Note: The state of Washington will vote whether or not to label food containing GMOs on November 5th. As with California’s similar initiative, Monsanto and other big ag companies are throwing big money at stopping the labeling. Here, from Dana Lyons, a very old friend of ours, is a fun video promoting the labeling campaign. Enjoy!–The GJEP Team
Tag Archives: GMO labeling
By John Letman, February 16, 2013. Source: Al Jazeera
Lihue, Hawaii - Famous the world over as a tropical vacation spot, the Hawaiian Islands are less well-known as ground zero in the debate over genetically modified organisms (GMO), the open-air testing of pesticide-resistant crops and the ethics of patenting genetically engineered (GE) plant life.
Hawaii is home to one of the world’s greatest concentrations of GMO research fields by five of the largest biotechnology and chemical companies: Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer and BASF.
These transnational corporations prefer Hawaii for growing and testing GE crops because of its abundant sunshine, rainfall and year-round growing climate. GMO opponents say the companies also enjoy Hawaii’s isolation, largely removed from the public eye.
Yet these companies, which have been in Hawaii for decades, are now facing increasing opposition from residents concerned about GMOs, the health and environmental impacts of pesticides and what they see as a lack of oversight and transparency. Continue reading
Note: As we enter the thirtieth year of genetic engineering of plants, the threat of GE trees is growing. While GE food crops (commonly called GMOs) are ubiquitous, the large-scale, commercial use of GE trees can still be prevented. To learn more about the STOP Genetically Engineered Trees Campaign, and to join Global Justice Ecology Project in the fight to ban GE trees, visit http://nogetrees.org
-The GJEP Team
February 2, 2013. Source: Test Biotech
Today in Berlin a new report was published presenting a critical assessment of the consequences of the commercial cultivation of genetically engineered plants in the US. The first genetically engineered plants were created 30 years ago in Europe and the US. Commercial growing in the USA began almost 20 years ago, but in the EU, acceptance of these crops is much lower. Nevertheless, companies are asking for further authorisations for cultivation, including in the EU. In the light of this development, past experience in the USA was assessed and recommendations made for the future handling of this technology in the EU. Some of the principal findings are:
- Consequences for farmersBecause the weeds have adapted to the cultivation of the genetically engineered plants, farmers are experiencing a substantial increase in both working hours and the amounts of herbicide they require. Cultivation of insecticide-producing plants have led to “an arms race in the field” against the pest insects, which have adapted quickly. Genetically engineered plants have been created to produce up to six different toxins. Costs for seeds have increased dramatically, without there being a substantial increase in yields or significant savings in the amounts of spray required.
- Impact on the seed marketThe seed industry in the USA is largely dominated by agrochemical industries such as Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta. In future, it has to be expected that developments in the USA will be strongly influenced by the interests of agro-chemical companies pushing for the cultivation of genetically engineered plants.
- Consequences for producers who avoid genetically engineered cropsContamination with non-authorised genetically engineered plants has already caused billions of dollars worth of damage in the USA.
- Consequences for consumersConsumers are exposed to a whole range of risks regarding unintended substances from plant metabolism, from residues from complementary herbicides and from the properties of additional proteins produced in the plants. As yet, there is no way of monitoring the actual effects that consumption of these products might have.
- Effects on the environmentThe cultivation of genetically engineered plants is closely associated with a substantial increase in the amounts of herbicide required. In addition, there is also an increase in environmental exposure to certain insecticides. In particular, the cultivation of herbicide-resistant plants leads to a reduction in biodiversity. Genetically engineered rapeseed has already managed to escape from the fields into the environment from where it cannot be withdrawn, and from where it evades any adequate control.
The study was commissioned by Martin Häusling, Member of the Green Group in the European Parliament. The English version of the study is published by Testbiotech.
January 29, 2013. Source: Industry Week, Agence France-Presse
BASF (IW 1000/33), the world’s biggest chemicals company, said Tuesday it has decided to no longer seek European approval of its genetically modified potato products in the face of stiff resistance.
BASF said in a statement it will “discontinue the pursuit of regulatory approvals for the Fortuna, Amadea, and Modena potato projects in Europe because continued investment cannot be justified due to uncertainty in the regulatory environment and threats of field destructions.”
A year ago, the giant had announced it would halt the development and marketing of new genetically-modified products destined for the European market over concerns in some countries over the technology.
And it also moved its plant science headquarters to the United States.
BASF’s latest decision comes only days after the European Commission in Brussels announced it will freeze the approval process for genetically modified food crops through the end of its mandate next year while it works towards an agreement with EU member states.
By Jim Avila, December 4, 2012. Source: ABC News
Deep in the rain forests of Panama, in a secret location behind padlocked gates, barbed-wire fences and over a rickety wooden bridge, grows what could be the most debated food product of our time.
It may look like the 1993 hit movie “Jurassic Park,” but at this real-life freshwater farm scientists are altering the genes not of dinosaurs — but of fish.
They are growing a new DNA-altered saltwater fish in the mountains, far from the sea — a salmon that could be the first genetically altered animal protein approved for the world to eat. If it is approved, this would be a landmark change for human food.
But it is one critics call “Frankenfish.”
“The idea of changing an animal form, I think, is really creepy,” said Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farm, an organic dairy farm. “When you move the DNA from a species into another species … you create a new life form that’s so new and so unique that you can get a patent for it.”
And until now, AquaBounty, the multinational biotech company that for 20 years has been developing this giant fish, has kept it under close wraps.
Note: As the article below describes, corporations like Monsanto ($8m+) and Dupont ($3.5m) sunk millions into an advertising campaign to sink Proposition 37, which would have labeled GM foods in California.
The Los Angeles Times also has a great visual chart following the money: http://elections.latimes.com/voterguide-2012/prop-37/
–The GJEP Team
By Mark Wachtler, November 7 2012. Source: The Examiner
If a company was secretly substituting your food for a laboratory-created, food-like substance, would you want to know before you bought and ate it? Of course you would. Polls routinely show that 90 percent of all Americans support genetically modified food labeling. So how is it that California’s Proposition 37, which would require GMO food labeling, was defeated so soundly yesterday? The answer is a last-minute $45-$48 million advertising campaign by multi-national food corporations asking the state’s voters to vote ‘No’ on Prop 37. With 90% voter support and no legitimate reason to vote against the ballot initiative, it would seem that pure, old-fashioned, repetitive advertising carried the day.
By Marc Lifsher, October 26, 2012. Source: LA Times
After losing a more than two-to-one lead from a month-long barrage of critical opposition TV ads, supporters of a genetically engineered foods labeling initiative have taken to the air.
The Yes on Proposition 37 campaign on Thursday launched a TV blitz of their own, starting out in the Southern California and San Francisco Bay Area markets. The ads, which cost “seven figures,” are expected to air statewide between now and the Nov. 6 election day, the Yes campaign said.
“We’re in it to win it,” said Yes campaign spokeswoman Stacy Malkan. “We believe that when people get the truth about what Proposition 37 is about, they’ll vote yes.”
A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Thursday showed the two sides in the Proposition 37 fight in a dead heat, with 44% of those polled in support and 42% against.
By Judson Parker, OCTOBER 24, 2012. Source: Examiner.com
Prop 37 supporters rally in front of City Hall as the City Council unanimously endorses the GMO labeling law. Credits: Dave Murphy
As supporters rallied in front of Los Angeles City Hall today, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting Prop 37, the Right to Know ballot measure that would label genetically engineered foods in California.
California would join 61 other countries that already label genetically engineered foods, and Prop 37 would also prohibit such foods from being marketed as “natural.”
“It’s not often that the LA City Council votes unanimously to support a measure, but Prop 37 was a no-brainer. We have the right to know what’s in the food we’re eating and feeding our families,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz, the resolution’s author. “I’m proud to be a part of this true grassroots campaign in our struggle against the biggest pesticide and junk food companies in the world.”
“We’re thrilled that the Los Angeles City Council voted to join our people’s movement today,” said Tom Fendley, political director of the Yes on 37 California Right to Know campaign. “The Council joins millions of moms, dads, family farmers, doctors, scientists, and grocery store owners in saying, very simply, that we have the right to know what’s in our food.”
By Michael Pollan, October 10, 2012. Source: New York Times
One of the more interesting things we will learn on Nov. 6 is whether or not there is a “food movement” in America worthy of the name — that is, an organized force in our politics capable of demanding change in the food system. People like me throw the term around loosely, partly because we sense the gathering of such a force, and partly (to be honest) to help wish it into being by sheer dint of repetition. Clearly there is growing sentiment in favor of reforming American agriculture and interest in questions about where our food comes from and how it was produced. And certainly we can see an alternative food economy rising around us: local and organic agriculture is growing far faster than the food market as a whole. But a market and a sentiment are not quite the same thing as a political movement — something capable of frightening politicians and propelling its concerns onto the national agenda.
California’s Proposition 37, which would require that genetically modified (G.M.) foods carry a label, has the potential to do just that — to change the politics of food not just in California but nationally too. Now, there is much that’s wrong with California’s notorious initiative process: it is an awkward, usually sloppy way to make law. Yet for better or worse, it has served as a last- or first-ditch way for issues that politicians aren’t yet ready to touch — whether the tax rebellion of the 1970s (Prop 13) or medical marijuana in the 1990s (Prop 215) — to win a hearing and a vote and then go on to change the political conversation across the country.
By Sharon Robinson, August 27, 2012. Source: Food World News
Note: This story should serve as a reminder of the common link in the global fight to stop GMO/GE food: Monsanto. While Brazil has taken a stand against the biotech giant, the battle is just heating up in the US. GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann and Board Director Orin Langelle will be speaking as part of the Occupy Monsanto global week of action beginning September 17 in St. Louis, alongside the “12th International Symposium on GMO Safety.” Fore more information on Occupy Monsanto, click here
-The GJEP Team
While the battle against Genetically Modified food labeling rages on in the U.S. a definitive stand has been taken by Brazil.
A court in Brazil has ruled that Nestle label all of its products with over 1 percent GMO. This ruling came about after Nestle’s strawberry flavoured Bono Cookies were found to have transgenic material. In concordance with Brazilian law, all food manufacturers will now have to let the consumers know about the food products containing GM organism, reports GM Watch.
The cookies were found to contain genetically modified soy.
All food products containing GM content will now have to have a label: a yellow triangle with ‘T’ in the middle. This will be accompanied by the word “transgenic” to indicate that the food is genetically modified.
With this ruling, Brazil has joined the ranks of the countries which require the labeling of GM food, including the European Union and Japan.
This is not the first time a court in Brazil has ruled against a food company which uses GMO. Last week, Monsanto was fined heavily, for an advertisement which it released in 2004, when GM food was banned in Brazil, reports Mother Nature Network. The court fined Monsanto $250,000 for releasing a very “misleading” ad on GM soy.
Brazil has always had a tenuous relationship with GM food. GM seeds were first smuggled into the country in the 90s from neighboring Argentina. Despite a government ban on the use of GM crops, many farmers began planting GM crops and today, Brazil is the second largest producer of GM soy. The ban has long since been lifted.
Monsanto, the biotech giant, has been the company which gained the most from the lift of the ban.
In the U.S., however, the battle for the legalization of Prop 37, which requires labeling of food containing GMO, is still raging on in California. Though, the “No on 37″ coalition has more funds and the support of big food companies, prop 37 is very likely to win.