tagged w/ Boycott Monsanto
The giant bio-tech firm Monsanto yesterday announced a major withdrawal from the UK amid intense opposition to genetically modified foods.The company, the leading multinational behind the production of GM crops, is closing its wheat growing operation, based in Cambridge.
Officials said the move was partly due to the opposition to GM crops which has inspired the Daily Mail's campaign against so-called "Frankenstein Foods". Monsanto is also seeking to sell off crop-breeding centres in France, Germany and the Czech Republic.
The move was widely seen as an indication that the company has given up hopes of introducing GM crops to Europe. Pete Riley, of Friends of the Earth, said last night: "If they are pulling out, we should rejoice."
Monsanto's decision was made public on the eve of the Government's final announcement on the prospects for GM crop cultivation here. Earlier this week it was revealed that the Government's own research had found that GM farming would pollute the countryside for generations. Monsanto's Cambridge unit employed 125 people developing hybrid wheat varieties for the European market.
The company bought the former Government Plant Breeding Institute from Unilever in 1998, declaring that GM crops would be established within five years. But a Monsanto spokesman said last night the expected business had "never materialised". Last month, Bayer CropScience pulled the plug on UK field trials, leaving just one company, Syngenta, actively pursuing GM here. The results of the Government research had been wdely seen as dealing a bodyblow to supporters of GM crops.
Disturbing figures came from three separate studies conducted on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.They showed that pollen contamination would spread far further than previously thought and "feral" growth of weed killer -proof plants from just one crop would persist for years.
At the same time, the heavy use of chemicals associated with the crops could wipe out some bird species.The warnings followed the massive public suspicion of GM crops revealed by the Government's own national consultation.
In an initiative involving hundreds of public meetings and 37,000 questionnaires, 93 per cent of respondents said not enough was known about the long-term effects of GM foods on health, while 86 per cent said they would not eat it. Concern about pollution of organic and other farms was mentioned by 95 per cent, while 93 per cent said GM technology was driven more by profit than public interest.
There has also been concern over the close relationship between the Labour Government and Monsanto. David Hill, Tony Blair's new spin doctor, is a former adviser to Monsanto and Science Minister Lord Sainsbury holds a stake in a firm linked to Monsanto, which is handled by a blind trust. The GM row in Europe has escalated recently, with comments from EU environment commissioner Margaret Wallstrom that GM companies were lying and trying to force unsuitable crops on European farmland.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-199884/GM-giant-quits-Britain-amid-backlash.html#ixzz1l3z17I91
http://www.healingtalks.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/GMO-Free-Is-Fastest-Growing-Retail-Brand2.jpgThe giant bio-tech firm Monsanto yesterday announced a major withdrawal from the UK... more
EXTRACT: "Though glyphosate is the mostly widely used herbicide in the world, we know very little about its long term effects to the environment," says Paul Capel, USGS chemist and an author on this study. "This study is one of the first to document the consistent occurrence of this chemical in streams, rain and air throughout the growing season."
Widely Used Herbicide Commonly Found in Rain and Streams in the Mississippi River Basin
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192 Paul Capel
Phone: (612) 625-3082
Phone: (571) 420-9408
Glyphosate, also known by its tradename Roundup, is commonly found in rain and rivers in agricultural areas in the Mississippi River watershed, according to two new USGS studies released this month.
Glyphosate is used in almost all agricultural and urban areas of the United States. The greatest glyphosate use is in the Mississippi River basin, where most applications are for weed control on genetically-modified corn, soybeans and cotton. Overall, agricultural use of glyphosate has increased from less than 11,000 tons in 1992 to more than 88,000 tons in 2007.
"Though glyphosate is the mostly widely used herbicide in the world, we know very little about its long term effects to the environment," says Paul Capel, USGS chemist and an author on this study. "This study is one of the first to document the consistent occurrence of this chemical in streams, rain and air throughout the growing season. This is crucial information for understanding where management efforts for this chemical would best be focused."
In these studies, Glyphosate was frequently detected in surface waters, rain and air in areas where it is heavily used in the basin. The consistent occurrence of glyphosate in streams and air indicates its transport from its point of use into the broader environment.
Additionally, glyphosate persists in streams throughout the growing season in Iowa and Mississippi, but is generally not observed during other times of the year. The degradation product of glyphosate, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), which has a longer environmental lifetime, was also frequently detected in streams and rain.
Detailed results of this glyphosate research are available in "Occurrence and fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in the atmosphere," published in volume 30 of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and in "Fate and transport of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid in surface waters of agricultural basins," published online in Pest Management Science. Copies of the reports are available from the journals or from Paul Capel ( firstname.lastname@example.org).
Research on the transport of glyphosate was conducted as part of the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program. The NAWQA program provides an understanding of water-quality conditions, whether conditions are getting better or worse over time, and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions. Additional information on the NAWQA program can be found online.
http://eii.org/eijournal/spring05/images/spraying.jpgEXTRACT: "Though glyphosate is the mostly widely used herbicide in the world, we... more
Public kept in the dark on Roundup link with birth defects
*Industry knew since 1980s, regulators since 1990s*
Earth Open Source
Press release for immediate release, 7 June 2011
Industry and EU regulators knew as long ago as the 1980s-1990s that Roundup, the world's best selling herbicide, causes birth defects – but they failed to inform the public. This is the conclusion of a new report, "Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?" co-authored by a group of international scientists and researchers and released today.
The report reveals that industry's own studies (including one commissioned by Monsanto) showed as long ago as the 1980s that Roundup's active ingredient glyphosate causes birth defects in laboratory animals.
The German government has known about these findings since at least the 1990s, when as the "rapporteur" member state for glyphosate, it reviewed industry's studies for the EU approval of the herbicide. The European Commission has known since at least 2002, when it signed off on glyphosate's approval.
But this information was not made public. On the contrary, regulators have consistently misled the public about glyphosate's safety. As recently as last year, the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, BVL, told the Commission there was "no evidence of teratogenicity" (ability to cause birth defects) for glyphosate.
BVL made this comment in its rebuttal of an independent scientific study published last year by Argentine scientists. The study showed that Roundup and glyphosate cause birth defects in frogs and chickens at concentrations much lower than those used in agricultural spraying. The study was prompted by reports of high rates of birth defects and cancers in areas of South America growing genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready soy, which is engineered to tolerate being sprayed liberally with glyphosate herbicide.
In its rebuttal of the Argentine study, BVL cited as proof of glyphosate's safety the industry studies submitted for the Commission's 2002 approval of glyphosate (the approval that is currently in force).
But the authors of the new report obtained the approval documents and found that contrary to BVL's claim, industry's own studies, conducted in the 1980s and 1990s, showed that glyphosate/Roundup causes birth defects in experimental animals. In some cases, these effects occurred at low doses.
The German authorities and the EU Commission's ECCO expert review panel whitewashed the findings and the Commission approved the herbicide.
Claire Robinson, a co-author of the new report and spokesperson for the sustainability NGO Earth Open Source, which published it, said, "This looks like a thirty-year cover-up by industry and regulators and it has certainly placed the public at risk. Roundup is used not only by farmers but by home gardeners and in school grounds and other public areas, in part because of false marketing claims that it is safe."
Commission delays review of glyphosate
A new, more stringent pesticide regulation comes into force in the EU this June. An objective review of glyphosate under this new regulation would almost certainly result in a ban. This is because under the regulation, independent studies have to be taken into consideration. Many of these studies, summarised in the new report, show that glyphosate and Roundup cause birth defects, cancer, genetic damage, endocrine disruption, and other serious effects, often at very low doses.
Glyphosate was due to be reviewed in 2012. But late last year, the Commission quietly passed a directive delaying the review of glyphosate and 38 other pesticides until 2015.
Public kept in the dark on Roundup link with birth defects
*Industry knew... more
A new paper shows that consuming genetically modified (GM) corn or soybeans leads to significant organ disruptions in rats and mice, particularly in livers and kidneys. By reviewing data from 19 animal studies, Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini and others reveal that 9% of the measured parameters, including blood and urine biochemistry, organ weights, and microscopic analyses (histopathology), were significantly disrupted in the GM-fed animals. The kidneys of males fared the worst, with 43.5% of all the changes. The liver of females followed, with 30.8%. The report, published in Environmental Sciences Europe on March 1, 2011, confirms that “several convergent data appear to indicate liver and kidney problems as end points of GMO diet effects.” The authors point out that livers and kidneys “are the major reactive organs” in cases of chronic food toxicity.
“Other organs may be affected too, such as the heart and spleen, or blood cells,” stated the paper. In fact some of the animals fed genetically modified organisms had altered body weights in at least one gender, which is “a very good predictor of side effects in various organs.”
The GM soybean and corn varieties used in the feeding trials “constitute 83% of the commercialized GMOs” that are currently consumed by billions of people. While the findings may have serious ramifications for the human population, the authors demonstrate how a multitude of GMO-related health problems could easily pass undetected through the superficial and largely incompetent safety assessments that are used around the world.
One of the most glaring faults in the current regulatory regime is the short duration of animals feeding studies. The industry limits trials to 90 days at most, with some less than a month. Only two studies reviewed in this new publication were over 90 days—both were non-industry research.
Short studies could easily miss many serious effects of GMOs. It is well established that some pesticides and drugs, for example, can create effects that are passed on through generations, only showing up decades later. IN the case of the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol), “induced female genital cancers among other problems in the second generation.” The authors urge regulators to require long-term multi-generational studies, to “provide evidence of carcinogenic, developmental, hormonal, neural, and reproductive potential dysfunctions, as it does for pesticides or drugs.”
Nearly all GM crops are described as “pesticide plants.” They either tolerate doses of weed killer, such as Roundup, or produce an insecticide called Bt-toxin. In both cases, the added toxin—weedkiller or bug killer—is found inside the corn or soybeans we consume.
When regulators evaluate the toxic effects of pesticides, they typically require studies using three types of animals, with at least one feeding trial lasting 2 years or more. One third or more of the side effects produced by these toxins will show up only in the longer study—not the shorter ones. But for no good reason, regulators ignore the lessons learned from pesticides and waive the GM crops-containing-pesticides onto the market with a single species tested for just 90 days. The authors affirm that “it is impossible, within only 13 weeks, to conclude about the kind of pathology that could be induced by pesticide GMOs and whether it is a major pathology or a minor one. It is therefore necessary to prolong the tests.”
GMO approvals also ignore the new understanding that toxins don’t always follow a linear dose-response. Sometimes a smaller amount of toxins have greater impact than larger doses. Approvals also overlook the fact that mixtures can be far more dangerous than single chemicals acting alone. Roundup residues, for example, have been “shown to be toxic for human placental, embryonic, and umbilical cord cells,” whereas Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate does not on its own provoke the same degree of damage. One reason for this is that the chemicals in Roundup “stabilize glyphosate and allow its penetration into cells.”
Furthermore, toxins may generate new substances (metabolites) “either in the GM plant or in the animals fed with it.” Current assessments completely ignore the potential danger from these new components in our diets, such as the “new metabolites” in GMOs engineered to withstand Roundup. The authors warn, “We consider this as a major oversight in the present regulations.”
A new paper shows that consuming... more
Authorities in Mexico have denied an application from seed giant Monsanto Co. to expand to pilot planting projects of genetically modified corn in northern Mexico, arguing that more experimental planting is needed to ensure the GM crops won't affect native corn varieties.
The head of Mexico's inter-agency commission on genetically modified crops says more small, strictly-controlled experimental plots are needed in order to decide on whether the crops can be grown in the birthplace of corn.
Reynaldo Alvarez Morales said Wednesday companies will have to plan at least another cycle of small plots of about 2 acres (1 hectare), before they can move on to "pilot" plots of as much as 50 hectares (124 acres).Authorities in Mexico have denied an application from seed giant Monsanto Co. to... more
ROGUE AGENCY CHOOSES “BUSINESS AS USUAL” OVER SOUND SCIENCE
CENTER ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE LEGAL CHALLENGE TO USDA’S FLAWED ASSESSMENT
The Center for Food Safety criticized the announcement today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that it will once again allow unlimited, nation-wide commercial planting of Monsanto’s genetically-engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa, despite the many risks to organic and conventional farmers USDA acknowledged in its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). On a call today with stakeholders, Secretary Vilsack reiterated the concerns surrounding purity and access to non-GE seed, yet the Agency’s decision still places the entire burden for preventing contamination on non-GE farmers, with no protections for food producers, consumers and exporters.
“We’re disappointed with USDA’s decision and we will be back in court representing the interest of farmers, preservation of the environment, and consumer choice” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director for the Center for Food Safety. “USDA has become a rogue agency in its regulation of biotech crops and its decision to appease the few companies who seek to benefit from this technology comes despite increasing evidence that GE alfalfa will threaten the rights of farmers and consumers, as well as damage the environment.”
On Monday, the Center sent an open letter to Secretary Vilsack calling on USDA to base its decision on sound science and the interests of farmers, and to avoid rushing the process to meet the marketing timelines or sales targets of Monsanto, Forage Genetics or other entities.
CFS also addressed several key points that were not properly assessed in the FEIS, among them were:
•Liability, Implementation and Oversight — Citing over 200 past contamination episodes that have cost farmers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost sales, CFS demands that liability for financial losses incurred by farmers due to transgenic contamination be assigned to the crop developers. CFS also calls on USDA to take a more active oversight role to ensure that any stewardship plans are properly implemented and enforced.
•Roundup Ready alfalfa will substantially increase herbicide use – USDA’s assessment misrepresented conventional alfalfa as utilizing more herbicides than it does, which in turn provided a false rationale for introducing herbicide-promoting Roundup Ready alfalfa. In fact, USDA’s own data shows that just 7% of alfalfa hay acres are treated with herbicides. USDA’s projections in the FEIS show that substantial adoption of Roundup Ready alfalfa would trigger large increases in herbicide use of up to 23 million lbs. per year.
•Harms from glyphosate-resistant weeds – USDA’s sloppy and unscientific treatment of glyphosate-resistant (GR) weeds ignored the significant contribution that RR alfalfa could make to their rapid evolution. USDA failed to analyze how GR weeds fostered by currently grown RR crops are increasing herbicide use; spurring more use of soil-eroding tillage; and reducing farmer income through increased weed control costs, an essential baseline analysis.
“We in the farm sector are dissatisfied but not surprised at the lack of courage from USDA to stop Roundup Ready alfalfa and defend family farmers,” said Pat Trask, conventional alfalfa grower and plaintiff in the alfalfa litigation.
The FEIS comes in response to a 2007 lawsuit brought by CFS, in which a federal court ruled that the USDA’s approval of GE alfalfa violated environmental laws by failing to analyze risks such as the contamination of conventional and organic alfalfa, the evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds, and increased use of glyphosate herbicide, sold by Monsanto as Roundup. The Court banned new plantings of GE alfalfa until USDA completed a more comprehensive assessment of these impacts. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals twice affirmed the national ban on GE alfalfa planting. In June 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Alfalfa until and unless future deregulation occurs.
“Last spring more than 200,000 people submitted comments to the USDA highly critical of the substance and conclusions of its Draft EIS on GE Alfalfa,” said Kimbrell. “Clearly the USDA was not listening to the public or farmers but rather to just a handful of corporations.”ROGUE AGENCY CHOOSES “BUSINESS AS USUAL” OVER SOUND SCIENCE
Don Huber spent 35 years as a plant pathologist at Purdue University and knows a lot about what causes green plants to turn yellow and die prematurely. He asked the seed dealer why the SDS was so severe in the one area of the field and not the other. “Did you plant something there last year that wasn’t planted in the rest of the field?” he asked. Sure enough, precisely where the severe SDS was, the dealer had grown alfalfa, which he later killed off at the end of the season by spraying a glyphosate-based herbicide (such as Roundup). The healthy part of the field, on the other hand, had been planted to sweet corn and hadn’t received glyphosate.
This was yet another confirmation that Roundup was triggering SDS. In many fields, the evidence is even more obvious. The disease was most severe at the ends of rows where the herbicide applicator looped back to make another pass (see photo). That’s where extra Roundup was applied.
Don’s a scientist; it takes more than a few photos for him to draw conclusions. But Don’s got more—lots more. For over 20 years, Don studied Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate. He’s one of the world’s experts. And he can rattle off study after study that eliminate any doubt that glyphosate is contributing not only to the huge increase in SDS, but to the outbreak of numerous other diseases. (See selected reading list.)
Sudden Death Syndrome is more severe at the ends of rows, where Roundup dose is strongest. Photo by Amy Bandy.
Roundup: The perfect storm for plant disease
More than 30% of all herbicides sprayed anywhere contain glyphosate—the world’s bestselling weed killer. It was patented by Monsanto for use in their Roundup brand, which became more popular when they introduced “Roundup Ready” crops starting in 1996. These genetically modified (GM) plants, which now include soy, corn, cotton, canola, and sugar beets, have inserted genetic material from viruses and bacteria that allows the crops to withstand applications of normally deadly Roundup.
(Monsanto requires farmers who buy Roundup Ready seeds to only use the company’s Roundup brand of glyphosate. This has extended the company’s grip on the glyphosate market, even after its patent expired in 2000.)
The herbicide doesn’t destroy plants directly. It rather cooks up a unique perfect storm of conditions that revs up disease-causing organisms in the soil, and at the same time wipes out plant defenses against those diseases. The mechanisms are well-documented but rarely cited.
1.The glyphosate molecule grabs vital nutrients and doesn’t let them go. This process is called chelation and was actually the original property for which glyphosate was patented in 1964. It was only 10 years later that it was patented as an herbicide. When applied to crops, it deprives them of vital minerals necessary for healthy plant function—especially for resisting serious soilborne diseases. The importance of minerals for protecting against disease is well established. In fact, mineral availability was the single most important measurement used by several famous plant breeders to identify disease-resistant varieties.
1.Glyphosate annihilates beneficial soil organisms, such as Pseudomonas and Bacillus bacteria that live around the roots. Since they facilitate the uptake of plant nutrients and suppress disease-causing organisms, their untimely deaths means the plant gets even weaker and the pathogens even stronger.
1.The herbicide can interfere with photosynthesis, reduce water use efficiency, lower lignin , damage and shorten root systems, cause plants to release important sugars, and change soil pH—all of which can negatively affect crop health.
1.Glyphosate itself is slightly toxic to plants. It also breaks down slowly in soil to form another chemical called AMPA (aminomethylphosphonic acid) which is also toxic. But even the combined toxic effects of glyphosate and AMPA are not sufficient on their own to kill plants. It has been demonstrated numerous times since 1984
Glyphosate with sterile soil (A) only stunts plant growth. In normal soil (B), pathogens kill the plant. Control (C) shows normal growth.
that when glyphosate is applied in sterile soil, the plant may be slightly stunted, but it isn’t killed (see photo).
1.The actual plant assassins, according to Purdue weed scientists and others, are severe disease-causing organisms present in almost all soils. Glyphosate dramatically promotes these, which in turn overrun the weakened crops with deadly infections.
“This is the herbicidal mode of action of glyphosate,” says Don. “It increases susceptibility to disease, suppresses natural disease controls such as beneficial organisms, and promotes virulence of soilborne pathogens at the same time.” In fact, he points out that “If you apply certain fungicides to weeds, it destroys the herbicidal activity of glyphosate!”
By weakening plants and promoting disease, glyphosate opens the door for lots of problems in the field. According to Don, “There are more than 40 diseases of crop plants that are reported to increase with the use of glyphosate, and that number keeps growing as people recognize the association between glyphosate and disease.”
cont.Don Huber spent 35 years as a plant pathologist at Purdue University and knows a lot... more
Today Federal District Judge Jeffrey S. White issued a preliminary injunction ordering the immediate destruction of hundreds of acres of genetically engineered (GE) sugar beet seedlings planted in September after finding the seedlings had been planted in violation of federal law.
The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety on behalf of a coalition of farmers, consumers, and conservation groups. The lawsuit was filed on September 9, shortly after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed it had allowed the seedlings to be planted.
The court outlined the many ways in which GE sugar beets could harm the environment and consumers, noting that containment efforts were insufficient and past contamination incidents were "too numerous" to allow the illegal crop to remain in the ground. In his court order, Judge White noted, "farmers and consumers would likely suffer harm from cross-contamination" between GE sugar beets and non-GE crops. He continued, "the legality of Defendants’ conduct does not even appear to be a close question," noting that the government and Monsanto tried to circumvent his prior ruling, which made GE sugar beets illegal.
Paul Achitoff of Earthjustice, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said, "USDA thumbed its nose at the judicial system and the public by allowing this crop to be grown without any environmental review. Herbicide resistant crops just like this have been shown to result in more toxic chemicals in our soil and water. USDA has shown no regard for the environmental laws, and we're pleased that Judge White ordered the appropriate response."
Plaintiff Center for Food Safety's Senior Staff Attorney George Kimbrell said, "Today’s decision is a seminal victory for farmers and the environment and a vindication of the rule of law. The public interest has prevailed over USDA's repeated efforts to implement the unlawful demands of the biotech industry."
The plaintiffs—The Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, High Mowing Organic Seeds, and the Sierra Club—had immediately sought a court order to halt the planting. On September 28 Judge White ruled that USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) had violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by allowing the plantings without analyzing the potential environmental, health, and socioeconomic impacts of growing GE sugar beets. udge White heard testimony from the parties during a three-day hearing in November before issuing today’s ruling.
Monsanto created Roundup Ready crops to withstand its Roundup herbicide (with the active ingredient glyphosate), which it then sells to farmers together with its patented seed, for which it charges farmers a substantial "technology fee." Earlier this year, the Department of Justice announced it had opened a formal investigation into possible anticompetitive practices in Monsanto’s use of such patented crops. Growing previous Roundup Ready crops such as soy, cotton, and corn have led to greater use of herbicides. It also has led to the spread of herbicide resistant weeds on millions of acres throughout the United States and other countries where such crops are grown, and contamination of conventional and organic crops, which has been costly to U.S. farmers. There is also evidence that such herbicide-resistant crops may be more susceptible to serious plant diseases.
In an earlier case the court ruled that USDA had violated NEPA by allowing the crop to be commercialized without first preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In August the court made any future planting and sale unlawful until USDA complies with federal law. (USDA has said it expects to complete an EIS in spring 2012.) But almost immediately after the ruling, USDA issued permits allowing companies to plant seedlings to produce seed for future Roundup Ready sugar beet crops, even though the crops are still illegal to grow, and no EIS has been prepared. The seed growers rushed to plant the seed crop in Oregon and Arizona, apparently hoping to outrun the legal action to stop it. In this latest case, USDA argued that the seedlings were separate from the rest of the sugar beet crop cycle and had no impact by themselves, but Judge White rejected this. He found that the law requires USDA to analyze the impacts of not only the seedlings, but the rest of the Roundup Ready
sugar beet production process as well, before any part of that process can begin.
cont.Today Federal District Judge Jeffrey S. White issued a preliminary injunction ordering... more
Roundup is one of the most widely used pesticides in the world. But it increases the incidence of disease in fish, a new study shows. And yet it looks like the government is about to greatly expand the U.S. acreage where it is applied by approving planting of vast swaths of genetically engineered alfalfa. These “Roundup-Ready” hayfields worry opponents of GE foods, and this latest news about the effect on fish is bound to stir the pot some more. (The opportunity for public comment on allowing GE alfalfa ends soon, btw.) The new fish study, out of New Zealand, showed that when applied at recommended rates on fields near a freshwater stream, Roundup didn’t kill young freshwater fish outright. Score one point for Monsanto, Roundup’s manufacturer. However, what Roundup did at this relatively dilute concentration was to increase the production of worm that’s a parasite of the fish, and comes from a particular snail. And the combination of more parasites and moderate levels of Roundup – aka “glyphosate” – produced what scientists called “significantly reduced fish survival.” They concluded: "This is the first study to show that parasites and glyphosate can act synergistically on aquatic vertebrates at environmentally relevant concentrations, and that glyphosate might increase the risk of disease in fish. Our results have important implications when identifying risks to aquatic communities and suggest that threshold levels of glyphosate currently set by regulatory authorities do not adequately protect freshwater systems."http;//invw.org/node/958
Roundup is one of the most widely used pesticides in the... more
Monsanto is in Copenhagen looking to get carbon credits for toxic soy deforestation. You have a chance to let your voice be heard to stop them. Please read the information at the link and sign the petition.
Thanks!Monsanto is in Copenhagen looking to get carbon credits for toxic soy deforestation.... more
This is great news from the Emerald Isle! This is a victory for sustainable agriculture and the environment. This is also the policy that should be adopted by the U.S.A! Let's just hope their yes vote on the Lisbon Treaty does not negate this decision.
Thank you Ireland.
'The Irish Government will ban the cultivation of all GM crops and introduce a voluntary GM-free label for food - including meat, poultry, eggs, fish, crustaceans, and dairy produce made without the use of GM animal feed.
The policy was adopted as part of the Renewed Programme for Government agreed between the two coalition partners, the centre-right Fianna Faíl and the Green Party, after the latter voted to support it on Saturday.
The agreement specifies that the Government will "Declare the Republic of Ireland a GM-Free Zone, free from the cultivation of all GM plants". The official text also states "To optimise Ireland's competitive advantage as a GM-Free country, we will introduce a voluntary GM-Free logo for use in all relevant product labelling and advertising, similar to a scheme recently introduced in Germany." 
The President of the Irish Cattle and Sheepfarmers Association, Malcolm Thompson, said he was delighted by the announcement, adding, "The Government's new GM-free policy is the fulfillment of what we at ICSA have held for the last five years. I very much look forward to its full implementation." 
Michael O'Callaghan of GM-free Ireland said the policy signals a new dawn for Irish farmers and food producers:
"The WTO's economic globalisation agenda has forced most Irish farmers to enter an unwinnable race to the bottom for low quality GM-fed meat and dairy produce, in competition with countries like the USA, Argentina and Brazil which can easily out-compete us with their highly subsidised GM crop monocultures, cheap fossil fuel, extensive use of toxic agrochemicals that are not up to EU standards, and underpaid migrant farm labour.
"Meanwhile, hundreds of European food brands, retailers and Regions now offer GM-free beef, pork, lamb, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy produce as part of their Food Safety, Quality Agriculture, Biodiversity, Fair Trade, Sustainable Development and Climate Change strategies. Thousands of brands in the USA are doing likewise. Without a GM-free label to distinguish our produce, Irish food is being excluded from this global market."
"The Irish Government plan to ban GM crops and to provide a voluntary GM-fee label for qualifying animal produce makes obvious business sense for our agri-food and eco-tourism sectors . Everyone knows that US and EU consumers, food brands and retailers want safe GM-free food, and Ireland is ideally positioned to deliver the safest, most credible GM-free food brand in Europe, if not the world."
The international market for GM-free animal produce is growing rapidly.'This is great news from the Emerald Isle! This is a victory for sustainable... more
Willie Nelson's 24th annual Farm Aid music festival will feature performances by fellow board members of the organization such as Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews. The all-day concerts happen on Sunday, October 4 at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Maryland Heights, Missouri, in the heart of America's farmlands.
Other performers on the bill include country star Gretchen Wilson, rock bands Wilco and Phosphorescent, and a host of other talents.
Doors open at 12:30 pm Central Time and the show runs until 10 pm. The live show will be satellite-cast via DIRECTV which will match donations through October. The show will also be webcast, streaming live at www.farmaid.org, beginning at 5:00 pm ET.
The organization's goal has been to strengthen family farms in America and support the Good Food Movement, helping to keep families on farms. Through concerts, benefit dinners, ad campaigns, and other efforts, board members Nelson, and the other rockers promote the cause, raising nearly $36 million for programs.
Farm Aid unites farmers, artists, consumers, and concerned citizens. The organization also works on educating about issues that affect family farms such as genetic engineering, food labeling, factory and industrial frame farms, and Mad Cow, Bird Flu and other diseases.
Concertgoers are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for foodbank collections for hungry families in the region.
The small family farmer is being systematically pushed out by corporate conglomerates.This is an American tragedy. Hopefully money raised will actually go to help small farmers who farm sustainably and who protect the culture and traditions of America.
Boycott Monsanto. Boycott GMOs. Stand up for the men and women who really care about the health of the environment and the body. Those who work with the land and preserve biodiversity instead of stripping it for profit.
To the family farmers who still survive and care about our planet: You have my undying gratitude for your work and sacrfice. Thank you.Willie Nelson's 24th annual Farm Aid music festival will feature performances by... more
Shares of Monsanto Co. continued to slide early Thursday, then perked up a bit, after the company reported Wednesday that its fiscal 2009 earnings would be at the lower end of guidance because price cuts by Chinese competitors and cooler, wetter weather in the U.S. have led to lower sales of its Roundup glyphosate herbicide.
Monsanto shares were trading below $79 a share earlier Thursday morning, but later inched closer to Wednesday’s market close of $79.88 a share. Monsanto closed Tuesday at $84.78 a share.
“We believe that Monsanto shares will probably tread water,” Jeffrey Zekauskas, a J.P. Morgan analyst, wrote in a note to investors Thursday morning.
LOL, oh yes, colder wetter weather is stopping use of Round Up as well as "competitors"... I think it is also more likely that more people are finally becoming wise to the POISON they are selling. Something to celebrate. Hopefully it will keep treading water and then drown. ANY company selling this poison needs to be held accountable for it. Profit sheets are a good way to do it. Keep it going.Shares of Monsanto Co. continued to slide early Thursday, then perked up a bit, after... more
The FDA today said that it was ok to have melamine in baby formula. Melamine is a plastic manufactured by Monsanto chemical company which dates back to the 1950 and the petro-chemistry revolution. Melamine is commonly used in counter tops and for the interior of buses.
Melamine is an organic base and a trimer of cyanamide, with a 1,3,5-triazine skeleton. Like cyanamide, it contains 66% nitrogen by mass and, if mixed with resins, has fire retardant properties due to its release of nitrogen gas when burned or charred, and has several other industrial uses. Melamine is also a metabolite of cyromazine, a pesticide. It is formed in the body of mammals who have ingested cyromazine. It has been reported that cyromazine can also be converted to melamine in plants.
Melamine combines with cyanuric acid to form melamine cyanurate, which has been implicated in the Chinese protein export contamination.
Melamine is combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a very durable thermosetting plastic used in Formica, and melamine foam, a polymeric cleaning product. The end products include countertops, dry erase boards, fabrics, glues, housewares and flame retardants. Melamine is one of the major components in Pigment Yellow 150, a colorant in inks and plastics.
Melamine also enters the fabrication of melamine poly-sulfonate used as superplasticizer for making high-resistance concrete. Sulfonated melamine formaldehyde (SMF) is a polymer used as cement admixture to reduce the water content in concrete while increasing the fluidity and the workability of the mix during its handling and pouring. It results in concrete with a lower porosity and a higher mechanical strength exhibiting an improved resistance to aggressive environments and a longer life-time.
Now doesn't that sound like a healthy ingredient for your child's baby formula?
Less than two months after federal food regulators said they were unable to set a safety threshold for the industrial chemical melamine in baby formula, they announced a standard that allows for higher levels than those found in U.S.-made batches of the product.
Food and Drug Administration officials on Friday set a threshold of 1 part per million of melamine in formula, provided a related chemical isn't present. They insisted the formulas are safe.The FDA today said that it was ok to have melamine in baby formula. Melamine is a... 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
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) is part of the Risk Management Agency (RMA) that serves under the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), a Federal Executive Department (or Cabinet Department).The USDA-FCIC safeguards the economic stability of agriculture through a system of crop insurance and provides the means for research in devising and establishing such insurance. It is managed by a Board of Directors, subject to the general supervision of the Secretary of Agriculture.
On 12 September 2007, the FCIC Board of Directors approved a Biotech Yield Endorsement (BYE) pilot programme submitted under section 523(d) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act. The result is that farmers growing Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) maize receives crop insurance at a greatly reduced cost of between 20 and 70 percent.
The BYE programme was crafted by the Monsanto Corporation and its first beneficiary is limited to its GM maize. This insurance bonanza is intended for farmers planting Monsanto’s GM maize that has Bt genes against corn borer and root worm stacked with a gene for tolerance to Round-up herbicide. The FCIC Board of Directors, at its 14 August 2008 meeting, approved additional seed technologies for premium rate reduction for producers planting certain corn hybrid varieties; i.e., those containing Bt genes for corn borer and rootworm stacked with genes for tolerance to herbicides such as glyphosate and glufosinate. The companies benefiting from the largesse of the USDA give-away insurance include besides Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and Pioneer Hi-Bred [1, 2].
The crop insurance policies insure producers against yield losses due to natural causes such as drought, excessive moisture, hail, wind, frost, insects, and disease . It is clear that the stacked GM maize lines are protected against corn borer and rootworm, but not particularly well protected against drought, excessive moisture, hail, wind, frost and disease, nor against the numerous insect pest that are likely to take advantage of reduced competition from borer or root worm. It may be that the stacked maize lines will benefit from a USDA give-away insurance that specifically protects against any such secondary insect pests; for they have indeed already emerged in China and India as the result of growing Bt cotton [4, 5] (see Why Prince Charles is Right, SiS 40 and Deadly gift from Monsanto to India, SiS 39)
FCIC is presuming that the stacked GM maize lines will consistently produce more than conventional or organic maize, but that has not been proven scientifically. It is based solely on an act of faith on the part of the USDA bureaucrats.
Why then do these new GM constructs deserve the gift of reduced insurance cost at the US taxpayers’ expense? Have the taxpayers been consulted before such egregious largesse has been doled out to well-heeled farmers and the corporations who licence the GM seeds?
The rest of the farming community may feel especially aggrieved at this blatant display of favouritism on the part of the FCIC. After all, insured organic farmers were not compensated for damages from epidemics of fungal disease, even though the conventional fungicides were ineffective against the fungus disease. It seems that FCAC is taking on the role of sugar daddy to the GM industry and compliant farmers. And that may go a long way towards promoting universal GM farming practices and bankrupting the public coffers.
So not only do consumers pay for their frankenfood at the markets of America without proper disclosure as to health effects of it; US taxpayers are now footing the bill for their crop insurance, thanks to a gift from the USDA. Are you outraged yet?The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) is part of the Risk Management Agency... more
Support Schmeiser, Nelson and hundreds of other farmers who are being forced to pay Monsanto to have their fields contaminated by genetically modified organisms.
Sign OCA's "Millions Against Monsanto" petition. These petitions will be physically delivered to Monsanto and related court hearings
The petition can also be found half way down the subject page above organicconsumers.org/monlink.cfm after the following story.
Multi-Billion $$ Monsanto Sues More Small Family Farmers
Percy Schmeiser is a farmer from Saskatchewan Canada, whose Canola fields were contaminated with Monsanto's genetically engineered Round-Up Ready Canola by pollen from a nearby farm. Monsanto says it doesn't matter how the contamination took place, and is therefore demanding Schmeiser pay their Technology Fee (the fee farmers must pay to grow Monsanto's genetically engineered products). According to Schmeiser, "I never had anything to do with Monsanto, outside of buying chemicals. I never signed a contract.
If I would go to St. Louis (Monsanto Headquarters) and contaminate their plots - destroy what they have worked on for 40 years - I think I would be put in jail and the key thrown away."
Rodney Nelson's family farm is being forced into a similar lawsuit by Monsanto.
Support Schmeiser, Nelson and hundreds of other farmers who are being forced to pay Monsanto to have their fields contaminated by genetically modified organisms.
Sign OCA's "Millions Against Monsanto" petition. These petitions will be physically delivered to Monsanto and related court hearings.Monsanto Takes Ownership of Public Water Resources
Over the past century, global water supplies have been contaminated with the full gamut of Monsanto's chemicals, including PCBs, dioxin and glyophosate (Roundup). So now the company, seeing a profitable market niche, is taking control of the public water resources they polluted, filtering it, and selling it back to the people. In short, Monsanto is making a double profit by polluting the world's scarce freshwater resources, privately taking ownership of that water, filtering it, and selling it back to those who can afford to pay for it.
Sign OCA's "Millions Against Monsanto" petition. These petitions will be physically delivered to Monsanto and related court hearings
Support Schmeiser, Nelson and hundreds of other farmers who are being forced to pay... more
In late March, Monsanto Co. sent a Dear Valued Customer letter to most U.S. corn and soybean farmers. The reason, wrote Jim Zimmer, Monsanto's vice president of U.S. branded business, was to discuss some current marketplace dynamics that will directly affect you in terms of increased prices for Monsanto's line of Roundup herbicides for 2008.
Demand for glyphosate, Roundup's generic counterpart, is at an all time high, explained Zimmer. As such, we have seen the demand for Roundup brand herbicide increase more than our current ability to supply.
That's a problem, he continued, because We have a reliable supplier commitment to farmers who choose to purchase Roundup Ready technology and who choose to purchase Roundup brand herbicide that we will have supply available.
Our competitive challenges have put our commitment at risk, forcing us to increase our price for Roundup herbicide.
Golly, a farmer who telephoned me about the letter asked, How much is their promise to me going to cost me?
Globally, about $411 million, the amount Roundup net sales increased from March through May over the same three months in 2007, according to Monsanto's third quarter, Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission June 27.
That's a 54 percent increase.
Additionally, the 10-Q reports, Net sales of Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides increased 63 percent, or $1,222 million $1.222 billion in the nine-month comparison with fiscal 2007's first three quarters.
Remarkably, however, that $1.2 billion increase in Roundup sales, notes the 10-Q, was posted despite a seven percent sales volume drop in Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides in third quarter 2008 and only an 8 percent increase in global Roundup sales for the nine-month period ending in May.
Clearly, Roundup mostly because Monsanto boosted its price hit a home run. Gross profit increased $927 million because of higher sales of Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides in the first nine months of 2008, the company said.
What Monsanto did for Roundup herbicide this spring, it promises to do for Roundup seed corn next year, according to a July interview of company officials by DTN and Progressive Farmer editors.
Indeed, wrote Marcia Taylor for DTN after the gathering, Even the list price on seed corn will topple the $300 per bag barrier starting this fall, up about $95 to $100 per bag, or 35 percent on average, according to Monsanto officials.
Again, according to Monsanto's most recent 10-Q: In the first quarter 2008, Monsanto entered into an agreement on corn herbicide tolerance and insect control technologies with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc (whereby Monsanto will receive) cumulative cash receipts of $725 million over an eight-year period.
In third quarter 2008, Monsanto and Syngenta entered into a Roundup Ready 2 Yield Soybean License Agreement (under which) the minimum obligation from Syngenta over this (nine-) year period is $81 million, reports the 10-Q.
Is Monsanto everywhere? Almost; according to its June SEC filing, it recently bought a vegetable seed company in Europe, a seed corn company in Guatemala, another in Brazil.
In late March, Monsanto Co. sent a Dear Valued Customer letter to most U.S. corn and... more
A clever little analogical letter to Monsanto....the evil bully on the playground.