tagged w/ GMOs
The grassroots March Against Monsanto movement is spreading across the nation, and the initiative spells out an increasingly massive number of activists and concerned citizens who will ultimately be responsible for ending the GMO juggernaut through peaceful protest and the spread of information.
It really comes down to the basic understanding that what we want is real food — not chemical-laden junk that is riddled with genetically modified organisms. And of course Monsanto is responsible for the majority of such junk, holding a monopoly over the GM seed market with 90% of staple crop seeds under Monsanto control. Seeds that are sold to ignorant farmers who oftentimes end up killing themselves after they find that the seeds produce decreased yields and milk the farmers financially dry through the enforceable patents that come along with the seeds. Patents that Monsanto goons carefully enforce, preying upon small farmers through devious lawsuits and farm stakeouts.
Even organic and natural farmers are subject to such legal attacks, since it’s possible for the patented seeds (which India calls biopiracy) to blow over to such farms and begin to grow. This is also how widespread GMO contamination begins, to which the USDA simply responds ‘get insurance’. We can even go back decades to find that Monsanto was integral in the creation of the infamous Agent Orange, a Vietnam-era chemical warfare weapon which estimates say killed or maimed around 400,000 people and caused a startling 500,000 birth defects.
But the days where this information could hide as footnotes within the media are over.
More at the linkThe grassroots March Against Monsanto movement is spreading across the nation, and the... more
In a blow to opponents of GMOs and Monsanto, the Supreme Court today ruled unanimously that an Indiana soybean farmer violated the company’s patent by saving its trademark Roundup Ready seeds.
By Claire Thompson | 13 May 2013 5:48 PM
Every time a farmer buys seeds from Monsanto, she or he must sign a contract agreeing not to save seeds from the crop. Monsanto’s many vociferous critics condemn this practice for the way it traps farmers in a costly cycle of dependence on the company’s products. The farmer in this case, Vernon Bowman, signed such an agreement when he originally bought Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans. But he found a clever way to get around the restrictions. Tom Laskawy explains:
“For years, Bowman would grow a first crop of Monsanto seed, which he would purchase legally, and then would buy some commodity seed from his local grain elevator for his second crop. While aware he could not save seeds from the first crop he grew, Bowman would later plant the commodity seeds, spray the plants with Roundup, and was then able to identify which were resistant to the herbicide when they didn’t die. Bowman saved those seeds and saved money, since he had bought the commodity seeds for his second crop at a steep discount without paying Monsanto or signing its licensing agreement.”
Farmers can sell saved seed to local grain elevators, which often resell the mixed seed packs for animal feed or industrial uses. In buying these so-called commodity seeds from the grain elevator, Bowman rightly assumed, as The Washington Post explains, that “those beans were mostly Roundup Ready — resistant to the weedkiller glyphosate — because that’s what most of his neighbors grow.” Bowman saved and replanted the Roundup Ready seeds from his second crop for eight years before Monsanto caught on and sued.
The New York Times reports:
“Mr. Bowman’s main argument was that a doctrine called patent exhaustion allowed him to do what he liked with products he had obtained legally. But Justice Kagan said it did not apply to the way he had used the seeds.
“Under the patent exhaustion doctrine, Bowman could resell the patented soybeans he purchased from the grain elevator; so too he could consume the beans himself or feed them to his animals,” she wrote.
“But the exhaustion doctrine does not enable Bowman to make additional patented soybeans without Monsanto’s permission,” she continued, “and that is precisely what Bowman did.” …
“Accepting that theory, she wrote, would create an “unprecedented exception” to the exhaustion doctrine. “If simple copying were a protected use,” she wrote, “a patent would plummet in value after the first sale of the item containing the invention.”
Sustainable-farming advocates and GMO critics intensely followed the case in the hopes that a ruling against Monsanto would finally put some limits on that company’s power in the agriculture industry. But the case was also “closely watched by researchers and businesses holding patents on DNA molecules, nanotechnologies and other self-replicating technologies,” the Associated Press reports.
Indeed, it seems the Supreme Court was more concerned about patent law than agricultural issues. The Washington Post reports:
“While the case was about soybeans, the broader issue of patent protection is important to makers of vaccines, software and other products. Corporations were worried about what might happen if the decision had gone the other way.
But, as the justices had indicated at oral arguments in the case, they believed Bowman’s practices threaten the incentive for invention that is at the heart of patent law.”
The court’s decision crushed the hopes of many in the anti-Monsanto camp. The Environmental Working Group’s General Counsel Thomas Cluderay said it “tightens the seed giant’s stranglehold on American agriculture” and “will no doubt pave the way for greater use and development of genetically engineered seed products and use of toxic pesticides, such as Roundup, on our farm fields.”
But sadly, the fact that the ruling was unanimous indicates that there probably never was much of a chance of it going the other way.In a blow to opponents of GMOs and Monsanto, the Supreme Court today ruled unanimously... more
A new review of hundreds of scientific studies surrounding glyphosate—the major component of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—sheds light on its effects within the human body. The paper describes how all of these effects could work together, and with other variables, trigger health problems in humans, including debilitating diseases like gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Glyphosate impairs the cytochrome P450 (CYP) gene pathway, which creates enzymes that help to form and also break down molecules in cells. There are myriad important CYP enzymes, including aromatase (the enzyme that converts androgen into estrogen) and 21-Hydroxylase, which creates cortisol (stress hormone) and aldosterone (regulates blood pressure). One function of these CYP enzymes is also to detoxify xenobiotics, which are foreign chemicals like drugs, carcinogens or pesticides. Glyphosate inhibits these CYP enzymes, which has rippling effects throughout our body.
Because the CYP pathway is essential for normal functioning of various systems in our bodies, any small change in its expression can lead to disruptions. For example, humans exposed to glyphosate have decreased levels of the amino acid tryptophan, which is necessary for active signaling of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Suppressed serotonin levels have been associated with weight gain, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
This paper does not claim to yield new scientific discoveries. Instead, it looks at older studies in a new light. Critics will say the links between glyphosate and health problems made in this paper are purely correlational, but this work is important because it brings all of the possible health effects of glyphosate together and discusses what could happen: something the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration have failed to do.
Link To Abstract
Another study regarding toxicity of BT toxin (endotoxins) in non target species.
"According to a new study, the ‘Cry’ toxins that Monsanto’s GMO crops have been genetically modified to produce are a lot more toxic to mammals than previously thought, primarily to the blood."
This is very important due to the prevalence of BT in the majority of our food crops and the fact that people are ingesting much more than this study even covered, specifically animals as well through their feed.
I have been saying for years that I suspect that chemicals and pesticides can be correlated to the increase in these diseases as well as diabetes and obesity and that Glyphosate specifically should be banned. They couldn't kill us all with Agent Orange but they keep trying don't they? I hope we do see more unbiased independent testing on this now because I also believe if they are allowed to continue we will see causation.
More at the linkA new review of hundreds of scientific studies surrounding glyphosate—the major... more
A decades-long push to require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients in the United States received a significant boost Wednesday, when bipartisan bills on the issue were simultaneously proposed in the House and Senate.
Advocates of such measures are reacting with excitement, noting that the new bills appear to be far better positioned than previous such attempts, in terms of both public and Congressional support. If the bills pass, the United States would join 64 other countries that have already put in place similar laws or regulations.
The legislative moves mark the first time that such a bill has been proposed in the U.S. Senate in more than a dozen years, a period during which the use of genetically modified crops has expanded exponentially.
Further, while that earlier iteration, from 2000, was the work of just a single Democratic senator and was unable to attract any additional co-sponsors, the new bill has already received official support from nine senators and 21 representatives, including two Republicans.
“Americans have the right to know what is in the food they eat so they can make the best choices for their families,” Senator Barbara Boxer, a key sponsor of the new bill and author of the 2000 proposal, said Wednesday.
“This legislation is supported by a broad coalition of consumer groups, businesses, farmers, fishermen and parents who all agree that consumers deserve more – not less – information about the food they buy.”
Indeed, public opinion on the matter appears to be overwhelmingly on the side of the new proposal, which would direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the main government regulator on food-related issues, to require food producers to clearly label their products if they contain genetically engineered (GE) components.
According to multiple polls in recent years (including here and here), more than 90 percent of people in the United States favor the FDA requiring the labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.
Yet for years, the FDA has pushed back against such requests, despite having the legal authority to mandate such a change. Rather, today’s policy continues to be informed by 1992 guidance in which FDA administrators stated that GE foods were not “materially” different from conventional foods.
The rationale for this stance was simply that consumers were unable to physically sense the difference between conventional and genetically modified foods.
“Unfortunately, the FDA’s antiquated labeling policy has not kept pace with 21st century food technologies that allow for a wide array of genetic and molecular changes to food that can’t be detected by human senses,” according to a press release put out by the bill’s main sponsors, Senator Boxer and Representative Peter DeFazio.
Further, such a test appears inconsistent with regard to the 3,000 other substances for which the FDA does require labeling.
“The fact of the matter is that, for far too long, the FDA has been playing politics over science,” Colin O’Neil, the director of government affairs at the Center for Food Safety, a Washington advocacy group, told IPS.
“Corn that produces its own insecticide, or a fish that grows twice as fast as normal, or an apple that doesn’t turn brown for 30 days – we know these are material changes and that those are novel foods.”
I know, don't get your hopes up. But at least this is something that may actually have legs to it. Substantial equivalence is being challenged. It's about time...
It was over four years ago that I first started posting/reporting about genetically modified seeds/Monsanto here. To see this level of support for labeling now and to see the global resistance is very encouraging. Despite all of the money and favors Monsanto and the big ag lobby enjoys the resistance to this is staggering and I think we are reaching a tipping point. Unfortunately Current will not be here to have me and others report on this. I have enjoyed being able to bring news about GMOS and other related topics regarding sustainable agriculture here and I hope it has helped to pass this important news on to others. I will be continuing to do so on my GMO Report blog which is linked in this post. I hope those who have been following what is going on with our seeds and food on a global level check out the blog. We will take back our food. Also, anyone who did not see the Monsanto Round Up reports can find them in the tag while it lasts. Thanks.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LICQCxq1FqU&feature=player_embedded... more
Leave your comment to the FDA on GMO salmon before April 26th, Docket # FDA-2011-N-0899. http://tiny.cc/in82qwLeave your comment to the FDA on GMO salmon before April 26th, Docket #... more
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.
Farmers in the USA pay about an extra $100 per acre for GM seed, and many are questioning whether they will continue to see benefits from using GMs.
"It's all about cost benefit analysis," said economist Dan Basse, president of American agricultural research company AgResource.
"Farmers are paying extra for the technology but have seen yields which are no better than 10 years ago. They're starting to wonder why they're spending extra money on the technology."
One of the biggest problems the USA has seen with GM seed is resistance. While it was expected to be 40 years before resistance began to develop pests such as corn rootworm have formed a resistance to GM crops in as few as 14 years.
More at the linkSome US farmers are considering returning to conventional seed after increased pest... more
Never-Before-Seen-Evidence points to genetically engineered foods as a major contributor to rising disease rates in the US population, especially among children.
Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and infertility are just some of the problems implicated in humans, pets, livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn.
Eating genetically modified food is gambling with every bite.Never-Before-Seen-Evidence points to genetically engineered foods as a major... more
Good job, President Barrack Obama, you allowed the former attorney for Monsanto, Michael Taylor, to become commissioner of the FDA. Transparency be damned!
I'm nearly livid at this development, and you should be too. Conflict of interests? Who cares!? Truth & integrity in information and decision-making? Fuck that noise! Preferential treatment for political protection thanks to your rich benefactors who've made gains through your machinations? All the way, baby!
If you know anything about Monsanto (often cited as "the most evil company in the world", and given the fact that they are an agriculture/biotechnology company, it's pretty apt), then you'd probably be as outraged as I am. Your president, America, has, for whatever reason(s), appointed a former lawyer for the biggest food company in the world and few seem to care! Food and chemical additives that have been shown (by actually independent studies, by the way) to literally poison your body are going to continue going into the market with nary a lick of scrutiny.
Continue reading here - http://www.superbious.com/OP/article_161_Does-Monsanto-Now-Have-a-Vice-Grip-on-the-US.htmlGood job, President Barrack Obama, you allowed the former attorney for Monsanto,... more
If you read the provision closely (it’s on page 78, Sec. 735, of this PDF), you’ll see that it authorizes the USDA to grant “temporary” permission for GMO crops to be planted, even if a judge has ruled that such crops were not properly approved, only while the necessary environmental reviews are completed. That’s an authority that the USDA has, in fact, already exercised in the past.If you read the provision closely (it’s on page 78, Sec. 735, of this PDF),... more
"In just two years, the annual migration of North American monarch butterflies has declined by 59 percent, and scientists are blaming extreme weather and “changed farming practices,” according to the New York Times. In other words, monster storms and monster Monsanto.
The area of forest occupied by the butterflies, once as high at 50 acres, dwindled to 2.94 acres in the annual census conducted in December, Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas disclosed at a news conference in Zitácuaro, Mexico. …
The latest decline was hastened by drought and record-breaking heat in North America when the monarchs arrived last spring to reproduce. Warmer than usual conditions led the insects to arrive early and to nest farther north than is typical, Chip Taylor, director of the conservation group Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas, said in an interview. The early arrival disrupted the monarchs’ breeding cycle, he said, and the hot weather dried insect eggs and lowered the nectar content of the milkweed on which they feed.
That in turn weakened the butterflies and lowered the number of eggs laid.
End of excerpt.
Monarch Butterflies Drop Ominously In Mexico
The number of monarch butterflies making it to their winter refuge in Mexico dropped 59 percent this year, falling to the lowest level since comparable record-keeping began 20 years ago, scientists reported Wednesday.
It was the third straight year of declines for the orange-and-black butterflies that migrate from the United States and Canada to spend the winter sheltering in mountaintop fir forests in central Mexico. Six of the last seven years have shown drops, and there are now only one-fifteenth as many butterflies as there were in 1997.
The decline in the monarch population now marks a statistical long-term trend and can no longer be seen as a combination of yearly or seasonal events, the experts said.
end of excerpt.
Glyphosate and Monarch Butterfly Decline
Glyphosate destruction of monarch butterfly breeding grounds suspected
Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji
A fully referenced and illustrated version of this report is posted on ISIS members website and is available for download here
Please circulate widely and repost, but you must give the URL of the original and preserve all the links back to articles on our website
Monarch butterfly migration abundance has been declining over the last 17 years; a new study finds . Extreme weather conditions, over-logging of their migratory destination in Mexico and the herbicidal destruction of their breeding grounds in the US are to blame.
Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus), also known as milkweed butterflies, are famous for their spectacular migration from North America to Mexico over the wintering months. The adults live for only 4-5 weeks, but another wonder of these butterflies is that one special generation born in the autumn lives for 7-8 months enabling them to make this astonishing journey that can be as long as 2 800 miles.
Millions descend on central Mexican forests every year to escape the harsh winters of North America. They hibernate until the warmth of spring brings them back to life, when they make the journey back to their breeding habitat on milkweed plants in North America. No individual makes the whole return journey, but instead the short-lived offspring lay eggs along the way, until their descendents make it back home.
This spectacular phenomenon is now showing significant signs of decline in a study led by Isabel Ramirez at Universidad Nacional Autonoma. They analysed data of the total area occupied by the butterflies in hibernation over the last 17 years (published online by World Wildlife Fund-Mexico since 1994) using two different statistical methods, and both showed significant decreases. These are standard regression analyses for determining the correlation between two variables, in this case colony area and time. The linear model assumes simple linear relationships between the two, while the exponential model assumes exponential decreases in area over time (as populations tend to grow or decrease exponentially, this is a common method for analysing population numbers). Although the numbers vary from year to year, the highest area reported was in 1997, where they occupied 20.97 hectares. In 2010, the lowest area was recorded, at just 1.92 hectares. The 2010-11 season has shown a slight increase to 4.02 ha. The results are presented in Figure 1.
end of excerpt.
Response (moved from below for obvious reasons) regarding comments on videos taken:
This article does not speak about just one location: ("The number of monarch butterflies making it to their winter refuge in Mexico dropped 59 percent this year.) Mexico has also been experiencing severe drought. The US is also seeing one of the most extreme droughts this country has had that still persists. I tend to think the actual scientists doing these studies over successive seasons know what they are talking about. And in regards to GMOs, it is the effect on milkweed through exposure to Glyphosate which has also been quantified by actual scientists doing studies showing a decrease in availability of milkweed, not just by shooting one you tube video in one place.This is also not the first time GMOs have been linked to effects on monarch butterflies. If I didn't know any better I would think those actually supporting the fact that glyphosate is pushing out the main living source for these creatures worked for Monsanto... of course, you never get an answer about that though.
From link above: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Glyphosate_and_Monarch_Butterfly_Decline.php
"In the summer months in North America, eggs are laid on milkweed plants. The larvae feed exclusively on milkweed leaves, making the abundance of monarch butterflies critically dependent on milkweed availability. The spread of GM crops and the concomitant use of herbicides however, are threatening the milkweeds survival and their numbers have been steadily decreasing. Milkweed commonly grows among maize and soya, of which 23 and 92 percent are currently glyphosate tolerant. Studies assessing milkweed populations in Iowa recorded a 90  and 79 percent (unpublished) loss between 1999-2009 and 2000-2009 respectively. The authors go on to speculate that with such widespread glyphosate usage, milkweed may almost completely disappear from crop lands altogether."
_____"In just two years, the annual migration of North American monarch butterflies... more
By Glenn Ellis
As I flew in to Buenos Aires to make this film, all the talk was of President Cristina Kirchner’s latest gambit. Her foreign minister had pulled out of a meeting with the British foreign secretary to discuss the Falklands (or the Malvinas depending on your outlook). And for the people I rubbed up against in Argentina’s smart and chic capital, on discovering I was English, this, along with Maradona’s ‘hand of god’ moment, was the topic on everybody’s lips. "We won the war", they would say. "After the fighting we got rid of our dictators but you had another 10 years of Thatcher."
When I explained I was in the country to cover the soya boom, which has given Argentina the fastest growth rate in South America, but also allegedly caused devastating malformations in children, there was a look of disbelief. "Here, in Argentina? Why haven’t we heard about it?"
A good question: why had not anyone heard about it? And when I ventured a little further explaining I also wanted to cover what is best described as a dirty war in the North of the country where campesinos are being driven off their land, and sometimes killed, to make way for soya plantations - the bemusement increased. “That’s historical" people would say, "it’s been going on since the time of the conquistadores." So when I arrived with my crew at Argentina’s second city, Cordoba, 700 kilometres North West of the capital, to meet Alternative Nobel Laureate Professor Raul Montenegro, I was not quite sure what to expect.
Montenegro, a world-renowned biologist, looked the part of a pioneer, in khaki shirt and jungle boots. "I have pesticide in me", he said, almost as soon as he opened the door. "Here we all have pesticide in our bodies because the land is saturated with it. And it is a huge problem. In Argentina biodiversity is diminishing. Even in national parks, because pesticides don’t recognise the limit of the park." Montenegro is a man in a hurry. "You must see for yourself", he said pointing to his Land Rover and taking us a short drive out of Cordoba to a slight rise in the vast plain which surrounds the city. Here, as far as the eye can see, endless acres of soya stretched to the horizon. "More than 18 million hectares are covered by this GMO soya but it’s not solely a matter of soya because over this plant on this huge surface more than 300 million litres of pesticide are used."
More at the link
Some responses removed to keep the thread on topic.
And as far as "blackballing" goes here, perhaps that may not be the word that best fits but nevertheless I and others do see the changes here and the lack of response and caring for these topics/ issues that once had both and it is discouraging to say the least. That is all I will have to say on it here anymore.By Glenn Ellis
As I flew in to Buenos Aires to make this film, all the talk was of... more
Bill Gates is primarily known as the multi-billionaire who Microsoft, the company behind the most popular computer operating system known as Windows. With this massive wealth, he has retired from leading Microsoft and now instead focuses his money and time on furthering genetically modified technology, geoengineering, experimental vaccinations, and preaching about how Monsanto is the answer to world hunger.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Gates owns 500,000 shares worth 23 million US dollars (or more) of Monsanto stock. The very same company that has been caught running slave rings in Argentina in which workers were forced to work 14+ hours a day while withholding payment, has used their massive finances to fund organizations that literally fake FDA quotes to support GMOs, and of course peddling through GMOs that have been linked to numerous health concerns.
This is not even taking into account the farmer suicides that occur around every 30 minutes due to Monsanto’s failing GMO crop yield bankrupting small-time farmers in India’s notorious ‘suicide belt‘.
Bill Gates Funding Corporations Caught in Child Slave Rings
And if that’s not enough, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has even teamed up with Cargill to pump GMO soy into the third world. Cargill, of course, is the the 133 billion dollar corporation that also has been found in direct violation of human rights laws. Cargill was sued by the International Labor Rights Fund for trafficking children from Mali and forcing them to work on cocoa bean plantations for around 12 to 14 hours each day without pay, food, or sleep. The company even continues to purchase cotton from Uzbekistan, where it is well known that child slave labor is used in the cultivation.
Bill Gates himself even filmed commercials for Monsanto’s GMOs, propping them up as the ‘solution’ to world hunger despite even the United Nations admitting that GMOs cannot fight hunger as effectively as traditional farming. Headed by an entity known as the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), a team of 900 scientists and researchers studied the issue of world hunger. The results of the major study were very simple: 900 scientists agreed that GMO crops were not the answer to the world hunger, and revealed this in 2008 — long before Bill Gates began claiming that GMOs were the answer while ignoring this readily available information.
Even the Union of Concerned Scientists examined the true yield of GMO crops, only to find that the GM crops do not produce increased yields over the long run — despite their excessive cost and extreme danger to health and environment. The lack of scientific support behind the GMO crops was so startling to the Union that they documented all the details in a 2009 report entitled ”Failure to Yield.”...
http://naturalsociety.com/bill-gates-dodges-questions-owns-500000-shares-of-monsanto/Bill Gates is primarily known as the multi-billionaire who Microsoft, the company... more
3 months ago
UPDATE February 13: Following significant public pressure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just announced that it is extending the public comment period for AquaBounty Technologies' application for AquAdvantage Salmon for a further 60 days. Originally slated to end on February 25, 2013, the comment period will remain open until April 26, 2013. It's more important than ever that we raise our concerns and make sure our voices are heard - see end of article for further details.
It's a well-known PR tactic to release bad or potentially unpopular news during the Holiday Season. So I always keep my eyes peeled to catch any news releases that might otherwise slip the net. I didn't have to wait long.
On December 21, when most people were focusing on their upcoming festivities, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) quietly released its draft environmental assessment on the highly controversial genetically engineered (GE) salmon, created by AquaBounty Technologies Inc.. The decision effectively gives the pubic less until February 25, 2013 to stop the commercial release of the world's first GE animal intended for human consumption.
Dubbed the "Frankenstein fish" by its critics, AquaAdvantage Salmon, according to AquaBounty, is genetically engineered to "include a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon which provides the fish with the potential to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon." Introducing the new genetic material results in "shorter production cycles and increased efficiency of production." AquaBounty already has plans for GE trout and GE tilapia.
According to the company's proposals, the production of GE salmon eggs would take place on Canada's Prince Edward Island. From here, the eggs would be shipped to the Panama highlands, where the GE salmon would be raised to maturity in inland tanks (not at sea in nets), minimizing any risk of escape. Once they reach maturity, the fish would be slaughtered in Panama and processed into cuts, before being exported back to the U.S. for sale for human consumption.
I first wrote about AquaBounty's proposal to introduce GE salmon back in 2010 when it was still pending FDA approval. At the time, it looked like the "Frankenstein Fish" would stay in the lab where it belongs. But the FDA's recent decision could now signal a green light for the global production of GE salmon, and arguably open the floodgates for a range of other genetically engineered animals, including pigs, cattle and poultry.
As someone who puts animal welfare and the environment front and center in my food choices, AquaBounty's claim that their GE salmon will reach a marketable weight in half the time immediately set alarm bells ringing. You don't get such unnatural growth rates without some kind of cost -- whether that's to the animal, to the environment, or to the consumer. Indeed, an expert panel from the Royal Society of Canada was set up in 2001 to look at the potential impacts of genetically engineered animals. They noted documentation has focused on "deleterious consequences to fish morphology, respiratory capacity, and locomotion associated with the introduction of growth hormone (GH) gene constructs in some transgenic variants of salmonids, notably Pacific and Atlantic salmon..." and concluded that significant health and welfare problems are "the rule rather than the exception in fish... [and are] manifested by changes to enzyme activity, gross anatomy, behavior and, in all likelihood, hormonal activity."
Full Story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-gunther/gm-salmon_b_2638792.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003&ir=FoodUPDATE February 13: Following significant public pressure, the U.S. Food and Drug... more
WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 12, 2013 – Center for Food Safety and Save Our Seeds Investigate Role of Seed Patents in Consolidating Corporate Control of Global Food Supply
Today, one week before the Supreme Court hears arguments in Bowman v. Monsanto Co., the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Save our Seeds (SOS) – two legal and policy organizations dedicated to promoting safe, sustainable food and farming systems – will launch their new report, Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers.
The new report investigates how the current seed patent regime has led to a radical shift to consolidation and control of global seed supply and how these patents have abetted corporations, such as Monsanto, to sue U.S. farmers for alleged seed patent infringement.
Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers also examines broader socio-economic consequences of the present patent system including links to loss of seed innovation, rising seed prices, reduction of independent scientific inquiry, and environmental issues.
Debbie Barker, Program Director for Save Our Seeds and Senior Writer for the Report, said today: “Corporations did not create seeds and many are challenging the existing patent system that allows private companies to assert ownership over a resource that is vital to survival, and that, historically, has been in the public domain.”
Among the report’s discoveries are several alarming statistics:
For the full report: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Seed-Giants_final.pdfWASHINGTON, D.C. – February 12, 2013 – Center for Food Safety and Save Our... more
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. Washington State University researcher Charles Benbrook has demonstrated that the net effect of GMOs in the United States has been an increase in use of toxic chemical inputs. Benbrook found that while the Bt trait has indeed allowed farmers to spray dramatically lower levels of insecticides, that effect has been more than outweighed the gusher of herbicides uncorked by Monsanto's Roundup Ready technology, as weeds have rapidly adapted resistance to regular doses of Monsanto's Rounup herbicide.
And in a new paper (PDF) funded by the US Department of Agriculture, University of Wisconsin researchers have essentially negated the "more food" argument as well. The researchers looked at data from UW test plots that compared crop yields from various varieties of hybrid corn, some genetically modified and some not, between 1990 and 2010. While some GM varieties delivered small yield gains, others did not. Several even showed lower yields than non-GM counterparts. With the exception of one commonly used trait—a Bt type designed to kill the European corn borer—the authors conclude, "we were surprised not to find strongly positive transgenic yield effects." Both the glyphosate-tolerant (Roundup Ready) and the Bt trait for corn rootworm caused yields to drop.
Full Story: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/02/do-gmo-crops-have-lower-yieldsAccording to the biotech industry, genetically modified (GM) crops are a boon to... more
A new vaccine for influenza has hit the market, and it is the first ever to contain genetically-modified (GM) proteins derived from insect cellsA new vaccine for influenza has hit the market, and it is the first ever to contain... more
In good news for farmers and communities across the country, Dow announced last week that it is no longer planning to market its 2,4-D corn for the 2013 planting season.
The new genetically engineered (GE) seed has spurred strong opposition from farmers, consumers and public health officials, and the widespread concern seems to have slowed approval of the product. Organic and conventional farmers alike are worried about damage to their crops from 2,4-D drift; they also cite health risks to their families, especially their children who are particularly vulnerable to the chemical.
A decision from USDA on 2,4-D corn was expected before the end of 2012, but appears to be on hold. The Dow product is the first in a "pipeline" of new herbicide-tolerant GE products designed to combat increasing resistance of weeds to glyphosate under Monsanto's RoundUp Ready systems.
Millions of acres of weeds have now developed resistance to glyphosate, leading farmers to use higher quantities of Roundup and older, even more hazardous herbicides to try to beat back the weeds. Recent studies document a dramatic increase in the use of herbicides since herbicide tolerant GE crops were introduced, with an estimated 500+ million pounds of additional herbicides applied between 1996-2011.
As PAN's senior scientist Marcia Ishii-Eiteman told Reuters,
"Weed resistance to chemical herbicides is one of the biggest problems farmers now face, and that is a direct result of converting so much of our farmland to herbicide-resistant GE crops. We need to get out of this futile chemical arms race, fast."
More at the linkIn good news for farmers and communities across the country, Dow announced last week... more
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by Vandana Shiva
Food is supposed to provide us nourishment and health but because of the toxins it contains, what we consume has become a major threat to our health. Some toxic substances are added to our food physically, through adulteration, while some enter our food system chemically, through pesticide residues. And some toxins enter the food chain genetically, through genetic engineering of seeds and crops. Even food packaging can be a source of toxins in food.
While physical adulteration, like stones in pulses, can be removed, the chemicals can’t be. The pollutants will stop entering our food system only when poisonous chemicals are banned. Genetic pollution and contamination of food is the new, big threat to food safety and it cannot be undone. Once toxic genes are put into a plant, they are in the genetic code. There is no rollback. Which is why the debate on biosafety of GMOs is so intense.
With growing consumerism and greed, food safety is being bypassed. The distance between growers and eaters is getting larger and being ignorant about what comprises our food is getting deeper. Traders adulterate food to make more money, and consumers, manipulated to focus on the cosmetic appearance, buy adulterated food not knowing what they are eating. Government agencies, which are supposed to inspect and stop adulteration, fail because of corruption and inadequate support.
We are eating hazardous substances every day. Copper salts are used to colour pickles and canned vegetables green. The craze for the cosmetic appearance of food has created a market for dyes injected in watermelon, peas, capsicum and brinjal. Brick dust in chilli powder, coloured chalk powder in turmeric, and papaya seeds in black pepper are old tricks.
We are using 750 times more pesticides than Europe, foolishly equating poisons with progress. A study carried out by the All-India Coordinated Research Project on pesticide residues in food under the India Council of Agricultural Research concluded that 51 per cent of all food items have pesticide residues, and 20 per cent had pesticide residues above permissible levels. Globally the figures are 21 per cent and two per cent respectively. Indians are being poisoned at much higher levels than the rest of the world. And these poisons have consequences for our health.
Dr Rashmi Sanghi, a research scientist at the LNM Institute of Information Technology, Jaipur, found organochlorine and organophosphorous pesticide residues in human breast milk. When other researchers analysed the blood samples of women with breast cancer in Jaipur and compared it to blood samples of women without breast cancer, they found significantly higher levels of pesticide residues in the samples from women suffering from cancer.
Even as we have an increasing disease burden due to chemicals and pollutants, there is an attempt to push GMOs despite the serious health risks they pose. We need to assess these risks on the basis of the Precautionary Principle. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm when scientific investigation has thrown data and evidence of health risks. Suppressing research on risk assessment of GMOs does not make the risks go away. A “don’t look, don’t see” policy does not make for safety.
The last Indian deserves healthy, nutritious and safe food. That is why we at Navdanya have started the campaign “Know your food, Know your farmer”. Join us, for the sake of earth and for the sake of your health.
More at the link
Dr. Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist and eco feminist. She is the founder/director of Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology. She is author of numerous books including, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis; Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply; Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; and Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. Shiva has also served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as NGOs, including the International Forum on Globalization, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization and the Third World Network. She has received numerous awards, including 1993 Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) and the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize.by Vandana Shiva
Food is supposed to provide us nourishment and health but because... more