Category Archives: World Food Politics

OPPOSITION TO BIOTECH GIANT MONSANTO GROWING WORLDWIDE, NEW REPORT SHOWS

http://www.viacampesina.org/downloads/pdf/en/Monsanto-Publication-EN-Final-Version.pdf

WASHINGTON (US) / MONTEVIDEO (URUGUAY), PARIS (FRANCE), APRIL 4, 2012 – Today, the day that biotech giant Monsanto releases its second quarter earnings, a new report by civil society organisations shows that around the world small-holder and organic farmers, local communities and social movements are increasingly resisting and rejecting Monsanto, and the agro-industrial model that it represents.

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Territories free from GMO! Demand Yucatán Peninsula’s Mayas

Around 2 thousand representatives of Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo communities say no to GMOs

Mérida, Yucatán.-  With the message in Maya “MA OGM” (No to Genetically Modified Organisms in English) formed by the bodies of more than two thousand people in seven Mayan ceremonial centers and a field of the Yucatan Peninsula, beekeeper communities, organizations and firms that form the group Sin transgénicos (1) demanded municipal and state authorities of Campeche, Yucatán y Quintana Roo as well as federal authorities, to declare their territories “GM-free”, giving the risks that these crops represent for the environment, beekeeping, biodiversity and human health(2). Continue reading

The Greed Revolution

ETC Group
News Release
18 January 2012
www.etcgroup.org

Big Agribusiness Influence Threatens to Override Public Interest in Greed Revolution

A new 30-page report that documents the growing influence of agribusiness on the multilateral food system and the lack of transparency in research funding has been released today by the international civil society organization ETC Group. The Greed Revolution: Mega Foundations, Agribusiness Muscle In On Public Goods presents three case studies – one involving the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and two involving CGIAR Centers (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) – which point to a dangerous trend that will worsen rather than solve the problem of global hunger. The report details the involvement of, among others, Nestlé, Heineken, Monsanto, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Syngenta Foundation. Continue reading

BASF retreats from Europe as GM crops rejected

BASF retreats from Europe as GM crops rejected

Brussels, 16 January 2012 – BASF today announced it is abandoning its plans to develop and commercialise genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe .Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said: “BASF admits that Europeans don’t want GM crops, and for good reason. It’s not just the worrying health concerns, GM crops go hand in glove with factory farming, pesticide use, pest resistance and disappointing long-term yields.

“Europeans are not alone in rejecting GM food. BASF’s retreat to the Americas follows a string of defeats for the industry over the last two years in China, India, the Philippines, Thailand and elsewhere. Over 90% of GM food crops are grown in just four countries in the Americas.”

In 2011, India rejected the authorisation of a GM aubergine, the only GM food for which an authorisation was sought, while in September 2011 China suspended the commercialisation of GM rice. The Philippines and Thailand have also rejected GM rice.

BASF is shelving its antibiotic resistant potato Amflora, one of only two GM crops authorised for cultivation in Europe. The crop was a commercial flop.

Must view – global citizens report on GMOs

According to a just released report with input from 20 citizens’ organizations, GMOs are bad news – as reported in the London Guardian: “Genetic engineering has failed to increase the yield of any food crop but has vastly increased the use of chemicals and the growth of “superweeds”, according to a report by 20 Indian, south-east Asian, African and Latin American food and conservation groups representing millions of people.” You can read the Guardian article and download the report at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/oct/19/gm-crops-insecurity-superweeds-pesticides?newsfeed=true

France retains ban on GE corn

Thank goodness someone is opposing GE corn, if it wasn’t for Europe and Japan we would be in a lot more trouble. Europe has a different food culture to North America – in Europe so much more of the food is grown and eaten locally.

The French government still refuses to lift its ban on growing genetically modified corn in France, despite the European Court of Justice saying that France’s 2008 prohibition against Monsanto’s MON810 variety was out of line on procedural grounds.

China Suspends Commercialisation of Genetically Engineered Rice and Wheat

Title : China Suspends Commercialisation of Genetically Engineered Rice and Wheat
Date : 06 October 2011

Contents:

THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE

Re: China Suspends Commercialisation of Genetically Engineered Rice and Wheat

Dear friends and colleagues,

After several years of scientific and public debates it is reported that China will not commercialise genetically modified (GM) staple food crops such as rice and wheat for the next 5 to 10 years. The widely read Economic Observer, a financial weekly publication, citing a source close to the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) confirmed this move in its 23 September 2011 issue: see Item 1 below.

 

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A critique of a New York Times piece that said GMOs will save the world

The article below is quite informative, check it out.
Sorry, NY Times: GMOs still won’t save the world
http://www.grist.org/industrial-agriculture/2011-08-20-why-gmos-wont-save-world-nina-federoff-new-york-times

Monsanto contamination takes out Organic Farm again

Monsanto and “Friends” Stockpile Patents on Seeds in Bid to Become Bio’mass’ters

April: one day, Monsanto and the “others” will mass such a huge volume of patents on seeds (of all kinds) that they could control the food and seed distribution of the world. It’s time to switch gears and educate ourselves on what is happening in this world behind our backs:

Surge in Corporate Patents on “Climate-Ready” Crops
Threatens Biodiversity and Signals Grab on Land and Biomass

Nagoya, Japan — Under the guise of developing “climate-ready” crops, the world’s largest seed and agrochemical corporations are filing hundreds of sweeping, multi-genome patents in a bid to control the world’s plant biomass, according to a report released by ETC Group today.

A handful of multinational corporations are pressuring governments to allow what could become the broadest and most dangerous patent claims in history, warns the group at the United Nations’ Convention on Biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan (18-29 October 2010).

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Processed Meats Declared Too Dangerous for Human Consumption

April: although this is not a GM post, I added it because those coming to the GE Free BC blog are interested in their health, and some of the ingredients in processed meats are GM. The world is waking up to the fact that this is NOT food:

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has just completed a detailed review of more than 7,000 clinical studies covering links between diet and cancer. Its conclusion is rocking the health world with startling bluntness: Processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption. Consumers should stop buying and eating all processed meat products for the rest of their lives.

Processed meats include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, sandwich meat, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami and virtually all red meat used in frozen prepared meals. They are usually manufactured with a carcinogenic ingredient known as sodium nitrite. This is used as a color fixer by meat companies to turn packaged meats a bright red color so they look fresh. Unfortunately, sodium nitrite also results in the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines in the human body. And this leads to a sharp increase in cancer risk for those who eat them.

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Joel Salatin – Lunatic Farmer, is coming to Vancouver!

A Lecture with a Lunatic Farmer

Friday 09/10/2010 – 11:12 — Trevor Join us for a lecture with Joel Salatin, American farmer, author, and proponent of sustainable agriculture. Salatin will share stories and insights based on his upcoming book, The Sheer Ecstacy of Being a Lunatic Farmer.

Joel Salatin was profiled in Michael Pollan’s New York Times bestseller, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and featured in the documentaries Food Inc and Fresh. Salatin and his family own and operate Polyface Farm in Virginia.

Public Event

Tickets are $45 and include a signed pre-release copy of The Sheer Ecstacy of Being a Lunatic Farmer. Please call 604-688-6755 for tickets.

Time: Monday, September 27 7:00 PM
Location: MacMillan Building – 2357 Main Mall Rm. 166

Seating is limited, call 604-688-6755 for tickets

UBC Student, Faculty & Staff Event

Admission is free with a UBC Student, Faculty or Staff ID card.
Signed copies of The Sheer Ecstacy of Being a Lunatic Farmer will be sold afterwards.

Time: Monday, September 27 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: MacMillan Building – 2357 Main Mall Rm. 166

Seating is limited; admission is first come,  first serve.

For more event details, contact:

Natalie Yuen

UBC Farm Administrative Coordinator
E-mail: ubcfarm.admin@gmail.com

Coalition demands FDA deny approval of controversial Genetically Engineered Salmon

FDA Considers Approval of GE Salmon–the First GE Food Animal–Yet
Fails to Inform the Public of Environmental and Economic Risks

August 27, 2010
JOINT PRESS STATEMENT, from:

CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY

FOOD AND WATER WATCH

SALMONAID- NORTHWEST ATLANTIC MARINE ALLIANCE

ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH

THE LIVING OCEANS SOCIETY

SMALL BOAT COMMERCIAL SALMON FISHERMEN?S ASSOCIATION

THE GEORGIA STRAIT ALLIANCE

CALIFORNIANS FOR GE-FREE AGRICULTURE

THE ORGANIC & NON-GMO REPORT

PLANETARY HEALTH, INC.

SIERRA CLUB

SAY NO TO GMOS!

CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH

CANADIAN BIOTECHNOLOGY ACTION NETWORK

INSTITUTE FOR FISHERIES RESOURCES

AMERICAN ANTI-VIVISECTION SOCIETY

PACIFIC COAST FEDERATION OF FISHERMEN’S ASSOCIATION MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT

FOOD FIRST / INSTITUTE FOR FOOD AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY

EDEN FOODS, INC.

THE NON-GMO PROJECT

NORTHWEST RESISTANCE AGAINST GENETIC ENGINEERING

PCC NATURAL MARKETS

AMBERWAVES

GLOUSTER FISHERMEN?S WIVES ASSOCIATION

FRESH THE MOVIE

WASHINGTON BIOTECHNOLOGY ACTION COUNCIL

OREGON PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Washington, DC August 27, 2010

A coalition of 31 consumer, animal
welfare and environmental groups, along with commercial and
recreational fisheries associations and food retailers submitted a
joint statement criticizing an announcement this week by the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) that it will potentially approve the
long-shelved AquAdvantage transgenic salmon as the first genetically
engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption.

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Important! DNA Fragments from GMO plants found in animals!

Munich

A recent Testbiotech survey shows that DNA fragments from transgenic plants are increasingly found in animal tissue such as milk, inner organs and muscles. Most recently, in April 2010, scientists from Italy reported DNA sequences stemming from genetically engineered soy in milk from goats. These DNA fragments are presumably, entering the blood stream from the gut and then from there reaching the udder and the milk. Traces of specific DNA were also identified in kids fed with the goat’s milk. These findings are not the first to be reported after DNA fragments have been found in the tissue of animals fed with transgenic plants. A few years ago, DNA from genetically engineered maize was found in samples from pigs. More recently, research found traces from transgenic plants in the organs of fish, namely rainbow trout and tilapia. In fish, the gene sequences were found in nearly all inner organs.

There is however, a need for further research since for unknown reasons some enzyme activity in kids fed with goat’s milk containing specific DNA was found to be enhanced.

“Recent publications could lend support to those stakeholders in favour of labelling products such as meat, milk and eggs derived from animals fed with genetically engineered plants. If the methods for sampling DNA get even better, those traces will be found more often in future,” says Christoph Then from Testbiotech. “So far detection is not possible in each and every case. Most frequently these traces seem to occur in fish.”

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Developer of genetically engineered salmon eyes Canadian regulators

Sarah Schmidt August 27, 2010

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Developer+genetically+engineered+salmon+eyes+Canadian+regulators/3446972/story.html#ixzz0xl0EAw6L

OTTAWA: The developer of genetically engineered salmon for human
consumption is now setting its sights on Health Canada, after U.S.
regulators on Wednesday announced their review of AquaBounty
Technologies Inc.’s historic application for the American market is
nearly complete.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration published details of the last
stages of its review for AquAdvantage Salmon, made from eggs produced
in a hatchery in Prince Edward Island. The genetically engineered fish
can grow at twice the normal rate, and the company, headquartered in
Massachusetts with Canadian operations in P.E.I. and Newfoundland and
Labrador, has been trying for a decade to get approval to become the
first genetically engineered animal that people would eat.

After the FDA’s special veterinary medicine committee convenes next
month to consider issues of animal health, food safety, environmental
concerns, and data validating the claim that AquAdvantage Salmon grow
faster than their conventionally bred counterparts, the Center for
Food Safety and Applied Nutrition will lead a public hearing to
consider legal issues around labelling, should the AquAdvantage Salmon
be approved in the next few months.

“We’re very encouraged,” AquaBounty president and chief executive
officer Ronald Stotish said in an interview Wednesday of the FDA review.
“This is the first food animal, we hope the world’s first FDA-approved
genetically modified food animal.”

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US Unsure if Cloned Meat Has Been Sold in North America

Lucy Sharratt: Please note there have already been 2 food contamination cases in Canada with experimental GM pigs : In 2002 experimental Enviropig piglets at the University of Guelph were accidentally sent to a
rendering plant and turned into animal feed instead of being destroyed
as biological waste. The GM pigs were not approved for animal feed but
contaminated 675 tonnes of poultry feed that was sold to egg farmers,
turkey farmers and broiler chicken producers. In 2004, experimental
genetically engineered pigs from the Quebec firm TGN Biotech were
accidentally turned into chicken feed instead of being incinerated.
The pigs were engineered to produce a pharmaceutical compound, (the
company no longer exists). You can write to the Minister of Health
instantly from http://www.cban.ca/enviropigaction

U.S. unsure if cloned meat has been sold in North America

By Sarah Schmidt, Postmedia News August 10, 2010
http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/unsure+cloned+meat+been+sold+North+America/3382347/story.html

OTTAWA: The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on Tuesday said he doesn’t
know whether cloned cows or their offspring have made it into the
North American food supply.

But Tom Vilsack, in Ottawa to talk trade with food exporters and
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, emphasized that if they have, the
animals are safe to eat.

“I can’t say today that I can answer your question in an affirmative
or negative way. I don’t know. What I do know is that we know all the
research, all of the review of this is suggested that this is safe,”
Vilsack told reporters, pointing to an assessment of the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration.

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Choosing healthy foods now called a mental disorder

April: While Big Corporations continue to discredit those that work to keep this planet in balance, we come up against some pretty interesting ways of being “attacked”. This one should give a few of you a laugh…

From: (NaturalNews) In its never-ending attempt to fabricate “mental disorders” out of every human activity, the psychiatric industry is now pushing the most ridiculous disease they’ve invented yet: Healthy eating disorder.

This is no joke: If you focus on eating healthy foods, you’re “mentally diseased” and probably need some sort of chemical treatment involving powerful psychotropic drugs. The Guardian newspaper reports, “Fixation with healthy eating can be sign of serious psychological disorder” and goes on to claim this “disease” is called orthorexia nervosa — which is basically just Latin for “nervous about correct eating.”

But they can’t just called it “nervous healthy eating disorder” because that doesn’t sound like they know what they’re talking about. So they translate it into Latin where it sounds smart (even though it isn’t). That’s where most disease names come from: Doctors just describe the symptoms they see with a name like osteoporosis (which means “bones with holes in them”).

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Farmers Expected To Return To Harsh Herbicides, Chemicals In Battle Against Roundup Resistant Weeds

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — When the weed killer Roundup was introduced in the 1970s, it proved it could kill nearly any plant while still being safer than many other herbicides, and it allowed farmers to give up harsher chemicals and reduce tilling that can contribute to erosion.

But 34 years later, a few sturdy species of weed resistant to Roundup have evolved, forcing farmers to return to some of the less environmentally safe practices they abandoned decades ago.

The situation is the worst in the South, where some farmers now walk fields with hoes, killing weeds in a way their great-grandfathers were happy to leave behind. And the problem is spreading quickly across the Corn Belt and beyond, with Roundup now proving unreliable in killing at least 10 weed species in at least 22 states. Some species, like Palmer amaranth in Arkansas and water hemp and marestail in Illinois, grow fast and big, producing tens of thousands of seeds.

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Meat claimed as invention by Monsanto

Wednesday, 28 April 2010 11:22

Meat claimed as invention by multinational company of Monsanto
No Patents on Seeds, Press release, 27 April 2010
http://www.no-patents-on-seeds.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=3&Itemid=28

Stop patenting the food chain!

There is a process going on, multinationals are trying to gain increasing control of the whole chain of food production.

Multinational seed corporations are following a consequent strategy to gain control over basic resources for food production. As recent research shows not only genetically engineered plants, but more and more the conventional breeding of plants gets into the focus of patent monopolies: International patent applications in this sector are skyrocking, having doubled since 2007 till end of 2009. Further on the multinationals expand their claims over the whole chain of food production from feed to animals and food products such as meat. In a pending patent application from Monsanto even bacon and steaks are claimed: Patent application WO2009097403 is claiming meat stemming from pigs being fed with the patented genetically engineered plants of Monsanto. A similar patent is applied for fish from aquaculture in March 2010 (WO201027788). Far reaching patents on food are even already granted: Monsanto received a European patent (EP 1356033) in 2009, which the chain of food production from seeds of genetically engineered plants up to food products such as meal and oil are covered.

Genetically Modified Mosquito’s: What’s Next?

From: The Huffington Post, June 20, 2010

Most of us probably don’t think about insects when we hear about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Yet many scientists believe that genetically modified (GM) insects hold great promise by providing a powerful tool to prevent unnecessary deaths. Approximately half the world’s population is at risk from insect-borne diseases such as malaria, sleeping sickness and dengue fever. Millions of people are killed by insect-borne diseases and hundreds of millions more are incapacitated every year. At the same time, damage and disease transmission to crops and livestock by insects has a significant global socio-economic impact. Increasing resistance to pesticides, GM crops and climate chaos are making these insect-pests a growing problem. In laboratories around the world, scientists are using genetic engineering technologies to modify insects at DNA level to address important concerns including:

1. Socio-economic challenges such as increasing crop yield and production;
2. Public health challenges such as human and animal well being.

It is also possible that GM insects released to control the spread of disease could actually have the unintended consequence of enabling an insect to more effectively spread disease or even carry a human disease it was never before able to transmit.

There are concerns about how this GM technology fits in with other approaches to manage insect-borne diseases and the long term consequences of releasing GM insects into the wild. What are the benefits, risks and scientific uncertainties associated with such transgenic insects?

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Ten Thousand Haiti Peasants Protested Monsanto’s Seeds

10,000 Haitian peasant farmers marched Friday June 4 to protest
Monsanto’s donation of hybrid corn and vegetable seeds. The farmers  are asking groups around the world to “Struggle Against Monsanto and its associates.”

See photos from Haiti and the solidarity action in Montreal and more
information at http://www.cban.ca/Monsanto

Union Paysanne, Action SOS Haiti, and the Canadian Biotechnology
Action Network called on people in Montreal to gather outside the
Haitian Consulate on Friday to express solidarity with Haitian peasant
groups who are rejecting Monsanto’s donation of hybrid corn seeds. A
delegation delivered a letter to the Haitian consulate in support of
the farmers’ concerns and met with the Consul General for half an
hour. There was huge media coverage of the event in the French-
language press in particular.

Solidarity actions were called for by the Haitian Peasant Movement of
Papay (MPP) and supported by La Via Campesina.

(Now available! “Stop Monsanto” buttons are now available from CBAN.
Check http://www.cban.ca/Monsanto )

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)

Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 0R5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext.6
Fax: 613 241 2506
coordinator@cban.ca
www.cban.ca

Take action to Stop “Envriopig?”: No GM Animals http://www.cban.ca/enviropig
Donate Today http://www.cban.ca/donate
Subscribe to the CBAN News and Action Listserve http://www.cban.ca/About/CBAN-e-News

Haitian Farmers Commit to Burning Monsanto Hybrid Seeds

http://www.truthout.org/haitian-farmers-commit-burning-monsanto-hybrid-seeds59616
Tuesday 18 May 2010

by: Beverly Bell, t r u t h o u t | Report

Jonas Deronzil from Verrettes has been farming since 1974. Like small
producers throughout Haiti, his meager income from corn, rice and
beans is threatened by new competition from Monsanto.

“A new earthquake” is what peasant farmer leader Chavannes Jean-
Baptiste of the Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP) called the news that
Monsanto will be donating 60,000 seed sacks (475 tons) of hybrid corn
seeds and vegetable seeds, some of them treated with highly toxic
pesticides. The MPP has committed to burning Monsanto’s seeds, and has
called for a march to protest the corporation’s presence in Haiti on
June 4, for World Environment Day.

In an open letter sent May 14, Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, the executive
director of MPP and the spokesperson for the National Peasant Movement
of the Congress of Papay (MPNKP), called the entry of Monsanto seeds
into Haiti “a very strong attack on small agriculture, on farmers, on
biodiversity, on Creole seeds … and on what is left our environment
in Haiti.”(1) Haitian social movements have been vocal in their
opposition to agribusiness imports of seeds and food, which undermines
local production with local seed stocks. They have expressed special
concern about the import of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

For now, without a law regulating the use of GMOs in Haiti, the
Ministry of Agriculture rejected Monsanto’s offer of Roundup Ready
GMOs seeds. In an email exchange, a Monsanto representative assured
the Ministry of Agriculture that the seeds being donated are not GMOs.

Continue reading

Stop “Enviropig”: Take action to stop GM Animals in Canada

Stop “EnviroPig”! Take Action today to stop genetically modified
animals.

Write to the Minister of Health instantly from http://www.cban.ca/enviropigaction

Health Canada could soon approve the first genetically modified (GM)
animal for human consumption. The University of Guelph has applied for
food safety approval of its GM pig – they call it “Enviropig”.

The GM pig contains genetic material from a mouse and E-coli bacteria,
and is engineered to excrete less phosphorus in its feces. Its owners
claim that “Enviropig” can reduce water pollution caused by excess
pig manure that comes from industrial factory farms. A GM pig is not
needed to solve this problem. Pigs can be raised without causing
phosphorus pollution – by making changes to production practices or
using an enzyme feed supplement that helps pigs digest grains.

“Enviropig” is not needed by farmers and is not wanted by consumers.
“Enviropig” is unacceptable and will harm the markets for Canada’s
hog producers at a time of severe economic crisis in the industry.

Health Canada is wasting precious public resources trying to assess the safety of a GM animal that no one wants. Health Canada does not have the capacity to regulate this complex technology for human safety.

Write to the Minister of Health today from http://www.cban.ca/enviropigaction
and tell her that GM animals are not acceptable in our food system.
Tell her that you don’t want to eat “Enviropig”

For more information on “Enviropig” and how you can join the campaign
visit http://www.cban.ca/enviropig

Donate today to support the campaign to stop “Enviropig” http://www.cban.ca/donate

This action alert was issued May 18 2010, by the Canadian
Biotechnology Action Network www.cban.ca in partnership with Beyond
Factory Farming www.beyondfactoryfarming.org

Join us in building the campaign: http://www.cban.ca/enviropig

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)

Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 0R5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext.6
Fax: 613 241 2506
coordinator@cban.ca
www.cban.ca

Take action to Stop “Envriopig”: No GM Animals http://www.cban.ca/enviropig
Donate Today http://www.cban.ca/donate
Subscribe to the CBAN News and Action Listserve http://www.cban.ca/About/CBAN-e-News

Pesticides and ADHD: new tests prove links for children

April: finally, a study showing links with pesticides and ADHD in children! But did they study the links; where the pesticides came from – the sprayed pesticide or the pesticide that lives within every cell on a GMO RoundUp Ready plant? The plant that is found in almost every packaged and processed food in North America? This remains to be studied…

Pesticide link to ADHD in children: Study

Agence France-Presse: Monday, May 17, 2010

WASHINGTON – Children exposed to higher levels of pesticide found on commercially grown fruit and vegetables in the United States were more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study published Monday.

Researchers in the United States and Canada studied data from 1,139 children aged between 8 and 15 and found that children with higher residue levels of pesticides known as organophosphates were roughly twice as likely to have ADHD, the study in the Journal of Pediatrics found.

Continue reading

Farm income drops to staggering lows

From the Western Producer paper, May 6 2010

Farm income predictions grim

Projections 91 percent below 2009

The 2010 farm income projections are devastating.
Agriculture Canada released them with little fanfare in late April, which is later than normal.
A sector that will produce $41.6 billion in farmgate receipts this year will return $291.5 million to farmers in realized net income after depreciation. It is a 91 percent reduction from 2009 levels.
Several provinces will be in deficit, including Ontario and Alberta.
The hog and cattle sectors will be hit particularly hard, according to the numbers prepared by and agreed to by federal and provincial officials.
The forecast projects a 12 percent increase in program payments to $3.76 billion despite an Agriculture Canada longer-term projection of a sharp decline in government support over the next three years.
National and provincial leaders affiliated with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture called the numbers a clear signal that federal programs are not working.
“The government’s own forecasts show deep losses for many commodities and highlight that the business risk management programs currently in place were not designed to function with today’s unique set of economic circumstances,” CFA president Laurent Pellerin said in a statement.

How To Create A GMO Event

This is a post for those interested in hosting an event to bring awareness to GMO issues. It follows our May 22 event: Plant Your GE Free Garden and free movie showing.

Real Event as a Model: Step by Step Guidance

by April Reeves:

I’m going to write about a real event I’m organizing. May 22 is the date. Ralph Fisher Auditorium is the venue: holds 300+ people and I intend to fill it. Here’s how:

Continue reading

Interesting little clock…

I don’t usually post this sort of thing, but this is a clock that may put a great deal into perspective. Also realize, as you’re looking at some of the numbers, that the loss of forests (for crops) and the desertification (pesticide use) has a great deal to do with GM foods: there is a higher loss of forests and natural land today than ever before: the cows have nothing on GMO’s for devastation and destruction!

World Clock

Canada-EU trade agreement damaging

From The Western Producer April 20 2010

By Terry Boehm, National Farmers Union

Canada and the European Union are negotiating a new free trade agreement, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
This agreement with the EU is no small matter for farmers. The CETA, if implemented, will, as much as the North American Free Trade Agreement or the World Trade Organization, transform Canadian agriculture and farms. And not for the better. The CETA will further intensify Canada’s farm income crisis.
The CETA would mean many changes, but none would be more negative or sweeping than its effect to extinguish farmers’ rights to save and use seeds.
Worse, the agreement would give enforcement powers to any corporation that asserted a farmer had infringed the company’s intellectual property rights.
The CETA would require Canada to implement the UPOV ’91 version of plant breeders’ rights (PBR). That version of the International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties would virtually eliminate farmers’ rights to save, reuse and sell seed.

Urgent Action Alert ? Support GM Food Labeling – Take action before May 5, 2010

Tell the Minister of Health that Canada must support the right of
countries to label genetically modified (GM) foods. Send a letter
instantly from
http://www.cban.ca/labelingaction

Canada could work to shut down negotiations on GM labeling at the UN Codex meeting next week in Quebec City.

May 3-7, governments will negotiate food labeling standards at the UN Codex meeting, including recommendations on GM labeling. The US is trying to stop the negotiations from continuing, and Canada may also try to end the negotiations.

Developing countries want support from Codex for their right to label
GM foods. The US and Canada want to make sure this doesn’t happen
because Codex recommendations on GM labeling could protect developing
countries from challenges brought through the World Trade Organization.

Canada and the US also argue that GM foods are not any different from
foods created through conventional methods. This is not supported by
science, including Codex’s own food safety guidelines!

Despite polls that show over 80% of Canadians want mandatory labeling of GM foods, the Canadian government continues to bow to intense pressure from the biotech industry and refuses to label GM foods.

Help protect the rights of developing countries to label GM foods!
Take action before May 5, 2010 at http://www.cban.ca/labelingaction

For more updates and for information on labeling and Codex see http://www.cban.ca/labeling

This action alert was issued by the Canadian Biotechnology Action
Network, April 29, 2010 www.cban.ca
Donate to support the campaign today http://www.cban.ca/donate

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)

Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 0R5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext.6
Fax: 613 241 2506
coordinator@cban.ca
www.cban.ca

Your actions worked! MPs voted for Bill C-474! (it will now be studied by the Agriculture Committee.)
For more updates and action http://www.cban.ca/474
Donate today http://www.cban.ca/donate

Organic practices can feed the world

Be not troubled by Robert Paarlberg’s scaremongering. Organic practices can feed the world — better, in fact, than wasteful industrial farming.

In May 2004, Catherine Badgley, an evolutionary biology professor at the University of Michigan, took her students on a research trip to an organic farm near their campus. Standing on the acre-and-a-half farm, Badgley asked the farmer, Rob MacKercher, how much food he produces annually. “Twenty-seven tons,” he said. Badgley did the quick math: That’s enough to provide 150 families one pound of produce every single day of the year.

“If he can grow that quantity on this tiny parcel,” Badgley wondered, “why can’t organic agriculture feed the world?” That question was the genesis of a multi-year, multidisciplinary study to explore whether we could, indeed, feed the world with organic, sustainable methods of farming. The results? A resounding yes.

Unfortunately, you don’t hear about this study, or others with similar findings, in “Attention Whole Foods Shoppers,” Robert Paarlberg’s defense of industrial agriculture in the new issue of Foreign Policy. Instead, organic agriculture, according to Paarlberg, is an “elite preoccupation,” a “trendy cause” for “purist circles.” Sure, sidling up to a Whole Foods in your Lexus SUV and spending $24.99 on artisan fromage may be the trappings of a privileged foodie, but there’s an SUV-sized difference between obsessing about the texture of your goat cheese and arguing for a more sustainable food system. Despite Paarlberg’s pronouncements, Badgley’s research, along with much more evidence, helps us see that what’s best for the planet and for people — especially small-scale farmers who are the hungriest among us — is a food system based on agroecological practices. What’s more, Paarlberg’s impressive-sounding statistics veil the true human and ecological cost we are paying with industrial agriculture.

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Conservative Party makes huge blunder in GMO email

Written by April Reeves, Director, GE Free BC

I was forwarded this email today from a colleague. It’s a response from Conservative MP Alice Wong regarding their stance on Bill C-474. This response clearly states how little the Conservative party thinks about our rights, freedom, and intelligence. Read on:

Dear Alice Wong, MP, Richmond, Conservative Party,

On April 28, 2010, you sent a response to a fellow named ‘Bruno Vernier’ regarding Bill C-474. I would like to remind you of this email, and I have a few comments about your response you should hear. Your email:

Dear Bruno,

You are absolutely correct that we are to represent the citizens of Richmond,

and that most of the e-mails we received asked us to vote for C-474. However,

our Parliamentary system isn’t totally based on referendum or constituency

majority wishes.  An MP isn’t just elected to a “puppet” of the electorate.

They are elected for their ability to lead as well as for their willingness to

follow consensus.  Yes, a good MP works hard at listening to his or her

consitutents and representing them well.  But by electing an MP, constituents

are also placing on them a mantle of authority, a “trust quotient” if you

will, to go to Ottawa and vote as they see best on issues of national

importance.  This may not always be the “popular” position and ultimately each

MP faces accountability for that at the election booth.  But they will also

run for reelection on their expertise and skill, not just on being a “puppet”

of constituents’ wishes. Parliamentary democracy has a lot of nuances to it

and there are some grey areas in how it plays itself out on the daily

political arena. The main objective of both sides was to support Canadian

farmers, and we listened to the large number of farmers who asked the

government to defeat this bill.

Voting against the C-474 was not an attempt to stifle debate over the issue.

Back in October 27, 2009, the Agriculture Committee passed a motion to study

genetically modified organisms, and the first hearing on the subject was held

on December 3. We agree that we should have a debate on the issue of GMOs in

committee; approving the substance of the bill in principle was not necessary

to facilitate that debate.

Although we have two differing opinions on the issue, I wish to thank you for

your civility and sharp grasp of the issues you advocate. We receive many

generic e-mails asking for support for different issues, but only a few take

the time to share their personal views and articulate them so well. Thank you

for dialoguing with us.

All the best,

Micah Au, Constituency Office of Alice Wong, MP for Richmond

– – –

Lets start at the beginning.

First off, you DO in fact work for the people who voted you in. It’s called Democracy, a term the Conservatives have forgotten about.

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New Administration at USDA Steps Up to End Organic Corruption

Industry Watchdog / Washington Post Investigation Brings Down Old Leadership


Washington
, DC: In a strong departure from Bush-era policy, the USDA’s National Organic Program released a memo today banning synthetic “accessory nutrients” — ending a scandal that brought down its former organic leadership.

At issue were some of the nation’s leading manufacturers of infant formula that had been illegally adding synthetic forms of omega-3 and omega-6 oils to their organic products after a sweetheart deal between a powerful industry lobbyist and Dr. Barbara Robinson, the former head of the USDA’s organic program—exposed by a 2009 investigative report in the Washington Post.

Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), by The Cornucopia Institute and shared with the Washington Post, indicated that Robinson, after meeting with Jay Friedman, a lawyer and lobbyist with the powerful Washington law firm of Covington Burling, rescinded a ruling made by USDA career civil servants who found the inclusion of synthetic oils in organic infant formula to be illegal.

“Justice prevailed in this matter but it took a change in the administration in Washington to make this happen,” said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector of The Cornucopia Institute.

Problems and improprieties at the National Organic Program, during the Bush administration, were also profiled in a recently released audit from the USDA’s Inspector General’s office.

Cornucopia, an organic industry watchdog, first investigated the use of these “novel” nutritional oils, derived from soil fungus and algae, in infant formula, because they are extracted using a neurotoxic chemical, hexane, which is explicitly banned in organic production.  “We couldn’t understand why the USDA was allowing this to happen,” Kastel said.

Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act, as part of the 1990 farm bill, charging the USDA with defending the interests of ethical industry participants and protecting organic consumers against fraud.

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Scientists Fear ‘Uncertainty’ Of Genetically Altered Animals

by Elizabeth Weise, USA Today, August, 21 2002

Genetically engineered fish, shellfish and insects escaping into the wild and taking the place of their natural cousins is scientists’ biggest concern associated with advances in animal biotechnology, says a report released today by the National Academy of Sciences.

A panel of 12 scientists was asked to review current research on the issue of genetically modifying animals to produce improved food or biomedical products. This year’s report of goats that had been modified to produce spider silk in their milk is an example.

”There’s uncertainty about what happens when transgenic animals with attributes that give them advantages over wild animals get out into the environment,” says Michael Taylor, a member of the committee that wrote the report.

Other concerns include the possibility that transgenic-animal products might trigger allergies in people who eat them and the adverse effects of bioengineering on the animals themselves.

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CBAN: Could Canada-Europe trade deal eliminate seed saving?

Canada-Europe trade deal could virtually eliminate farmers’ rights to save seed: National Farmers Union

The third round of trade negotiations with Europe concludes this week
in Ottawa – National Farmers Union says leaked draft text reveals that
the Canada-Europe trade deal could virtually eliminate farmers’ rights
to save seed in Canada. GMOs exempt from the agreement as European
opposition continues. For more information see http://www.cban.ca/Resources/Topics/Trade
National Farmers Union, Press Release, April 21, 2010

Secret text of Canada-EU Trade Deal Released: The agreement may be the largest single issue on farm-policy horizon.

OTTAWA, Ont. NFU President Terry Boehm was in Ottawa Monday to
participate in the release of a draft text of the Canada-EU
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).  The NFU is a
partner in the newly-formed Trade Justice Network, the group that
released the text.  Boehm also spoke at a well-attended evening
meeting in Ottawa dealing with the CETA.

“We now have in-hand a proposed agreement that would reshape Canadian
agriculture: reducing farm support program spending; radically
rewriting the laws that govern farmers’ seed saving and re-use; and
probably in the future, opening another front in the attacks against
the Canadian Wheat Board and supply management,” said NFU President
Boehm.

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Monsanto Faces Rising Grassroots Opposition in South Africa

Posted April 15th, 2010 by Anonymous

By Nombulelo Siqwana-Ndulo (PhD)

Multinational seed and chemical companies looking to gain a new customer base in Africa are facing increasing resistance from both farmers and consumers. Nonetheless, they are making inroads by partnering with African institutions and governments that are eager to ‘modernize’ their agricultural sectors. South Africa is of particular importance in this regard. The country has gone against the grain of general distrust of GMOs in Africa to become a gateway for the distribution of GM food aid; the commercialization and export of GM seeds; and experimentation with GM crops not approved elsewhere.[i]

But here too, they face mounting opposition. In July 2009, for instance, the South African government rejected the commercial release application for GM potatoes after the Executive Council, a government licensing body, concluded that the toxicology studies were “inadequate, scientifically poorly designed and fundamentally flawed.” It was also reported that, in 2008/2009, 80% of Monsanto’s GM maize in South Africa failed to produce a crop, leading critics to call for urgent investigation and a ban on all GM foods.

In 2002, the South African government, in partnership with U.S.-based biotech firm Monsanto, launched the so-called Massive Food Production Program (MFPP) in the country’s Eastern Cape Province. The Eastern Cape is characterized by a dual economy in which the western half of the province (previously white South Africa under apartheid) is dominated by commercial agriculture while the eastern half consists of subsistence agriculture. After the advent of democracy in 1994, there was tremendous pressure to develop the rural economy here.

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Why salads cost more than a Big Mac

April: by the way, McDonald’s scrapped their composting initiative. Seems the food wasn’t breaking down into compost…..

Read more….

New food safety bill could crush local food movement

By Chris Hinyub Sat, Apr 17th 2010

Next week, the Senate will vote on a measure that could potentially extinguish California’s local food movement. Lobbied for by multinational agribusiness giants such as Cargill and Monsanto, as well as supported by the pharmaceutical industry, The Food Safety Modernization Act would impose financially crippling and practically useless regulations on family farms and small-scale food processors according to opponents.

The bill will require all food growers, regardless of size to keep accessible records, have more accountable monitoring and traceability protocols, and impose a blanket $500 registration fee. This means costly radio frequency identification (RFID chips) implanted in livestock as well as (according to the language of the bill) “science based” and “best practices” in agriculture will be mandated.

The FDA could impose standards which mandate, amongst other agribusiness mainstays, the use of highly toxic pesticides, hormones, GMOs and food irradiation practices on any and all growers.

These practices can be arbitrarily determined by the FDA deputy commissioner for foods, Michael Taylor. Interestingly enough, before Taylor found himself in a leading position at the Food and Drug Administration, he went from being Monsanto’s attorney, key in the deregulation of genetically modified organisms, to that company’s vice president.

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Investors Dump Monsanto Shares – Friday April 16

Monsanto was one of today’s worst performing stocks, down 0.6% to $65.21 on DJ.

Syngenta SYT Earnings fell short as well, a reported first quarter 2010 revenues of $3.5 billion, just slightly lower than estimates of $3.574 billion. That’s -3% at today’s exchange rate, but -8% at a constant exchange rate to the first quarter of 2009. sales of glyphospate herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup were lower than a year ago.

Like Monsanto Corp. (MON), sales of glyphospate herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup were lower than a year ago. In Sygenta’s case by almost $100 million dollars, a drop of 34% at constant exchange rates.

With the decreasing availability of arable land, water shortages, downstream rivers drying up, and even climate change, the longer-term outlook for Ag-chemical companies is bleak.

The only question is how long does an investor want to or have to wait to realize returns. Monsanto is trying to cut its dependence on Roundup and put more attention on selling seeds. That’s a gamble, and could keep the stock price down. Syngenta seems to be taking the ‘wait-and-see’ approach, banking on higher revenues as the planting season in the northern hemisphere gets into high gear.

Which Veggie Burgers Were Made With a Neurotoxin?

By Kiera Butler Mon Apr. 12, 2010 2:30 AM PDT

UPDATE: Veggie burger rumors are flying! Some readers and other news organizations have alleged that the study I wrote about on Monday was funded by the pro-meat, anti-soy group the Weston A. Price Foundation. But this morning, I spoke with Cornucopia Institute director Mark Kastel, who said that the Weston A. Price Foundation did not contribute any funding to the “Behind the Bean” (pdf) study. More here.

UPDATE: Readers’ questions about veggie burgers and hexane answered here.

This is about the time of year when I start keeping packages of veggie burgers in the freezer, just in case of an impromptu barbecue. In the past, I haven’t had much fake meat brand loyalty: I’ve found that once I smother my hunk of textured vegetable protein in barbeque sauce, all soy patties are pretty much created equal. But after reading a recent investigation by the Cornucopia Institute, I’m going to be a lot more picky: The food and agriculture nonprofit found that most non-organic veggie burgers currently on the market are made with the chemical hexane, an EPA-registered air pollutant and neurotoxin.

In order to meet the demands of health-conscious consumers, manufacturers of soy-based fake meat like to make their products have as little fat as possible. The cheapest way to do this is by submerging soybeans in a bath of hexane to separate the oil from the protein. Says Cornucopia Institute senior researcher Charlotte Vallaeys, “If a non-organic product contains a soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, or texturized vegetable protein, you can be pretty sure it was made using soy beans that were made with hexane.”

If you’ve heard about hexane before, it was likely in the context of gasoline—the air pollutant is also a byproduct of gas refining. But in 2007, grain processors were responsible for two-thirds of our national hexane emissions. Hexane is hazardous in the factory, too: Workers who have been exposed to it have developed both skin and nervous system disorders. Troubling, then, that the FDA does not monitor or regulate hexane residue in foods. More worrisome still: According to the report,

“Nearly every major ingredient in conventional soy-based infant formula is hexane extracted.”

The Cornucopia Institute found that a number of popular veggie burgers were made with hexane. The list (pdf, page 37, and below) is longer than you might think:

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Update on Bill C-474

CBAN (Lucy Sharratt) sent this: we all need to move on this today!

Bill C-474 was voted down but not out!!

Your letters have a strong influence!  We are making great headway with this approach; the biotech firms are lobbying heavily to counter us. We must protect our farmers or lose our export markets and our ability to grow our own food.

Bill C-474 would support Canadian farmers by requiring that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.”

April 1 Update: Loud “nays’ from Conservative MPs registered the provisional but not official defeat of Bill C-474 on April 1 in the oral vote – however your letters convinced the Liberal Agriculture Critic to recommend the Bill to Committee rather defeat it. On April 14 there will be an official, registered vote of all MPs present in the House at that time – the Liberal Party needs to make sure that all Liberal MPs vote for Bill C-474 on April 14!

You can write to the Liberals directly: CBAN has set up a page to make it easy for you: Letter to Michael Ignatieff.

Write your local MP here: Letter to my MP

Thank you to everyone who has done this, and an extra huge thanks for those that have forwarded this! It’s in our hands – we have the power!!

April Reeves, Director, GE Free BC

Ex-Pfizer scientist exposed to Genetically Engineered virus

Ex-Pfizer Worker Cites Genetically Engineered Virus In Lawsuit Over Firing

Medical experts will be watching closely Monday when a scientist who says she has been intermittently paralyzed by a virus designed at the Pfizer laboratory where she worked in Groton opens a much anticipated trial that could raise questions about safety practices in the dynamic field of genetic engineering.

Organizations involved in workplace safety and responsible genetic research already have seized on the federal lawsuit by molecular biologist Becky McClain as an example of what they claim is evidence that risks caused by cutting-edge genetic manipulation have outstripped more slowly evolving government regulation of laboratories.
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GM Pigs: what can you do?

by April Reeves, March 1, 2010

The “Enviropig” (trademarked) is about to debut onto your dinner plate for 2010. This pig has been genetically altered so that it’s poop contains less phosphorus. Factory farming has given way to increases in phosphorus production.

It was created by Guelph University and the Ontario Pork group.

Once again, zero long term testing was done.

Following along the recent swine flu pandemic (??) this GM pig could create a great deal of problems for hog producers in Canada. Given that consumers are already against GM foods by a strong majority (labeling statistics), this modified piggy could do significant damage to the entire pork industry.

All we need to do is get the message out.

Here is a list of email addresses. I would love it if you would write one really nice letter to these folks, letting them know that IF this pig makes it out of Guelph’s doors, you will stop eating pork until GM pigs are no longer used in Canada.

Just copy and paste all these email addresses into one group in your email sending application. Please don’t call it a private group: let them all see just how many emails you are sending to. That’s where the power is.

Thanks, and let’s hope this wakes someone up.

Ontario Pork, and other Canadian Provincial Hog Boards

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Free Movie Screening in Richmond BC

If you’re in the area you might want to take this in:

Video on Urban Food Growing in Cuba

Young people in Havanna Cuba are growing urban organic gardens within their city. It’s a good model to use for your own backyard ideas and community gardens.

Cuba Urban Gardens

Abuses of Biotechnology posing Threats to Survival

Monday 22 February 2010, by Sailendra Nath Ghosh

The following is the lucidest possible exposition of transgenic genetic engineering. There has been no other exposition anywhere with comparable lucidity of this intricate subject. Since this kind of engineering poses a threat to life’s survival on earth, it has become a crucial political issue. This article was published in Mainstream Annual 2001 (dated December 22, 2001). It is being reproduced here, with minor alternations by the author, in view of the latest controversy surrounding Bt brinjal.

Despite this massive evidence that harmony with Nature gives plentitude and permanence, the practitioners of “nature-conquering science” are now embarking on an yet more dangerous course—namely, “transgenic genetic engineering”. Bioscience—whose purpose was to understand the interlinkages between and among plant and animal species and to find thereform the clues to least expensive agri- and other cultures and cures for diseases—has long been hijacked by commercial interests to enthrone biotechnology, in which the emphasis is on mass production rather than production by the masses. Hybridisation, tissue culture, even cloning to a limited extent of endangered species to repair the damage of near-extinction already done to bioresources, was permissible. But what is now being attempted in the wake of the failure of the “Green Revolution” is a hydra-headed disaster, a biological holocaust, more insidious than nuclear holocaust because it is silent and, in the initial stages, imperceptible.

The “bright” idea is to transfer genes to unrelated species that never interbreed in nature, such as inserting toad genes into potatoes or genes of some bacteria into crop plants. Scientists have taken the gene in a firefly that emits light and inserted it into the genetic code of tobacco plant. Anti-freeze gene from the “flounder fish” has been inserted into the genetic code of tomato plant to protect the plant from cold spells. Insecticide producing gene from bacteria and viruses are being inserted into plants. Attempts are being made to create novel life forms that have not existed before.

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Few really great GMO articles

By April Reeves

Genetic Modification (GMO) Not Only Effects Our Food Quality But Now Our Herbal Herb Medicine

It seems there is no where you can turn that you won’t find GMO’s in every food source now. But building Natural supplements with GM plants and herbs is a complete oxymoron. Of course it won’t be labeled. This article has some very good arguments and statistics. Please read on!

Will Future Generations Be Less Contaminated? Lawmakers are Deciding Now

This article may not be GM but it does beg the question: will our grandkids be less contaminated than we are? This illuminates the insidious nature of big corporations to control what we put in our mouths, in every aspect. The fight against GMO’s is not just about GM’s: it’s also about choice and control.

GM Pigs

Now our meat supplies are unknown. I will be launching a big campaign against this soon. Write, email, do all you can to let pork producers know you will stop eating anything pig if this goes through. Even if you don’t eat pig! They need to know we exist, and we need the masses to speak out! You can contact all local hog producers, write to the Western Producer newspaper, write all gov agencies, and protest around any hog producer’s buildings and/or events.

More on the risks of using pesticides

You may ask why I am posting issues on pesticides. You may ask what they have to do with GMO’s?

Everything.

GMO crops use pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides) and because there is a resistance being created in weeds to these chemicals, all forms of pesticides are being manufactured in stronger batches. It’s a cycle that will be very difficult to break now. We are in it. This is the tipping point. It is up to every individual to come to some understanding of what the real issue is here. It’s not about the chemicals. It’s about control. Read on:

By DR. IAN SIMPSON
The Western Star

My letter last week about cosmetic use of pesticides has promoted some discussion both in The Western Star printed edition and its web edition.

I would like to reply to Tuesday’s letter from Lorne Hepworth of CropLife Canada.
He states “we can rest assured that before any pesticide is sold in Canada it undergoes comprehensive scientific review and risk assessment by Health Canada.”

Health Canada has created PMRA — the Pesticide Management and Regulatory Agency — which is the responsible body for reviewing all the studies submitted. But there are problems:

  • Underfunding — in 2002, $8 million of the funding was from the pesticide industry.
  • PMRA does not conduct its own in-house laboratory work. It reviews the research provided — most of it from industry sources and most of it not published in peer reviewed literature.
  • The industry requests PMRA to treat the material as “proprietary.” So this science remains hidden.
  • PMRA relies mainly on U.S.A. studies (80 per cent of the studies reviewed in the early part of the decade.)
  • Health Canada has a track record of approving pesticides, only to later phase them out due to health and environmental concerns. Examples: DDT, Eldrin, Diazinon, Dursan, Mecoprop.
  • PMRA  does not evaluate other chemicals in the formulation, so- called “inerts,” or the breakdown products.

Mr. Hepworth goes on to say “As for benefits … well maintained public and private spaces make for happier  healthier communities.” Happier I will not debate, but healthier? This I will argue is nonsense. In the comments on the web page, DB from NL worries at the use of the word “linked” when commenting on the link between pesticide exposure and different diseases. DB would like hard numbers and quantification.

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10 reasons why GM won’t feed the world

From the Urban Sprout

1. Failure to deliver
Genetic modification, despite PR hype, consistently fails to live up to industry claims. Only two GM traits have ever made it to market: herbicide resistance and BT toxin expression. Other promises of genetic modification, such as the much vaunted “golden rice”, have failed to materialise. In 2004, the Kenyan government admitted that Monsanto’s GM sweet potatoes were no more resistant to feathery mottle virus than ordinary strains, and in fact produced lower yields. In January 2008, news that scientists had modified a carrot to cure osteoporosis by providing calcium had to be offset against the fact that you would need to eat 1.6 kilograms of these vegetables each day to meet your recommended calcium intake.

2. Costing the Earth
GM crops are costing farmers and governments more money than they are making. In a 2003 report by the Soil Association the cost to the US economy of GM crops was estimated at around $12 billion since 1999, on account of inflated farm subsidies, loss of export orders and various seed recalls. A study in Iowa found that GM soyabeans required all the same costs as conventional farming but, because they produced lower yields, the farmers ended up making no profit at all. In India, an independent study found that BT cotton crops were costing farmers 10 per cent more than non-BT variants and bringing in 40 per cent lower profits. Between 2001 and 2005, more than 32,000 Indian farmers committed suicide, most as a result of mounting debts caused by inadequate crops.

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Food For Thought

By April Reeves

In the US the CDC states that food borne pathogens kill 5200 US citizens a year. Bill HR 875 is being pushed through to combat this problem. It will increase inspections and fines. Some say it could destroy the organic industry, although I can’t really find any evidence of this, other than a whole lot of vague poppycock in the fine print.

Why doesn’t the CDC investigate the illness and deaths caused by herbicides, insecticides (pesticides), chemicals they call ‘food’ (artificial sweeteners, coffee creamers, GMO foods, cloned meats, preservatives)? All these wonderful inventions that make our food ‘safe’???

Anderson Cooper: Mother Earth actually has the capacity to feed her people

By April Reeves

Anderson Cooper reports on a series by David Gewirtz, author of “How To Save Jobs“. David suggests the following:

From AC360: Next up was a look at grain consumption. Grain has always been an indicator of even the most basic of civilization, so a look at how the middle-classing of developing countries would affect the food supply based on grain usage seemed appropriate.

This time, I used data from the Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture Production. Worldwide, humans consume about 1.9 billion metric tons of grain each year.

Today, the United States consumes about 287 million metric tons of grain, or about 14.8 percent of the world’s total supply.

China consumes slightly more than we do, at about 406 million metric tons of grain, or about 21 percent of the world’s supply.

India has a lot of starving people, and that shows in its grain use. India consumes only about 196 million metric tons of grain, about 10 percent of the world’s total. You can see India’s ups and downs written in the numbers. Some years, like 1993, their grain consumption went up 5.6 percent. But other years, like 2001, their grain consumption dropped by 4.3 percent. Neither of these are big fluctuations, but it does show some years Indian citizens ate a little more and other years, they ate a little less.

What if they consume grain at the same rate as we do here?

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