Farmers in Bangladesh who were given Bt brinjal plants to plant have demanded compensation for huge losses they incurred cultivating the GM crop. British pro-GMO campaigner Mark Lynas had presented the Bt brinjal as a success, claiming that reports about its failure were false "scare stories" put about by anti-GMO activists. The director of the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI), which oversaw the failed GMO experiment, reportedly became "furious" when asked whether BARI had conducted any research to find out whether Bt brinjal would harm human health. He admitted that no independent health tests were done on Bt brinjal and called the country's GMO labelling requirement "ridiculous".
In an important victory, Guatemalan lawmakers voted in favour of repealing the "Monsanto Law", which would have authorized stricter property rights and risked monopolizing agricultural processes in the country by placing copyrights on agriculture for the next 25 years. In the picture above, Lolita Chávez from the Mayan People’s Council, which fought to overturn the Monsanto Law, is shown outside the Constitutional Court, Guatemala City.
Farmers in the Philippines have renewed their fight against field trials of GM golden rice and want to halt moves towards its commercialization – but with the recent failure of the crop in field trials, the prospect of a commercial release is receding.
The USDA has deregulated Dow's 2,4-D-tolerant corn and soybeans. The agency ignored 240,000 signatures and thousands of individual submissions opposing approval, including some from scientists. 50 members of Congress wrote to EPA Administrator and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack expressing “grave concerns” about 2,4-D-tolerant GM crops. Center for Food Safety announced it will pursue all available legal options to stop commercialization.
Roundup use with GM crops has wiped out milkweed plants, the monarch caterpillar's only food. Now the Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety have joined the Xerces Society and renowned monarch scientist Dr Lincoln Brower in filing a legal petition to the US Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies.
The US government bulliedVietnam into not putting GMO labelling into practice, even though the country had passed a law requiring such labels.
In Hawaii's Kauai County, a law requiring companies to disclose their use of pesticides and GM crops is invalid, a federal judge has ruled. But the Kauai County Council has approved additional funding to appeal the ruling.
Herbicide-resistant weeds are lowering yields and impacting farmer incomes, making maize no longer profitable in Argentina, according to a GMO-growing farmer.
"Stories from a wounded land" is a photo-essay by the journalist Alvaro Ybarra Zavala on the terrible impacts of GMO agriculture in Argentina. Some of the images, for example, of malformations in children whose mothers were exposed to Roundup spraying on GM soy, are shocking.
Policies taken to allegedly protect domestic food consumption have actually produced food insecurity, concludes a new peer-reviewed study.
Preliminary results show severe damage to the human genome in sprayed populations in GM soy-producing areas.
The pesticide Roundup, which is frequently sprayed onto public green spaces, may be associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and breast cancer, according to a scientific review published this April.
German supermarkets have demanded that the German Poultry Association (ZDG) stop using GMO feed for egg and poultry meat production. The argument of insufficient availability of non-GMO soy has been formally retracted by the ZDG.
By the end of this year Roundup formulations containing the toxic surfactant POEA will have been removed from the German market – but the EU has so far turned a blind eye to the damning evidence.
Risk assessment is compromised when decisions are made on the basis of a few studies done by the companies that want to commercialise the product, say the authors of a new peer-reviewed study.
The TTIP US-EU free trade agreement is bringing pressure from US industries to allow GM products and other foods into EU markets that would violate the EU’s current standards.
With the IMF set to loan the country $17 billion, the deal could also see GMO crops grown on some of the most fertile lands on the continent.
The US National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council (NRC) has announced that it will carry out a comprehensive new review of GMO crop safety – but has a poor idea of how to carry out a complex study, writes Dr Marcia Ishii-Eiteman. Agriculture experts have already raised a number of concerns with GM crops, including safety and spreading weed resistance, at the first public meeting around the study.
GM crops can't address the real issues facing Africa's farmers, writes researcher Andrew Adam-Bradford.
A study conducted in Burkina Faso has found that due to high seed costs, the risks of GM Bt cotton production are "disproportionately high".
The State Biotechnology Coordination Committee (SBCC) in Maharashtra, which is supposed to monitor GMO field trials, has not met in years, with some members being unaware even of its existence.
Investigative reporter Bill Lambrecht has uncovered a trail of mistakes and violations in GMO field trials in the US. At the University of Florida, which received a formal letter from the US regulator APHIS about its failings, a tomato researcher told an inspector that he didn't plan to monitor adjacent land for unwanted volunteer plants and intended to lie about it if asked. Lambrecht found that a pharma corn trial was being run by man whose previous firm was banned from doing GMO field trials.
New GM techniques that are supposedly more precise than old-fashioned transgenic GM can have major unintended knock-on effects, including toxic and allergenic products and nutritional disturbances, genetic engineer Dr Michael Antoniou explains.
Fields in Pennsylvania have been heavily damaged by western corn rootworms, writes entomologist and agricultural extension specialist John Tooker.
Monsanto has reportedly reached a settlement with Oregon farmers whose wheat was contaminated with unauthorised GM seeds.
In China, the safety certificates for two kinds of GM rice and one type of Monsanto GM corn – the only three types of GM food that still had national GM certificates – have expired, effectively meaning that they are no longer regarded as safe by the authorities. The development has raised questions about the future of GMO research in China. China has turned away 1.25 million tonnes of US corn and dried distillers grains (DDG) this year after discovering the presence of an unapproved GMO strain known as MIR 162, developed by Syngenta. Ingredion, a manufacturer of sweeteners and starches made from corn, will not buy MIR 162 due to China's rejection of the crop. Agribusiness giant Cargill has sued Syngenta for selling MIR 162 without first obtaining import approval from China.
These developments come in the wake of reports from students at a university in China alleging that an illegal GM rice trial on the university's students has led to an incidence of acute leukemia of up to three times the normal rate.
The Syngenta biotech firm cannot force the Bunge grain elevator company to accept its Agrisure Viptera variety of GM corn, a US federal appeals court ruled. The trait has not been approved by officials in China.
The Russian cabinet has approved a bill introducing heavy fines for businesses that violate the rules on obligatory labelling of foods containing GM products. Proposals are even being considered for a full ban on GM foods.
Tasmanian agriculture is set to remain free of genetically modified organisms for at least five more years, with the State Government opting to extend a longstanding GMO ban.
A similar measure has already qualified for the ballot in Oregon.
In his newest book of essays, “The GMO Deception,” Sheldon Krimsky, head of the Council for Responsible Genetics, criticizes the agriculture and food industries for genetically modifying the food we eat.
The studies presented on GM eucalyptus trees are inadequate to prove safety, say critics.
The town in Brazil where GM mosquitoes intended to fight dengue fever were released is still suffering increased dengue incidence, leading to a decree renewing the state of emergency. The UK deputy prime minister is reportedly targeting India for the next GM mosquito release.
GMOs pose systemic risks to ecologies and human health, writes the Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering, Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Taleb says the precautionary principle should be used to prescribe severe limits on GMOs.
Cornell University is embarking on a campaign to “depolarize the charged debate” around GMO – supported by a $5.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and with the GMO industry as its partners.
The pro-GMO lobby group Biology Fortified, Inc (BFI or Biofortified) has launched its new database of GMO studies, GENERA – but much of what's being said about it is demonstrably false, says GMWatch's Claire Robinson. Biofortified's co-founder and co-executive editor Dr Anastasia Bodnar responded to Claire's critique but her response sells the science short and continues to mislead the public.
Blogger Keith Kloor tries to discredit environmentalists by putting them in the same "anti-science" box as climate denialists, but science and logic don't support the tactic, writes GMWatch's Jonathan Matthews.
A prominent Hawaiian politician has taken money from Monsanto, and part of Forbes magazine's content is paid advertorial. The latter point perhaps explains why Jon Entine can use the magazine to publish vitriolic attacks on those who threaten the interests of the GMO industry.
A report from the British foreign policy think tank Chatham House on agricultural biotechnology in Africa claims that GM "offers advantages over conventional plant-breeding approaches". But the report is highly misleading, as GMWatch's Claire Robinson explains.
More European NGOs have thrown their weight behind a call for the European Commission to scrap the untransparent position of the chief scientific advisor in a new letter sent to the incoming EU president, Jean-Claude Juncker. Dr Michael Warhurst of ChemTrust, one of the signatory organisations to the original letter asking for the chief scientific advisor position to be scrapped, explained that science policy is about debate and discussion – not one person working in secret, in the style of the current incumbent, Anne Glover.
Prof Jack Heinemann challenges Monsanto PR woman Janice Person's suggestion that opposition to GMOs is comparable to opposition to vaccines and explains why opposition to GMOs is not equivalent to "climate denial". He also takes on the pro-GMO blogger Keith Kloor over his attacks on Reuters journalist Carey Gillam, who covers both sides of the GMO debate.
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