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16.06.2017 |

Emergency Ban of Dicamba Pesticides Recommended in Arkansas Misuse of Drift-prone Pesticide Has Prompted 87 Recent Complaints

LITTLE ROCK— In response to dozens of new complaints of misuse of the highly toxic and drift-prone pesticide dicamba, an Arkansas regulatory committee today recommended an emergency ban of the controversial pesticide that has spurred three lawsuits and a dispute that led to the murder of an Arkansas farmer.

If the Arkansas Pesticide Committee’s recommendation is approved on Tuesday by the Arkansas State Plant Board, as well as by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the ban on in-crop uses of the pesticide will be immediate.

“What we’re seeing in Arkansas is proof of what we all already knew — that this dangerous, drift-prone pesticide is not safe to use,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Assurances from pesticide makers that new dicamba products and tighter application regulations would end the drift problems that damaged hundreds of thousands of acres simply ignored reality.”

16.06.2017 |

Dicamba herbicide complaints up sharply in 2017

More than 50 complaints of crops damaged by dicamba herbicide drifting from neighboring farm fields have been reported to the Arkansas State Plant Board so far in 2017.

That number is up sharply from 2016, in which 32 dicamba drift complaints were filed in the entire year, said Tom Barber, extension weed scientist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Among the damaged crops are some 100 acres of soybeans in Division of Agriculture research plots at the Northeast Research and Extension Center at Keiser in Mississippi County.

Ironically, those soybean plots were part of research by Division of Agriculture weed scientist Jason Norsworthy on dicamba drift and volatility.

The dicamba drift and volatility trials, for herbicide products from Monsanto and Syngenta, are needed before the products can be certified for use in Arkansas, Norsworthy said. The damage from unexpected dicamba drift interrupted the trials, making Norsworthy’s data useless in most of the plots unless he replants and starts over.

15.06.2017 |

One million sign petition for EU weedkiller ban

Strasbourg (France) (AFP) - More than one million people have signed a petition demanding the EU ban the Monsanto weedkiller glyphosate over fears it causes cancer, campaigners said Thursday.

The petition comes as the European Union is deciding whether to renew the licence of the controversial herbicide produced by the US agro-chemicals giant.

01.06.2017 |

New GM-Free Shopping List out now

GM-Free Shopping List
GM-Free Shopping List

The 2017 edition of the GM-Free Shopping List, published today, includes many brands not listed in earlier editions.

The GM-Free Australia Alliance (GMFAA) has further reported increasing interest from food producers this year to the demand for groceries free of genetically manipulated organisms (GMOs).

GMFAA spokesperson Jessica Harrison stated that the Shopping List acknowledges and promotes a growing list of brands whose GM-free status caters to consumers' right to choose non-GM foods. “Australians passionate about the right to choose have been voting with their wallets. Growing consumer awareness about genetic manipulation is increasing demand for both conventional and organic foods, supporting their producers and adding to market pressure on food producers to choose non-GMO suppliers".

26.05.2017 |

GMOs 2.0: New technologies, new risks, and no regulations

Many products made using new genetic engineering technologies such as synthetic biology and gene editing are entering the market with little or no regulation and even with “natural” or “non-GMO” claims.

Twenty years ago, proponents of genetic engineering promised that GMO foods would increase yields, reduce pesticides, produce nutritious foods, and help feed the world. Today, those promises have fallen far short as the majority of GMO crops are engineered to withstand sprays of Roundup herbicide, which is increasingly documented as a risk to human health.

Now, new genetic engineering technologies such as synthetic biology and gene editing are being hailed with the same promises of revolutionizing food production, medicine, fuels, textiles, and other areas.

But a closer look at this next generation or “GMOs 2.0” technologies reveals possibly even greater risks than existing GMO technology with possible human health risks and negative impacts on farming communities worldwide, among other unintended consequences. And while products developed using current genetic engineering methods are regulated by the U.S. government, GMOs 2.0 products are entering the market with few or no regulations.

24.05.2017 |

Critics claim liability bill would banish GMOs from Oregon

Critics of a bill imposing liability on GMO patent holders say it would effectively banish biotech crops from Oregon.

SALEM — A proposed bill imposing new financial liability on biotech patent holders in Oregon would effectively banish genetically engineered crops from the state, opponents claim.

Under House Bill 2739, biotech patent holders would be liable for triple the economic damages caused by the unwanted presence of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

The bill is now before the House Rules Committee, which is considering an amendment clarifying when landowners can file lawsuits over GMOs on their property and the defenses available to patent holders, among other provisions.

The amendment would also ensure that patent holders cannot transfer liability to farmers who cultivate GMOs, though they could transfer liability to seed companies.

“It’s putting the onus on the producers and people who sell these crops rather than grow them,” said Amy van Saun, an attorney with the Center for Food Safety, a non-profit that supports HB 2739.

19.05.2017 |

EC glyphosate renewal discussion to restart

The European Commission has decided to restart member state discussions over a 10-year renewal of glyphosate.

The Commission said: "We have taken into account the latest state of scientific research" and will"work with the member states to find a solution that enjoys the largest possible support."

No date has yet been set for when discussions with representatives of EU member states will start.

The EU granted an 18-month extension last July of its approval of glyphosate, less than the expected 10 years.

17.05.2017 |

Groups Call on Grocery Stores to Reject GM Fish and Produce as Parliament Votes Down Mandatory Labelling for GM Foods

Ottawa, May 17, 2017 – Public interest groups the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and Vigilance OGM, are expressing profound disappointment that Members of Parliament voted down Private Member’s Bill C-291 for mandatory labelling of genetically modified (GM, also called genetically engineered) foods.

Polls over twenty years consistently show that over 75 percent of Canadians want GM foods labelled. Health Canada’s 2016 survey put this number at 78 percent.

“Transparency and traceability are missing in Canada when it comes to GM foods,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. “The continued lack of mandatory labelling is an untenable situation for consumers.”

17.05.2017 |

Calls to halt GM maize and cotton import

MEPs objected on Wednesday to EU Commission plans to authorise imports of products made from genetically modified maize and cotton which are herbicide-resistant.

- Concerns over harmful herbicide residues

- Overhaul of authorisation procedure by Commission needed

They highlight concerns raised by independent research and member states, and repeat Parliament’s call for an overhaul of the EU’s GMO authorisation procedure.

A resolution opposing the marketing of products containing maize DAS-40278-9 points to concerns raised by independent research about the risks of the 2,4D herbicide, to which the maize is resistant, for embryo development and endocrine disruption.

Member States criticised the authorisation procedure during the three-month consultation period before approval, referring to missing or insufficient data, contradictory statements and poor test design.

The non-binding resolution was adopted with 435 votes to 216 and 34 abstentions.

In a separate resolution, adopted with 425 votes to 230 and 27 abstentions, MEPs say that imports of products from genetically modified cotton GHB119 should not be authorised, as this would encourage the use of glufosinate ammonium-based herbicides (to which GHB119 is resistant) in the world, while glufosinate is classified as toxic for reproduction.

14.05.2017 |

Illegal GM maize found growing in Bolivia

NGO warns of eventual disappearance of 77 varieties of native corn

According to a press statement by the NGO, SOS MAIZ BOLIVIA, GM Roundup Ready maize has been found growing illegally in the Bolivian village of Charagua, in the south of Santa Cruz department.

The discovery occurred on March 17 2017, when an expedition of agronomists, sociologists, economists and journalists organized by SOS MAIZ BOLIVIA went to the village and performed a scientific test that detected the GM maize.

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