sure farmers are using the products correctly. Right now Africa is a huge mess, they can't even distribute the free food they have adequately because of corruption. This is the main reason AIDS drugs will not be nearly as effective. Anyway, if the tests are OK, then I say go ahead, otherwise they should be cautious. IMHO, based on what I have read there are no health risks associated with "GM" foods from eating them. Don't forget everything we eat, with few exeptions is genetically modified in some way. Most of the food in the supermarket looks nothing like the original plants from even a few hundred years ago.