The world’s farmers have increased their use of GM crops steadily and sharply since the technology became broadly commercialized in 1996. But not any more. In 2015, for the first time, the acreage used for the crops declined, according to the industry-backed body ISAAA.
A new study has found that the monarch butterfly population in the US has “a substantial probability of quasi-extinction, from 11-57% over 20 years”. The study repeats the well-documented fact that a major factor in the decline of the monarch is the adoption of herbicide-tolerant GM corn and soybeans. The herbicide spraying has killed off the monarch larvae’s food, the milkweed plant. And contrary to some recent reports, monarchs are not on the road to recovery, points out the Center for Food Safety.
India said that Monsanto is free to leave the Indian market and lose its 90 percent dominance if it does not want to accept the government-imposed price and royalty cuts for its GM cotton seeds. An RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, National Patriotic Organisation) affiliate has asked the government to ensure Monsanto does not quit India without compensating farmers who suffered due to the firm's "wrong acts".
In the wake of the devastation caused to India’s GM Bt cotton crop by the pink bollworm pest, there is a major push from the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), an Indian farmers' union with nearly 20 million members that is indirectly affiliated to the Modi government, for a shift away from GM crops and towards sustainable and organic production.
The Pakistan government has approved over 100 varieties of GM corn and cotton to be field tested and commercialised, but the move has drawn concern from agriculture experts.
China intends to plant GM crops on a large scale in coming years. The new policy follows a recent announcement that GM crop developer Syngenta will be taken over by a Chinese state-owned firm.
Burkina Faso's cotton association is seeking 48.3 billion CFA francs ($83.91 million) in compensation from Monsanto after it said GM cotton led to a drop in quality. The country is phasing out the production of GM cotton introduced by Monsanto because growers are unhappy with the short length of its fibre.
The European Parliament has agreed to a new 7-year authorization for the controversial pesticide glyphosate, against the 15-year re-authorization originally proposed by the European Commission. The GUE/NGL Group had advocated a total ban on the substance. However, the Parliament asks for significant restrictions on glyphosate use, including a ban on use in public parks and playgrounds. The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) welcomed the request for restrictions but said they would not fully protect the public. The Parliament’s vote was in contrast to a statement from its own Environment (ENVI) Committee warning of “serious concerns” about the health risks posed by glyphosate herbicides and asking for a ban.
Two-thirds of Europeans support a ban on glyphosate, the most-widely used agricultural chemical in the world’s history.
A new experiment to be performed at the Ramazzini Institute in Italy will use realistic doses and exposures to help settle the argument over glyphosate’s cancer risks. The researchers are appealing to the public for help in funding the experiment.
The World Health Organisation/Food and Agriculture Organisation (WHO/FAO) Joint Meeting of Pesticides Residues (JMPR) committee will review glyphosate’s cancer risks on 9-13 May. However, the reviewing panel contains people with conflicts of interest with industry.
People who are exposed to glyphosate herbicides in their work are more likely to suffer from an aggressive form of skin cancer called cutaneous melanoma, a new study shows. When subjects were exposed to both pesticides and occupational sun exposure, the risk increased even more.
A number of towns and regions in Spain have agreed to ban glyphosate herbicides in public areas.
France's health and safety agency is poised to ban weedkillers that combine chemicals glyphosate and tallowamine because of health risks.
A Care2 petition that was signed by over 90,000 people has led to RoundUp herbicide being removed from Waitrose stores across the UK.
A Monsanto-linked study has found no glyphosate in human breast milk, contradicting other studies that did. However, questions have been raised about Monsanto’s methodology.
In a rushed move, the company Forage Genetics International has sold a limited amount of GM alfalfa seeds in Eastern Canada enough to produce up to 5000 acres of hay. The National Farmers Union has called for the seed sales to be stopped.
In a great (though probably not final) victory for US citizens, the Senate did the right thing and did not advance a bill from Senator Pat Roberts that can best be described as the Denying Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act. The bill would have prevented states from requiring labelling of GM foods and stopped pending state laws that require labelling to go into effect.
In a series of huge victories for US consumers, General Mills, Mars and Kellogg’s will begin labelling products nationwide that contain GMO ingredients after the failure of Congress to reach a national labelling law. Campbell Soup announced in January that it would start labelling products with GMO ingredients.
The European Commission will be obliged to consult with US authorities before adopting new legislative proposals following passage of the TTIP trade deal, a leaked document reveals.
Proposed EU legislation on “Trade Secrets Protection” is a threat to EU citizens’ rights to access information on pesticides and other products.
A study in the journal Nature concluded that the off-target effects of CRISPR-Cas gene editing can be reduced to virtually nothing. Is this the ‘holy grail’ of GM a genetic engineering technique that really is precise and predictable? Scientists offer their comments.
A report from NGOs alleges that the French government and the High Council of Biotechnology (HCB) are colluding to get the products of new GMO techniques exempted from Europe’s GMO regulations and labelling. The NGOs have resigned from the HCB in protest.
A coalition of farmers, scientists, NGOs (GMWatch among them) and charities has come together to urge the Government to stop the planting of GM potatoes and plants that produce fish oil in the UK this spring.
Scientists in Tanzania have developed a non-GMO high-yielding, salt-resistant rice variety that could benefit millions of farmers across Africa.
If approved, millions of GM mosquitoes could be released into the Florida Keys, for the first time in the US. People in the US can send the US FDA a letter urging it not to approve the release.
Researchers don’t like the word but they're running ahead with human genetic engineering to produce “better” children, and Britain is at the forefront.
Roberto Rovasio, former lead researcher at Conicet, the Argentine government’s main research institute, has published an article challenging the notion that the Zika virus is solely responsible for the microcephaly cases in Brazil and explaining why pesticides are one of several potential contributing factors.
There's no evidence for BBC Panorama's claim of 90% success for Bt brinjal in Bangladesh. But that has not stopped the BBC Trust from dismissing all complaints against its monstrously dishonest report. Nor has it diminished the jubilation of GMO cheerleaders.
USAID is throwing $4.8 million at the GM Bt insecticidal brinjal (eggplant) project in Bangladesh and the Philippines. The money will go to the project via Cornell University, which is promoting the Bt brinjal rollout. This is in spite of reports from within Bangladesh that the GM Bt brinjal crop failed miserably two years running.
The esteemed magazine Scientific American has partnered with an industry-backed PR effort GMO Answers which is a project of PR firm Ketchum. The partnership was formed for a panel event featuring journalists and scientists speaking on science in the media.
University of Illinois professor Bruce Chassy was given more than $57,000 over less than two years from Monsanto to travel, write and speak about GMOs – including lobbying federal officials to halt regulation. He failed to disclose his financial relationship with the company.
Sheldon Krimsky, professor of urban and environmental policy and planning (UEP) at Tufts University, explores the links between industry and scientific research in universities.