GMO-free news from the Netherlands

2015-01-23 |

Newly published Consumers´ surveys show GMO-free important

Nielsen: Global consumers partial to natural, GMO-free foods

Asked what health attributes are very important when buying food, consumers in a global survey by Nielsen ranked “all-natural” and “GMO-free” at the top. Nielsen, a market researcher, polled 30,000 online respondents in 60 countries to gauge healthy eating trends, releasing the results Tuesday. Consumers were asked to rate 27 “health attributes” of food from “very important” to “not important” in their purchase decisions. The top two, each considered very important by 43 percent of global respondents, were foods with all natural ingredients and foods without ingredients containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

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Farm-state poll asks consumers about 'organic' and 'GMO' food label claims - Food labels indicating 'GMO,' 'organic,' or 'hormone-free' are helpful, but their claims raise skepticism, Iowa's Food & Family Project study finds.

More consumers say they find food labels helpful, but confidence in the trustworthiness of labels has declined, and falls even more when consumers are provided additional information about such claims, according to a new poll conducted in by the Iowa Food & Family Project. The poll included responses from 353 health-conscious Iowans who make the majority of their household's food purchases. With a 4.3% margin of error, it asked participants' take on food labels like "natural," "local," "organic," "hormone-free," "antibiotic-free" and "GMO-free." Food labels indicating GMO, organic, or hormone-free are helpful, but their claims raise skepticism, Iowas Food & Family Project study finds
Food labels indicating 'GMO,' 'organic,' or 'hormone-free' are helpful, but their claims raise skepticism, Iowa's Food & Family Project study finds

2015-01-22 |

Earth has crossed several planetary boundaries, study warns

Planet Planetary boundaries (Graphic: F. Pharand-Deschênes/Globaïa)

Human activity has pushed the planet across four out of nine environmental boundaries, according to a new study published in the journal Science. An international team of 18 researchers warns that the planetary boundaries that have been crossed are: climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change and altered biogeochemical flows (phosphorus and nitrogen cycles). Lead author, Will Steffen from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, said “transgressing a boundary increases the risk that human activities could inadvertently drive the Earth System into a much less hospitable state, damaging efforts to reduce poverty and leading to a deterioration of human wellbeing in many parts of the world, including wealthy countries”. Regarding climate change, the scientists argue that carbon dioxide levels should not exceed 350 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere. However, the current level is about 399 ppm, and this is growing by about 3 ppm per year. According to Johan Rockström, who is the director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, “this boundary is consistent with a stabilisation of global temperatures at about 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels”. Biodiversity loss and species extinction are also reaching dangerous levels, with rates of extinctions of animals and plants being 10 to 100 times higher than safe levels. The study defines climate change and loss of species as two “core boundaries”, each of which “has the potential on its own to drive the Earth System into a new state should they be substantially and persistently transgressed”. The researchers also sounded the alarm about deforestation and pollution from nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilisers. On the regional scale, even more boundaries have been crossed, such as freshwater use in the western U.S. and in parts of southern Europe and the Middle East. “Implementing methods to use water more efficiently in agriculture can help sort out this dilemma and at the same time increase global food production”, says Dieter Gerten, another co-author. Although it may seem that the paper paints a gloomy picture, the authors wish to emphasise that the findings provide us with the chance to change course. “The world has a tremendous opportunity this year to address global risks, and do it more equitably. In September, nations will agree the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. With the right ambition, this could create the conditions for long-term human prosperity within planetary boundaries,” said Rockström. (ab)

2015-01-22 |

Hungary Set to Initiate EU Alliance to Reject GM Crops

Hungary will initiate a joint alliance of European Union member states rejecting the use of genetically modified organisms in farming with the aim to make the entire European Union free from GMO crops, Hungarian farm minister Sándor Fazekas said on the sidelines of the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in Berlin at the weekend.

2015-01-22 |

New EU GMO Directive: Strengthening the biotech companies to the detriment of the legal framework, public health and the environment

The new GMO directive passed by Parliament opens the floodgates of GMO authorizations, without actually strengthening the power of the member states, and also assigns a monopoly of expertise to EFSA which is unacceptable, given the infiltration of lobbyists within the health agency.

2015-01-22 |

Everyone loves a genetically modified mosquito- right?

When I first learnt of the idea to genetically modify mosquitoes (GMMs) as a strategy for controlling the diseases transmitted by these much-maligned insects, I thought it was refreshingly innovative. Little did I know that scientists had been fiddling with mosquitoes, and other insects, for the same reason long before I was born.

2015-01-22 |

Biological safety lock for genetically modified organisms

The creation of genetically modified and entirely synthetic organisms continues to generate excitement as well as worry.

2015-01-20 |

Hungarian farm minister: The whole EU should be a GMO FREE ZONE

Hungary will initiate a joint alliance of European Union member states rejecting the use of genetically modified organisms in farming with the aim to make the entire European Union free from GMO crops, Hungarian farm minister Sándor Fazekas said on the sidelines of the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in Berlin at the weekend. István Fazekas said the countries committed to GMO-free farming must forge an alliance because “we would like to keep our food and our environment healthy and we are convinced that the agriculture of the EU and Hungary can remain competitive with conventional crop and livestock production”.

Farm Ministry said last week that Hungary’s interests were fulfilled when a vote passed in the European Parliament allowed individual member states to ban the cultivation of GM crops. “It is an especially important strategic interest for Hungary laid down in its constitution also to ensure that its agriculture is GMO-free,” it said.

2015-01-20 |

EU Agriculture Commissioner promises GMO labelling, despite TTIP

Phil Hogan answering the questions at the International Green Week in Berlin Phil Hogan answering the questions at the International Green Week in Berlin

If a product contains genetically modified corn, it will still be labelled as such in the future, assured EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, seeking to dispel fears that consumer protection standards could suffer under planned trade agreements with the US and Canada. EurActiv Germany reports.

Just in time for the opening of the world’s largest annual agricultural exhibition International Green Week in Berlin on Thursday (15 January), EU Commissioner Phil Hogan took a clear position in favour of labeling products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

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