GMO news related to the European Union

19.08.2017

Glyphosate: Why did the NZ EPA ignore the world authority on cancer?

The New Zealand EPA commissioned its own report which found that glyphosate is “unlikely to be genotoxic or carcinogenic”, a significant departure from IARC’s conclusion

Read the Green Party report featured in the article below, “Why did the NZ EPA ignore the world authority on cancer?”, here.

http://gmwatch.org/files/NZ_Public_Health-Glyphosate_and_Cancer_2017.pdf

Prof Alistair Woodward, Prof Andrea t’Mannetje, Dr Dave McLean, Prof Jeroen Douwes, Prof John D Potter

University of Otago, August 16, 2017

https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2017/08/16/nzs-environmental-protection-authority-in-a-muddle-over-weed-killer/

18.08.2017

CRISPR Co-Discoverer: "I've Never Seen Science Move at the Pace It's Moving Now"

IN BRIEF: CRISPR co-discoverer Jennifer Doudna stressed the importance of using the technology with proper consideration at CrisprCon this week.

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“It was a convenience item for farmers,” observed organic farmer Tom Wiley at the convention, according to Wired. “And a profit center for corporations.” To combat genetically modified food’s perception problem, companies using CRISPR will have to make sure that the technology benefits the consumer, not just the production process.

The convention addressed CRISPR usage in many different fields: from the importance of ensuring it is used to address the widest range of medical conditions as possible, to the potentially damaging effects of gene drives on a delicate ecosystem.

Science is moving at a rapid pace, and CRISPR is too — but if we don’t carefully consider which applications are safe and valid, it could quickly cause as many problems as it solves.

18.08.2017

No dicamba in '18, Arkansas weed expert urges

MORRILTON -- A weed scientist said Thursday that he couldn't recommend that dicamba be allowed in the state next year after recent tests in at least four states show the herbicide's tendency to move off target and damage other crops and vegetation.

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BASF's Engenia, Monsanto's Xtendimax with VaporGrip and DuPont's FeXapan are three dicamba herbicides allowed this year by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for in-crop use, although Engenia is the only one of the three allowed in Arkansas this year by state regulators.

Another task force member, David Hundley, represents Ozark Mountain Poultry in Rogers. The company has a fast-growing poultry operation in Northeast Arkansas. "It's not just bad; it's toxic," Hundley, who manages grain production for Ozark Mountain Poultry, said of the dicamba herbicide at the June 20 Plant Board meeting.

The company has been a frequent and vocal opponent of Monsanto's dicamba-tolerant crops, saying they threaten the livelihoods of other farmers, limit those farmers' choices on what to plant and force others into planting the Monsanto crops. Ozark Mountain Poultry pays premium prices to farmers for soybeans that are not genetically modified organisms, as part of Ozark Mountain Poultry's business strategy of raising poultry that hasn't been raised on GMO feed. The company once bought 100 percent of its grain from Arkansas farmers; that percentage will be down to 50 percent next year, Hundley has said.

The Plant Board and state lawmakers began debate on a possible ban in mid-June as the number of those complaints of alleged dicamba damage approached 200.

18.08.2017

Leading expert of EFSA – sponsored by Monsanto?

Confidential emails reveal how Monsanto secretly influences European scientists

A number of emails published by US consumer attorneys show how Monsanto is secretly influencing European scientists behind the scenes in order to have their herbicide glyphosate declared as being non-carcinogenic. It seems that payments by Monsanto can be traced to a leading expert at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA): It is likely that Jose Tarazona, head of the Pesticide Unit at EFSA, was funded by Monsanto for his participation at a conference in the US in 2017. According to available information, it can be assumed that the funding was channelled via a British toxicologist. At the conference Tarazona stated that glyphosate should not be considered to be carcinogenic.

According to the emails, in March 2016, Monsanto approached a leading British toxicologist, Allister Vale. In essence, he was asked to publicly defend the authorisation of glyphosate as a herbicide. Allister Vale agreed in principle to cooperate, but did not want to receive funding from Monsanto directly. He, therefore, proposed routing the money via Society of Toxicology (SOT) conferences. This proposal was welcomed by Monsanto.

17.08.2017

Collusion Or Coincidence? Records Show EPA Efforts To Slow Herbicide Review Came In Coordination With Monsanto

Newly released government email communications show a persistent effort by multiple officials within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to slow a separate federal agency’s safety review of Monsanto’s top-selling herbicide. Notably, the records demonstrate that the EPA efforts came at the behest of Monsanto, and that EPA officials were helpful enough to keep the chemical giant updated on their progress.

The communications, most of which were obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, show that it was early 2015 when the EPA and Monsanto began working in concert to stall a toxicology review that a unit tied to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was conducting on glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s branded Roundup herbicide products. The details revealed in the documents come as Monsanto is defending itself against lawsuits alleging that it has tried to cover up evidence of harm with its herbicides.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency that along with the CDC is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is charged with evaluating the potential adverse human health effects from exposures to hazardous substances in the environment. So it made sense for the ATSDR to take a look at glyphosate, which is widely used on U.S. farms, residential lawns and gardens, school playgrounds and golf courses. Glyphosate is widely used in food production and glyphosate residues have been found in testing of human urine.

16.08.2017

European Organic Congress: Transforming food & farming – Making it Happen

5-7 September 2017 Tallinn, Estonia

This Congress will look at how stakeholders and policymakers can work together to reach the European Organic Vision 2030, with the launch of a roadmap for making it happen. Over the last two years, IFOAM EU has been working proactively with the organic movement and like-minded groups to devise strategies for developing organics in Europe. In Estonia, we will look at different initiatives already happening throughout Europe that demonstrate how policymakers and stakeholders already work together to inspire others.

Part of this conversation will also look at how such initiatives can flourish, in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the EU Climate Commitments expected to strongly influence the EU’s agri-food policy agenda in the coming years – from the Common Agricultural Policy to the development of food policies at national and regional level.

14.08.2017

Cornell Diamondback moth is just another GM failure

Cornell University's plans to release genetically modified (GM) moths in New York State ignore existing evidence of failure, which shows the GM pests will damage the broccoli and cabbages they are supposed to protect.

Diamondback moth caterpillars are agricultural pests which eat brassica crops including cabbages and broccoli. Cornell plans multiple experimental releases of up to 30,000 GM male moths a week, over a two year period, at its New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES). The GM diamondback moths are produced by UK-headquartered company Oxitec, which was bought by Intrexon, Inc. for 160 million US dollars in 2015, despite its lack of revenue and commercial products.

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"Cornell's plans to release these GM moths ignore the only published scientific evidence about them, which shows that significant crop damage will occur" said Dr Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK.

11.08.2017

Canada: 4.5 tonnes of unmarked genetically modified salmon fillets sold

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- It appears Canadians were among the first diners in the world to eat a genetically modified animal -- and they likely didn't know it.

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Lucy Sharratt, co-ordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, said news of the sales without advance public notice is alarming.

"It's shocking," she said from Ottawa. "Canadians are the first in the world to eat this genetically modified fish, the world's first genetically modified food animal, and they did so unknowingly. And even now that we know (it's) on the market in Canada, we don't know where or how much."

Sharratt said genetically modified foods aren't linked to specific health issues. Still, she described a gaping lack of public information.

"For 20 years, genetically modified foods have been introduced with no transparency in the marketplace but, equally, no transparency in regulation. There's very little public science. There's very little government science.

"Canadians are being asked to trust corporate data and a process that is not open for them to look at."

Sharratt said AquaBounty has moved to expand its research and egg production site in P.E.I. with a new "genetically modified fish factory" at Rollo Bay in the province.

10.08.2017

Guinea pig Canadians offered ‘world’s first’ GMO salmon

Food safety activists and environmentalists are concerned over the potential risks from a new US brand of genetically-modified salmon, which has just hit Canadian shelves. Some believe Canadians are being used as guinea pigs for potentially harmful technology.

After trying for two decades, AquaBounty Technologies’ GM salmon was finally approved for sale in Canada in 2016, which led to the most recent developments.

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IGA and Costco supermarkets posted on their websites that they do not intend to sell the salmon.

Environmentalist groups are outraged by the new product.

The Montreal-based organization GMO Vigilance has stated on their website that the sale of the salmon in Canada makes Canadians “guinea pigs,” and they believe that the government should introduce legislation that requires GM foods to be labeled appropriately.

"It's a world first … The first genetically modified animal is on the market, and consumers in Quebec and Canada will become the first guinea-pigs unknowingly. In the absence of mandatory labeling we still cannot make an informed choice,” Thibault Rehn, a coordinator at GMO Vigilance, said, according to CNBC.

09.08.2017

Canadians unknowingly eating GM food 

Canada has become the first country where a genetically modified animal is sold for human consumption, and Canadians may have unwittingly been eating it over the past year.

In its latest earnings statement, AquaBounty Technologies Inc., a U.S.-based biotechnology company that holds the licence to produce the GM fish at a hatchery in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, reported that about 4.5 tonnes of "fresh AquAdvantage Salmon fillets” have been sold in Canada in the second quarter of 2017.

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The company did not indicate where the fish is sold or respond to an interview request.

Lucy Sharratt, coordinator of the Ottawa-based Canadian Biotechnology Action Network that has called for mandatory labelling of genetically engineered food, said that while some major Canadian grocery chains have no plans to sell the GM salmon, it could have ended up in smaller stores or on restaurant menus.

“Because there’s no labelling in Canada, Canadians who have been buying salmon, haven’t had a choice,’ she said. “There’s no transparency in the grocery store for Canadians. Canada is an easy market for GM salmon.”