News

23.07.2021 |

Defend Our Rice! Farmer-scientist group condemns Golden Rice commercial propagation, calls on farmers and consumers to protest

Farmer-scientist organization Magsasaka at Siyentipiko Para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) vehemently condemns the railroaded decision by the Department of Agriculture to commercially propagate Golden Rice and calls on small farmers and consumers across the country to mount protest against the said decision.

14.07.2021 |

Amazon rainforest now emitting more CO2 than it absorbs

Cutting emissions more urgent than ever, say scientists, with forest producing more than a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year

The Amazon rainforest is now emitting more carbon dioxide than it is able to absorb, scientists have confirmed for the first time.

The emissions amount to a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, according to a study. The giant forest had previously been a carbon sink, absorbing the emissions driving the climate crisis, but is now causing its acceleration, researchers said.

Most of the emissions are caused by fires, many deliberately set to clear land for beef and soy production. But even without fires, hotter temperatures and droughts mean the south-eastern Amazon has become a source of CO2, rather than a sink.

14.07.2021 |

Tell restaurants to pledge to never serve GMO salmon!

A biotech company is harvesting the first GMO salmon right now.

It's shocking because just last year a court found FDA's first-ever approval of this GMO salmon to be illegal because it violated core environmental laws. But until FDA makes a new decision, GMO salmon could still be coming (unlabeled!) to your plate in a restaurant, especially if that restaurant buys seafood from Samuel and Sons Seafood, which just announced purchasing this GMO salmon.

13.07.2021 |

Soybean expansion in South America doubled over past 20 years

A team of researchers affiliated with multiple institutions in the U.S., Brazil and Argentina has found that land dedicated to growing soybeans in South America has doubled over the past 20 years. In their paper published in the journal Nature Sustainability, the group describes their approach to measuring soy growing areas in South America and what they learned about its impact on land use on the continent.

09.07.2021 |

New GE: How to assess the environmental risks?

Scientific publication identifies important cornerstones

9 July 2021 / Experts from environmental authorities in Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland and Switzerland have published a new scientific paper that, for the first time, defines some important initial cornerstones in the environmental risk assessment of plants altered with new genomic techniques (i.e. ‘New GE’ or ‘genome editing’). The authors show that there can be no justification for only risk assessing plants with additionally inserted genes or with extensive genomic changes. Rather, all plants derived from New GE must be subjected to mandatory risk assessment.

In this regard, the authors disagree with the findings set out in a recent EU Commission report, which suggests that only specific categories of New GE plants should be subjected to mandatory risk assessment. The authors of the new publication state: “With a view to the wide range of plant species, GE methods and traits that need to be considered, there is no safety by default for whole groups of GE applications encompassing different individual GE organisms, i.e. without an appropriate ERA prior to the release of GE plants into the environment.”

07.07.2021 |

800 international organisations, NGOs and food experts unite to warn against ‘greenwashing’ at UN Food Systems Summit, call for true sustainability in agriculture

Experts call for agroecology, organic and regenerative agriculture to take centre stage at UN Food Systems Summit in New York.

WWF, Oxfam, IUCN and ECOWAS among 230 organisations to sign ambitious manifesto; 580 individual experts also sign on.

7 JULY, BRUSSELS – Over 800 international organisations, farming groups and food experts want agroecology, organic and regenerative agriculture to top the agenda at this year’s UN Food Systems Summit. The voices from six continents are calling on governments and businesses to take action once and for all on the “damaging” status quo in global farming.

05.07.2021 |

A CRISPECTOR calls with fresh insight to gene editing errors

An Israeli research team claims new software can detect unintended consequences of gene editing. Here, Dermot Martin unpacks the research that applies statistical modelling to determine and quantify editing activity. The new technology promises to identify and report unintended mutations that might currently go undetected during CRISPR Cas 9 gene editing of early stage human embryos.

02.07.2021 |

Major differences vex discussions on assessment of new genetic technologies

London, 1 July (Lim Li Ching*) – Discussions on the assessment of new genetic technologies, such as synthetic biology and organisms containing engineered gene drives, at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) have brought to light major differences.

Clear divisions emerged between Parties that grow and export genetically modified crops, such as Brazil and Argentina, and other Parties that tend to take more precautionary approaches to living modified organisms (LMOs) and new genetic technologies, such as those from Europe. Argentina is not a Party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which is a Protocol to the CBD.

28.06.2021 |

IFOAM Organics Europe newsletter no 121 - June 2021

European retailers take a strong stand against deregulating new GMOs

New GMOs in Europe? Slow Food Europe podcast with our Policy Coordinator

Commission opens public consultation on the review of the seed legislation

17.06.2021 |

Unintended Outcomes and Off-target Effects in New GMOs

In a 2018 Washington Post article, new GMO techniques were described in blushing terms: “the future of food” and “precise, fast and inexpensive.” While new techniques including gene-editing, gene-silencing and synthetic biology proliferate across industries, there are serious concerns about their precision and efficiency.

Read our recent blog post New GMOs and Where to Find Them

Before we look at what can go wrong, let us see what happens when gene-editing goes right. The most commonly used technique of the up-and-coming gene-editing lineup is undoubtedly CRISPR, which is relatively inexpensive and accessible (CRISPR kits are even available by mail order for the home geneticist).

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