Tasmania's state government has announced that the statewide ban on GMOs will continue indefinitely. Brand Tasmania executive director Robert Heazlewood said the decision reflected the wishes of most of the state's major food and beverage exporters, as well as consumers.
Corporate lobbyist Patrick Moore is touring Europe in January promoting GMO beta-carotene enriched golden rice, which is claimed to be a solution to vitamin A deficiency in the third world. GMWatch and GM-Free Cymru have produced a short briefing on the scientific facts about golden rice - which is still not ready to be deployed. Testbiotech has also produced a comprehensive up-to-date report, "Golden Lies: No credibility for Golden Rice campaign".
Dr Vandana Shiva has produced a report, which points out that green veg that grow well in the target countries are 3500% richer in the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene than Golden Rice. And it seems that contrary to claims that golden rice is a public "humanitarian" product, it's actually a Syngenta product which can be marketed for profit any time the company chooses.
The European Parliament has voted to reject GM maize 1507 from being grown in Europe's fields. However, representatives of the EU's national governments still have to make their own decisions about the authorisation for cultivation of the maize, so it's vital to keep up the pressure by sending letters to EU member state governments via www.stopthecrop.org. Read more
The EU Commission broke the rules when it approved BASF's GM potato, a court has ruled. BASF stopped growing the Amflora potato in Europe in 2012. Read more
On January 3, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a draft environmental impact statement clearing the way for approval of GM soybeans and corn resistant to the highly toxic "Agent Orange" herbicide 2,4-D, pending a final environmental impact statement. Agricultural scientist Charles Benbrook projects that widespread planting of 2,4-D tolerant corn could trigger as much as a 25-fold increase in use of 2,4-D on corn.
Sign petition telling the USDA to stop Dow Chemical’s "Agent Orange" crops.
Meanwhile Argentina has approved a new 2,4-D-tolerant soybean, meaning it'll be turning up in the rest of the world's animal feed and human food very soon. You can send an email to the President asking her to reverse this approval.
In a great victory against agribiz, Argentine protestors have won a court injunction halting construction of a Monsanto GMO seed plant. The three-judge court ruled 2-1 in favour of the activists who filed a legal appeal against Monsanto’s GMO seed plant on environmental protection grounds in the municipality of Malvinas Argentinas, located in Cordoba Province. Read more
Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi has signed into law a measure that prohibits biotech companies from growing any new GM crops on the largest of the archipelago's islands.
Three of the world's largest agrochemical companies have filed a lawsuit to block a law enacted on the Hawaiian island of Kauai to limit the planting of GM crops and the use of pesticides. Corporations suing governments for trying to protect public health and the environment is a disturbing and growing trend.
Scientists from all over the world have condemned the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology's (FCT) retraction of the Séralini GMO maize feeding study, supposedly on the grounds that some of the findings were "inconclusive".
Dietitian Carole Bartolotto accused those who worked to suppress the study, including the FCT editor, of "anti-science behaviour", as "suppressing dialogue, retracting studies, and not doing follow-up research is indeed anti-science".
Prof Jack Heinemann shared his top recommendations for the retraction of other "inconclusive" papers. These include pivotal papers by DNA pioneers James Watson and Francis Crick, some of whose findings were similarly inconclusive at the time they published their papers!
Prof David Schubert of the Salk Institute commented on the retraction, "The editors claim the reason was that “no definitive conclusions can be reached.” As a scientist, I can assure you that if this were a valid reason for retracting a publication, a large fraction of the scientific literature would not exist."
Schubert added, "I am convinced that there is significant evidence, like that presented by Séralini, that some GM foods are hazardous to human health. In order for data supporting this possibility to enter public discourse, scientists must place their ethical responsibilities above corporate profits and cease their continual assault on the science relating to GM safety."
A group of Mexican scientists also criticized the retraction, saying it "has no scientific basis and is in response to pressure from multinational companies that market GM crops".
Two professors at Georgetown University Medical Center agreed, calling the retraction a "black mark" on scientific publishing which "reeks of industry pressure".
GMWatch has analysed the reasons given for the retraction by the journal's editor, A. Wallace Hayes. GMWatch concludes that Hayes may not have actually read the paper, since his reasoning is contradicted by evidence in the paper itself.
A new video about the retraction is available on Youtube.
A new peer-reviewed paper shows that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) used unscientific double standards to dismiss the Séralini study. Dr Hartmut Meyer, one of the authors of the new paper, said, “Use of such double standards is a common response from scientists calling for GMO deregulation and, somewhat surprisingly, also from some government authorities, to studies that show negative environmental and health effects of GMOs. Only those studies that find problems are subjected to excessive scrutiny and rejected as defective. This approach appears to be a tactic to avoid dealing with ‘inconvenient’ results, whilst selecting for ‘convenient’ results."
Egyptian researchers found GM Bt corn was not substantially equivalent to non-GM parent and was toxic to rats, after only 91 days of feeding. The study found clear signs of organ pathology in the GM-fed group, especially in the liver, kidney, and small intestine. An examination of the testes revealed necrosis (death) and desquamation (shedding) of the spermatogonial cells that are the foundation of sperm cells and thus male fertility. Read more
Brazil’s Judicial Commission has postponed a bill allowing for the release of GM terminator seeds until February 2014, when it will again take up the topic. Terminator seeds are genetically engineered for sterility. ETC Group warns that Brazil intends to "take a series of steps that will orchestrate the collapse of the 193-country consensus moratorium when the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meets for its biennial conference in Korea in October 2014". An article from the Brazilian press reports that Monsanto was behind at least one of Brazil's previous attempted legislations of terminator seed.
Over 30,000 people in Brazil and around the world have signed a petition addressed to the Chair of the Judicial Commission reminding him of his promise not to allow terminator seeds. Peasant and civil society organizations from many countries are contacting Brazilian embassies to express their alarm. Sign petition against Terminator (English; Other languages).
Brazilian farmers are suing Monsanto for allegedly collecting royalties illegally and for forcing farmers to sign "abusive" purchase contracts. Lawyers for the farmers and representative bodies estimate the value of the claims against Monsanto at 1.9 billion Brazilian real (about USD 1 billion). Preliminary estimates say the claims may affect the company's profits. Read more
A new report on the performance of GM crops in Brazil over the first ten years of planting has been published by the NGO, the Brazilian Association of Agrarian Reform (Abra). The report draws on Brazilian government data to conclude that GM crops, especially soy, have brought higher agrochemical use and lower yields and productivity when compared with non-GM crops. Read more
Jordans cereal bars and Warburtons bread have been found to contain traces of glyphosate - a controversial herbicide that may pose a risk to human health. Read more
Glyphosate tolerant GM soybeans contain high residues of glyphosate and its toxic breakdown product AMPA, but conventional and organic soybeans contain none of these agrochemicals, an important new study shows. Organic soybeans also showed a healthier nutritional profile. The study shows that contrary to claims by the GMO industry and regulators, GM soy is not substantially equivalent to non-GM soy. Yet all GMO approvals worldwide are based on the assumption that the GMOs are equivalent to non-GM and thus are no more risky. Read more
Maine is the second state to pass a law requiring food producers to label GMO food, but other states must follow before it goes into effect. Read more
Under pressure from consumers and activist groups, General Mills says it will stop using genetically modified ingredients to make its original Cheerios cereal.
Organic farmer Steve Marsh, whose farm was contaminated by his neighbour's GM canola, has brought a court case to protect your right to eat GM-free food. Please support him. Read more
Russian scientists say there have not been enough studies on GMOs' effects on human health to allow for a wide introduction of GM food on the market. Read more
A group of scientists and food security experts have taken the Russian Government resolution, which will allow the registration of GM crops and products containing GMOs from 2014, to the Supreme Court. According to the experts, this Government resolution violates the constitutional rights of Russian citizens, including the right to a healthy environment and to food safety information. Read more
The short answer is "no". The average time to develop a sexually propagated GM plant is 10-15 years - about the same as a comparable non-GM plant, Dr Doug Gurian-Sherman explains. Read more
£750K of British taxpayers' money has been spent to develop a GM blight-resistant potato - even though non-GM naturally blight-resistant potatoes are already available to growers. Read more
Grist's new food writer Nathanael Johnson has gained a lot of attention for his series of articles about GMO, in which he always ends up believing the pro-GMO lobbyists and discounts or ignores what GMO skeptics tell him. He has concluded his series of articles with the conclusion that it doesn't really matter if GMOs are banned or if all resistance ceases: "The stakes are so low". But in an article for CivilEats, Anna Lappé points out that the stakes have never been higher. Whether we choose GMO farming or agroecology will govern what happens to our energy, soil, water, biodiversity, food security, and resilience in the face of climate change.
Golden rice is just one example among many of preliminary or doubtful research projects being inflated into positive global GMO news stories, writes Dr Jonathan Latham. Read more
Non-GM crop breeding continues to outstrip GM when it comes to drought tolerance. Four drought tolerant maize varieties have been released in Uganda and three in Kenya, while three are in the final stages for release in Tanzania. There are more examples of non-GM drought tolerant varieties here and of non-GM breeding successes for other desirable traits here.
There's been plenty of kickback against the pro-GMO article in the New York Times by Amy Harmon, "A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops". In a letter to the editor, Prof David Schubert pointed out that contrary to Harmon's claims, there is no scientific consensus that GMOs are safe and many animal feeding studies show toxicity from GM crops. Read more
Sudanese authorities have seized a shipment of GM soybeans at Port Sudan harbour, stating that it is currently illegal to import GM foodstuffs into the country. Read more
China rejected GM corn and corn products from the US totalling 601,000 metric tons in 2013, while accepting a first bulk-carrier shipment of the grain from Ukraine. Read more
Police in China's Hunan province said they have busted a smuggling case of corn seeds, which may contain GM ingredients. The seeds of "US golden corn", smuggled in via Hong Kong and Thailand, caused 200 acres of corn to fail last year. Read more
A public statement saying there is no scientific consensus on GMO safety has now been signed by nearly 300 scientists. A press release from European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) announcing the updated figure condemned EU chief scientist Anne Glover’s backing for GM as “irresponsible”.
UK company Oxitec has withdrawn its plans to release GM olive and fruit flies in Spain following human and environmental health questions from government regulators. Read more
2014 marks the first year since 2007 that no GM trials will be conducted in UK fields. Read more
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