Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Red in the face: Ghana again threatens boycott of Burkina Faso’s tomatoes over GMO claims

After members of the Ghana Tomato Traders Association once again alleged that some Burkinabé farmers are illegally exporting GMO-enhanced tomatoes into the country, the Ghana’s government has threatened to ban the its northern neighbor from delivering any more of the bright red vegetables, Ghanaian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Burkina Faso’s tomatoes enter the Ghanaian market between four and five months a year, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute, whose research shows that Ghanaians prefer Burkina tomatoes to local varieties.

“The threat to ban the importation was issued at a sitting of the Judicial Committee of the Ghana Traditional Council, Commodity Online reported. “There could be a looming tomatoes crisis if a threat to ban the importation of tomatoes was effected.”

Like Ghana, farmers and scientists in Burkina Faso experiment with various forms of biotechnology and GMO crops. However, Ghana does not experiment on tomatoes, while Burkina Faso does.

Here is what FAO claims are Burkina Faso’s experiments on tomatoes:

Abbreviation for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. An immunoassay, i.e. an antibody-based technique for the diagnosis of the presence and quantity of specific molecules in a mixed sample. It combines the specificity of an immunoglobulin with the detectability of an enzyme-generated coloured product. In one form, the primary antibody (specific to the test protein) is adsorbed onto a solid substrate, and a known amount of the sample is added; all the antigen in the sample is bound by the antibody. A second antibody (conjugated with an enzyme) specific for a second site on the test protein is added; and the enzyme generates a colour change in the presence of a substrate reagent.

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