Dr. Rath Health Foundation

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GMO News

Up to date news and comment about GMO issues.

December 15, 2009

Monsanto named worst corporate climate lobbyist
US company wants its GM crops to be given carbon credits and to be at the forefront of tackling climate change despite link to deforestation
Biotech giant Monsanto has been criticised for its aggressive corporate lobbying on climate change at the Copenhagen summit. In a public vote organised by an alliance of NGOs, including Friends of the Earth and Spinwatch, the US agricultural company came out ahead of oil giant Shell and the American Petroleum Institute. Monsanto was nominated for its promotion of genetically modified (GM) crops as a solution to climate change and for pushing its crops to be used as biofuels.
Read article in The Ecologist (UK)

December 7, 2009

TAKE ACTION: Poland under threat
The Polish parliament has chosen December 15th 2009 for a debate and vote on the new 'GMO Act' that, if passed, will open the door for planting GM crops on Polish soil, based on EU standards that authorise co-existence between GM and non GM crops on a commercial scale.
Read action letter from the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC) at gmwatch.org

November 26, 2009

Public wants labelling of all GM food
UK citizens are confused by the current publicly available information on GM foods and want clearer facts made available in shops and supermarkets. There is widespread support for compulsory 'GM' labelling on all food produce in the UK, according to new research.
Read article on the website of The Ecologist (UK)

November 20, 2009

Major food brands commit to GM-free
A commitment by four major food brands to avoid genetically modified organisms is a win for consumers wishing to avoid GMOs in their diet, according to the Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA). With a large number of common foods now containing GMOs and in the absence of comprehensive GM labelling laws in Australia, consumers are increasingly opting to go organic, BFA claims.
Read article at farmonline.com.au (Australia)

November 17, 2009

Biotech crops cause big jump in pesticide use: report
The rapid adoption by U.S. farmers of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton has promoted increased use of pesticides, an epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds and more chemical residues in foods, according to a report issued Tuesday by health and environmental protection groups. The groups said research showed that herbicide use grew by 383 million pounds from 1996 to 2008, with 46 percent of the total increase occurring in 2007 and 2008.
Read news report at reuters.com

November 9, 2009

Monsanto pulls GM corn amid serious food safety concerns
Applicant's dossiers contained wide-ranging fraudulent research
For the first time, a GM multinational has pulled two GM corn varieties from the regulatory and assessment process at the eleventh hour, after planning for a future income of several billion dollars per year from global sales. Monsanto has abandoned its ambitious plans for a so-called "second generation GM crop" rather than accede to a request from European regulators for additional research and safety data. Under conditions of great secrecy, Monsanto has informed EFSA that it no longer wishes to pursue its application for approval of GM maize LY038 and the stacked variety LY038 x MON810. Both of these varieties were designed to accelerate the growth rate of animals. Two letters were sent to EFSA from the Monsanto subsidiary company Renessen at the end of April this year confirming the withdrawal of its applications originally submitted in 2005 and 2006. The letters cite "decreased commercial value worldwide" and state that the high-lysene varieties "will no longer be a part of the Renessen business strategy in the near future." There has been no announcement of these decisions on the Monsanto web site, and there are no mentions on EFSA or European Commission web sites either. In other words, there is a conspiracy of silence involving both the applicants and the regulators.
Read press notice at gmfreecymru.org (Wales/UK)

November 6, 2009

The Big GMO Cover-Up
Big biotech claims that genetic engineering is a necessary step towards feeding the world’s growing population. And yet debate still rages as to whether GM crops actually increase yields at all. Furthermore, the UN recently stated that 30,000 people a day were starving to death, but not because of underproduction of crops. It’s simply through lack of access. Independent scientific studies raised serious alarm bells over the safety of GM foods over a decade ago. But while this made front-page headlines in European newspapers, the North American mainstream media were conspiratorially silent. Biotech companies stand to make billions from their seed patents. Governments and supreme courts have sanctioned the patenting of life itself. The planet’s food supply is becoming increasingly dominated by fewer and fewer players. If the biotech industry’s stated intention of feeding the world is misguided or even misdirecting, is there another political agenda behind GM food? Have we been mis-sold? Were we even given a choice in the first place? Jeffrey M. Smith, international bestselling author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, reveals the shocking truth behind GM foods and the huge effort by governments and Biotech corporations to keep it out of the mainstream media and outside of your awareness.
Read article by Jeffrey M. Smith at urbangardenmagazine.com

November 5, 2009

GMOs causing 'genetic pollution', parliament conference told
A conference in parliament has heard that "genetic pollution" is being "imposed" on the public via GMO products. French ALDE deputy Corinne Lepage told the hearing on Thursday that any supposed advantages of GMO products were "hugely outweighed" by the disadvantages. Lepage, vice-chair of the environment committee, said, "We in Europe are very fortunate that we have very few GMO products, particularly compared with the United States. "However, we must continue to make every effort to press for GMO-free agriculture."
Read article at theparliament.com

November 3, 2009

EU GMO-labelling laws judged insufficient
France is poised to become the latest in a growing trend of European countries to introduce GMO-free labels for food in a bid to counter weaker EU standards and to compensate for a loophole in European labelling laws. Currently, EU labelling laws mean meat, dairy and eggs from animals fed with genetically modified animal feed do not have to be labelled.
Read article on the Friends of the Earth Europe website

October 24, 2009

GM crops no panacea for food security: US scientist
Senior US scientist Dr Michael Hansen has said genetically modified crops are not the panacea for food security. Rather, the answer to food security lies with small-scale, ecologically rational, sustainable agriculture that focuses on local food systems. “If you look carefully at global data, the most engineered crop is soybean. Ninety per cent of US acreage, 98 per cent of Argentina acreage and 60 per cent of Brazil are engineered,” he said. “Scientific data show that on an average Roundup soybean has 10 per cent lower yield than non-engineered soybean. So if you want to feed more people, genetically-engineered soybean will not be the answer,” he said.
Read article at thenews.com.pk (Pakistan)

October 19, 2009

EU farm ministers refuse to okay new GM maize strains
European Union farm ministers refused to give their seal of approval on Monday to plans to allow the import of genetically-modified maize from US growers, diplomats said.
Read AFP news report at google.com

October 15, 2009

GMO protestors give Brussels food for thought
Greenpeace has taken its objections over genetically modified food to the European Commission’s door in Brussels. The anti-GMO NGO presented the Health Commissioner with a 180,000 signature petition calling for the EU to refuse the authorisation of GM rice made by German chemical giant Bayer.
Read article at euronews.net

October 13, 2009

Ireland adopts GM-free zone policy
The Irish Government will ban the cultivation of all GM crops and introduce a voluntary GM-free label for food – including meat, poultry, eggs, fish, crustaceans, and dairy produce made without the use of GM animal feed. The policy was adopted as part of the Renewed Programme for Government agreed between the two coalition partners, the centre-right Fianna Faíl and the Green Party, after the latter voted to support it on Saturday. The agreement specifies that the Government will “Declare the Republic of Ireland a GM-Free Zone, free from the cultivation of all GM plants”. The official text also states “To optimise Ireland’s competitive advantage as a GM-Free country, we will introduce a voluntary GM-Free logo for use in all relevant product labelling and advertising, similar to a scheme recently introduced in Germany.”
Read press release on the GM-free Ireland website (Ireland)

October 5, 2009

GM Flax Contamination from Canada Soars to 28 Countries
28 countries, including more European countries as well as Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Thailand, have now been affected by contamination from genetically modified (GM) flax in Canadian exports since contamination was first reported on September 8.
Read article on the website of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) (Canada)

September 23, 2009

Court rejects genetically modified sugar beets
The government illegally approved a genetically modified, herbicide-resistant strain of sugar beets without adequately considering the chance they will contaminate other beet crops, a federal judge in San Francisco has ruled. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White rejected the U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision in 2005 to allow Monsanto Co. to sell the sugar beets, known as "Roundup-Ready" because they are engineered to coexist with Monsanto's Roundup herbicide.
Read article in the San Francisco Chronicle (USA)

September 15, 2009

Genetic engineering now an issue for five neighbouring Asian countries
Viet Nam is one of five neighbouring nations considering issuing a declaration against the use of genetically modified soybeans. This was announced at the second annual conference of the so-called Greater Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta Sub-region (GMS) a the weekend. At the meeting, Viet Nam reported that several non-modified varieties of rice, soybean and potatoes it had received from other members had brought promising results. The move to ban transgenic materials was made by Thailand, one of the six members of the GMS. Thailand is one of the growing number of nations throughout the world that has banned the importation of transgenic soybeans for any purpose. The other members of the group are Viet Nam, Myanmar, Thailand, China and Laos.
Read article on the Vietnam News Agency website

September 14, 2009

Big anti-GM protest in Germany
Thousands of protesters took to the streets against GM yesterday (Sunday, Sept. 13), in the southern German town of Ulm (in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg). The protest kicked of with a tractor demonstration involving 120 vehicles. The event was themed "Diversity feeds the world" and included a huge GM-free food festival. The protesters called for a ban of GMOs in farming in Germany, for both cultivation and feed. They argued that the recently found GM-contaminated linseed showed yet again that coexistence is impossible and they demanded from state agriculture minister to support for sustainable GM-free and small-scale agriculture. Furthermore, a new survey was made public, according to which 65% of German citizens, and as much as 70% in Baden-Wurttemberg, are against GM.
Read article at gmwatch.org

September 11, 2009

GM seeds threaten food supply, claim researchers
Modern seed companies are reducing crop diversity – and this could have serious consequences for food supply as the climate heats up, researchers claimed at the World Seed Conference in Rome this week.
Read article at foodnavigator-usa.com

September 8, 2009

'Label GM food products', say farmers
Welsh farmers are calling for “Frankenstein food” GM products to be labelled, as a survey published today raises fresh concerns about the technology. Philip Bevan of Great House Farm, a 220-acre organic farm in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, said Welsh consumers have every right to know exactly what the food they eat contains, as a survey by Consumer Focus Wales shows that almost a quarter of them (24%) think GM should be banned from sale in the UK.
Read article at walesonline.co.uk (Wales/UK)

September 1, 2009

Human health risk from GM fish – Study
The commercial breeding of GM fish should be approached with caution on fears they could pose a health risk to humans and threaten natural breeds, new research has said. A study from the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, cautioned that by giving fish genes from other organisms – so-called transgenes – researchers have succeeded in producing species that are able grow considerably more quickly than non-GM fish and are more resistant to diseases. However, the robust nature of transgenic species means they can have a higher tolerance to toxins. Fredrik Sundstrom, of the Department of Zoology, said the ability of transgenic fish to be more resistant to environmental toxins could entail the greater accumulation of toxins that “ultimately end up in consumers”.
Read article at foodproductiondaily.com

August 25, 2009

Lyme/Autism Group Blasts Genetically Modified Foods as Dangerous
Stop eating dangerous genetically modified (GM) foods! That's the upshot of the Lyme Induced Autism (LIA) Foundation's position paper released today. The patient advocacy group is not willing to wait around until research studies prove that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) cause or worsen the many diseases that are on the rise since gene-spliced foods were introduced in 1996. Like the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) earlier this year, the LIA Foundation says there is more than enough evidence of harm in GM animal feeding studies for them to "urge doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets" and for "individuals, especially those with autism, Lyme disease, and associated conditions, to avoid" GM foods.
Read article by Jeffrey Smith on the Huffington Post website (USA)

August 12, 2009

Egypt bans trade in GM food
Egypt is banning food imports and exports that are not certified free of genetically modified products, state news agency MENA reported on Wednesday. Agriculture Minister Amin Abaza "gave instructions... against the entry of any imports, especially wheat, corn and soya beans until samples of the cargo have been examined...in the absence of a certificate," it added.
Read article at france24.com

August 10, 2009

Consumers get 'No Genetic Engineering' label for food
German consumers now have an easier way to determine if their food has been genetically modified after Minister of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Ilse Aigner, introduced a new “No Genetic Engineering” logo on Monday.
Read article at thelocal.de (Germany)
Comment: Consumer organisation Foodwatch is skeptical about this label, suggesting that a “With Genetic Engineering” label is necessary as well. “If animals eat genetically engineered feed from their trough, this doesn’t have to be indicated on meat, milk or eggs. If consumers buy these products they are supporting genetic engineering against their will,” Foodwatch head Thilo Bode said.

July 29, 2009

GMO Scandal: The Long Term Effects of Genetically Modified Food on Humans
Scientific Tests Must Be Approved by Industry First
One of the great mysteries surrounding the spread of GMO plants around the world since the first commercial crops were released in the early 1990’s in the USA and Argentina has been the absence of independent scientific studies of possible long-term effects of a diet of GMO plants on humans or even rats. Now it has come to light the real reason. The GMO agribusiness companies like Monsanto, BASF, Pioneer, Syngenta and others prohibit independent research.
Read article by F. William Engdahl on the Centre for Research for Globalization website (Canada)

July 29, 2009

Green groups blast EU agency over biotech maize
International green groups attacked Europe's leading food safety agency on Wednesday for its views on biotech crops and foods, saying a recent opinion was flawed and had ignored studies highlighting safety concerns. In a report analyzing last month's opinion by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on the safety of a genetically modified maize made by U.S. company Monsanto, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) said there was enough evidence to show that the maize, called MON 810, was hazardous.
Read news report at reuters.com
Comment: Greenpeace described EFSA’s opinion on MON810 as “woefully inadequate” and said that it “ignores the social consequences of production.” To read the Greenpeace report, click here.

July 27, 2009

GM crops being grown in Britain
Genetically-modified crops are being grown in Britain for the first time in a year after controversial trials of the plants were "secretly" restarted. Cultivation of a field of potatoes designed to be resistant to pests were abandoned over a year ago when environmental protesters ripped up the crop. But, without alerting the public as is usual when such trials begin, the project has been restarted, prompting environmental groups to warn that local farms and nearby residents could be put at risk.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

July 15, 2009

Canada Settles a Crop Trade Complaint Against Europe
Canada settled a trade dispute with Europe on Wednesday that will lead to the country dropping its six-year-old complaint at the World Trade Organization over European restrictions on imports of genetically modified food. The European Union trade commissioner, Catherine Ashton, said she hoped to reach similar agreements with Argentina and the United States, bringing an end to one of the most contentious recent cases in trans-Atlantic trade policy.
Read article in the New York Times (USA)

July 5, 2009

Malta stands firm against GMOs, pushes for nationalisation of GMO regulation
In a recent meeting of the EU’s Environment Council, Austria, supported by 12 other countries including Malta, submitted a note proposing the way forward on the legislation dealing with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture – a source of ongoing bioethics debates. The use of GMOs in agriculture is one of the rare subjects of EU legislation where no qualified majority has been achieved within the EU Council in recent years. By way of the proposal, submitted during the 25 June Environment Council meeting, the 13 member states are calling for the authorisation process for GMO cultivation to be revisited, so that it will become the right of each individual country to decide whether to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of authorised GMOs in its territory. The Austrian proposal is being supported by Bulgaria, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.
Read article on the Malta Independent Online website (Malta)

July 3, 2009

GMO corn: France rejects report by EU food agency
France on Friday rejected a report by the European Union's food safety watchdog that said a controversial strain of genetically-modified corn was safe. In a joint statement, the French ecology and agriculture ministries said the Italy-based European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had failed to take into account requests to change the way it evaluated the risk.
Read AFP news report at google.com

June 30, 2009

Welsh Assembly proposes tough GM controls
The Welsh Assembly has proposed tough measures to control genetically modified crops, including GM-free zones and a ban on GM crop growing in national parks. Assembly officials set out the proposals at the launch of a consultation on protecting conventional and organic crops from contamination with GMs. The measures also included the imposition of strict liability on GM crop growers.
Read article on the Farmers Weekly Interactive website (UK)

June 24, 2009

U.S. court cuts off appeals in Monsanto alfalfa case
A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday left in place an injunction barring Monsanto Co from selling its Roundup Ready alfalfa seed until the government completes an environmental impact study on how the genetically modified product could affect neighboring crops. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the company's request for a rehearing of its appeal and said it would accept no more petitions for rehearing in the three-year-old case.
Read news report at reuters.com

June 24, 2009

Crackdown on GM crops covers accidental release
New rules to crack down on those who accidentally allow genetically modified crops into Scotland's environment came into force yesterday.
Read article in The Scotsman (Scotland/UK)

June 16, 2009

Failure to yield: Evaluating the performance of genetically engineered crops
For years the biotechnology industry has boasted that its genetically engineered (GE) crops—primarily corn and soybeans, will feed the world by producing higher yields. But according to a report released in March, 2009 by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), this promise has proven to be empty. In the report, Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops, senior scientist Doug Gurian-Sherman says, “Despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yield.”
Read article at examiner.com
Comment: As we have reported previously, 2008 was a bad year for the GM multinationals. Nevertheless, despite widespread public opposition to GM crops and a growing awareness of their dangers, some governments and government agencies appear to be intent upon deregulating them and allowing them to be released into the environment. In the United States, for example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is currently seeking public comment on a petition to deregulate a type of genetically engineered corn. To learn more, and for U.S. citizens to access a link to submit comments, click here. In addition, APHIS has also prepared an environmental assessment for a proposed release of a genetically engineered clone of a Eucalyptus hybrid. To learn more, and for U.S. citizens to access a link to submit comments, click here.

June 2, 2009

Consumers won’t accept GM wheat, says tri-national statement
A group of organizations from the US, Canada and Australia has released a joint statement expressing their opposition to wheat industry plans to commercialize genetically modified (GM) wheat.
Read article at foodnavigator-usa.com

May 20, 2009

GMO Ban Bill Passed
Tasmania’s ban on the release of genetically modified organisms to the environment will continue for at least another five years under a Bill passed by Parliament today. The Minister for Primary Industries and Water, David Llewellyn, said today that the State’s GMO-free status is a key factor in the Tasmanian Brand. “Tasmania’s GMO-free status is a vital factor for our primary producers, helping them realise their full potential in international and interstate markets,” Mr Llewellyn said.
Read media release on the Tasmanian State Government website (Australia)
Comment: The commercial release of genetically modified food crops is now banned in Tasmania until November 2014.

May 19, 2009

Doctors call for immediate moratorium on Genetically Modified foods
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) today released its position paper on Genetically Modified foods stating that “GM foods pose a serious health risk” and calling for a moratorium on GM foods. Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes “there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects” and that “GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health.”
Read article on the LA Environmental Health Examiner website (USA)

May 7, 2009

GM crops won't solve hunger crisis, says new German study
While one of the arguments from the food industry has been that genetically modified crops could help relieve hunger in developing nations, a recent study compiled for the German parliament comes to a different conclusion.
Read article at dw-world.de (Germany)

May 5, 2009

German court rejects Monsanto plea to end GMO maize ban
A German court on Tuesday rejected an urgent application from U.S. biotech company Monsanto to end Germany's ban on cultivation of Monsanto maize containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Read news report at reuters.com

April 27, 2009

Scottish government refuses to 'take risks over GMs'
The Scottish government's anti-GM stance has been unequivocally re-affirmed by the country's new environment minister, Roseanna Cunningham. Ms Cunningham told an international conference in Switzerland that Scotland would "stand shoulder-to-shoulder" with other nations opposed to the technology and fight for what she believed the people wanted.
Read article on the Farmers Weekly Interactive website (UK)

April 22, 2009

Monsanto files suit against Germany over GM ban
Monsanto has filed a lawsuit against the German government after the EU member state banned planting of its genetically modified MON810 maize last week.
Read article at foodnavigator.com

April 19, 2009

Law to punish makers of harmful GMOs sought
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines -- The country should pass a special law to define the liability of those responsible for injuries arising from the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), an environmental advocacy group recently said. The Third World Network (TWN) said the government's current rules allowing victims to seek redress for harm caused by GMOs have been purely administrative remedies (with no civil and criminal liabilities) and could not provide sufficient relief for victims.
Read article on the website of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Philippines)

April 19, 2009

‘Superweed’ explosion threatens Monsanto heartlands
Superweeds” are plaguing high-tech Monsanto crops in southern US states, driving farmers to use more herbicides, return to conventional crops or even abandon their farms.
Read article at france24.com (France)

April 18, 2009

Opponents of GM crops protest in Spain
Thousands of people have taken to the streets of the Spanish city of Zaragoza calling for a ban on the use of genetically modified crops. They want their government to follow Germany’s lead in banning GM maize.
Read article at euronews.net

April 14, 2009

Germany deals blow to GM crops
Agriculture minister Ilse Aigner joins European mutiny over genetically modified crops by banning corn variety MON 810
Germany has thrown its weight behind a growing European mutiny over genetically modified crops by banning the planting of a widely grown pest-resistant corn variety. Agriculture minister Ilse Aigner said there was enough evidence to support arguments that MON 810, which is the only GM crop widely grown in Europe, posed a danger. "I have come to the conclusion that genetically-modified corn from the MON 810 strain constitutes a danger to the environment," Aigner told reporters in Berlin.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)

April 14, 2009

Failure to Yield
Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops
For years the biotechnology industry has trumpeted that it will feed the world, promising that its genetically engineered crops will produce higher yields. That promise has proven to be empty, according to Failure to Yield, a report by UCS expert Doug Gurian-Sherman released in March 2009. Despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields.
Read article on the website of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) (USA)
Comment: To read the UCS report, click here.

April 6, 2009

Who Owns Life, Not Monsanto?
Percy Schmeiser is a real life hero who played David to Monsanto’s Goliath, and like David, he won.
Read article on the Institute for Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

March 24, 2009

Federal judge says no to modified crops on U.S. refuge land
WASHINGTON – In a court case with potential impact in Missouri and across the country, a federal judge in Delaware ruled today that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife should not have permitted farming with genetically modified crops on a national wildlife refuge. U.S. District Judge Gregory Sleet wrote that the Fish and Wildlife agency erred by failing to conduct environmental studies to determine whether farming with genetically modified crops at the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware was compatible with conservation and habitat preservation. The Fish and Wildlife Service, Sleet wrote, does "not contest that their own biologists determined that these activities posed significant environmental risks to Prime Hook, including biological contamination, increased weed resistance and damage to soils."
Read article at stltoday.com (USA)

March 24, 2009

Germany considers local bans on GMO crops-minister
Germany is considering permitting regional bans on cultivation of crops with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner said on Friday. GMO crops approved as safe by the European Union can be cultivated anywhere in the bloc. But Aigner signalled that Germany might join several other EU member states which have imposed controversial GMO cultivation bans in the face of EU approvals.
Read article at freshplaza.com

March 20, 2009

Diverse farmer and public interest groups urge USDA to freeze approvals of genetically engineered crops
Groups Seek Revamping of Midnight Bush Administration Rules and Demand More Protections for Farmers, the Public, and the Environment
Washington, DC, March 20, 2009 - Today eighty-two farm, food, public interest, and environmental organizations delivered a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging him to freeze approval of all new genetically engineered crops (GE) until the agency corrects serious deficiencies in how they are regulated. In the waning months of the Bush Administration, USDA released a proposal to overhaul its regulation of GE crops, significantly weakening oversight. The letter puts the new Administration on notice that the public demands a more thorough evaluation of GE crops, greater public input, and stricter regulation.
Read press release on the Center for Food Safety website (USA)

March 17, 2009

Experts speak out against GM food
After BT cotton, international corporations promoting genetically modified crops are trying to expand their reach to food, which may expose consumers to unknown hazards. "There is absolutely no space for this hazardous and irreversible technology in our agriculture sector," said senior activist N D Patil after releasing the CD of documentary film "Poison on the Platter", directed by noted filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, in the city on Monday. "There is no independent research to prove that genetically modified (GM) food is safe for consumption. Scientifically, it is a proven fact that genetic engineering is inherently imprecise and irreversible," said Patil.
Read article on The Times of India website

March 13, 2009

Biggest Brazil soy state loses taste for GMO seed
Farmers in Brazil's Mato Grosso, the country's top soy state, are shunning once-heralded, genetically modified soy varieties in favor of conventional seeds after the hi-tech type showed poor yields. "We're seeing less and less planting of GMO soy around here. It doesn't give consistent performance," said Jeferson Bif, who grows soy and corn on a large 1,800 hectare farm in Ipiranga do Norte, near the key Mato Grosso soy town of Sorriso. He said he obtained average yields of 58 bags (60 kg) per hectare with conventional soy last season while fields planted with GMO soy in the same year yielded 10 bags less.
Read news report at reuters.com

March 4, 2009

ARGENTINA: Countryside No Longer Synonymous with Healthy Living
Once a serene refuge from urban pollution and chaos, the Argentine countryside has now become a place fraught with risks for many local residents. The massive use of pesticides on fields of soy, the country’s top export, is creating a "health catastrophe" in the rural sector, environmentalists warn. A report by the Rural Reflection Group (GRR), a local environmental organisation, points to an increase in health problems in the countryside, such as cases of cancer at early ages, birth defects, lupus, kidney problems, respiratory ailments and dermatitis, based on the accounts of rural doctors, experts and the residents of dozens of farming towns. The GRR has been carrying out a campaign since 2006 to identify towns affected by the spraying of glyphosate, the herbicide tolerated by the genetically modified (GM) soybeans planted in Argentina, which kills all plants other than the crop itself.
Read article on the Inter Press Service (IPS) News Agency website

March 2, 2009

EU commission urged to drop 'GM agenda'
Green MEP Caroline Lucas has accused commission president José Manuel Barroso of "foisting his pro-GM agenda" on the whole of the EU. Lucas was speaking after EU environment ministers upheld a sovereign ban on the growing of genetically modified maize in Austria and Hungary. It was the third and second time for Austria and Hungary respectively that the commission had attempted to get the ban on Monsanto's MON810 lifted.
Read article at theparliament.com

March 2, 2009

EU upholds Austria, Hungary right to ban GM crops
EU environment ministers gave a stinging rebuff to the European Commission on Monday and upheld the sovereign right of Austria and Hungary to ban growing of genetically modified (GM) maize, the EU presidency said.
Read news report at reuters.com
Comment: The European Commission's proposal was rejected by 22 countries, with the UK, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden the only states to support overturning the ban.

February 25, 2009

EU rejects plans for new GM crops
Bid to allow two new GM crops into the EU is blocked; just one form of GM crop is allowed in the EU.
A committee of experts from EU nations has rejected a proposal to allow two new types of genetically modified (GM) maize to be grown in European fields. The proposals, which related to GM maize Bt-11 developed by biotech company Syngenta, and maize 1507 developed by Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer, will now be submitted to the Council of Ministers for further scrutiny. “The Committee was unable to find a qualified majority either for or against the proposal”, the European Commission said on 25 February, shortly after the meeting of experts.
Read article at europeanvoice.com

February 24, 2009

Tighter Wales GM rules unveiled
Plans to tighten up rules on the planting of genetically modified crops in Wales have been announced by Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones. She told AMs that "co-existence" regulations between GM, conventional and organic crops should be tougher in keeping with a "precautionary approach." The assembly government cannot ban the planting of approved GM crops but can make regulations to stop contamination. Conservatives welcomed the statement and said they would study the plans. Welsh ministers have consistently sought the most restrictive policy possible on GM crops, within EU and UK legislation.
Read article on the BBC News website (UK)

February 19, 2009

Crop Scientists Say Biotechnology Seed Companies Are Thwarting Research
Biotechnology companies are keeping university scientists from fully researching the effectiveness and environmental impact of the industry’s genetically modified crops, according to an unusual complaint issued by a group of those scientists. “No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions,” the scientists wrote in a statement submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency. The E.P.A. is seeking public comments for scientific meetings it will hold next week on biotech crops. The statement will probably give support to critics of biotech crops, like environmental groups, who have long complained that the crops have not been studied thoroughly enough and could have unintended health and environmental consequences.
Read article in the New York Times (USA)

February 19, 2009

Charity guide criticised for not declaring GM interests
Sense About Science pamphlet failed to list contributors' links with industry. Zoë Corbyn reports
A charity has come under fire for failing to declare all industry affiliations of the experts it enlisted to compile a booklet explaining genetic modification to the public. The pamphlet was produced by Sense About Science (SAS), a charity that claims to promote scientific reasoning in public discussions. According to anti-genetic modification campaigners and academics, it failed to mention links between some of the experts who wrote the booklet and GM firms. For example, the guide's biography of Vivian Moses, emeritus professor of microbiology at Queen Mary, University of London, and visiting professor of biotechnology at King's College London, does not mention that he is also chairman of CropGen, a GM lobby group that receives funding from the biotechnology industry.
Read article in The Times (UK)
Comment: In addition to its links with the GM industry, Sense About Science also has links with the pharmaceutical industry. In the past year, it has received financial contributions from AstraZeneca plc, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, and a number of large medical charities who themselves have received financial contributions from drug companies.

February 18, 2009

Transgenes are escaping into the wild
Now it's official: genes from genetically modified corn have escaped into wild varieties in rural Mexico. A new study resolves a long-running controversy over the spread of GM genes and suggests that detecting such escapes may be tougher than previously thought.
Read article on the New Scientist magazine website

February 18, 2009

Leading scientists publicly denounce unethical use of children in GM experiments
A formal letter of protest relating to a severe breach of medical ethics has been sent by 22 senior scientists from around the world to the Tufts University School of Medicine, together with a call for these GM feeding experiments to be terminated immediately.
Read article on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) (UK)

February 18, 2009

Percy Schmeiser: “GMOs affects our freedom and our foods’ biodiversity”
In an exclusive interview for GreenPlanet, Percy Schmeiser - the Canadian farmer who was contaminated by Monsanto’s GMO seeds and accused of illegally planting that without paying for the privilege - stresses the fact that the introduction of GMOs means the loss of freedom for farmers, as well as the downfall of foods’ variety and biodiversity developed in thousands of years and that make the richness of a Country. On the eve of the tour to Italy with his wife Louise, GreenPlanet has talked to Mr. Schmeiser to understand what he has learnt from his experience against Monsanto multinational, and what urges him to travel all around the world testifying what happened to him.
Read interview at greenplanet.net

February 18, 2009

EU court attacks GM crop secrecy
Europe's top court has ruled that EU governments have no right to conceal the location of field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops. The European Court of Justice was responding to a case brought by Pierre Azelvandre in Alsace, eastern France. He wanted to know where GM field trials had taken place in his local area.
Read article on the BBC News website (UK)
Comment: The court’s ruling means that the UK’s plans to grow genetically modified crops in top secret military locations are now effectively illegal.

February 18, 2009

Germany May Ban Monsanto Corn, Minister Tells Berliner Zeitung
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government may revoke a license for the cultivation of Monsanto Co.’s genetically modified corn because neither consumers nor farmers want it, Agriculture Minister Ilse Aignertold the Berliner Zeitung. Genetic engineering “has so far not yielded tangible benefits for the people,” the newspaper quoted Aigner as saying.
Read article at bloomberg.com

February 16, 2009

EU foiled in bid to force France, Greece to allow GM crop
The European Commission was foiled Monday in its bid to force France and Greece to allow genetically modified maize from US biotech giant Monsanto to be grown in their fields. Food chain experts from the EU member states, meeting in Brussels, could not reach agreement on whether to back or oppose the French and Greek refusal to allow the maize, which has been given the green light to be grown in Europe. The standing committee on food chain and animal health "failed to reach a qualified majority in favour or against," the commission said in a statement.
Read AFP news report at google.com

February 15, 2009

Georgia bans GMOs
Georgia will be declared to be a GM-free country, Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili has recently announced on local television. Mikhail Saakashvili has participated in the live broadcast "The Georgian president talks to the people", in which the people of Georgia were able to ask the President some questions, reports RIA Novosti. "Georgia does not have a major agricultural production. We hope that our production is ecologically pure and healthy. I will instruct the Government to ensure that genetically modified products are prohibited in Georgia as in some countries in Eastern Europe and within the CIS, "Mr. Saakashvili has said.
Read article at organic-market.info

February 10, 2009

Biotech industry fakes growth of GM crops in Europe
On the eve of the release of annual industry-sponsored figures, a new report released today by Friends of the Earth International reveals the failure of genetically modified crops around the world, and how statistics showing their increase in Europe have been manipulated. The new 'Who Benefits from GM Crops?' 2009 report exposes inconsistencies in how the European biotech lobby group EuropaBio has reported the total area planted to GM crops. The group inflated the figures by almost a quarter in 2008 to mask an actual decline. The misleading numbers are used by companies to make genetically modified farming appear more widespread than it really is. In reality public opposition and safety-conscious European governments mean that planting of GM crops in Europe has decreased every year since 2005 with an overall drop of 35 per cent.
Read press statement on the Friends of the Earth Europe website
Comment: As we have reported previously, 2008 was a particularly bad year for the GM multinationals. Given these latest revelations, therefore, it seems safe to predict that 2009 appears unlikely to bring better tidings for what is rapidly turning into one of the world’s most unpopular industries.

February 9, 2009

Bt Brinjal Unfit for Human Consumption
Expert independent scientist verdict contradicts Indian regulatory authorities on biosafety of GM aubergine
Release of Bt brinjal into the environment for food, feed and cultivation may present a serious risk for human and animal health; the GM aubergine is unfit for consumption. That's the verdict of French scientist Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini of the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN), who carried out the first ever independent assessment of Monsanto-Mahyco's dossier on toxicity tests submitted to the Indian regulatory authorities.
Read press release on the Institute for Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

February 6, 2009

GM crops 'may give lower yields'
US researchers have criticised claims that genetically modified (GM) crops can help feed a hungry world. GM crops have been a "spectacular under-performer" in terms of yields, according to Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Recent yield gains are just as likely to result from conventional breeding techniques as they are from genetic engineering, he says.
Read article on the BBC News website (UK)

February 5, 2009

The Multiple Ways Monsanto is Putting Normal Seeds Out of Reach
People say if farmers don’t want problems from Monsanto, just don’t buy their GMO seeds. Not so simple. Where are farmers supposed to get normal seed these days? How are they supposed to avoid contamination of their fields from GM-crops? How are they supposed to stop Monsanto detectives from trespassing or Monsanto from using helicopters to fly over spying on them? Monsanto contaminates the fields, trespasses onto the land taking samples and if they find any GMO plants growing there (or say they have), they then sue, saying they own the crop. It’s a way to make money since farmers can’t fight back and court and they settle because they have no choice. And they have done and are doing a bucket load of things to keep farmers and everyone else from having any access at all to buying, collecting, and saving of NORMAL seeds.
Read article by Linn Cohen-Cole on the Surviving the Middle Class Crash website

February 1, 2009

US expert calls for ban on genetically modified food items
An American expert on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) has sought an immediate ban on GMOs as he has claimed that there was now irrefutable and overwhelming evidence found that GMOs are dangerous threats to human health.
Read article at webindia123.com

January 30, 2009

Govt halts marketing of genetically modified food crop
New Delhi: With new scientific studies now finding genetically modified foods not fully safe for human consumption, the government has put a 'temporary halt' on the commercialisation of BT brinjal, the move prompted by the Supreme Court’s special representative at the Centre’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee.
Read article on the IBN Live website (India)

January 30, 2009

Hungary to defy European Commission call to scrap ban on GMO crops
Hungary will keep its ban on GMO (genetically modified organisms) maize imports and the planting of GMO seeds, Agriculture Ministry undersecretary Zoltán Gőgös announced. The European Commission recently called on Hungary to entirely lift its GMO ban.
Read article at realdeal.hu (Hungary)

January 5, 2009

Killing the seed?
Amidst a widely split opinion, Greenpeace has urged Chief Minister Karunanidhi to ban genetically modified (GM) crops in the state as it claims that the crops will have wide ranging side effects that include infertility. With many of those in the science fraternity up in arms against genetically modified food being introduced into the market, eminent fertility experts in the city assert that GM crops should be banned as it could affect the immune system and cause liver failure and infertility.
Read article in The Times of India