News

2015-06-26 |

Sweden may vote no to GMO from now on

“We do not want to encourage the use of chemicals” – minister

On 23 June 2015, the Swedish Minister for Rural Affairs Sven-Erik Bucht received sufficient support at the environmental and agricultural committee for the government to adopt a new GMO position.

The Swedish government’s new GMO position highlights that the government could possibly reach a different conclusion from the expert authorities in EU concerning a genetically modified crop to be approved for cultivation or not. If the GM crop is linked to the use of the herbicide glufosinate ammonium, Sweden will vote no.

The government may also choose to vote no on the cultivation of GM crops, which leads to the use of extraordinarily high levels of pesticides, even if the expert authorities do not foresee any environmental or health risks with the GMO.

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According to the Swedish Chemicals Agency, it is illegal to sell or use glufosinate ammonium herbicide in Sweden. Back in 2009, the chemical company Bayer recalled its glufosinate product Basta. Since 1 January 2011, sales of the herbicide by the company to retailers has been forbidden. Since 1 January 2012 it has been forbidden to sell the herbicide to end users. The use of the herbicide has been forbidden in Sweden since 1 January 2013.

2015-06-23 |

Argentina: A class action lawsuit against the release of GMOs and their associated pesticides

Argentina: Federal judge accepts environmental lawsuit against GMOs

Class action lawsuit attacks GMOs for environmental damage and health impacts

A federal judge in Argentina has ruled that an unprecedented class action lawsuit, demanding a ban on the release of GMOs and their associated pesticides, can proceed.

The lawsuit asks the government to provisionally suspend the uncontrolled open release of GMOs – for example, the sale of RR2 Pro/Liberty soybeans – on the grounds that they violate seed laws. The lawsuit also demands labelling of GMOs.

The lawsuit further argues for “a ban on the application of pesticides used for farming until their safety for the environment, ecosystems, biodiversity, the health of living beings, the cultural heritage of the Argentine people, and the sustainability of the production model is scientifically proven”.

2015-06-23 |

Tell Costco to keep GE salmon off our plates

Kroger and Safeway--the #1 and #2 U.S. conventional grocery chains--have joined other major retailers like Target, Meijer, Aldi, Giant Eagle, Whole Foods and many others in protecting consumers, wild salmon, and the environment by rejecting GE salmon, but Costco--one of the largest retailers of salmon and seafood in the U.S.--is one of the last large retailers that hasn’t made a commitment not to sell GE salmon.

Sign the petition urging Costco to join its competitors and commit to keeping GE salmon off its shelves.

2015-06-22 |

Tests carried out for the commercialization of chemicals and GMOs are invalidated by the diets of laboratory rats

CRIIGEN
Lundi 22 Juin 2015

Laboratory rats are frequently used for testing chemicals and genetically modified (GMO) foods, as the last step before commercialization in order to determine effects on mammalian health and predict risk in humans. Such chemicals include pesticides (which often are endocrine disruptors or toxic to the nervous system), plasticizers, and food additives. Some are suspected of being carcinogenic, and others are gradually being banned after having poisoned people and the ecosystem.

However, health agencies consider that a high proportion of laboratory animals are predisposed to developing many diseases, based on industrial data archives known as "historical control data". According to these data, 13–71% of the animals would spontaneously or naturally present mammary tumors and 26–93% pituitary tumors, and the kidney function of these animals would frequently be deficient. This prevents the attribution of observed toxic effects to the products tested, and requires the sacrifice of a large number of animals in an attempt to observe statistically significant results in carcinogenicity tests, for example. But often, doubt persists and the product remains on the market. Do these diseases originate from genetic or environmental factors?

To investigate this question, the team of Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen, supported by CRIIGEN, analyzed the dried feed of laboratory animals using standard methods and with the help of accredited laboratories. These animal feeds, sourced from five continents, are generally considered balanced and hygienic. The study was exceptionally wide-ranging; it investigated 13 samples of commonly used laboratory rat feeds for traces of 262 pesticides, 4 heavy metals, 17 dioxins and furans, 18 PCBs and 22 GMOs.

2015-06-19 |

Deconstructing Indian cotton: weather, yields, and suicides

Research
Deconstructing Indian cotton: weather, yields, and suicides
Andrew Paul Gutierrez, Luigi Ponti, Hans R Herren, Johann Baumgärtner and Peter E Kenmore

Environmental Sciences Europe 2015, 27:12 doi:10.1186/s12302-015-0043-8
Published: 17 June 2015

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Conclusions
Bt cotton may be economic in irrigated cotton, whereas costs of Bt seed and insecticide increase the risk of farmer bankruptcy in low-yield rainfed cotton. Inability to use saved seed and inadequate agronomic information trap cotton farmers on biotechnology and insecticide treadmills. Annual suicide rates in rainfed areas are inversely related to farm size and yield, and directly related to increases in Bt cotton adoption (i.e., costs). High-density short-season cottons could increase yields and reduce input costs in irrigated and rainfed cotton. Policy makers need holistic analysis before new technologies are implemented in agricultural development.

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