On 24 May a March Against Monsanto protest was held on six continents, in 52 countries, with events in over 400 cities, with an estimated 2 million people taking part worldwide. Marchers advocated food transparency, an end to corporate food corruption, and a transition to local, organic and sustainable agriculture. Here are some of our favourite pictures from marches around the world.
Representatives of European member states have agreed on a misleading proposal from the Greek Presidency that pretends to give member states more freedom to ban GMOs on their territory – but actually gives the GMO industry ultimate control. Lawrence Woodward of GMEducation explains the problems with the proposal.
GM beta-carotene enriched golden rice has failed in field tests in the Philippines, giving lower yields than comparable local non-GM varieties and causing yet another "delay in the timeline" for release. A mother and creche director from the Philippines has pointed out that the real solution to vitamin A deficiency is breastfeeding and fresh indigenous non-GM food.
Monsanto's GM Bt brinjal (eggplant/aubergine) has reportedly fallen victim to pests in Bangladesh and ruined poor Bangladeshi farmers. While GMO proponent Mark Lynas has disputed the reports, we haven't seen any locally produced articles contradicting them. In fact, a new detailed report confirms that Bt brinjal has performed poorly in farmers fields. The report also says Bt brinjal is being sold unlabelled in Bangladesh markets, and that when Mark Lynas was called in to rescue Bt brinjal's image, he spoke only to carefully selected farmers through intermediaries.
In a huge grassroots victory, Vermont has become the first US state to mandate GMO labelling in the absence of "trigger clauses" – but Big Food has already said it will sue the state.
Big Food has teamed up with US Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas to introduce a federal bill, dubbed by its critics the DARK act, that would deny American citizens their right to know whether the food they eat is GM by blocking state labelling initiatives. There are various actions people can take to opposethe DARK act.
A recent study found “extreme levels” of the herbicide glyphosate, linked to birth defects and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in GM soybeans farmed in Iowa. Dr Michael Hansen of Consumers' Union has given a clear explanation of the research in an interview.
A group of mothers, scientists, and environmentalists met with US Environmental Protection Agency regulators over concerns that residues of Roundup, the world's most popular herbicide, had been found in breast milk. The meeting near Washington DC, followed a five-day phone call blitz of EPA offices by campaign group Moms Across America, demanding that the EPA pay attention to their demands for a recall of Roundup.
There's been a huge grassroots victory for Oregon farmers and campaigners as two counties in the state have voted to ban GMO plantings.
There's sad news from Australia for consumers and non-GM and organic farmers, as organic farmer Steve Marsh has lost his GM contamination case in court. The ruling will reignite the debate over whether current laws are powerless against GM contamination.
In New Zealand, a High Court ruling forces products produced with new "genome editing" techniques to be regulated as GMOs
A regional court in Italy has upheld the country's national ban on the planting of Monsanto's MON810 corn, citing the precautionary principle.
France has definitively banned the growing of GM corn after its highest court and the Senate both confirmed an existing ban.
Fifty-four activists who destroyed a field of GM vines in France were acquitted by a court of appeal after the judge declared that the state should never have allowed the plantation of such vines in an open area. Read more
The independent scientific research organisation CRIIGEN has announced its formal withdrawal from the French government's Risk'OGM study, which is intended to follow up concerns raised by the Séralini 2012 study on GM maize. CRIIGEN is concerned that the study is designed not to find anything of note.
The publisher of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, Elsevier, has compelled the journal editor A. Wallace Hayes to publish a reply by the Séralini team after Hayes retracted their GMO study. In their reply, Séralini's team draw attention to the double standards used by Hayes. Hayes claimed he retracted the Séralini study because it contained some "inconclusive" findings, but did not retract a paper on GMO risks that is less conclusive but claimed the GMO tested was safe. An intelligent analysis of the study and its retraction has been published by Naturalsociety.com.
Monsanto stands accused of trying to silence a scientist, Vicki Vance, who drew attention to the risks of RNAi gene-silencing technology.
German dairy farmer Gottfried Glöckner says he suffered attempted blackmail, character assassination and even wrongful imprisonment when he refused to back off his charges that the GMO company Syngenta had provided him with toxic GMO maize seeds that ruined his prize dairy herd and his land.
Molecular biologist Masaharu Kawata studied Monsanto's safety reports on its herbicide-tolerant soy and found them to be non-science-based.
Wheat farmers should not believe the hype about GMO, says a wheat breeder.
As GM Bt pesticidal cotton falls victim to pests in Brazil, Dow recommends spraying insecticides, while Monsanto blames the farmers and says that besides planting refuges, farmers should use integrated pest management (IPM). Read more
In 2008 the Brazilian food safety agency began re-assessing the herbicide glyphosate for safety. It still hasn't finished. Now the Public Prosecutor, impatient with the delay, has filed a lawsuit to make the agency speed up its work.
GM has not contributed to the changes we need for truly sustainable food production, writes Dr Doug Gurian-Sherman.
Why would Monsanto state openly that its goal is to put GM maize into Mexican tortillas? Timothy A. Wise, the director of policy research at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, has some worrying answers.
Applications are now before the regulatory agencies of the United States, Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa for approval of a new GM soybean resistant to the toxic Vietnam War herbicide 2,4-D. The applications are being rigorously resisted by peasant farmer organisations.
Sweden has said it will sue the European Commission over a delay in regulating endocrine disrupting chemicals, which it blamed on chemical industry lobbying. This action will eventually impact the GMO-associated herbicide Roundup, which is an endocrine disruptor, though it is not currently on Sweden's hit-list. Pesticide Action Network Europe has uncovered how the Commission's chemicals regulator DG SANCO and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) plotted to provide an escape route for endocrine disrupting chemicals, which under European law should be banned.
We are sad to announce the death of the Argentine scientist Andrés Carrasco, whose research showed that glyphosate and Roundup cause malformations in embryos, similar to the birth defects found in people living near areas where GM soy is grown and sprayed with Roundup. Andrés Carrasco was a brilliant and honest scientist and a fearless campaigner for truth, who never lost sight of the proper role of science: to serve the public interest.
The noose is tightening on the GM soy farming model in Argentina, with even the pro-GMO BBC reporting on the terrible health problems in areas sprayed with the herbicides associated with GM crops.
British fashion designer Katharine Hamnett has launched a campaign against glyphosate use in parks in the London Borough of Hackney.
A meta-analysis has confirmed a link between exposure to glyphosate herbicides such as Roundup and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.
Danish pig farmer Ib Borup Pedersen believes that glyphosate damages pigs and that it should be banned, according to an article in Landbrugsavisen.dk, the main farming newspaper in Denmark. Danish television has for the first time broadcast a programme showing Pedersen's deformed piglets.
Sri Lanka's government has lifted its ban on glyphosate herbicides, imposed after research found a link with kidney disease, after lobbying by the plantation sector. The same kidney disease is also affecting farmers in Central America.
The Science Media Centre (SMC) calls itself an independent media briefing center for scientific issues, but a new exposé from PR Watch questions its independence from the GMO industry. David Miller, professor of sociology from the University of Bath, found in his research that some 20 of the 100 experts most quoted by the UK Science Media Centre were not scientists, but lobbyists for, and CEOs of, industry groups.
The Lahore High Court has ordered Pakistan's federal government to stop issuing licences for GM varieties of cotton or corn until a legal framework is put into place to assess them.
GM crops are not suitable for farmers with small holdings because of the inputs needed and costs involved, says Pervaiz Amir, regional expert for Global Water Partnership and former member of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Climate Change, Pakistan.
From now on, all China's military supply stations are only allowed to purchase non-GMO grain and food oil products. The move follows the publication of an article by Mi Zhen-yu, Former Vice President of China's Academy of Military Science, warning of the health hazards of GM soy to the Chinese people.
China's rejections of US shipments containing Syngenta AG’s Agrisure Viptera corn have resulted in losses of between $1–2.9 billion.
A draft law submitted to the Russian parliament seeks to impose punishment up to criminal prosecution to producers of GMOs harmful to health or the environment.
Rothamsted Research has been given approval for a field trial of GM plants that produce omega-3 oils – but non-GM crops that produce the same oils are already available to farmers.
UK environment secretary Owen Paterson has admitted breaching an agreement to make Scotland’s opposition to GM crops clear to European ministers.
GMO firms have made campaign contributions to candidates running for political office in the Hawaii elections.
A broad coalition of organisations has called for binding regulations to stop the spread of GMOs into the environment.
Environmentalists were shocked to hear that the "green" household products company Ecover is using synthetic biology (synbio) in its detergent manufacturing process. Read more
90% of GM crops are grown in just 6 countries and by less than 1% of the world farming population, while an increasing number of countries are suspending GM crops altogether, according to a new report by Friends of the Earth International.
"There’ve been some promises made about GM wheat that I don’t think are true or are being overstated… We’ve now got farmers convinced that genetic modification will give us wheat that will grow on three inches of rain and that it’s the only way to solve our problems. That’s how destructive the conversation has become." – Brett Carver, chief wheat breeder at Oklahoma State University. Read more
"We need complex solutions to complex problems. Transgenics are simplistic. Our problems are not solved with one gene." – Victor Suarez, head of Mexico's largest independent organisation of grain producers. Read more
“The new technologies [e.g. GM] don’t need to be socially useful or technically superior (i.e., they don’t have to work) in order to be profitable. All they have to do is chase away the competition and coerce governments into surrendering control. Once the market is monopolized, how the technology performs is irrelevant.” – ETC Group, "Who owns nature? Corporate power and the final frontier in the commodification of life." Read more
The second edition of GMO Myths and Truths, co-authored by genetic engineers Dr John Fagan and Dr Michael Antoniou and researcher Claire Robinson, has been released as a free online download.
"10 reasons we don't need GM foods", a new short report from the authors of "GMO Myths and Truths", has been published as a free download.
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