GMWatch News Review archive
Following the classification of Roundup as a “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency IARC, Monsanto said it was “outraged” and demanded that the IARC retract its report. But Monsanto’s argument is unscientific nonsense, as Claire Robinson explains. An article for Beyond GM exposes further misrepresentations of the IARC’s report by Monsanto. Meanwhile the scientist who led the IARC working group has defended its verdict, saying its review was “thorough”. Americans can take action to get Roundup banned here.
Children exposed to pesticides sprayed in a GM soy-producing region of Argentina have genetic damage, a team of researchers from the National University of Río Cuarto, Cordoba (UNRC), found in an important new study.
Exposure to the herbicides used on GM crops (including Roundup) changes how susceptible disease-causing bacteria are to antibiotics, a new study has found. In many cases the bacteria became more antibiotic-resistant. The Guardian published a good article on the study.
McDonald’s and Frito-Lay say they have no plans to adopt the Simplot low-acrylamide GM potato – so who wants it and why? Claire Robinson has discovered that all the supposed benefits of the GMO potato are already available in non-GMO potatoes.
The Germany-based research group Testbiotech has filed a complaint to the European Ombudsman against the EU Commission over undisclosed conflicts of interests on the part of experts involved in the so-called GRACE animal feeding project with GMOs. The GRACE project failed to mention relevant data on health impacts of a GMO diet.
Many were dismayed by the report of the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, which hyped GM crops. The risk expert Nassim Nicholas Taleb called the report “an insult to science”. In a series of two articles, Claire Robinson explains why the report is not only unscientific but also a danger to the public and to Europe’s GMO regulations.
Organisations, scientists, businesses and regional governments critical of GMOs from all over Europe are meeting with guests from the Americas, Asia and Africa. The conference will focus on national bans of GMO cultivation in the EU, a European protein strategy, TTIP and CETA, GMO contamination, the ongoing GMO offensive in Africa and new anti-GMO movements in the Americas. Information and registration: www.gmo-free-regions.org
On 16-17 April 2015 the Ministry of Agriculture of Hungary will hold a conference entitled “How to maintain GMO-free agriculture in Europe”. The event will be held in Budapest, Hungary (the main building of the Ministry of Agriculture, 1005 Budapest No 11, Kossuth Square). Registration is free but officially closes today, 1 April – though it’s likely you may still get in if you register soon.
A meeting was held at the Gates Foundation office in London on 23 March by predominantly white men with a sprinkling of Africans, some of whom represent private seed companies, to discuss how to profit from Africa’s seed systems. Demonstrations against the schemes were held in London and Seattle. There’s more information and media coverage here.
GM maize has penetrated the informal seed supplies of smallholder farmers in South Africa.
GM Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh failed again this year as the plants have either died out prematurely or fruited insignificantly compared to the locally available varieties. Bt brinjal was found to be toxic in Mahyco’s (subsidiary of Monsanto) own tests.
Narendra Modi’s government is set to sell off the country’s agriculture to foreign GMO corporations and forge ahead with open field trials against the advice of no less than four expert reports.
The political group Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) said it was "deeply disturbed" at government "steam-rolling" its concerns over trials of GM crops.
Domino's has been caught selling GMO pizzas, in spite of claims on its website that its products are GM-free. The company has now updated its website.
Tests have shown that 100% of the maize in the Lil’ Crunchies Veggie Dip was GMO. All of the corn was genetically engineered to be herbicide tolerant (Roundup Ready) and the maize contained DNA sequences known to be present in Bt insecticide-producing GMO maize.
Researchers found that a diet containing GM soybean oil induced weight gain and fatty liver essentially identical to that of a diet with regular soybean oil – casting doubt on claims that the GM oil is healthier.
Monsanto has reached a settlement with wheat farmers in seven states over the 2013 contamination of an Oregon wheat farm with the company's GM wheat.
A challenge to overturn Maui’s ban on GMOs is heading to a US federal court.
US public interest lawyer Steven Druker’s new book Altered Genes, Twisted Truth is “by turn fascinating, chilling, distressing, and ultimately, hope-inspiring”, writes Dr Jane Goodall in a review. Two excellent articles on the book, along with video interviews with Steven Druker, are on the website mercola.com (here and here).
There’s been much hype about the Arctic apple, a GM apple that doesn’t brown when cut. What we’re not told is that a non-GMO non-browning apple, the Opal, has been available for years. Many other non-GMO breeding successes are in our GMWatch database.
Australian organic farmer Steve Marsh, whose farm was contaminated with GMOs grown by his neighbour Michael Baxter, has won an adjournment of the court case after a judge placed a hold on $800,000 costs that had been awarded against him. The delay is in order to ascertain whether Marsh’s GMO-growing neighbour Michael Baxter’s defence has been financially supported by GM-seed supplier Monsanto or the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA). It has since emerged that Monsanto did contribute money to Baxter’s “fighting fund” and even took the Baxters on a skiing holiday.
The collective of social movement organizations known as Acción Colectiva del Maíz have won four favorable court decisions against corporate attempts to end the GMO corn ban in Mexico.
The pro-GMO lobbyist Patrick Moore told the interviewer on French TV that Roundup herbicide was safe enough to drink by the quart, but was taken aback when the interviewer revealed that he had some in the studio and offered a glass of the stuff to Moore! In an article that quickly spread to major news outlets worldwide, Jonathan Matthews reports on what happened next.
GMO golden rice, the "miracle" cure for vitamin A deficiency, has been "coming soon" for a decade and a half, reports Jonathan Matthews in a devastating exposé. Corporate lobbyist Patrick Moore’s campaign to promote golden rice has angered farmers across Asia. And Moore refused to debate farmers in the Philippines on the topic.
After a week’s worth of pro-GMO articles in The Independent (UK), GMWatch’s Claire Robinson went head-to-head with pro-GMO campaigner Mark Lynas in a debate for and against GM crops organised by the newspaper. Critical responses to The Independent’s pro-GMO articles came from Peter Melchett of the Soil Association and Dr Charles Benbrook of Washington State University.
In an article for The New Internationalist magazine’s special issue on Monsanto, Claire Robinson looks at how scientists who investigate the safety of GM foods are treated by Monsanto and the pro-GMO lobby.
Monsanto has “an entire department” dedicated to “debunking” science which disagrees with theirs, a Monsanto scientist revealed at a public meeting.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility has filed a legal petition with the US Department of Agriculture seeking new rules that would enhance job protection for government scientists whose research questions the safety of Roundup and other farm chemicals. According to the petition, some scientists working for the federal government are finding their research restricted or censored when it conflicts with agribusiness industry interests. US Right to Know has called on the US Senate and House agriculture committees to investigate a possible coverup for Monsanto. Back in 2010 the USDA microbiologist Robert Kremer said his employer didn’t want to publicise his research showing the negative effects of Roundup on plant health and soil.
An article in the Guardian criticized the campaign organisation US Right to Know for sending Freedom of Information Act requests to uncover potential connections between taxpayer-paid professors and the GM food industry’s PR machine – but failed to disclose the article authors’ financial ties with GMO interests.
At a hearing of the US House Agriculture Committee, opponents of mandatory labelling of GMO foods trotted out the argument that GM crops are the key to feeding Earth’s mushrooming population. But a major study looking at the major crops that have been genetically engineered in the US found that average yields in the US were slightly lower than yields over the same period in western Europe, where GM crops aren’t grown.