New non-GMO strains of rice developed by researchers in China and the Philippines are resistant to salinity from rising seas, impervious to drought and disease and can achieve above-average yields without the use of fertilizers or pesticides.
Smallholder farmers in Mozambique are growing nutritious and lucrative varieties of orange-fleshed sweet potato that are high vitamin, flood-resistant, high-yielding – and non-GM.
USDA researchers have developed three new varieties of potatoes with red and purple flesh and skin, which are available to buy. The development of the purple anthocyanin-rich non-GM potatoes will make Prof Cathie Martin's anthocyanin-rich GM tomato all the more unlikely to be welcomed by the food industry and consumers.
A new meta-analysis shows that organic yields don't lag much behind conventional – less of a gap than older studies have found. An earlier study, conducted over 21 years at the Rodale Institute, found even more promising results for organic. The new analysis also concluded any gaps could be further reduced or eliminated.
The GM soy-exporting model is threateningParaguayan indigenous peoples’ cultures and survival by displacing rural people and spraying fields with herbicides, said the UN special rapporteur.
The Gates Foundation has sunk $15 million into developing GM “super bananas" with high levels of pro-Vitamin A – but the project is using “stolen” genes from a long-enjoyed non-GM banana cultivar that's naturally rich in the substance.
The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) has sent the Gates Foundation a letter protesting about the US human trials on the GM pro-vitamin A-enriched banana. This banana has never, as far as we know, been through basic toxicity testing in animals. This is in spite of the fact that GM plants can produce unexpected new toxins or allergens.
Sylvia Mwichuli, a director at the Gates Foundation's Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, said Kenya should not be in a hurry to introduce GM crops because current means of food production are under-utilised: “Let us empower farmers to get quality inputs on time, engage in best farming practices, access extension services and credit before we introduce GM,” she said. It's unclear how this squares with Bill Gates' fervent support of GMOs.
Howard Buffett, the son of Warren Buffett, who donated $31 billion to the Gates Foundation, does not believe it is sensible to try to recreate the US model of farming in Africa.
In the Philippines, protesting farmers delivered to the government a petition opposing any extension, renewal, or issuance of a new biosafety permit for further field testing, feeding trials, or commercialisation of GM golden rice.
The Mexican Chapter of the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal has called on the Mexican government to ban the planting of GM maize in the country. The decision cited the importance of maize as one of three principal staple crops globally, which millions depend on.
The USDA has released the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant soybeans and cotton. The EIS paves the way for introduction of new crops genetically engineered to survive spraying with the herbicide dicamba. Center for Food Safety policy analyst Bill Freese said, "Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant crops are the latest fruits of a pesticide industry strategy to increase sales of their toxic herbicides."
Oregon's Measure 92 in favour of mandatory GMO labelling was defeated by just 812 votes out of 1.5 million, triggering an automatic recount. However, serious questions remain over the approximately 4,600 ballots that were declared invalid because county elections officials determined that the signatures on the ballots didn’t match the signatures on file. Yes on Measure 92 campaigners filed a lawsuit against the state to force it to count the disputed votes, but a judge rejected the appeal. In spite of the outcome, it seems there's no turning back for GMO labelling in the USA.
Barry Kurren, the same judge that invalidated Kauai County's law restricting pesticides and GMOs, has ruled that Hawaii County's law restricting GM crops is invalid. But journalist Jon Rappoport says the judge has conflicts of interest on the GM issue.
US exporters have been blacklisted from exporting hay to China after Roundup Ready alfalfa was found in the loads. Ed Shaw, who exports forage worldwide, called the introduction of Roundup Ready alfalfa “catastrophic”. It has led to plummeting shipments to China.
In recent months China has rejected the “vast majority of US corn shipments” because of the presence of Syngenta's GMO corn MIR162. Now grain traders Cargill Inc and Archer Daniels Midland, along with an ever-growing number of farmers, have sued Syngenta for damages.
Some industry sources claim China is now moving to approve MIR162 corn soon. But if one door is about to reopen, another has just shut. Turkey has barred imports of US distillers grains (DDGs) over GMO contamination. This development is part of Turkey's tightening up of enforcement of GMO regulations. It closes off the sixth largest importer of US DDGs and one of the fastest growing.
Monitoring data show that maize pollen can travel for over four kilometers, according to a new study. This means that buffer zones around GM maize should be “in the kilometer range", rather than just a few meters, in order to prevent GM contamination and harmful exposure of non-target organisms, such as butterflies.
Stacking traits in a GM plant causes unexpected changes, including synergistic effects, which are not investigated in regulatory authorisations, a new study has found. These changes cannot be predicted by analysis of the single trait GMOs that are crossed to develop the stacked trait GMO and could affect the safety of the GMO.
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has stopped approving (on a yearly basis) GMOs for use in fish feed that contain genes coding for antibiotic resistance. The move comes amid concerns about rise in antibiotic-resistant infections.
Oat and barley breeder Brian Rossnagel is tired of proponents of GM crops attributing all the yield increases in corn, soybeans and canola to GM. He says the major factor behind the big increase in corn yields is “plain old plant breeding”.
A heavily promoted meta-analysis claiming to demonstrate the benefits of GM crops, especially in developing countries, does no such thing, writes Prof Jack Heinemann.
Is rising glyphosate herbicide use responsible for rapid increases in modern diseases in the US? Claire Robinson looks at the latest study to raise the question.
A new study by Prof GE Seralini's team has found that Roundup has toxic effects on the hearts of rabbits and rats. The findings may explain deaths and heart problems in people and animals exposed to Roundup.
Using glyphosate puts worms at “risk of local extinction", says a new study.
In order to prevent pest resistance to Bt toxins, maize farmers in the US are required to plant “refuges" of non-Bt maize near the Bt fields. The idea is that the refuges will sustain populations of pests that are susceptible to Bt toxins – but the strategy is failing, according to a new study part-funded by Monsanto and the USDA.
A high level committee chaired by T.S.R. Subramanian, a former cabinet secretary of India, has urged the country not to rush into GMO field trials. The panel cited GM crops as an example of the “mindless use of science and technology".
Brinjal is a food crop and any tampering with its genetic make up must not be attempted unless and until a totally foolproof safety protocol is in place, writes a senior fellow of the research organisation, the Humboldt Foundation.
Vietnam continues to roll out the red carpet for foreign GMO giants, including Monsanto, to sell its GM corn varieties in the country. Critics say Vietnam has been too nice to the main manufacturer of Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant used during the Vietnam War that is still claiming victims today.
The GMO Arctic non-browning apple raises the issue of how to evaluate the risks of the next big wave of GM crops and foods, which use gene-silencing technology, says science policy expert Dr Margaret Mellon.
Wiesenhof, the largest German poultry supplier, is once again set to use only GMO-free soy in feed. Campaigners say it's only a matter of time before the rest of the country's poultry sector follows suit. There's no reason why the UK can't follow the German retailers – Brits can take action here.
Green food safety spokesperson Bart Staes has warned that the new “opt-out" legislation allowing EU member states to choose not to cultivate GMOs is still not strong enough to protect those countries from lawsuits brought by GMO firms and could lead to contamination of non-GMO crops.
Citizens have no way of having a clear idea of what the consequences of consuming GMOs are, says Marc Tarabella, a member of the European Parliament's agriculture committee. He cites reasons why the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) isn't trusted on GMOs, citing its record of uncritically giving favourable opinions on their safety.
With the scrapping of the position of EU chief scientific adviser, NGOs that campaigned for this outcome have drafted a list of principles of good scientific advice. They don't involve one person working in secret – which is how Dr Michael Warhurst of Chemtrust described Prof Anne Glover's record in the role. Meanwhile the director of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has affirmed his view that the European Commission does not need a chief scientific adviser.
EuropaBio, Fefac, and Coceral have failed a complaint to the European Ombudsman regarding delays in the authorisation procedures concerning twenty applications for GMOs.
A UK government select committee is leading an onslaught against Europe's GMO regulations. The move comes as the TTIP free trade agreement between the US and EU, which aims to “harmonise” Europe's GMO regulations in line with the lax US system, is being negotiated.
Claims that numerous expert bodies have declared GMO crops to be safe are fraudulent and misleading, writes Claire Robinson in an article for the new UK-based campaign Beyond GM.
A report by the Sunlight Foundation found that for every dollar the nation’s most politically active companies spent on political influence, they received $760 from the US government in the form of federal business and support. All the big GMO/agrochemical firms are in the list of major contributor-beneficiaries, including Monsanto, BASF, Bayer, and Dow.
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