tagged w/ Biotechnology
As of last night, a US marshall, 2 state police and a county police are all over Mr. Hixon's area, serving notices to farmers that they are being sued by Monsanto. They arrive in pairs, with two cars parked a quarter mile and half mile down the road. They've served 3 so far and said "a bunch more are coming." No telling how many will be served since Hixon has between 200-400 farmers he cleans seeds for and these farmers have been repeatedly threatened by Monsanto thugs for the last two months, getting "visits," letters, and calls daily.
Farmers report that a Monsanto investigator laughed that they were doing "rural cleansing."
Steve Hixon is a seed cleaner in southern Illinois. He has equipment that takes the plant materials and "cleans" it so that the seeds are separated out and can be given back to farmers to save for the next season. It's a mechanized step up from farmers hand picking seeds off their own plants, which, with hundreds of acres - or even 10 - would not be easy to do.
Mr. Hixon has the non-distinction of being attacked by Monsanto. He is far from alone. Monsanto has been picking off seed cleaners across the Midwest, having already done its thuggish thing in Pilot Grove, Missouri, and in Indiana, attacking Maurice Parr, destroying business for all of them.
Mr. Parr reports that when he was sued, the first thing out of the judge said was how "honored to have a fine company like Monsanto in my courtroom."
"Shortly after someone broke into Mr. Hixon's office and he found his account book on his truck seat where he would never have left it, evey one of his remotely located and very scattered customers had three men (described as goons with "no necks") arrived at each farm, going out onto it without permission ... Mr. Hixon and state police who were called in, believe a GPS tracking device may have been put on Mr. Hixon's equipment." Click here.
In 2002, when Mr. Hixon was at the state legislature for a meeting, he said he told a Monsanto representative there, "If you guys want to take over the seed industry so bad, you ought to buy guys like me out." The Monsanto agent is supposed to have responded "We'd rather put you out of business, it's more fun that way."
..."Of all of Monsanto, DuPont and Dow's agricultural products, genetically engineered food crops might appear to be the least tainted with immediate wartime origins. But this technology emerged from a period when the future of chemical agriculture appeared very much in doubt. With the rapid expansion of the agrochemical industry during the post-World War II era, these companies and their European counterparts had established a profound degree of control over agricultural practices."
But as public pressure and the weight of scientific evidence curtailed the use of DDT and many other chlorinated pesticides in the 1970s, executives and corporate scientists saw the potential for limitless advances -- and ever-expanding marketing potential -- in the incorporation of technological advances into the genetics of seeds. During the 1990s, Monsanto alone spent nearly $8 billion acquiring leading commercial seed suppliers in the United States and internationally; DuPont and others quickly followed suit, leading to today's widespread proliferation of genetically engineered food crops."
Today, in Illinois, our federal agents and police, working on behalf of Monsanto, are terrorizing ... whom? Drug dealers? Financiers who have stolen this country blind? The people who took us to war based on lies and have profited while thousands of American and 100s of thousands of Iraqi have died? No. Our tax dollars are being used to turn our marshals and police into Monsanto agents to terrorize our disappearing farmers.
Terror is palpable in rural America. It defines American farming communities now.As of last night, a US marshall, 2 state police and a county police are all over Mr.... more
According to the National Nanotechnology Initiative, "The worldwide need for nanotechnology workers is expected to reach 2 million by 2015."According to the National Nanotechnology Initiative, "The worldwide need for... more
Soy, she tells me, is "a disease, stuck in the marrow of my bones. It sustains me enough to keep me breathing at the end of each day, but it is rotting me alive. It is slowly numbing my body from the inside out. This crop has robbed me of my child. It has robbed me of my youth, my hope, my want to look ahead to a future. I am not the only one. There are many of us. In America you have cocaine to kill slowly; in Argentina we have soybeans."
Her name is Sonita Ponce. She is thirty-three, but she looks much older. She lives with her husband in the same stone, tin and mud hut that her great grandparents built and passed down through the generations. Their farm is located thirty miles south of Bolivia, in the northern Argentine province of Jujuy. Sonita's family members have always been farmers, and until quite recently their farm produced a wide variety of crops including maize, quinoa, lettuces, and other legumes. This changed in the early years of 2000 when the craze of soy hit America and China. Then genetically modified soy seeds were introduced to Argentina. Suddenly the production demand for soybeans increased so dramatically that the local farmers of these countries could no longer meet the consumer demands, and land was bought up by multinational soy corporations. Many farmers have lost their jobs, homes, land, and health.
In the past, farming in Northern Argentina was community based and structured. The provinces in this part of the country are very hot and dry, and this ecosystem can naturally support only small networks of farms. Thus this area consisted of small communities built around many little farms. The average farm contained 100-250 hectares with 10-15 male field hands who maintained and harvested the crops by hand or simple machinery. Many of the workers lived in small shacks on or close to the property of the farm, turning it into a gathering and meeting place for them and their families. Without modern technology, these small farms had jobs or chores for every age group. Small children could harvest vegetables or tend animals. Wives cooked or accompanied the men in the fields. Older generations assisted the children with harvesting and other simple tasks.
A farmerless crop
As soy fields spread, the US agrochemical giant Monsanto Corporation, developed and introduced the genetically engineered "Roundup Ready" (RR) soybean into the agriculture sector of South America. All parties concerned predicted that the introduction of the genetically modified (GM) soybean would advance farmers economically and technologically. The RR seed is resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, meaning that when the farmers spray glyphosate on their fields, the herbicide kills all the weeds without hurting the soy seed. Without a weed problem, the farmers dramatically decrease or stop tilling their fields, saving gas and machinery cost.
From an economic standpoint, Monsanto thought that cutting production costs would increase profit. They failed, however to understand that by bringing in these GM crops, they were uprooting the social structure and culture that the people of Northern Argentina survived on. "Genetically modified soy is a farm product that needs no farmers," Sonita explains, "which was what made it so appealing to all of us. We just weren't ready for the long terms effects."
With less machinery being operated, and the "built-in" weed management system, few hands are needed to tend to the crops. The labor requirement now for a soy farm is only one job per 100-55 hectares, which creates a large increase in unemployment throughout Northern Argentina. Without the need for extra field hands, suddenly thousands of workers and their families found themselves jobless, and, not soon after, homeless. These workers were the first people to feel the direct impact of the new GM soy crop.Soy, she tells me, is "a disease, stuck in the marrow of my bones. It sustains... more
No longer science fiction, researchers have invented a way to stop free floating DNA particles and nanoparticles. This technology allows for the movement of particles over long distances.No longer science fiction, researchers have invented a way to stop free floating DNA... more
"Teams in the UK, US and China are at work on the 1,000 Genomes Project, which will create the most useful map ever of genetic variation. The project Will read 6 trillion DNA building blocks including populations from Africa, Asia, USA and Europe ...""Teams in the UK, US and China are at work on the 1,000 Genomes Project, which... more
Are we setting ourselves up for a health catastrophe in the future? To allow GM foods to go out freely into our market and our environment without adequate testing is opening a pandora's box to a possible epidemic of illnesses due to GM foods. It may take another twenty years before the real consequences of this technology is known, or to concede we may not see any. However, without the proper testing and oversight we will never know and that is simply unacceptable.Are we setting ourselves up for a health catastrophe in the future? To allow GM foods... more
On Nov. 11, Austria's Ministries for Agriculture and Health released the results of a long-term study [PDF] of genetically modified organisms. A widely used strain of GM corn, they found, appears to decrease both birthrates and the size of offspring in mice -- and the problems seem to grow with each generation.
This is a troubling conclusion. U.S. farmers planted the first commercial GMO crops in 1996. Today, upwards of 90 percent of U.S. soy, and 60 percent of U.S. corn, come from GMO seeds. Those crops suffuse our food supply -- they provide the bulk of our cooking oil and sweetener, and feed the animals that feed us. By 2003, as much as 75 percent of processed food available in the United States contained GMO ingredients, according to an estimate cited by the USDA. GM corn and soy acreage have only expanded since then.
Of course, the reproductive function is complex and intimately linked to the body's other systems. If GMOs are affecting our ability to reproduce, then it seems likely they're affecting our health in other ways, too.
Yet the Austrian study dropped with a thud in the U.S. media. The New York Times didn't mention it; on The Washington Post website, it rated a few paragraphs in the midst of a daily health round up.
Nor did it seem to penetrate the world of our president-elect. Less than two weeks after the Austrian study emerged, Obama named the members of his transition team for issues related to the USDA. Among them was Michael R. Taylor, a consultant who has spent the past 30 years bouncing among high-level positions at the USDA, the FDA, and Monsanto, the company that dominates the lucrative market for GMO seeds. Taylor served as director of policy at the FDA during the 1990s, when GMOs began to infiltrate the food supply.
A few days before that, Des Moines Register agriculture correspondent Philip Brasher speculated that Obama will be as friendly to the ag-biotech industry as his predecessor, based on "both [Obama's] statements of policy and the type of people from whom he's taking advice."
Given the startling conclusions of the Austrian researchers and Obama's evident embrace of GMOs, it's time to revisit how the U.S. government regulates the technology.
More at the linkOn Nov. 11, Austria's Ministries for Agriculture and Health released the results... more
Raise the alarm for Mexican corn-s biosecurity: a molecular study conducted by Mexican, American and Dutch researchers demonstrates the presence of genes from genetically modified organisms (GMO) among the varieties of traditional corn cultivated in the remote regions of Oaxaca State in the southern part of the country, even though the Mexican government has always maintained a moratorium on the use of transgenic seed.
The results of this study incite the experts to demand much more restrictive protective measures. Old time agriculture as practiced in Mexico - where wind-blown pollination of corn is the norm and where peasants are in the habit of exchanging their seed - seems to aggravate the risk of rapid GMO contamination.
An article that details their conclusions should be published in the next edition of the review, Molecular Ecology. It was written by Elena Alvarez-Buylla of the Institute for Ecology of the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), with the collaboration of a dozen other scientists.
Their work could relaunch the controversy that was unleashed in 2001 by a highly controversial article in the magazine, Nature, the authors of which, biologists David Quist and Ignacio Chapela from the University of California at Berkeley, revealed that criollos (traditional) corn from the Oaxaca region - one of the cradles of that cereal - were contaminated by Roundup Ready (RR) and Bt genes, property of the American company Monsanto.
In her book, The World According to Monsanto, (due for release in March 2009 and already available for pre-order at Amazon.com), Marie-Monique Robin related how Mr. Chapela became a victim of media lynching at that time at the instigation of the dominant company in the GMO market. Nature ended up publishing a disclaimer, deeming that the two biologists article was insufficiently backed up.
However, seven years later, the work Mrs. Alvarez-Buylla directed broadly confirms their conclusions, as a report published in the November 13 Nature emphasizes. The researchers have discovered transgenes in three of the twenty-three fields of Oaxaca-s northern sierra where samples were taken in 2001, then in two places sampled in 2004.
American Allison Snow, of the University of California and author in 2005 of a preliminary study that seemed to undermine Ignacio Chapela and David Quist-s discoveries (and which were then immediately exploited by GMO partisans), is publishing an additional complimentary note in the same issue of Molecular Ecology, in which she judges the molecular analysis conducted by the UNAM team to be very good, bringing to light the positive evidence of transgenes.
The study-s authors call for a strengthening of biosecurity measures to preserve native corn varieties, especially in Mexico, corn-s center of origin. They say Mexico must set up truly independent laboratories and adapt criteria of molecular analysis to the Mexican reality, rather than trusting methods used in countries such as the United States which have an agricultural system entirely different from our own.
But their greatest concern at present involves planned pharmaceutical trusts which want to make a profit on corn biomass and use it as a bioreactor in order, for example, to express vaccines and anti-coagulants. Given the incidents that have already occurred in the United States where they have trouble separating bioreactors from GMO, we may fear that corn could turn into the garbage bin of the pharmaceutical industry, at the expense of its purpose as food, fears Mrs. Alvarez-Buylla. What shall we do when anti-coagulants arrive in Mexican tortilla?
* Quotes and apostrophes eliminated because they won-t show on post properly.Raise the alarm for Mexican corn-s biosecurity: a molecular study conducted by... more
A Vatican bioethics document today condemned artificial fertilisation and other techniques used by many couples and also said human cloning, "designer babies" and embryonic stem-cell research were immoral.
The long awaited document from the Vatican's doctrinal body marked a big step by the Vatican into the brave new world of biotechnology, an area in which governments around the world are struggling to formulate legislation.
The document, the most authoritative of its kind from the Vatican in 20 years, said human life deserved respect "from the very first stages of its existence (and) can never be reduced merely to a group of cells".A Vatican bioethics document today condemned artificial fertilisation and other... more
4 years ago
Have you ever picked up a cold, frosty beer on a hot summer's day and thought that it simply couldn't get any better?
Well, you may have to think again.
A team of researchers at Rice University in Houston is working to create a beer that could fight cancer and heart disease. Taylor Stevenson, a member of the six-student research team and a junior at Rice, said the team is using genetic engineering to create a beer that includes resveratrol, the disease-fighting chemical that's been found in red wine.
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin in June had called resveratrol, which is a natural component of grapes, pomegranates and red wine, a key reason for the so-called French Paradox -- the observation that French people have lower rates of heart disease despite a cuisine known for its cream sauces and decadent cheeses, all loaded with heart-clogging saturated fats.
The Wisconsin researchers had noted that adding small doses of resveratrol to the diet of middle-aged mice significantly slows their aging and keeps their hearts healthy. And they added that giving high doses to invertebrates extends their life spans, and high doses also stave off premature death in mice fed a high-fat diet.
Stevenson said that the Rice research group, most of the members of which aren't old enough to legally drink alcoholic beverages, came up with the idea of adding resveratrol to beer during a casual conversation about potential projects to undertake. "The idea is that it may have greater effects [in beer than in wine]," he added. "The amount of red wine you'd need to drink to get the same results they get with rats in labs is about half a bottle a day."
He explained that the amount of resveratrol in wine varies from bottle to bottle, since it depends on growing conditions for the grapes and other variables. The researchers felt they could design a beer with higher and more consistent concentrations of the cancer-fighting chemical.
The students, using their own Dell, Lenovo ThinkPad and Gateway laptops, are now in the process of developing a genetically modified strain of yeast that will ferment beer and produce resveratrol at the same time. Stevenson said that as the research advances, the team will need to use one of Rice University's computer grids to run compute-heavy genetic models.
The Rice effort is the latest in a series of projects that use technology to find cures to major health concerns like cancer and heart disease.
In August, scientists at Stanford University announced that they have found a way to use nanotechnology to have chemotherapy drugs target only cancer cells, keeping healthy tissue safe from the treatment's toxic effects.
CONT'D::Have you ever picked up a cold, frosty beer on a hot summer's day and thought... more
" The protein, known as the green fluorescent protein, or G.F.P., was for years just a biological curiosity from a glowing jellyfish.
G.F.P. remained largely a curiosity until 1992, when Dr. Chalfie used it to make E. coli bacteria glow. He then made individual cells inside C. elegans roundworms glow.
The key to the use of G.F.P. is that biologists now know the gene that produces it. When they want to track the activity of a particular protein in a cell they first must identify the gene that produces it. Then, they can splice in the gene for G.F.P. next to the new gene. The result is that the protein is produced with a slight modification, an attached fluorescent snippet.
All that remains is to shine ultraviolet light on the cells. The tagged proteins glow, revealing their locations..."
" The protein, known as the green fluorescent protein, or G.F.P., was for years... more
Consumers Union finds it "incomprehensible" that the FDA will not require labeling of genetically engineered animals that are sold as food. Genetically engineered animals may contain genetic material from entirely different species. For example mouse genes have been put into pigs to help them metabolize phosphorous more efficiently, and spider genes have been put into goats so that they produce spider silk in their milk.
FDA proposed today that they will only review genetically engineered animals for their safety as food, and will not require any labeling. "It is incomprehensible to us that FDA does not view these animals as different from their conventional counterparts, and therefore something that under law is required to be labeled," stated Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. "In our view, consumers have a right to know if the ham, bacon or pork chops they are buying come from pigs that have been engineered with mouse genes."
Consumers Union is also concerned that cows engineered to produce antibiotics in their milk, which can help the cow avoid udder infections, also will not be labeled. "Unlike conventional antibiotics, which must be cleared from the cow before it can be used to produce milk or meat, the antibiotic that is genetically engineered into the animal will always be present. We are concerned both about the potential safety and lack of labeling on such food products," stated Michael Hansen, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Consumers Union.
What are they hiding? Again, they cover for corporations to make them money. Again, you will not know what you are eating. A cow injected with a mouse gene on top of some tasty pus producing RGBH? Would you truly eat that meat if you knew that information? I am so sick of the FDA and all of these government agencies controlling our lives. Consumer disclosure is Democracy and they shouldn't have the right to "decide" if they will tell us or not. We have a right to know what we are paying good money for and what we are eating and feeding our children!Consumers Union finds it "incomprehensible" that the FDA will not require... more
That's a lot of poison in our rivers, streams, food, air and stomachs. Poison for profit. That should be their slogan. And why are these profits so high? Well, because they have bought up close to 90% of the global seed market thus forcing farmers to sign their bogus contracts holding them to buying their seeds and poison every year. They cannot save the seeds, and they have to buy the poison sprays with the seeds yearly. And the pesticides sprayed on crops made by these companies have also been found in higher levels in beehives, suggesting that it is possible that when bees have tried to pollinate GM crops they carry these pesticides back to the hives which makes them sick, thus causing them to desert the hives. Imagine what their seeds with built in pesticides can do for your salad!
And yet, the FDA states there is no difference between this poison and the conventional crops that farmers once grew and could regrow with saved seeds as has been the tradition in agriculture since ancient times. That way they also get out of responsibility from labelling the food you eat. That way you don't know the poisons you are consuming. And even if you are an organic farmer, chances are your crops have also been poisoned by their transgenic pollution. Even without selling you the seeds, you are a part of their big happy poison family.
Oh, and of course, these fake seeds with the poison centers are feeding the world! Don't pay attention to all of the starving people in Haiti, Africa, Asia and elsewhere. Don't let the real truth blind you to their propaganda... profit is good even at the expense of morality, truth, and this planet. That's the Monsanto way.
From the entry noted:
Monsanto positions itself as a green company.
"Using the tools of modern biology," its website informs us, "we help farmers grow more yield sustainably so they can produce more and conserve more."
Compare that twaddle to this bit from Monsanto's announcement on Tuesday:
[Monsanto's Chief Financial Officer Terry] Crews will indicate that Monsanto's Roundup® and other glyphosate-based herbicides business is on track to be above $1.9 billion of gross profit for the 2008 fiscal year, ahead of the previous forecast. Wow. Nearly $2 billion in profit, from Roundup alone. As recently as February, Monsanto was expecting to make $1.4 billion from its herbicide division this year. I guess farmers applied it even more copiously than expected.
But the company isn't just churning out profit by peddling weed-killer. Its seeds are doing pretty well, too -- particularly corn:
Crews will also note that for the 2008 fiscal year, the company's corn business should exceed $2 billion in gross-profit generation for the first time. Interesting. So it makes nearly as much on herbicide as it does on corn seeds. (Overall, the company expects to make $3.8 billion on seeds in '08).
Investors applauded Monsanto's announcement, sending shares up 7.5 percent Tuesday.
I wonder if they're being short-sighted. Monsanto's success rests on Roundup Ready technology -- selling seeds genetically engineered to withstand heavy doses of its flagship herbicide.
But Roundup-tolerant weeds (so-called "superweeds") are on the rise. Eventully, farmers will have to shift away from Roundup -- Monsanto's $1.8 billion cash cow.
Meanwhile, Bayer is rolling out a new line of herbicide-tolerant seeds, this one designed to withstand doses of Bayer's glufosinate herbicide. Ain't the agrichemical industry grand?
That's a lot of poison in our rivers, streams, food, air and stomachs. Poison for... more
Scientists have created a robot controlled by a biological brain made of rat neurons, which controls the robot's movements.
Wow.Scientists have created a robot controlled by a biological brain made of rat neurons,... more
The processes of hybridization involving repeated combinations of genetic material were limited for a long time by the fact that natural reproduction only takes place between plants of the same species. But Genetic Engineering took off with the unravelling of the full structure of the DNA 20 years ago. It became possible to insert a gene of one species into the DNA of another, thus offering immense agricultural possibilities.
Some examples include the modification of plants that fix the nitrogen of the air without belonging to the Leguminous family, plants resistant to certain diseases or to dry environments; the possibility of producing drugs and vaccines by genetically modifying bacteria, and many others.
Farmers were thus promised higher incomes; traders were promised lower costs of production and better quality of produce; and the companies producing such foods saw huge profits appearing on the horizon through monopolies and patents of such modified foods. Naturally, their research showed that there was no difference between the natural and engineered foods, that these were safe, and that they would solve the problem of famine in the world.
But if GM foods were all that their producers claimed them to be, why was the process conducted by stealth and sprung on the public without notice? This policy of the fait accompli began with the US government, which neither informed nor consulted its citizens about GM crops nor, worse still, did it require GM foods to be labelled, so as to give the public the democratic choice of whether to buy or not. After this GM foods were imposed on one country after another, in the same utterly undemocratic atmosphere of secrecy.
For a full understanding of the import of GM foods, two sets of results need to be considered: social results on the countries that have adopted them and biological results of the genetically modified foods. Further, GM foods must be analysed as part and parcel of the much touted globalization,to which we now turn.
Dr Vandana Shiva is an India physicist, founder and president of the Research Foundation for Science Technology and Ecology, and one of India's leading activists. She describes in one of her papers how the transformation of peasant agriculture in India to a globally industrialized model, which has GM foods as a supporting pillar, has reduced food security, threatened local businesses and biodiversity, driven farmers off their lands, and opened the door for global corporations to take over the nation's food processing.
The common claim by globalization enthusiasts is that it is natural, inevitable, and evolutionary. Dr Shiva sees it otherwise. Globalization is not a natural process of inclusion. It is a planned project of exclusion that has siphoned the resources and knowledge of the poor of India onto the global marketplace, stripping people of their life-support systems, livelihoods, and lifestyles.
Global trade rules, as enshrined in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture (AOA) and in the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) agreement, are primarily camouflaged rules of robbery.
The WTO's overall goal: promoting market competition serves two purposes. First, it transforms culture, biodiversity, food, water, livelihoods, needs, and rights into commodities for sale to be conveyed to markets. Second, it justifies the destruction of nature, culture, and livelihoods in terms of rules of competition.
Its officials attack ethical and ecological rules that sustain and promote life, dubbing them as protectionist barriers to trade.
Globalized food and agriculture in effect, means the corporate takeover of the food chain, the erosion of food rights, the destruction of the cultural diversity of food and the biological diversity of crops, and the displacement of millions from land-based, rural livelihoods.
The processes of hybridization involving repeated combinations of genetic material... more
A team of biologists and chemists is closing in on bringing non-living matter to life.
It's not as Frankensteinian as it sounds. Instead, a lab led by Jack Szostak, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School, is building simple cell models that can almost be called life.
Szostak's protocells are built from fatty molecules that can trap bits of nucleic acids that contain the source code for replication. Combined with a process that harnesses external energy from the sun or chemical reactions, they could form a self-replicating, evolving system that satisfies the conditions of life, but isn't anything like life on earth now, but might represent life as it began or could exist elsewhere in the universe.
While his latest work remains unpublished, Szostak described preliminary new success in getting protocells with genetic information inside them to replicate at the XV International Conference on the Origin of Life in Florence, Italy, last week. The replication isn't wholly autonomous, so it's not quite artificial life yet, but it is as close as anyone has ever come to turning chemicals into biological organisms.
A team of biologists and chemists is closing in on bringing non-living matter to life.... more
We know you're just dying to taste that delectable genetically modified alfalfa, but you'll have to wait: an appeals court today ruled that the feds must review the potential environmental effects of the biotech seeds before farmers can plant them.
The decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals forces the U.S. Department of Agriculture to issue an environmental impact statement on Roundup Ready alfalfa seeds, which are made by ag giant Monsanto and would be planted exclusively by Forage Genetics International.
"It’s a historic moment of a court requiring an environmental review, and until it's done Monsanto can't plant or sell its seed," said Kevin Golden, a staff attorney for the Center for Food Safety (CFS), which along with eight other parties sued the government green-lighting the seeds. "It puts on notice the government and creators of this technology -- Monsanto in particular -- that if it wants to bring GE (genetically engineered) crops into the American agricultural system, it must do its work to show that farmers and consumers will be protected and non-GE crops won't be affected."
The decision upholds an injunction issued by a district court judge last year. CFS and other critics worry that tiny genetically modified alfalfa seeds will contaminate organic and conventional crops through cross-pollination.
"The concern is there will one day not be organic alfalfa, which is the primary food for cattle in this country," Golden said. "If you lose organic alfalfa, you lose organic cheese."
Representatives from USDA, Monsanto and Forage Genetics International didn't immediately respond for comment.
Wow, first the passing of the bill in California protecting farmers from Monsanto's frivolous greed driven lawsuits regarding transgenic pollination, and now this. Is the tide turning? I sure hope so. And as this article mentions, since alfalfa is a main source of food for cows, their round about attempt to poison our cheese and milk as well by hoping this fake alfalfa cross pollinates in the wind to ruin organic crops cows eat needs to be banned. This is truly an evil company. I have no doubt they want their seeds to cross pollinate in order to ruin organic crops to mutate them to control the market even of those farmers who do not plant their seeds! And then they sue the farmers! Good to see them being held accountable. It is more than the USDA and FDA have done in the past. These people are relentless! How much is enough?
We know you're just dying to taste that delectable genetically modified... more
NOTE: More good news from the US. This is a major step forward. California's is the 8th largest economy in the world.
EXTRACT: Currently, farmers with crops that become contaminated by patented seeds or pollen have been the target of harassing lawsuits brought by biotech patent holders, particularly Monsanto. --- --- California Legislature Passes Bill Protecting Farmers Against Monsanto Lawsuits
First State Bill Regarding Genetically Engineered Crops Awaits Governor's Signature
PRESS RELEASE, The Genetic Engineering Policy Project
August 31 2008 - A landmark piece of legislation protecting California's farmers from crippling lawsuits was passed through both legislative houses this week in an end-of-session flurry. The Senate voted 23 - 14 to support it, and the Assembly was unanimous in their support. The bill, AB 541 (Huffman, D-Marin/Sonoma), is now headed to the Governor's desk for his signature. Sponsored by diverse organizations, some of whom are traditionally opposed on farm issues, AB 541 is the first bill passed by the California legislature that brings much-needed regulation to genetically engineered (GE) crops.
"I am very pleased that my office, working with the stakeholders on both sides of this historically divisive issue, was able to find common ground and pass California's first legislation on genetic engineered crops," stated Assemblymember Huffman. "While there is still work to be done on other aspects of genetic engineering, AB 541 is an important step in establishing basic protections for California's farmers."
AB 541 enacts protections against lawsuits brought against California farmers who have not been able to prevent the inevitable - the drift of GE pollen or seed onto their land and the subsequent contamination of their non-GE crops. Currently, farmers with crops that become contaminated by patented seeds or pollen have been the target of harassing lawsuits brought by biotech patent holders, particularly Monsanto. The bill also establishes a mandatory crop sampling protocol to prevent biotech companies that are investigating alleged violations from sampling crops without the explicit permission of farmers.
AB 541 has the support of organizations traditionally on opposite sides of the GE issue, and its sponsors are confident that the Governor will sign it. The bill was sponsored by a thirteen-member coalition including Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Earthbound Farm, California Certified Organic Farmers, United Natural Foods Inc., as well as California Farmers Union and the California Farm Bureau, and several others.
"AB 541 is a move in the right direction," stated Renata Brillinger, director of the Genetic Engineering Policy Project, the coalition of organic and conventional farmers, food industry, environmental, and faith organizations sponsoring AB 541. "It provides much needed protection for farmers who typically lack the resources to fight lawsuits brought by biotech conglomerates."
A copy of the bill can be downloaded at:
This is GOOD news! I hope other states use California as a model and work on bills that also give protection to farmers sued by Monsanto out of greed. Transgenic pollution and pollination is not the fault of the farmer, and Monsanto should not be allowed to indiscriminately sue farmers trying to make a living simply because they don't plant their frankenfood.
NOTE: More good news from the US. This is a major step forward. California's is... more