MONTHLY REVIEW - No. 25
from Claire Robinson, editor
*Look out for a lot of interesting research this month showing the growing problems affecting both Bt and GM herbicide resistant crops + the impossibility of "co-existence".*
+ MONSANTO'S YEAR-END HIDES PROBLEMS
Monsanto is bleeding hundreds of millions of dollars in lost royalty payments while its pipeline of future GM products is drying up, says a new report.
+ 5 FACE TRIAL OVER GM-FED MILK
5 people arrested for trying to stop the distribution of Sainsbury's unlabelled GM-fed milk will go on trial next week at Avon Magistrates Court (near Bristol).
+ U.S. SHOULD KICK ASS OVER GMOs
It's time for John Bolton, US ambassador to the UN, and Condi Rice to kick ass over GMOs, says Henry I. Miller, a US advisor to WHO food safety body Codex Alimentarius. Why? Because "agbiotech already is moribund in the US (and international) public sector, little better in industry, and dead and buried in the developing world." His solution? The US should cut off funding and all other assistance to any country or agency (from the UN down) that dares to place regulatory controls on GMOs.
+ GREENPEACE 13 ACQUITTED IN GM TRIAL
A jury at Cardiff Crown Court has cleared 13 Greenpeace volunteers of causing a public nuisance. The 13 blocked a ship from unloading its cargo of GM animal feed from the US in Bristol. Greenpeace said tests showed imports of American GM maize coming into Bristol contained illegal GMOs banned in Europe.
+ OK EXPECTED FOR BEEF FROM CLONED COWS
The US Food and Drug Administration is reportedly nearing a decision to allow the sale of meat and milk from cloned cows and their offspring. http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5792
+ 'CO-EXISTENCE' OF GM WITH OTHER CROPS IMPOSSIBLE
Speaking at a conference in Bologna, Italy on 'Co-existence' of GM with conventional or organic crops, Dr Ignacio Chapela told the conference, "'Co-existence' of GMOs and GM-free plants is biologically impossible".
+ JUDGE RAISES CONCERN OVER PEPPER SPRAY
A New Zealand judge has raised serious concerns over police behaviour including their use of pepper spray at an anti-GM protest.
+ FIRST OZ FARMER FALLS PREY TO GM CONTAMINATION
The first confirmed case of GM contamination in a field of commercial canola has struck a Victorian farmer, opening up a legal mine-field for farmers and threatening Australian export markets. Other contamination incidents have also occurred in Victoria, Western Australia, and South Australia.
+ NEW SOUTH WALES GM CROP BAN EXTENDED
NSW Agriculture Minister Ian Macdonald has extended the state ban on GM crops from 2006 to 2008, bringing NSW into line with other states.
+ INDIA: BT COTTON MARKETED ON LIES
A new report on the marketing of Bt cotton in India explodes Monsanto's claims that its achieving higher Bt cotton seed sales in India off the back of the success of its scientifically-based technology. The report shows every unscrupulous trick in the PR book has been used in order to lure India's poor farmers into using GM cotton, including FAKE FARMERS, FAKE BENFITS and FAKE YIELDS. Download the report: http://www.greenpeace.org/india/press/reports/marketing-of-bt-cotton-in-indi
For GM Watch's summary of the report:
+ LAB LOSES PLAGUE-RIDDEN GM MICE
3 GM mice infected with bubonic plague have been reported missing from a New Jersey bioterror lab.
+ POLISH MARSHALS WANT GM-FREE POLAND
The Assembly of Marshals of the Polish Provinces (the opinion-making and advisory body representing the interests of all provinces) has concluded that the Polish Government should prepare a motion to the European Commission to ban the import of GM products in all parts of the country.
+ FUTURE OF FOOD GOES MAINSTREAM
The must-see film The Future of Food premiered this month at Film Forum in New York City to a SOLD OUT Manhattan audience. It also got reviewed in The New York Times, which called called it a "sober, far-reaching polemic against genetically modified foods" and "quietly inflammatory".
+ GM OILSEED STILL CONTAMINATES 15 YEARS ON
New research has found that GM oilseed rape could contaminate non-GM crops 15 years after it was grown - much longer than previously thought.
+ GLYPHOSATE LINKED TO DAMAGING FUNGAL DISEASE
A new paper points to glyphosate - the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup - as a significant predisposing factor for the development of Fusarium head blight (FHB) in wheat. FHB not only greatly reduces yield and grain quality but causes contamination with fungal toxins detrimental to animal and human health.
+ ROUNDUP READY SUDDEN DEATH
A comprehensive report on the numerous problems with Roundup Ready crops is at
+ INVESTIGATION CONFIRMS GLYPHOSATE-RESISTANT PIGWEED
A University of Georgia weed scientist and Monsanto have determined that Palmer pigweed in parts of central Georgia is resistant to glyphosate. Pigweed is considered one of the toughest herbicide-resistant weeds to deal with.
+ MORE GLYPHOSATE-RESISTANT PIGWEED
Common waterhemp - another type of pigweed - is proving resistant in Missouri.
+ GLYPHOSATE RESISTANCE SPREADS WITH ROUNDUP READY CROPS
According to several press reports, glyphosate-resistant weeds are continuing to spread across America. EXCERPT: "The resistant type [of horseweed] was first discovered in Delaware in 2000. In 2001, it was found in western Tennessee. In 2002, it was found in Missouri and Arkansas. What's scary is exactly a year after discovery it was already widespread in Delaware. The same pattern was seen in Tennessee. The first time I started seeing it while driving around Missouri was in 2003. The last couple of years, phone calls to me on this weed have been heavy." - Andy Kendig, Missouri extension weed specialist
+ NEW STUDY RAISES FEARS OVER LONG TERM IMPACTS OF GM CROPS
A follow-up study to the UK government's GM crop trials has found that growing GM beet and GM oilseed rape crops has negative impacts on farmland biodiversity in following years.
+ GM SOYA DISASTER IN LATIN AMERICA
A superb detailed report by Prof. Miguel A. Altieri, University of California, Berkeley and Prof. Walter A. Pengue, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is at
+ SCIENTISTS CONFIRM FAILURES OF BT CROPS
Scientific studies from many countries have now backed up farmers' reports of Bt crops often failing to protect against pest attacks and other problems. Here's a roundup of some of the scientific studies considered in an article by Dr Mae-Wan Ho:
***India, China and the US: studies found levels of toxin produced by Bt crops varies substantially and is often insufficient to kill targeted pests.
***Australia: pest resistance to a Bt toxin found.
***Canada: yield and economic disadvantage found in Bt maize.
***Germany and Canada: unintentionally raised lignin found.
***Other studies show Bt crops are harmful to health and biodiversity.
+ EVIDENCE OF INSECT RESISTANCE TO BT CROPS
Some GM promoters have claimed that there are no field incidences yet of insect resistance to Bt crops. But a paper published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology provides "unequivocal evidence" that a strain of cotton bollworm has developed resistance to the Bt transgene.
+ BT MAIZE HAS HIGH LEVELS OF LIGNIN
New research has found an unintended increase in the production of lignin - the tough, woody form of cellulose - in the stems of Bt GM maize plants. More lignin had previously been linked to changes in plant physiology caused by the addition of genes making soya resistant to glyphosate. These changes are thought to make the crop more vulnerable to heat.
+ JAPANESE SCIENTIST SPEAKS OUT AGAINST "VERY DANGEROUS" GM RICE TRIAL
Microbiologist Dr Takahiro Kanagawa, a senior scientist at one of Japan's leading scientific research institutes, has written an open letter warning that a defensin-resistant GM rice under trial there could generate defensin-resistant pathogens with the potential to cause "far more terrible problems than antibiotic-resistant pathogens".
Twelve citizens (mainly rice farmers) are taking legal action to try to halt the open-air trial. Read Dr Kanagawa's letter at
+ THAILAND: MORE GM PAPAYA CONTAMINATION FOUND
GM seeds have contaminated a third of 31 papaya orchards studied, Thailand's Human Rights Commission said, calling for tough public safeguards against the technology. The first contamination was found last year in the province of Khon Kaen, after Greenpeace accused the government of illegally selling GM papaya seeds from a research station there.
+ EU COMMISSION OVERRULES MINISTERS
The European Commission has approved the import of Monsanto's GM oilseed rape GT73, making it available for food and animal feed across the EU. The decision came despite the decision of the UK, and most EU Member State governments, not to support the application.
+ EUROPEAN COURT OVERRULES BAN ON GM CROPS
Friends of the Earth Europe has called for a new European law that will allow regions to ban GM crops. The call follows a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) against the region of Upper Austria who had introduced a law effectively banning the growing of GMOs.
+ NEW REPORT ON EFSA
Greenpeace has issued a new report into the failings of the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) scientific work on GM foods. The report shows that no serious investigation was conducted on the toxicity of Bt11 maize or its impact on the environment. And already published scientific results on possible negative environmental consequences were ignored. The report can be downloaded at: http://eu.greenpeace.org/downloads/gmo/Bt11reportOct05.pdf
+ GM VINES WORRY FRENCH WINEMAKERS
Many French winegrowers fear GM vines could ruin the reputation of France's wine industry.
+ GLOBAL SEED INDUSTRY CONCENTRATION 2005
According to ETC Group, the top 10 multinational seed firms now control half of the world's commercial seed sales. For a detailed breakdown:
+ DOW WINS BT PATENT BATTLE WITH MONSANTO
Dow Chemical Co. says it won rights to a "broad and enabling" technology for creating GM Bt crops, such as those sold by Monsanto. http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5716
+ RICE IN A PRIVATE GRIP
Devinder Sharma's latest on Syngenta's attempts to tighten its monopoly control over rice is at
+ INDIA: FAKE BT AND LEGAL BT EQUALLY RISKY
Legal Bt cotton is just as risky as the illegal varieties proliferating in India.
+ 6 CONVICTED FOR PEACEFUL PROTEST
6 British students have been convicted of criminal trespass for staging a 3-minute peaceful protest when GM, oil, arms and other corporates met on their campus to discuss commercial links with academe.
More info: http://www.free-webspace.biz/GeorgeFox/
Sign the Petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/gfox6/
+ HURRICANE KATRINA SLOWS GM EXPORTS
Almost all US maize and soya goes through New Orleans and the port of Destrehan, and nothing is expected out for some time because of silting in the Mississippi. http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5691
+ CHINA CULTIVATES RECORD HIGH-YIELD NON-GM RICE
Chinese agronomists have cultivated new species of "super rice," II YOU 28.
+ JAPANESE CONSUMERS SHUN U.S. GM SOY...
Japanese hostility to GM soy is such that a major tofu producer Asahi Food Processing Co. is due later this month to market tofu made only with Austrian soy. http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5718
+ SOUTH AFRICAN FARMERS USE GM CATTLE DRUG
While Monsanto's GM cattle drug rBST has been banned in Canada and the EU, South African dairy farmers still use about two million doses of other companies' version of the hormone known as "crack for cows". Their milk could contain hormones responsible for cancerous cell growth in human tissue.
+ HOW USAID PUSHES GM CROPS IN AFRICA
Mariam Mayet of the African Centre for Biosafety, South Africa has written an excellent article exposing how USAID and other agencies push GM crops under the guise of biosafety capacity building.
+ SOUTH AFRICA: GM SEED PRODUCERS FACE SEVERE LOSSES
Monsanto has announced that contracts for the production of GM seed for sale to South African farmers will NOT be renewed for the coming season, making the excuse that unsold stocks and low demand by local farmers for GM seed was to blame. Monsanto has refused to compensate the farmers for the loss they have suffered.
+ WE'RE BEING FED BIG FAT LIES
An excellent piece of journalism from The Times claims a parliamentary report was subjected to a massive coordinated onslaught of attacks from so-called independent critics keen to exonerate the food industry by denying any link between eating junk food and obesity. Spiked, SIRC, the Science Media Centre and others are featured.
+ MONSANTO'S THIRD-PARTY PR
Monsanto is pursuing a public relations strategy that transforms the GM issue from a confronation between the public and giant multinationals into "environmentalists and organic food interests against traditional farmers". Likewiase there have been a series of Monsanto takeovers of farmer-friendly regionally based American seed companies that will now be used to punt Monsanto's seeds. http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5803
+ LAWMAKER WANTS TO NULLIFY GM CROP BAN
A California legislator is pursuing a bill that would nullify local GM crop bans. http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=5702
+ PROF RINE'S STOLEN LAPTOP
Earlier this year, UC Berkeley geneticist Prof Jasper Rine's laptop was stolen. According to Rine, it was taken by a student who was after exam data. Rine's subsequent threat to his class at Berkeley is captured here on video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6219688484727192143
It makes for interesting viewing. The transcript is at
What's so striking is how Rine uses the importance of his industrial-consulting connections, his "pre-public" company, and the trade secrets generated, to intimidate. The close ties Rine reportedly had to Novartis and the biotech industry were a key aspect of the furore over the Chapela tenure case.
+ THE CORPORATION
The long-awaited DVD of this superb documentary is now available. Winner of 24 international awards, The Corporation explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time. It includes interviews with corporate insiders and critics - including Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Vandana Shiva on seed saving, Dr Samuel Epstein on cancer and industry, Jane Akre and Steve Wilson on Monsanto's GM bovine growth hormone, and an extraordinarily enlightened carpet magnate - plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change.
DVD available from www.thecorporation.com, amazon, etc.