U.S. begins to turn its back on GM crops - Daily Mail
2.US consumers rejecting GMs - Farmers Weekly
3.England 'out of touch' on GM - Farmers Guardian
NOTE: For more details of the report: http://www.soilassociation.org/gm
To download the report: http://www.soilassociation.org/Web/SA/saweb.nsf/cfff6730b881e40e80256a6a002a765c/62b3b08dfb6cdaea80256a9500473789/$FILE/Land_of_free_GM_Report.pdf
1.U.S. begins to turn its back on GM crops, report claims
By Sean Poulter
Daily Mail, 14 October 2008
The U.S. is turning its back on the controversial GM crops and food it created, it is claimed today.
There is widespread distrust of genetically modified produce and a demand for labelling that would allow consumers to decide whether to eat it, according to a report from green campaigners.
Research shows that 87 per cent of Americans believe their food should carry a label showing whether it contains GM ingredients.
At the same time, 53 per cent say they would not choose to eat GM food. The report, Land of the GM-Free? - How the American public are starting to turn against GM food, is co-authored by long-term GM opponent Lord Melchett, of the Soil Association.
Details emerged as a new alliance of US natural food producers outlined plans for a new labelling scheme to allow thousands of foods to be declared 'GM Free'.
The new report points out how a GM hormone, developed by Monsanto, which is injected into dairy cows to increase milk yields is effectively being killed off by consumer opposition.
Separately, farmers have rejected new GM crops, such as wheat, rice, sweet corn and alfalfa with the result these are not being grown commercially in the USA.
Even GM soya, which is widely grown in the USA, has been shown to be inferior in terms of its yields when compared to new varieties created from conventional cross breeding.
Historically, GM crops have been manipulated in the laboratory to contain a resistance to being sprayed by certain weedkillers, such as Monsanto's RoundUp. The genes are generally inserted into the DNA of the plant using a virus.
Some crops have been altered to contain an insecticide in their leaves and stalks, so killing any insect predators.
Recently, biotech companies, aided by the governments in the USA and Britain, have been touting GM crops as the solution to Third World hunger.
It has been suggested these crops will deliver higher yields or will allow plants to be cultivated in areas of drought or high salt soils.
However, none of these crops exist on a commercial basis despite promises from the biotech industry to deliver them dating back more than ten years.
The 'Land of the GM-Free' report claims that - to date - US consumers have been kept in the dark about GM and what is in the foods they are eating. It says as people become more aware of the issue, so opposition is growing.
The catalyst has been rejection of milk from cows given Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (BGH).
The report says the EU and Canada have banned use of the drug and any imported dairy products produced from cattle given the injections.
It says: 'Increasing consumer awareness of rBGH in the US has caused sales of the milk to plummet. Between 2002 and 2007 use of the hormone fell by 23 per cent, and the proportion of US cows being injected with rBGH fell from 25per cent to below 17per cent.
'Many major retailers, processors and producers have recently moved to ban rBGH from their products, with Wal-Mart, Safeway, Starbucks, Kraft and many more ensuring that their customers can only buy GM free dairy products for themselves and their families.'
Looking at new GM crops, the report claims: 'Both GM rice and wheat faced such strong opposition from farmers that they never made it out of field trials, and have never been grown commercially in the USA.
'Hardly any GM sweetcorn for human consumption is grown either, for the simple reason that it tastes so bad.'
The new labelling system for 'GM-Free' foods will be launched in the USA next year. Firms will go through a testing regime to prove they are free of GM contamination.
Around 400 companies in the US and Canada have pledged support to the scheme. They have combined annual sales of 12 billion dollars - equivalent to 10per cent of the UK food and drink industry.
In Europe, previously pro-GM countries like France and Germany are no longer supporters. The Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are all committed to GM-free policies.
By contrast, the report says: 'It is just the strongly pro-GM English government that looks increasingly out of touch with what consumers want.'
The former chief of the US Food & Drug Administration's biotech division Henry Miller, has condemned the critics of dairy cow growth hormone as 'kooks' and 'enviro-fanatics'.
In a recent Washington Post article, he said the hormone 'induces the average cow, which produces about 8 gallons of milk each day, to make nearly a gallon more'.
He added: 'Disingenuous activists have unfairly stigmatised a scientifically proven product that has consistently delivered economic and environmental benefits to dairy farmers and consumers.'
CropGen, which speaks for the industry, said: 'Biotech crops are a tool for farmers to increase crop productivity while decreasing the impact on the environment and natural resources.
'Two hundred and nine biotech crops are under cultivation or development in 46 countries around the world.'
2.US consumers rejecting GMs, says Soil Association
by Lucy Busuttil
Farmers Weekly, 13 October 2008
The Soil Association believes there is a consumer-led backlash against genetically modified food and has hailed a "non-GMO" labelling initiative as the beginning of the end for GMs.
The label will be launched by more than 400 American processors and retailers next year and has the backing of presidential candidate Barack Obama.
About 28,000 products will be labelled by the companies, which have a combined worth of $12bn.
The Soil Association's policy director, Peter Melchett, told Farmers Weekly: "Labelling stopped consumers buying milk from cattle treated with the growth hormone rBGH, leading Costco, Kroger, Publix, Safeway and Wal-Mart to turn to non-GM own-brand milk.
"It is the 'beginning of the end for GM worldwide'," Lord Melchett said.
The rBGH developer, Monsanto, is now selling off the hormone, he added.
Lord Melchett said a Soil Association survey provided further evidence of opposition to GMs.
It showed that more than half of American consumers would not eat food containing genetically modified ingredients.
Given the choice, 53% of those surveyed said they would not eat GM products while 87% Americans believed food should have its GM content labelled, the survey suggested.
At the same time, he argued, farmers were rejecting GM crops. "European farmers have been being told to turn to GM for two decades because 'American farmers love GM'", he said. "
But look at GM alfalfa - US farmers got it banned in courts because it makes weeds resistant to pesticides."
Lord Melchett said that the Soil Association is: "Not anti-yield and not anti-technology". He advised farmers to look to other technologies instead of "old-fashioned" GM.
3.England 'out of touch' on GM
By William Surman
Farerms Guardian, 13 October 2008
THE English Government has been accused of being out of touch with its consumers.
Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett said English politicians were pushing GM technology despite 'very little' consumer support.
He said France, Germany, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales were committed to GM-free policies and urged similar action from England.
"It is just the strongly pro-GM English Government that looks increasingly out of touch with what consumers really want," he said.
Mr Melchett spoke at the launch of a Soil Association study that claims the traditionally supportive American public are turning away from GM food.
"The more that US consumers find out about GM food, the less they want to buy it", said Mr Melcehtt, adding that the global tide may finally be turning against the technology.
The Soil Association study claims US consumers, farmers and politicians are losing their enthusiasm for GM crops as they learn about the technology.
It cites the 'staggering collapse' in the market for Monsanto's GM milk hormone as one example of how consumers are changing their buying habits.
Currently, US law does not require food manufacturers to label food as GM yet 87 per cent of Americans want to add GM labelling and 53 per cent would not eat GM food if it was labelled as such, says the study.
A dent in American's GM support represents a significant vote of no confidence in the technology, said Mr Melchett.