User: flenvcenter Topic: Food-National
Category: Food Safety :: GMOs
Last updated: Feb 10 2016 22:42 IST RSS 2.0
 
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Why a New Trade Deal Has Put GM Crop Concerns in the Spotlight 10.2.2016 Truthout.com
Civil society groups have been voicing concerns about the upcoming Euro-American trade deal the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) since it was announced three years ago. The list of worries includes companies being able to constrain public policy; the potential for weaker consumer and health and safety standards; and the secrecy around the negotiations. Genetically modified (GM) products are one subject on the table, since they fall within TTIP's broader remit to tackle areas where the US and EU approaches are furthest apart and have therefore been ignored by previous efforts to harmonise regulations. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the potential effect on how GM is regulated is of serious concern. In the US the share of GM crops, particularly maize and soybeans, has grown steadily over the years - even though support for the technology is not universal. The US has no specific legislation over GM crops, but approves them either through the Food and Drug Administration or via national ...
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Pesticides, Monsanto, Biased Scientists, or the News Media. Which One Scares You Most? 10.2.2016 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
The headline on the website of the environmentalist organization the Environmental Working Group (EWG) focuses on two of the movement's biggest current bogeymen; Monsanto, and its popular pesticide, glyphosate. The EWG story reports; "Glyphosate use has risen almost 15-fold since so-called "Roundup Ready" genetically engineered crops were introduced in 1996." "In 2014, enough glyphosate was sprayed to leave more than three-quarters of a pound of the active ingredient on every harvested acre of cropland in the U.S., and remarkably, almost a half pound per acre on all cropland worldwide (0.53 kilogram/hectare)." And the EWG report quotes the author of the study, Charles Benbrook, warning that The dramatic and rapid growth in overall use of glyphosate will likely contribute to a host of adverse environmental and public health consequences. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the EWG story fails to note (as the study itself does) that while he prepared this study, Benbrook was at Washington State ...
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Why Is Cornell University Hosting a GMO Propaganda Campaign? 8.2.2016 Truthout.com
(Photo: Microbiology Lab via Shutterstock; Edited: LW / TO) The founders of Cornell University, Andrew D. White and Ezra Cornell, dreamed of creating a great university that took a radical approach to learning. Their revolutionary spirit, and the promise to pursue knowledge for the greater good, is said to be at the heart of the Ivy League school their dream became. It is difficult to understand how these ideals are served by a unit of Cornell operating as a public relations arm for the agrichemical industry. Yet that is what seems to be going on at the Cornell Alliance for Science (CAS), a program launched in 2014 with a $5.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a goal to "depolarize the charged debate" about GMOs. A review of the group's materials and programs suggests that beneath its promise to "restore the importance of scientific evidence in decision making," CAS is promoting GMOs using dishonest messaging and PR tactics developed by agrichemical corporations with a long ...
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Zika: Why not just kill all mosquitoes? 6.2.2016 CNN: Top Stories
The mosquito was never going to win any popularity contests, but as the "deadliest animal in the world" spreads the Zika virus, it's become the target of tough talk and powerful pesticides.
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China cracks down on illegal GM crops ahead of Syngenta deal 5.2.2016 Yahoo: Business
By Dominique Patton BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese officials have issued warnings to seed dealers and farmers not to use unapproved genetically modified seeds in the country's main crop belt, shortly after Greenpeace said it had found widespread GM contamination in corn. The unprecedented action by rural authorities in the past two weeks also comes as state-owned ChemChina agreed a $43 billion deal for seed and agrichemicals giant Syngenta AG , a move seen as bringing leading technology and know-how to China's fragmented seed industry as it grapples with a divisive GM policy. China does not allow cultivation of any GM varieties of corn or other staple food crops although it does permit the import of some GMO crops for use in animal ...
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Pandora's Box: How GM Mosquitos Could Have Caused Brazil's Microcephaly Disaster 4.2.2016 Truthout - All Articles
In Brazil's microcephaly epidemic, one vital question remains unanswered: how did the Zika virus suddenly learn how to disrupt the development of human embryos? The answer may lie in a sequence of 'jumping DNA' used to engineer the virus's mosquito vector - and released into the wild four years ago in the precise area of Brazil where the microcephaly crisis is most acute. Since August 2015, a large number of babies in Northeast Brazil have been born with very small heads, a condition known as microcephaly, and with other serious malformations. 4,180 suspected cases have been reported. Epidemiologists have found a convincing correlation between the incidence of the natal deformities and maternal infections with the Zika virus, first discovered in Uganda's Zika Valley in 1947, which normally produces non-serious illness. The correlation has been evidenced through the geographical distrubution of Zika infections and the wave of deformities. Zika virus has also been detected in the amniotic fluids and other ...
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Food industry looks to Congress as GMO labeling law nears 4.2.2016 Seattle Times: Top stories

WASHINGTON (AP) — The food industry is pressuring Congress to act before the state of Vermont requires food labels for genetically modified ingredients. At issue is how food companies will deal with Vermont’s law. They could make separate food packages just for the state, label all their items with genetically modified ingredients or withdraw from […]
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Food industry looks to Congress as GMO labeling law nears 4.2.2016 Yahoo: US National
WASHINGTON (AP) — The food industry is pressuring Congress to act before the state of Vermont requires food labels for genetically modified ...
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La Via Campesina: Building an International Movement for Food and Seed Sovereignty 3.2.2016 Truthout - All Articles
Women members of the Zimbabwe Organic Smallholder Farmers Forum, member organization of La Via Campesina, display their seeds at a seed fair. (Photo: Elizabeth Mpofu) An interview with La Via Campesina General Coordinator Elizabeth Mpofu. Elizabeth Mpofu of Zimbabwe is General Coordinator of the international peasant movement  La Via Campesina , a coalition of 164 organizations in 73 countries around the world, representing about 200 million peasant, landless, indigenous, and other farmers. She is also Chairperson of  Zimbabwe Organic Smallholder Farmers Forum , and herself a farmer. Who we are fighting for is every single peasant farmer - more than 200 million - on the planet. People are eager to join hands in building a global voice.                     Transnational corporations are pushing policies in African countries for industrial farming and the use of GMO [genetically modified] seeds, while grabbing our land and [stealing] our natural resources.  No one should come and tell us how to produce ...
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Not Science Fiction: Biotech Industry Pushing 'GM 2.0' Across Europe 3.2.2016 CommonDreams.org Headlines
Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Biotech lobbyists are staging a "below-the-radar attack" on European regulations, attempting to have new genetic modification (GM) techniques excluded from rules that impact the environment, food safety, and consumer choice, according to a new report from the Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO).

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How a Public University Professor Collaborated on a Corporate PR Campaign 2.2.2016 Truthout - All Articles
Emails released through Freedom of Information Act requests show money flowing into the University of Illinois from Monsanto as food science professor Bruce Chassy collaborated on multiple projects with the company to counter public concerns about genetically modified crops (GMOs). (Photo: Late typing via Shutterstock) Former University of Illinois food science professor Bruce Chassy is known for his academic gravitas. Now retired nearly four years, Chassy still writes and speaks often about food safety issues, identifying himself with the full weight of the decades of experience earned at the public university and as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health. Chassy tells audiences that before he retired in 2012, he worked "full time" doing research and teaching. What Chassy doesn't talk much about is the other work he did while at the University of Illinois - promoting the interests of Monsanto Co., which has been trying to overcome mounting public concerns about the genetically engineered ...
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New Documents Uncover Monsanto's Secret Role in Illinois Professor Bruce Chassy's Academics Review Website 2.2.2016 Commondreams.org Newswire

The consumer group U.S. Right to Know today called for improved transparency and public disclosure of industry funding for and coordination with public university professors. 

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People Are Totally Clueless About What 'Natural' Food Labels Mean 28.1.2016 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
There’s a good chance the word “natural” doesn’t mean what you think it does. At least not when you find it on food packaging. A substantial chunk of the population has at least some misconceptions about what the term means on food labels, according to a recent  survey by Consumer Reports. Out of 1,005 respondents, 63 percent believed that the “natural” label meant a packaged food was produced without pesticides, 62 percent believed it meant the product contained no artificial ingredients, and 60 percent believed it meant a product was free of genetically modified organisms (GMO). When it comes to meat and poultry, 64 percent of survey-takers thought it meant the animals were raised without artificial growth hormones, 57 percent thought it meant they were raised without antibiotics or other drugs, and 50 percent believed it meant the animals “went outdoors.” While we didn't analyze Consumer Reports' statistical methods, it seems safe to say that a good number of people are less than clear on how natural ...
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Opponents of GMO Labeling Could Face Tough Penalties in Dark Money Case 27.1.2016 Truthout - All Articles
The state of Washington has accused a trade organization of breaking state campaign finance disclosure laws by quietly funneling millions of dollars from major processed food companies to opponents of a GMO labeling ballot initiative in 2013. Washington State has accused a trade organization of illegally funneling millions of dollars to GMO labeling opponents. (Photo: Dark Money via Shutterstock) Fight back against the spread of misinformation perpetuated by the mainstream media. Help Truthout grow stronger by making a tax-deductible donation today! Washington State's attorney general has asked a court to penalize a trade group accused of breaking the state's campaign finance disclosure laws by shielding major food companies' donations to opponents of a 2013 GMO food-labeling ballot initiative. As Truthout reported, voters rejected the statewide initiative  by a slim margin after companies such as Monsanto, Pepsi, Kraft and Syngenta contributed millions of dollars  to the opponents' campaign, which set a ...
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8 Reasons To Avoid Doing Business With Monsanto 27.1.2016 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
It's a formula that seems to be working to chip away at the coal industry: What you can't beat, financially isolate. But for Jeffrey M. Smith, executive director at the anti-GMO nonprofit Institute for Responsible Technology, the target isn't an ailing, polluting industry. It's Monsanto, the pesticide and bioengineering firm once dubbed the world's "most evil corporation."  In an open letter to investors, obtained by The Huffington Post on Tuesday, Smith said weak sales of biotech-corn seeds and other financial headwinds have left Monsanto vulnerable. He cited as proof the company's announcement earlier this month that it planned to cut a total of 3,600 jobs.  Now, it's worth noting that Smith has made a career for himself standing against Monsanto. Since founding his nonprofit in 2003, the author has railed against genetically modified organisms -- specifically fruits and vegetables engineered to grow bigger or avoid pesticides. Advocates say GMO foods are unhealthful and badly regulated. But the jury ...
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AG seeks fines against grocery group over spending to defeat GMO foods measure in 2013 26.1.2016 Seattle Times: Politics

Attorney General Bob Ferguson is asking a court to penalize the Grocery Manufacturers Association for allegedly violating the state’s campaign finance laws during a 2013 campaign to defeat a measure that would have required labeling genetically engineered foods.
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AG seeks fines against grocery group for 2013 election 26.1.2016 AP Washington
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Attorney General Bob Ferguson is asking a court to penalize the Grocery Manufacturers Association for violating the state's campaign finance laws during a 2013 campaign to defeat a measure that would have required labeling genetically engineered foods....
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"Gene-Editing" Produces GMOs That Must Be Regulated 24.1.2016 Truthout - All Articles
Just like traditional genetic engineering, gene-editing techniques can cause unintended alterations in DNA. (Image: GMO seeds via Shutterstock) Fight back against the spread of misinformation perpetuated by the mainstream media. Help Truthout grow stronger by making a tax-deductible donation today! The EU is considering the exclusion of gene-edited plants and animals from GM regulations. However, gene-edited organisms clearly fall within the definition of GMOs in both European and international law. They also present real risks to the environment and human health - and must be regulated like any other GMOs. There has been a lot in the news recently about the ethics of gene editing in humans. But, as yet largely unnoticed is that the European Commission is considering whether the gene-editing of plants and animals, for example in agriculture, be exempted from regulation or even  falls outside the scope of EU law governing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In other words, whether the products of ...
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Genetically-modified Fuji apple could be on tables soon 24.1.2016 Seattle Times: Business & Technology

A British Columbia company has petitioned the USDA to deregulate sales of the Arctic Fuji, which is genetically modified to resist browning after slicing.
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Five-Way Food Fight 22.1.2016 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
So many assaults on food lately, I had to zero in on the most urgent topics. 1. Illegal Seeds : An amendment to California's "Seed Law" bans the sharing and sale of seeds amongst gardeners and farmers. AB 2470 forbids seed savers who live farther than three miles of each other from swapping seeds unless they have registered the seed, tested it, and become a licensed seed merchant. These rules were supposedly meant to prevent the spreading of weed seeds that might have contaminated bulk collection. But California Grange President Bob McFarland warns that it's more about control of the food supply. "This unjust bill does little more to prevent the spread of weeds, but it certainly exterminates beneficial seed sharing traditions that have been practiced by humankind for more than 10,000 years." A particularly frightening provision of the law opens the door for the Secretary of Agriculture to veto any restrictions that Californians want to impose on the use of Genetically Engineered seeds. With a ...
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