Glyphosate found in US mothers’ breast milk

Mother breastfeeding her babyIn the first ever testing on glyphosate in the breast milk of American women, civil society groups have found "high" levels in 3 out of the 10 samples tested - suggesting that contrary to claims by a Monsanto scientist, glyphosate does bioaccumulate. Women who have been eating organic and non-GMO very strictly, for several months to two years, did not have detectable levels of glyphosate in their breast milk. Read more

Roundup banned in Sri LankaHow “extreme levels” of Roundup in food became the industry norm

A study published last December found high levels of glyphosate and its toxic breakdown product AMPA in GM soybeans, but none in industrially grown non-GM or organic soybeans. The study's authors explain in a new article that even Monsanto has called these levels of glyphosate "extreme" – but now they have become the new industry norm.

Glyphosate in the urine and organs of dairy cowsGlyphosate in animals and humans – new study

Glyphosate was detected in the urine and organs of dairy cows as well as in urine of hares, rabbits and humans in a new study. Chronically ill people had higher levels of the pesticide in urine. Cows fed on GM-free feed had lower glyphosate concentrations in urine than cows fed with feed containing GMOs. Humans eating mostly organic food had lower levels of glyphosate in their urine.

Roundup under the spotlight in Denmark

At the request of the Danish farm minister, scientists from Aarhus University investigated farmer reports of ill effects of GM soy feed on livestock. The scientists concluded that there is a need to investigate the possible effects of glyphosate herbicides on the health of livestock, especially during sensitive phases of life. Read more

Public consultation on re-approval of glyphosate

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has launched its public consultation on the assessment report on glyphosate submitted by the "rapporteur" Member State, Germany. The deadline for comments on the EU’s planned re-approval of glyphosate is 11 May. Please be warned: the comments procedure is very hard to navigate!

Dutch Parliament bans glyphosate herbicides for non-commercial use

From the end of 2015 onward the sale of glyphosate-based herbicides to private persons, including the world’s number one herbicide Roundup, will be prohibited in the Netherlands over health fears. Read more

Sri Lanka won't ban glyphosate after all

In March Sri Lanka announced a ban on the sale of Roundup after a study linked the herbicide to an increase in chronic kidney disease. But it subsequently backtracked and decided only to "restrict" the herbicide in areas of high incidence of chronic kidney disease. Scaremongering by the plantation lobby is blamed for the government's partial turnaround - apparently they told the government that the entire sector would "collapse" if Roundup were banned. Such scaremongering from industry sectors over planned pesticide restrictions is nothing new - see Prof Robert Van den Bosch's 1978 book, "The Pesticide Conspiracy" (see below for more details).

Brazil's public prosecutor wants to ban glyphosate

The Brazilian Federal Public Prosecutor has requested the Justice Dept to suspend the use of glyphosate - the most widely used herbicide in Brazil. The prosecutor seeks to compel the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) to reevaluate the toxicity of eight pesticides, including glyphosate, suspected of causing damage to human health and the environment. He's also asking the GMO regulator CTNBio not to release GM seeds resistant to 2,4-D until ANVISA reaches a final position. Read more

Monsanto forced to withdraw claims of benefits for GM crops

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of South Africa has ordered Monsanto to withdraw its advertisement making unsubstantiated claims for the benefits of GM crops. We look forward to the authors of various GMO propaganda reports for the British and EU governments similarly withdrawing false claims for the benefits of GM crops.

Activists occupy EFSA headquarters over GMO approvals

Italian activists occupied the headquarters of the EU's food safety agency EFSA in protest against its unscientific and undemocratic GMO assessments. The activists have provided a clear account of what's wrong with the GMO regulatory procedure – including the influence of the GM industry-funded lobby group ILSI on the rules under which GMO safety is assessed. Read more

Pest-resistant Bt brinjal comes under pest attack – already

Bt pesticidal brinjal (eggplant) was only introduced into Bangladesh this year - but already it's falling victim to pest attack and farmers are struggling to cope. Read more

USDA sued over GM alfalfa approval

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) has filed a lawsuit demanding the release of federal documents which may uncover undue political pressure over USDA’s decision to approve GM alfalfa. The lawsuit seeks documents which may explain why the agency abruptly reversed its precautionary position and granted unrestricted approval for Monsanto to sell Roundup Ready alfalfa. Read more

Karnataka bans Mahyco's Bt cotton seeds after crop failure

In India, the Karnataka government has banned the sale of Monsanto subsidiary Mahyco's Bt and hybrid seeds in the state, following reports of their failure. Crops in seven districts have failed, causing huge losses to cotton growers. Affected farmers complained to the Department of Agriculture and a survey established that crops had failed owing to the substandard quality of seeds of the Maharashtra-based seed company. Read more

India: Parliamentary panel slams Moily over GMO field trials

The decision by India's environment minister M. Veerappa Moily to allow field trials of GM food crops has come under severe attack by a parliamentary committee. The panel suggested that any test should not be undertaken till the Centre puts in place all regulatory, monitoring, oversight and surveillance structure, as previously demanded by the Supreme Court. Read more

Pakistan: Commercialisation of 30 GM cotton, corn/maize varieties against rules

Pakistan's government has approved more than 30 varieties of GM cotton and corn/maize seeds for commercialisation and field test purposes in violation of rules and quality standards. Read more

Voracious worm evolves to eat GM corn engineered to kill it

Rootworms in some areas of the US are now resistant to two of the three available Bt toxins that previously controlled them, shows a new study. Entomologist Elson Shields commented that whatever new insecticide is deployed, "the insect will win". This principle has been well known by entomologists since at least 1978, when Prof Robert Van den Bosch wrote his book, "The Pesticide Conspiracy". Don't be put off by the title: Van den Bosch was an eminent scientist who paid attention to the data that consistently told him that pesticides don't control pests - they create them. Read more

GM alfalfa release in Canada delayed - US growers offered premium to grow non-GM

Roundup Ready GM alfalfa seed will not be released this spring to Canadian growers, the company that developed it has announced. The National Farmers Union (NFU) welcomed the news, as did the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, which has lobbied against GM alfalfa’s introduction. “It’s the right decision to keep GM alfalfa off the market this spring and every spring in the future,” said CBAN co-ordinator Lucy Sharratt. Weldon Hobbs, a director of the Alfalfa Seed Commission in Alberta, said US alfalfa growers are being offered a premium to grow non-GM alfalfa seed. Read more

Chile derails "Monsanto Law" that would privatize seeds

Rural women, indigenous communities, and farmers in Chile have won their long battle against Chile's “Monsanto Law”. The bill, which would have given multinational agribusiness corporations the right to patent seeds they discover, develop or modify, was withdrawn by the Chilean government amid concerns that the law would bring harm to the country’s small and mid-sized farmers. Read more

Muzzled by Monsanto over gene-silencing technology

A superb exposé in Boulder Weekly shows how Monsanto is trying to control and suppress scientific research and debate on the risks of GMOs incorporating RNA interference (RNAi) technology. The article describes how Monsanto tried to suppress the research of scientist Vicki Vance and how the GM/agrochemical industry lobby group ILSI tried to get her endorsement on a scientific paper minimising the risks of these GMOs. It's well worth reading in full.

Are GMOs worth the trouble?

Many are eager to trot out GMOs as the answer to our food problems, but lower-tech alternatives work better, writes Doug Gurian-Sherman. The article explains that GM isn't even quicker than conventional breeding - GM takes about 10 years to develop a new trait, about the same as conventional breeding. Read more

Meet the plush GMO mascot, Frank N. Foode

Karden was an adorable puppet used in part to convince kids that gardening with sewage sludge was a fun activity for all ages. Karden of course failed to explain to the kiddos that sewage sludge extracted from city waste supplies can contain toxic and hazardous materials. Well, move over Karden the sludge puppet, there's a new toy in town! Frank N. Foode is "your friendly neighborhood genetically modified organism," who helps "make the science of biotechnology fun and approachable." Frank N. Foode is the latest PR ruse of the pro-GM bloggers at Biofortified. Read more

UK 'aid' is financing a corporate scramble for Africa

£600 million of UK aid money is going to help companies like Unilever and Monsanto take over African land and agriculture. A new spoof video shows "executives" from companies including Monsanto and Unilever visiting the UK government to thank ministers for their support in carving up the African continent for their profits.

Russia will not import GMO products – PM

Russia will not import GMO products, the country’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, adding that the nation has enough space and resources to produce organic food. Read more

European Parliament demands stricter regulation of conflicts of interest at EFSA

In response to numerous conflicts of interest scandals at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Parliament has voted for a resolution to ban scientists with ties to the agriculture and food industries from working at the agency. Martin Pigeon, researcher and campaigner at Corporate Europe Observatory, said: “It is unacceptable that the food industry has a say in the public risk assessment of its products. This vote by the European Parliament is a crucial step for food safety in Europe.” Read more

New Séralini interview

In a new interview, Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini said some GMOs are toxic in themselves as well as because of the pesticides they contain. He also vowed he will republish the GMO maize and Roundup study retracted by the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.

The scientists' sign-on statement opposing the retraction on scientific as well as ethical grounds has gathered 177 signatures.

One scientist commented:
"The suppression of scientific evidence for commercial gain should be punishable by criminal charges. The tobacco companies got away with this for nearly 30 years before the world woke up to the problem, and even then the response was insufficient. The risks posed by the epigenetic response of plant DNA to foreign genes is potentially catastrophic, and the precautionary principle should apply. Censoring science is playing with peoples lives."
- Dr Bob Abell, Member/originator
"Scientists Concerned and Informed on the Environment Speak Out", Kanata, Ont., Canada

More comments at:

A sign-on statement pledging to boycott Elsevier until its journal FCT reinstates the study has attracted 1245 scientist signatories.


Video of the month


In a superb video interview that's worth spreading far and wide, Dr Lorrin Pang, MD, Department of Health Maui County District Health Officer, shares his personal concerns about the safety of GMO food products and the lack of regulation of the industry.Watch Video

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