Tag Archives: GMOs

If science solves the lime crisis, will we accept genetically engineered gin and tonics?

Note: If global industrial agriculture must be abolished in order to maintain a livable planet, will we accept life without cheap limes?

And let’s be honest — The industry-backed narrative about a “broad scientific consensus” on GMO safety is just plain incorrect – see this statement here: No scientific consensus on GMO safety.

-The GJEP Team

By Drake Bennett, April 11, 2014. Source: Bloomberg

Limes imported from Columbia on March 26 in Miami after imports from Mexico stopped.  Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Limes imported from Columbia on March 26 in Miami after imports from Mexico stopped. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

If you are not a regular consumer of Mexican cuisine or gin and tonics, you may not have noticed that limes have become a luxury product. The price of the fruit has quadrupled over the past couple months, to $100 a carton. Mexican restaurants and bars have begun rationing limes, and some airlines have stopped serving the fruit all together.

Ninety-five percent of the limes consumed in the U.S. come from Mexico, and Mexico’s lime harvest is being held hostage—sometimes literally—by weather, criminal entrepreneurship, and disease. Severe rains last fall knocked the blossoms off of most of Mexico’s lime trees, decimating the current yield. Armed gangs linked to drug cartels have seized on the shortage, and the resulting price spike, to start grabbing lime shipments and stealing fruit out of the fields. Growers have had to hire armed guards, and all this has only driven prices higher.

Harvests are likely to rebound somewhat in the next few months from the effects of last fall’s storms. But another, longer-term threat to Mexico’s limes is a bacterial disease called huanglongbing, also known as citrus greening, that’s killing many of Mexico’s lime trees. Last summer the New York Times ran an in-depth story about the efforts of a U.S. Sugar (USGR) company, Southern Gardens Citrus in Clewiston, Fla., to develop a genetically modified orange tree that could resist the disease, which growers in Florida fear could wipe out much of the state’s orange trees. Continue reading

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Europe’s Science Chief seeks to eliminate scientific discourse

By Brian John, March 19, 2014. Source: Spinwatch

Anne Glover, EU Chief Scientific Adviser. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Anne Glover, EU Chief Scientific Adviser. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Anne Glover, the EU’s chief scientist, is playing politics with science warns Brian John of GM-Free Cymru. Her role in promoting GMOs as safe and attempting to get rid of the precautionary principle, he argues in this guest post, is all part of a carefully crafted attempt to redesign science and to impose a scientific orthodoxy worked out with the “learned” academies. Dismissing some GMO discoveries by claiming they are “contested” ignores how scientific debate really works.  

Since taking office in 2012, EU Science Chief Anne Glover seems to have taken it upon herself to redefine the meaning of the term “scientific evidence” and to shake up the manner in which scientists work and communicate with each other.

In two staged “interviews” published in Euractiv 1 it has become apparent that she sees her role as providing science in support of the predetermined political positions of her boss, EC President Barroso. She will deny this, of course, but if we look at one field – the contentious area of GMOs – we see immediately that she is intent upon the “scientific validation” of the line pushed relentlessly by the Commission – ie that GMOs are safe and that they should be allowed without any great hindrance into the food supply, even if there is no public taste for them and no demand from retailers. This pressure towards market liberalisation and the insidious dismantling of GMO regulations is now being increased by the US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiators.

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World’s Top Surfers Gather in Hawaii to Protest over GMOs

Note: Slightly dated article, but intriguing new allies in the struggle to stop GMOs.

Posted on Dec 13 2013 – 9:53pm by Sustainable PulseThe march on Sunday December 15th was called for by Dustin Barca, professional surfer, MMA fighter and recipient of Surfer Magazine’s 2013 Surfer Poll Agent of Change Award for his work with Ohana O Kauai and Hawaii SEED to raise GMO awareness and stop the destruction of our agricultural land by GMO companies.

World renowned surfers Kelly Slater, Dustin Barca, Shane Dorian, John John Florence, Mark Healey, Sebastian Zietz and Makua Rothman will join Uncle Walter Ritte, Babes Against Biotech, Ohana O Kauai, Hawaii SEED, Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition, The Mom Hui, Defend Hawaii, Da Hui, Food Democracy Now and Hawaii United.

At the non-GMO potluck gathering after march, community organizers will speak and Hawaii singers Hawane Rios and Paul Izak will perform.“We are unified in protecting what we love and must stop the poisoning and destruction of Hawaii’s farm lands and urge Kamehameha Schools to refuse to renew a lease to Monsanto for an additional ten years,” the March organizers said Friday.

“We will not remain idle while our citizens, lands, waters and environments are poisoned with biotech industry genetic testing and related pesticides, experimented on by companies using farmlands to genetically alter and patent food crops for exported seed, destroyed by unethical developers and ruined for future generations,” Babes Against Biotech Founder, Nomi Carmona, stated.

Peaceful advocates for environmental awareness, Hawaii agriculture, local farming, sustainability, local economy, tourism, government accountability and human rights will join with dozens of community organizations and the biggest names in surfing today to represent aloha for Hawaii and peacefully resist the environmental harm of massive pesticide spraying and genetically engineered field testing occurring in Hawaii.

“We support local farmers and safe agriculture producing non-GMO food for Hawaii residents,” Carmona concluded.

This year, Hawaiian Senator Donovan Dela Cruz introduced a bill (SB727) to strike County rights to protect citizen life and health with the support of the GMO industry. Therefore, Hawaiians are again asserting their rights to home rule and County leadership while preparing to protect their State as a whole at the 2014 legislative session.

State and County elected officials in Hawaii have received over $515,000 of campaign financing from GMO companies performing genetic experiments in the Hawaiian islands which are banned in the majority of developed countries due to health and environmental biohazards. GMO producing pesticide companies experimenting on Hawaiian soil include synthetic chemical giants Monsanto, DOW, Bayer, BASF, Pioneer/DuPont and Syngenta.

The Aloha Aina March is a family friendly, peaceful, first amendment march and will begin at 12:00 PM in Haleiwa at the 7-11 parking lot proceeding down Kamehameha Highway to Haleiwa Beach Park. One lane will be closed with HPD escort.

The event is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to bring signs, cameras, reusable water bottles and utensils, potluck food, beach chairs and of course, aloha.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture, Pollution

Monsanto’s absurdity reaches new heights

By Jim Hightower, 3 November 2013

It was my privilege to go to Des Moines recently for a World Food Prize extravaganza recognizing Monsanto’s work against global hunger. But wait, Monsanto is not a hunger-fighter. It’s a predatory proliferator of proprietary and genetically engineered seeds.

That’s why I wasn’t actually attending the ceremony to bestow a false halo on the corporate giant. Rather, I was one of more than 500 scruffy “outsiders” in the city’s First United Methodist Church to protest the Monsanto absurdity.

Article image

There, real-life Iowa farmers spoke plainly about the countless abuses they have endured at the hands of the genetic manipulator.

One pointed out that if the corporation genuinely gave even one damn about hunger, it could’ve used its immense lobbying clout in Washington this year to stop Congress from stripping the entire food stamp program from the Farm Bill. Instead, Monsanto didn’t lift a finger to help fend off hunger in our own country.“It doesn’t care at all about feeding the world,” the Iowa farmer said with disgust. “It cares about profits, period.”

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American “democracy” in action: 60 corporations contribute $22m to stop WA GMO labeling bill

Note: The leader of course, that corporation everyone loves to hate (with good reason) chemical company turned agriculture giant, Monsanto.

–The GJEP Team

November 2, 2013-MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization that tracks money’s influence on politics, has updated the campaign finance data on the ballot intiatives in Washington state to make labeling of foods containing GMOs mandatory.

A MapLight analysis of campaign finance data from the Washington Public Disclosure Commission as of October 30, 2013 shows the Top 10 contributors on the supporting and opposing side and the geographic origin of the contributions.

From MapLight’s Voter’s Edge in Washington State

I-522: GMO Labeling
(Requires labeling of food products made from genetically modified organisms).

Contributions from Supporting Interests

Total Raised: $7.7 million from 10,500 donors

1 DR. BRONNER’S MAGIC SOAPS $1,840,635
2 CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY ACTION FUND $455,000
3 MERCOLA.COM HEALTH RESOURCES LLC $300,260
4 ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION $298,076
5 PRESENCE MARKETING, INC $260,000
6 PCC NATURAL MARKETS $230,274
7 NATURE’S PATH FOODS USA INC $178,700
8 FOOD DEMOCRACY NOW $175,000
9 WASHPIRG $168,121
10 WEILAND WILLIAM T. $150,000

Contributions from Opposing Interests

Total Raised: $22.0 million from 60 donors

1 MONSANTO $5,374,484
2 DUPONT PIONEER $3,880,159
3 PEPSICO $2,352,966
4 NESTLE USA $1,528,206
5 THE COCA-COLA COMPANY $1,520,351
6 GENERAL MILLS INC $869,271
7 CONAGRA FOODS $828,251
8 DOW AGROSCIENCES LLC $591,654
9 BAYER CROPSCIENCE $591,654
10 BASF PLANTSCIENCE $500,000

Background: The initiative, I-522, is a sibling to California’s 2012 Proposition 37 (GMO Labeling): many of the major contributors in this race also contributed to committees for or against Proposition 37, and the recent spike in opposition dollars echoes last year when the opposition to Proposition 37, according to the LA Times, “bankrolled” a “media blitz” in the final stretch.

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Rifts emerge in scientists’ views on safety of GMOs

1 November 2013. Source: SciDev

[RIO DE JANEIRO] Claims of there being a scientific consensus that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are safe are misleading and misrepresentative with potentially dangerous effect on regulation of GMOs, says a group of scientists.

The statement was signed on 21 October by an international group of 93 scientists, academics and physicians, gathered under the umbrella of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility, a non-profit association.

Based on scientific articles and reviews that show contradictory data on the safety of GMOs to human health and the environment, they argue that claims of there being a consensus that GMOs are safe, presented by “GM seed developers and some scientists, commentators, and journalists”, is “misleading and misrepresents the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of opinion among scientists on this issue”. Continue reading

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Monsanto waves white flag

Note: while this article seems to imply that Monsanto giving up pursuit of its GMOs in Europe will ‘hurt consumers,’ clearly it is a victory for anyone who supports food sovereignty, clean food and water and a Monsanto-free world.

–The GJEP Team

Monsanto headquarters in St. Louis, MO.  Photo: Langelle Photography

Monsanto headquarters in St. Louis, MO. Photo: Langelle Photography

From the Sept. issue of Nature Biotechnology

Monsanto said on July 17 that it will progressively withdraw applications for commercial growing of genetically modified organisms pending in Brussels and no longer seek approval in Europe for new genetically modified (GM) seeds.

The St. Louis–based agbiotech giant intends to concentrate on other markets, while focusing on conventional agriculture in the EU. Monsanto is pulling out after 15 years of investing in R&D and 400 field trials conducted in Europe. “Monsanto’s decision this summer and BASF’s last year could be seen as inevitable given Europe’s thirst for innovative industries,” says Nathalie Moll from the European Association of Biotech Industries in Brussels (Nat. Biotechnol. 30, 204, 2012).

Even if applications to cultivate GM crops in the EU are dropped, an efficient authorization process for GM imports remains important to biotech growers worldwide, Moll adds. “It seems that in future, Europe will continue to import and consume GM feed and industrial crops, yet these will not be produced by Europe’s own farmers,” says Robert Paarlberg, a policy analyst at Harvard.

Sales of the only GM seeds approved for planting in the EU—MON810 corn—will continue, but the GM corn represents a negligible share of the corn under cultivation in the continent. “Consumers and the environment will pay the bill. The relevant science in Europe is fading away or leaving. There is, however, hope: the young generation appears more biotech- friendly,” says Hans-Jörg Jacobsen from the Leibniz University of Hannover in Germany. – Anna Meldolesi

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Earth Minute: RoundUp Herbicide Contaminating People and the Environment

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project collaborates with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK each week for an Earth Minute on Tuesday and an EarthWatch segment on Thursday.

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Monsanto refuses to testify on genetically modified crops in Puerto Rico

Note: On Wednesday, the World Food Prize – described as the “Oscars” of agriculture – was awarded to Robert Fraley, Monsanto’s executive vice president and chief technology officer, for his role in pioneering genetically engineered foods.  Clearly these people must live on a different planet…

-The GJEP Team

By Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero, June 19, 2013. Source: CorpWatch

Millions against Monsanto rally in Puerto Rico. Photo: Indymedia Puerto Rico

Millions against Monsanto rally in Puerto Rico. Photo: Indymedia Puerto Rico

Monsanto has refused to testify at a major government hearing about the development and sale of seeds in Puerto Rico. At stake is the research that the company conducts into genetic engineering on the island that critics say threaten the environment and can cause serious human health problems.

The Puerto Rico Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing last Monday on a bill (PS624) that would create a Seed Board and a certification and licensing system to regulate the development and sale of seeds in Puerto Rico.

“Monsanto does not produce, sell (or) offer… basic or certified seed with the purpose of planting in Puerto Rico”, said company representative Eric Torres-Collazo in a letter to the committee explaining the decision not to testify.  He also claimed that the company’s activities are not subject to regulation by the Puerto Rican legislature.

Technically Torres-Collazo is correct on at least one count – all the harvest produced by Monsanto and other transnational seed enterprises in the island is exported for use abroad as seed. A major market is the U.S. where most corn and soy is derived from genetically modified varieties. Continue reading

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Governments urged to limit weed killer found in humans

Note: Originating from a partnership which included Monsanto, South Carolina-based ArborGen intends to plant millions of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees across the US Southeast, for which they are currently awaiting approval from the US Department of Agriculture.  Given the ecological and public health nightmare of GMO crops like Monsanto’s RoundUp-Ready line, it’s not hard to imagine the disasters that would ensue if native forests were allowed to be converted into heavily sprayed monoculture tree plantations.

Take action today by signing Global Justice Ecology Project and the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees’ petition calling for a ban on the release of all genetically engineered trees into the environment here: http://globaljusticeecology.org/petition.php

-The GJEP Team

June 17, 2013. Source: Friends of the Earth International

A farmer sprays the weed killer glyphosate across his cornfield in Auburn, Ill.  Photo: Seth Perlman/AP

A farmer sprays the weed killer glyphosate across his cornfield in Auburn, Ill. Photo: Seth Perlman/AP

Friends of the Earth International today urged governments around the world to limit the use of the weed killer glyphosate, after laboratory test results released last week showed that people across 18 European countries have traces of the weed killer in their bodies.

The unprecedented tests carried out by Friends of the Earth Europe revealed that 44% of samples from 182 volunteers in 18 European countries contained traces of the herbicide.

Glyphosate is one of the most widely-used weed killers in the world, used by farmers, local government and gardeners, and is sprayed extensively on genetically modified (GM) crops.

In the United States and Latin America, farmers are using increased amounts of pesticides -including glyphosate- due largely to the heavy adoption of genetically modified crops.  Continue reading

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