Tag Archives: Biotech Companies

Views on the GE corn/cancer study from a European MEP

GMOs: A review and historical approach
Corinne Lepage MEP
Huffington Post, 24 Sept 2012
Article in French: http://www.huffingtonpost.fr/corinne-lepage/ogm-une-etude-et-une-demarche-historiques_b_1907658.html?utm_hp_ref=france
English translation by GMWatch

Admittedly, I am biased. I founded CRIIGEN in 1999 because I needed to know. My government experience gave me serious doubts about GMOs. My scepticism was shared by the Prime Minister Alain Juppe, who had signed a moratorium on GMOs in 1997. Subsequently, as President of CRIIGEN, I wanted, followed, and supported the study by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini on NK603 maize. Continue reading

CBAN press release on the study linking GE corn to cancer

Press Release: Unprecedented Safety Study Finds Harm from GM Corn
September 20, 2012, Ottawa. The first-ever GM food safety study to test over the entire life span of laboratory rats (2 years) was published yesterday and found serious health impacts from eating Monsanto’s genetically engineered (also called genetically modified or GM) corn NK603, which was approved in Canada in 2001. The peer-reviewed study also tested the impacts of consuming residues of Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, the widest selling herbicide in the world. Continue reading

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.

Some thoughts from an organic farmer on the US farm bill

Thierry Vrain is an organic farmer in Comox, BC. Here are his thoughts on the US farm bill Continue reading

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

New CBAN movie on the dangers of GE alfalfa

Take action now, watch the movie and click on the link below to email the Federal Minister of Agriculture

Great animated video on GM Alfalfa! 3-minute action-packed educational video on genetically modified alfalfa now posted!
Watch Now! <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlbtIEVF77Q&context=C383a5d6ADOEgsToPDskLqMXdLgQDBu5FNEPcMBWBW>Follow the bee as she finds out about Monsanto’s plans for genetically modified alfalfa. GM alfalfa is not yet legal in Canada but this could change soon. Alfalfa is an important crop for family farms and for the production of many organic foods. Together, we can still stop GM alfalfa!

Take Action to Stop GM Alfalfa!1. Share and post the video. Screen it at your community events.

2. Send your letter to the Minister of Agriculture instantly from http://www.cban.ca/alfalfaaction1

3. Find more information and action – get more involved at http://www.cban.ca/alfalfa

4. Donate today at http://www.cban.ca/donateThis video was produced by the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network with support from:
The Big Carrot Natural Market Toronto www.thebigcarrot.ca
De Dell Seeds Incorporated www.dedellseeds.com
Green Being Farm www.greenbeingfarm.ca
Nature’s Path Foods www.naturespath.com
Organic Agriculture Protection Fund of the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate www.oapf.saskorganic.com
The Organic Council of Ontario www.organiccouncil.ca
Smiley Guy Studios www.smileyguy.com

Alfalfa growers do not need or want genetically modified (GM) alfalfa and have been trying to stop it for at least five years. Organic food and farming in North America is under immediate threat from GM alfalfa. Conventional farmers will also lose their markets. The introduction of Monsanto’s GM herbicide tolerant (Roundup Ready) alfalfa would have serious negative impacts on many different types of farmers and farming systems. Because alfalfa is a perennial crop pollinated by bees, GM contamination is inevitable. GM alfalfa was actually approved in Canada in 2005 but still needs to go through one more step before it can be legally sold as seed in Canada. Protect family farms, join the campaign to stop GM alfalfa! For more information and action see http://www.cban.ca/alfalfa

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

Seeds of destruction

This book comes recommended by an organic farmer on Vancouver Island

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25303

Biotech giants promoting dangerous pesticides?

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/1122020/monsanto_bayer_and_dow_face_trial_for_systematic_human_rights_abuses.htmlThe world’s major agrochemical companies, Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont and BASF, will face a public tribunal in early December accused of systematic human rights violations. Continue reading

Review of glysophate on the books

By Deniza Gertsberg | November 21st, 2011 | 0 Comments

Glyphosate, the non-selective herbicide that is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup formula, is up for a routine safety review in the United States and Canada. The herbicide has been used in eliminating weeds in soybeans, corn, cotton, as well as for lawn and garden maintenance since the early 1970s. “More than 2 billion lbs of herbicide were used globally in 2007, with one quarter of that total – 531 million lbs – used in the United States in that timeframe, according to a report issued in February by the EPA,” recently reported Reuters. Since at least 1996, the thirst for glyphosate was fueled in large measure by the development of glyphosate tolerant crops (e.g., Monsanto’s Roundup Ready lines), which are able to withstand continued application of this herbicide. Continue reading

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

West Virginia sues Monsanto over soybean probe

St. Louis Business Journal, USA, Kelsey Volkmann

West Virginia’s attorney general sued Monsanto on Monday, saying the agritech giant refuses to cooperate with his office’s investigation of soybeans genetically modified to withstand the company’s Roundup weedkiller.

Attorney General Darrell McGraw’s suit asks the court to prohibit Monsanto from selling any of its products in West Virginia until it fully complies with the subpoena.

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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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Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government shuts down debate on Biotech harm to farmers

April: We are at a point where we need every human in Canada (and abroad) to let the Conservative (and Liberal) government know we are tired of being pushed out of decisions that affect us! Please take action today: we are running out of time and please, spread this message to all you know. This is a classic form of force over people: is this the world you want?

You can take action – www.cban.ca/474

For Immediate Release

Conservatives Shut Down Debate on Biotech Harm to Farmers

Parliamentary hearings canceled to protect biotechnology corporations

October 28, 2010, Ottawa – Today, House of Commons Agriculture
Committee hearings on Private Members Bill C-474 – dealing with the
issue of genetic engineering – were canceled and invited witnesses
were turned away because, last night, Conservative Members of
Parliament voted down a motion to extend debate on the Bill. The
motion to extend the debate by 30 days was defeated by just 4 votes.

Bill C-474 would support 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.”

“The Conservatives ended the debate in order to protect the biotech
industry from any more scrutiny,” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. “This Bill spurred the first real debate in Parliament over the negative impacts of genetically engineered crops and that’s why Conservatives shut it down.”

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The Ontarion | A pig of two tales: Enviropig

The Ontarion | Enviropig: invention continues to be a heavily debated issue for professors, students and Guelphites alike: Kelsey Rideout: The issue of genetically modified meat into our food supply.

via The Ontarion | A pig of two tales 
.

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.”

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Are the Dinosaurs moving towards extinction?

(Thank you Barron’s🙂

Monsanto’s Tough Week: Now It’s Birth Defects

By Tiernan Ray

Tough week for Monsanto (MON). Tuesday, word went around that the company’s “SmartStax” seeds were yielding less in Iowa’s corn harvest than expected. That prompted analysts, including Goldman Sachs, to cut their price targets on the stock.

Today, it’s the rumor that the company’s herbicide, “Roundup,” could be causing birth defects, based on a study released by researchers in Argentina, and published in the August issue of the academic journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

The study itself focuses broadly on herbicides containing glyphosate, but F. William Engdahl over at Global Research lays out the explicit connection to Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide, writing:

Widespread reports of human malformations began to be reported in Argentina beginning 2002, two years after widespread aerial spraying of Roundup and planting of [Roundup Ready] Soybeans was begun. The test animals used by Carrascoís group share similar developmental mechanisms with humans. The authors concluded that the results ìraise concerns about the clinical findings from human offspring in populations exposed to Roundup in agricultural fields.î Carrasco added, ìThe toxicity classification of glyphosate is too low. In some cases this can be a powerful poison.î

(April: Let’s not fail to realize the crops/plants themselves contain pesticides within every living cell on the plant. Studies need to be done on this as well?)

Monsanto shares today ended down 9 cents at $47.91, which is actually pretty good considering the state of the broader market today.

Continue reading

GM Salmon: Chronological Order of Events

The following is a chronological order of events for those following the GM Salmon issue. This is a “hot” issue like Bill C-474. Your immediate action is called on to keep this fish out of the North American food chain, permanently.

Posted: October 4: Organic Consumer’s Association

The 10 Freakiest Things About Frankenfish

Here’s the Organic Consumers Association’s latest Huffington Post blog on GMO salmon:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ronnie-cummins/10-freakiest-things-about_b_737267.html

10. According to the FDA, Frankenfish Aren’t Animals, They’re “Animal Drugs”

Normally, a veterinary drug would be used for health purposes, but there’s no therapeutic benefit associated with jacking up an Atlantic salmon with the genes of a Chinook salmon and the eel-like ocean pout to make it grow twice as fast.

The biotech industry pushed FDA to treat genetically engineered animals like drugs because they knew the drug evaluation process would keep companies’ “proprietary” information secret, while limiting public participation and downplaying food safety concerns.

9. The GMO Part of the GMO Salmon Isn’t Being Safety Tested

Since 1992, the FDA has operated under the legal fiction created by the Bush-Quayle Administration that there is no risk associated with the human consumption of genetically engineered plants and animals. The FDA explains that DNA is Generally Recognized as Safe, so genetically engineered DNA is safe, too, and it doesn’t have to be safety tested.

8. Frankenfish DNA Could Change the Bacteria of Your Gut

A human study conducted by the UK’s Food Standards Agency found that consuming genetically engineered soy can result in “horizontal gene transfer,” where the bacteria of the gut takes up the soy’s modified DNA. With GMO salmon, the bacteria of our digestive tracks could take up the engineered salmon genes, but the FDA isn’t looking into whether this would happen or how it might effect our health, because…

7. If It Swims Like a Salmon, FDA Says It’s Safe to Eat

Instead of reviewing the safety of consuming genetically engineered salmon DNA, the FDA food safety review is a simple quacks-like-a-duck-style comparison of genetically engineered and normal salmon.

6. FDA Lets the Frankenfish Company Test Its Own Product’s Safety

The FDA’s food safety review of GMO salmon consists of collecting data produced by AquaBounty, the company that wants to sell it. Not surprisingly, that data is seriously flawed with bias and bad science.

5. Frankenfish Is More Carcinogenic

GMO salmon has 40% more IGF1, a hormone linked to prostate, breast and colon cancers in humans.

4. Frankenfish Is Less Nutritious

GMO salmon has the lowest omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of all the salmon in the studies FDA reviewed, greatly reducing the health benefits of associated with eating salmon.

3. Frankenfish Is More Allergenic

GE salmon have mean allergenic potencies that are 20% and 52% higher than normal salmon, increasing the risk of potentially deadly allergic reactions.

2. GMOs Can Mess a Fish Up!

The FDA notes evidence of “increased frequency of skeletal malformations, and increased prevalence of jaw erosions and multi-systemic, focal inflammation” in the tissues of GMO salmon, but dismisses these findings as “within the range observed in rapid growth phenotypes of non-genetically engineered Atlantic salmon.”

Turns out “normal” factory farmed salmon selected for rapid growth and subjected to the physiological stress of intensive production are already afflicted with “screamer disease,” which deforms 80% of Chilean salmon, and “humpback” spinal compression, found in 70% of Norwegian salmon operations.

Thanks, FDA, for letting us know that factory farmed salmon are so messed up! But, that’s no reason to turn them into Frankenfish!

But the freakiest thing about all of this is…

1. The Government Wants More Transgenic Fish and Less Wild Fish

The main justification for GMO salmon is that it could reduce the pressure on wild fish stocks, but consumption isn’t the primary pressure on wild salmon, destruction of their habitat is. The spawning grounds of wild salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska, are threatened by plans for Pebble Mine, which would be the largest open-pit copper and gold mine in the US. A disaster at Pebble Mine could mean the destruction of a quarter of a billion pounds of salmon, about the same amount of GMO salmon AquaBounty hopes to produce. The EPA could stop Pebble Mine through the Clean Water Act but has failed to act.

October 1, 2010: Biotech Gets Fishy with GE Salmon
Some say genetic engineering was always fishy, but now the fish
themselves are engineered.

For 15 years genetically engineered (GE, also called genetically
modified or GM) canola, corn, and soy ingredients (and recently, some
GE sugar) proliferated in processed foods in North America. (www.cban.ca/gefoods) Now salmon is the next genetically engineered food that threatens to be introduced to market.

AquaBounty, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company, is asking the
US to approve its genetically engineered Atlantic salmon for human
consumption, and says it will ask for approval soon in Canada as well.
The company claims its “AquAdvantage” salmon grow to market-size twice
as fast as other farmed salmon. That’s because the Atlantic salmon are
engineered with a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon, and genetic
material from ocean pout (an eel-like creature). The fish produce
growth hormone throughout the year, rather than just for 3 months as
they would normally.

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

AquaBounty GMO Salmon paid for by Canadian Taxpayers

April: it seems our Canadian government gave AquaBounty a decent chunk of cash to keep it’s GMO salmon project afloat – and AquaBounty is an American Corporation: the following are 2 articles with various ‘slants’ on this fishy tale…

Another (GMO) Fish Tale From Aqua Bounty

C Margulis
Corporate Crime Daily, January 27 2010
http://corporatecrime.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/another-gmo-fish-tale-from-aqua-bounty/
Earlier this month, genetically engineered (GMO) salmon produced by the US-company Aqua Bounty were reportedly condemned in Panama, due to fears that the super-salmon could escape and wreak havoc on natural fish populations. The company later claimed the report was inaccurate, but company documents  acknowledge that its Panamanian operation was established in 2008 with the goal of “conducting commercial trials of the Company’s AquAdvantage salmon.”

Whatever the situation in Panama, concerns about the impending approval of genetically engineered (GMO) salmon are nothing new (nor are concerns about farmed salmon in general: Greenpeace just announced that mega-retailer Target will stop selling all farmed salmon). An article last February [2009] noted that Aqua Bounty was “soon” expecting FDA approval for the GMO salmon, which grows more rapidly than its natural counterpart.

Aqua Bounty has been seeking FDA approval since 1996, and has repeatedly claimed approval was just around the corner. In 2003, company founder and then-CEO Elliot Entis told Business Week that he hoped for FDA approval within a year. In 2004, another report stated the company was looking for approval by the end of the year. Another Business Week story in 2006 noted the fish could be on the market “as early as 2008.”

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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.”

Continue reading

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.

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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.”

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Robbins Geller LLP Files Class Action Suit against Monsanto Company

BOCA RATON, Fla., Jul 29, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP (“Robbins Geller”) (http://www.rgrdlaw.com/cases/monsanto/) today announced that a class action has been commenced on behalf of an institutional investor in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on behalf of purchasers of the common stock of Monsanto Company (“Monsanto” or the “Company”) /quotes/comstock/13*!mon/quotes/nls/mon (MON 57.84, -0.07, -0.12%) between January 7, 2009 and May 27, 2010, inclusive (the “Class Period”), seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than 60 days from today. If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please contact plaintiff’s counsel, David J. George of Robbins Geller at 800/449-4900 or 619/231-1058, or via e-mail at djr@rgrdlaw.com. If you are a member of this Class, you can view a copy of the complaint as filed or join this class action online at http://www.rgrdlaw.com/cases/monsanto/. Any member of the putative class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.

The complaint charges Monsanto and certain of its officers and executives with violations of the Exchange Act. Monsanto is a provider of agricultural products for farmers including seeds, biotechnology trait products, and herbicides, most notably Roundup(R).

The complaint alleges that, throughout the Class Period, defendants failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company’s true financial condition, business and prospects. Specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants failed to disclose: (i) that demand for the Company’s herbicide products was substantially declining as competition from Chinese producers of generic glyphosate products was causing a collapse in the prices of glyphosate products; (ii) that the Company would be unable to maintain herbicide prices as defendants knew that they had to cut prices significantly to be able to compete with the avalanche of generic herbicide products that were entering the market; and (iii) that, as a result of the foregoing, defendants’ positive statements about the Company, its earnings, prospects and financial condition were lacking in a reasonable basis and materially misleading.

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Modified Corn Seeds Sow Doubts

ENVIRONMENT REPORTER

Next spring, farmers in Canada will be able to sow one of the most complicated genetically engineered plants ever designed, a futuristic type of corn containing eight foreign genes.

With so much crammed into one seed, the modified corn will be able to confer multiple benefits, such as resistance to corn borers and rootworms, two caterpillar-like pests that infest the valuable grain crop, as well as withstanding applications of glyphosate, a weed killer better known by its commercial name, Roundup.

But a controversy has arisen over the new seeds, which were approved for use last month by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency: Health Canada hasn’t assessed their safety.

The health agency said in response to questions from The Globe and Mail that it didn’t have to do so, because it is relying on the two companies making the seeds, agriculture giants Monsanto Co. and Dow AgroSciences LLC, to flag any safety concerns. But the companies haven’t tested the seeds either, because they say they aren’t required to.

The companies have checked the safety of each of the eight genes one at a time in individual corn plants, but haven’t done so when they combined the foreign matter together in one seed, says Trish Jordan, a spokesperson for Monsanto Canada Inc.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

MP Gerry Ritz responds to my email!

June 22, 2010

April: Canadian CP MP Gerry Ritz responded to my email to our Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. Apparently, she forwarded it to him. Funny how my emails get circulated so quickly. I’m posting this as I am an advocate of transparency and the truth. I’m just glad he knows who I am.

Quote: 147942

Ms. April Reeves

Director, GE Free BC

Dear Ms. Reeves:

I am writing in response to your email to the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, regarding the labelling of biotechnology-derived foods. I appreciate being made aware of your further views.

As I indicated in my reply to you of February 19, 2010, Canada has one of the most stringent and rigorous regulatory systems in the world. This extends to crops or foods that are modified or contain genetic modification—all of which must undergo a comprehensive science-based approval process involving both Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

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Monsanto’s Spin and What Really Happened In the Supreme Court

Please see below the very clear article by Andy Kimbrell of the Center for
Food Safety in Huffington Post, explaining the difference between
Monsanto’s spin and the reality of the US Supreme Court decision against
Monsanto’s GM alfalfa. For more information please also see
www.truefoodnow.org

(You can also write your MP at http://www.cban.ca/474action )

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-kimbrell/supreme-court-case-a-defe_b_620087.html

It should be no surprise that Monsanto’s PR machine is working hard to spin
the truth in this morning’s decision in the first-ever Supreme Court case on
genetically engineered crops (*Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms*). Despite
what the biotech seed giant is claiming, today’s ruling isn’t close to the
victory they were hoping for.

High court ruled that the ban on GMO alfalfa remains intact, and that the planting and sale of GMO alfalfa remains illegal.

The 7-1 decision issued today by the Supreme Court was on the appeal of the
Center for Food Safety’s (CFS) successful suit, which resulted in a ban on
GMO alfalfa. And, while the High Court ruled in favor of Monsanto by
reversing an injunction that was part of the lower court’s decision, more
importantly, it also ruled that the ban on GMO alfalfa remains intact, and
that the planting and sale of GMO alfalfa remains illegal.

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

Genetically modified ‘Sick pigs’ created to cure human diseases

April: this has to be the most disgusting thing I’ve come across in my GMO “career”. As you read this remember one very important issue: Drug companies have NO intention of finding “CURES” for anything. It’s in their interests to find drugs that sustain the sick people, not cures. God help them if someone actually DID find a cure for these diseases they continue to make billions on. You can change it: eat organics, exercise and stay healthy. If there were no diseases, or at least a whole lot less, these drug idiots may have to be accountable somewhere, sometime.

Another thought for you all: what happens if one of these sick pigs gets out and breeds (I’m not talking about the drug scientists….).

London, June 17 (ANI): Scottish scientists, who created Dolly the cloned sheep, have now produced pigs that are genetically modified to suffer from incurable human diseases – so they can be used by drug companies to test new therapies for human diseases.

The team of researchers is trying to produce pigs, which are diseased with the lethal lung condition cystic fibrosis and an eye disease that leads to blindness in humans, The Scotsman has learned.

The highly controversial research is being carried out at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, famous for creating Dolly the cloned sheep.

If the team is successful, the diseased animals would be used by drug companies to test potential new gene therapies for the conditions.

The technique involves the use of viruses to carry chosen genes into fertilised eggs.

Once altered, the eggs are then implanted in surrogate females, so that theoretically animals are born with the genetic conditions.

The resulting pigs are a type of what is known as a transgenic animal – creatures that have inserted DNA that originated in a different species.

Already, to prove genes could be successfully inserted into animals using the technique, pigs have been produced at Roslin that carry a green fluorescent protein gene found naturally in jellyfish.

The animals have a greenish tinge in normal light and when viewed in blue light they glow.

This was done to provide the scientists with a genetic marker – a physical manifestation of how the pigs had been modified.

The cutting-edge research raises major ethical issues about harming animals intentionally for the benefit of humans. It has led to outrage from animal rights organisations.

In an interview, Dr Bruce Whitelaw, head of developmental biology at the Roslin Institute, admitted he had struggled with the idea of creating diseased animals purely to try to benefit humans.

“We are saying we will make these animals sick purely for our benefit,” the Scotsman quoted him as saying.

However, he believes his team has a “moral right” to give the technique a try.

His work will be the subject of a debate at Edinburgh Zoo on the ethics of genetically modifying animals.

Whitelaw said the pigs would be used as “models of the human diseases” to provide a better way to test potential treatments.

Existing options involve using mice, which he said were “inadequate”.

He believes there are theoretical reasons why pigs should be good models for human disease – because of many physical similarities, such as similar eye size.

However, he acknowledged that creating the diseased animals would “not necessarily” allow treatments to be developed.

But he said that, since the Roslin had managed to develop the techniques to modify the animals in this way, they should find out if it could help to find cures.

“We have this technology. It’s really important to try to see if it can help. It may not, in which case we should stop,” he said.

“I don’t think we should use this technology for something we can currently treat just so we can make the treatment slightly better, but we should use it for diseases that we don’t have treatments for,” he added.

Whitelaw believes it will take at least two years to produce the genetically modified pigs, and another two years to find out whether they could be treated. (ANI)

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.

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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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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:

Continue reading

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

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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