News

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.

28.04.2017

EU: Ongoing process for authorising genetically modified plants

Dear President Juncker,

In the past 17 months, the European Commission has put forward twelve draft implementing decisions authorising the placing on the market of genetically modified seeds - for cultivation in the EU - or of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified plants. The European Parliament has, with very clear majorities, objected to all of these.

Besides serious doubts regarding deficits in the risk assessment, these objections stem from serious concerns about the decision-making process used for authorising genetically modified plants in the European Union.

24.04.2017

Europe is Waging War on Insecticides and GMO Crops

It might be time to finally fulfill that dream of moving to the Italian countryside as Europe is slowly but surely working on banning pesticides and GMOs — for good.

The Case Against Neonicotinoids

At the end of March, draft regulations from the European Commission banning the world’s most widely used class of insecticides, known as neonicotinoids, were made public by the Guardian. The British newspaper reported that if the proposals are approved by a majority of EU member states, a May vote could ban neonicotinoids from all fields across Europe within the year.

The presence of neonicotinoids in the EU was already on thin ice, given their detrimental effect on pollinator populations. The EU had already imposed a temporary ban on the use of three key neonicotinoids in 2013, but these new regulations would take things a step further.

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.

18.04.2017

Oregon GMO liability bill survives Legislature’s deadline

A bill that would allow biotech patent holders to be sued for unwanted GMO presence in Oregon has survived a crucial deadline.

SALEM — Biotech patent holders would be legally responsible for losses caused by their genetically engineered crops in Oregon under a bill that’s survived a crucial legislative deadline.

House Bill 2739 would allow landowners to sue biotech patent holders for the unwanted presence of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, on their land.

The bill has now been referred to the House Rules Committee, which isn’t subject to an April 18 legislative deadline that recently killed other proposals.

The move could effectively allows HB 2739 to stay alive through the end of the 2017 legislative session, scheduled to end in late June.

07.04.2017

Genetically-engineered crop debate not over...yet

MEDFORD, Ore. -- The discussion over G.M.O.'s isn't over yet.

Senate Bill 1037 and House Bill 2739 deal with making all of Oregon a "seed sanctuary" and protecting farmers from cross-contamination.

If approved, 1037 would create around 4,000 square miles of G.M.O.-free land combined between Josephine and Jackson counties.

House bill 2739 needs more support by tomorrow to keep it alive.

"I hear farmers say 'you know, you're so fortunate you get to grow in an area where you feel safe from GMO crops and the threats of them,' then you think every farmer should have that right. To stop is really hard and especially when you have a neighboring county like Josephine," Elise Higley, with Our Family Farms, said.

07.04.2017

Monsanto illegally Introduces Round Up Resistant GMO Cotton in India

New Delhi: On the occasion of World Health Day, 7 April, Navdanya along with Swadeshi Jagran Manch appeals to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban Monsanto on account of its illegal introduction of herbicide tolerant GMO Round-up Ready Flex Bt cotton (RR Bt Cotton). Round-up, a glyphosate-based herbicide has been declared a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Sri Lanka and many European countries have already banned glyphosate because of reported and probable deaths as well as diseases directly linked to the use of this herbicide.

07.04.2017

Researchers find glyphosate in pregnant women, worry about impact on infants

A team of scientists this week released early results of an ongoing study spotlighting concerns about the rising use of pesticides and reproductive risks to women and children. The researchers tested and tracked, over a period of two years, the presence of the common herbicide glyphosate in the urine of 69 expectant mothers in Indiana.

The team – led by Paul Winchester, medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at the Franciscan St. Francis Health System and professor of clinical pediatrics at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Ind. – found glyphosate residues in 90 percent of the women, and high levels of those residues appeared to correlate with shortened pregnancies and below-average birth weights adjusted for age. The findings alarmed the researchers because such babies are at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and lower cognitive abilities. “Gestational age maximizes the size of your brain at birth, and any shortening is essentially a reduction of IQ points,” Winchester said in an interview with FERN’s Ag Insider. “It has not just health, but lifetime achievement implications.”

06.04.2017

Farms could slash pesticide use without losses, research reveals | Environment

Virtually all farms could significantly cut their pesticide use while still producing as much food, according to a major new study. The research also shows chemical treatments could be cut without affecting farm profits on over three-quarters of farms.

The scientists said that many farmers wanted to reduce pesticide use, partly due to concerns for their own health. But farmers do not have good access to information on alternatives, the researchers said, because much of their advice comes from representatives of companies that sell both seeds and pesticides.

The work presents a serious challenge to the billion-dollar pesticide industry, which has long argued its products are vital to food production, especially with the world population set to grow to nine billion people by 2050.

04.04.2017

New Breeding Techniques and synthetic biology - genetic engineering by another name

Advocates claim that synthetic biology and the so-called New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) are distinct from genetic engineering (GE), write Helena Paul, Elisabeth Bücking & Ricarda Steinbrecher. In fact synthetic biology and NBTs carry similar risks to old-style GE, and even create novel hazards. The 'new GE' techniques - as they should be named - and their products deserve regulation at least as strict as those applying to GMOs.

With the development of new genetic engineering techniques, the ease and speed of creating genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has sharply increased, and the costs have gone down.

Scientists have acquired the ability to make deeper and more complex changes to the genetic makeup of living organisms.

Not only can DNA be rapidly sequenced but DNA strands can also be easily synthesised, taking digital sequence instructions directly from computers (and the internet).

This has led to the emergence of two new fields of genetic engineering that overlap with each other: synthetic biology (or synbio) and the so-called New Breeding Techniques (NBTs). In most cases both involve the use of old-style genetic engineering, but they also go much further.

So what precisely are these new techniques?