International News

Burkina Faso abandons GM cotton


Burkina Faso is one of the world’s top cotton producers, but its sales have taken a hit on the world markets. Some blame GM cotton, which the government now wants to phase out by 2018.

We are fed up with agro industry! - Berlin Demonstration


Agri businesses: Take your hands off our food! Together for healthy food, more rural and ecological farming and fair trade

Farming and regional food are at risk. Agri business and the Federal Government of Germany are pushing ahead with the industrialisation of agriculture and food. As a consequence the number of farms is collapsing globally, artisan food products are disappearing, as hundreds of millions of people are suffering from hunger or malnutrition. Meanwhile, pollution, biodiversity loss and the climate crisis becomes more and more crucial.

We want farms instead of agri business!


We are farmers, food producers, beekeepers, bakers, gardeners, animal, environmental and nature activists, development workers, critical consumers and committed young people.

We are calling on you to join us as we fight for a more rural and ecological agriculture on the 7th international “We are fed up!” demonstration.

We need healthy food for everyone! We will make the transformation in food and farming a core political issue in this year. Policies and practices need to change so people and not corporations determine our food. We are fed up!

Saturday 21 January, 2017, in Berlin.

GM 2.0? 'Gene-editing' produces GMOs that must be regulated as GMOs


The EU is considering the exclusion of gene-edited plants and animals from GM regulations, write Janet Cotter & Ricarda Steinbrecher. However gene-edited organisms clearly fall within the definition of GMOs in both European and international law. They also present real risks to the environment and human health - and must be regulated like any other GMOs.

There has been a lot in the news recently about the ethics of gene editing in humans.

But, as yet largely unnoticed is that the European Commission is considering whether the gene-editing of plants and animals, for example in agriculture, be exempted from regulation or even falls outside the scope of EU law governing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

In other words, whether the products of gene-editing should be labelled and regulated as GMOs, or allowed to enter the food chain untested and unlabelled.

If you believe the proponents' claims, gene-editing is nothing more than the 'tweaking' of DNA in plants and animals - nothing to be concerned about.

But the reality is that gene editing is simply GM 2.0, with many of the same concerns and problems as the GM crops that Europeans have already rejected.

Commission registers 'Ban Glyphosate' European Citizens' Initiative


Brussels, 10 January 2017

The European Commission has decided today to register a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) inviting the Commission "to propose to Member States a ban on glyphosate, to reform the pesticide approval procedure, and to set EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use".

The initiative will be formally registered on 25 January, This registration will start a one-year process of collection of signatures in support of the proposed ECI by its organisers.

The Commission's decision to register the Initiative concerns only the legal admissibility of the proposal. The conditions for admissibility, as foreseen by the ECI Regulation, are that the proposed action does not manifestly fall outside the framework of the Commission's powers to submit a proposal for a legal act, that it is not manifestly abusive, frivolous or vexatious and that it is not manifestly contrary to the values of the Union.

The College of Commissioners discussed the legal admissibility of the proposed ECI today and concluded that the legal conditions for the registration of the ECI were fulfilled. The College has not analysed the substance of the initiative at this stage.

NWI farmers satisfy overseas taste for non-GMO foods


Tim Stoner has farmed in the Valparaiso area since 1989 and always grew the genetically modified, or GMO corn, that's prevalent throughout the United States.

But about a dozen years ago, he and other area farmers discovered they could reap an extra reward by growing non-GMO corn for foreign markets. (.....) “If there is a market for non-GMO, whether GMO is perceived as a problem or not, and they are willing to pay more, there will be guys to provide it," Stoner said.

The market for non-GMO products has increased enough that the U.S. Agriculture Department began issuing weekly market reports on them in the fall of 2015 as well as on other specialty markets such as pasture-raised pork, free-range chicken, tribal-grown commodities, and farm-raised catfish.


Farmer Dan Sutton's family has grown crops around Lowell for five generations. He has concentrated on non-GMO products since the early 2000s. He harvests about 100,000 bushels of non-GMO corn a year for Cargill and, for a couple of years, also grew non-GMO soy beans, which he said was mostly for the Asian market.

“It all comes down to seeking more value for what we produce,” Sutton said.

Seed company narrows focus to non-GMO


ALBERT LEA, Minn. — Non-GMO and organic corn, soybean and alfalfa seed are getting a clear separation from traited seeds in the Albert Lea Seed business.

Earlier this fall, Albert Lea Seed announced its Viking Corn & Soybeans would become a 100 percent non-traited brand that develops and markets non-GMO and organic corn, soybean and alfalfa seed.

To serve customers who want traited seed, Albert Lea Seed has become a distributor and dealer for NorthStar Genetics traited corn and soybean seed.

“This means that Viking will no longer develop and sell traited seeds such as Roundup Ready soybeans or Genuity SmartStax corn,” said Mac Ehrhardt, who co-owns Albert Lea Seed with his brother, Tom. “Instead, Albert Lea Seed will be supplying them through NorthStar Genetics.”

German GMO-free industry body says gene-edited foods are GMOs


Products of new genetic engineering techniques must be tested, regulated, and labelled as GMOs – VLOG

In Europe the GMO label has become the equivalent of a skull-and-crossbones for many retail sectors and shoppers, resulting in a situation where GM ingredients are rarely used in food meant for human consumption. Pro-GMO lobbyists hope that a new wave of “gene-edited” plants and animals will escape GMO labelling and enter the food supply unnoticed and unopposed. They have even dubbed the new techniques “new plant breeding techniques” (NPBTs) in an apparent attempt to avoid the unpopular “GM word”.



GENETICALLY MODIFIED mustard is not needed

The proposal to allow cultivation of the genetically modified (GM) oilseed mustard (Brassica juncea) DMH-11 (also tolerant to the herbicide, glufosinate ammonium) is based on the paradigm that conventional breeding techniques cannot produce hybrids with sufficient yields.

However, this paradigm doesn’t take into account recent advances with either conventional breeding or the production of hybrid varieties, both of which can produce high-yielding varieties.

Mexican Beekeepers Win Case Against Monsanto


Judge ruled that co-existence between GM soybeans and honey production is not possible.

Countries all around the world are banning GM foods and products, the pesticides used to grow them, or placing severe restrictions on their use. In fact, people all over the world are organizing mass demonstrations, and resisting the biotech companies who develop these GMOs and pesticides, in particular Monsanto. More and more studies are making international headlines showing the health and environmental dangers associated with pesticides and GMOs.

Mexiko bans genetically modified soybeans

Now Mexico is making headlines by banning Monsanto products. A group of beekeepers was successful in banning Monsanto from planting genetically modified soybeans. Originally Monsanto had received permission to plant their GM seeds in a large area of land, despite the protests organized by thousands of beekeepers, citizens, major environmental groups, the National Institute of Ecology, and Mayan farmers. But a district judge overturned the Monsanto permit as he was convinced by the scientific evidence showing the threats GM crops had on honey production in the Yucatan peninsula. He went even further, and ruled that co-existence between GM soybeans and honey production is not possible.

Four Steps Forward, One Leap Back on Global Governance of Synthetic Biology


UN Biodiversity Convention grapples with threats posed by extreme biotech industry

CANCUN, MEXICO — This week, 196 countries meeting at the 2016 UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) Conference of the Parties made progress on the global governance and oversight of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology (syn bio) has become one of the most fiercely debated topics at the Biodiversity Convention, almost 7 years after civil society first brought the need for precaution and regulation of the new set of biotechnologies to this UN body.

During the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the CBD, countries agreed to investigate how digital genetic sequences may be used to commit biopiracy and warned against a risky new genetic extinction technology called gene drives. They also agreed on a working definition of synthetic biology (2) and to support an ongoing expert group to move forward international discussions on the topic. However, this progress was undermined by a significant ‘move backwards’ in safety oversight and risk assessment when a key standing expert group expected to issue risk assessment guidelines for synthetic biology was dissolved.

“Syn bio was among the hottest topics on the negotiating table,” explains Jim Thomas of ETC Group, who sits on the CBD’s expert group on Synthetic Biology. “Governments now get it: they need to urgently grapple with how synthetic biology and other fast moving, risky technologies are threatening biodiversity, local economies and the rights of farmers and Indigenous Peoples.”

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