GMO news related to Germany

28.04.2017

Marriage of death: Protesters oppose Bayer-Monsanto merger

At Bayer's annual general meeting in Bonn, environmentalists and politicians voiced discontent over the proposed takeover. Both companies have come under fire for substandard ethical and environmental practices.

At today's annual general meeting of pharmaceutical company Bayer in Bonn, environmental organizations, politicians from the Greens and concerned citizens were all steadfast in their shared goal: the Bayer-Monsanto merger must be stopped.

Bayer's intention to take over the United States-based seeds and agrochemicals company for just under 59 billion euros ($64 billion) was met with widespread anger due to Monsanto's poor environmental record and the possibility that it may grant it an even broader market for pesticides.

The agriculture minister for the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Johannes Remmel, expressed his concerns to DW: "The merger would create a central market position for these two very powerful corporations, pushing smaller farms out of the agricultural sector."

"We cannot allow that."

28.04.2017

World Business Report, Protests at Bayer AGM over Monsanto deal

Last year when the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer unveiled a $66 billion deal to buy Monsanto, the giant American agrichemical and biotechnology corporation, the plan provoked protests.

That opposition to the deal was played out again at Bayer's Annual General Meeting in Bonn, especially by shareholders who are angry about not getting an open vote on it.

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.

19.03.2017

Glyphosate Back in the News – Regulation, Revolving Doors, Pesticides & Politics

As the ECHA maintain “that the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction” we take a look at how closely European politics and industry work together on pesticide regulation – and what this means.

As expected, the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) has refused to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen. The ECHA maintained that glyphosate is “a substance causing serious eye damage and being toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects” in their opinion, published last week. However the RAC concluded “that the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction.”

16.03.2017

Clean bill of health for glyphosate - a fatal decision of ECHA

On 15 March 2017 the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced its decision on the weedkiller glyphosate: a complete acquittal with regard to cancer risk, possible genotoxicity and reproductive toxicity.

At a press conference, the representatives of ECHA explained that there was "not enough evidence" for carcinogenic effects. It was admitted that there were signs of cancer in the studies, which, however, were only "slightly" above background. It can be seen in the available official reports that the "background data" - the so-called historical control data - were violating the scientific rules and purpose-made to dismiss the findings. This clearly did not seem to have disturbed ECHA's Risk Assessment Committee. Asked whether the precautionary principle was applied to the evaluation, Jack de Bruijn from the ECHA said that all the data had been looked at and then a "weight of evidence approach" had been used. The precautionary principle was "not so much applied". PAN Germany recently presented a thorough review of such a "weight of evidence judgment" (http://www.pan-germany.org/download/The_Carcinogenic_Hazard_of_Glyphosate.pdf). "It is disappointing that the ECHA has apparently also made use of such an industry-friendly weight of evidence", says Peter Clausing of PAN Germany.

08.03.2017

German retailer asks suppliers to reduce glyphosate MRLs

German supermarket chain Aldi Süd is putting pressure on itssuppliers to reduce residues of the herbicide, glyphosate, to a maximum of 20%of EU maximum residue limits (MRLs), German media report. Aldi has said in aletter to the suppliers that “possible

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15.02.2017

GMO'Golden Rice': Unexpected genomic effects

Rice plants show reduced growth and irregular gene expression

15 February 2017 / A new publication has reported unintended effects in genetically engineered rice producing precursors of vitamin A, so-called carotenoids. Crossing the manipulated rice with the Indian variety Swarna led to a nasty surprise: The resulting plants showed extensive disturbance in their growth. The researchers identified several reasons for this: The new gene constructs interfere with the plant’s own gene for producing growth hormones, and the additional gene constructs were not, as intended, active solely in the kernels, but also in the leaves. This led to a substantial reduction in the content of chlorophyll that is essential for vital functions in the plants.

These unintended effects were not detected in previous investigations, and it was assumed that the genetically engineered plants used in these trials would show genetic stability. In fact, these detrimental genomic effects remained undetected until the transgenic plants were crossed with the variety called Swarna, which is grown widely in India.

The observed effects are highly relevant for the risk assessment of the plants. Once released, the transgenic plants could spread their gene constructs into populations of weedy rice as well as other cultivated varieties. In addition, genomic effects not found in the original plants can occur in plant offspring. At the stage when the hazards are identified, it can be impossible to remove the transgenes from the environment.

05.02.2017

Consultation on Breeding Techniques

The realm of breeding techniques is rapidly evolving. The recent introduction and broad uptake of new genetic engineering techniques raises potential for huge impacts on our planet and society.

IFOAM - Organics International has convened an expert Working Group to study the full breadth of the topic and its effects both within and beyond the organic sector. The Working Group has drafted a position paper, which is now released for global consultation and feedback. We hereby request your review and comments so that we may further improve it.

At the next General Assembly of the organic movement, which is immediately following the 19th Organic World Congress in New Delhi, India in November 2017, the membership of IFOAM - Organics International is expected to vote on the position that the organic sector will take with respect to the full spectrum of known breeding techniques. (This new position complements the recently updated IFOAM - Organics International Position on Genetic Engineering and Genetically Modified Organisms.)

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The deadline for comments is 31 March 2017.

14.01.2017

We are fed up with agro industry! - Berlin Demonstration

Agri businesses: Take your hands off our food! Together for healthy food, more rural and ecological farming and fair trade

Farming and regional food are at risk. Agri business and the Federal Government of Germany are pushing ahead with the industrialisation of agriculture and food. As a consequence the number of farms is collapsing globally, artisan food products are disappearing, as hundreds of millions of people are suffering from hunger or malnutrition. Meanwhile, pollution, biodiversity loss and the climate crisis becomes more and more crucial.

We want farms instead of agri business!

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We are farmers, food producers, beekeepers, bakers, gardeners, animal, environmental and nature activists, development workers, critical consumers and committed young people.

We are calling on you to join us as we fight for a more rural and ecological agriculture on the 7th international “We are fed up!” demonstration.

We need healthy food for everyone! We will make the transformation in food and farming a core political issue in this year. Policies and practices need to change so people and not corporations determine our food. We are fed up!

Saturday 21 January, 2017, in Berlin.

23.12.2016

German GMO-free industry body says gene-edited foods are GMOs

Products of new genetic engineering techniques must be tested, regulated, and labelled as GMOs – VLOG

In Europe the GMO label has become the equivalent of a skull-and-crossbones for many retail sectors and shoppers, resulting in a situation where GM ingredients are rarely used in food meant for human consumption. Pro-GMO lobbyists hope that a new wave of “gene-edited” plants and animals will escape GMO labelling and enter the food supply unnoticed and unopposed. They have even dubbed the new techniques “new plant breeding techniques” (NPBTs) in an apparent attempt to avoid the unpopular “GM word”.