Tag Archives: GMO labeling

Monsanto and Big Food losing the GMO and ‘natural’ food fight

By Ronnie Cummins, April 24, 2014. Source: Huffington Post

Photo: Kevin Van den Panhuyzen

Photo: Kevin Van den Panhuyzen

After 20 years of battling Monsanto and corporate agribusiness, food and farm activists in Vermont, backed by a growing movement across the country, are on the verge of a monumental victory — mandatory labels on genetically engineered foods and a ban on the routine industry practice of labeling GMO-tainted foods as “natural.”

On April 16, 2014, the Vermont Senate passed H.112 by a vote of 28-2, following up on the passage of a similar bill in the Vermont House last year. The legislation, which requires all GMO foods sold in Vermont to be labeled by July 1, 2016, will now pass through a House/Senate conference committee before landing on Governor Peter Shumlin’s desk, for final approval.

Strictly speaking, Vermont’s H.112 applies only to Vermont. But it will have the same impact on the marketplace as a federal law. Because national food and beverage companies and supermarkets will not likely risk the ire of their customers by admitting that many of the foods and brands they are selling in Vermont are genetically engineered, and deceptively labeled as “natural” or “all natural” while simultaneously trying to conceal this fact in the other 49 states and North American markets. As a seed executive for Monsanto admitted 20 years ago, “If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” Continue reading

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Filed under Commodification of Life, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture

Vermont set to pass GMO labeling law

By Hilary Niles, April 3, 2014. Source: VT Digger

Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Dick Sears (right), D-Bennington, and Sen. Tim Ashe, D/P-Chittenden, discuss a bill on GMO labeling Thursday at the Statehouse. Photo: Hilary Niles/VTDigger

Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Dick Sears (right), D-Bennington, and Sen. Tim Ashe, D/P-Chittenden, discuss a bill on GMO labeling Thursday at the Statehouse. Photo: Hilary Niles/VTDigger

Vermont lawmakers are poised to “boldly go where no other state has gone before,” Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, said Thursday before casting his vote for an unprecedented food-labeling law.

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave H.112 unanimous approval Thursday. The bill would require the labeling of food made with genetically modified ingredients sold in Vermont.

Vermont will not wait for more states to adopt similar laws before it moves ahead with GMO labeling.

Connecticut and Maine have passed laws that included a trigger based on other states’ adoption of labeling provisions. Vermont lawmakers emulated Connecticut’s and Maine’s legislation, but did not include a trigger in H.112.
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Filed under Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture

Video: Disco to label GMOs

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

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Filed under Biodiversity, Commodification of Life, Food Sovereignty, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Green Economy, Industrial agriculture

Opposition crops up to GMO foods in Hawaii

By John Letman, February 16, 2013. Source: Al Jazeera

Dr Vandana Shiva travelled from India to the US state of Hawaii to speak about GMO crops.  Photo: Kai Markell/Al Jazeera

Dr Vandana Shiva travelled from India to the US state of Hawaii to speak about GMO crops. Photo: Kai Markell/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

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Filed under Biodiversity, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture

30 years of genetically engineered plants: Consequences of commercial growing in the US

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

Mapuche woman protests outside of the Belgian Mission in Manhattan.  Photo: Langelle

Mapuche woman protests outside of the Belgian Mission in Manhattan. Photo: Langelle

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.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture

Victory! BASF halts EU approval process for genetically modified potatoes

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.

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Filed under Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture, Victory!

Frankenfish! Aquabounty hoping to serve genetically engineered Salmon on US plates

By Jim Avila, December 4, 2012.  Source: ABC News

Photo: ABC News

Photo: 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.
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Filed under Commodification of Life, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture, Latin America-Caribbean, Oceans

Proposition to label GM food fails to pass in California

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

Snapshot from a “No on 37″ TV Ad.  The ad, backed by multinationals, claims that ‘out of state interests’ were ‘gaming’ the California system to push for food labeling.  Photo: 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.

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