Up to date news and comment about GMO issues.
December 25, 2010
Legal action considered over GM contamination
Western Australia's organic farming community is rallying behind a grower whose property has been contaminated by genetically modified crops. Stephen Marsh has received confirmation that about 70 per cent of his Kojonup farm has been contaminated by GM canola. He says he is not sure whether he'll be able to regain status as an organic grower and is considering legal action. The state president of the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Kim Hack, says Mr Marsh has the support of farmers across the state.
Read article on the ABC News website (Australia)
December 9, 2010
GMO oranges, China, and the loss of another piece of America’s agricultural base
America’s oranges are now in the crosshairs of a genetic modification juggernaut that is sweeping this country and leaving in its wake a swath of destruction so wide and so utterly decimating that recovery seems a distant dream. The genetic modification of corn and soy has succeeded in infiltrating nearly every processed food in America, with wheat and alfalfa soon to be next. Now it’s oranges. But why?
Read article at farmwars.info
December 1, 2010
Judge Orders Destruction of Genetically Modified Beets
A federal judge ordered the destruction last night of a batch of genetically modified sugar beets that he said had been planted illegally with the approval of the Agriculture Department.
Read article in the New York Times (USA)
November 25, 2010
German legal victory a slap in the face to the genetic engineering industry
The genetic engineering (GE) free movement in Germany and all farmers, producers and consumers who don’t want GE on the fields and in the food have a big reason to celebrate!. The Federal Constitutional Court in Germany reaffirmed that the existing German GE law that handles the marketing and cultivation of GMOs in Germany is in line with their constitution. The Court also acknowledged the unknown long-term risks of GMOs.
Read article at greenpeace.org
November 16, 2010
Consumers reject GM food
EU Consumers are still overwhelmingly opposed to GM food, new research published by the European Commission shows. In a Europe-wide survey, 61 per cent of respondents said the development of GM food should not be encouraged, while only 23 per cent supported for the technology. The survey reveals an ‘overall suspicion of GM foods amongst the European public’ and showed that EU citizens do not see benefits of it and consider it to be ‘probably unsafe or even harmful’. They doubt its economic benefits and believe GM food harms the environment.
Read article at farmersguardian.com
November 12, 2010
Pressure for more retailers to use ‘reared without GM’ labels
European supermarkets are coming under NGO pressure to label produce from animals reared on non-GMO feed, following a move from Carrefour.
Read article at foodnavigator.com
November 11, 2010
GM mosquito wild release takes campaigners by surprise
Experts in the safety of genetically modified (GM) organisms have expressed concern over the release of GM mosquitoes into the wild on the Cayman Islands, which was publicised internationally only last month — a year after their initial release. The trial of the OX513A strain of the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito, developed by UK biotechnology company Oxitec, was carried out on Grand Cayman island by the Cayman Islands' Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) in 2009, followed by a bigger release between May and October this year. Together they represent the first known release of GM mosquitoes anywhere in the world.
Read article at scidev.net
November 9, 2010
War Over Monsanto Gets Ugly
A delegation of politicians and community activists gathered on August 7 in La Leonesa, a small farm town in Argentina, to hear Dr. Andres Carrasco speak about a study linking a popular herbicide to birth defects in Argentina's agricultural areas. But the presentation never happened. A mob of about 100 people attacked the delegation before they could reach the local school where the talk was to be held. Dr. Carrasco and a colleague locked themselves in a car as the mob yelled threats and beat on the vehicle for two hours. One delegate was hit in the spine and has since suffered lower-body paralysis. Another person was treated for blows to the head. A former provincial human rights official was hit in the face and knocked unconscious. Witnesses said the angry crowd had ties to local officials and agribusiness bosses, and police made little effort to stop the violence, according to human rights group Amnesty International.
Read article at truth-out.org
November 2, 2010
India Uprising against GM Crops
Indian farmers have been mobilizing to protest the introduction of genetically modified crops into India and what they see as a takeover of Indian agriculture by Monsanto and other multinational biotech giants. The protesters say the crops are disrupting the domestic seed market and reducing income for all farmers.
Read article on the EIN News website
October 27, 2010
Newly Disclosed Government Documents Conclude GE Salmon Pose A Critical Threat To Marine Environments
Adding a new twist to the controversy over genetically engineered (GE) salmon, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) revealed today that, in recent hearings on transgenic fish, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) knowingly withheld a Federal Biological Opinion by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) prohibiting the use of transgenic salmon in open-water net pens pursuant to the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). “This adds further evidence that in fact GE salmon pose a serious threat to marine environments and is another compelling reason for the FDA not to approve the fish for commercial use,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety.
Read article at ge-fish.org
October 8, 2010
What a scientist didn't tell the New York Times about his study on bee deaths
A cheer must have gone up at Bayer on Thursday when a front-page New York Times article, under the headline "Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery," described how a newly released study pinpoints a different cause for the die-off: "a fungus tag-teaming with a virus." The study, written in collaboration with Army scientists at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center outside Baltimore, analyzed the proteins of afflicted bees using a new Army software system. The Bayer pesticides, however, go unmentioned. What the Times article did not explore -- nor did the study disclose -- was the relationship between the study's lead author, Montana bee researcher Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk, and Bayer Crop Science. In recent years Bromenshenk has received a significant research grant from Bayer to study bee pollination. Indeed, before receiving the Bayer funding, Bromenshenk was lined up on the opposite side: He had signed on to serve as an expert witness for beekeepers who brought a class-action lawsuit against Bayer in 2003. He then dropped out and received the grant.
Read article at cnn.com
October 7, 2010
Revealed: how seed market is controlled by Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow & DuPont
Graphic illustrates how just five biotech giants have increased their control of the global seed market, promoting monoculture farming and making it harder for farmers to find alternative sources of seeds. Since the mid-1990s just five biotech giants - Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow and DuPont - have bought up more than 200 other companies between them to dominate our access to seeds.
Philip Howard from Michigan State university, who has produced a unique visual to illustrate this growing concentration of power in the hands of a few companies, says the takeover of the seed market has been 'dramatic' and that it is getting harder for farmers to find alternatives. In the US for example, where 90 per cent of the soybeans grown are genetically-modified varieties, many conventional farmers have had difficulty obtaining non-genetically modified seeds to plant.
Read article in The Ecologist (UK)
October 6, 2010
Argentina's Roundup Human Tragedy
Ten years of GM soy and glyphosate poisoning have escalated the rates of cancer and birth defects
Argentina has become a giant experiment in farming genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready (RR) soy, engineered to be tolerant to Roundup, Monsanto’s formulation of the herbicide glyphosate. The Argentine government, eager to pull the country out of a deep economic recession in the 1990s, restructured its economy around GM soy grown for export, most of which goes to feed livestock in Europe. In 2009, GM soy was planted on 19 million hectares - over half of Argentina’s cultivated land - and sprayed with 200 million litres of glyphosate herbicide. Spraying is often carried out from the air, causing problems of drift.
Read article on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)
September 30, 2010
Italy regions push minister for official GM ban
Italy's regional farming heads agreed unanimously on Thursday to urge the agriculture minister to ban cultivation of genetically modified (GM) maize and potatoes, their coordinator on GM policy told Reuters.
Read news report at reuters.com
September 20, 2010
Study finds danger in GM herbicide
Herbicides frequently used in conjunction with genetically modified soya are highly toxic and can cause damage to human health, a summary of scientific studies has claimed. Glyphosate, a chemical found in herbicides commonly used on GM crops, damages human embryonic cells and placental cells when exposed to concentrations below those recommended for agricultural use, according to the study which was published in Brussels last week.
Read article in the Irish Times (Ireland)
September 9, 2010
European Commission snubs MEPs questions about GMOs
Scottish Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe MEP George Lyon has received a response from the European Commissioner John Dalli following his asking three probing questions on GMOs in the European Parliament. He asked the questions in July and his concerns related particularly to the European Commission’s decision to delegate responsibility for decisions on cultivation back to the Member States. This is a matter which has caused much consternation and confusion throughout Europe, and the issue is crying out for clarification. The answer he got typifies the stock ‘politicians non-answers’ provided so frequently when governmental policy is questioned. We should perhaps not be surprised given the apparent determination now, by the EU and some European Member States, to go full steam ahead with GMO approval in Europe.
Read article on the Alliance for Natural Health (Europe) website
September 8, 2010
Genetically Modified China
Multinational biotech companies have a strong presence in China with many GMOs approved for import and processing; and transgene contamination is inevitable.
Read article by Prof. Joe Cummins on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)
August 26, 2010
Monsanto in Gates' Clothing? The Emperor's New GMOs
If you had any doubts about where the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is really placing its bets, AGRA Watch's recent announcement of the Foundation's investment of $23.1 million in 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock should put them to rest. Genetic engineering: full speed ahead. If you are one of those people who believes the axiom that Monsanto is the farmer's friend (and the corollary, that its climate-ready, bio-fortified GMOs can save the world from hunger) you will not be surprised, disappointed, or find any conflict of interest in this investment. But if you are part of the growing population who gets their information about GMOs from scientists who are not beholden to corporate funding, has a problem with anti-trust issues, or is getting queasy about the increasing monopoly power of philanthropy capital... it's time to say the Emperor has no clothes. Under the guise of "sustainability" the Foundation has been spearheading a multi-billion dollar effort to transform Africa into a GMO-friendly continent.
Read article in the Huffington Post (USA)
Comment: The brutal colonialism imposed upon Africa in previous decades has been replaced in recent years by more subtle forms of suppression. In this respect, the intention to open the African seed market to multinational GMO corporations such as Monsanto is but one of many colonialist methodologies being employed. Another is that of pharmaceutical colonialism, whereby pharmaceutical multinationals are using Africa as a testing ground and multi-billion market place for toxic and often deadly drugs. Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, and his Foundation have a long history of making investments in industries such as these, thus placing, as the LA Times has described it, a ‘dark cloud’ over their claims to be performing good works.
August 18, 2010
Genetically Manipulated Crops: The GMO Catastrophe in the USA. A Lesson for the World
Recently the unelected potentates of the EU Commission in Brussels have sought to override what has repeatedly been shown to be the overwhelming opposition of the European Union population to the spread of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in EU agriculture. EU Commission President now has a Maltese accountant as health and enviromnent Commissioner to rubber stamp the adoption of GMO. The former EU Environment Commissioner from Greece was a ferocious GMO opponent. As well, the Chinese government has indicated it may approve a variety of GMO rice. Before things get too far along, they would do well to take a closer look at the world GMO test lab, the USA. There GMO crops are anything but beneficial. Just the opposite.
Read article by F. William Engdahl on the Centre for Research for Globalization website (Canada)
Comment: As Engdahl’s article describes, years of constant application of patented glyphosate herbicides has resulted in new herbicide-resistant “super-weeds.” These new weeds are apparently so robust that harvester combines are unable to harvest the fields and hand tools break trying to cut them down. One variety, palmer pigweed, can reportedly grow up to 2.4 meters high and withstand severe heat and prolonged droughts. This is the grim reality behind patented GM crops that government agencies and their friends in the multi-billion dollar biotech industry are desperately trying to cover up.
August 16, 2010
Court blocks planting of GM sugar beets pending assessment
A federal judge ruled on Friday that genetically modified (GM) sugar beets should not be planted or processed until the US Department of Agriculture has carried out a thorough assessment of their impact on other crops.
Read article at foodnavigator-usa.com
August 14, 2010
Anniversary of a whistleblowing hero
Twelve years ago, a 150-second TV broadcast changed our world; everyone everywhere owes a debt of gratitude to the man whose life it turned upside down—in his effort to protect ours. On August 10, 1998, eminent scientist Dr. Arpad Pusztai (pronounced Poos-tie) dared to speak the truth.
Read article at newswithviews.com
Comment: Pusztai had previously been an enthusiastic supporter of GM foods. But to his surprise, his experiments showed that GM foods were inherently dangerous. However, when he relayed his concerns during a short television interview in the UK, his career was squashed at the behest of shadowy forces in the GM industry and the British government. To visit his website, click here. To read a revealing interview with him that was published in the UK’s Guardian newspaper in 2008, click here.
August 6, 2010
GM crop escapes into the American wild
Transgenic canola found growing freely in North Dakota.
A genetically modified (GM) crop has been found thriving in the wild for the first time in the United States. Transgenic canola is growing freely in parts of North Dakota, researchers told the Ecological Society of America conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, today. The scientists behind the discovery say this highlights a lack of proper monitoring and control of GM crops in the United States.
Read article at nature.com
Comment: Contrary to claims that GM crops would not survive or thrive in the wild, the US researchers found that transgenes were present in 80% of the wild canola plants examined. Moreover, they found herbicide-resistant canola growing in roadsides, waste places, ball parks, grocery stores, gas stations and cemeteries, often at large distances from areas of agricultural production. In some places, the BBC reports that the plants were packed as closely together as they are in farmers' fields.
July 30, 2010
EC approves six GM corn varieties for food and feed
The European Commission authorized six genetically modified (GM) maize varieties for food and feed use on Wednesday after member states failed to return majority decisions for or against on three occasions.
Read article at foodnavigator.com
July 14, 2010
Bayer Loses Fifth Straight Trial Over U.S Rice Crops
Bayer AG lost its fifth straight trial over contaminated U.S. long-grain rice to a Louisiana farmer who claimed the company’s carelessness with its genetically engineered seed caused exports to plunge. A jury in St. Louis said today the company should pay damages of $500,248. The company previously lost two trials in state court and two in federal, for a total of more than $52 million in jury awards. It faces about 500 additional lawsuits in federal and state courts with claims by 6,600 plaintiffs.
Read article at businessweek.com
July 8, 2010
European Commission proposals to ban GM crops: an empty and dangerous deal
New plans could open Europe’s fields to GM crops
New proposals due to be introduced in the coming days that are supposed to allow European countries more autonomy over the decision to ban genetically modified (GM) crops form an empty and potentially dangerous deal for member states, according to Friends of the Earth Europe. A new legal analysis of the proposals concluded that they were deeply flawed, legally and politically. Member states are being offered no additional powers to ban GM crops on health, environment and contamination impacts, despite these being the most serious and legally reliable grounds. Instead, only additional ethical grounds are offered, which are legally intangible, subjective and easily overturned in court.
In exchange for this empty offer to decide about the cultivation of GM crops on their territories the Commission is asking member states to relax opposition to future GMO applications for cultivation – fast tracking GMO approvals. Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “This is an empty deal that could open up Europe’s fields to unwanted and risky GM crops. Any country wanting to ban GM crops under these proposals will open themselves up to legal challenges from the biotech corporations who want to force GM crops into Europe.”
Read article on the Friends of the Earth Europe website
July 7, 2010
EU votes against compulsory GM food labelling
Campaigners angry at EU's decision to keep consumers 'in the dark' over food from animals given genetically modified (GM) feed
Consumers will continue to be none the wiser about whether they are eating food from animals raised on genetically-modified feed after MEPs voted against introducing a compulsory label rule. There is currently no requirement on the food industry to label meat or dairy products produced using GM animal feed, usually made from GM soya or maize. However, campaigners have argued that consumers should be given a choice about whether or not to buy such produce.
A recent poll commissioned by Friends of the Earth found that less than 40 per cent of the public was aware that GM was creeping onto their plates via imported GM cereals and protein crops fed to livestock in the UK. Almost 90 per cent of those surveyed wanted these products to be clearly labelled.
Read article in The Ecologist (UK)
July 7, 2010
GM-Spin Meltdown in China
Bt cotton in China is often cited as an example of a successful GM crop. In fact, its widespread use has merely replaced the cotton borer with a serious pest that not only attacks cotton but also many other crops.
Read article by Prof. Peter Saunders on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)
June 22, 2010
Supreme Court Kicks Critical Genetically Modified Alfalfa Issue Down The Road
A high-profile legal battle over genetically modified crops continues. The US Supreme Court in a 7-1 decision yesterday (June 21) did not accept a lower court’s total nationwide ban on GM alfalfa. But it did agree that the seeds could be dangerous and did not allow Monsanto to proceed with selling them. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) must now complete a study examining whether the seeds will harm the environment before approving them for restricted planting, a process that could go into next year, and which could lead to more litigation.
Read article on the Alliance for Natural Health - USA website
June 16, 2010
Bulgaria Moves to Protect Children from GMO
A ban of all genetically modified products and ingredients for preparation of children foods in Bulgaria has been proposed Wednesday in an amendment in the Bulgarian Food Act. The amendment, proposed by Desislava Taneva, chair of the Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Forests, from the ruling party GERB and two other MPs from the right-wing “Blue Coalition”, stipulates a full ban on the distribution and sale of food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) in child care centers, kindergartens, schools and the adjacent commercial outlets (100 m in range).
Read article on the website of the Sofia News Agency (Bulgaria)
June 15, 2010
Two-thirds of Brits poll against GM
Two-thirds of people in the UK want GM crops to be kept out of the food chain, a new survey reveals today (Tuesday, 15 June 2010).
Read Friends of the Earth and GM Freeze press release at oneworld.net
June 11, 2010
EU governments wary of GM crop overhaul plans
France said on Friday it would not support draft proposals to allow European Union governments to grow or ban genetically modified (GM) crops before a complete review of the bloc's GM approval system. The EU's executive, the European Commission, argues that giving member states the option of banning GM cultivation will remove their current opposition to approving new varieties, and plans in July to table proposals seen by Reuters. But France's Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said the proposals did not address the demand for a complete review of the bloc's assessment system for GM crops, made by all 27 EU nations in December 2008.
Read article at forexpros.com
June 9, 2010
Warning over UK's first GM potatoes as ministers back 'Frankenstein food' trial in Norfolk
The first British field trial of genetically modified potatoes was planted yesterday - in defiance of public opinion and complaints from green campaigners. The test, funded by the taxpayer, is designed to create a crop resistant to a serious disease called late blight. But critics argue the experiment is a waste of public money because blight-resistant potatoes produced through natural techniques already exist. They also say the GM crops could be a risk to food safety.
Read article in the Daily Mail (UK)
June 8, 2010
UK: Food Standards Agency on Hot Seat over GMOs
Two members of the United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency steering group on genetically modified foods (GM foods, or GMOs) recently resigned from the group in protest over language inserted into a report from the agency strengthening the case for the growth of GMO crops and sales of GMOs in the UK. According to The Observer, emails between members of the Food Standards Agency group and the Agricultural Biotechnology Council, which represents such businesses as Bayer and Monsanto, show the council inserted key sentences strengthening the case for GMOs that ended up in the final report, "Food Standards Agency work on changes in the market and the GM regulatory system."
Read article on the Food Safety News website (USA)
June 7, 2010
Genetically modified corn contaminates crops in seven German states
A Greenpeace report says seven German states have had seed supplies contaminated by genetically modified corn. Losses for farmers could be in the millions of euros. Despite a Europe-wide ban, genetically modified corn has contaminated crops in seven German states, according to research from the environmental organization Greenpeace. The seeds were supplied by the firm Pioneer Hi-Bred, based in the town of Buxtehude outside Hamburg, in Lower Saxony.
Read article on the Deutsche Welle website (Germany)
June 6, 2010
GM lobby helped draw up crucial report on Britain's food supplies
Email trail shows how biotech group helped watchdog to draw up analysis of GM crops ... and prompted two advisers to quit
A powerful lobbying organisation representing agribusiness interests helped draft a key government report that has been attacked by environmentalists for heavily favouring the arguments of the genetically modified food industry. The revelation comes after the resignation of two government advisers who have criticised the close relationship between the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the body that oversees the UK's food industry, and the GM lobby. Emails between the FSA and the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC) show the council inserted key sentences strengthening the case for GM food that ended up in the final report.
Read article in The Observer (UK)
June 4, 2010
Europe to change rules on growing genetically modified crops
Friends of the Earth Europe calls for an immediate moratorium
New proposals that would allow European countries to ban genetically modified (GM) crops are cautiously welcomed by Friends of the Earth Europe. However, to ensure GM-free food and farming, the proposals from the European Commission must be strengthened to prevent cross-contamination and ensure the biotech industry pays for any damage resulting from GM cultivation. The European Commission has, in the past days, started formal internal procedures to change European laws for growing GM crops. An earlier impact assessment concluded that the proposals would lead to a “negative impact for non-GM farmers”. Adrian Bebb, food and agriculture campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “This is a welcome opportunity for countries in Europe to ban genetically modified crops but it could open the door for pro-GM member states to cultivate GM crops. The public and environment will only be protected if the proposal is backed up by Europe-wide measures to prevent our food and feed from being contaminated. Until safeguards are in place we need an immediate ban on growing genetically modified crops.”
Read press release on the Friends of the Earth Europe website
May 28, 2010
GeneWatch Director resigns in protest over UK government ‘pro-GM’ stand
FSA GM dialogue process a ‘PR exercise on behalf of the GM industry’
On 26th May, Dr Helen Wallace, the Director of GeneWatch UK, resigned her membership of the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) Steering Group for the GM dialogue, with immediate effect. In a public letter of resignation to John Curtice, the Chair of the Steering Group, she declared that it had become clear to her that the purpose of the FSA process was nothing more than a PR exercise on behalf of the GM industry. She also believes that the process would be a significant waste of £500,000 of taxpayers money.
Read article on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) Europe
May 26, 2010
Glyphosate Tolerant Crops Bring Diseases and Death
New research reveals disastrous ecological impacts of the world’s top herbicide and GM crops made tolerant to it.
Read report by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Brett Cherry on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)
May 19, 2010
Scientists Reveal Glyphosate Poisons Crops and Soil
GM Meltdown Continues
Scientists go public on devastating ecological impacts of Roundup Ready cropping systems while USDA keeps mum.
Read report by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)
May 14, 2010
SA 'dumps GM maize around Africa'
Johannesburg - South Africa has dumped genetically modified (GM) maize on African markets, the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) alleged on Friday. "In the last four months, South Africa has dumped almost 300 000 metric tons of GM maize on to Kenya, Mozambique and Swaziland," it said in a statement. This was revealed in its study, "Good neighbour? South Africa forcing GM maize onto African markets and policy makers", ACB said.
Read article at news24.com (South Africa)
Comment: To download the African Centre for Biosafety study, click here.
May 13, 2010
Companies Put Restrictions On Research into GM Crops
A battle is quietly being waged between the industry that produces genetically modified seeds and scientists trying to investigate the environmental impacts of engineered crops. Although companies such as Monsanto have recently given ground, researchers say these firms are still loath to allow independent analyses of their patented — and profitable — seeds.
Read article by Bruce Stutz on the Yale Environment 360 website (USA)
May 10, 2010
EU’s Pro-Industry GMO Regulators Endanger Public Health Petition for Independent Science in GMO Risk Assessment
EU watchdog attempts to undermine already lax regulations to speed up commercial approval of risky GM products
The European Commission (EC) is pandering to the commercial aspirations of the biotech corporations while putting the health of European citizens at risk from genetically modified (GM) products that have never been adequately assessed, said Dr. Brian John of GM-Free Cymru in the UK.
Read press release by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)
April 26, 2010
Defend Gilles-Eric Séralini and Transparency in GMO Risk Assessment!
Gilles-Eric Séralini, professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen in France, and president of the scientific council for independent research on genetic engineering, is among the world’s leading researchers into the risks of GMOs. He has been an expert adviser to the French government and the European Union at the World Trade Organization and the Council of Ministers on GMOs, and recipient of the Order of Merit of France for his scientific career. The work of his research team appears regularly in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is highly regarded within the scientific community. His critique of the dossier submitted by Monsanto’s subsidiary in India for commercial growing of ‘Bt Brinjal’ (GM egg plant) played an important part in persuading the Indian Environment Minister to impose a moratorium Bt Brinjal Halted. Séralini and his colleagues recently performed a thorough re-analysis of data submitted by Monsanto to obtain commercial approval in Europe for three GM maize lines, MON 863, MON 810, NK603. They concluded that “these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.”
Read report by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Peter Saunders on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)
April 20, 2010
Governments using flawed food production data to justify GM expansion
Governments and pro-agribusiness groups are using flawed data on food production requirements to push for an expansion of GM food crops, claims a new report from the Soil Association.
Read article in Natural Products Magazine (UK)
April 19, 2010
Bt Brinjal Halted
But fight against GM neo-colonialism continues
In a dramatic move, India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh halted the commercial cultivation of ‘Bt brinjal’, the world's first genetically modified (GM) eggplant with insecticidal toxin protein from the soil bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). Bt brinjal is intended to target the shoot and fruit borer insect pest of the crop. The Minister made his announcement on 9 February 2010 after a series of public hearings in seven states and a consultation process with scientists, agricultural experts, farmers’ organizations, consumer groups, and non-governmental organizations. He said: “It is my duty to adopt a cautious, precautionary, principle-based approach... till such time as independent scientific studies establish to the satisfaction of both the public and professionals the safety of the product."
Read report by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)
April 16, 2010
Russia says genetically modified foods are harmful
Russia has started the annual Days of Defence against Environmental Hazards from the 15th of April to the 5th of June with the announcement of sensational results of an independent work of research. Scientists have proved that Genetically Modified Organisms are harmful for mammals. The researchers discovered that animals that eat GM foodstuffs lose their ability to reproduce.
Read article on the Voice of Russia website
April 13, 2010
Farmers Who Plant Biotech Crops Grow Pesticide-Resistant Weeds
WASHINGTON, DC. (ENS) - Weeds are developing resistance to the herbicide that genetically engineered crops are designed to tolerate, finds the first major assessment of how biotech crops are affecting all U.S. farmers, released today by the National Research Council. Since genetically engineered crops were introduced in 1996, at least nine species of weeds in the United States have evolved resistance to glyphosate, a main component in Roundup and other commercial weed killers, according to the report.
Read article on the website of the Environment News Service (ENS) (USA)
Comment: To access the full report, entitled "Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States," click here.
April 12, 2010
SmartStax Maize a Medley of Transgenes with Problems
No case for releasing a poorly characterized GM crop with a medley of transgenes for which detrimental effects have been indicated in the limited cases where feeding trials have been carried out
SmartStax is a genetically modified (GM) maize that has eight GM traits combined or ‘stacked’ together, six for insect resistance (Bt) and two for herbicide tolerance. Current stacked GM trait crops on the market only have up to three traits each. SmartStax was created through collaboration between Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, allowing the two corporations to share GM traits. The traits are combined together using crosses between existing transgenic corn lines rather than using genetic transformation of a single maize strain. USDA/APHIS (United States Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) the usual regulator of GM crops approved the crops without an approval process, because the transgenic traits had been granted unregulated status previously, and those traits were combined using conventional breeding. Nevertheless, USEPA (United States Environment Protection Agency) were obligated to regulate the stacked crop varieties containing plant-incorporated protectants (PIPS). EPA invited public comment prior to registration of stacked varieties of corn but they approved SmartStax corn without allowing public comment prior to its registration.
Read report by Prof. Joe Cummins on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)
April 7, 2010
US Farmers Oppose ‘Big Ag’ in Anti-Trust Hearing
Will farmers get justice at last from years of victimisation from big agribusiness peddling genetically engineered crops?
After years of suffering what amounts to “corporate feudalism” at the hands of agbiotech giants like Monsanto, farmers are now fighting back as the US government launches an unprecedented anti-trust enquiry.
Read article by Dr. Eva Novotny on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)
March 24, 2010
Betrayal over GM food in Brussels
European Commissioner's John Dalli's decision to approve the cultivation of genetically-modified potatoes in Europe has provoked a widespread reaction of dismay, anger and disappointment. Large trans-national corporations are money driven and owe their loyalty to their financial turnover. Any cursory knowledge of the way they operate betrays their crass disregard for social or environmental interests. To put it mildly, ethics is not their forte.
Read article in the Times of Malta
March 22, 2010
Anti GMO demonstration outside the Polish Parliament
On the afternoon of March 17, ICPPC (International Coalition to protect the Polish countryside) and the Coalition for a GMO Free Poland staged an anti GMO demonstration outside the Polish Parliament. At the demonstration, people were dressed in dark hooded cloaks and stood in a line, reading short excerpts from books exposing the truth behind GMO. In the background Gorale - mountain farmers - sang an anti GMO adaptation of the resistance song "We Shall Not Be Moved" while demonstrators displayed their “No to GMO“ banners and bee keepers lit their smoke guns and donned their overalls. The TV crews rolled their film. The GMO Act which the government was threatening to introduce has not made it to the statute books, after overwhelming opposition halted it. Instead, the government has convened another committee to try to work out some kind of resolution to the state of impasse. This represents a temporary victory.
Read article at organic-market.info
March 20, 2010
Colonialism lives in biotech seed proposal for Africa
Bill Gates and the biotech juggernauts are doing their best to keep Africa dependent on imported technology, just like in the bad old days of colonialism. Gates, Monsanto and Pioneer have joined the long list of those believing they know best how the continent should grow its food. If the history of colonialism and subsequent development practice have taught us anything, it is that all interventions must strengthen resilience, encourage diversity and be locally appropriate. The biotech seed proposal for Africa fails on all three counts.
Read article in the Des Moines Register (Iowa/USA)
Comment: The brutal colonialism of previous decades has been replaced in Africa by more subtle forms of suppression, including the biotech seed proposal. Another example of modern-day colonialism, and arguably the most deadly of all, is that of pharmaceutical colonialism. Under the mask of a “Mother Theresa”, pharmaceutical multinationals are using the developing world as a testing ground and multi-billion market place for toxic and often deadly drugs. To learn more, click here.
March 19, 2010
Bulgaria approves law to ban GMO crops
Bulgaria's parliament voted on Thursday (18 March) to tighten a law that effectively banned cultivation of genetically-modified (GM) crops for scientific and commercial reasons in response to public fears.
Read article at euractiv.com
March 18, 2010
Bolivia Challenges Patentability of Life Forms
Bolivia has challenged, during the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations of the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the prevailing philosophy of the patentability of life forms.
Read article at laleva.org (Italy)
March 16, 2010
Eli Lilly's Desperate, Deceptive Campaign to Boost Bovine Growth Hormone
With sales and public perception of bovine growth hormone dropping fast in the U.S., it’s not easy to find reputable scientific organizations willing to endorse such a controversial genetically modified additive. So, in a shameless and desperate maneuver, Eli Lilly decided to make some up.
Read article at bnet.com
March 12, 2010
The GM war in Europe starts here
Brussels bureaucrats want to spread GM crops throughout Europe, against the will of most of its people, says Geoffrey Lean.
Not just a spud, this is likely to prove a very hot political potato indeed. It is living, knobbly proof of the determination of Brussels bureaucrats to spread GM crops throughout Europe, against the will of most of its people. In a little-noticed move last week, the European Commission defied most of the governments to which it is supposed to answer to give the green light to growing a modified potato across the continent. It was the first time a GM crop had been authorised for cultivation in 13 years. But, now the long moratorium has been broken, similar approvals for others are expected rapidly to follow. The decision has its origins in a couple of secret, top-level meetings called by Jose Manuel Barroso, the Commission's strongly pro-GM president. He invited the prime ministers of each of the 27 EU member states to send a personal representative along to discuss how to "speed up" the spread of the technology and "deal with" public opposition.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)
March 9, 2010
EU commission under fire over GM potato
A row has flared in parliament following the commission's decision to allow a genetically modified potato to be grown in some EU countries. This month's decision comes after a 13-year campaign by the German chemical company BASF. But commission president José Manuel Barroso was jeered when he sought to defend the move during a lively parliamentary Q&A session in Strasbourg on Tuesday. MEPs, some of whom held up posters which read "For a GMO-free Europe", said the commission had "failed to follow proper parliamentary procedure" by not consulting the assembly before reaching its decision.
Read article at theparliament.com
March 6, 2010
Bt cotton ineffective against pest in parts of Gujarat, admits Monsanto
NEW DELHI: For the first time anywhere in the world, biotech agriculture giant Monsanto has admitted that insects have developed resistance to its Bt cotton crop. Field monitoring in parts of Gujarat has discovered that the Bt crop is no longer effective against the pink bollworm pest there. The company is advocating that Indian farmers switch to its second-generation product to delay resistance further. Monsanto's critics say that this just proves the ineffectiveness of the Bt technology, which was recently sought to be introduced in India in Bt brinjal as well.
Read article in The Hindu (India)
March 3, 2010
Glyphosate Resistance in Weeds
The Transgenic Treadmill
Glyphosate resistant weeds may spell the end of patented herbicide tolerant crops, but can farmers exit the transgenic treadmill that’s very profitable for Monsanto?
Read article by Prof. Joe Cummins on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)
March 2, 2010
Against the will of citizens and farmers, and overriding the sovereignty of Member States, the EU authorizes a GM potato
The EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer policy John Dalli has approved the cultivation of the genetically modified 'Amflora' potato, produced by the German multinational BASF. The potato, modified to contain a higher percentage of starch, marks a step backwards in the approach adopted since 1998 by the EU, driven first and foremost by the precautionary principle. Commissioner Dalli has authorized the cultivation of the potato despite the fact that numerous environmental organizations have voiced concerns, that European citizens and farmers have come out on several occasions against GMOs and that the potato in question has a characteristic —resistance to an antibiotic— in direct violation of EU Directive 2001/18.
Read article on the website of the Slow Food organization
March 2, 2010
Farmers, exporters warn GM animals could damage 'brand New Zealand'
Organic farmers fear "brand New Zealand" will be damaged if plans proceed to expand the range of genetically modified animals. Farmers and exporters told a panel deciding whether to allow Agresearch to put human genes into goats, sheep and cows that overseas customers might stop buying New Zealand products if there were further trials.
Read article in the New Zealand Herald
February 23, 2010
Formal Protest from Scientists: Commission Regulation on Implementing Rules for GM applications and assessments
Dear Professor Buzek, We write to you as a group of concerned European scientists. Purely by chance, we have found a new Draft EC Regulation on the WTO web site, and we respectfully ask you (a) to take this as a formal protest relating to the content of that regulation, and (b) to bring this protest to the attention of the full Parliament at the earliest opportunity.
Read letter signed by 13 scientists on the gmfreecymru.org website (Wales/UK)
Comment: The numerous serious concerns outlined in these scientists’ letter to the President of the European parliament include: a noticeable lessening of vigilance on GM safety issues; the watering down of regulatory requirements for animal testing and toxicology studies; a lack of clarity about the safety testing regime that should be employed with respect to new GM varieties; no requirement that antibiotic resistance marker genes should be removed after initial plant breeding; no requirement for information on the donor organism, its safety, health effects or allergenicity; no independent involvement or verification of safety studies; no requirement for applicants to release or reveal test data for peer group or public review; unjustified assumptions about the safety of GM crops and foods; and no requirement for applicants to provide adequate quantities of GM varieties for independent verification or repeats of their safety experiments and feeding trials. Click here to download a copy of the proposed European regulation.
February 19, 2010
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 9, 2010
Opposition to GM
India's decision to reject the cultivation of GM aubergines has been welcomed by the Scottish Government. Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said the decision was further evidence of growing concern about the damage GM could inflict on the environment.
Read news release on the Scottish Government website (Scotland/UK)
February 9, 2010
Monsanto 'faked' data for approvals claims its ex-chief
The debate on genetically modified (GM) brinjal variety continues to generate heat. Former managing director of Monsanto India, Tiruvadi Jagadisan, is the latest to join the critics of Bt brinjal, perhaps the first industry insider to do so. Jagadisan, who worked with Monsanto for nearly two decades, including eight years as the managing director of India operations, spoke against the new variety during the public consultation held in Bangalore on Saturday. On Monday, he elaborated by saying the company "used to fake scientific data" submitted to government regulatory agencies to get commercial approvals for its products in India.
Read article on the India Today website
February 9, 2010
GM Wheat rejected by 233 Consumer, Farmer Groups in 26 Countries
233 consumer and farmer groups in 26 countries have joined the "Definitive Global Rejection of GM Wheat" statement to stop the commercialization of genetically modified (GM) wheat and remind the biotechnology corporation Monsanto that genetically modifying this major crop is not acceptable to farmers or consumers.
Read news release at newswire.ca (Canada)
February 5, 2010
Australians “uncomfortable” with GM food
Australians remain uneasy about eating genetically modified (GM) foods, according to research from Swinburne University. The University’s fifth National Science and Technology Monitor found most people well informed about GM but still very mistrustful of the institutions that commercialise GM foods. “A major target of public mistrust is Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company that owns patents on over 90% of all commercial GM soy, corn, canola and cotton crops that are grown,” Gene Ethics director Bob Phelps asserted.
Read article on the Australian Food News website (Australia)
February 5, 2010
Five-year ban on GM foods proposed in Bulgaria
Following the wave of protests against a bill of amendments that would allow genetically-modified organisms (GMO) to be grown in Bulgaria, the country's ruling party will now propose a five-year ban on all genetically-modified cultures in the country, it emerged on February 5 2010. The ban would affect all crops and the entire country, Environment Minister Nona Karadjova said.
Read article in the Sofia Echo (Bulgaria)
February 1, 2010
Russia to tighten labeling requirements for GMO food products
Russian food producers will be required to label their products with "This product contains GMOs" inscription, according to Russian media reports. Such proposal has recently been introduced by some members of the Russian Parliament. According to the bill, the size of inscription must be at least 20% of the advertising space of the package. Many of the Russian officials believe that the absence of such information confuses the Russian consumer and violates the right of consumers to receive truthful information about the products they use.
Read article at foodbizdaily.com
January 29, 2010
Biodiversity: EU Farmers Face Genetic Contamination of Seeds
Biodiversity, already decaying fast as a result of climate change and intensive farming, is under further threat by genetic modification (GM) of seeds, says a leading German ecological activist. Genetic modification of seeds is dangerous, "since it is at the beginning of the agricultural chain, and can spread all over," says Benedikt Haerlin, former campaign manager at the environmental organisation Greenpeace and former member of the European Parliament.
Read article at ipsnews.net
January 21, 2010
Close EFSA's open doors to industry!
Joint letter sent by NGOs to alert the EU Commission
Four NGOs, Testbiotech, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO Brussels), Friends of the Earth (FOE Brussels), and Lobbycontrol are now jointly addressing the EU Commission about a scandal involving a leading member of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) who moved directly into the agribusiness company Syngenta. They are calling for a thorough investigation of the circumstances and urging the commission to take immediate action. "So far no appropriate action has been taken by the EFSA", says Christoph Then from Testbiotech. “The Commission must react to this new case of an EU official going through revolving doors. There is a clear conflict with the legitimate interests of the EFSA”. It was recently made public that the former head of the EFSA’s GMO panel, Suzy Renckens, had become Head of Biotech Regulatory Affairs for Europe, Africa and Middle East (EAME) at Syngenta just one month after she quit the EFSA. In her own words, Ms Renckens now lobbies for Syngenta to influence EU decision-making on genetically engineered organisms. This is the very same issue she was responsible for regulating with the EFSA.
Read press release on the GM Watch website
January 20, 2010
Health Scandal - Monsanto's GMO Perversion of Food
In the 2010 growing season Monsanto plans to unleash its latest Frankenfood experiment on the American and Canadian public, a new version of genetically mutated corn with eight abnormal gene traits called Genuity SmartStax corn. It is the culmination of an astonishing scandal that has been steadily building over the past decade.
Read article by Byron J. Richards at newswithviews.com
January 19, 2010
GM crops escalate herbicide arms race
A new report on the spread of herbicide resistant weeds in the world calls upon farmers to take the lead in dealing with the problem if scientists and governments fail to do so. Without such action GM herbicide tolerant crops will cause an explosion of herbicide resistant weeds. Promises from agri-biotech companies that GM herbicide tolerant crops would make weed control in crops such as soya, maize and cotton easier and cheaper now look hollow. This year the GM industry will again try to use the ISAAA report to paper over the cracks and paint GM as a success in world agriculture. This research shows exactly how much more costly HT crops are becoming over time as serious problems spread.
Read article on the GM Watch website
Comment: To read the report, click here.
January 12, 2010
Monsanto's GMO Corn Linked To Organ Failure, Study Reveals
In a study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences, analyzing the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, researchers found that agricultural giant Monsanto's GM corn is linked to organ damage in rats.
Read article in The Huffington Post
Comment: This study examined three varieties of Monsanto's GM corn – Mon 863, insecticide-producing Mon 810, and Roundup herbicide-absorbing NK 603 – all of which were approved for consumption by US, European and several other national food safety authorities. The researchers’ conclusion was that their data strongly recommends “that additional long-term (up to 2 years) animal feeding studies be performed in at least three species, preferably also multi-generational, to provide true scientifically valid data on the acute and chronic toxic effects of GM crops, feed and foods.” They added that their analysis highlights “the kidneys and liver as particularly important on which to focus such research as there was a clear negative impact on the function of these organs in rats consuming GM maize varieties for just 90 days.” To read the study, click here.
January 3, 2010
Call for moratorium on GM food
Noted scientist and founder of the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, P.M. Bhargava, has called for a moratorium of at least eight years on genetically modified (GM) food products in India. Inaugurating a national seminar on Bt. Brinjal and Alternatives in Agriculture at the Mararikulam Brinjal Festival here on Saturday, Dr. Bhargava said the moratorium period should be used to set up an independent laboratory in the public sector exclusively for risk assessment of GM products.
Read article in The Hindu (India)