2014-07-23 |

Why Nigeria does not need genetically modified foods

In a recent edition of “Fact Sheet,” a publication of the ecological think-tank, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), writers Juan Lopez, Mariann Orovwuje and Nnimmo Bassey insist that Nigeria does not need genetically modified crops to satisfy its food and agricultural needs. They claim that the National Biosafety Bill is deficient and that President Goodluck Jonathan should not assent to it.
(.....) Nigeria does not need GM crops to satisfy its food and agriculture needs. We know exactly what we have to do and the Nigerian National Conference recently raised the caution with regard to the draft National Biosafety Bill.

2014-07-21 |

The Australian state's poppy producers are lobbying for the GMO moratorium to be lifted in Tasmania

Thousands of Black Angus bulls snort steam gently into the early morning air at Tasmania's largest cattle feedlot. They are being fattened up for the Japanese market where marbled Angus beef is in high demand. Tasmania's isolation and wilderness make the island one of the cleanest places on earth, and the bulls attract a high premium, thanks to Tasmania's status as the only Australian state that bans genetically modified food crops and animal feed. But Tasmania's powerful poppy industry, the world's largest supplier of pharmaceutical grade opiates for painkillers, is lobbying for the moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMO) to be lifted.

2014-07-20 |

What Do Natural, Local, Organic and Non-GMO Mean?

According to a survey released by Consumer Reports on 16 June, 60% of consumers look for the word “natural” on the foods they buy. Two thirds of those polled think it means that the product has no artificial ingredients, pesticides or genetically modified organisms – including artificial growth hormones, antibiotics or drugs in meat. And 80% think that the presence of “natural” on food packaging should mean those things. The problem is that ”natural” means just about nothing, in terms of US food labelling regulations. Products marked “natural” aren't certified or inspected to ensure they are, and the legal definition is vague at best.

2014-07-19 |

North America: Glyphosate-resistant weeds a growing problem for farmers

A growing problem is creeping up among crops throughout North Dakota and Minnesota. Some weeds have become resistant to the herbicides used to control them. In some parts of the country, growers have lost their farms because they didn’t act in time and the weeds got so out of hand, says Rich Zollinger, North Dakota State University Extension Service weed specialist. (.....) Some growers are taking the issue of herbicide-resistant weeds seriously, but when a grower doesn’t address the problem, LaPlante says it not only affects his field, but his neighbors’ fields as well, often traveling through waterways. “If growers collectively as a whole don’t get everybody on the same wagon, it may very well end up as a serious problem like in the South,” Zollinger says. In the Southern part of the country, a weed called Palmer amaranth has become glyphosate-resistant and has taken over entire farms, Zollinger says. “That one weed is worse than all five of our bad weeds,” he says. It adapts quickly, competes aggressively with corps, and can produce anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000 seeds, according to Purdue University Extension Service in Indiana, where Palmer amaranth has been confirmed. “It’s not too far away,” LaPlante says. “If that gets up into our waterways here, we’re all going to have a real serious problem.”

2014-07-17 |

Statement by Commissioner Karel De Gucht on TTIP, GMOs, transparency...

Statement by European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht on TTIP
European Parliament Plenary debate (Strasbourg, 15 July 2014)

(.....) Let me focus on three themes that have been on the forefront of the criticism levied against TTIP: the alleged lack of transparency, the alleged risk of lowering of regulatory standards which underpin our way of life and ISDS. Many people have alleged that the negotiations have been conducted so far in secrecy. It is true that when I meet with my counterpart Ambassador Froman, we prefer to do it without TV cameras being present. If you want to build confidence you also need a certain degree of confidentiality. It is also true that the Commission historically has conducted negotiations without that much media attention. Not because we wanted to keep them secret, but because the interest was much lower. TTIP has completely changed that. The Commission has worked hard to accommodate that new.

(.....) If we agree that the American inspector can stay home and just rely on a copy of the inspection report we have already made, there is no lowering of any standards anywhere. The only thing that is lowered is the amount of red tape. And where the gap in approach between the EU and the US is too wide, we just won't change our rules: we will not import any meat that is treated with hormones; we will not give a blanket approval of imports of GMOs. On the other hand, it is not because the US makes a claim that it must be wrong by definition. We should rely on the opinions of our own scientists in EFSA and not on ideology.

(.....) In addition, I will continue to be fully at your disposal to answer all questions you may have. And I stand ready to consider any other specific ideas on how we can further improve transparency.


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