Tag Archives: monsanto

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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Activists occupy EU Food Security offices, clash with police

March 21, 2014. Source: GMO Free Europe

gmo_free_europeOn March the 20th about 100 activists from the social centers of Emilia-Romagna, Marche and North-East of Italy entered in the EFSA’s headquarters in Parma, and occupied it for half an hour, also blocking the ongoing proclamation of the new executive director.

EFSA, the European Food Security Agency, is not a “private” place. It is a public one, instead.

Firstly for its status of European institution. But above all because it is in charge of our collective and individual safety and the ecological security, as for what is related to food and crops.

As we detail below, there are many criticisms that can be raised about the way EFSA evaluates the risk of the GMOs. Those criticisms have been raised and discussed in the past by many scientists and environmental associations.

However, no answers came from EFSA, nor its guidelines have been modified in any respect.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Corporate Globalization, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture

Group seeks court order on USDA over genetically modified alfalfa

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project has worked with the Center for Food Safety in the past, suing the USDA over their approval of GE eucalyptus field trials throughout the southeast.  Read their report, Genetically Engineered Trees: The New Frontier of Biotechnology.

-The GJEP Team

By Carey Gillam, March 13, 2014. Source: Reuters

Photo: hailmerry.com

Photo: hailmerry.com

A public interest group is asking a court to force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to turn over documents explaining its approval of a genetically altered alfalfa even as the department acknowledged the crop’s potential to do environmental damage.

The Center for Food Safety said on Thursday that it believes the USDA may have succumbed to outside pressure, possibly from Monsanto Co., the developer of the genetic trait in the biotech alfalfa.

CFS filed a lawsuit late on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., seeking a court order for the USDA to turn over nearly 1,200 documents related to the decision about the crop called Roundup Ready alfalfa.

Neither the USDA nor Monsanto responded to requests for comment on Thursday.
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Monsanto’s Roundup found in 75% of air and rain samples

By John Deike, February 27, 2014. Source: EcoWatch

In recent years, Roundup was found to be even more toxic than it was when first approved for agricultural use, though that discovery has not led to any changes in regulation of the pesticide. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

In recent years, Roundup was found to be even more toxic than it was when first approved for agricultural use, though that discovery has not led to any changes in regulation of the pesticide. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

A new U.S. Geological Survey has concluded that pesticides can be found in, well, just about anything.

Roundup herbicide, Monsanto’s flagship weed killer, was present in 75 percent of air and rainfall test samples, according to the study, which focused on Mississippi’s highly fertile Delta agricultural region.

GreenMedInfo reports new research, soon to be published by Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry journal, discovered the traces over a 12-year span from 1995-2007.

In recent years, Roundup was found to be even more toxic than it was when first approved for agricultural use, though that discovery has not led to any changes in regulation of the pesticide. Moreover, Roundup’s overuse has enabled weeds and insects to build an immunity to its harsh toxins. Continue reading

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Monsanto’s Roundup may be linked to fatal kidney disease, new study suggests

February 27, 2014. Source: RT

A farmer tills a rice paddy field on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka (Reuters / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)

A farmer tills a rice paddy field on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka (Reuters / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)

A heretofore inexplicable fatal, chronic kidney disease that has affected poor farming regions around the globe may be linked to the use of biochemical giant Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide in areas with hard water, a new study has found.

The new study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Researchers suggest that Roundup, or glyphosate, becomes highly toxic to the kidney once mixed with“hard” water or metals like arsenic and cadmium that often exist naturally in the soil or are added via fertilizer. Hard water contains metals like calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iron, among others. On its own, glyphosate is toxic, but not detrimental enough to eradicate kidney tissue.

The glyphosate molecule was patented as a herbicide by Monsanto in the early 1970s. The company soon brought glyphosate to market under the name “Roundup,” which is now the most commonly used herbicide in the world. Continue reading

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New report shows record decline in Monarch Butterflies: Monsanto a major culprit

By Larissa Walker, January 29, 2014. Source: Center for Food Safety

Photo: Center for Food Safety

Photo: Center for Food Safety

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, again, but the 2013-2014 overwintering population numbers for Monarch butterflies in Mexico were just released this morning, confirming our bleak predictions from a few months ago: the situation is worsening. Last year’s overwintering numbers were an all-time low, with monarchs occupying 1.19 hectares. The area occupied by monarchs this year is a frightening 0.67 hectares – a 44% decline in just the past year. So what does that number actually mean for the population size of monarchs? An average estimate of about 50 million butterflies per hectare would mean there are roughly 33.5 million monarchs – a huge drop from just one year ago. Another way to visualize this downward spiral is to look at the trend of declining overwintering numbers in Mexico throughout the past two decades:

These data points and trends, compiled by World Wildlife Fund Mexico, clearly illustrate North American Monarch butterfly populations are in serious trouble, and it’s only going to continue to get worse unless we make some big changes to our agricultural system. Continue reading

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The rise of superweeds – and what to do about it

January 20, 2014. Source: Union of Concerned Scientists

horseweeds

Horseweeds. Photo: Union of Concerned Scientists

A policy brief by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), entitled “The Rise of Superweeds – and What to Do About It”, has raised the alarm on ‘superweeds’ resistant to glyphosate over-running 60 million acres across the United States. The UCS cites three reasons for the emergence of the weeds: year after year of huge monoculture farming on the same land; over-reliance on a single herbicide, namely, glyphosate; and the neglect of other weed control measures.

For almost two decades, farmers growing Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops, genetically engineered (GE) to be resistant to glyphosate (sold as Roundup), have been spraying the herbicide with careless abandon. When resistant weeds emerged, they resorted to applying more and different herbicides. Overall pesticide use in the U.S. in 2012 was an estimated 404 million pounds greater than if Roundup Ready crops had not been planted.  Meanwhile Monsanto and other pesticide and seed companies are offering the next generation of GE seeds resistant to two older but more toxic herbicides, dicamba and 2-4D. The brief warns that“the use of multiple herbicides would speed up the evolution of weeds that have multiple resistances— a nightmare scenario for farmers who rely primarily on herbicides.”  Continue reading

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Fakethrough! GMOs and the capitulation of science journalism

Note: The genetically engineered (GE) tree industry makes similarly lofty claims about their novel products, which so far are unproven.  Attempts to breed poplars that can digest themselves on command in a processing plant, or pine trees that grow like gas stations haven’t done much for forests worldwide to date.  Not to mention the enormous risks they pose if released into the wild. And while these fantasy technologies will hopefully fade into the past, another failed attempt at playing God with nature, it is more likely we’ll have to fight like our lives depend on it to stop the GE tree industry (among others) from wreaking total havoc.

-The GJEP Team

By Jonathan Latham, PhD, January 7, 2014. Source: Independent Science News

freakthrough

Good journalism examines its sources critically, it takes nothing at face value, places its topics in a historical context, and it values above all the public interest. Such journalism is, most people agree, essential to any equitable and open system of government. These statements about journalism are especially applicable to the science media. But while the media in general has recently taken much criticism, for trivialising news and other flaws, the science media has somehow escaped serious attention. This is unfortunate because no country in the world has a healthy science media.

This is science journalism?
According to the New York Times genetically engineered Xa21 rice was big news (Song et al 1995). In a 1995 article titled “Genetic Engineering Creates Rice Resistant to Destructive Blight”, journalist Sandra Blakeslee wrote it was:

“the first time that a disease-resistance gene has been put into rice”

Blakeslee then quoted a senior figure, Gary Toenissen, deputy director of agricultural sciences at the Rockefeller Institute in New York, as saying it heralded

“a new era in plant genetics and resistance breeding”.

But eighteen years after that artice was written, the failure of these predictions is clear. No commercial GMO rice of any kind exists, nor has Xa21 or any similar gene for disease resistance been developed for commercial purposes.
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US farmers caught in GM herbicide-resistance treadmill

Note: This is the same line of thinking followed by the GE tree industry.  Creating herbicide resistant or pesticide producing trees will not decrease the amount of herbicides and pesticides used in industrial timber plantations.  Instead, it will create resistant weeds and pests, requiring new herbicides and pesticides.  This, of course, is actually good news for the biotech and chemical industries, since their profits will increase when growers have to buy new and more chemicals, or more high tech seeds and seedlings, to deal with the supposedly ‘unforeseen’ consequences of previous seed traits.  As they say, capitalism is a pyramid scheme.

-The GJEP Team

December 31, 2013. Source: Third World Network Biosafety Information Centre 

A new study by U.S. scientists warns that agricultural weed management through herbicide-resistant crops is an unsustainable pathway. Over the years, Monsanto has heavily promoted the massive use of its glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide in conjunction with its genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready crops while denying that weed resistance would ensue. By 2012, however, the reported acreage infested with glyphosate-resistant weeds in the U.S. had risen to 61.2 million acres from 32.6 million acres in 2010.

In response, agri-business corporations are developing crops that are genetically engineered to be resistant to both glyphosate and synthetic auxin herbicides such as 2,4-D and dicamba. Scientists have documented that non-target terrestrial plant injury was 75 to 400 times higher for dicamba and 2,4-D, respectively, than for glyphosate.

The researchers categorically state that the continual insertion of more genes into crops is not a sustainable solution to herbicide resistance and call this the ‘genetic modification treadmill’, similar to the ‘pesticide treadmill’ that was introduced in the mid-20th century. They warn that this ‘single-tactic approach’ is likely to make the problem worse by increasing the severity of resistant weeds as well as will facilitate a significant increase in herbicide use with related potential harmful effects.

The report discusses these risks and presents alternatives for research and policy. In particular, the team recommends integrated weed management characterized by reliance on multiple weed management approaches that are firmly underpinned by ecological principles and which has been shown to reduce herbicide use by as much as 94%.

The full paper can be accessed from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/bio.2012.62.1.12

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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