Tag Archives | GMOs

Beekeepers And Honeybees Failing Due To GMO Crops

beesThere are various theories about colony collapse disorder (see Vanishing of the Bees), and a new study points the finder squarely at Monsanto and other purveyors of GMO crops, reports Inquisitr:

Beekeepers in Mexico are fearful that GMO crops are killing the honeybee. A new study published by Scientific Report stated that genetically modified seeds are “bad news” for Mexican beekeepers and specifically points to GMO soybeans as a threat. Mexico is the fourth largest producer of honey in the entire world.

The presence of GMO pollen in honey makes it extremely difficult for Mexican beekeepers to export their product to Europe, where GMO laws are stringent. If honey contaminated with genetically modified pollen is not outright rejected in Europe, it has to be sold for substantially reduced rates. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute scientists have found that soybean crops were the source of GMO pollen in honey produced in the Yucatan.

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No, GMOs Won’t Harm Your Health

Soybean fields at Applethorpe FarmBefore y’all freak out, no disinformation is not endorsing GM crops. We do think it’s worth reading about what the proponents of genetically modifying crops are saying, however. In this article at Medium by Indre Viskontas of the Inquiring Minds podcast, Dr. Steven Novella argues that many of the fears surrounding genetically modified crops are unsupported:

With historic drought battering California’s produce and climate change expected to jeopardize the global food supply, there are few questions more important than what our agriculture system should look like in the future. And few agricultural issues are more politically charged than the debate over genetically modified organisms. Even as companies like Monsanto are genetically engineering plants to use less water and resist crop-destroying pests, activists are challenging the safety and sustainability of GM foods.

For this week’s episode of Inquiring Minds, I spoke with Dr. Steven Novella, a neurologist at Yale University. Novella is a prominent voice in the skeptical movement, a scientific movement that, as he describes it, focuses heavily on explaining the truth behind “common myths—things that people believe that aren’t true.” So I asked him to help sort out fact from fiction when it comes to industrial agriculture in general—and GMOs in particular.

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GMO Purple Tomatoes To Be Sold In Stores

tomatoIs the public ready for genetically modified, nutrient-packed super-foods in unnatural colors? Via the BBC:

The prospect of genetically modified purple tomatoes reaching the shelves has come a step closer. Developed in Britain, large-scale production is now under way in Canada with the first 1,200 litres of purple tomato juice ready for shipping.

Their dark pigment is intended to give tomatoes the same potential health benefits as fruit such as blueberries. The pigment, known as anthocyanin, is an antioxidant which studies on animals show could help fight cancer. The purple pigment is the result of the transfer of a gene from a snapdragon plant.

Scientists say the new tomatoes could improve the nutritional value of everything from ketchup to pizza topping. The tomatoes are part of a new generation of GM plants designed to appeal to consumers – the first types were aimed specifically at farmers as new tools in agriculture.

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Monsanto Goes Organic

Yes, you read that right, Monsanto is concocting a line of trademarked organic vegetables. Let’s hope it takes off and they decide to give up on their favorite genetically modified varietals. Report from Wired:

…Changing the agricultural game is what Monsanto does. The company whose name is synonymous with Big Ag has revolutionized the way we grow food—for better or worse. Activists revile it for such mustache-twirling practices as suing farmers who regrow licensed seeds or filling the world with Roundup-resistant super­weeds. Then there’s Monsanto’s reputation—scorned by some, celebrated by others—as the foremost purveyor of genetically modified commodity crops like corn and soybeans with DNA edited in from elsewhere, designed to have qualities nature didn’t quite think of.

seminisSo it’s not particularly surprising that the company is introducing novel strains of familiar food crops, invented at Monsanto and endowed by their creators with powers and abilities far beyond what you usually see in the produce section.

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Blueberry Trees: GMO or Hybrid?

Single BlueberrySome interesting ideas on just what genetically modified means are discussed by Michael Byrne in the context of hybrid blueberry trees, at Motherboard:

Blueberries grow on bushes. Whatever. I don’t care if they grow on bushes or on trees or underground or are skimmed from the surface of fetid water, but bushes are what most of us would consider natural or “as intended” by the naturalness of evolution, which is the mostnatural thing. That’s the ideological pole of the post-science green movement, an appeal to naturalness uber alles or naturalness as crippled “other” to technology’s absolute disruption of a greater Way Things Should Be. And so we have blueberry bushes because … evolution made them that way. So: natural.

Lost on most of the ideological green movement (the one that loathes/fears radiation and biotechnology more than mountaintop removal or forest clear-cutting) is the basic property of evolution as being based on failure and slight success.

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Neo-Colonizing Africa Through GMO Crops

african_farm

Via This Is Africa, Paula Akugizibwe on conquering the world through the food chain:

While the science of GMOs may remain murky, the economics are crystal clear. The most obvious and direct of these is the matter of seed ownership and control.

Unlike traditional agriculture, in which seeds are the property of nobody in particular and nature at large, GMO farming places the ownership of seeds firmly in the hands of corporations, and entitles them to a share of profits from crop sales. GMO farmers are not allowed to save seed produced through their crops for use in the coming season, as they have always done.

Meanwhile, in some African countries such as Nigeria, genetically modified cotton is viewed as an ideal entry point for GMOs. “We don’t eat our clothes, so people are less concerned about cotton. This would be the first way in for GMOs,” explained Kola Masha, a Nigerian agribusiness advisor, earlier this year.

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Golden Rice: A ‘Good’ GMO?

Golden Rice grain compared to white rice grain in screenhouse of Golden Rice plants. (IRRI CC)

Golden Rice grain compared to white rice grain in screenhouse of Golden Rice plants. (IRRI CC)

Could Golden Rice, a genetically modified strain of rice that imbues the grains with beta carotene, be the GMO that proves the exception to the Monsanto-led madness of Roundup Ready crops? Amy Harmon reports for the New York Times:

One bright morning this month, 400 protesters smashed down the high fences surrounding a field in the Bicol region of the Philippines and uprooted the genetically modified rice plants growing inside.

Had the plants survived long enough to flower, they would have betrayed a distinctly yellow tint in the otherwise white part of the grain. That is because the rice is endowed with a gene from corn and another from a bacterium, making it the only variety in existence to produce beta carotene, the source of vitamin A. Its developers call it “Golden Rice.”

The concerns voiced by the participants in the Aug.

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The Disappearance of the Monarch Butterfly


When Star Livingstone’s Mother purchased her Adirondack Homestead in 1963, she added some lime to the acidic soil. Soon after this, some Milkweeds began to grow on the two acre plot attracting Monarch butterflies. She allowed these Milkweeds to flourish in a little patch creating a small sanctuary. When she built a house she dubbed it “The Butterfly Barn.” Every year since then for nearly 50 years, monarch butterflies have been flying here to reproduce and lay eggs and die. Their offspring would then make the return trip in the fall, flying over 2000 miles to winter in Central Mexico, in what is now known as the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

Last summer at least 50 to 100 monarch caterpillars were seen eating the milkweed and spinning cocoons. Some Milkweed plants “volunteered” in the middle of the vegetable garden, where they were allowed to grow. At least one monarch caterpillar, reached maturity and successfully metamorphosed into a butterfly in the middle of a cabbage bed.… Read the rest

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What Is Monsanto Doing In Mexico?

We just received an email from – maybe – Monsanto. Is it for real? Or are the Yes Men up to no good again?

Monsanto Denounces “Activists” For Hoax Release

Aug 14, 2013

Earlier today a fraudulent press release was issued alleging that Monsanto had received a permit to plant 250,000 hectares of GM corn in Northern Mexico. While Monsanto does expect to receive such a permit in the near future, as the first step in more extensive plans, one has not yet been issued.

The release was the work of a group of international students and activists calling themselves “Sin Maíz No Hay Vida” (“Without Corn There Is No Life”). Besides spreading misinformation about the permit, the group’s release falsely announced a digital repository of Mexican customs allegedly endangered by GM corn. They also announced a fictitious Monsanto “vault” to store all the native varieties of corn that GM varieties would supposedly render unviable.

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