News

27.03.2017

Governments and citizens reject GMOs, Commission must follow – Greenpeace

Brussels – Today, national government representatives failed to support the approval of three genetically modified (GM) maize crops for cultivation in Europe: two new ones and the only GM crop currently grown in the EU.

While no qualified majority was reached, the number of rejections shows that GMO opposition clearly outweighs support. It was the second vote by national governments on the European Commission’s proposals to approve the three GM crops. The first vote, held in January 2017, had also failed to deliver a qualified majority. Therefore, it is now up to the Commission to take the final

Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said: “When he was elected, Commission President Juncker promised more democratic decision-making. This vote leaves no doubt that approving these GM crops would break that promise. A majority of governments, parliamentarians and Europeans oppose them, and two thirds of European countries ban GMO cultivation on their lands. Instead of backing risky products peddled by multinational corporations, the Commission should support ecological farming and the solutions it provides for rural areas, farmers and the environment.”

24.03.2017

Glyphosate and the crucial battle for independent science

At its core, the political battle for transparency about the herbicide glyphosate is actually a battle for independent science and for the transparent and democratic functioning of the EU institutions, write five Greens/EFA MEPs

MEPs Heidi Hautala, Philippe Lamberts, Michèle Rivasi, Bart Staes and Benedek Jávor represent the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament.

Given the recent disclosure of the Monsanto Papers in an ongoing US court case on glyphosate, we took the initiative to write a letter to European Commission President Juncker on the issue today (24 March).

We are convinced that strong and truly independent European institutions like the EFSA (the food safety authority), EMA (the medicines agency) and ECHA (the chemicals agency) are crucial for defending public health and building public trust in the EU.

22.03.2017

Cargill Strengthens Non-GMO Traceability

At March's Natural Products Expo West trade show, Cargill (Minneapolis) announced major moves aimed to demonstrate the company’s growing commitment to non-GMO traceability. At the show, the firm announced 13 new Non-GMO Project Verified Ingredients. It also rolled out the branding of its KnownOrigins identity-preservation process.

Growing Commitment to Non-GMO

The company announced that these 13 ingredients have now been verified non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project: stevia sweeteners, dry corn (mill, grits, flour), glucose heirloom syrup, corn syrup solids, dextrin, maltodextrin, modified food starch, native starch, mid-oleic sunflower oil, Clear Valley high-oleic canola oil, soybean oil, chicory inulin, and erythritol (using corn feedstock).

“The significance of this is that this particular group of products getting verified are from high-risk crops,” said Lea Buerman, Cargill’s food safety, quality, and regulatory manager. “The majority of them are from corn or soy, and as you know in the U.S., the majority of corn and soy crops are GM.”

21.03.2017

Is it time to reassess current safety standards for glyphosate-based herbicides?

Abstract

Use of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) increased ∼100-fold from 1974 to 2014. Additional increases are expected due to widespread emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds, increased application of GBHs, and preharvest uses of GBHs as desiccants. Current safety assessments rely heavily on studies conducted over 30 years ago. We have considered information on GBH use, exposures, mechanisms of action, toxicity and epidemiology. Human exposures to glyphosate are rising, and a number of in vitro and in vivo studies challenge the basis for the current safety assessment of glyphosate and GBHs. We conclude that current safety standards for GBHs are outdated and may fail to protect public health or the environment. To improve safety standards, the following are urgently needed: (1) human biomonitoring for glyphosate and its metabolites; (2) prioritisation of glyphosate and GBHs for hazard assessments, including toxicological studies that use state-of-the-art approaches; (3) epidemiological studies, especially of occupationally exposed agricultural workers, pregnant women and their children and (4) evaluations of GBHs in commercially used formulations, recognising that herbicide mixtures likely have effects that are not predicted by studying glyphosate alone.

20.03.2017

Say no to GMO: Tell your Ministries to block 3 genetically modified maize from entering EU fields!

Do you want GMOs in the EU’s fields? If not, tell your Minister now to block them!

Mid-March, the European Commission will propose to the Member States’ experts to allow two GM maize varieties (Bt11 from Syngenta and 1507 from Dupont) and to renew the authorization of one further variety- Mon 810 from Monsanto.

If enough member states’ experts are not voting against, there is a high risk that these regulations will pass, even though a clear majority of EU citizens is against the use of biotechnologies in fields and food. These GM maize would then be cultivated in the fields of several EU countries, and probably contaminate fields of neighboring countries.

The member states have the possibility to STOP GMOs from the fields NOW. If they are serious about environment and food safety they have no reason to hesitate! There are ample reasons not to allow GM cultivation in the EU. Tell your Minister that he/she has the choice to make the difference!

20.03.2017

Pesticide Action Week 20-30 March 2017

Call for a pesticide-free spring! Join us for the 2017 edition!

The Pesticide Action Week is an annual and international event, open to everyone, with the aim to promote alternatives to pesticides. The campaign takes place during the first ten days of every spring (20th-30th of march) when usually the spreading of pesticides resumes.

The public is invited to get better informed about the sanitary and environmental challenges caused by pesticides and learn more about possible alternatives to pesticides by taking part in one of the hundreds of organised activities: conferences, panel discussions, film showings, workshops, open days at organic farms, information stands, exhibitions, shows…

20.03.2017

Seed: The Untold Story

Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds. Worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind, these subtle flecks of life are the source of all existence. Like tiny time capsules, they contain the songs, sustenance, memories, and medicines of entire cultures. They feed us, clothe us, and provide the raw materials for our everyday lives. In a very real

sense, they are life itself.

Yet in our modern world, these precious gifts of nature are in grave danger. In less than a century of industrial agriculture, our once abundant seed diversity—painstakingly created by ancient farmers and gardeners over countless millennia—has been drastically winnowed down to a handful of mass-produced varieties. Under the spell of industrial “progress” and a lust for profit, our quaint family farmsteads have given way to mechanized agribusinesses sowing genetically identical crops on a monstrous scale. Recent news headlines suggest that Irish history may already be repeating in our globalized food system. Articles in the New York Times and other mainstream sources report the impending collapse of the world’s supplies of bananas, oranges, coffee and coconuts—all due to a shortsighted over-reliance on a single, fragile variety. Without seed diversity, crop diseases rise and empires fall.

19.03.2017

SA Says NO to Monsanto's bogus drought tolerant GMO maize and toxic glyphosate

We all love mealies and the many other food products that we get from maize seeds. But Monsanto, a multi-national seed and chemical company, is busy colonising Mzansi's food system. Monsanto genetically engineers the DNA of different plants, and sells their products to farmers promising a better harvest. But wherever Monsanto does business communities health and the environment are at risk. In order to make even more money, they are trying to push through their so-called "drought tolerant maize" seed to be commercially available to our farmers.

Monsanto is using the drought and our rising food prices as a means of inserting its bogus drought tolerant technology and maize into the South African food systems. We strongly challenge claims of drought tolerance as a trojan horse and yet another risky and novel gene introduced into our staple food.

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.”

18.03.2017

Phasing out harmful use of pesticides

If we are going to live so intimately with these

chemicals—eating and drinking them, taking them into

the very marrow of our bones—we had better know

something about their nature and their power, wrote

environmentalist Rachel Carson in 1962 in her book

Silent Spring, which hauntingly described the damaging

effects of indiscriminate pesticide use in agriculture

on animals and people in the USA. 55 years later, a new

report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food

and the UN Special Rapporteur on toxics, presented to the

Human Rights Council on March 7, details the health and