from Claire Robinson, REVIEW editor
The big news this week is the publication of the groundbreaking study that found a commercialised GM maize and Roundup, at levels deemed safe by regulators, caused cancer and premature death in rats fed over a lifetime (GM MAIZE AND ROUNDUP IMPLICATED IN CANCER STUDY).
GM MAIZE AND ROUNDUP IMPLICATED IN CANCER STUDY
GM MAIZE AND ROUNDUP IMPLICATED IN CANCER STUDY
+ "SAFE" GM MAIZE AND ROUNDUP CAUSE TUMOURS, PREMATURE DEATH, AND ORGAN DAMAGE
The first animal feeding trial studying the lifetime effects of exposure to Roundup tolerant GM maize NK603, and Roundup, the world's best-selling weedkiller, shows that levels currently considered safe can cause tumours and multiple organ damage and lead to premature death in laboratory rats, according to research published online today by the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.
Researchers found that rats fed on a diet containing NK603 Roundup tolerant GM maize, or given water containing Roundup at levels permitted in drinking water and GM crops in the US, died earlier than rats fed on a standard diet. They suffered massive tumours and severe liver and kidney damage.
Lead researcher Prof Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, France, said, "After less than a year of different GMO maize menus there was carnage among our rats to a degree I had not imagined."
Dr Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist at Kings College, London, and a member of the scientific council of CRIIGEN which supported the study, says: "This is the most thorough research ever published into the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats. It shows an extraordinary number of tumours developing earlier and more aggressively – particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts. The rat has long been used as a surrogate for human toxicity. All new pharmaceutical, agricultural and household substances are, prior to their approval, tested on rats. This is as good an indicator as we can expect that the consumption of GM maize and the herbicide Roundup, impacts seriously on human health."
Report in The Grocer
Report in Farming Online
VIDEOS on the new study:
Experts discuss findings of GM cancer trial (Time: 2.30)
Telebriefing on the animal feeding trial including interview with Prof Seralini (Time: 54.13)
GMO – Global alert (Time: 12.51)
+ AUSTRIA WANTS EU REVIEW OF GM APPROVALS PROCESS
Austria's minister for agriculture and the environment has called on the European Commission to review its approval process for GM foods. Calling the study a justification of consumer concern about GM products, Niki Berlakovich said, "One thing is clear: Given this study the European Commission has to rethink its verification practices and the approval process must get an in-depth review."
+ FRANCE ORDERS PROBE
France's government has asked a health watchdog to carry out a probe, possibly leading to EU suspension of the GM corn. Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll, Ecology Minister Delphine Batho and Health and Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine said they had asked the National Agency for Health Safety (ANSES) to investigate the findings.
+ FRIENDS OF THE EARTH WANTS EU COMMISSION TO SUSPEND ALL GM FOODS
Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe commented on the study: "This research raises new questions about the safety of genetically modified foods. It is now time for the EU to act to protect public health. On the basis of this research, national governments and the European Commission should immediately suspend all similar GM foods and halt all further GMO approvals."
+ NZ GREEN PARTY SAYS GM MAIZE MUST BE WITHDRAWN
New Zealand Green Party genetic engineering spokesperson Steffan Browning commented, "There are now huge concerns over the safety of this corn. Eating this corn has now been proven to cause the growth of tumours, so why was it approved a decade ago without the necessary evidence that it was safe to eat? New Zealand has more than 70 GE foods approved for sale in New Zealand to date, and these approvals were mostly based on health studies that were 90 days long or less. This new research recorded effects for two years and the tumours and deaths showed up after that previous 90 day cut off point. FSANZ [NZ food safety agency] must immediately recall any products that have this strain of GM corn as an ingredient and reassess all previous approvals for long term eating safety."
+ COMMISSION ORDERS REVIEW OF STUDY
The European Commission said it had asked the EU's food safety authority, EFSA, to verify the results of the French study and report their findings. "EFSA's mandate is to verify what this group of scientists has presented, to look at their research conditions, look at how the animals were treated," Commission health spokesman Frederic Vincent told a regular news briefing. "We hope that by the end of the year we will have an EFSA opinion on this piece of scientific research." In 2003, EFSA published a safety assessment of the GM corn NK603. The assessment concluded that NK603 was as safe as non-GM corn, after which the EU granted approval for its use in food and feed.
GMW comment: Unfortunately, EFSA has a long history of dismissing the findings of independent (non-industry) scientists as not "relevant" or "reliable". We'll see if they manage to break the mould this time.
+ EU COMMISSION CHOOSES BAD TIME TO WATER DOWN GM REGULATION
The European Commission is pushing through a new draft Regulation that fatally weakens the way GM foods are assessed for safety, according to a new report by Earth Open Source. Claire Robinson, research director at Earth Open Source, said, "If adopted, the draft Regulation will leave the public even more exposed to serious health risks such as those revealed by the new study." Earth Open Source's report says the draft Regulation undermines democratically established EU GMO legislation and betrays demands in 2008 by the EU Environment Council that the EU's GMO safety assessment be strengthened. The group is calling for the Regulation's progress to be frozen and for the Commission to go back to the drawing board and revise the Regulation to reflect good scientific principles and the intent of existing EU law.
+ GM LOBBY WADES IN ON NEW STUDY
Following the publication of the new GM crop study showing severe health damage in rats, the GM lobby went into rapid rebuttal mode in an effort to limit and influence media coverage.
One critic of the study was Bruce M Chassy, who claimed the publication of the peer reviewed paper is "not an innocent scientific publication" but a carefully orchestrated media event. Chassy is a GM conspiracy theorist who has claimed: "There is a well financed and organized global opposition to GM crops that spreads misinformation and fear. Make no mistake about it, this isn't a grass roots opposition, it is a small handful of people who are paid to block GM crops to benefit certain countries and companies that profit from higher prices for organic and GM-free foods."
A second critic, Anthony Trewavas, professor of cell biology at Edinburgh University, GM crop scientist, and fervent opponent of organic farming, dismissed the study's findings as just "random variation... in a rodent line likely to develop tumours anyway."
Trewavas also said the control group was inadequate to make any conclusions, and were of no value without knowing the degree of variation in a control group of 90 or 180 rodents.
"These figures for normal appearance of tumours in these rodent lines are surely available and using a line which is very susceptible to tumours can easily bias any result," he warned. "To be frank, it looks like random variation to me in a rodent line likely to develop tumours anyway."
But Dr Michael Antoniou, reader in molecular genetics and member of Criigen the Committee of Research & Independent Information on Genetic Engineering said the two-year experiment followed international OECD guidelines. The rodents in the experiment were divided into 10 groups of 20 animals, with nine of those groups exposed to Roundup or NK603. "Standard practice is for the control group to be matched in size to the experimental groups. The experimental groups were 20 animals and therefore the control group should be 20 animals.
"Trewavas's statement is not correct. From the 20-animal control, you can get a measure of tumour frequency in the control group. You don't need to look at hundreds of animals. If he believes this, then he should also agree that the studies done by others including industry are also invalid.
"The key thing is that there are big differences between the tumour frequencies in the control and the experimental groups. Claims that the results are just the result of random variation in a rat line that has a high frequency of tumours is not valid.
"The evidence for this is that the differences between the groups are much larger than the standard deviations of the two groups. In Seralini's study, the differences are so large that it is not necessary to use a statistical test. It is obvious.
"This study used more rats in test groups, for a far longer duration than any previous investigation employed by industry to obtain approval for this and other GM crop products."
With regard to the choice of rat strain, the Sprague-Dawley (SD) rat, Antoniou said, "The SD rat was used in the original glyphosate toxicity studies. In addition, many studies including many from industry on GM foods use SD rats. Based on this history of use, it was appropriate to use this strain too. If it was the wrong strain to use here then it was wrong in many previous GM food safety feeding studies conducted by industry and upon which marketing approval was granted."
He continued: "The key is that there were both quantitative and qualitative differences in the tumours arising in control and test groups. In the former they appeared much later and at most there was one tumour per animal, if at all. In the latter case, the tumours began to be detected much earlier (4 months in males; 7 months in females), grew much faster and many animals had two or even three tumours. Many animals in the test groups had to be euthanised for welfare legal reasons due to the massive size of the tumours; none of the control animals had to be euthanised but died in their own time. One should not ignore these biological facts."
Regarding the rats' diets, Antoniou said the animals had unrestricted access to food and water, and there was no difference in consumption or drinking levels between controls and test groups, apart from the group exposed to the highest Roundup concentration drank less.
+ AUTHOR DEFENDS STUDY
Prof Seralini responds to critics of his team's study:
+ GM CONTAMINATION SPREADING IN SWITZERLAND
A new study of GM contamination via Switzerland's railway system confirms once again that GM contamination is happening in a country that has had a GM moratorium in place since 2005 and where the import of GM crops in foodstuffs and animal feed is prohibited. The authors also note that railways represent an ideal system for herbicide resistant GM plants to establish and spread, that gene flow can occur to sexually compatible wild species growing in the area, and that "the capillary presence of railways in the agricultural landscape" provides a potential source of contamination of Switzerland's GM-free agriculture. The authors also conclude that action is necessary to stop further contamination, because contamination thresholds won't stop the problem from escalating.
+ FRANCE TO MAINTAIN BAN ON GM CROPS
France is to maintain its ban on the cultivation of GM crops, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said. The ban, which targets Monsanto's MON810 maize, the only GM crop currently allowed in Europe, was introduced in March after a previous moratorium was annulled by France's top court last November.
+ EVALUATION REPORT ON EFSA BIASED
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published an "external evaluation" report of the agency carried out by international consultancy and auditing company Ernst & Young. EFSA proudly presented the conclusions of the report at a press conference in Brussels. EFSA summed up the main findings as follows: the report "notes the high quality of EFSA's scientific outputs and risk communication activities" and "highlights the Authority's culture of transparency and robust systems to ensure the impartiality of its scientific advice". Among the recommendations are that EFSA ought to "enhance transparency in some decision-making processes", "build better links with Member States" and "improve the clarity of its communications".
Yet Corporate Europe Observatory finds the report (price tag: 246,000 euro) as well as EFSA's interpretation of it – flawed. The report is, to a large extent, based on questionnaires and interviews that E & Y held with stakeholders. E & Y provided a breakdown of respondents by different categories. This shows that EFSA's most vocal critics had little weight (NGOs 4%, media 2%, MEPs 5%). In contrast, industry has a weight of 13% and EFSA's own Management Board and the Scientific Committee count together for 17%. The bulk of responses were from national risk managers and risk assessors. Among MEPs, several vocal critics of EFSA were not interviewed.
+ PROTEST AGAINST DEATH OF GOOD FOOD IN IRELAND
A mock funeral procession to mark "the death of Ireland's good food sector" was held in Dublin yesterday by people opposed to the agriculture department Teagasc's field study on GM potatoes. Up to 100 people took part in the march from St Stephen's Green to the Department of Agriculture to highlight their opposition to the trial. Last month, protester Stella Coffey sought but was refused a High Court order allowing her to legally challenge the Teagasc trial without facing large costs if she lost the case. Her application was followed by another from a group of environmentalists and organic producers but theirs was also refused.
+ NON-GM BLIGHT-RESISTANT POTATOES IN DANGER
The UK's Sarvari Research Trust has a crowd funding appeal on Buzzbnk. This will help this not-for-profit research trust continue its development of non-GM blight resistant potatoes.
The UK's John Innes Centre has received GBP1.7 million in public funding to develop GM blight resistant potatoes. By contrast, Sarvari has received absolutely nothing for its breeding work. This is typical of how innovative and successful non-GM breeding is often starved of resources, while large amounts of money are wasted on far less successful GM projects for which there is no market!
Although the Sarvari Research Trust has about 35 varieties in the pipeline that show promise against blight, they lack the income to develop them to the point of getting them on the National List. National Listing is a legal requirement before new varieties can enter the market.
That's the reason for the crowd sourcing. So please do what the UK Government is determined not to do – help Sarvari to demonstrate that the GM versions on which the Government has lavished public money are completely unnecessary.
Pete Riley of GM Freeze tells us, "So far Sarvari has five varieties with very good resistance to the current strains of blight in the UK which are all prefixed with Sarpo (Mira, Axona, Shona, Una and Gwen). In the worst year in living memory for late blight, my three Sarpo varieties on my allotment – Mira, Axone, and Shona – have come through and are still putting on leaf growth."
+ OCCUPY PLANS TO SHUT DOWN MONSANTO
September 17, the anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, was chosen to mark a global outcry against Monsanto and associates. In the words of one of the protesters, "We're celebrating the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. We had a lot of concerns about large corporations controlling the government, but it wasn't very focused. Now we're focusing on Monsanto."
BACKGROUND TO THE PROTESTS
OCCUPY SHUTS DOWN MONSANTO SEED DISTRIBUTION FACILITY
PARAGUAYANS PROTEST AGAINST MONSANTO
BLOCKADE OF A BASF OFFICE IN GERMANY
PHOTO ESSAY: OCCUPY MONSANTO ACTIONS IN ST LOUIS
SEVERAL THOUSAND TEENAGERS PROTEST AGAINST GM IN CALIFORNIA
ANTI-MONSANTO RALLIES IN HAWAII
PROTEST AT MONSANTO IN DAVIS
VIDEO FROM PROTEST IN FLORIDA
PHOTO OF RALLY AGAINST MONSANTO AND TPP IN TOKYO
+ MONSANTO'S ORGANIC ALLIES ON LABELLING
It's not surprising that Monsanto and DuPont are spending millions of dollars to fight a California ballot initiative aimed at requiring the labelling of GM foods. What may surprise some is that the companies behind some of the biggest organic brands in the country Kashi, Cascadian Farm, Horizon Organic also have joined the antilabelling effort, adding millions of dollars to defeat the initiative, known as Proposition 37. Their opposition stands in sharp contrast to smaller, independent organic companies, which generally favour labeling. And it has raised a consumer reaction on social media that has led some of the organic brands to try to distance themselves from their corporate parents.
The European Union has required labelling since 1997, and companies by and large have formulated their products so that they do not contain any GM ingredients and thus do not need labelling. Also, David Byrne, the former European commissioner for health and consumer protection, has said that there was no impact on the cost of products.
GMW comment: That point has been reinforced by Professor Chris Viljoen, a GM testing expert, who says, "There has never been a documented report that genetic modification labelling has led to a cost increase in food anywhere."
+ HOW MITT ROMNEY HELPED MONSANTO TAKE OVER THE WORLD
Republican US presidential candidate Mitt Romney used to work for a consulting firm called Bain. Romney and Bain played crucial roles in shaping Monsanto's strategy of selling off big chunks of its legacy chemical businesses and reinventing itself as agbiotech firm. Dr Earl Beaver, who was Monsanto's waste director during the Bain period, says that Bain was certainly aware of the PCB and dioxin scandals because they created "a negative public perception that was costing the company money". So Bain recommended focusing "on the businesses that didn’t have those perceptions," Beaver recalls, starting with "life science products that were biologically based," including GM crops, as well as Roundup, the hugely profitable weedkiller.
+ AGENT ORANGE CHEMICAL IN WAR ON SUPERWEEDS
Dow's 2,4-D-tolerant corn will create 2,4-D-resistant weeds just as surely as glyphosate-tolerant crops created glyphosate-resistant weeds, say farmers and experts interviewed for an unusually GM-skeptical article from the BBC World Service. 2,4-D was an ingredient in Agent Orange, the defoliant used in Vietnam.
+ US EPA CONTRIBUTED TO ROOTWORM RESISTANCE PROBLEM BY CAVING IN TO INDUSTRY
Doug Gurian-Sherman explained back in December 2011 that the US Environmental Protection Agency was contributing to the collapse of Bt insecticidal technology in corn by recommending cultivation strategies that favoured the biotech industry but which are guaranteed to produce evolved resistance in pests:
+ GM VS NON-GM CORN AND SOY IN THE WORST DROUGHT IN YEARS
Howard Vlieger, a co-founder and a biological/agroecological farming advisor with Verity Farms in the US, has sent us pictures of how GM and non-GM soy and maize are doing in the midst of the worst drought in years. There's no contest: it's clear that the non-GM crops are yielding better than the GM, sometimes spectacularly so. While not a controlled scientific study, it's the best we can offer given that the biotech industry doesn't allow independent scientists access to their patented seeds to do comparative yield trials. Vlieger adds that many small seed companies recognise that farmers want non-GM seeds and are increasing their non-GM seed stocks.
+ CLAIMS THAT GM CORN USES LESS WATER ARE FALSE
Based on Monsanto's own data, the Union of Concerned Scientists' recent report "High and Dry" found that GM supposedly drought-tolerant corn would yield only about 6% more than non-GM varieties, and only under moderate drought conditions. In the case of extreme droughts, such as the one that has plagued Midwestern farmers this year, there likely would be no substantial improvement. Claims that Monsanto's corn uses less water in "normal" times are demonstrably false. Data provided by the company to the US Agriculture Department show no gain in so-called water-use efficiency under non-drought conditions.
In contrast, non-GM plant breeding has achieved success after success in producing a variety of drought resistant crops, including a whole series of drought resistant corn (maize) varieties. These have been made available in many countries, including developing countries that are vulnerable to drought.
+ BILL WOULD BAN SOME PESTICIDES AND REASSESS USE OF GLYPHOSATE
Brazilian Congressman Paulo Teixeira (PT-SP, Workers' Party) has introduced a bill proposing a ban on several pesticides and a reassessment of the use of glyphosate in agriculture. "The law already prohibits numerous carcinogens or representing other types of risk, but some gaps still remain in this legislation, allowing products extremely harmful to human health and the environment still to be used in Brazil. We need to correct this distortion," argues Teixeira.
+ "MOTHERS OF ITUZAINGO" TOUR SPAIN TO FIGHT GM SOY AND GLYPHOSATE
Goldman Environmental Prize winner Sofia Gatica and Maria Godoy, both Argentine activists and members of the group Mothers of Ituzaingo, have been travelling across Spain to expose the dangers of the cultivation of GM soy and the use of glyphosate. Argentina is one of the biggest soy exporters in the world. They warned Spanish citizens – Spain being the first GM producer in the EU – that if herbicide-tolerant GM soy were cultivated in Spain, the social and environmental consequences would be unforeseeable and irreversible. The events in Spain are part of a speaking tour across Europe which ended in Brussels, where Sofia and Maria joined the Good Food March.
+ GENETIC ROULETTE: THE GAMBLE OF OUR LIVES – THE FILM
Doctors, scientists, mothers, farmers, and agriculture experts speak about the dangers and problems of GM crops and foods in a remarkable and compelling new documentary from Jeffrey Smith, director of the Institute for Responsible Technology. Watch the film for free – but don't delay as the free offer runs out soon:
+ ALTERED GENES, TWISTED TRUTH – NEW BOOK
Steven Druker, a US-based public interest attorney, sued the US Food and Drug Administration in the 1990s over its release of GM foods onto world markets. Now he's written a boo. Part 1 has been released and is available as an E-book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo (and is slated to be available soon on iTunes). It's titled: "Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public".
+ NEW EDUCATIONAL WEBSITE ON GMOs AND GLYPHOSATE
A new website has been launched – GMO Evidence – that's designed to be a worldwide user-friendly library of evidence of harm caused by GMOs and glyphosate to animals and humans.
+ SCIENTISTS WARN OF GM WHEAT HEALTH DANGERS
A scientist has warned that one of the CSIRO's (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia's pre-eminent public scientific research body) GM wheat varieties has the potential to cause a deadly disease that attacks the liver. In his report on GM wheat, New Zealand genetics lecturer Jack Heinemann, from the University of Canterbury, said the CSIRO's technology suppressed an enzyme in the wheat which was similar to the human enzyme that produces glycogen. Humans eating the wheat could find the technology suppresses glycogen production in their bodies, leading to liver failure. His report was backed by Flinders University biochemist Judy Carman and molecular genetics expert Michael Antoniou, from Kings College, London.
The CSIRO yesterday revealed it had received approval from the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator for two field trials of wheat and barley with altered starch composition. The latest crop was planted in June. Prof Heinemann said he had not seen any evidence that the CSIRO had even considered the possibility that this variety of GM wheat could affect human glycogen production. "There are very special risk assessments that should be done on this kind of modification because we have very limited experience with this," he said.
+ WHISTLEBLOWERS AT CSIRO FORCED OUT AND BULLYING "RIFE"
Two of three CSIRO employees who blew the whistle on alleged "criminal or civil breaches of the law" by the scientific organisation were later made redundant, but those officials who were the subject of the complaints remain employed. The details have emerged after a group of former CSIRO employees began a campaign for a change in culture at the science agency, alleging mismanagement and bullying are rife. A parliamentary inquiry examining workplace bullying in Commonwealth agencies published the group's submission. It claims the group is aware of 60 cases involving top-flight scientists and other officials who were bullied or otherwise forced out of the organisation. This list has names on it such as Maarten Stapper, a soil scientist allegedly pushed out because of his criticism of GM crops.
Multinationals with strong direct financial links with the CSIRO include Monsanto and Bayer. An article in the Journal of Australian Political Economy says that the CSIRO prioritised GM research as early as 1979 and that its scientists have been very active in promoting GM within Australia, and especially to the scientific community.
+ PHILIPPINES: GM CORN BANKRUPTS FARMERS
An estimated 270,000 smallholder farmers in the Philippines are being forced to grow GM corn and ending up in debt as a result. These are the findings of a recent study by IBON and MASIPAG, a farmer-led network of people's organisations, NGOs and scientists. The farmers are at the mercy of seed suppliers and lenders who are one and the same in the country. This despite claims from the country's Department of Agriculture promoting the production of GM corn, claiming that the cost of production is cheaper, therefore, switching will improve farmers' incomes. However, given that the suppliers and the financiers are the same, the farmers have little choice but to switch if they need help with financing.
The study indicates that the news being spread by the Philippines' Department of Agriculture that farmers now prefer planting GM Bt corn is not correct. As a result of the increased planting of GM corn, the cost of the corn seeds has risen 282% from its introductory price, now accounting for 18-21% of a farmer's total cost of production. The cost of fertilizer is also on the rise, and now accounts for around 23% of the total cost of producing GM corn. Interest payments now account for 26% of the total.
GMW comment: We've heard reports from Brazil that there too, farmers who can't finance their own operations in advance have to buy GM seeds because the finance comes as a package with the GM seeds and chemicals. Those who can finance their own operations are more likely to be able to plant non-GM seeds.
+ GM RICE TEST RESEARCHER SUSPENDED
China's health authorities will investigate allegations that GM golden rice rice was tested on Chinese children as part of a China-US research project. China CDC [Center For Disease Control And Prevention] reported that its researcher Yin Shi'an, the third author of the paper, was inconsistent in his accounts during the investigation. As a result, China CDC has suspended him from his job and put him under further investigation. Also according to China CDC, none of its affiliate institutes had ever approved or participated in the research of Golden Rice. The paper has not been submitted to the Ministry of Health for ethic examination or approval.
+ QUESTIONS OVER ETHICS OF GOLDEN RICE EXPERIMENT
News of the GM golden rice experiment conducted on schoolchildren in China has finally trickled into the public domain, although details of the experiment remain sketchy. The case has ignited controversy over whether the rights of the young test subjects and their custodians were guaranteed with sufficient information and facts regarding the experiment. The school's former headmaster, has insisted that the participants' custodians signed formal agreements. However, the parents of the young test subjects have strongly denied any knowledge of the agreements.
It remains unclear whether the children involved in Tufts University's GM rice test understood exactly what was happening. It is also strange that the research project was conducted in Hunan while its ethics review and approval was done in Zhejiang, suggesting an attempt to bypass supervision. The Chinese institutes involved in the research denied any knowledge of the use of GM rice, all of which indicates that laws have been violated and the truth has not been fully disclosed. All scientific research should be honest, transparent and held to strict codes of conduct and ethics. The apparently underhand and dishonest measures employed by these transgenic rice tests lead to public confusion, which then translates into a lack of trust in, and even abhorrence of all such future tests.
+ DOUBLE BLOW TO GM CROPS IN INDIA
Two massive blows have been delivered to GM crops in India: a parliamentary committee recommended a ban on all GM crop trials in the country and the Maharashtra government banned the sale of Mahyco's Bt cotton seeds over its alleged involvement in black marketeering of seeds. Even the industry lobby club Biospectrum thinks things are serious for GM.
+ INDIA PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE'S SCATHING REPORT ON GM CROPS
The damning report on GM crops and food security from India's Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture is available for download on the GMWatch website:
The report cites, among other abuses:
***safety tests that were requested but not carried out on Bt brinjal (eggplant/aubergine)
***pressure brought to bear by industry and the Agriculture Minister on the co-chair of the GM regulator GEAC to approve Bt brinjal
***inexplicable changes in the organs and tissues of Bt cottonseed-fed lambs
***the grossly inadequate and antiquated regulatory mechanism for assessment and approval of transgenics in food crops
***the serious conflict of interest of various stakeholders involved in the regulatory mechanism
***the total lack of post-commercialization monitoring.
The Committee asked for an end to all GM field trials.
+ DISASTER CAPITALISM IN AFRICA
An update on attempts by Monsanto and friends to push GM crops into Africa is here:
+ SUDAN INTRODUCES GM COTTON
Sudan has introduced GM cotton, in partnership with Brazil.
+ GM MOSQUITO COMPANY'S DODGY DATA POUR COLD WATER ON CLAIMED BENEFITS
The British firm Oxitec developed and released 3 million GM male mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands and claimed this resulted in reductions in the wild population of mosquitoes ranging from 60-85 percent. But, says GeneWatch UK, Oxitec took no baseline data on mosquito populations at the site. At different times, Oxitec moved mosquito traps from one location to another and changed the size of the release site. To achieve the claimed effect it significantly increased the number of adult GM mosquitoes it expected to release and also released additional GM pupae at locations spaced at 70 to 90m apart across the release site. It is understandable then that a succession of peer reviewers rejected its results before they were finally published in Nature Biotechnology.
"This poor quality paper pours cold water on the idea that Oxitec's GM mosquitoes will be an effective way to tackle dengue" said Dr Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK. "Staff would be better employed using the well-established public health approach of removing mosquito breeding sites rather than in placing GM mosquito pupae at intervals across a site."
More on Oxitec's dodgy data: http://gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14184