GMO news related to the European Union

19.04.2017

Stop BAYER / MONSANTO days of action in Germany

Along with the Coalition against Bayer Dangers, IFOAM Organics International, Colabora and many other civil society movements and organisations, Navdanya is co-organising a “Stop Bayer / Monsanto” mobilization in Germany from 25-29 of April 2017.

More and more farmers movements, environmental groups, trade unions and students organizations are joining the series of actions, which will converge in Bonn on April 28th, for a demonstration in front of the World Conference Center where the 2017 Bayer shareholders meeting will be held.

18.04.2017

Oregon GMO liability bill survives Legislature’s deadline

A bill that would allow biotech patent holders to be sued for unwanted GMO presence in Oregon has survived a crucial deadline.

SALEM — Biotech patent holders would be legally responsible for losses caused by their genetically engineered crops in Oregon under a bill that’s survived a crucial legislative deadline.

House Bill 2739 would allow landowners to sue biotech patent holders for the unwanted presence of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, on their land.

The bill has now been referred to the House Rules Committee, which isn’t subject to an April 18 legislative deadline that recently killed other proposals.

The move could effectively allows HB 2739 to stay alive through the end of the 2017 legislative session, scheduled to end in late June.

07.04.2017

Genetically-engineered crop debate not over...yet

MEDFORD, Ore. -- The discussion over G.M.O.'s isn't over yet.

Senate Bill 1037 and House Bill 2739 deal with making all of Oregon a "seed sanctuary" and protecting farmers from cross-contamination.

If approved, 1037 would create around 4,000 square miles of G.M.O.-free land combined between Josephine and Jackson counties.

House bill 2739 needs more support by tomorrow to keep it alive.

"I hear farmers say 'you know, you're so fortunate you get to grow in an area where you feel safe from GMO crops and the threats of them,' then you think every farmer should have that right. To stop is really hard and especially when you have a neighboring county like Josephine," Elise Higley, with Our Family Farms, said.

07.04.2017

Monsanto illegally Introduces Round Up Resistant GMO Cotton in India

New Delhi: On the occasion of World Health Day, 7 April, Navdanya along with Swadeshi Jagran Manch appeals to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban Monsanto on account of its illegal introduction of herbicide tolerant GMO Round-up Ready Flex Bt cotton (RR Bt Cotton). Round-up, a glyphosate-based herbicide has been declared a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Sri Lanka and many European countries have already banned glyphosate because of reported and probable deaths as well as diseases directly linked to the use of this herbicide.

07.04.2017

Researchers find glyphosate in pregnant women, worry about impact on infants

A team of scientists this week released early results of an ongoing study spotlighting concerns about the rising use of pesticides and reproductive risks to women and children. The researchers tested and tracked, over a period of two years, the presence of the common herbicide glyphosate in the urine of 69 expectant mothers in Indiana.

The team – led by Paul Winchester, medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at the Franciscan St. Francis Health System and professor of clinical pediatrics at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Ind. – found glyphosate residues in 90 percent of the women, and high levels of those residues appeared to correlate with shortened pregnancies and below-average birth weights adjusted for age. The findings alarmed the researchers because such babies are at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and lower cognitive abilities. “Gestational age maximizes the size of your brain at birth, and any shortening is essentially a reduction of IQ points,” Winchester said in an interview with FERN’s Ag Insider. “It has not just health, but lifetime achievement implications.”

06.04.2017

Farms could slash pesticide use without losses, research reveals | Environment

Virtually all farms could significantly cut their pesticide use while still producing as much food, according to a major new study. The research also shows chemical treatments could be cut without affecting farm profits on over three-quarters of farms.

The scientists said that many farmers wanted to reduce pesticide use, partly due to concerns for their own health. But farmers do not have good access to information on alternatives, the researchers said, because much of their advice comes from representatives of companies that sell both seeds and pesticides.

The work presents a serious challenge to the billion-dollar pesticide industry, which has long argued its products are vital to food production, especially with the world population set to grow to nine billion people by 2050.

04.04.2017

New Breeding Techniques and synthetic biology - genetic engineering by another name

Advocates claim that synthetic biology and the so-called New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) are distinct from genetic engineering (GE), write Helena Paul, Elisabeth Bücking & Ricarda Steinbrecher. In fact synthetic biology and NBTs carry similar risks to old-style GE, and even create novel hazards. The 'new GE' techniques - as they should be named - and their products deserve regulation at least as strict as those applying to GMOs.

With the development of new genetic engineering techniques, the ease and speed of creating genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has sharply increased, and the costs have gone down.

Scientists have acquired the ability to make deeper and more complex changes to the genetic makeup of living organisms.

Not only can DNA be rapidly sequenced but DNA strands can also be easily synthesised, taking digital sequence instructions directly from computers (and the internet).

This has led to the emergence of two new fields of genetic engineering that overlap with each other: synthetic biology (or synbio) and the so-called New Breeding Techniques (NBTs). In most cases both involve the use of old-style genetic engineering, but they also go much further.

So what precisely are these new techniques?

04.04.2017

Moms Exposed to Monsanto Weed Killer Means Bad Outcomes for Babies

Concerns about the world’s most widely used herbicide are taking a new twist as researchers unveil data that indicates pervasive use of Monsanto Co.’s weed killer could be linked to pregnancy problems.

Researchers looking at exposure to the herbicide known as glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup branded herbicides, said they tested and tracked 69 expectant mothers and found that the presence of glyphosate levels in their bodily fluids correlated with unfavorable birth outcomes. The research is still in preliminary stages and the sample size is small, but the team is scheduled to present their findings on Thursday at a conference put on by the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) in Washington, D.C.

“This is a huge issue,” said Paul Winchester, medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at the Franciscan St. Francis Health system and professor of clinical pediatrics at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana. He said this is the first U.S. study to demonstrate glyphosate is present in pregnant women. “Everyone should be concerned about this.”

03.04.2017

Farm consultant concerned over GMOs, use of glyphosate

OSHKOSH – Although supplies of milk and livestock are plentiful in the United States, are today's feed production methods resulting in a loss of nutrient density and breakdown of vitamin availability that's detrimental to dairy cows?

That something pertaining to that question “is going on” has occupied the attention of semi-retired agricultural nutrition consultant Dieter Harle for nearly two decades. One consequence of what he fears is happening served as the title for a presentation titled “Why do Swiss cheese makers report fewer or no holes?” in the seminar series on March 28 at the 2017 WPS Farm Show.

That title was derived from input that Harle indicated he has received on six occasions during the past three years from farmers and cheese makers on significant differences in the quality of milk for making cheese. Milk from certain farms is either preferred or not preferred, he said. In one instance, a cheese plant seeks the milk from a certain farm for its starter batch, he stated.

Bayer-Monsanto: a marriage m
Bayer-Monsanto: a marriage m

30.03.2017

Opposition mounts to ‘marriage made in hell’ Bayer-Monsanto mega-merger

Friends of the Earth Europe staged a 'marriage made in hell' outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels today to symbolise the threat to food and farming posed by the planned merger of the agriculture and chemical companies Bayer and Monsanto.

Environmentalists, farmers, farmworkers, beekeepers, and religious and international development groups are all opposed to the deal and are calling on EU authorities to block it. A letter signed by 200 organisations was delivered to European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestage on Monday.

Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "Europe's food and farming system is broken and if giant firms, like Monsanto and Bayer, are allowed to merge they will have an even tighter toxic grip on our food. The mergers are a marriage made in hell and should be blocked by regulators. We need to build a fairer and greener food system out of corporate control."