Tag Archives: Ban GM crops

Hawaii bans GE crops

The mayor of the Big Island of Hawaii, Billy Kenoi, has signed bill 113 into law. This bill prohibits biotech companies from operating on the Big Island, and it bans farmers from growing any new genetically altered crops.

Get the whole story here.<http://foodrevolution.ontraport.net/c/2/8071/16927731/1/391/206835/1386432020>

Hawaii is joining Mexico, which last month banned (on an interim basis) the planting of all genetically engineered corn, and Italy, which in July became the 9th European country to ban planting of Monsanto’s GMO corn.

I smell a rat: French study that links GE corn to cancer

Many of you will have heard about the study by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and colleagues which said rats fed on a diet containing NK603 – a corn seed variety made tolerant to Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller – or given water with Roundup at levels permitted in the United States, died earlier than those on a standard diet.

We have held off blogging on this to see what the media reaction would be. Most often when negative studies about GE crops come out, the methodology behind the study is criticised by biotech back scientists, and, if that doesn’t work, the reputation of the scientists are called into question. The first has been the response to this study. The North American mainstream media has also tried to ignore the study, but it has been all over the European press.

We are posting 5 blogs taken from GM watch. More will follow in the next few days.

The bottom line is we don’t know if GE crops are safe or not because of a lack of independent testing (regulatory authorities in the USA and Canada take the studies produced by biotech companies, and don’t do their own studies).  And if we don’t know whether they are safe or not, they shouldn’t be planted or eaten.

It’s official – GE crops don’t work and are bad for us

http://earthopensource.org/files/pdfs/GMO_Myths_and_Truths/GMO_Myths_Truths_press-final_EU.pdf

This is a really important study so we are posting the summary in full. This is probably the most definitive report to date to show us we don’t need GE foods.

Why genetically engineered food is dangerous: New report by genetic engineers Earth Open Source 17 June 2012

The report called “GMO Myths and Truths, An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops”, by Michael Antoniou, PhD, Claire Robinson, and John Fagan, PhD is published by Earth Open Source. The report is 123 pages long and contains over 600 citations, many of them from the peer-reviewed scientific literature and the rest from reports by scientists, physicians, government bodies, industry, and the media. The report is available here:http://earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/58 A shorter summary version will be released in the coming weeks. Below are some key points from the report. Continue reading

Richmond City Council Finalizes GE Free Zone

If you would like to work on a GE Free zone in your community, email us at gefreebc07@yahoo.com
Press Release

May 29, 2012. Vancouver. – Last night, Richmond City Council (British Columbia) unanimously confirmed a decision to make the city a GE Free Zone.

Following the initial unanimous decision by the General Purposes Committee on May 24, 250 Richmond residents turned out last night to support final approval at City Council. The biotechnology industry lobby group CropLife presented in a failed effort to dissuade councilors from approving the resolution. Continue reading

Richmond City Council takes a stand against genetically engineered crops

Richmond, British Columbia, 22nd May 2012

For general release

The Richmond Food Security Society and the Society for a Genetically Free (GE) BC would like to warmly congratulate Richmond City Council on its courageous stand against GE crops and trees at its General Meeting on the 22nd May Continue reading

ACTION ALERT: RICHMOND DEBATES GE FREE STATUS THIS TUESDAY

A committee of City Council will be debating the call for a GMO ban in Richmond on Tuesday at 4pm. Continue reading

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

We need your help to make Richmond GE Free

Richmond City Council will be deciding, within about 3 weeks, whether to accept a resolution to declare itself a GMO-free zone.

The City’s official Agricultural Advisory Committee DID NOT support the resolution and so I’m turning to you.

Would you take a few seconds to sign this petition to show that this is an important issue not only for the residents of Richmond but for the entire province?

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/467/476/570/declare-richmond-bc-ge-free/

If you could forward the petition on to friends, that would be much appreciated to.

In solidarity,

GE Free BC Steering Committee

Action alert: write to Agriculture Canada

Action Alert: Deadline November 25, 2011  Issued by the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

Stop Canada from legalizing contamination from unapproved GM foods.

Write to Agriculture Canada from http://www.cban.ca/llpaction

The Canadian Government is proposing to allow contamination of our food supply with genetically engineered foods that have not been approved for safe eating in Canada. Agriculture Canada has opened a comment period until November 25, 2011.
Continue reading

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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Monsanto contamination takes out Organic Farm again

Possible new twist in GM safety debate

Scientists at the University of Bristol have discovered a previously unknown route by which GM genes may escape into the natural environment.

By studying plant-fungi-bacteria interactions at plant wound sites, the team have identified a natural process stimulated by a hormone released by the wounded plant that would allow synthetic genes to move across organisms and out into the wild.

The bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens transforms plant tissue as part of its infection process.  This natural process provides an important toolbox for scientists to genetically manipulate many species of plants.  Recently this technology has been developed for non-plant organisms including fungi by the Bailey & Foster Group in Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences.

Continue reading

Public opinion stopped GM, says campaigner

Public opinion stopped GM, says campaigner

Global resistance has halted the biotech giants, reports Environment Editor Michael McCarthy –  from the IoS co-sponsored Sustainable Planet Forum

Sunday, 26 September 2010

A grower examines his (unmodified) maize in Paraguay
A grower examines his (unmodified) maize in Paraguay

The tide has turned globally against the introduction of genetically modified crops, Lord Melchett, the former director of Greenpeace and campaigner for organic farming and food, said yesterday.

Fifteen years ago, many governments thought GM crops and food would become the norm, but it has not happened because of rising public resistance around the world, and it will not happen, he said.

This is a redundant technology and many people in Europe may be unaware of the extent of the resistance to GM in places like India and China, because they swallow the GM industry line that it is supported all across the world,” he said. “I have to say that where we are now with GM leaves me feeling very optimistic.”

Continue reading

Bill C-474: Chronological Order

Liberals and Conservatives Vote Down Bill C-474

Inaction on genetic engineering will cost farmers – groups vow to protect alfalfa in ongoing controversy

Thursday, February 10, 2011. Ottawa – Last night, a majority of Liberal MPs joined with Conservatives to vote down an important Private Members Bill on genetic engineering (GE). Bill C-474 would have required that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.” The Bill was defeated 176 to 97.

“Farmers had everything to gain if the Bill was passed. Now we have everything to lose while biotech companies once again have everything to gain,” said Colleen Ross, Vice President of the National Farmers Union. “Our government has been supporting genetic engineering at any cost. But we refuse to accept their willingness to sacrifice some farmers and some crops for the sake of the biotech industry,” said Ross. “Our democracy has to work for farmers and consumers and not just for multinational biotech corporations.”

“The excuses for not supporting the Bill were never truly valid,” said Maureen Bostock, speaking for the Ecological Farmers of Ontario, “This is a clear case of politicians siding with the powerful biotech industry.”

“The Bill was voted down but a real debate about the impacts and future of genetic engineering has now started,” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, “Canadians defied the tremendous power of the industry lobby by pushing the Bill further than any other on this issue.”

“Its crazy that the economic risks to farmers are not considered before GE crops are put on the market,” said Genevieve Grossenbacher a young Quebec farmer speaking for the Canadian Organic Growers. “Its farmers who pay the costs of GE contamination, not the biotech companies.”

An immediate concern shared by both conventional and organic farmers is the threat of crop contamination by GE alfalfa. On January 27th, the US Department of Agriculture approved plantings despite widespread opposition from farmers and consumers, and after protracted legal cases. Canada is only one step away from allowing GE alfalfa to be planted here. “It’s urgent that our Members of Parliament take action to stop GE alfalfa from being imported or being approved and grown in Canada. This is the only way to protect our conventional and organic alfalfa from loss of markets and loss of livelihoods,” said Cathy Holtslander speaking for the Organic Agriculture Protection Fund of the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate. Because alfalfa is a perennial crop pollinated by bees, GE contamination is inevitable. In addition to export markets for processed alfalfa products, alfalfa is used as pasture and high-protein feed for animals like dairy cows, beef cattle, lambs, and pigs and is also used to build up nutrients in the soil, making it particularly important for organic farming.

“Genetic engineering has become more controversial over the years, not less,” said Eric Darier, Director of Greenpeace Quebec, speaking on behalf of the Quebec Network Against GMOs, a coalition of over 20 groups. “The problems with genetic engineering are not going away and the federal government is still refusing to address the issues head on.”

“Building a strong future for food and farming in Canada will take political leadership. Elected representatives must listen to what farmers and consumers are saying,” said Tony Beck of the Society for a GE Free BC, a coalition of local grassroots groups, “Canadians are becoming more involved in farming issues and want to support a sustainable food system.”

Private Members Bill C-474 was introduced by NDP Agriculture Critic and MP for BC Southern Interior, Alex Atamanenko.

For more information:
Colleen Ross, National Farmers Union, Cell: 613 213 1522;
Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 241 2267 ext 25;
Cathy Holtslander, Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, 306 384 2141;
Maureen Bostock, Ecological Farmers of Ontario, 613 259 5757;
Eric Darier, Quebec Network Against GMOs, Cell: 514 605-6497 (English or French);
Tony Beck, Society for a GE Free BC, Cell: 604 671 2106.

This post is long but has chronological information on Alex Atamanenko’s Bill C-474. It is about to “heat up” again, so for those that need a little history, read on.

It is imperative that this Bill be passed. It asks to take a closer look and do more testing on the introduction of GM crops/seeds/plants. It is a Bill that protects all farmers: organic, conventional and GM.

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) petition: please sign!

– – – –

September 30, 2010: Important Updates on Bill C-474

Please see below an article from this week’s “The Hill Times”
newspaper that reports on Parliamentary happenings – it exposes the
biotech industry’s extensive lobbying against Bill C-474. Please also
see below some important updates. Join us to make this concrete change
happen! http://www.cban.ca/474

INDUSTRY IS WORRIED: The Bill is having an international impact – the
global biotech industry is concerned that we might be able to make
this concrete change happen in Canada. Industry associations around
the world understand that this simple, reasonable Bill has the power
to stop them from commercializing GM alfalfa and GM wheat as well as
other GMOs. CBAN attended a recent industry conference where CropLife
International and the Biotechnology Industry Organization both warned
industry audiences that they need to fight the inclusion of social and
economic considerations in assessments of GMOs. Agribusiness giant
Syngenta has also been speaking directly against the Bill. The issue
of GE salmon and the GE “Enviropig” have heightened this conflict.

Continue reading

European Commission just approved GM crops against public outcry

Hi everyone, this just in: The European Commission has just approved growing genetically modified crops in the European Union for the first time in 12 years!

Caving to the GM lobby, the commission has ignored 60% of Europeans who feel we have to get the facts first before growing foods that could pose a threat to our health and environment.

A new initiative allows 1 million EU citizens to make official legal requests of the European Commission. Let’s build a million voices for a ban on GM foods until the research is done; they will be delivered to the President Barroso of the European Commission. Sign the petition and forward this email to friends and family:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/eu_gmo/97.php?cl_tta_sign=78f715d47d346f4b3182271f00fcf3c8

I urge you all to sign this: should the EU all move into GMO, Canada will not be able to hold back GM crops as easily, as Canada will now have a willing and easier market to sell to. Right now, we have to adhere to strict standards for GMO contamination. That will change, unfortunately, unless we speak loud and clear!

Consumers, public health, environmental and farmers groups have long rallied against a few international GM companies having such significant influence over European agriculture. Concerns about growing GM crops include: contamination of organic crops and the environment; their impact on climate due to the excessive need for pesticides; the destruction of biodiversity and local agriculture; and the effects of GM food on public health.

EU member states have voiced strong opposition to last week’s decision to authorise BASF’s potato and Monsanto’s maize — Italy and Austria are opposed, and France said it would ask for further scientific research.
There is still no consensus on the long-term effects of GM crops. And it is the GM industry, pursuing profits not public well being, that is funding the science and driving the regulatory environment. That is why European citizens are calling for more independent research, testing and precaution before crops are unleashed onto our land.

Now, the “European Citizens’ Initiative” gives 1 million EU citizens the opportunity to submit policy proposals to the European Commission and offers us a unique chance to drown out lobbyists’ influence.
Let’s raise 1 million voices to put a moratorium on the introduction of GM crops into Europe and set up an independent, ethical and scientific body to research and determine the strong regulation of GM crops. Sign the petition now and then forward it widely:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/eu_gmo/97.php?cl_tta_sign=78f715d47d346f4b3182271f00fcf3c8

New weed strategies needed, scientists say

Washington, D.C. – The spread of weeds resistant to Roundup herbicide is bringing new scrutiny to the government’s regulation of biotech crops.

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, a longtime critic of the biotech industry, said the U.S. Agriculture Department has been too quick to approve new varieties of herbicide-tolerant crops and other biotech products.

“Now, more than ever, farmers need to have a Department of Agriculture that takes care to preserve and protect the farming environment for generations to come,” Kucinich said during a House hearing he chaired Wednesday on the spread of Roundup-resistant weeds.

One weed scientist, David Mortensen at Penn State University, said the government should restrict the use of herbicide-tolerant crops and impose a tax on biotech seeds to fund research and education programs.

The resistant weeds cannot be killed by the sole use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, which has become broadly popular with farmers with the advent more than a decade ago of soybeans, cotton, corn and other crops that are immune to the chemical. The weeds now infest about 11 million acres, a fivefold increase in three years, Mortensen said.

Continue reading

Greenpeace activists quarantine illegal GE crops in Italy

Press releaseJuly 30, 2010

Pordenone, Italy – Greenpeace activists from Italy, Austria, Germany and Hungary are quarantining illegal Genetically Engineered (GE) crops being grown in Italy. Wearing safety equipment to protect against contamination, the activists are isolating, cutting and securing the top of the GE maize plants, the part that contains the pollen.

Last week, Greenpeace took samples from the field in Friuli, northern Italy to a certified laboratory for analysis. The results confirm without doubt that the maize being grown in these fields is a patented Mosanto GE maize type, MON810. GE crop cultivation without a permit is illegal in Italy (1). There is considerable documentation highlighting the threats posed by MON810 to biodiversity, including the accumulation of toxins in soil, and negative impacts on species such as butterflies and moths (2).

“Greenpeace has taken action today to prevent any further contamination from these hazardous and illegal GE crops,” said Federica Ferrario, Greenpeace Italy Agriculture campaigner. “For days these crops will have been contaminating not only neighbouring fields, but countryside further away as well, as insects and winds disseminate their pollen.”

Continue reading

Banned GM maize sown in Germany

April: This is my biggest pet peeve of the GMO seed industry: any idiot or black market can get their hands on this stuff. It’s that easy. This leads to a world full of GMO plants, insects and God knows what – where. This is why it is so incredibly important that we speak out – we have the potential to lose this planet or save it.  Ever wondered why there are no GMO seeds in the Norway Seed Vault?

If there are no law suits from Big Biotechs, then is it reasonable to assume that they played a role in the distribution? I hope the farmers sue over this one…

A genetically modified (GM) variety of maize banned in the EU has been sown accidentally across Germany.

The NK603 variety has been planted in seven states. The seed supplier, US firm Pioneer Hi-Bred, called the level of contamination “minute”.

It is not clear how the mistake occurred, but it could cost farmers millions of euros, as crops will now have to be destroyed.

The EU is currently reviewing its tight rules on the cultivation of GM crops.

Pioneer Hi-Bred, based in Buxtehude near Hamburg, says NK603 has been planted on “just under 2,000 hectares (4,940 acres)” of land. The environmental group Greenpeace put the area as high as 3,000 hectares.

Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Lower Saxony are among the states where it has been sown.

Information delayed

Supporters of GM crops argue that they deliver higher yields and resistance to pests, requiring less fertiliser and pesticides.

Continue reading

50 US Politicians Back GE Alfalfa Ban Permanently

By Carey Gillam

Following the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on GE alfalfa – that means that it is illegal to plant Monsanto’s GE alfalfa, at least until the U.S. government has finished its environmental review.

Now, 50 U.S. politicians – Democrats and Republicans – are calling for a
continued ban even after the environment review. (This shows the
importance of this issue and is yet another indication that the fight on
GE alfalfa is far from a done deal even in the U.S!) Write to your MP and
ask them to do the same as the US politicians – send a letter instantly
from http://www.cban.ca/474action

**U.S. lawmakers call for continued ban on biotech alfalfa*
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2326472520100623

* Say USDA has “ignored” regulatory authority

* Say U.S. organic dairy industry threatened

KANSAS CITY, June 23 (Reuters) – More than 50 U.S. lawmakers are calling   on the U.S. Agriculture Department to keep Monsanto’s (MON.N) biotech alfalfa out of farm fields, despite a Supreme Court ruling this week that cleared the way for limited planting pending environmental reviews.

The lawmakers said the biotech alfalfa presents too great a risk to
conventional and organic agriculture to ever allow it.

“We believe that the broad regulatory authority available to you has been ignored, in order to justify deregulation of a biotech crop that has limited utility to anyone except the manufacturer,” the letter addressed to Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack said.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, and Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, were joined by 49 other representatives and five
other senators in asking Vilsack to ensure that Monsanto’s genetically
engineered alfalfa is not approved for commercial use.

Continue reading

No GMO Alfalfa in the USA! Courts rule!

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a case brought by
Monsanto to stop the current injunction on planting GM alfalfa in the
U.S., has upheld the injunction! The National Farmers Union brought
forward Canada’s experience with GM canola to support the case. Now the US Department of Agriculture will be the deciding party on GM alfalfa – they
are preparing their final Environmental Impact Statement (as ordered by
the courts). Canadian groups also submitted comments to the USDA as part
of this process.

You can write to your MP today to support alfalfa farmers and request that
your MP supports Bill C-474 http://www.cban.ca/474action

July 21

SUPREME COURT ruling in “Monsanto Case” is victory for Center for Food Safety, Farmers

High Court Delivers Ruling That Leaves Ban on Planting of Roundup Ready Alfalfa in Place in First-Ever Case on a Genetically-engineered Crop

Washington, DC June 21, 2010 – The Center for Food Safety today celebratedthe United States Supreme Court’s decision in Monsanto v. Geerston Farms, the first genetically modified crop case ever brought before the Supreme Court.  Although the High Court decision reverses parts of the lower courts’ rulings, the judgment holds that a vacatur bars the planting of
Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Alfalfa until and unless future deregulation
occurs.  It is a victory for the Center for Food Safety and the Farmers
and Consumers it represents.

Continue reading

Organic Cotton Farming More Profitable: Report

The Economic Times, India.

Indo-Asian News Service, Thailand. 15.06.2010

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/Organic-cotton-farming-more-profitable-Report/articleshow/6050780.cms

HYDERABAD: Organically grown cotton is more profitable for farmers
than Bt cotton, a new Greenpeace report said on Tuesday.

“In the year 2009-10, farmers cultivating cotton through organic
practices earned 200 per cent more net income than farmers who grew
genetically engineered cotton (Bt cotton),” the report said.

The report “Picking Cotton – The choice between organic and
genetically-engineered cotton for farmers in South India” is a
comparative analysis of the two methods of agriculture among cotton
farmers in Andhra Pradesh.

The genetically engineered (GE) variety makes farmers more vulnerable
to financial collapse due to high debts and increased costs of
cultivation, it said.

Continue reading

Update on Bill C-474

Update on Bill C-474: Hearings to continue in the Fall, New action
option coming later this week.

June 14, 2010

The House of Commons Agriculture Committee hearings on Bill C-474 got
off to a shaky start as the first hearing on June 2nd was interrupted
by votes in the House and there was only one other hearing, on June
7th. Hearings may now be suspended until the Fall, to be followed by a
final vote (possibly in October).

On June 2, Bill sponsor NDP Agriculture Critic Alex Atamanenko
testified as well as industry associations. On June 7, alfalfa
producers testified in strong support of Bill C-474. The transcript
from June 7 is not yet available.

Continue reading

Health Canada’s response to my email: GE alfalfa & wheat

By April Reeves, June 2, 2010

Another pathetic response from Health Canada. I have had many emails suggesting a class action suit against them, and I think it’s time to change them out, however we plan to do it.

My email:

Continue reading

You can make a HUGE difference right now!

This is minimal effort with maximum effect: there is a poll on this website that asks if you want Richmond BC to be a GE Free zone – cast your vote asap before the poll disappears. There is power in the YES vote: scroll down the page and the poll is on the left hand side 2/3 of the way down. Thanks – in advance – to everyone that votes yes!

http://www.bclocalnews.com/richmond_southdelta/richmondreview/

Article posts for GMO: May 20

April: There just wasn’t enough time in the day to post the really good stuff in full, so I am going to start listing the links to articles I think you may want or need.

HRAC members decide to boycott Genetically Modified foods

French Wine to Be Modified Genetically

Prisoners turn over a new leaf with eye on environment

Orwell-Speak Award Goes to Canada’s GM “Enviropig”

Protesters Block Monsanto in the Netherlands – Demanding End to GMOs

Facebook Page (Arzeena Hamir, GE Free Steering Committee) on Roger’s Sugar: asking us to send Roger’s an email on GMO Sugarbeets. Please let Roger’s know that you will not buy their products anymore.

Chemtrails and Monsanto’s New Aluminum Resistance Gene – Coincidence?

Monsanto Plant Shut Down by Activists in Europe

Lawsuit seeks to ban genetically modified sugar beets

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A group of Oregon farmers are seeking an injunction against this year’s planting of Monsanto’s genetically engineered sugar beets. The groups of organic farmers, food safety advocates and conservationists, is seeking to persuade a judge to ban the crop until the USDA provides a proper environmental impact statement proving that the crops are safe and that they will not cross-contaminate nearby fields.

The debate over whether or not to allow GE crops into the food supply has been a hotly debated one, but the biotech industry has been the side unable to prove that its products are safe. Those concerned about the negative consequences of GE crops have plenty of unresolved questions that demand answers prior to any GE crop being approved. Yet in reality, the USDA has succumbed to industry pressure instead, jeopardizing the entire food industry.

Nearly half of the nation’s sugar beets are genetically modified. They can be found planted on more than one million acres across ten states. The beets have been engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s “RoundUp” herbicide, but their components are not limited to the fields in which they are planted, spreading across the landscape via pollen and seeds carried in the wind. Because it is impossible to track where GE plant fragments end up, there is no ensuring that any crop is truly non-GE or organic.

Continue reading

Canada & Codex: GM labeling – US Increasingly Isolated

Canada at the UN Codex meeting on GM food labeling: Negotiations continue, U.S. increasingly isolated

Your actions worked – again!

Thanks to your letters, the Canadian government delegation to the UN
Codex meeting last week did not boldly ally itself with the U.S.
position against GM food labeling. The U.S. failed in their attempts
to stop the negotiations.

The Canadian government did not speak up to support the nonsensical
position from the U.S. that GM foods are no different from foods
produced through conventional methods. Though not yet actively
supporting a positive position on GM labeling, Canada did not obstruct
the meeting and the U.S. was not able to put an end to the
negotiations. Out of the over 50 countries at the negotiations, the
U.S. was only supported in its position by Mexico, Costa Rica, and
Argentina.

Codex recommendations on GM labeling could protect developing
countries from challenges brought through the World Trade Organization.

The U.S. was trying to put an end to the UN Codex negotiations on GM
labeling but the negotiations will continue. There will be an
important Codex meeting in May 2011 in Quebec City – and we must
continue to pressure the Minister of Health. The Canadian
Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) will continue to take action and
monitor this issue, as well as collaborate with U.S. groups. Please
see below from Consumers Union in the U.S.

For updates and more information: http://www.cban.ca/labeling

Please consider your donation to support this campaign http://www.cban.ca/donate

May 10, 2010 Update

Press Release: Consumers Union Calls on U.S. to Support Genetically Modified Food Labeling Agreement

U.S. Stands Nearly Alone in Opposition at Recent International Meeting

Yonkers, NY—Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer
Reports, today called on the Obama Administration to endorse a
compromise on guidelines for labeling of genetically modified (GM)/
genetically engineered (GE) food, that was supported by the
overwhelming majority of nations during international negotiations
last week in Canada.  Consumers Union again expressed serious concerns
that the current U.S. position in opposition to the compromise on GE/
GM labeling could create major problems in the long term for U.S. and
foreign producers who want to label their products as free of GM/GE
ingredients.

Continue reading

Superweeds have arrived and threaten US agriculture

By April Reeves, May 7 2010

I read it across the ‘ticker’ on CNN yesterday: US farmers deal with super weeds: single worst production threat in the history of agriculture we have ever seen. Strong words. Now, CNN often is a bit ‘expressive’ in their dialogue, but this time I have to agree.

What surprises me are the people who are surprised. Really, it was a matter of time, like many of the issues of GM crops that will eventually surface. We have said for how long now – it’s not sustainable to mess with Mother Nature. But no one listened. 3 of the big GM crops have super weeds: corn, cotton and soy.

So we ‘heretics’ and ‘fear mongers’ once again shake our heads and laugh. It was evident to anyone with any thread of common sense and vision that this day would come. And it came fast.

You can only sustain healthy agriculture through diversity in your crop choices. Monocrops (single plant crops) will eventually fall prey to either disease or in this case, resistance. I’m sure the bugs will be a tough one to destroy this year as well. Climate change as well, demands a biodiversity in order to survive. It’s the old way, but it’s THE way. While man runs around trying to fix everything, even that which is not broken, eventually it will bite him in the butt.

Farmers are curious: if they have to work longer hours (pulling weeds), do the same things they were doing before GM crops (tilling, changing chemicals), then why spend the extra money on GM seeds? While corn and some soy and cotton may prove higher yields, that should not be a concern any more: what matters is profit, and commodity crops are losing their value as junk food processors demand lower and lower prices to compete.

It’s a treadmill that’s almost impossible to get off of. We have been fed a promise that’s now leading us into chemical dependency.

So what does all this mean?

Unless Monsanto can either engineer another type of plant, or create stronger, nastier chemical pesticides, they have succeeded in taking out mass amounts of shareholder value. Creating new crops take millions of dollars. If these crops have a short duration before they implode and turn useless, the value is just not there for investors. So by subjecting farmers to stronger chemicals is the answer? No wonder young people have no interested in going int0 mass agriculture. They are moving into organics and traditional farming instead. Children are growing up much smarter than many of the older folks…

Farmers will incur additional costs trying to maintain what was suppose to be an easy, infallible system. Those costs will be passed on to the consumer, unless the tab is picked up by government subsidies (that would be you, the taxpayer).

Maybe we should take a page from our antibiotics book for super germs. Don’t we learn anything from history? Especially recent history.

Monsanto takes on CBAN re: Bill C-474: Students in Vancouver take action

Please see below that Monsanto is fighting back to stop Bill C-474
and CBAN’s successful campaign.
1. The industry arguments are desperate  and make very little sense – stay tuned for CBAN rebuttal of industry  arguments: “If you let groups like CBAN offer their comment I don’t think it really has any interest whatsoever in protecting farmers’
rights to access to new technology.” – Trish Jordan, Monsanto Canada
(from below article)

2. House of Commons Agriculture Committee hearings on Bill C-474 will
happen in late May and early June.

3. Your actions continue: Vancouver Kingsway NDP MP Don Davies
presented a petition in the House of Commons April 29 in support of
Bill C-474, signed by well over 100 students, organized by Chanel and
Cassandra Ly, Emily Chan and Brendan Chan. “These students took the
leadership and initiative to educate their classmates about this
important issue raised by this bill and I am proud to present their
views in Parliament on their behalf. These students want to protect
the environment, ensure the health of Canadians and support community
food producers. I join with them in calling for the swift passage of
this bill through committee and into law,” said Mr. Davies in the
House of Commons. You can download the petition from http://www.cban.ca/474
and request your MP to present in the House also.

Article:

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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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US Supreme Court case one of history’s most important for GMO’s

April: while this case may appear to be about GE alfalfa contaminating organic crops, it has a secondary, and in my opinion, worse outcome.

Monsanto is petitioning for an injunction to stop any future law suit against them for anything. This is the worst part, as no one could ever take them to court again for anything: this is very broad: crop damage, human diseases, environmental failures and chemical contamination.

What does this mean? Now we can only sit back and watch, as Monsanto can now do whatever they want, to whomever they please. And we can’t do a thing about it, legally.

Here is a lengthy post filled with information about the beginnings of this historic case. Remember fellow Canadians, this could be us. Bees don’t need passports. We wait on the edge of our seats to hear the outcome….

Supreme Court to take first look at Genetically Modified Crops in Case
with NEPA Implications

The New York Times, USA by Gabriel Nelson    22.04.2010

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Tuesday
involving a federal judge?s temporary ban on a breed of pesticide-
resistant alfalfa, setting the stage for the court’s first-ever ruling
on genetically modified crops.

Legal experts do not expect a blockbuster decision on the merits of
regulating modified plants such as Monsanto Co.’s Roundup Ready
alfalfa, but the case, Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms, has drawn
widespread interest because the justices could issue a ruling that
would raise or lower the threshold for challenges under the National
Environmental Policy Act.

Environmental groups, which frequently use the statute to bring
lawsuits against government agencies and industry groups, ‘don’t
expect anything good’ to come from the Supreme Court’s eventual
decision, said David Bookbinder, chief climate counsel at the Sierra
Club. It seems that some of the justices are ‘on a kick to gut NEPA
remedies,’ he said earlier this year during a panel discussion on
environmental law at Georgetown University.

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Engineering Our Own Extinction? GE Corn Linked To Increasing Infertility

By: Christy Hardin Smith Friday November 21, 2008 4:30 pm

This is truly the stuff of nightmares.  As someone who lived through years of infertility and miscarriage misery, I can’t imagine being in the shoes of a desperate-to-be-mother who found out that an ingredient in our foodunmarked because of government bowing to the lobbying interests of farming giants like Monsanto who don’t want you knowing that there is frankenfood in your meal — was the cause?

Via Gourmet:

…Yet none of our regulatory agencies required long-term animal feeding studies before allowing all that test-tube corn to enter our food supply, according to the Center for Food Safety, and much of the short-term research that has been done was sponsored by the biotech companies that stood to profit from GE crops.

Which is why it was particularly chilling late last week to read the results of an experiment that was both long term and not conducted under the auspices of a big chemical company.

Dr. Jurgen Zentek, a professor at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, reported that he fed one group of laboratory mice traditional corn and another group GE corn made by the Monsanto Company. The GE crop is bred to survive being sprayed by herbicide and to produce its own insecticide. The mice maintained their diets for 20 weeks, long enough to produce four litters of offspring.

Zentek found that the mice who dined on modified corn had fewer litters, fewer offspring, and more instances of complete infertility than those receiving a conventional diet. Not only that, but the infertility of the GM-corn-fed rodents became more pronounced with each passing litter.

Zentek said that further studies to corroborate his results were “urgently needed.”

Suddenly that “not nice to fool Mother Nature” commercial from my childhood has sprung to life.  (Oh, the irony.)

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CBAN: Laura Rance explains GMO problems Canadian Politicians need to know

Our voice is being heard and understood – Please see below a
significant editorial by Laura Rance, long time agriculture journalist and editor of the Manitoba Cooperator.

Critics of GM crops vindicated over time:  Multinationals control seed supply

By: Laura Rance http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/columnists/critics-of-gm-crops-vindicated-over-time-91180074.html

Just over a decade has passed since the use of genetically modified
crops on Prairie farms became widespread.

Although farmers have wholeheartedly embraced them, some of the
downsides predicted by early critics — which were pooh-poohed by the
experts — have also turned out to be true.

It turns out, cross-contamination does occur between genetically
modified (GM) and non-GM crops, such as the spread of volunteer
herbicide-resistant canola genes into other farmers’ fields.

It can also take place in the lab — as illustrated by the seepage of
GM-variety CDC Triffid flax into the Prairie flax seed supply.

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Monsanto prepares to go before Supreme Court to challenge alfalfa ban

Monsanto Co. filed a final reply brief with the U.S. Supreme Court this week in preparation for oral arguments scheduled for Tuesday on the biotech company’s challenge to a three-year-old ban on planting its genetically modified alfalfa seeds.

“This case is about fairness and choice for farmers,” said David Snively, Monsanto’s general counsel. “Farmers should be able to count on USDA approvals of biotech crops and know that any challenges to those approvals will be reviewed based on scientific evidence.”

In January, the Supreme Court said it would consider overturning a 2007 court order that has blocked Monsanto from selling alfalfa seeds that are genetically modified to resist its Roundup weed killer.

Five friends-of-the-court briefs have been filed in support of Monsanto by a total of 18 groups: American Farm Bureau Federation, Biotechnology Industry Organization, American Seed Trade Association, American Soybean Association, National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cotton Council and National Potato Council, Sugarbeet Growers Association, U.S. Beet Sugar Association and National Corn Growers Association, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Home Builders, CropLife America, The Washington Legal Foundation, Allied Education Foundation and the Pacific Legal Foundation. Find all of Monsanto’s court briefs in the alfalfa case here.

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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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Monsanto: A Kinder, Gentler Monolith?

The Street, USA  Scott Eden   07.04.2010

ST. LOUIS (TheStreet) — Monsanto’s moment of self-reckoning has
arrived — at least when it comes to its financial growth forecasts.

In a conference call with analysts and investors Wednesday morning
following another disappointing quarterly earnings report, Monsanto
management effectively said that they’d got it all wrong. They were
turning over a new leaf — or a new cornstalk, as the case may be.

“This management has eaten a lot of crow,” said Charlie Rentschler,
an equities analyst at Morgan Joseph who participated in the call and
described it as “very sober.”

“They’re admitting their mistakes and they’re trying to modify their
ways. Assuming they can do this, it’s a step-change in how this
company has been operated. As far as I’m concerned they’ve been a
pretty arrogant bunch,” Rentschler said of the company, especially in
its relationships with distributors and end-users on the farm.

“They’ve had a lot of swagger — a do-it-my-way-or-hit-the-highway-
type attitude. They say now that’s going to stop.”

April: we’ll see if this is just another propaganda shot at working their shares back up. Farmers are bowing out of their technologies this year, too many people are now anti-GMO, and a host of other reasons are likely why this article has appeared. Can’t imagine Hugh Grant bowing to anything, but I do think we will see all versions of softer press releases from them. Not sure it will reflect the inner workings of the corporation though: you can say anything on paper: it’s harder to actually DO it. Remember: don’t let those shareholders down: must profit at all costs!
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Study shows GMO crops ‘can cause liver and kidney damage’

Fresh fears were raised over GM crops yesterday after a study showed they can cause liver and kidney damage.

According to the research, animals fed on three strains of genetically modified maize created by the U.S. biotech firm Monsanto suffered signs of organ damage after just three months.

The findings only came to light after Monsanto was forced to publish its raw data on safety tests by anti-GM campaigners.

They add to the evidence that GM crops may damage health as well as be harmful to the environment.

The figures released by Monsanto were examined by French researcher Dr Gilles-Eric Seralini, from the University of Caen.

Yesterday he called for more studies to check for long-term organ damage.

‘What we’ve shown is clearly not proof of toxicity, but signs of toxicity,’ he told New Scientist magazine. ‘I’m sure there’s no acute toxicity but who’s to say there are no chronic effects?’

The experiments were carried out by Monsanto researchers on three strains of GM maize. Two of the varieties contained genes for the Bt protein which protects the plant against the corn borer pest, while a third was genetically modified to be resistant to the weedkiller glyphosate. All three strains are widely grown in , while one is the only GM crop grown in , mostly in .

Monsanto only released the raw data after a legal challenge from , the Swedish Board of Agriculture and French anti- GM campaigners.

Dr Seralini concluded that rats which ate the GM maize had ‘ statistically significant’ signs of liver and kidney damage. Each strain was linked to unusual concentrations of hormones in the blood and urine of rats fed the maize for three months, compared to rats given a non-GM diet.

The higher hormone levels suggest that animals’ livers and kidneys are not working properly.

Female rats fed one of the strains also had higher blood sugar levels and raised levels of fatty substances caused triglycerides, Dr Seralini reported in the International Journal of Microbiology.

The analysis concluded: ‘These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown.’

Monsanto claimed the analysis of its data was ‘based on faulty analytical methods and reasoning, and does not call into question the safety findings for these products’.

Farmers reject high price of Monsanto seeds

From: Lucy Sharratt – CBAN Coordinator: coordinator@cban.ca

Monsanto earnings down, scraps profit target – farmers reject high priced GE seeds

Monsanto’s earnings disappoint – abandon target to double profits in 5 years – Farmers don’t buy Monsanto’s high prices.

Monsanto’s second quarter earnings did not match their projections, though the company is still robust (some were expecting worse results). Here are summary points from the below news:

– 19% drop in fiscal second quarter earnings, scrapped its target to double profit in 5 years.
– Monsanto shares have fallen about 15% this year.
– Equities analyst refers to Monsanto’s arrogance, its ambitious growth projections were unrealistic.
– Farmers refusing to pay new high price for Monsanto’s eight trait GE corn “SmartStax”  $75/bag http://www.cban.ca/corn
– Farmers also refusing to pay high prices for Roundup Ready2 technology.
– Monsanto’s claims to higher yield not substantiated with third-party data.
– Monsanto now reducing prices, heavily discounting SmartStax = “penetration pricing” to gain market share.

For more info on Monsanto: http://www.cban.ca/monsanto

You can write a letter from CBAN’s website to the Minister of Health asking her to withdraw approval for Monsanto’s “SmartStax” corn: http://www.cban.ca/corn

Deconstructing Dinner audio on GE Alfalfa and Wheat

Deconstructing Dinner is a web radio show from Nelson BC, a GE free zone.

This audio has over an hour of debate on Alex Atamanenko’s Bill C-474 that amends the seed act. There needs to be a mechanism in place to protect them from GE contamination of Non-GE crops and shipments. Alfalfa and wheat are the two main crops in question: what will happen to organic crops once GE is allowed in to Canada?

Deconstructing Dinner ‘deconstructs’ the debate as it goes along. Good reference for anyone wanting better information on this Bill.

Mainstream Media “Vanity Fair” blasts Monsanto

April: In a very long and comprehensive report, Vanity Fair has blasted Monsanto and “friends”. In this lengthy article you will get a wide scope of the issues and history behind the giant. Don’t be alarmed at the end: we can take this company out in less than a year if only 10% of us pull together (see at article end).

Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear

Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics–ruthless legal battles against small farmers–is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.

Gary Rinehart clearly remembers the summer day in 2002 when the stranger walked in and issued his threat. Rinehart was behind the counter of the Square Deal, his “old-time country store,” as he calls it, on the fading town square of Eagleville, Missouri, a tiny farm community 100 miles north of Kansas City.

The Square Deal is a fixture in Eagleville, a place where farmers and townspeople can go for lightbulbs, greeting cards, hunting gear, ice cream, aspirin, and dozens of other small items without having to drive to a big-box store in Bethany, the county seat, 15 miles down Interstate 35.

Everyone knows Rinehart, who was born and raised in the area and runs one of Eagleville’s few surviving businesses. The stranger came up to the counter and asked for him by name.

“Well, that’s me,” said Rinehart.

As Rinehart would recall, the man began verbally attacking him, saying he had proof that Rinehart had planted Monsanto’s genetically modified (G.M.) soybeans in violation of the company’s patent. Better come clean and settle with Monsanto, Rinehart says the man told him—or face the consequences.

Rinehart was incredulous, listening to the words as puzzled customers and employees looked on. Like many others in rural America, Rinehart knew of Monsanto’s fierce reputation for enforcing its patents and suing anyone who allegedly violated them. But Rinehart wasn’t a farmer. He wasn’t a seed dealer. He hadn’t planted any seeds or sold any seeds. He owned a small—a really small—country store in a town of 350 people. He was angry that somebody could just barge into the store and embarrass him in front of everyone. “It made me and my business look bad,” he says. Rinehart says he told the intruder, “You got the wrong guy.”

When the stranger persisted, Rinehart showed him the door. On the way out the man kept making threats. Rinehart says he can’t remember the exact words, but they were to the effect of: “Monsanto is big. You can’t win. We will get you. You will pay.”

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Researchers banned from studying Genetically Modified seeds

April: This is an important issue around GM foods and crops. An independent researcher (such as myself) cannot study Monsanto products. If you want to do an environmental study, you have to sign a contract first, and Monsanto has to approve the study before it’s published. There is no “freedom of study”.

How many of you out there knew this? Does this affect your impression of GM foods?

The following article sheds some light on this.

Under wraps
NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY, VOLUME 27, NUMBER 10, October 2009

Click to access Biotech_crop_research_restrictions_Oct_2009.pdf

*Are the crop industry’s strong-arm tactics and close-fisted attitude to sharing seeds holding back independent research and undermining public acceptance of transgenic crops? Emily Waltz investigates.

The increasingly fractious relationship between public sector researchers and the biotech seed industry has come into the spotlight in recent months. In July, several leading seed companies met with a group of entomologists, who earlier in the year had lodged a public complaint with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over restricted access to materials. In a letter to the EPA, the 26 public sector scientists complained that crop developers are curbing their rights to study commercial biotech crops. “No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions involving these crops [because of company-imposed restrictions],” they wrote.

In turn, the seed companies have expressed surprise at the outcry, claiming the issue is being overblown. And even though the July meeting, organized by the American Seed Trade Association in Alexandria, Virginia, did result in the writing of a set of principles for carrying out this research, the seed companies are under no compunction to follow them. “From the researchers’ perspective, the key for this meeting was opening up communication to discuss the problem,” says Ken Ostlie, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, who signed the complaint. “It will be interesting to see how companies implement the principles they agreed upon.”

What is clear is that the seed industry is perceived as highly secretive and reluctant to share its products with scientists. This is fueling the view that companies have something to hide.

Who’s in control?

It’s no secret that the seed industry has the power to shape the information available on biotech crops, referred to variously as genetically engineered or genetically modified (GM) crops. Commercial entities developed nearly all of the crops on the US market, and their ownership of the proprietary technology allows them to decide who studies the crops and how. “Industry is completely driving the bus,” says Christian Krupke, an entomologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
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Bill C-474 Results and Action Updates

Bill C-474 Results and Action Updates: Your action made a difference! – Lucy Sharratt – CBAN Coordinator

Thank you and congratulations to everyone who wrote letters to your  MPs! Bill C-474 lives another day, thanks to you!

Your actions made sure this Bill was not defeated yesterday, instead
it will to be debated one more time before you MP votes! This vote
could take place in April, or sooner.

What happened and what does it mean?

Last night, MPs debated Bill C-474 for one hour. Support for the Bill
was not strong enough to fast-track the Bill to debate in the
Agriculture Committee but the debate in the House of Commons will
continue – this is because the Liberal Party essentially spoke in
opposition to the Bill but left the door open to more debate. There
will be another hour of debate in April (or sooner) followed by a vote
on the Bill. If MPs vote for the Bill it will go to the Agriculture
Committee for study and amendments. If MPs vote against the Bill, the
Bill dies.  You can see CBAN’s unofficial notes from the debate at http://www.cban.ca/Take-Action/Act-Now/Bill-C-474-Debate-and-Results-Blog
You will see that the Liberal Party based their position on
incorrect information about GE flax and how the contamination crisis
happened. (We will send more info soon)

Why is Bill C-474 still in “second reading”?:  The Liberal Party is
not ready to commit enough support to Bill C-474. (Your action over
the next weeks could convince them.)
The Conservative Party is opposed to Bill C-474 – Conservative MP
David Anderson (Saskatchewan) called the Bill “anti-farmer” – he is
Assistant Agriculture Critic and is Parliamentary Secretary to the
Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board.

You are encouraged to write your MP a second time to tell them you
were following the debate – CBAN will provide more information soon.

Your actions will continue to make a difference.  Here are the great
actions you have taken so far! :
2193 letters were sent to MPs through the CBAN website!
620 signatures were delivered to the constituency office of Michael
Ignatieff, Leader of the Official Opposition, in Toronto.
154 signatures on petitions were presented to the office of Larry
Miller Conservative MP and Chair of the Agriculture Committee – Larry
Miller spoke against the Bill but took a more reasoned approach than
MP David Anderson who said that the Bill was “anti-farmer”
90 signatures were sent to Hon. John Duncan, Conservative MP Vancouver
Island North.
92 signatures were presented to Conservative Ontario MP Pierre
Poilievre (Nepean-Carleton), Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime
Minister
150 signatures went to the constituency office of Russ Hiebert,
Conservative MP in BC (South Surrey-White Rock).
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Reason triumphs over Bt brinjal!

February 23, 2010

By embargoing Bt brinjal, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh may have done a greater service to democracy than he intended, says Praful Bidwai.

April: Why can’t our governments take a page from India? Although North America is fairly entrenched in GM crops, this story does offer hope to those of us that actively march against GMO. India is fighting for their right to choose what to grow, and won’t allow the government to cease their voices. Bt Cotton’s failure was good timing….

India has done something unusual in defying the long-established trend of capitulating to corporate power.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh must be complimented for imposing a moratorium on the commercial release of genetically modified (GM) brinjal (or baigan, also called aubergine and eggplant) developed by Mahyco-Monsanto in collaboration with two Indian agricultural universities.

He deserves encomiums for consulting stakeholders in major brinjal-producing states like West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. This public consultation approach sets a good precedent. It deserves to become a model for governmental decision-making on all issues that concern people’s livelihoods.

To appreciate the moratorium rationally, one need not go as far as former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology P M Bhargava did in euphorically describing it as “the single most important decision taken by any minister since Independence”.

Yet, it couldn’t have been easy to take in the face of feverish lobbying by Monsanto, one of the world’s most powerful multinationals.

Monsanto, which controls 84 per cent of the global GM seeds market and has a long reach in the United States and Indian governments, lobbied for Bt brinjal in league with other biotechnology companies and groups of plant breeders with a stake in developing GM foods.

They were backed by major sections of the corporate media which fervently campaigned for Bt brinjal and celebrated all GM technology as safe and unproblematic and as the key to India’s food security.

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Tomorrow Bill C-474 is Debated in Canada!

Tomorrow, Wednesday March 17, 5:30 Bill C-474 will be debated in the  House of Commons. You can watch live at http://www.cpac.ca or follow http://www.cban.ca/474result for commentary and updates! Please continue to send your letters. Please see below today’s press releases.

PRESS RELEASE Ottawa. Tuesday, March 16, 2010

GE Crops: Parliament to debate the need for export market acceptance  before commercial release

Tomorrow, Parliament will debate Private Members Bill C-474 to require
that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted
before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.”

“The Bill is necessary to protect farmers from economic harm caused by
the release of GE seeds that are not approved in our export markets,”
said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action
Network, a coalition of 17 groups.
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Controversy Grows Over Brier Corporate Sponsor Monsanto

If anyone would like to “correct” the Canadian Curling
Association, you can write  to Greg Stremlaw, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Curling Association 613-834-2076, ext 117

gstremlaw@curling.ca 1660 Vimont Court Cumberland, Ontario K4A 4J4

(Please, please email this man)

Halifax, Thursday, March 11, 2010 “The corporate sponsor of this
week’s Brier, biotechnology company Monsanto, is under intense
scrutiny from environmental, consumer and farmer groups in Nova
Scotia, and across Canada and the world.

“Many curling fans might be shocked to learn that the Brier sponsor
Monsanto is at the centre of farmer and consumer battles over
genetically engineered seeds and increasing corporate control in
farming,” said Marla MacLeod of Ecology Action Centre, a Nova Scotia-
wide environmental group. “We are saddened that the great Brier
championship is now associated with this relentlessly controversial
company,” said MacLeod.
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Monsanto’s GE alfalfa closer to U.S. approval & sales

Canadian farmer and consumer groups responded to an invitation to comment on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement created by the United States Department of Agriculture. The seed was first approved in 2005.
Saskatoon, Sask. – Canadian groups submitted comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) completed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in hopes of dissuading approval of Monsanto’s GE alfalfa. The alfalfa, originally approved in 2005, was taken off the market by a court order after a coalition of groups took the USDA to court. The groups won a temporary ban of the release of the seed to the market, pending an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be prepared by the USDA. Now that the USDA has prepared the court required Draft EIS, the public was allowed time to comment, although Wednesday was the last day for submissions. The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) issued a press release Wednesday to inform Canadians that at least three Canadian groups submitted

“… highly critical analyses to the USDA. They argue that GE alfalfa plantings in the U.S. would contaminate Canadian alfalfa and cause serious harm to Canadian farmers and the environment.”

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Very informative video on GM issues

This video is 1:25 long, but it has various opinions and sides to the GM debate: it’s interesting how the Pro-GM debate is starting to sound very weak, and amazes me that they still believe it’s the only way for us to eat and will feed the world. Give it up guys, we KNOW that’s just not happening.

GM TV

Monsanto acknowledges Bt Cotton has failed

The ongoing debate on biotechnology crops in India took a new turn on Friday when American seed firm Monsanto disclosed that cotton pest–pink bollworm–has developed resistance to its much-touted Bt cotton variety in Gujarat.

The company has reported to the regulator, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), that pink bollworm has developed resistance to its genetically modified (GM) cotton variety, Bollgard I, in Amreli, Bhavnagar, Junagarh and Rajkot districts in Gujarat.

This was detected by the company during field monitoring in the 2009 cotton season.

The Bt cotton variety in question was developed using a gene–Cry1AC–derived from soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. It was supposed to be resistant to pest attacks. But, of late, the pest has developed resistance to the gene.

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