Tag Archives | GMO

‘Monsanto’s Dream': Pro-GMO DARK Act Comes to Congress

Calling the legislation "diabolical and deceptive," critics of Pompeo's bill have vowed a fight. (Photo: CT Senate Democrats/cc/flickr)

Calling the legislation “diabolical and deceptive,” critics of Pompeo’s bill have vowed a fight. (Photo: CT Senate Democrats/cc/flickr)

This was originally published on Common Dreams.

The battle over genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, reached the U.S. capital on Wednesday when news broke that Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo will reintroduce a bill that blocks states from requiring GMO labeling.

The legislation, dubbed by critics the Deny Americans the Right-to-Know or DARK Act, grants the Secretary of Health and Human Services sole authority to mandate GMO labeling and sets forth particular standards for any label that contains claims that GMOs were or were not used in the production of the food— hampering any attempts by the Food and Drug Administration to pass legislation on the federal level.

Further, the bill preempts any local or state requirement and thus would overturn existing laws in Vermont, Connecticut and Maine, which critics say is a direct attack on state sovereignty.

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Gates Foundation’s Seed Agenda in Africa ‘Another Form of Colonialism,’ Warns Protesters

Calling out a scheme to privatize Africa's seed resources, protesters in London picketed outside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday, March 23, 2015. (Photo: Global Justice Now/cc/flickr)

Calling out a scheme to privatize Africa’s seed resources, protesters in London picketed outside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday, March 23, 2015. (Photo: Global Justice Now/cc/flickr)

Originally Published on Common Dreams.

‘This neoliberal agenda of deregulation and privatization poses a serious threat to food sovereignty and the ability of food producers and consumers to define their own food systems and policies,’ says campaigners

Food sovereignty activists are shining a light on a closed-door meeting between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which are meeting in London on Monday with representatives of the biotechnology industry to discuss how to privatize the seed and agricultural markets of Africa.

Early Monday, protesters picketed outside the Gates Foundation’s London offices holding signs that called on the foundation to “free the seeds.” Some demonstrators handed out packets of open-pollinated seeds, which served as symbol of the “alternative to the corporate model promoted by USAID and BMGF.” Others smashed a piñata, which they said represented the “commercial control of seed systems;” thousands of the seeds which filled the pinata spilled across the office steps.

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Forbes Journalist Counters New York Times on GMO Food Claims

Moyan Brenn (CC BY 2.0)

Moyan Brenn (CC BY 2.0)

Christina Sarich via Nation of Change:

Beth Hoffman points out some deliciously pithy points about the scam that ‘science’ has perpetrated on the masses when it comes to GMO foods – just in time for a new round of propaganda being published by the corporate-owned media – the New York Times, Slate and Grist.

To get straight to the main course, Hoffman states:

“Let me be clear – I am not “afraid of science,” a claim that someone invariably writes at the end of an article like this one to try and discredit its argument.  I, like millions of people around the world, am against genetic engineering, but not because of the proven or refuted science behind it.

So the question is why?  Why am I part of a huge, and growing, group not willing to believe the “facts” (according to its proponents) about the benefits of genetic modification?  Why am I against the creation of Golden Rice, even if it may stop millions of children from going blind?

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Consumer Self-Defense: 12 Ways to Drive GMOs and Roundup off the Market

'Although Monsanto, industry scientists and corporate agribusiness claim that GMO crops and foods, and the chemicals that accompany them, are perfectly safe and therefore need no labeling or independent safety-testing, hundreds of independent scientists, that is, those not on the payroll of Monsanto or its minions, cite literally hundreds of studies showing that GMOs and their companion chemicals, such as Roundup, are extremely toxic. ' (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

‘Although Monsanto, industry scientists and corporate agribusiness claim that GMO crops and foods, and the chemicals that accompany them, are perfectly safe and therefore need no labeling or independent safety-testing, hundreds of independent scientists, that is, those not on the payroll of Monsanto or its minions, cite literally hundreds of studies showing that GMOs and their companion chemicals, such as Roundup, are extremely toxic.’ (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

Ronnie Cummins writes at Common Dreams:

“Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food,” said Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications. “Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” – New York Times, Oct. 25, 1998

“[GMO] Labeling advocates say the issue is about transparency, not safety. Scott Faber, head of the national Just Label It campaign, testified that consumers want to know what they are buying and how the food was produced.

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Monsanto Launches Massive Biotech Project With New ‘Superweeds Seeds’


Superweeds: A new threat to our food supply?

By Tara Dodrill via Inquisitr:

Monsanto is preparing to launch possibly its largest biotech project to date. The St. Louis-based company that produces the vast majority of seeds now available on the market is planning to produce “superweeds seeds.” As previously reported by the Inquisitr, superweeds are plaguing American farmers and causing crops to wither when dwarfed by the gigantic weeds.

For the past 15 years, many farmers have used GMO seeds that are genetically modified to be resistant to Roundup, a popular Monsanto chemical herbicide. Monsanto also makes the seeds, which are dubbed “Roundup Ready.” Increased exposure to chemical pesticides and to herbicide-resistant or genetically modified (GMO) crops is being blamed for the growth of the superweeds, by many farmers and researchers.

One weed, the Palmer amaranth pigweed, reportedly can grow 10 feet tall at an inch per day rate and possesses stems thick enough to damage agriculture equipment.

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Why GM Is The Natural Solution For Future Farming

Disinformation has run many stories about the perils of genetic engineering, especially with respect to agricultural crops. It’s important to understand what promoters of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are saying, however, so without endorsing it, we’re presenting Adam Rutherford’s essay in the Guardian:

Farming, by definition, is the opposite of natural. Nothing we eat could be described as “natural”, regardless of the marketing or labelling, whether it’s organic, or from Waitrose, Aldi or Abel & Cole. Breeding any organism for food, fuel, sport or for pets is effectively genetic modification – and we have been doing that for thousands of years. For example, a Granny Smith is a genetic hybrid of two other apples and even a blackberry plucked from a bramble is the product of a deeply ancient, seemingly natural but actually very human design – the hedgerow.

Granny Smith Apple.JPG

Granny Smith Apple by Nicole-Koehler (CC)

 

The crunchy flesh of an apple, or the grotesquely swollen udders – and even the black and white hide – of Holstein-Friesian cows are the result of carefully selecting genes and forcing them into subsequent generations.

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GMO mosquito plan sparks outcry in Florida

Ramón Portellano (CC BY 2.0)

Ramón Portellano (CC BY 2.0)

Kerry Sheridan via Phys.org:

A British company’s plan to unleash hordes of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida to reduce the threat of dengue fever and other diseases has sparked an outcry from fearful residents.

As of Friday, more than 145,000 people had signed a petition at change.org urging regulators to “say no” to allowing the tourist-friendly fishing and diving haven to become “a testing ground for these mutant bugs.”

The company, Oxitec, said it wants to try the technique there in order to reduce the non-native Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in south Florida and beyond.

“They are more than just a nuisance as they can spread serious diseases such as and chikungunya,” Oxitec said on its website.

The process involves inserting a gene into lab-grown, male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The added DNA makes it impossible for their offspring to survive.

Since the males do not bite—only the females do—the lab-grown males would be released to mate with wild females.

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Genetically Modified Mosquitoes May Be Set Loose In Florida

As if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wasn’t upsetting non-GMO activists enough already with its approvals of GM crops, it may now approve genetically modified mosquitoes from British biotech firm Oxitec. The goal is to combat the spread of the alarmingly painful and incurable chikungunya virus and dengue fever (a/k/a “break-bone fever”).

Aedes aegypti biting human.jpg

Aedes aegypti mosquito biting human skin.

 

“This is essentially using a mosquito as a drug to cure disease,” said Michael Doyle, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which is waiting to hear if the Food and Drug Administration will allow the experiment, ” reports AP.

However, as Smithsonian Magazine describes it, even putting aside the risk of the genetic modification, this is hardly a perfect solution:

…Oxitec has focused their efforts on dengue and had some success in small-scale fieldwork in Brazil and the Cayman Islands. And in April 2014, an Oxitec trial led by the Gorgas Institute in Panama released 60,000 genetically modified A.

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Hydroponic gardener to raise plants that produce valuable medicines

 

Bob Shaw, St. Paul Pioneer Press writes at Duluth News Tribune:

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — For Dave Roeser, it’s not just about salad anymore.

St. Paul’s award-winning hydroponic gardener will still grow vegetables but is adding medicinal plants. He plans to raise 100,000 genetically modified plants to produce medicine for cancer, flu and — potentially — Ebola.

“This is exciting,” said Roeser, a retired controller for Hewlett-Packard.

Roeser has been operating a Maplewood greenhouse to produce vegetables for his company, Garden Fresh Farms. He will continue growing vegetables in a new location in St. Paul but has co-founded a new company — MnPharm — to convert the Maplewood greenhouse into a biological drug factory.

Scientists — and Roeser — see great potential in using plants to produce vaccines.

That’s because vaccines traditionally have been made by the cumbersome process of injecting weakened germs into chicken eggs.

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How the People Can Outwit the Global Domination Plans of Agribusiness

In Texas, large fields are prepared for the next year's corn crop. (Photo: Daniel James/flickr/cc)

In Texas, large fields are prepared for the next year’s corn crop. (Photo: Daniel James/flickr/cc)

Jonathan Latham writes at Common Dreams:

The strategic centerpiece of Monsanto PR is to focus on the promotion of one single compelling idea. The idea that they want you to believe in is that only they can produce enough for the future population. They wish you to therefore believe that non-industrial systems of farming, such as all those which use agroecological methods, or SRI, or are localised and family-oriented, or which use organic methods, or non-GMO seeds, cannot feed the world. This same PR strategy is followed by every major commercial participant in the industrial food system.

To be sure, agribusiness has a few other PR strategies. Agribusiness is “pro-science”, its opponents are “anti-science”, and so on. But the main plank has for decades been to create a cast-iron moral framing around the need to produce more.

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