Syngenta facing dozens of lawsuits over GMO seed
Syngenta is facing 50 lawsuits, with hundreds more to follow, challenging its release of a GM corn seed, Agrisure Viptera, that China had not approved for import, with losses to farmers estimated to be at least $1 billion.
Agent Orange-related herbicide approved for GMO crops – EPA sued
A coalition of environmental groups and farmers is suing the US EPA over approval of Dow's new GMO crop herbicide, Enlist Duo, a combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D, an ingredient of Agent Orange. The lawsuit alleges inadequate environmental and health assessments by the agency. 49 Members of the US Congress protested against the approval of the 2,4-D-tolerant crops. The EPA ignored these concerns in approving the crops anyway, but made some unusual provisions that the agency could eventually use to restrict use of the herbicide.
Dow limits sales of GMO soy, corn on China worries
Dow said it will restrict sales of its new GM corn and soybeans, engineered to tolerate 2,4-D and glyphosate herbicides, to prevent them from entering US domestic or international marketing channels as it awaits import approval from China.
Largest international study into safety of GM food launched by Russian NGO
Thousands of rats will be fed Monsanto maize diets in $25m, three-year "Factor GMO" study into long-term health effects of GM food and associated pesticides. In response, GMO lobbyist Julian Little has been misleading the public about the status of past GMO studies.
Living with GMOs – Letter from America to the UK and EU
NGOs, scientists, groups, celebrities, food manufacturers, and others representing 57 million Americans have published an Open Letter to the UK and the entire EU warningof the serious and manifold hazards of GMO crops – and promising their support in the fight against them.
European Commission scraps chief scientific adviser position
There will be no position of chief scientific adviser in the new European Commission. The move follows a series of open letters and articles in which NGOs (including GMWatch) criticised the post for its lack of transparency and accountability. The first and last EU chief scientist, Anne Glover, has been called a dangerous imbecile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University, over her belief that the Precautionary Principle should be abandoned with regard to GMOs.
EU GM crop bans: Commission and Council must heed Parliament
The European Parliament has voted for strong legislation enabling member states to 'opt-out' of GMO cultivation – a welcome move which the Commission and Council should and must support.
Suspected manipulation of EU-funded animal feeding study with GM maize
Researchers on the publicly funded EU GMO safety research project, GRACE, have published a paper claiming that there were no adverse health effects in rats that were fed MON810 Bt maize for 90 days. But in fact there were many statistically significant differences in the GM-fed rats and some of them were potentially adverse. Now Testbiotech has published an analysis of the data and concluded that they "revealed indications of negative health impacts on kidneys, liver and pancreas". The outcome of the GRACE project is important because policy-makers are planning to use the results to inform their decisions on whether animal feeding trials will be required for future GMO risk assessments. Other scientists have also expressed concern about the researchers' interpretation of the results.
UK: GM foods slip into M&S
Marks & Spencer in the UK has come under fire for selling six products containing GM soya or corn. More information and take action here.
Monsanto and Dow sue Maui County over GMO cultivation ban
Monsanto and Dow are suing Maui County, Hawaii to block its new law banning GMO cultivation. Monsanto and its allies spent nearly $8 million in Maui to defeat the ballot measure supporting the GMO ban – that's $300 for every No vote. They outspent supporters of the ban by 87 to 1, and still lost.
Other ballot news from the USA
Measure P, which would make it illegal to cultivate GMOs, won a ballot victory in Humboldt County, California. Colorado's GMO labelling measure was defeated. And although the media announced early on that Oregon's GMO labelling measure was defeated, it's too close to call (49.95% Yes; 50.05% No). At the last count, the "Yes" votes were under 1,500 down on the "No" votes, out of nearly a million and a half votes cast. A recount looks certain.
Vermont fights attempt to block GMO labelling law
The State of Vermont is asking a federal judge to throw out a food industry lawsuit that seeks to block the state's new GM food labelling law from taking effect.
Neil Young boycotts Starbucks over GMO lawsuit
Rock star Neil Young has announced that he's boycotting Starbucks over the coffee company's involvement in a Grocery Manufacturers Association lawsuit against the state of Vermont's new requirements to label GMOs.
Armyworm resistance to GMO crops seen in US – study
In a major development, crop-devouring armyworms are showing increasing resistance to Bt insecticidal corn in some US farm fields, a new study shows.
McDonald's won't sell Simplot GMO potato
McDonald's has said it has no plans to buy Simplot's new GM potato, engineered not to go brown when cut. The USDA approved the GM potato in spite of the fact that it was developed with a new, little understood form of genetic engineering called RNA interference (RNAi), which involves gene silencing.
Monsanto settles with wheat growers over GM contamination
Monsanto has announced that it has entered into a settlement agreement with farmers who suffered when land in the Pacific Northwest was contaminated with unlicensed GM wheat last year.
Pharma corn in Monterey County
GMO pharma corn is being planted in California and the local authorities have adopted an evidence-free belief that the crop will not get into food and feed supplies.
GM contamination cannot be contained – new paper
Genewatch and Greenpeace have, for about 10 years, run a GM Contamination Register (www.contaminationregister.org). They have now analysed the cases on the Register and a resulting paper has been published in an open access journal. The paper clearly shows that GM contamination cannot be contained, even when crops are only grown in field trials.
New study shows honeybees harmed by herbicide used on GMO crops
Glyphosate herbicide at field-realistic levels can disrupt learning behaviour in honeybees and severely impair long-term colony performance, shows a new study.
Gates Foundation spends bulk of agriculture grants in rich countries
The majority of the $3 billion spent by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on improving agricultural yields to benefit the world's poorest and hungry people has been spent in the US, Britain, and other rich developed nations, shows a new report by GRAIN. GRAIN said that over 80% of the grants were given to organizations in the US and Europe, and only 10% to groups in Africa. At a conference in Seattle, African food sovereignty leaders said agroecological methods were the way to improve food security. The moderator for the event, Eric Holt-Gimenez of Food First, argued that the claimed rationale for the Gates Foundation's AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) project may have been to address hunger, but that it was actually to sell products, specifically fertilizers, pesticides, hybrids, and GMO seeds.
World scientists and academics demand halt to GMO field trials in Thailand
A group of scientists and academics has written to the Prime Minister of Thailand to ask him not to go ahead with GMO field trials.
Bangladesh research institute moves to popularise Bt brinjal
Even though the first trial scheme failed, the Bangladesh government is distributing saplings of GM Bt brinjal among over 100 farmers – up from 20 – to make the controversial variety popular. Some farmers who were part of the initial experiment with Bt brinjal complained that the failed crop had ruined them.
Bt brinjal seeds smuggled into India?
The West Bengal government says it has received information regarding "infiltration" of commercial seeds of GM Bt brinjal (eggplant) from Bangladesh. Bt brinjal was found to be toxic in industry studies.
India does not have the competence to play around with GM foods – geneticist
Geneticist Suman Sahai asks: Why is India even considering GMO field trials when a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture report concluded it was not technically competent to manage them?
Conventional breeding leads the way in responding to climate change
GM seeds are often sold to farmers and the public on the grounds that they are the wave of the future, taking over where conventional plant breeding left off – but that might be changing. An article in the pro-GMO journal Nature points out: "Transgenic techniques, which target one gene at a time, have not been as quick [as conventional breeding] to manipulate [drought tolerance]." More examples of non-GM drought tolerant successes are here. And a new report by Greenpeace shows that marker assisted selection (MAS) is delivering desirable traits like disease resistance and drought tolerance where GM has failed.
Lack of evidence to prove GMO safety – new peer-reviewed study
81% of approved GMOs have not been studied for detailed health effects, shows a new peer-reviewed study. Prof Jack Heinemann commented on the study, "The lack of studies isn't the only interesting finding. Critically, many of this small number of studies also failed to adequately describe the methodology, other basic information needed to determine the level of confidence in the results, or even the results!"
The Amish farmers reinventing organic agriculture
A series of crop failures on his own farm drove an Amish farmer to research and promote science-intensive organic agriculture. It's based on boosting the immune system of plants with good nutrition. We recommend reading this inspiring article in full.
Life or death over seeds – worldwide seed war rages
Over half the global seed market is controlled by 3 agrochemical corporations (Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta) and new legislation is threatening to criminalise the ability of farmers to freely save and exchange seeds. For example, Ghana is passing a new seed law because of pressure from rich governments, including that of the UK, and big corporations. More information, and a quick and easy action for British citizens to take, is here and here.
Synbio – the scariest GMOs you've never heard of
Currently there's almost no regulation for synthetic biology (synbio) products yet manufacturers are forging ahead with development.
10 reasons to be worried about TTIP
Critics have labelled the free trade deal between the EU and US (TTIP) "a huge corporate wish-list" and a "blank cheque for US companies". Here are 10 reasons to be worried about it. Take action here.
Don't ask how to feed the 9 billion
An article by New York Times food writer Mark Bittman is perfect ammunition against the constant refrain that GMOs are needed to "feed the world". Bittman points out that even the poorest countries have no shortage of food, in that if you have money, you can buy it. Thus our slogan should not be "let's feed the world", but "let's end poverty".
Patrick Moore, Ambassador for EXPO 2015?
GMO supporters are campaigning to have climate science denialist and GMO promoter Patrick Moore adopted as an Ambassador for the EXPO 2015 exhibition in Milan, where the theme will be "Feeding the planet, energy for life". GMWatch's Jonathan Matthews explains why Moore is not fit to represent scientific evidence or EXPO 2015.
Can you be sceptical about GM but believe in climate change?
Often, GMO lobbyists claim that if you oppose GMOs you are anti-science and no better than a climate change denier. But Alice Bell, research fellow at the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, points out the flaws in this argument.