Up to date news and comment about GMO issues.
Genetic Engineering and the GMO Industry: Corporate Hijacking of Food and Agriculture
December 30, 2012
The revolving door between the private sector and government bodies has been well established. Over the past few years in Britain, the media has occasionally shed light on the cosy and highly questionable links between the armaments industry and top people in the Ministry of Defence. In the US, many senior figures from the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) industry, especially Monsanto, have moved with ease to take up positions with the Food and Drug Administration. Author and researcher William F Engdahl writes about a similar influence in Europe, noting the links between the GMO sector within the European Food Safety Authority.
Testbiotech has informed the new Commissioner Tonio Borg about its suspicions that the genetically engineered maize, SmartStax, has been imported into the EU for years without legal authorisation. It is a joint Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences product, which produces six insecticidal proteins and is tolerant to two herbicides. SmartStax was assessed by the European Food Safety Authority EFSA in 2010, but the results of the assessment were controversial and the maize was not authorised.
Because of the power vested in the EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium, with command over a space encompassing 27 nations with more than 500 million citizens and the largest nominal world gross domestic product (GDP) of 18 trillion US dollars, it’s perhaps no surprise in this era of moral promiscuity that powerful private lobby groups such as the tobacco industry, the drug lobby, the agribusiness lobby and countless others spend enormous sums of money and other favors—legal and sometimes illegal—to influence policy decisions of the EU Commission. This revolving door of corrupt ties between powerful private industry lobby groups and the EU Commission was in full view recently with the ruling of the European Food Safety Administration (EFSA) trying to discredit serious scientific tests about the deadly effects of a variety of Monsanto GMO corn.
Could Monsanto's glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup be leading to the overgrowth of deadly bacteria in animals and humans consuming genetically-modified food contaminated with it?
Center for Food Safety, Save Our Seeds File Supreme Court Brief Testing Monsanto Attack on Farmer for Seed-Saving
December 10, 2012
Today, Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Save our Seeds (SOS)—two organizations dedicated to promoting safe, sustainable food and farming systems—challenged the agrochemical giant Monsanto and its restrictive “seed saving” policies via a “friend of the court” brief filed in the forthcoming U.S. Supreme Court case, Bowman v. Monsanto. The case involves Monsanto’s prosecution of 75-year-old Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman for alleged patent infringement because he saved and replanted his soybean seeds rather than purchasing new seeds for planting. Today’s filing lays out a legal framework for why the Supreme Court should safeguard seeds as a public good, confirming the right of Bowman and all farmers to save seeds.
China has sacked three officials for testing genetically modified rice on children as part of a Sino-U.S. research project, state media said on Thursday.
Poland was forced to pass a controversial bill into law admitting GMO on account of EU regulations, PM Donald Tusk told reporters on Friday, commenting on the public outcry against the new bill.
DuPont Co., the world’s second- biggest seed company, is sending dozens of former police officers across North America to prevent a practice generations of farmers once took for granted.
GeneWatch UK warned today that the GM industry is funding a major push to return GM crops to return GM crops to Britain by promoting misleading claims in parliament that they are needed to "feed the world". George Freeman MP's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture is being used by Monsanto and other GM companies to lobby on behalf of their business interests.
African Civil Society calls on the African Union to ban genetically modified crops
November 25, 2012
An urgent appeal has been made to the African Union (AU) to discuss a ban on the cultivation, import and export of genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa at the next AU summit, to be held in January 2013. An African Civil Society Statement, signed by over 400 African organisations representing small-scale farmers, faith-based organisations, social movements, non-governmental organisations, organic producers, consumers, business people and ordinary citizens, has been sent to the Permanent Representative Council (PRC) of the AU.
After defeating attempts in California to label GM food the industry war chest seems set to be moved to India to defeat parliamentary and Supreme Court curbs on GMOs. Reports say that a "billion-dollar perception battle" over genetically engineered crops has started as opponents clash in the courts, at public forums, in the media and the internet.
Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed healthcare organization in the United States, has advised its members against GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in food.
A new peer-reviewed study has blown away the persistent claims made by agritech corporations that GM crops are beneficial to both the environment and human health by reducing pesticide use.
Could millions of GM insects be released into British crop fields without safety checks?
November 8, 2012
Millions of GM insects developed by British scientists could be released into food crop fields without proper safety checks, it is claimed.
The EC could soon approve glyphosate-resistant GM crops but reports from the US and Argentina show devastating effects include more pesticides and farmers locked into seed contracts.
Are you consuming food made using genetically modified (GM) crops? You probably are, even if you're not aware of it. The Washington-based Environmental Working Group recently conducted an interesting investigation. Using 2011 data provided by the US Department of Agriculture, they estimated that average Americans consume more than their body weight – 193 pounds or about 87.5 kg – in GM food every year.
US family farm advocate group the Cornucopia Institute says that a “deluge of advertisements” paid for mainly by pesticide and biotechnology corporations convinced citizens in California to vote against their own interests when a motion calling for mandatory labelling of GM food products was defeated last week. Proposition 37 would have given consumers in California the right-to-know whether the foods they buy at the grocery store contain genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs).
Gates Foundation should step away from funding genetically modified crops in Africa
November 4, 2012
As California voters consider Prop. 37 to require businesses to label genetically modified food, people should consider that the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding research to develop genetically modified crops around the world instead of more natural products.
GeneWatch UK and GM Freeze today released documents obtained as a result of a Freedom of Information request, which reveal that the GM companies Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and BASF are setting the agenda for UK agricultural research with a view to bringing GM crops into the UK and exporting overseas.
Some famers in the US are now warning their European counterparts not to make the same mistakes that they did by embracing GM crops – write campaigners. Details of a meeting held with British ministers in June show how the biotech industry is working with the United Kingdom government to bring genetically modified crops back into the UK and weaken European regulations. The papers show how the GM industry plans to use non-industry scientists to promote GM in the media and schools using taxpayers' money, so they can get GM crops back into Europe. There are also plans to promote GM crops in Africa.
The biotech industry is doing its best to convince us that GMOs are the key to feeding a hungry world, when all the evidence is that they profit only the companies. Whenever anyone tries to warn of the dangers of GMOs, the industry responds by doing its utmost to discredit the whistle blower and prevent the warning from being heard.
There’s a new genetically modified crop on the horizon that some say is jeopardizing the entire Canadian organic farming industry. Organic farmers across the country are sounding the alarm bells on the state of alfalfa, one small plant with a massive role in organic farming.
California could become the first US state to enforce labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods, in a vote next month pitting agro-chemical giants against opponents of so-called "Frankenfoods."
A report from the August 17 edition of the American Association for the Advance of Science's journal Science titled, "Negative Report on GM Crops Shakes Government's Food Agenda," revealed that an Indian high-profile parliamentary panel, only a week before, recommended that GM crop "field trails under any garb should be discontinued forthwith," and that further GM agricultural research should "only be done under strict containment."
Glyphosate, the most well-known ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, has recently been the focus of an intense debate over whether or not it is dangerous, even carcinogenic, to those exposed to it through food and the environment. Monsanto, the original creator and patent-holder of glyphosate, and of the most famous glyphosate formulation Roundup, has funded research denying the emerging glyphosate-cancer link, but the latest (and only known) long-term feeding study from an industry independent research group out of France indicates that the transgenic material within Roundup-Ready Monsanto corn, as well as Roundup itself, are highly carcinogenic, and should be banned to protect the millions who are already consuming it on a daily basis.
Glyphosate has contaminated land, water, air, and our food supply; the maximum permitted levels are set to rise by 100-150 times in the European Union if Monsanto gets its way as damning evidence of serious harm to health & the environment piles up.
Monsanto was voted the World’s Worst Company in 2011. Some of its most popular products may be linked to cancer, premature death and widespread environmental destruction. Now, it’s partnering with a pharma company to make products designed to interfere with how DNA is processed inside cells. Could this be the tip of a Titanic-sized iceberg with potential serious implications for all animal and plant life on the planet?
‘Biofarms’ to Integrate Vaccines, Pharmaceuticals into GMO ‘Biopharmaceutical’ Crops
October 8, 2012
The truth really is much stranger than fiction, especially when it comes to the open and admitted future plans of major biotechnology companies. One such case involves a biotech company known as ProdiGene, the officials from which actually faced jail time back in 2002 for contaminating the traditional food supply with ‘biopharmaceutical’ crops that were growing pharmaceuticals and vaccine components associated with AIDS, diabetes, and diarrhea.
GM Crops Destroyed by US Drought but non-GM Varieties Flourish
October 9, 2012
The United States is suffering the worst drought in 50 years. But crop damage may well have been avoided if high quality non-GM varieties were available to farmers. Further evidence is emerging that glyphosate-tolerant crops are ill-equipped to deal with drought, while high quality non-GM varieties are flourishing. Monopoly of the seed industry has left farmers unable to get non-GM varieties, despite the drought having global repercussions including steep rises of cereal prices and reduced meat production in many countries.
How GM crops have increased the use of danger pesticides and created superweeds and toxin-resistant insects
October 3, 2012
Planting GM crops has led to an increase rather than a decrease in the use of pesticides in the last 16 years, according to US scientists. The researchers said that the plants have caused superweeds and toxin-resistant insects to emerge, meaning farmers have not only had to use more pesticides on their crops overall, but are also using older and more dangerous chemicals.
A leading figure from the organic sector has warned that parts of the British media are engaged in a conspiracy of silence over GM health risks.
Russian authorities temporary suspended the import and sale of Monsanto’s genetically-modified corn after a French study suggested it may be linked to cancer. The Russia’s consumer-rights regulator Rospotrebnadzor asked scientists at the country’s Institute of Nutrition to review the study.
Gates foundation-led green revolution promotes false solutions to hunger in Africa
September 25, 2012
Donors controlling the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) are representing the interests of biotechnology corporations rather than African small farmers, warns Friends of the Earth International on the eve of the annual AGRA Forum in Tanzania. Multi-million dollar investments from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -a major AGRA donor- into shares in biotech corporations, and revolving doors between donors and these corporations skew the agenda of AGRA in favor of profit-based, corporate-led farming rather than farming that benefits local people and small farmers.
Study on Monsanto's GM maize intensifies concerns about EFSA's reliability – Monsanto strikes back with PR offensive
September 21, 2012
Monsanto launched a PR offensive to try to spread doubt about a study published two days ago by French scientist Gilles-Éric Séralini: the study showed that the biotech giant's flagship herbicide, Roundup, and one the GM maizes produced by the firm, NK603, are having disastrous effects on rats' health when those are studied during their lifetime and not over the industry-favoured 90 days.
French scientists have revealed that rats fed on GMO corn sold by American firm Monsanto, suffered tumors and other complications including kidney and liver damage. When testing the firm’s top brand weed killer the rats showed similar symptoms.
Comment: To download and read this important study, click here.
EU Commission’s draft GMO Regulation: Charter for the GM industry
September 20, 2012
The European Commission is pushing through a new Regulation that fatally weakens the way genetically modified (GM) foods are assessed for safety, according to a new report released today by Earth Open Source. The Commission’s move comes just as shocking new research has revealed that a GM maize already approved in Europe for use in food and feed, and Roundup, the weedkiller used with it, can cause tumours, premature death and organ damage at levels claimed to be safe by EU regulatory authorities.
Live in the European Union (EU)? Think the battle over genetically modified (GM) food is won? Think again. Governments worldwide — including the European Commission, and those of the UK, Holland, Sweden and many other EU Member States — want GM on your plate. And they’re prepared to play dirty.
France will uphold a ban on genetically modified crops as President Francois Hollande pushes his plan to put the environment back at the top of the international agenda. The ban targets corn produced by the multinational conglomerate Monsanto, the maker of the only genetically modified organism currently allowed for cultivation in Europe. Monsanto markets MON 810 maize, under the trade name Yield Guard, as being resistant to insects and other pests that threaten harvests.
Whether you are aware of it or not, your food, air and water are the battle ground upon which a titanic struggle between the multinational biotech corporations Monsanto and Dow AgroScience is now playing out. As a result, your health and environment (and that of all future generations) are at profound risk of irreparable harm. Dow AgroSciences (a subsidiary of Dow Chemicals) recently announced their development of genetically-engineered corn, soybean, and cotton plants metabolically resistant to the herbicide 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), a major ingredient in Agent Orange. What this means for our future is that, if approved for use, vast regions of our country will soon be sprayed with a chemical that has been linked to over 400,000 birth defects in Vietnam.
Scientists have linked the risk of liver failure and death to wheat being genetically modified in Australian tests.
GM Freeze warned farmers that moves by the EC to approve GM animals for commercial use in food are gathering pace and could spark a major consumer backlash if the Commission does not change direction.
When ingesting food that has been genetically modified, you are gambling with your health. The ill effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) - including corn, soybeans, tomatoes and, yes, even potatoes - are well documented but ignored by the powers that be
Though the corporate giant has donated more than $1M to fight GMO labeling, a senior exec says we don’t need modified foods.
Big Agriculture and food companies are shelling out gobs of cash ahead of November's election to convince Californians to vote against a proposed law that would require businesses to label products that contain genetically modified organisms.
In North America, the debate over whether or not to label food products made with genetically modified ingredients is still raging on. Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, decisions are being made. In particular, a court in Sao Paulo has overturned an initiative between food industry trade organizations and the Brazilian government, effectively ordering Nestlé to label any products sold in Brazil that contain more than one percent GMO ingredients.
The European Food Safety Agency 's new draft rules for approving genetically modified insects, fish, farm animals and pets should give farmers, food producers, retailers and consumers pause for thought. Selling fish, meat and milk from GM animals will be controversial but the new draft rules will also allow billions of GM insect eggs and caterpillars to be spread in vegetables and fruit.
The United States of America is not the only place where the people are vocal about not wanting genetically modified food on their plates. Turkey has just joined the ranks of the nations against GM food. Thanks to popular demand from the people, Turkey will be putting a stop to plans to import 29 different genetically modified organisms (GMO).
Recent media coverage of Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, which would permit companies to label foods made with genetically engineered (GE) crops, highlights the gulf between citizens demanding the right to know what's in our food and corporations desperate to keep the public in the dark. According to the California secretary of state, Monsanto and the rest of the pesticide industry's "Big 6" have contributed $13.5 million so far to defeat this initiative, and have put stopping it at the top of their agenda. Add the money from "Big Food" companies and the opposition funding grows to almost $25 million, with an even bigger "gusher" of corporate cash on its way.
After two decades fighting to force U.S. food companies to tell consumers when their products are made with genetically modified organisms, activists in California have mounted what is potentially their most promising offensive to date. In November, voters in the nation's most populous state will decide whether to require labels on food and drinks containing so-called GMOs, or ingredients that come from plants whose DNA has been manipulated by scientists. To fight the initiative, seed giant Monsanto Co, soda and snack seller PepsiCo Inc and other opponents of the labeling measure have put up $25 million already and could raise up to $50 million.
An Indian Parliamentary panel yesterday urged the government to halt all open-field trials of transgenic crops until it develops a better system of monitoring and oversight. The panel also called for a complete overhaul of the regulatory system, saying that it "reflects a pro-industry tilt", and claiming that it is riddled with conflicts of interest.
Complaint against EU authorisation of genetically engineered soybeans with stacked genes
August 9, 2012
Several organisations such as the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) are filing a complaint against a decision of the EU Commission to authorise a new genetically engineered Monsanto soybean.
The news surrounding GMO crops continues to get further and further outlandish as the crops are increasingly mutated and sprayed with a medley of harsh pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. The latest news comes from an unlikely source - an automotive publication known as Autoblog. The website reports that farmers who have opted to plant Monsanto's genetically modified seeds have run into one daunting problem (outside of decreased yields and an extremely higher risk of disease): little 'spear-like' stalks from the harvested GMOs are absolutely wreaking havoc on the heavy duty tractor tires. Described by one farmer as a 'field of little spears', farmers are now turning to kevlar tires. In case you're not aware, kevlar is the same material used in bulletproof vests to protect from gun bullets.
The biotech companies' single biggest barrier to world domination - a form of domination in which the majority of human beings on our planet would be dependent on patented, genetically modified (GM) staple crops - is you! As a result, Monsanto and its competitors are spending millions trying to get you to change your mind. In Europe, where citizen resistance to GM has been the primary reason for the relative lack of GM food crops in the human food chain, the biotech PR machine is in overdrive to get us to accept GM as a necessary evil.
The European Commission (EC) has decided that Europeans are going to eat genetically modified organisms (GMOs) - whether they want to or not. How will it achieve this? Pretend they're the same as conventional crops, and avoid precaution entirely. This madness must be stopped at all costs - and the long-standing resistance of European citizens must be respected.
Ireland, long synonymous with lush green hills and local family farms, is now seeing its agriculturally bucolic reputation flip upside down with the threat of introducing genetically modified (GM) potatoes.
Two weeks ago, while many Americans were focused on early July barbeques and fireworks, the pipeline of genetically engineered crops awaiting USDA approval suddenly swelled to bursting. With public opposition to GE foods and crops growing by leaps and bounds (and Prop 37 - CA's ballot initiative to label GE foods - garnering unprecedented popular support), the Big 6 pesticide corporations are rushing to quickly ram a dozen new GE crops through the pipeline. Nine of them are engineered for use with toxic herbicides.
California could become the first state to require labels on genetically modified, or GMO, food products. Firms on both sides are gearing up for campaigns.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given British scientists a multi-million pound grant to develop GM crops in what could be the most significant PR endorsement for the controversial technology.
Comment: Using an approach becoming known as Philanthrocapitalism that essentially copies a model designed by John D. Rockefeller a century earlier, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s investments have included stockholdings in multi-billion dollar drug companies and other corporations that have been criticized for worsening poverty, heavy pollution and other unethical practices. Notably, therefore, a 2007 investigation by the Los Angeles Times found that it reaps vast financial gains every year from such investments.
A former Monsanto employee, Kirk Azevedo, came forward for an interview with Food Nation Radio Network to give our listeners insight into how Monsanto does business. During the time he was employed there with some of the best minds in the biotech industry, he became alarmed by some of the practices Monsanto used to test new GMO crops, how those crops were disposed of after testing, and more.
"At its core the GM industry is about the eradication of independent food production." That’s the stark conclusion of Ramon Herrera, one of the activists featured in a powerful new film co-produced by The Gaia Foundation and The African Biodiversity Foundation.
Organic Farmers File Appeal Against Monsanto
July 6, 2012
Seventy-five family farmers, seed businesses, and agricultural organizations representing over 300,000 individuals and 4,500 farms filed a brief today with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington asking the appellate court to reverse a lower court’s decision from February dismissing their protective legal action against agricultural giant Monsanto’s patents on genetically engineered seed. The plaintiffs brought the pre-emptive case against Monsanto in March 2011 in the Southern District of New York and specifically seek to defend themselves from nearly two dozen of Monsanto’s most aggressively asserted patents on GMO seed. They were forced to act pre-emptively to protect themselves from Monsanto’s abusive lawsuits, fearing that if GMO seed contaminates their property despite their efforts to prevent such contamination, Monsanto will sue them for patent infringement.
Australia's system of organic certification will come under intense scrutiny when two neighbouring farmers do battle in the Western Australian Supreme Court in a test case on genetically modified crop contamination. Organic farmer Steve Marsh, from Kojonup in the state's Great Southern region, is suing his neighbour Michael Baxter for alleged negligence and nuisance. Mr Marsh claims genetically modified (GM) canola seed blew onto his farm in 2010, causing him to lose his organic status.
EU food authorities pave way for meat and milk from GM animals
Monsanto, the largest seed corporation in the world, may have to pay as much as $7.5 billion to five million Brazilian soy farmers. The company has long dealt out severe legal sanctions against farmers it suspects of "pirating" its seed. But now the farmers have turned the tables on Monsanto, by suing the company and winning.
GM Soy Linked to Illnesses in Farm Pigs
June 27, 2012
A Danish farmer has gained huge public recognition for publishing his simple method for ridding his pigs of illness – removing genetically modified (GM) ingredients from their diet. Published in the farming magazine Effektivt Landbrug on 13 April 2012, the farmer Ib Borup Perderson describes how his pigs suffered from symptoms including chronic diarrhoea, birth defects, reproductive problems, reduced appetite, bloating, stomach ulcers, weaker and smaller piglets, and reduced litter sizes. This was not just a problem for the animals themselves but also the profitability of the farm, with fewer healthy animals, mounting costs of medicines and added labour costs. After researching the health hazards of GM foods and associated herbicides, Pederson decided to stop feeding his 450 sows with GM soybean, replacing them with fishmeal and non-GM soybean instead. He began to notice health benefits after two days of a GM-free diet.
The revised GMO expert panel at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) still has a majority of experts in favour of using genetically engineered plants in agriculture. Testbiotech estimates that eleven of the twenty panel members have links to industry or are known as proponents of the controversial technology.
A growing number of rootworms are now able to devour genetically modified corn specifically designed by Monsanto to kill those same pests. A new study shows that while the biotech giant may triumph in Congress, it will never be able to outsmart nature. Western corn rootworms have been able to harmlessly consume the genetically modified maize, a research paper published in the latest issue of the journal GM Crops & Food reveals. A 2010 sample of the rootworm population had an elevenfold survival rate on the genetically modified corn compared to a control population. That’s eight times more than the year before, when the resistant population was first identified.
Genetically-modified crops are “potentially dangerous” to health and should be restricted, a report claims. The GMO Myths and Truths study claims there is a risk of higher levels of toxins and allergens in such food.
Russian scientists have proven the existence of very serious health risks for animals given genetically modified (GM) feed.
Last week Hungary’s parliament approved unanimously a new regulation that will restrict the genetically modified crops allowed in Hungary, which are currently authorised by the European Union.
Syngenta Charged for Covering up Livestock Deaths from GM Corn
June 13, 2012
Biotech giant Syngenta has been criminally charged with denying knowledge that its genetically modified (GM) Bt corn kills livestock during a civil court case that ended in 2007.
Five million Brazilian farmers are locked in a lawsuit with US-based biotech giant Monsanto, suing for as much as 6.2 billion euros. They say that the genetic-engineering company has been collecting royalties on crops it unfairly claims as its own. The farmers claim that Monsanto unfairly collects exorbitant profits every year worldwide on royalties from “renewal” seed harvests. “Renewal” crops are those that have been planted using seed from the previous year’s harvest. While the practice of renewal farming is an ancient one, Monsanto disagrees, demanding royalties from any crop generation produced from its genetically-engineered seed. Because the engineered seed is patented, Monsanto not only charges an initial royalty on the sale of the crop produced, but a continuing 2 per cent royalty on every subsequent crop, even if the farmer is using a later generation of seed.
Meet the Corporate Front Groups Fighting to Make Sure You Can't Know What's in Your Food
May 31, 2012
What do a former mouthpiece for tobacco and big oil, a corporate-interest PR flack, and the regional director of a Monsanto-funded tort reform group have in common? They’re all part of the anti-labeling PR team that will soon unleash a massive advertising and PR campaign in California, designed to scare voters into rejecting the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.
GM lobby still trying to force increasingly discredited Frankenstein Food down our throats
May 29, 2012
Genetic modification was supposed to be the ground-breaking science of the future. Its magic wand would feed the world and make toxic pesticides redundant. But, in reality, it has dismally failed to live up to the expectations of its cheerleaders. The high crop yields the GM lobbyists promised us just haven’t happened. Farmers are having to use more pesticide, not less, on their GM crops.
More than 400 growers, bakers and families from across England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Belgium marched against the return of open air GM field testing today. Take the Flour Back linked arms with their European counterparts, notably France’s Volunteer Reapers and walked calmly towards the site, before being stopped by police lines. Kate Bell from Take the Flour Back stated that “In the past, kids, grannies, and everyone in between has decontaminated GM trial sites together. Here at the beginning of a new resistance to this obsolete technology, we see GM hidden behind a fortress. We wanted to do the responsible thing and remove the threat of GM contamination, sadly it wasn’t possible to do that effectively today. However, we stand arm in arm with farmers and growers from around the world, who are prepared to risk their freedom to stop the imposition of GM crops.”
Biotech industry - hidden influence in Germany
May 24, 2012
A new Testbiotech report reveals some, at least partially, hidden networks enabling the biotech industry to influence state authorities and research institutions dealing with genetically engineered plants. The authorities involved include the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the research institutes of the German ministry of agriculture (BMELV) and a committee at the German Research Foundation (DFG). The report identifies 17 experts with conflicts of interest. Some of the experts are in public positions of major relevance while at the same time holding crucial positions in industrial networks. Most of the experts made wrong or at least insufficient declarations about their personal interests.
Progressive small farmer organizations in Mexico scored a victory over transnational corporations that seek to monopolize seed and food patents. When the corporations pushed their bill to modify the Federal Law on Plant Varieties through the Committee on Agriculture and Livestock of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies on March 14, organizations of farmers from across the country sounded the alarm. By organizing quickly, they joined together to pressure legislators and achieved an agreement with the legislative committee to remove the bill from the floor. What’s at stake is free and open access to plant biodiversity in agriculture.
The dangers of GM – Europe must learn the lessons from America
May 14, 2012
American farmers are increasingly expressing regret over the planting of GM crops, which are now causing major problems, and Europe must take note before it is too late.
Top EU food agency official resigns
May 9, 2012
The European Food Safety Authority has requested the resignation of senior board member Diána Bánáti after she accepted an "incompatible" position at the International Life Sciences Institute in Brussels. Bánáti's links with ILSI - a non-profit pro-GM research organisation funded partly by the food industry - have been criticised by members of the European Parliament and campaign groups for two years.
Comment: The apparent ease with which Bánáti moved directly from the European Food Safety Authority to the International Life Sciences Institute proves yet again that the oft-cited 'revolving door' system between Brussels EU agencies and industry lobby groups remains alive and well.
When Bill Gates pushes high-tech agriculture, who benefits?
April 26, 2012
When Bill Gates speaks, the world tends to listen. The second-richest man on the planet is treated like a god when he opens his mouth. He’s still chairman of Microsoft. The billions of dollars of donations he has made through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have captured the attention of the World Health Organization and set the agenda for vaccine development and inoculation over the past decade. Now, through sheer wealth-driven clout, his plan to reduce world hunger has found a rapt audience in the United Nations’ food agencies.
Comment: Using an approach becoming known as Philanthrocapitalism that essentially copies a model designed by John D. Rockefeller a century earlier, the Gates Foundation’s investments have included stockholdings in multi-billion dollar drug companies and other corporations that have been criticized for worsening poverty, heavy pollution or unethical practices. To learn more, click here to read a 2007 investigation into the Gates Foundation by the Los Angeles Times.
Californians Will Likely Vote on Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Initiative in November
April 23, 2012
This morning, The Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Initiative in California reported having gathered the target 850,000 signatures needed in order to ensure the initiative makes it onto the November 2012 State Ballot. The grassroots initiative, which seeks to have produce and packaged foods containing genetically engineered ingredients labeled as such, has been gathering signature since early 2012, with hopes of allowing California citizens to decide the issue in November.
GMO AND THE DEVASTATION OF BEE COLONIES: Blamed for Bee Collapse, Monsanto Buys Leading Bee Research Firm
April 21, 2012
Monsanto, the massive biotechnology company being blamed for contributing to the dwindling bee population, has bought up one of the leading bee collapse research organizations. Recently banned from Poland with one of the primary reasons being that the company’s genetically modified corn may be devastating the dying bee population, it is evident that Monsanto is under serious fire for their role in the downfall of the vital insects.
Farm group seeks U.S. halt on "dangerous" crop chemicals
April 18, 2012
A coalition of more than 2,000 U.S. farmers and food companies said Wednesday it is taking legal action to force government regulators to analyze potential problems with proposed biotech crops and the weed-killing chemicals to be sprayed over them.
Problems with the relatives
April 17, 2012
We know that growing genetically engineered (GE) crops risks harm to the environment and our health, but exactly what are the dangers and how might they occur? One danger often cited is that gene escape to wild populations could cause these populations to become more vigorous weeds. This could happen if certain GE crops (e.g. those insect-resistance genes) are grown in places where local varieties (landraces) or wild (and weedy) relatives occur, for example in their centres of diversity. This danger might become a reality if proposals to grow GE insect-resistant (Bt) brinjal (also called eggplant or talong) in countries such as India and the Philippines go ahead.
Will GMOs Really Feed the World?
April 17, 2012
That’s what genetic engineering advocates claim. But science (and a shocking number of developing-world suicides) debunk this myth.
Chile stands up to Monsanto
April 11, 2012
On March 21, the Chilean Transparency Council stood with its citizenry against Monsanto and other global seed corporations to protect Chileans' right to know about genetically engineered (GE) crops. The Council's decision ensures that farmers, beekeepers and rural residents can find out exactly where GE crops are planted — basic information that is critically important as they seek to protect their farms, apiaries and families from toxic pesticide drift and contamination by pollen from GE plants.
Poland Announces Complete Ban on Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Maize
April 5, 2012
Following the anti-Monsanto activism launched by nations like France and Hungary, Poland has announced that it will launch a complete ban on growing Monsanto’s genetically modified strain MON810. The announcement, made by Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki, sets yet another international standard against Monsanto’s genetically modified creations. In addition to being linked to a plethora health ailments, Sawicki says that the pollen originating from this GM strain may actually be devastating the already dwindling bee population.
Opposition to biotech giant Monsanto growing worldwide, new report shows
April 4, 2012
Today, the day that biotech giant Monsanto releases its second quarter earnings, a new report by civil society organisations shows that around the world small-holder and organic farmers, local communities and social movements are increasingly resisting and rejecting Monsanto, and the agro-industrial model that it represents. The new report, jointly produced by La Via Campesina, Friends of the Earth International and Combat Monsanto - available in English, French and Spanish - provides snapshots of frontline struggles against Monsanto and other agrochemical corporations pushing genetically modified (GM) crops onto farmers and into the environment.
‘Confined’ field releases of Eucalyptus neither confined nor safe
March 21, 2012
An application from ArborGen has taken a sinister turn in declaring most, if not all of the genetically modified (GM) constructs in a Eucalyptus hybrid clone to be tested in environmental release ‘Confidential Business information’, thereby precluding any meaningful independent safety and environmental assessment of the GM trees, or appropriate remedial action and identification in case of harm caused to the environment and innocent bystanders. The USDA/ APHIS (United States Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) has yet again made a highly flawed Environmental Assessment (EA) on the proposed release, dismissing every issue on safety largely on a priori assumptions and in the absence of real data.
Independence of EFSA’s GMO risk assessment challenged
March 21, 2012
Testbiotech, supported by Corporate Observatory Europe (CEO), is today filing a new complaint with the EU Ombudsman questioning the independence of the chair of the panel of experts tasked with assessing the risk of new genetically engineered plants entering the European Union. Harry Kuiper has chaired the GMO Panel at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) since 2003 but has also maintained strong ties with International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) including taking part in a task force led by a Monsanto employee. ILSI is funded by the food and agrochemical industry and Kuipers work on the task force was alongside staff from Bayer, Dow AgroSciences, Dupont and Syngenta, all of which produce genetically engineered plants.
Outrageous Lies Monsanto and Friends Are Trying to Pass off to Kids as Science
March 20, 2012
It's not enough that the biotech industry -- led by multinational corporations such as Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, BAS, and Dupont -- is poisoning our food and our planet. It's also poisoning young minds.
Protesters march outside the Gates Foundation
March 17, 2012
Approximately 40 protesters marched outside the Gates Foundation this Friday, March 16th in solidarity with Occupy movements all around the country. The protest was led by Agra Watch, urging the foundation to sever its ties with the infamous Monsanto Co.
France restores ban on GMO maize crops
March 16, 2012
France set a temporary new ban on the cultivation of Monsanto's MON810 genetically modified maize on Friday, after a previous moratorium was annulled by the country's top court in November.
South Africa: Ignoring of Genetically Modified -Labelling Laws Sparks Outrage
March 15, 2012
The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) is has expressed outrage after finding that several food products, including baby cereal, maize meal, a dietary supplement for active sports people and wheat-free cereal, have tested positive for genetically modified (GM) content, but are all unlabelled.
Fifty-five members of Congress urge FDA to label GE foods
March 14, 2012
Fifty-five members of Congress have written to FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg in support of a petition urging the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods and food ingredients. The bipartisan letter, signed by 45 US representatives and 10 US senators, supports a legal petition filed by the Center for Food Safety in October 2011, which has gained more than 850,000 signatures.
Backing for GM food has halved since the 1990s with one in three Brits now opposed to it
March 9, 2012
Public support for GM food has halved since the mid-1990s, a poll commissioned by one of Britain’s most prestigious scientific bodies found. Just 27 per cent of Britons agree that genetically-modified food should be encouraged - a 48 per cent drop on 16 years ago. The poll, commissioned by the British Science Association, also revealed that almost one in three Britons is opposed to the technology in principle.
Rampant GMO Contamination Unchecked by Judge
March 5, 2012
A judge in New York sided with Monsanto and against organic farmers in the first case of its kind seeking to protect famers from being accused of patent infringement upon unintentional contamination by Monsanto's GMO seed.
Bill Gates' support of GM crops is wrong approach for Africa
February 27, 2012
Bill Gates' support of genetically modified (GM) crops as a solution for world hunger is of concern to those of us involved in promoting sustainable, equitable and effective agricultural policies in Africa. There are two primary shortcomings to Gates' approach. First, his technocratic ideology runs counter to the best informed science. The World Bank and United Nations funded 900 scientists over three years in order to create an International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). Its conclusions were diametrically opposed, at both philosophical and practical levels, to those espoused by Gates and clearly state that the use of GM crops is not a meaningful solution to the complex situation of world hunger.
Zimbabwe to maintain ban on GMO crops
February 25, 2012
The top Zimbabwean agricultural official on Saturday said the government will maintain its ban on imports of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and will not allow GMO crop seeds into the country. Agriculture Mechanization and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made said imported GMO seeds pose a risk to national food security, while local scientists can develop seeds that are suitable for the country's soil and not harmful to the health of the people.
Regulation of Transgenic Insects Highly Inadequate and Unsafe
February 22, 2012
Belatedly, the scientific community has woken up to the parlous state of regulation over the environmental release of genetically modified or transgenic insects.
China drafts legal proposal to completely shut down GE rice
February 22, 2012
We're ecstatic to announce a new legal initiative in China that's set to keep GE away from the country's staple food. "This is actually a world-first initiative that deals with GE food legislation at state law level," said Fang Lifeng, the Food and Agriculture campaigner of Greenpeace. The State Council has released the draft proposal of a grain law that establishes legislation restricting research, field trials, production, sale, import and export of genetically engineered grain seeds. The draft stipulates that no organization or person can employ unauthorized GE technology in any major food product in China.
France asks EU to suspend Monsanto GM corn approval
February 20, 2012
France asked the European Commission on Monday to suspend authorization to plant Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) MON810 corn, the environment ministry said, as the country seeks to keep a ban on GM crops despite losing court rulings. France banned in 2008 the growing of MON810 corn, the only GM crop approved for planting in the European Union, citing environmental risks.
Canadian farmer warns of GM dangers
February 17, 2012
Financial ruin and loss of organic agriculture will be part of the future Australia if genetically modified crop trials continue, according to Canadian farmer Peter Eggers. Mr Eggers is facing similar consequences on his Alberta property after first trialling GM canola in the 1990s. Aside from providing no financial gain, he said the initial trial had left him unable to produce the crop organically.
Monsanto found guilty of chemical poisoning in France
February 13, 2012
A French court has declared the US biotech giant Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer, a judgment that could lend weight to other health claims against pesticides. In the first such case heard in court in France, the grain grower Paul Francois, 47, said he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto's Lasso weedkiller in 2004.
GM crops: Follow the money
February 10, 2012
The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) has done it again. Their annual 'state of play' report on genetically-modified (GM) agriculture, paid for by a host of vested interests including Monsanto, Bayer CropScience and CropLife International, uses inflated claims and sleight of hand to 'demonstrate' the alleged popularity of GM crops.
GMOs in Europe - The Anglerfish deception...
February 8, 2012
Consumers in Europe have been vocal in rejecting genetically modified foods. This opposition has led to member states adopting similar positions, in defiance of the EU Commission, which sees genetic modification as a triumph of industry and a potential way of increasing crop yields and agricultural profits.
Bayer Crop Science told to compensate Maharashtra farmers for poor BT cotton yields
February 8, 2012
PUNE: The Maharashtra government has ordered the Indian unit of Bayer Crop
Science, the world's largest agrochemicals company, to pay 45 lakh as
compensation to 164 farmers as one of its BT cotton hybrids did not deliver the
promised yield, the first instance of a seed company being asked to make good
Food Herbicide Residues Set to Rise As Much As 150 Times
February 8, 2012
Monsanto has applied to increase the EU’s permitted Maximum Residue Level (MRL) for its best-selling herbicide glyphosate in lentils. Proposals before the EU would mean increasing the current legal residue level by 100-150 times. The chemical is widely used on GM crops and elsewhere for weed control and to dry crops prior to harvest. The current EU MRL for glyphosate in lentils is 0.1 mg/kg. The proposal aims to raise this level to 10 mg/kg, or even 15mg/kg.
Organic farming dwarfs GM crops in Europe as public rejection hits biotech firms
February 7, 2012
Public resistance to genetically modified crops has ensured that the area grown in Europe in 2011 remained at 0.1 per cent of all arable land, shows figures released today by Friends of the Earth Europe. In comparison, organic farming accounted for 3.7 per cent. The figures follow recent announcements of the biotech industry retreating from parts of Europe.
Modified Crops Tap a Wellspring of Protest
February 7, 2012
Silent in flannel shirts and ponytails, farmers from Saskatchewan and South Dakota, Mississippi and Massachusetts lined the walls of a packed federal courtroom in Manhattan last week, as their lawyers told a judge that they were no longer able to keep genetically modified crops from their fields.
Monsanto scraps GM maize in France
February 1, 2012
Agriculture and biotechnology giant Monsanto has announced it will scrap plans to sell genetically modified maize in France this year, or anytime in the future.
China says 'no' to genetically engineered rice
January 31, 2012
It took seven years, teams of young campaigners and hordes of devoted supporters, but September 2011 the Chinese government finally said it was suspending the commercialisation of genetically-engineered (GE) rice.
Genetically Engineered Crops Will Not Feed The World
January 25, 2012
The Center for Food Safety (CFS) pushed back today against longtime biotech crop supporter, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, over its announcement that it has invested nearly $2 billion in a campaign to fund the development of genetically engineered (GE) crops in an attempt to address global hunger. The Gates Foundation has been widely criticized by food security and public interest groups for promoting GE crops in developing countries rather than investing in organic and sustainable local models of agriculture. “The biotech industry has exploited the image of the world’s poor and hungry to advance a form of agriculture that is expensive, input-intensive, and of little or no relevance to developing country farmers,” said Andrew Kimbrell Executive Director for the Center for Food Safety.
Pesticide Illnesses and GM Soybeans
January 18, 2012
A network of 160 physicians, health workers and researchers in Argentina are demanding a ban on aerial spraying of pesticides based on increases in cancer and a range of pesticide-related illnesses since the introduction of genetically modified (GM) soybeans. These illnesses affect development, reproduction, the skin, as well as the immune, respiratory, neurological, and endocrine systems.
BASF stops GM crop development in Europe
January 17, 2012
German chemical giant BASF is ceasing all its genetically modified plant development in Europe and moving it to the US. The relocation is a result of widespread political and popular opposition to GM foods in Europe.
Study: GM mozzies survive even in a lab
January 13, 2012
PETALING JAYA: Oxitec, the manufacturer of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes, withheld crucial information with regard to the survival rate of the insects, claimed several environmental groups. In a joint press statement, the groups revealed results of a study that showed the GM mosquitoes had a three percent survival rate even in a controlled laboratory setting. “In the open field where thousands of these mosquitoes are released continuously, the number of the surviving insects would be high,” the statement said.
USDA Scientist Reveals All
January 9, 2012
In less than an hour, Don Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University and USDA senior scientist delivered to the UK Houses of Parliament a damning indictment of glyphosate agriculture as a most serious threat to the environment, livestock, and human health.
Zimbabwe Government Defends Decision To Ban GMOs
January 6, 2012
HARARE – Although food security is a topic of concern in Zimbabwe, the government will not allow the production of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) as a way of ensuring sufficiency, says Minister of Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Joseph Made. The government will instead concentrate on making unfilled fertilizer, seeds, irrigation and other essential farm inputs to boost food production rather than use cheaper but unsustainable means which have a detrimental impact on the environment, he adds. “Methodical research shows that GMOs contain toxic substances, are less nutritious than non-GMOs and have negative effects on humans and the environment,” he said here Thursday.