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International News

2016-08-30 |

The accidental release of forbidden GMO wheat in Huntley could have been catastrophic

Seeds of discontent: Sixteen years ago, Montana State University partnered with Monsanto on what farmers and researchers hoped would usher wheat into the genetic age.

A decade later, with the experiment long abandoned, Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” wheat, which was never federally approved, unexpectedly sprang up at MSU’s Southern Agricultural Research Center in Huntley. The discovery has caused big headaches for MSU. Possessing a genetically modified species that hasn't been approved for planting by the federal government is illegal. And, with no country willing to buy genetically-modified wheat, had the rogue wheat inadvertently entered the food chain, it could have been disastrous for the farm economy.
(.....)
“I repeatedly mentioned that I thought this had been moved by the intervention of some animal, whether it be rodents or birds, or deer or raccoons. We have stuff moving across the landscape here all the time,” Kephart said. “You watch a pheasant, they’ll go down a row and they’ll fill their craw with seed and then they fly off to who knows.

"So, I brought this up to the (APHIS) guy. And I mentioned ‘Why are you not considering this and he said ‘We simply don't have a protocol to evaluate that risk. Therefore, it doesn’t exist.’”

2016-08-26 |

India: Monsanto pulls new GM cotton seed in protest

Monsanto Co has withdrawn an application seeking approval for its next generation of genetically modified cotton seeds in India, a major escalation in a long-running dispute between New Delhi and the world's biggest seed maker.

2016-08-26 |

Who is to blame for the failure of GM golden rice?

Press release 25 August 2016
European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER)

The recent Nobel laureates’ open letter to the United Nations and governments around the world, accusing Greenpeace of a “crime against humanity” for opposing genetically modified (GMO) golden rice, elicited a reaction from scientists Angelika Hilbeck and Hans Herren (Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich). They point out that the letter does not recognise the facts about golden rice and makes many scientifically unsubstantiated claims. Among the Nobel laureate signatories, there seems to be hardly anybody with a solid scientific track record in agriculture, food production, development, or the socio-ecological and political causes of poverty and hunger. Others with notable competence – at least in the economic and social domains of development, poverty, and hunger – are not among the signatories. Hilbeck and Herren present the missing facts.

2016-08-24 |

Italy Places Important Restrictions on the Use of Glyphosate

August 23, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

PAN Europe enthusiastically applauds the decision by Italy’s Ministry of Health to place a number of restrictions on the use of Glyphosate, one of the world’s most ubiquitous pesticides.

The Italian restrictions ban the use of Glyphosate in areas frequented by the public or by "vulnerable groups" including children and the elderly. The list of banned areas includes parks, gardens and courtyards, the edges of roads and railways, urban areas, sports fields and recreational areas, playgrounds and green areas within the school buildings, and areas adjacent to health facilities.

In addition, the pre-harvest use of Glyphosate--a process known as desiccation--is banned. The desiccation of crops by spraying glyphosate is a primary source for residual pesticide contamination at the consumer level. Finally, the non-agricultural use of glyphosate is banned on soils composed 80% or more of sand--a measure designed to protect groundwater from contamination.

2016-08-22 |

Argentina: The villagers who fear herbicides

Argentina is one of the world's largest exporters of genetically-modified soya. It's big business, but some local residents fear herbicides used by the industry could be making them sick.
Horacio Brignone lives in the village of María Juana in the Argentine flatlands, or pampas. From his window he can see fields of soya.
His 20-year old son has suffered from asthma since he was three years old, he says, but when he recently moved to a city the condition disappeared.
"He hasn't had an attack for two years since he went to study in Córdoba," says Horacio. "But when he came home for two months recently, he began to cough again."
He blames the weedkiller sprayed on the soya fields.
"We are 50m from the fields," Mr Brignone says. "We can't be certain, but respiratory problems and skin complaints are very common round here among those who live very close to the fields."
Mr Brignone's wife, Rosalía Ramonda, has suffered from rashes on her skin for years.

2016-08-22 |

Millions Spent and No Vitamin A Deficiency Relieved

by Angelika Hilbeck and Hans Herren

The recent Nobel laureates’ letter accusing Greenpeace of a “crime against humanity” for opposing genetically modified (GMO) golden rice reveals a deep division not only between civil societies and some science circles but also within the science community – a division in the visions for our common future and which path to take for our joint development. A division we see growing and escalating. A strong indication of this division is that among the Nobel laureate signatories, there seems to be hardly anybody with a solid scientific track record in agriculture, food production, development, or the socio-ecological and political causes of poverty and hunger. Others with notable competence – at least in the economic and social domains of development, poverty, and hunger – are not among the signatories. Signs of escalation also include the emotional, accusing language in the letter and the ample use of scientifically unsubstantiated claims. What is missing in the letter and among the supporters and developers of GMOs is the recognition and scientific analysis of some tough facts.

2016-08-09 |

New rules around the use of glyphosate to come into effect in two weeks

New rules which restrict the conditions around the use of glyphosate in the European Union are to come into effect in two weeks time, after the rules were published in the EU Official Journal.

Earlier this year, the European Commission granted an 18-month extension to glyphosate’s authorisation in the EU after Member States failed to reach agreement on the renewal of the herbicide.

If they had decided not to renew it, or if a decision hadn’t been reached, then Member States would have had to withdraw the authorisations for plant protection products containing glyphosate from their market.

Under the new conditions around the use of the herbicide, there is a ban of a co-formulant (POE-tallowamine) from glyphosate-based products.

2016-08-06 |

Indian farmers cotton on to new seed, in blow to Monsanto

In a tiny hamlet at the heart of the cotton belt in northern India, Ramandeep Mann planted Monsanto’s (MON.N) genetically modified Bt cotton seed for over a decade, but that changed after a whitefly blight last year.

Mann’s 25-acre farm in Punjab’s Bhatinda district now boasts “desi”, or indigenous, cotton shrubs that promise good yields and pest resistance at a fraction of the cost.

Mann is not alone.

Thousands of cotton farmers across the north of India, the world’s biggest producer and second largest exporter of the fibre, have switched to the new local variety, spelling trouble for seed giant Monsanto in its most important cotton market outside the Americas.

2016-07-30 |

Unapproved GMO wheat found in Washington state could affect US trade

SEATTLE (AP) — Genetically modified wheat not approved for sale or commercial production in the United States has been found growing in a field in Washington state, agriculture officials said Friday, posing a possible risk to trade with countries concerned about engineered food.

The Food and Drug Administration says genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are safe and little scientific concern exists about the safety of those on the market. But critics say not enough is known about their risks, and they want GMOs labeled so people know what's in their food.

Several Asian countries temporarily banned U.S. wheat imports after genetically modified wheat was found unexpectedly in a field on an Oregon farm in 2013. It also popped up in a field at a university research center in Montana in 2014.

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