Up to date news and comment about GMO issues.
According to Sustainable Pulse sources in China, Monsanto's CEO Hugh Grant held high level meetings with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Science and Technology, and Ministry of Commerce in the week before Christmas. These meetings allegedly involved discussions, which aimed to alleviate the current panic amongst some of Monsanto's main supporters in the US, who are worried that some Monsanto strains of corn will soon be refused by China, alongside the 545,000 metric tons of U.S. corn that have been refused so far this year in cargoes that contained Syngenta's MIR162 strain.
100 civil society organisations representing farmers, indigenous communities, consumers, women, scientists, and/or promoting sustainable development and biosafety have written a letter to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to oppose the commercialisation of a genetically modified (GM) eggplant.
Russian scientists are calling for a 10-year moratorium on GMOs to thoroughly study their influence on human health, stressing that such examinations are vital.
A European court has annulled approval of BASF's genetically modified (GM) Amflora potato in the European Union, saying the Commission had not followed proper procedures.
Unease among Brazil's farmers as Congress
December 12, 2013
Brazil is set to break a global moratorium on genetically-modified "terminator" seeds, which are said to threaten the livelihoods of millions of small farmers around the world.
The governor of Connecticut hosted a ceremonial signing outside an organic restaurant in the city of Fairfield on Wednesday to commemorate the state's passing of what could be the first GMO labeling law of its type in the United States.
Twenty-eight scientists from six countries launched the Open Letter on Retraction and Pledge to Boycott Elsevier at 7:00 pm GMT 4 December 2013, inviting both scientists and non-scientists to sign on. The letter condemns the gratuitous unilateral retraction of a peer-reviewed paper published in the Elsevier journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) a year ago; and those who sign on pledge to boycott the publisher unless and until the retraction is reversed. In less than a week, it attracted more than 1,175 signatures: 419 scientists and 756 non-scientists from 54 countries around the world, among them, distinguished award winning researchers and celebrities.
After promising on World Food Day (October 16) to block legislation that would legalize the planting of Terminator seeds in Brazil, the country's Judicial Commission is set to approve suicide seeds as a Christmas gift to Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta.
The people of this working-class suburb of Córdoba in Argentina's central farming belt stoically put up with the spraying of the weed-killer glyphosate on the fields surrounding their neighborhood. But the last straw was when U.S. biotech giant Monsanto showed up to build a seed plant. The creator of glyphosate, whose trademark is Roundup, and one of the world's leading producers of genetically modified seeds, Monsanto is building one of its biggest plants to process transgenic corn seed in Malvinas Argentinas, this poor community of 15,000 people 17 km east of the capital of the province of Córdoba.
Industry's bullying finally worked:
November 29, 2013
At a press conference in the European Parliament on 28 November, Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini and Corinne Lepage MEP strongly denounced the decision of the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology to de-publish his study on the health impacts of Monsanto's GM maize NK603 - made tolerant to herbicide Roundup - and of Roundup itself. The study was published over a year ago. Mr Séralini explained how the journal left him the choice of withdrawing the study himself, which he refused, or they would retract the article next week. The CRIIGEN team, Séralini's institute, has engaged US lawyers to challenge this decision.
Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal, has jested that instead of scientific peer review, its rival The Lancet had a system of throwing a pile of papers down the stairs and publishing those that reached the bottom. On another occasion, Smith was challenged to publish an issue of the BMJ exclusively comprising papers that had failed peer review and see if anybody noticed. He replied, "How do you know I haven't already done it?" As Smith's stories show, journal editors have a lot of power in science – power that provides opportunities for abuse. The life science industry knows this, and has increasingly moved to influence and control science publishing.
Genetically modified foods such as soy and corn may be responsible for a number of gluten-related maladies including intestinal disorders now plaguing 18 million Americans, according to a new report released on Tuesday.
The harvest is in from hybrid corn trials in Illinois. The outcome? Spectrum Seeds' non-GM corn hybrids performed as well or better than the GMO corn hybrids.
In late October, a group of scientists signed a joint statement that warned, "The claimed consensus on GM organism safety does not exist." This was in part a response to the ritual shamings that scientists are subjected to when their controversial findings challenge official GM doctrine. The number of signatories quickly rose to over 200.
The governing body on the Hawaiian island of Kauai voted on Saturday to override their mayor's veto of a bill that seeks to reign in widespread pesticide use and the testing of new genetically modified crops.
Spread of genetically engineered plants out of control
November 12, 2013
Today Testbiotech published the first global overview showing how genetically engineered plants such as maize, rice, cotton, oilseed rape, bentgrass and poplar trees are spreading uncontrollably. This is happening in regions and countries such as the USA and Canada, Middle America, Japan, China, Australia and Europe. In many cases, the plants have escaped far beyond the fields into the environment. In some regions, the transgenes have already moved into populations of wild relatives.
South Australia will extend a moratorium on genetically modified crops until at least 2019.
Washington state voters on Tuesday rejected an initiative that would have required foods containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled.
Comment: In view of this result, it is highly significant that the campaign to reject the GMO labelling initiative set a record for fundraising by bringing in over $22 million in donations. The top five contributors to it were the US Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences and Bayer CropScience. Other biotech companies funding the campaign included BASF Plantscience.
The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has today released its new research report titled 'GM Maize: Lessons For Africa-Cartels, Collusion And Control Of South Africa's Staple Food' showing how a select group of companies, including Tiger Brands, Pioneer and Premier Foods who have previously fixed the price of bread and maize meal, commandeer the entire maize value chain and continue to squeeze the poorest South Africans. The ACB has recently shown that the entire maize meal market is saturated with GM maize.
US and European groups are at odds over genetically modified foods being introduced in Africa.
The claims made for GM agriculture are a transparent fraud. The real purpose of GM foods is to give giant corporations legally-enforceable monopoly powers over the entire global food chain.
Los Angeles may become largest GMO-free area in the US
October 24, 2013
Los Angeles is considering a ban on the cultivation, sale and distribution of genetically modified organisms, which would make the city the largest GMO-free zone in the US.
Africa bullied to grow defective BT Maize: the failure of Monsanto's M810 maize in South Africa
October 23, 2013
The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has released a new report 'Africa bullied to grow defective Bt Maize: the failure of Monsanto's MON810 maize in South Africa,' showing how Monsanto's GM maize which utterly failed in SA, is now being foisted on the rest of the continent, through 'sleight of hand.'
A group of 93 scientists from all over the world deplore the disinformation over the safety of GMOs and expose the lack of empirical and scientific evidence on which the false claims of “consensus” on safety are being made.
BASAVILBASO (Argentina) — Argentine farm worker Fabian Tomasi was never trained to handle pesticides. His job was to keep the crop-dusters flying by filling their tanks as quickly as possible, although it often meant getting drenched in poison. Now, at 47, he’s a living skeleton, so weak he can hardly leave his house in Entre Rios province.
It hasn't been a good week for Monsanto and the rest of the biotech industry. Just three days ago, Mexico banned genetically engineered corn. Citing the risk of imminent harm to the environment, a Mexican judge ruled that, effective immediately, no genetically engineered corn can be planted in the country. This means that companies like Monsanto will no longer be allowed to plant or sell their corn within the country's borders.
Washington state sues lobbying group opposed
October 17, 2013
A lobbying group for major US manufacturers has violated Washington state campaign finance law while opposing a ballot initiative that would require labeling genetically-modified foods, according to a lawsuit filed by the state attorney general Wednesday.
Today, Center for Food Safety (CFS), Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), SumOfUs.org, and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) delivered petitions signed by over 345,000 people admonishing the World Food Prize-a prize dedicated to furthering a “nutritious and sustainable food supply”—for awarding this year’s Prize to top executives from agrichemical giants Monsanto and Syngenta.
Lawmakers on the tropical island of Kauai, Hawaii, on Wednesday approved a hotly contested measure aimed at reining in widespread pesticide use by companies testing new genetically modified crops on the island.
MANILA — An association of farmers and farm workers in Asia criticized the World Food Prize Foundation for awarding three proponents of genetically-modified organisms (GMO).
America’s most trusted science magazine is spreading disinformation on behalf of a failing and desperate industry, in utter disregard of scientific integrity and the overwhelming evidence of hazards to health and the environment.
In the face of yet more scientific evidence of the adverse health effects of genetically modified foods, country after country is working to ban, limit or restrict the cultivation and testing of GM crops. But as the biotech giants gear up the PR war against their opponents, the question of what people can do to avoid GMO foods is becoming more important than ever.
The discussion on genetically modified seeds is dominated by the criticism directed against MONSANTO. In the wake of MONSANTO the German company BAYER has become one of the largest agricultural corporations in the world. Already, BAYER is one of the leading suppliers of pesticides and seeds. A current enquiry at the European Patent Office shows that in terms of the number of GMO patents BAYER actually comes first.
Non-Native Strains of Genetically Modified Insects Risk Spread
October 4, 2013
Today environmental and civil society groups on five continents warned that plans to release non-native strains of genetically modified (GM) flies in olive fields in Spain and fruit orchards in Brazil pose major risks to crops and the environment, as pesticide resistance or other harmful traits could spread into wild pest populations.
The war on genetically-manipulated organisms (GMOs) goes on, and the Philippines is its battleground, according to Dr. Wayne Parrott, a plant breeding and genomics expert from the University of Georgia.
The future is local. The future is organic. Well, at least it could be if we base our food production on an increasing body of evidence that indicates the harmful effects of petrochemical, corporate-controlled agriculture. In June, researchers at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand concluded that the GM strategy used in North American staple crop production is limiting yields and increasing pesticide use compared to non-GM farming in Western Europe. Led by Professor Jack Heinemann, the study’s findings were published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. The study finds that Europe is decreasing chemical herbicide use and achieving even larger declines in insecticide use without sacrificing yield gains, while chemical herbicide use in the US has increased with GM seed.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the relevant agencies to consider a possible ban on the import into Russia of products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by October 15.
Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG), a body fighting against genetically modified foods, on Tuesday warned that agribusiness giants have engineered strategies to create monopoly over seed and agrochemical companies.
Genetically engineered oilseed rape out of control
September 17, 2013
Today Testbiotech has published a global overview of countries where there has been an uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered oilseed rape (canola). The countries include Canada, the US, Japan, Australia and Europe. In many cases the plants have escaped far beyond the fields into the environment. In some cases, the transgenes have moved into populations of wild relatives. Furthermore, new combinations of DNA constructs have been found which were never approved for release into the environment.
New evidence from two Illinois farms shows that even integrated pest management strategies such as crop rotation are unable to stave off the spread of Bt pest resistance to genetically modified (GM) Bt corn. After planting Monsanto’s VT Triple PRO RIB corn containing the insecticidal Cry3Bb1 toxin for the first time, the farmers from Livingston and Kankakee counties saw severe damage to their corn as well as soybeans grown in adjacent fields.
SPOKANE - Alfalfa seed and plant samples taken from an Eastern Washington farm contain a low level of genetic modification, even though the farmer reportedly did not want to grow such crops, the state Department of Agriculture announced Friday.
If someone would have asked me prior to 2007 what I know about Bayer, I would have told them that the German chemical and pharmaceutical company discovered baby aspirin. I have many a memory of being given those little pink sugar pills to ward off a fever. Today, thanks to the honeybees, I know a little more about this 150-year-old company. Dr. Marijn DekkersBayer, AG Chairman of the Board of Management, describes their aspirin invention as a “true international star.” If that is the case, then I would venture to say that neonicitinoids, their nicotine-based systemic pesticide, is a veritable, global bee killer.
LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands of people marched and rallied Sunday in support of a measure that would place a moratorium on the farming of genetically modified organisms on Kauai.
US Farmers Continue David Vs. Goliath Battle Against Monsanto
September 6, 2013
A group of U.S. farmers is not giving up its fight against biotech giant Monsanto. In the latest step of a two and a half year legal battle, plaintiffs in Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al v. Monsanto asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thrusday to hear their case challenging the patents on Monsanto's genetically engineered seed.
Monsanto has withdrawn four requests for cultivation of GM seeds in the EU, following an earlier announcement that it was scaling back its focus on GM crops in Europe.
You might have missed it, but this spring thousands of people across Canada came out to 38 rallies organized by farmers and their supporters. In addition to these April 9 rallies, people inundated their MPs with letters and petitions, emailed, made phone calls, and asked for meetings. They were responding to a call from the National Farmers Union – Ontario for a day of action against the release of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa in Canada.
A scientific study suggesting genetically modified food killed rats has been suppressed because of lobbying by multinational biotech corporations, environmental campaigners claim.
New Genetically Engineered (GE) Crop Will Sharply Increase Use of Toxic Pesticide, a "Probable Human Carcinogen"
August 29, 2013
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has quietly approved the first of a new generation of GE crops resistant to more toxic herbicides. The first crop to pass the low regulatory bar was a Bayer soybean variety genetically engineered to withstand direct application of the herbicide isoxaflutole (IFT), which according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a “probable human carcinogen.”
A new study reveals that one of the most widely used GM pest control technologies could actually be increasing pest virulence in non-target and normally benign species.
Agricultural biotech corporate giant Monsanto pretty much has had its way in Puerto Rico since it first set up seed breeding operations in the island in 1983. But the last few months have seen a hailstorm of bad publicity and protests against the corporation's local activities.
KARACHI, Pakistan - After a string of setbacks in India in recent years, the genetically modified seed industry is now targeting Pakistan as its next frontier, say activists.
On August 8, thousands of farmers and activists from across 20 Indian states demonstrated in New Delhi against the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill, and demanded an end to GMOs in India.
The number of cantons in Costa Rica that have adopted legislation to prohibit the cultivation of potentially dangerous genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is now at 62. These transgenic-free territories are following a legal strategy often called the “anti-Monsanto doctrine” after the world’s most powerful distributor of GMO seeds.
Thousands of Chileans have rallied against a bill dubbed the “Monsanto law” that would let multinationals patent GMO seeds. Activists say it will not only compromise food sovereignty in Chile, but will also harm consumer health. Mass protests were held in at least nine cities across the Latin American country to protest the bill that would allow for the development of genetically modified seeds.
A genetic-modification technique used widely to make crops herbicide resistant has been shown to confer advantages on a weedy form of rice, even in the absence of the herbicide. The finding suggests that the effects of such modification have the potential to extend beyond farms and into the wild.
Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), a coalition of pan-African networks, with members in 50 African countries and representing smallholder farmers, indigenous peoples and civil society, met in Addis Ababa 12-16th August 2013 to formulate an action plan to safeguard Africa’s sovereignty over its food, seeds and natural resources from the assault on Africa’s food systems. Africa’s diversity and knowledge systems are being threatened by corporate and genetically modified (GM) seeds, agro-chemicals, resource grabs and laws that prevent farmers from freely using, sharing or selling their seed. These threats come from amongst others, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the G8 "New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition" that strongly promote the interests of multinational seed, fertilizer and agro-chemical companies at the expense of the rights and interests of smallholder farmers.
Ghanaians may wish to ask, just whose interests does Ghana's Biosafety Committee represent? Are they interested in safety? Or are they just interested in introducing genetically engineered and patented food into Ghana? How can we know for sure? One way to assess this issue is to highlight the forces that helped create the Biosafety law that they oversee. Another way is to examine the backgrounds and interests of the members of the Biosafety Committee.
Genetically modified crops, whose ecological effects are irreversible, could become a mainstay of Indian agriculture thanks to collusion between the government and the biotech industry.
Close on the heels of transnational seed company Monsanto abandoning its programme for development of genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe last month, there are growing calls for the company to do the same in India.
Disappearing Rats and Dying Pigs: Are GMOs to Blame?
August 5, 2013
On 21 September 2010, the International Herald Leader (Chinese) carried a report from Xinhua news agency on the mysterious disappearance of rats from the fields and villages in the provinces of Shaanxi and Jilin, while farmers’ pigs were decreasing in number simultaneously as the sows were suffering miscarriages and still births. People blamed the new Xianyu 335 (XY335) corn that they have planted and used as feed for several years. XY 335 is a hybrid corn owned by Pioneer, a subsidiary of DuPont. It was introduced into the market in 2004 with the formal approval of the Agriculture Ministry, and sales exploded in 2008-2009. XY335 was suspected to be a GMO (genetically modified organism), or a hybrid between a GM and non-GM variety. Jin Wei, investigative journalist then working for the newspaper that belongs to Xinhua, had travelled to the villages to see for himself that the rats were indeed disappearing from the village and fields planted with XY 335, and more disturbingly, sows fed on the hybrid corn gave birth to far fewer (as well as dead and deformed) piglets than those of farmers who had not taken up the new hybrid corn.
Neonicotinoids are the new DDT killing the natural world
August 5, 2013
It's the new DDT: a class of poisons licensed for widespread use before they had been properly tested, which are now ripping the natural world apart. And it's another demonstration of the old truth that those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.
French President François Hollande said Friday a ban on growing genetically modified corn by agriculture giant Monsanto will remain in place, despite a court ruling reversing the suspension.
The Chinese people have always been suspicious of GMOs, as they take their food and extremely diverse traditional cuisines much more seriously than almost any other people in the world. They were alerted to the hazards of GM food in a big way since 2010 when pigs began dying off in large numbers as a widely planted suspected GM corn was used as feed. And again, in 2012 after three officials in Hunan Province were sacked for approving and conducting a trial of still experimental GM Golden Rice on school children in 2009, and the results appeared in a scientific journal.
Americans overwhelmingly support labeling foods that have been genetically modified or engineered, according to a New York Times poll conducted this year, with 93 percent of respondents saying that foods containing such ingredients should be identified.
Russia is preparing to catch up with the world in the production of genetically modified food. Measures for the development of biotechnology and genetic engineering are laid out in the road map developed by the Ministry of Economic Development. Officials hope to reduce imported biotechnology and increase the presence of the Russian Federation in this promising market.
In a landmark recommendation, an Indian Supreme Court-appointed committee has called for a halt on all further genetically modified (GM) crop trials until flaws in regulatory and safety systems are addressed.
Another survey has shown that only 21% of the UK public support genetically engineered food. Despite a massive pro-GM push by government, researchers and the media this latest poll carried out in June - confirms that UK citizens continue to reject the technology. Meanwhile another survey has revealed that far from clamouring to use GMOs as the government claims, less than half of UK farmers believe GM technology is a good innovation, and hardly any of them want to eat GM food.
After enjoying a year of maximum profits, record stock prices, the defeat of a major GMO labeling campaign in California, pro-industry court decisions, and a formidable display of political power in Washington, D.C. – including slipping the controversial Monsanto Protection Act into the Federal Appropriations bill in March - the Biotech Bully from St. Louis now finds itself on the defensive. It is no exaggeration to say that Monsanto has now become the most hated corporation in the world.
Biotechnology giant Monsanto is scrapping plans to win approval to grow new types of genetically modified crops in the European Union.
Comment: Anyone living in Europe who concludes from this that the fight against Monsanto has now been won on their continent should be aware that the company says it will now look to get EU approval to import its genetically modified crop varieties from the US and South America into Europe. As such, bearing in mind that Monsanto opposes initiatives to mandate labeling of ingredients developed from GM seeds, citizens of Europe clearly need to remain vigilant in their opposition to what has been described by some as the most hated corporation on Earth.
US Military, Monsanto Targeting GMO Activists and Independent Scientists, New Investigation Alleges
July 14, 2013
A highly concerning new investigative report from the largest daily newspaper in Germany alleges that Monsanto, the US Military and the US government have colluded to track and disrupt both anti-GMO activists and independent scientists who study the adverse effects of genetically modified food.
Three Italian ministries have signed a decree banning the cultivation of a type of genetically modified maize, citing environmental concerns, the agriculture ministry said on Friday. The decree, which still needs to be published in the official gazette to become binding, targets Monsanto's MON810 maize, one of two genetically modified organisms (GMO) allowed in Europe and the only one currently grown commercially.
A new study shows that the US Midwest staple crop system - predominantly genetically modified (GM) - is falling behind other economically and technologically equivalent regions. Western Europe, matched for latitude, season and crop type as well as economic and technological development, outperforms the US (and Canada) with regards to yields, pesticide use, genetic diversity and crop resilience, as well as farm worker wellbeing. The study, headed by Jack Heinemann at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, is a damning indictment of the large-scale, monoculture model in the US, the world’s largest producer of maize since the records began in 1961, and is increasingly relied upon to provide more and more of the world’s calorie intake.
VADODARA: A Gujarat-based NGO has alleged that the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill introduced in the Parliament aims at "criminalising" opposition to the genetically modified (GM) food.
The tropical paradise of Hawaii is on the bucket list of many. Peaceful images of white sandy beaches, warm tropical waters and the welcoming spirit of Aloha is what draws tourists from around the globe. In 2012, Hawaiian tourism hit an all-time high. Visitors spent a record of $14.3 billion dollars and more tourists than ever before (close to 8 million people) visited the Hawaiian Islands last year. Simultaneously, the vibrant ecosystems and biodiversity of the Hawaiian Islands are under serious attack by the unrestrained growth of the biotech industry. The average tourist coming to Hawaii to enjoy a vacation, get married or possibly invest in a time share isn't aware of the chemical contamination taking place due to unregulated GMO experiments and heavy pesticide use on the islands.
New report links genetically engineered crops and their associated herbicides with escalation of herbicide-resistant weeds and chemicals used to fight them.
Italian agriculture minister Nunzia De Girolamo said this week that she will seek a ban on genetically modified crops in Italy. The farming minister said she had the backing of the country's health and environment ministers.
Will the biotech companies ever give up on trying to sell Europe their genetically modified crops? Their latest PR man is the UK’s Minister for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Owen Paterson. His website (very bland and uninformative apart from his list of engagements) says he is “a passionate supporter of localism, free enterprise and less interference in people’s lives”. But he also loudly supports Monsanto et al, and wants all of Europe to grow and eat GM foods.
The real concern about GM is that it extends intellectual property protection into our fields.
Genetically modified crops have lower yields than non-GM crops according to a new research paper published today. The peer-reviewed International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability corroborates previous studies showing that GM crops have led to an increase in overall pesticide use.
Pigs fed a diet of only genetically modified grain showed markedly higher stomach inflammation than pigs who dined on conventional feed, according to a new study by a team of Australian scientists and U.S. researchers.
Five of 13 major crop pests have evolved resistance to Bt corn and cotton, crops engineered to be toxic to certain insects, as of 2010, compared with only one in 2005, a study said Monday.
Unapproved, unwanted, and now out of control: the news that an unlicensed genetically modified (GM) wheat has been found growing on a field in Oregon -- almost 10 years after it was supposed to have completely destroyed -- sent shivers down my spine. I've been blogging about the known and unknown risks of GM crops for a while. But we are now witnessing a real 'escape-from-the-laboratory' nightmare and, in a worst-case scenario, the impacts on U.S. agriculture could be truly devastating.
Monsanto Co. on Monday won another round in a legal battle with U.S. organic growers as an appeals court threw out the growers' efforts to stop the company from suing farmers if traces of its patented biotech genes are found in crops.
What happens when you allow commercial interests free rein over a nation state's food and agricultural policies? Consumers and farmers end up paying the price.
How should a regulatory agency announce they have discovered something potentially very important about the safety of products they have been approving for over twenty years? In the course of analysis to identify potential allergens in GMO crops, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has belatedly discovered that the most common genetic regulatory sequence in commercial GMOs also encodes a significant fragment of a viral gene. This finding has serious ramifications for crop biotechnology and its regulation, but possibly even greater ones for consumers and farmers. This is because there are clear indications that this viral gene (called Gene VI) might not be safe for human consumption. It also may disturb the normal functioning of crops, including their natural pest resistance.
A public crowd-funding campaign has been launched by a starter Biotech company Genome Compiler, to create bioengineered glow-in-the-dark plants that will be given away to donors. This will be the first organism created by synthetic biology techniques to ever be released into the wild and most astonishingly, it will bypass any regulatory approval procedures in the process.
The state of Connecticut has become the first to successfully enact a law requiring food containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled as such, though it comes with the unusual requirement that four other states must pass similar legislation.
On May 31 world media headlines read similar to this from Reuters: “Monsanto backing away from GMO crops in Europe.” The original source for the story is attributed to a German left daily, TAZ which printed excerpts from an interview with an official spokeswoman of Monsanto Germany. Ursula Lüttmer-Ouazane reportedly told Taz “We’ve come to the conclusion that this has no broad acceptance at the moment.” Her remarks were circulated worldwide and Reuters interviewed Monsanto corporate spokesman Thomas Helscher who reportedly said, “We’re going to sell the GM seeds only where they enjoy broad farmer support, broad political support and a functioning regulatory system. As far as we’re convinced this only applies to a few countries in Europe today, primarily Spain and Portugal.” Before the world opens the champagne to celebrate the death of GMO and its paired herbicides such as Roundup, it is worthwhile to look more closely at what was officially said and what not.
Venezuela is going forward in the definitive elaboration and approval for a law guaranteeing security and sovereignty against the threat of transgenic seeds, said Socialist deputy Alfredo Urena.
Genetically modified salmon can breed with wild trout to produce a new fast growing fish that can harm natural species, scientists have warned.
Protesters rallied in dozens of cities Saturday as part of a global protest against seed giant Monsanto and the genetically modified food it produces, organizers said.
From Agent Orange to Pesticides and Genetically Engineered Crops. Why Not to Trust Monsanto
May 26, 2013
The Monsanto Corporation is among the largest pesticide and biotechnical corporations in the world today. Their products are used in most sectors of agriculture, public land upkeep, landscaping/gardening and can be found in most markets across the United States. Monsanto is a multi-billion dollar company with a diverse product base and is among the largest producers of genetically engineered crops. As a company, Monsanto promises to be the creator of new, safer, pesticides as well as stronger bio-engineered crops. Unfortunately, the reality of what Monsanto will deliver to the world is likely very different from what they promise, or what we, as a society, desire.
Just months after a study was published showing that two Monsanto products, a genetically modified (GM) maize and Roundup herbicide, damaged the health of rats, the journal that published the study appointed a former Monsanto scientist to decide which papers on GM foods and crops should be published, a new article reveals.
A decade after retiring from his job as a research scientist at Agriculture Canada, Dr. Thierry Vrain, a former promoter of genetically modified organisms (GMO), has warned that eating biotech crops is essentially risky. In an article on PreventDisease.com on May 6, Vrain cites Russian and European studies in saying that “diets containing engineered corn or soya cause serious health problems in laboratory mice and rats.” He adds that studies have also questioned the efficacy of proteins produced by engineered plants.
LENNEWITZ, Germany — Many Europeans see American farming and its reliance on genetically modified crops as more Frankenstein than Farmer in the Dell. Now, the opposition here to U.S. agricultural practices is threatening to become a major battle in discussions starting next month that could sweep away trade barriers between the United States and Europe.
The United States Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of biotech giant Monsanto, closing the door on a patent case that has pitted a smalltime farmer from Indiana against a titan of the agriculture industry. The high court said early Monday that 75-year-old farmer Vernon Bowman of Indiana violated Monsanto’s patent rights when he purchased a mix of seeds from a grain elevator that he later planted on his Midwest farm. That mix included patented Roundup Ready soybean seeds manufactured by Monsanto that are sold under license because they can hold up against their namesake, a nasty pesticide regularly used on farms.
Comment: Court cases like this one are the inevitable consequence of biotech companies like Monsanto manipulating the genetic material of seeds and taking out patents on the results. Based on such patents, fruits and vegetables are increasingly being appropriated as the private property of multinational corporations, thus forming the basis for a multi-billion dollar investment industry. With the vast profits of the pharmaceutical investment industry similarly being based on patents, and multinational corporations having essentially now claimed the entire human genome for profit, the abolition of the patent principle as applied to food, health and life is therefore an international task of the highest priority.
Genetically Modified (GM) crops are widely recognised for their potential to damage both human health and the environment. Evidence is now accumulating of the contamination of streams, rivers, rain, as well as groundwater with GM-associated chemicals including Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide, while genetic elements such as antibiotic resistant genes are emerging in water-borne microbes. Further, GM crops have been shown to be less water efficient, corroborating farmer’s reports of failing GM crops during droughts. Industrial farming in general has been shown to be ill-adapted to extreme weather events such as hurricanes as well as droughts; and GM crops are not expected to do any better.
March Against Monsanto has announced that on May 25, tens of thousands of activists around the world will “March Against Monsanto.” Currently, marches are being planned on six continents, in 36 countries, totaling events in over 250 cities, and in the US, events are slated to occur simultaneously at 11 a.m. Pacific in 47 states. Tami Monroe Canal, lead organizer and creator of the now-viral Facebook page, says she was inspired to start the movement to protect her two daughters. “I feel Monsanto threatens their generation’s health, fertility and longevity. I couldn't sit by idly, waiting for someone else to do something.”
Small double-stranded RNA (dsRNAs) that aim to interfere with specific gene expression are increasingly used to create GM crops; unfortunately they have many off-target effects and can also interfere with gene expression in all animals exposed to the crops.
Peru is mostly known as being the cradle of the great Inca Empire. For thousands of years, quality products have been produced on its soil which gave life and support to its entire people. Peru is home to many indigenous plant species. Last 2011, the government of Peru became the first nation in the Americas to put a ban on “Genetically Modified Organisms”, that include genetically modified foods. The law was passed and implemented at the end of 2011. The ban is set to last for a decade.
New efforts to force labeling of foods made with genetically modified crops, including a bill introduced by U.S. lawmakers Wednesday, have struck a nerve with biotech crop developers who say they are rushing to roll out a broad strategy to combat consumer concerns about their products.
A comparison of US Midwest non-GM with GM corn shows shockingly high levels of glyphosate as well as formaldehyde, and severe depletion of mineral nutrients in the GM corn.
GM super-pigs and the new threat to our food: How genetically modified produce is becoming a disturbing reality in our lives
April 17, 2013
Despite the deep concerns of the public, genetically modified foods — once the stuff of science fiction — are becoming a disturbing reality in our lives. The big producers, biotech companies and retailers, driven by their own vested commercial interests, keep pushing for the acceptance of these foods.
A leaked study examining genetically-modified corn reveals that the lab-made alternative to organic crops contains a startling level of toxic chemicals.
Seeds of dissent: How the biotech industry is gagging the science around genetically modified foods
April 4, 2013
Researchers who have exposed environmental or health-related risks from genetically modified crops have faced harassment, threats and worse.
It has become crucial to defend seeds. In the past 20 or 30 years, what was once seen as normal – peasant farmers growing, selecting, saving and exchanging seeds – has come under attack from corporations seeking to control and commodify the very basis of agriculture. This was the subject of the session at the World Social Forum in Tunis on Peasant Seeds jointly organized on March 28, 2013 by La Vía Campesina, GRAIN and the ETC Group.
German fields are GMO-free in 2013
March 28, 2013
Because of the very strong anti-GMO-movement and anti-GMO stance in Germany, 87% of Germans are against GMOs in agriculture and food production. In 2012 there were no commercial GM crops grown in Germany, and this will remain the case in 2013.
Spain has more large-scale plantations of genetically modified seeds than any other country in the European Union (EU). Based on the number of trials conducted and the area of land planted, Spain accounts for 42 percent of all field trials of genetically modified crops in the EU, according to figures from the European Commission Joint Research Centre.
GM insects in food, environment: European Ombudsman investigates conflicts-of-interest at EU regulator
March 26, 2013
GeneWatch UK today called for the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) to suspend the adoption of new rules for the release of genetically modified (GM) animals into the environment while European Ombudsman completes an investigation into the European regulator. The investigation follows a complaint by GeneWatch UK about conflicts-of-interest on the EFSA's Working Group on genetically modified (GM) insects, and EFSA's failure to consult on the risks of allowing GM insects to enter the food chain.
Does Monsanto own all future generations of genetically modified seeds that it sells? The Missouri-based agribusiness giant wants farmers to pay a royalty to plant any seed that descended from a patented original.
The European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), the Society for Ecological Research, the foundation Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung for Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection, the Foundation on Future Farming, the non-profit organisation Sambucus and Testbiotech are challenging a decision made by the EU Commission to authorise a new genetically engineered Monsanto soybean at the European Court of Justice.
Environment and agriculture organisations have launched a new campaign to prevent the further spread of genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe. The European Commission is currently considering reviving talks to approve 25 new GM-crops for cultivation in Europe – including crops resistant to the pesticide RoundUp and insecticide-producing varieties of GM maize, soybean and sugarbeet. The groups claim that such a move would drastically change farming in Europe, leading to a big increase in pesticide use, contamination of conventional and organic crops and a further industrialisation of the countryside.
Argentina's Bad Seeds
March 14, 2013
For much of the past decade Argentina has seen a commodities-driven export boom, built largely on genetically-modified soy bean crops and the aggressive use of pesticides. Argentina's leaders say it has turned the country's economy around, while others say the consequences are a dramatic surge in cancer rates, birth defects and land theft.
A spat appears to be brewing between the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and biotech behemoth Monsanto, two organisations that appear to have enjoyed cordial relations in the past. Their relationship up to this point can be accurately summed up in a single sentence: Monsanto creates patented GM crops – EFSA approves them as safe. In fact, EFSA has yet to find a GM crop that it didn’t like, giving the green light to every single one that it has assessed so far. Recently, EFSA did further sterling work for Monsanto by burying the results of a long-term rat feeding study carried out by Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini et al, in which animals fed Monsanto’s NK603 GM corn and Roundup (glyphosate) herbicide died early and developed various cancers.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments in a seed patent infringement case that pits a small farmer from Indiana, 75-year old Vernon Hugh Bowman, against biotech goliath Monsanto. Reporters from the New York Times to the Sacramento Bee dissected the legal arguments. They speculated on the odds. They opined on the impact a Monsanto loss might have, not only on genetically modified crops, but on medical research and software. What most of them didn’t report on is the absurdity – and the danger – of allowing companies to patent living organisms in the first place, and then use those patents to attempt to monopolize world seed and food production.
Farmers in the United States, Europe, Brazil, India, and South Africa find fewer non-GMO options as biotech companies monopolize seed markets with GMOs.
While the Serb Government has promised to find and punish individuals and organizations repsonsible for spreading false stories natural milk was poisonous in order for the population to favor the import of GM milk, Macedonia went a step further and enacted laws that not just bans GM foods, but to jail those who use GM seeds to grow their products.
GM Freeze described the annual report of the status of GM crops around the world as "rose-tinted" and said it fails to describe the growing opposition and problems with GM crops. GM crops still only occupy a tiny percentage of global farmland (3.4% of all farmed land) and are only grown by a small minority of farmers (17.3 million out of a total 513 million (3.4%). One fewer country grew GM crops in 2012 compared to 2011 (28 down from 29). Brazil alone accounted for nearly two thirds of the increase in global area in 2012. In the US expansion slowed to less than a 1% increase in 2012. Many key facts are completely ignored or glossed over by the latest International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) report published today.
According to the biotech industry, genetically modified (GM) crops are a boon to humanity because they allow farmers to "generate higher crop yields with fewer inputs," as the trade group Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) puts it on its web page. Buoyed by such rhetoric, genetically modified seed giant Monsanto and its peers have managed to flood the corn, soybean, and cotton seed markets with two major traits: herbicide resistance and pesticide expression—giving plants the ability to, respectively, withstand regular lashings of particular herbicides and kill bugs with the toxic trait of Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. Turns out, though, that both assertions in BIO's statement are highly questionable.
Of all the GMO controversies around the world, the saga of Bt cotton in India continues to be one of the most interesting and important. In the latest chapter, reported by the Business Standard, cotton yields have dropped to a 5-year low, setting off a fascinating round of finger pointing.
GMO trial verdict: Criminalisation of Struggle for a sustainable agricultural system
February 12, 2013
Today the court of Dendermonde convicted 11 activists of gang formation. In doing so, the judge has criminalised their participation in the non violent direct action and debate on May 29th, 2011, which brought attention to the need for a sustainable agriculture system. This is an extremely dangerous precedent which will have an impact on all kinds of civil action. With this verdict, the Belgian court has fundamentally undermined the right of citizens to freedom of speech. For example, one of the participants has been given a six month custodial sentence for talking to the press.
GMO Inside is calling on Hershey and Mars to either stop putting Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their products, or to start labelling the products as containing GMOs.
Who controls the rights to the seeds planted in the ground? A 75-year-old farmer takes the agricultural giant to court to find out.
Honolulu – Hawaii might have cause to celebrate, as lawmakers have passed a new measure in the House Committee on Agriculture, requiring labeling on genetically modified food. But will the final bill be everything it was hoped to be?
India has its own problems with genetically modified (GM) crops and health claims, providing further evidence of a worldwide agenda. But the global GM push is having tragic consequences for the country’s small farmers – and in both cases, India’s bureaucrats have a lot to answer for.
Some US farmers are considering returning to conventional seed after increased pest resistance and crop failures meant GM crops saw smaller yields globally than their non-GM counterparts.
Environmental groups are urging Hawaii lawmakers to require all genetically modified food to carry boldface labeling.
Don't believe the hype: GM is in the grip of a few firms that profit from selling the chemicals they engineer their seeds to resist.
How biotechnology companies monopolize seed markets, escalate seed prices, and eliminate farmer choice.
BASF has given up seeking approval for genetically modified potatoes in Europe, the German chemical company said Tuesday, after concerted opposition from consumers, farmers and lawmakers.
One of the great mysteries surrounding the spread of GMO plants around the world since the first commercial crops were released in the early 1990’s in the USA and Argentina has been the absence of independent scientific studies of possible long-term effects of a diet of GMO plants on humans or even rats. Now it has come to light the real reason. The GMO agribusiness companies like Monsanto, BASF, Pioneer, Syngenta and others prohibit independent research.
Uncovered, the 'toxic' gene hiding in GM crops: Revelation throws new doubt over safety of foods
January 21, 2013
A virus gene that could be poisonous to humans has been missed when GM food crops have been assessed for safety.
A controversial new biotech corn developed by Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical,, will be delayed at least another year as the company awaits regulatory approval amid opposition from farmers, consumers and public health officials.
Addressing criticisms targeted at a study showing GM maize harmed the health of rats, a campaigner concludes that the public was misled to in order to protect powerful commercial interests.
A group of farmers are in Washington, DC this week to demand that the federal court reconsiders a case against biotech giants Monsanto.
Across the world, countries are turning their backs on GM crops; perhaps the coalition in the UK could learn something from them.
The Polish government has banned cultivation of certain genetically modified (GM) strains of maize and potatoes, according to a government statement on January 2.
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