GMO-free news from France

30.08.2017

France to vote against license renewal for weedkiller glyphosate

PARIS (Reuters) - France will vote against renewing the European license for weedkiller glyphosate, an official at the environment ministry said, adding to uncertainty over the future of widely-used products such as Monsanto’s Roundup in the European Union.

Concerns over glyphosate’s risk to human health have prompted investigations by U.S. congressional committees and delayed a relicensing decision in the EU.

“France will vote against the reauthorization of glyphosate due to the doubts that remain about its dangerousness,” a ministry official said.

The European Commission, the EU executive, has proposed extending approval for glyphosate by 10 years after the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) said in a study in March it should not be classified as a cancer-causing substance.

A vote on whether to renew the license is due on Oct. 4, the French official said. A qualified majority of member states is needed for the renewal to go ahead.

In previous votes, France and Germany have abstained, leading the Commission to extend the license by 18 months at the end of June 2016 to give the ECHA time to study the chemical further.

22.08.2017

EU Commission recognises that the Bayer/Monsanto merger would be highly problematic

In September 2016, German drugs and chemicals group Bayer and US company Monsanto, owner of the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup and of the only GM plant currently authorised for cultivation in the EU (Mon 810 Maize), announced their intention to merge. The European Commission’s DG competition, whose validation is necessary to seal the deal, just released their preliminary review on the issue. This review identifies an impressive list of risks and problems associated with the potential merger, already opposed by hundreds of thousands of citizens.

It would, in their own words, “create the world's largest integrated pesticides and seeds company. It would combine two competitors with leading portfolios in non-selective herbicides, seeds and traits, and digital agriculture... Moreover, the transaction would take place in industries that are already globally concentrated, as illustrated by the recent mergers of Dow and Dupont and Syngenta and ChemChina”. Indeed, the last two “mega mergers” in the farming input sector have already aggravated significantly a very bad situation for the farmers.

The seed market in the EU is ridiculously concentrated. It is a common misconception that seeds are mainly produced by a multitude of thousands of SMEs in the EU, as these are in most cases owned totally or partially by the same few very big stakeholders. In 2014, only four companies were already controlling close to 95% of the vegetable seed market, two of these companies being Bayer and Monsanto. The Commission flags this down as a major problem, citing also the case of oilseed rape seeds.

15.06.2017

One million sign petition for EU weedkiller ban

Strasbourg (France) (AFP) - More than one million people have signed a petition demanding the EU ban the Monsanto weedkiller glyphosate over fears it causes cancer, campaigners said Thursday.

The petition comes as the European Union is deciding whether to renew the licence of the controversial herbicide produced by the US agro-chemicals giant.

09.05.2017

International Meetings of the Resistance against GMOs : final declaration

Rencontres Internationales des Résistances aux OGM

Lorient, Brittany, 30th April 2017

Following the international meetings of convergence of Resistance to GMOs in Ouagadougou, April 2016, [organised by the Collectif citoyen pour l’Agroécologie CCAE], following the Peoples Assembly & International Monsanto Tribunal in The Hague, October 2016, following the First Seed Olympiad, Paranesti, Greece, April 2017, we, of the Resistance in 28 countries in 5 continents, meeting in Lorient, Brittany, 28-30 April 2017, in order to build convergence, on the occasion of this the second International Convergence of the Resistance againt GMOs, do declare :

Our seed, our knowledge and our know-how are a proud cultural heritage, not merchandise, and we alone decide with whom they are to be shared. We refuse to see them stolen by industry for genetic manipulation and privatisation under patent property rights, proceeding thus to wipe out, in country after country, all the local plant varieties and local livestock breeds. Industrial interests, moreover, cannot fool all the people all the time when they try to pass off their latest (and dissimulated) innovations as traditional varieties.

16.02.2017

French and German socialists divided by CETA vote

The European Parliament’s vote on ratifying CETA, the EU-Canada trade agreement, revealed the deep divisions among socialists across the EU, in particular in the “engine of Europe” – France and Germany.

MEPs backed CETA yesterday (15 February) with 408 MEPs in favour and 254 against; 33 abstained. CETA will now face the hurdle of being ratified by the 28 member states. The ratification process varies from country to country, with some requesting approval in national parliaments.

(.....)

In leader of the Party of European Socialists Sergei Stanishev’s Bulgaria, a scandal erupted after the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party Kornelia Ninova said her force will brand all Bulgarian MEPs who supported CETA as traitors.

Ninova says CETA will put at disadvantage the Bulgarian producers and flow the country with products containing GMOs.

05.02.2017

Toxic chemicals: Kids in danger

Is our dependence on pesticides harming the health of our children? Every day, children are exposed to up to 130 chemical pollutants from pesticides. All around the world, scientists and doctors are raising the alarm, linking increases in child cancers, birth defects and even the explosion of autism with exposure to chemicals in pesticides. Six corporations control the pesticide market: Syngenta, Bayer, Monsanto, Dow, BASF and DuPont. They rule over a market of 50 billion dollars. For a year, director Martin Boudot followed the tracks of their molecules to show how some of the most dangerous ones get into our everyday life. In France, children breathe a pesticide classified as "probable carcinogenic." Distributed all over the world, it’s one of Bayer’s best-sellers. Martin Boudot and his team of reporters took some samples of dozens of hairs of children and went to the annual shareholders meeting of Bayer in Germany to confront the corporations with its own principles.

29.12.2016

France bans pesticides in public green spaces

PARIS (AP) — French children will soon be able to frolic in the grass without risk of intoxication.

Pesticides will be banned in all public green spaces from Sunday while non-professional gardeners will no longer be able to buy pesticides over the counter.

17.12.2016

Many studies on genetic modification biased because of authors' links to companies

NEW DELHI: Researchers have found that a large share of scientific studies on genetically modified (GM) crops were tainted by conflicts of interest, mostly because of having an employee of a GM producing company as one of the authors or having received funding from the company.

Out of the 579 published studies on GM crops that were analysed, about 40 per cent showed such conflict of interest, the researchers affiliated to France's National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) found. Their study is published in the journal PLOS ONE this week.

15.12.2016

Conflicts of Interest in GM Bt Crop Efficacy and Durability Studies

Public confidence in genetically modified (GM) crop studies is tenuous at best in many countries, including those of the European Union in particular. A lack of information about the effects of ties between academic research and industry might stretch this confidence to the breaking point. We therefore performed an analysis on a large set of research articles (n = 672) focusing on the efficacy or durability of GM Bt crops and ties between the researchers carrying out these studies and the GM crop industry. We found that ties between researchers and the GM crop industry were common, with 40% of the articles considered displaying conflicts of interest (COI). In particular, we found that, compared to the absence of COI, the presence of a COI was associated with a 50% higher frequency of outcomes favorable to the interests of the GM crop company. Using our large dataset, we were able to propose possible direct and indirect mechanisms behind this statistical association. They might notably include changes of authorship or funding statements after the results of a study have been obtained and a choice in the topics studied driven by industrial priorities.

30.10.2016

Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops

LONDON — The controversy over genetically modified crops has long focused on largely unsubstantiated fears that they are unsafe to eat.

But an extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.

The promise of genetic modification was twofold: By making crops immune to the effects of weedkillers and inherently resistant to many pests, they would grow so robustly that they would become indispensable to feeding the world’s growing population, while also requiring fewer applications of sprayed pesticides.

Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. Comparing results on the two continents, using independent data as well as academic and industry research, shows how the technology has fallen short of the promise.