International News

2015-08-28 |

European Commission confirmed that Latvia and Greece had asked for GMO opt-out

Latvia, Greece win opt-out from Monsanto GM crop

Monsanto said it would abide by Latvia's and Greece's requests under a new EU opt-out law to be excluded from its application to grow a genetically modified (GM) crop across the European Union, but accused them of ignoring science.

Under a law signed in March, individual countries can seek exclusion from any approval request for GM cultivation across the EU. While the European Commission is responsible for approvals, requests to be excluded also have to be submitted to the company making the application.

GM crops are widely-grown in the Americas and Asia, but Monsanto's pest-resistant MON810 is the only variety grown in Europe, where opposition is fierce.

France and Germany have said they are opposed to GM cultivation, and while Britain is in favour, the Scottish government is against.

2015-08-26 |

EU 15 countries and Western Balkans discussed ways to preserve a “GMO-free model” in the EU

EU Wants To Keep Europe GMO Free

The European Union (EU) said it wants to keep Europe free of genetically modified crops as ministers and other officials from 15 EU and Western Balkans gathered for an international conference in Slovenia.

“Most of the EU sees its future free of GMO,” Slovenian Agriculture, Forestry and Food Minister Dejan Zidan told the press at the conference on Friday on the eve of Agra, the region’s biggest agriculture and food fair due to be held on Saturday, Xinhua reported.

The conference, which was organised together with Hungary, also featured Luxembourg’s Fernand Etgen, the current president of the EU’s Agriculture Council, and focussed on a recently adopted directive which allows EU countries to limit or prohibit the growing of genetically modified plants.

2015-08-25 |

European Patent Office boosts its business with Patents on Life

European Patent Office boosts its business with Patents on Life

New patent granted on tomatoes derived from classical breeding

25 August 2015
A monopoly on specific tomatoes with a higher content of healthy compounds known as flavonols was granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) to the Swiss company Syngenta. The patent covers the plants, the seeds and the fruits. Patent EP1515600 describes the crossing of wild tomatoes with domesticated varieties. The plants are not genetically engineered but derived from classical breeding.

2015-08-25 |

Germany seeks a nationwide GMO cultivation ban: There’s resistance from all sides, from the public to the farmers

FEDERAL MINISTRY OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

Germany: No More GMO Seeds

Germany is taking steps to outlaw the cultivation of genetically modified crops in the Europe’s biggest economy.

The Agriculture Ministry plans to officially request that producers of GMOs exclude Germany when applying to sell seeds in European Union, Christian Fronczak, a spokesman for the government, said Tuesday. Scotland took similar measures earlier this month.

“The German government is clear in that it seeks a nationwide cultivation ban,” Fronczak said by phone from Berlin. “There’s resistance from all sides, from the public to the farmers.”

2015-08-24 |

In Kauai, chemical companies spray 17 times more pesticide per acre

Hawaiʻi Center for Food Safety Action Fund Hawaiʻi Center for Food Safety Action Fund

Pesticides in paradise: Hawaii's spike in birth defects puts focus on GM crops

Local doctors are in the eye of a storm swirling for the past three years over whether corn that’s been genetically modified to resist pesticides is a source of prosperity, as companies claim, or of birth defects and illnesses

(.....)
Today, about 90% of industrial GMO corn grown in the US was originally developed in Hawaii, with the island of Kauai hosting the biggest area. The balmy weather yields three crops a year instead of one, allowing the companies to bring a new strain to market in a third of the time.

Once it’s ready, the same fields are used to raise seed corn, which is sent to contract farms on the mainland. It is their output, called by critics a pesticide delivery system, that is sold to the US farmers, along with the pesticides manufactured by the breeder that each strain has been modified to tolerate.

Corn’s uses are as industrial as its cultivation: less than 1% is eaten. About 40% is turned into ethanol for cars, 36% becomes cattle feed, 10% is used by the food industry and the rest is exported.

‘We just want to gather information’

2015-08-23 |

More consumers say no to GMO and farmers return to non-GMO seeds

Growers returning to unaltered crops
High sale prices of non-GMO yields have many buying conventional seeds

ST. LOUIS -- Five years ago, Dan Beyers took his farm in a new direction. Or, rather, back in an old direction. The Pana, Ill.-area farmer had been using corn and soybean seeds genetically modified to work with glyphosate -- the generic name for Monsanto's signature Roundup herbicide. But he reached a point at which he said it no longer made sense from a dollars standpoint.

So he turned his back on GMO crops.

"As they added more traits, we didn't really see a yield advantage. And every time they added a trait, they added cost," said Beyers, who said he also worries that GMO seeds could be damaging his soil.

2015-08-22 |

Monsanto's glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup is an endocrine (hormone) disruptor

Roundup may cause potentially fatal 'adrenal insufficiency'
GMWatch & The Ecologist

A new study finds that the Roundup herbicide disrupts the hormonal system of rats at low levels at which it's meant to produce no adverse effects. By the same mechanism It may be causing the potentially fatal condition of 'adrenal insufficiency' in humans.

2015-08-20 |

The time has come to revisit the United States' reluctance to label GM foods

Perspective: GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health
Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not high on most physicians' worry lists. If we think at all about biotechnology, most of us probably focus on direct threats to human health, such as prospects for converting pathogens to biologic weapons or the implications of new technologies for editing the human germline. But while those debates simmer, the application of biotechnology to agriculture has been rapid and aggressive. The vast majority of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States are now genetically engineered. Foods produced from GM crops have become ubiquitous. And unlike regulatory bodies in 64 other countries, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require labeling of GM foods.

Two recent developments are dramatically changing the GMO landscape. First, there have been sharp increases in the amounts and numbers of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops, and still further increases — the largest in a generation — are scheduled to occur in the next few years. Second, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified glyphosate, the herbicide most widely used on GM crops, as a “probable human carcinogen” and classified a second herbicide, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), as a “possible human carcinogen.”

2015-08-13 |

GMO in my mustard

GMO in my mustard GMO in my mustard

On July 31, 2015, we renewed the Sarson Satyagraha by taking a pledge at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial at Rajghat to protect the diversity, purity and safety of our mustard because “Anna Swaraj” is our birthright.

Source: www.asianage.com/columnists/gmo-my-mustard-259

The claim that ‘Terminator Mustard’ will increase yields by 30% is scientifically false and a blatant lie… The traits being introduced by GM mustard are known to be hazardous and are illegal…

India is the home of oilseed diversity — coconut, groundnut, linseed, niger, mustard, rapeseed, safflower and sesame. Our food culture have evolved with our biodiversity of oilseeds. Sarson is called sarsapa and rajika in Sanskrit. Diverse varieties of sarson are grown and used in India, including Krsna Sarsapa (Banarsi Rai), Sita Sarsapa (Peela Sarson), Rakta Sarsapa (Brown Sarson), Toria and Taramira.

2015-08-11 |

ACB to battle SA Govt., Monsanto over controversial GM ‘drought tolerant’ maize

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has on 7th August 2015, lodged an appeal to Agriculture, Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Senzeni Zokwana, against the general release approval of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) maize, MON87460 granted by the Executive Council (EC): GMO Act. Such approval means that Monsanto can sell the GM maize seed, MON87460, to farmers in South Africa for cultivation. MON87460 is alleged to be ‘drought tolerant;’ a claim the ACB vehemently disputes.

Administrative justice, procedural fairness and sound science to the test

The appeal is a test for administrative justice and procedural fairness in regard to GM decision-making in South Africa. Administrative decision-making must be based on rigorous food safety, environmental and socio-economic assessments of the potential adverse effects of MON87460, taking into international biosafety best practice. According to the ACB, the EC’s approval is typical of GM decision-making, which simply reiterates and summarises information provided by Monsanto, who has a clear vested interest in the approval. Such “rubber stamping” is unlawful. The EC is under a legal obligation to apply a risk averse and cautious approach, which takes into account uncertainties and the limits of current knowledge about the consequences of approving MON87460 for commercial production. The GM variety will introduce novel proteins into human food and animal feed chains as well as the environment. There is no reliable history of safe use of the GM variety to justify its introduction in South Africa.

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