News

11.12.2019 |

Local and GM free demands to boost EU protein crop output

EU production of soybeans and pulses will continue to grow to address feed and food demand for locally produced plant-protein products, according to the EU Commission’s outlook for EU agriculture until 2030.

06.12.2019 |

Fake “Farmer Willi” part of an international fake parade

Five thousand tractors caused severe disruption in Berlin last week as farmers protested against the German government’s environmental protection policies. These include plans to limit the use of fertiliser in order to tackle nitrate pollution in groundwater, and to phase out glyphosate by 2023 to protect biodiversity.

Meet fake Farmer Willi

One of the German government’s most outspoken critics is Dr Wilhelm Kremer-Schillings, or “Farmer Willi”, as he styles himself. Through his blogging and campaigning against pesticide restrictions, in favour of GMOs, and in defence of companies like Bayer/Monsanto, he has become one of Germany’s best known farmers.

05.12.2019 |

Gene Drive Organisms: An introduction to a dangerous new technology putting Africans at risk

Gene Drive Organisms are built to intentionally spread their implanted traits through an entire population and could easily be designed to cause a whole species to become extinct or replaced. So far this ‘exterminator technology’ has never been tested in a natural, or even semi-natural environment but the day of GDO release is coming.

This report explains what Gene Drives are, who is behind them, and what rights and tools communities in Africa have to stop them.

05.12.2019 |

Release: Experts Discuss Dangers of GE Chestnut

Experts Discuss Dangers of Genetically Engineered American Chestnut Release

New York – December 5th, In advance of the public release of a petition requesting unprecedented USDA permission for the unregulated planting of the first genetically engineered plant into the wild, experts are calling attention to the risks and dangers of this plan.

Researchers developing a GE American chestnut tree have stated that they are working with the USDA on this petition and hope it will be finished and publicly released in the coming weeks.

In a series of short recorded presentations, five experts from the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered trees discuss risks of the proposed release of genetically engineered American chestnut trees into wild forests.

30.11.2019 |

Australian farmer sues over claims Roundup caused his cancer

Moama farmer Ross Wild started using the popular weedkiller Roundup on his oat, barley and wheat crops when it first became available in Australia in 1976.

“There was nothing on the drums to tell you it was a poison,” Mr Wild says. “I remember seeing ads that said you could drink the stuff.”

Mr Wild recalls being saturated with Roundup in his old cabin-less tractor: “It was like a mist all over you.”

And then in March 2018, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

28.11.2019 |

South Africa’s Agriculture Minister Rejects Monsato’s GM Maize Seed

Amidst the clamor that surrounds Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) globally, a small but significant triumph panned out in South Africa last month. The country’s Agriculture Minister, Thoko Didiza, upheld the decision by the Executive Council to reject American agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation, Monsato’s request for the commercial cultivation of its allegedly drought-tolerant MON87460 x MON89034 x NK603 maize seed. The agro-giant further claimed the genetically modified variety to be resistant to insects.

However, the official report rejecting the GM maize seeds stated that the “kernel count per row and kernel count per year showed that there were no statistically significant differences between the MON87460 x MON89034 x NK603 maize and conventional maize in water limited conditions”. Further, the yield benefits propounded by Monsato were “inconsistent” while the insect resistant data presented was “insufficient as it was collected from only one trial site for two planting seasons”.

22.11.2019 |

USA: Government lays out the rules for labeling for genetically modified foods

U.S. consumers will see labels on food products that contain genetically modified ingredients as early as 2020, federal officials said Thursday.

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The guidelines, which use the term “bioengineered” instead of the more commonly used “genetically modified,” allow disclosure of bioengineered ingredients in several formats: in text, a symbol, a digital link printed on packaging or text message.

Companies can use a QR code with a statement like: “Scan here for more food information.” After scanning the code, consumers will be brought to a website where genetically modified foods will be disclosed. If a company provides a digital link disclosure, it must also provide a telephone number consumers can call for information. Critics say companies that use the QR code should be required to include the word “bioengineered” in their statement.

22.11.2019 |

MEPs slam gene-editing court ruling as damaging for SMEs

It is much easier for larger companies to implement new GM legislation, but it’s the smaller ones that are most affected by the recent gene-editing ruling, the chair of the agriculture committee (AGRI) MEP, Norbert Lins, told EURACTIV.com at the sidelines of a recent plant breeding conference.

His comment was in reference to the July 2018 EU Court decision that organisms obtained by mutagenesis plant breeding technique are GMOs and should, in principle, fall under the GMO Directive.

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However, the claim that SMEs hold a larger market share of NBT patents is widely refuted by NGOs.

Speaking to EURACTIV on the sidelines of the event, Jan Plagge, president of EU organic farmers (IFOAM EU), said that there are various types of patents and that although larger corporations may not hold as many of the patents for finished products, they do hold the majority of patents for gene-editing techniques.

This, he said, makes it “hard for small and medium enterprises to use this technology” and therefore the argument that “regulation is preventing SMEs from strengthening their innovation and product development is not really valid”.

He added that “four or five” large companies have the largest share of the seed market and that they secured “a lot of licenses and patents on techniques”.

21.11.2019 |

CBAN Factsheet: “Golden Rice” GM Vitamin A Rice

Golden Rice is the name of a rice that has been genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) to produce beta-carotene,

which the body can convert into vitamin A. This beta-carotene gives the rice grains the yellowish colour that inspired its name.

Golden Rice is being developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a research and educational organization

based in the Philippines, along with various national partners in other countries.

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GOLDEN RICE IN CANADA

The 2018 decision by Canadian government regulators (Health Canada) to assess and approve the safety of Golden Rice was not a “humanitarian gesture.” Health Canada was clear that “the efficacy of the GR2E rice in helping vitamin A deficiency in affected populations was not evaluated” and that “IRRI has indicated that this product is not intended to be sold in Canada.”

18.11.2019 |

Battle over glyphosate shifts to the environmental front

Forget cancer. The next EU debate on the safety of glyphosate will be about the environment and the harm the ubiquitous herbicide can do to life in meadows and rivers.

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