Category Archives: Genetic Engineering

“Genetically engineered chestnuts? Not so fast,” Dr. Martha Crouch

NoBarTree3Martha Crouch, a biologist and a consultant on science issues with the Center for Food Safety, wrote this pointed response to a recent story in Syracuse.com about the GE chestnut being worked on and promoted by Drs. William Powell and Chuck Maynard from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse.

 

SUNY ESF plan to release genetically engineered chestnut tree is too hasty (Your letters)

By Dr. Martha L. Crouch, syracuse.com. 14 November 2014.

To the Editor:

Regarding Glenn Coin’s Nov. 6, 2014 story, “Breakthrough at SUNY ESF: Genetic engineering may save the nearly extinct American chestnut”:

Genetically engineered chestnuts? Not so fast.

Imagine: “Bald eagles genetically engineered with pigeon genes to withstand pesticides.” Or, “Scientists insert synthetic DNA into Florida panthers to resist deadly virus.”

Many conservationists would balk at interfering with wild animals in such an extreme way – directly manipulating their very nature by adding genes from unrelated species.

Read more about it at syracuse.com and leave a comment!

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Filed under GE Trees, Genetic Engineering

Monsanto declares GMO science settled–scientists fight back!

International scientists working with the Russian National Association for Genetic Safety (NAGS) have announced the launch of the world’s largest and most comprehensive long-term health study.

The study “Factor GMO” was announced in London earlier this week and will focus on USA based seed and chemical company Monsanto’s GMO maize products. The study is a 3 year $25 million project and will begin next year.

A Russian group working with scientists is set to launch world’s largest long-term health study on a GM food. Photograph: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

A Russian group working with scientists is set to launch world’s largest long-term health study on a GM food. Photograph: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Largest international study into safety of GM food launched by Russian NGO

By John Vidal, The Guardian. 11 November 2014

A Russian group working with scientists is set to launch what they call the world’s largest and most comprehensive long-term health study on a GM food.

The $25m three-year experiment will involve scientists testing thousands of rats which will be fed differing diets of a Monsanto GM maize and the world’s most widely-used herbicide which it it is engineered to be grown with.

Read the Guardian article here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Corporate Globalization, Genetic Engineering, GMOs, Human made disasters, Monsanto, Pesticides, Pollution

GE American chestnuts: Conservation or Trojan Horse?

This week’s Earth Minute delves into the concerns with genetically engineered American chestnut trees.

GJEP partners with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Los Angeles for weekly Earth Minutes on Tuesday and Earth Watch interviews on Thursday.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Earth Minute, Earth Radio, Forests, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Greenwashing

The 13th Annual ISBGMO Conference spreads anti-climate agenda

Corporations, lawmakers and scientists descend on Cape Town, South Africa, to peddle their false solutions to climate change at the 13th Annual International Symposium on the Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms (ISBGMO). From Nov. 9-13, 2014, participants will meet for keynotes and panel discussions with vague titles such as “The Long and Winding Road for Regulatory Approval of GM Forest Trees.”

Image from http://xnerg.blogspot.com

Image from http://xnerg.blogspot.com

The conference theme is “Advancing ERA of GMOs to Address Biosafety in a Global Society.” Not surprisingly,  the biggest Big Ag big players are sponsoring the conference: FuturaGene, Monsanto, Dow and Dupont, among many others.

This conference  is just another example of how corporate agendas are really the driving force behind genetically modified organisms, particularly GMO crops and GE trees for biofuels. Participants perpetuate pro-GMO propaganda by claiming to consider biosafety issues, but ignore the scientific data showing that the only safe GMOs are no GMOs.

Intro from the Website: International Symposium on the Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms (ISBGMO)
International Society for Biosafety Research (ISBR), Nov. 9-13, 2014

The International Society for Biosafety Research (ISBR) and the Local Organising Committee are pleased to announce that Cape Town, South Africa will be hosting the International Symposium on the Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms (ISBGMO) from 9-13 November 2014. The conference will be held at the The Westin, Cape Town The Westin with there outstanding conference facilities.

The ISBGMO is a biennial, international meeting organised under the auspices of the ISBR, which has previously been hosted in Germany, Canada, China, France, Korea, New Zealand, Argentina and the USA. It brings together academics, technology developers, regulatory authorities, non-government organisations and other credible stakeholders involved in all aspects of biosafety and offers a unique opportunity to share information and experiences and engage in open and meaningful dialogue on biosafety research, risk analysis, policy and regulatory matters.

Follow the conversation around the conference on Twitter by using the hashtag #ISBGMO13.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Biofuelwatch, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, GMOs

Exposé: USDA drops the ball on GMO crop oversight

This expose by Hearst newspapers on the lax approach to GMO crop oversight by the US Department of Agriculture is unfortunately not surprising, given the agency’s history of pro-GMO crop decisions.  It is, however, one more powerful reason to oppose the approval of genetically engineered forest trees in the US.

Species currently being developed include non-native GE eucalyptus trees (which APHIS is currently evaluating for widespread commercial release), GE American chestnut trees (which would be released into forests with the express intent of contaminating wild American chestnut trees), as well as GE poplar and GE pine, which have wild relatives across the Hemisphere that would be at risk from contamination.

Here’s an idea.  Let’s ban GE trees instead.  Sign our petition here.

Weak Oversight of GM Field Trials in the U.S.
 
Source: Third World Network
 
“Arctic Apples” genetically modified (GM) not to turn brown have become the centre of controversy in the United States when an inspection of an orchard of these apple trees found them flowering less than 100 feet from non-GM apple trees, in violation of GM field trial regulations. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering the approval of GM non-browning apples, which could have an adverse impact on the country’s apple industry if consumers reject GM apples.
 

Soon after being sliced, a conventional Granny Smith apple (left) starts to brown, while the GMO apple does not. Photo: NPR

Soon after being sliced, a conventional Granny Smith apple (left) starts to brown, while the GMO apple does not. Photo: NPR

The apple grower, Gebbers Farms, was fined by the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) $19,250, which prompted Hearst Newspapers to conduct an investigation into the oversight of GM field trials. It found that only two such fines have been issued since 2010 out of nearly 200 notices of non-compliance issued.

 
APHIS says it has approved nearly 20,000 field trial permits covering an estimated 100,000 plantings of gene-altered crops. This is akin to a vast outdoor experimentation with GM crops, which is expanding swiftly from common field crops like corn and soybeans into the realm of whole foods and plants with industrial uses.
 
Describing APHIS as having an “industry-friendly approach” to regulation, the Hearst report reveals a disturbing trend of violations, mistakes and high risks of contamination that have not received adequate attention or action by governing bodies. In particular, APHIS’s weakness in overseeing field trials has drawn heavy criticism from farmers, scientists and other federal agencies.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Forests, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture, Uncategorized

Super Spud: USDA approves GE potato

Scientists at Simplot have blended several different strands of potato RNA into one major super spud, which the USDA recently approved. However, the Center for Food Safety warns that we don’t know enough about this type of RNA interference technology to say for sure that these potatoes are safe for consumption.

The public could find out soon enough; one of Simplot’s biggest customers — McDonald’s.

Photo: Time

Photo: Time

USDA Approves Genetically Engineered Super Potato

by Nolan Feeney, Time, 9 Nov. 2014

But some food-safety experts aren’t psyched about the spud
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday approved a genetically engineered potato that is resistant to bruising and cuts down on a possible cancer-causing substance, though some food-safety experts aren’t so excited about the super spud.

The Innate Potato, trademarked by Simplot, contains the DNA of other kinds of potatoes mixed in through a process known as RFA interference technology, The Guardian reports.

Get the rest of the details here.

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Filed under GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, GMOs

Sign the petition to prevent GE trees from contaminating forests

With the Right to Know labeling movement in full swing, GMOs are making headlines in every major website and newspaper in the U.S. However, genetically engineering food isn’t the only way that industry is trying to sneak their modified plants into our lives.

Enter genetically engineered trees.

Companies like ArborGen, jointly owned by International Paper and MeadWestvaco among others, are pressuring congress and the USDA to give them permission to release billions of GE eucalyptus seedlings in vast plantations across the U.S. Teamed up with another false solution to climate change, bioenergy, these GE trees, also called GM trees or GMO trees, could invade our natural forests, altering them forever. Not to mention drying up ground water and causing massive firestorms.  It is time to say no to corporate greenwashing  and no to genetically engineered trees.

GE ecualyptus farms are a growing threat to biodiversity. This is a eucalyptus greenhouse in Brazil.  Photo: Anne Petermann/GJEP

To prevent GE trees from contaminating natural forests, the Campaign to STOP GE Trees is circulating a petition demanding the USDA ban ArborGen and other entities from selling/distributing GE trees and creating “frankentree” planations across the U.S. The USDA is set to make a draft decision any day now. The more signatures the Campaign gets, the greater the chance we have to stop GE trees.

Sign the Petition to Ban Genetically Engineered Trees

To Whom It May Concern, I demand that all petitions by GE tree company ArborGen to plant or sell their genetically engineered eucalyptus trees be rejected. In addition, I demand that all petitions to release dangerous GE trees into the environment be rejected as they are inherently destructive and the full extent of their social and ecological risks has not been assessed. Further, I demand the USDA ban planting GE trees and all such plantings of GE trees be banned outright.

Sign the petition!

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Filed under Biofuelwatch, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Synthetic Biology

Center for Food Safety: Massive Corporate Spending Smothers Call for GE Food Labeling in Colorado

istock_000018895463small1_70781_60362Center for Food Safety commented on the disappointing news that a multi-million dollar opposition campaign succeeded in defeating a Colorado ballot initiative that would have mandated labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food. Lead by chemical companies Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer, the No on 105 campaign received over $16 million in corporate contributions, hugely outspending the grassroots Yes on 105 campaign.

“Thank you to the tireless efforts of so many organizers, activists and volunteers in Colorado,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety. “Despite an aggressive and deceptive anti-consumer campaign, hundreds of thousands of Colorado voters spoke up in favor of GE food labeling.”

In all, chemical and big food companies funding anti-labeling campaigns have spent over $100 million in just four states – California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado. In Oregon, Monsanto, Pepsi and other corporations have spent over $18 million, easily breaking the previous spending record.

Colorado would have been the fourth U.S. state to require GE labeling. Connecticut and Maine each passed GE labeling laws this past spring, but both bills include a trigger clause requiring several other states to also pass labeling bills before the new laws can be implemented. Vermont was the first state to pass a no-strings-attached labeling law, set to go into effect in 2016. 64 countries around the world, including all European Union countries, Japan, Russian, and even China, already require GE foods to be labeled.

Over the last decade, CFS has co-authored GE food labeling ballot initiatives in California and Washington and has supported numerous legislative efforts, including victories in Vermont, Connecticut and Maine.  In a 2011 legal petition, Center for Food Safety provided FDA with a blueprint for a federal labeling of genetically engineered foods. FDA has yet to formally respond to that petition, though the agency has received more than 1.4 million comments supporting the petition and mandatory labeling.

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Filed under Genetic Engineering, GMOs, Local Bans/Laws, Voting