GMO news related to United Kingdom

10.01.2018 |

Glyphosate: A victory for corporate lobbying, not science

In November 2017, EU member States narrowly voted for a five-year reauthorisation of glyphosate, the world’s most widely used weedkiller. While this is far from the fifteen-year license the agrochemical industry was pushing for, the result was a major disappointment to PAN and other organisations campaigning to protect the environment and human health from the harmful impacts of pesticides. It was also a slap in the face to the millions of European citizens who signed petitions calling for glyphosate to be banned.

Straight after the vote, the pro-glyphosate PR machine went into overdrive declaring the decision ‘a major victory for science and common sense’ over supposedly dishonest and uninformed environmentalists. The petrifying thing about this false narrative – fostered successfully for decades by the agrochemical industry – is that it is winning.

27.11.2017 |

EU settles dispute over major weedkiller glyphosate

EU countries have voted to renew the licence of glyphosate, a widely used weedkiller at the centre of environmental concerns.

The proposal at the EU Commission's Appeal Committee got 18 votes in favour and nine against, with one abstention, ending months of deadlock.

The Commission says the new five-year licence will be ready before the current one expires on 15 December.

Glyphosate is marketed as Roundup by the US agrochemical giant Monsanto.

22.11.2017 |

Scientists warn of toxic chemical cocktail sprayed on food

As the number of chemicals applied to vegetables sold in supermarkets goes up 17-fold, experts say pesticides must be phased out of food production. Report by Claire Robinson

The number of chemicals applied to vegetables sold in supermarkets has increased by up to 17-fold over 40 years, according to data presented at a conference organized by the Epidemiology and Public Health Section of the Royal Society of Medicine in London on 20 November, which I attended on behalf of GMWatch.

Just as disturbing as the data on our escalating exposure to toxic pesticide mixtures was the evidence presented at the conference that the regulatory system for pesticides is failing.

Scientists explained that while the system tests the single active ingredients in pesticides, it fails to test the many accompanying chemicals (adjuvants) used in pesticide formulations to enhance the effectiveness of the active ingredients. It also fails to test the combined effects of the formulations of chemicals used in commercial pesticides, let alone the cocktail effect of being exposed to multiple pesticides, as most farmers, rural residents and consumers are.

04.09.2017 |

GeneWatch UK PR: New documents show Oxitec's GM mosquitoes ineffective and risky

GeneWatch UK today released an updated report on Oxitec's releases of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands (1). The report cites new information regarding ineffectiveness and risks, including the annual report of the project, recently released as a result of a Freedom of Information request (2).

The annual report was not available to the National Conservation Council (NCC) at its June 4th meeting, when it approved an island-wide roll-out of GM mosquito releases.

The new information shows that the releases have been ineffective and large numbers of biting female GM mosquitoes have been released.

"Plans to roll-out Oxitec's GM mosquito releases island-wide must be halted whilst this new information is properly considered", said Dr Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK, "Oxitec's GM technology is failing in the field and poses unnecessary risks. Islanders' money should not be thrown away on an approach which has not been successful."

09.05.2017 |

Apply now: Agri-activism opportunity this summer on an organic farm in Wales!

One remaining place to join the project between July 17th and October 9th – deadline May 15th**

Fed up with the supermarket stranglehold on our food system? Are you active in the fight against the damaging system of corporate-controlled, pesticide-heavy, GM crops – and do you want to push for an alternative?

If you're between 18 and 30 and have a commitment to anti-GM activism and sustainable, local organic farming, Friends of the Earth Europe is offering the chance for you to support a local campaign alongside an experienced activist against GM crops in South Wales, and gain practical, hands-on, experience of working on an organic farm over a period of three months during the summer of 2017.

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?

15.03.2017 |

Say NO to risky GM potato trial

The Sainsbury Laboratory wants to plant experimental GM potatoes that haven't even been trialled under controlled conditons. Please make your views known in the public consultation which ends on 23 March.

What you can do

Just one year after gaining consent to plant GM blight-resistant potatoes, the Sainsbury Laboratory has applied for permission to plant a series of much more complicated GM potatoes at its farm in Norwich. Defra is considering the application and a public consultation is now open. GM Freeze has submitted a detailed objection on behalf of 33 different organisations, but it is important that other voices speak out against this crop too.

07.03.2017 |

Supermarkets: 'Feed me the Truth' about GMOs in our food chain!

UK supermarkets led the world in saying 'no!' to GM foods and ingredients, writes Liz O'Neill. But they faltered on GM feeds for pigs, cattle, poultry and fish, with GM soy and corn dominating the UK's non-organic market. Now campaigners are putting the pressure on supermarkets to make their entire supply chains GMO-free for the sake of animal, human and ecological health.

03.02.2017 |

Controversy Surrounding GMOs Leading to Popularity of Organic Baby Food: Infiniti Research

LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Increasing concerns about GMOs, pesticides, and food additives are affecting the baby food market worldwide. According to Infiniti Research, more parents and caregivers are opting for natural and organic baby food: close to half of all new baby food launches new launches from 2007 to 2012 were in the organic segment, and supermarket sales of organic baby food saw a rise of more than 60% over the past five years. The market is experiencing a shift from non-organic baby food to organic.

How can Infiniti Research help you? Request a brochure

Organic baby food is typically considered to be baby food that is made from ingredients that have been grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals and modifications. North America, according to Infiniti Research, is the largest growing market for organic baby food in the world. In North America, GMOs are typically considered safe for human consumption; in many other regions and countries, however, this is not the case. The sale and production of genetically modified crops are highly restricted in France, Germany, and other European nations; North America and the EU have very different regulations when it comes to GMOs.

31.01.2017 |

Gene drives thwarted by emergence of resistant organisms

Until this obstacle is overcome, the technology is unlikely to succeed in the wild.

In the small city of Terni in central Italy, researchers are putting the final touches on what could be the world’s most sophisticated mosquito cages. The enclosures, each occupying 150 cubic metres, simulate the muggy habitats in which Africa’s Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes thrive. By studying the insects under more-natural conditions, scientists hope to better understand how to eradicate them — and malaria — using an emerging genetic-engineering technology called gene drives.

(.....)

The Target Malaria team has developed a second generation of gene-drive mosquitoes, hoping to slow the development of resistance, says Andrea Crisanti, a molecular parasitologist at Imperial College London. The researchers plan to test them in their new Italian facility later this year to get a sense of how the mosquitoes might fare in the wild. But molecular biologist Tony Nolan, also at Imperial, expects evolution to throw up some surprises. He says that his greatest worry about gene drives is that they simply won’t work.

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