Tag Archives | GMO

Five Ways to Divest From Monsanto (and Other GMO Companies)

fda-monsantoKristen Schmitt writes at Urban Times:

Monsanto, the mistress of the GMO initiative, needs a wake up call. While campaigns to label genetically modified organisms increase and state governments work to bring the legislature into action, many Americans are not aware of just how entrenched Monsanto is within national and global food production.  Whether it is due to the call of convenience or general ignorance of the millions of genetically engineered ingredients masquerading as food, the biggest blow we can deliver to the GMO giant is to convince the general public to divest from Monsanto (and the rest of the biotech food industry) completely.

What does it mean to divest? Let’s take a page from the current college playbook and replicate what activist Bill McKibben has done for fossil fuels and climate change – and apply it to our food. Colleges across the country are stepping up and divesting from the companies that support fossil fuels in a nationwide campaign to illustrate how wrong it is to profit from climate damage.

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Supreme Court Says Monsanto Has ‘Control Over Product of Life’

weyland-yutaniT1Jacob Chamberlain writes at Common Dreams:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of biotech giant Monsanto, ordering Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman, 75, to pay Monsanto more than $84,000 for patent infringement for using second generation Monsanto seeds purchased second hand—a ruling which will have broad implications for the ownership of ‘life’ and farmers’ rights in the future.

In the case, Bowman had purchased soybean seeds from a grain elevator—where seeds are cheaper than freshly engineered Monsanto GE (genetically engineered) seeds and typically used for animal feed rather than for crops. The sources of the seeds Bowman purchased were mixed and were not labeled. However, some were “Roundup Ready” patented Monsanto seeds.

The Supreme Court Justices, who gave Monsanto a warm reception from the start, ruled that Bowman had broken the law because he planted seeds which naturally yielded from the original patented seed products—Monsanto’s policies prohibit farmers from saving or reusing seeds from Monsanto born crops.

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FDA: ‘Frankenfish’ Perfectly Safe

Picture: AquaBounty (C)

Hope you’re hungry, America: Another GMO mutant has been cleared for human consumption. The AquaAdvantage salmon grows twice as fast as other fish, and is deemed perfectly safe by your friends at the FDA. Who’s up for croquettes?

Via Christian Science Monitor:

Critics call the modified salmon a “frankenfish.” They worry that it could cause human allergies and the eventual decimation of the natural salmon population if it escapes and breeds in the wild. Others believe breeding engineered animals is an ethical issue.

AquaBounty has maintained that the fish is safe and that there are several safeguards against environmental problems. The fish would be bred female and sterile, though a very small percentage might still be able to breed. The company said the potential for escape is low. The FDA backed these assertions in documents released in 2010.

Since its founding in 1991, Aquabounty has burned through more than $67 million developing the fast-growing fish.

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A Guerrilla Campaign To Correctly Label Food Contents

California’s Proposition 37, which would have required GMO foods sold in stores to be labeled as such, fell short two weeks ago following an advertising blitz against the measure from Monsanto and other players in the agribusiness sector. Label It Yourself suggests an alternative:

The Label It Yourself (#LIY) is a decentralized, autonomous grassroots campaign born out of our broken food system. We have been asking corporations and our government to label food products so we can make educated decisions about what we eat. Our requests have been ignored and so we are taking matters into our own hands.

Using LIY’s resources, we encourage people to: autonomously label GMOs and empower others to do so, rescue words like “All Natural” and “Natural Flavors” from being hijacked, expose unfair labor practices. We have a right to know what is in our food and where it is coming from.

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An Intro to Farm Shares and Community Sponsored Agriculture

Comics artist Colleen Doran writes a quick and breezy intro to the world of farm shares and farm credit programs. Establishing trustworthy ways to get fresh, healthy, non-GMO food is going to become increasingly important. Doran gives an overview of what’s available and links to get started.

via A Distant Soil:

In almost every major metropolitan area, and most rural areas, you will find farm shares or CSA’s, “Community Sponsored Agriculture”.

A CSA is, basically, a food subscription service.

Depending on the program (and they vary widely between suppliers,) the CSA will supply weekly, biweekly, or monthly food subscriptions for a flat annual fee which will cover the farming season, usually around half the year. If you live in California where the season is long, you can get a year-round subscription.

The farm will provide you with a prescribed amount of food per drop based on whatever is in season.

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Supreme Court To Rule On Monsanto’s ‘Self-Replicating Patent’ Seeds

Monsanto demands that anyone who plants a seed containing the its patented herbicide-resisting genes pay steep “technology fees.” The problem is that Monsanto’s plants amount to self-replicating patent machines, as the Monsanto-created genes spread through the ecosystem. NPR  reports:

This farmer, Vernon Hugh Bowman, has been a loyal customer for Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” soybeans. Sometimes he bought ordinary soybeans from the local grain elevator or another farmer.

But here’s the problem: Monsanto’s soybeans account for 94 percent of all the soybeans grown in Indiana. So almost all the soybeans that Bowman could get his hands on contained the patented “Roundup Ready” gene. Monsanto found out and took Bowman to court [where he was ordered] to pay $84,000. An appeals court affirmed that decision.

The arguments and counter-arguments that both sides have submitted to the Supreme Court mostly focus on the reach of Monsanto’s patents — specifically, whether Monsanto really can demand a royalty for the planting of any soybean containing its patented genes.

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Biotech Giants Are Bankrolling a GMO Free-for-All

Tom Philpott brings the bad news to Mother Jones:

The so-called “Big Six” agrichemical companies—Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow Agrosciences, BASF, Bayer, and Pioneer (DuPont)—are sitting pretty. Together, they control nearly 70 percent of the global pesticide market, and essentially the entire market for genetically modified seeds. Prices of the crops they focus on—corn, soy, cotton, etc.—are soaring, pushed up by severe drought in key growing regions. Higher crop prices typically translate to increased pesticide sales as farmers have more money to spend on agrichemicals and more incentive to maximize yield.

The companies operate globally—and have gained a stronghold in that emerging center of industrial agriculture, Brazil—but the biotech-friendly US is their profit center. They’ve got a big chunk of US agriculture pretty well sewn up—their GMO seeds dominate our corn, soy and cotton crops, which account for more than 53 percent of US farmland, and have won approval for GMO alfalfa (hay), which accounts for another 19 percent.

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Dozens of Genetically Modified Babies Already Born – How Will They Alter Human Species?

By Dr. Mercola:

When I first read that genetically modified humans have already been born, I could hardly believe it. However, further research into this story featured in the UK’s Daily Mail proved it to be true. They’ve really done it… they’ve created humans that nature could never allow for, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen next.

Even more shocking was the discovery that this is actually old news!

The Daily Mail article was not dated, and upon investigation, the experiments cited actually took place over a decade ago; the study announcing their successful birth was published in 2001.

While I typically comment on recent findings and health related news, in this case I will make an exception, because I think many of you may be as surprised by this information as I was. I do not propose to have any answers here as this is out of my scope of expertise.

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