In early July, on the sleepy Friday after Independence Day, the USDA quietly signaled its intention to green-light a new genetically engineered soybean seed from Dow AgroSciences. The product is designed to produce soy plants that withstand 2,4-D, a highly toxic herbicide (and, famously, the less toxic component in the notorious Vietnam War-era defoliant Agent Orange). Continue reading →
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 →
THE world’s major biotechnology companies have set up a complaints process for countries with concerns over the impact of GM crops.
The six companies – BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto, and Syngenta – have formed “The Compact”, which they claim is a “clearly defined, efficient, and fair” process for countries to file and process claims related to damage to biological diversity caused by genetically modified organisms.
Peak group CropLife International said the compact, which had been developed over the past two years, was now in force under the umbrella of an independent mediation and arbitration framework administered in The Hague.
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.
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.
NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY, VOLUME 27, NUMBER 10, October 2009
*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. Continue reading →
You may recall from previous posts the role Michael Taylor played in affecting your food. As of January 2010, the new Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the FDA is none other than Michael R. Taylor. Good ole’ Mike. Mikey mike mike. The Mikester. Mikemonger. The Mike-man makin’ messages.
One may feel a special closeness – a bond even – with this guy. After all, if you recall, in November 1993 during the Clinton administration, while in the FDA, he helped put Bovine Growth Hormone into your milk. Taylor was the leader (I use that word loosely) in banning the labeling of GM products. Oh, and for more than ten years he worked for Monsanto. He was intimately involved in some bad food policy, which makes you, the consumer, intimately involved with the outcome of his decisions.
Here’s some scoop on Mike Taylor and other government associations with Monsanto
In 1994, the FDA, while in the sack with Monsanto put out a message to grocery stores and dairy farmers who weren’t using rBGH:
Do not label milk as free of the hormone.
Shortly thereafter (within a matter of weeks) Monsanto sued two milk processors that labeled milk as free of the hormone according to a New York Times article.
CBAN is coordinating new global action against GM wheat – Please
consider donating to support our campaign www.cban.ca/donate Thank you.
You can see the full report about market impacts in the US at http://www.worc.org/GM-Wheat Biotech wheat could slam U.S. wheat prices -report
Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:50pm EST * European Union and Japan opposed to biotech wheat
* Lost exports could send U.S. spring wheat down 40 pct
By Carey Gillam
CHICAGO, Jan 27 (Reuters) – U.S. wheat prices could fall by 40 percent
or more if industry efforts to develop a biotech wheat succeed,
according to an industry report issued on Wednesday.
The report, issued by the Western Organization of Resource Councils, a
farmer and rancher group, cited persistent opposition to genetically
modified wheat in Europe, Japan, and other Asian countries. It said
buyers in those countries probably would shift purchases away from the
United States, if a biotech wheat was commercialized here.
The price of U.S. hard red spring wheat would fall 40 percent, the
report predicted, and the price of durum wheat would drop 57 percent.
“Introduction of genetically modified wheat in the United States is a
risky proposition,” said the report’s author, industry consultant Neal
Blue, a former research economist at Ohio State University.
Any biotech wheat is still years from commercialization as companies
like Monsanto Co, Dow AgroSciences, and others research various
improvements to the crop through genetic modifications and other means.