News

09.11.2017

EU fails to agree licence renewal for controversial glyphosate weedkiller

With a deadline just weeks away, the European Union failed Thursday to break a hardening stalemate on whether to renew the licence for the widely-used weedkiller glyphosate, which critics fear causes cancer.

The European Commission said it fell short of the majority needed to renew the license for five years when it expires December 15, as only half of the 28 member states voted for its proposal.

"Given that a qualified majority could not be reached ... the result of the vote is 'no opinion,'" said the commission, the EU's executive and regulatory arm.

The latest result was hailed by environmental campaigners, including those who rallied outside EU headquarters to mock US agro-food giant Monsanto, the maker of the best-selling glyphosate product Roundup.

"Today we have seen that the seventh attempt of the European Commission to renew Glyphosate has failed again," said Luis Morago, Avaaz campaign director.

"Monsanto wanted 15 more years and they can't even get five."

The European Commission, which had originally recommended approving the herbicide's use for another decade, said it will now submit its proposal to an appeals committee by the end of November.

09.11.2017

EU fails to agree on glyphosate license renewal

The European Commission has again hit a wall in renewing the approval for the weedkiller glyphosate. The vote comes after 18 months of agonizing over the controversial herbicide.

The European Union on Thursday voted on whether to prolong the use of the common but controversial herbicide glyphosate within its borders, but failed to reach a consensus.

The proposal to renew the EU license for glyphosate for another five years failed to a reach a qualified majority, meaning a decision has again been postponed, according to lawmakers. The current license is due to expire on December 15, but there is an 18 month grace period.

Fourteen countries voted in favor of the renewal, nine against, while five, including Germany, abstained from voting. The proposal could now be referred to an appeal committee, or alternatively the Commission could draw up a new proposal to be voted upon.

"No qualified majority for glyphosate renewal in vote today," said Luxembourg's Environment Minister Carole Dieschbourg on Twitter. Belgian Agriculture Minister Denis Ducarme confirmed the result.

09.11.2017

Unauthorised GMOs : Spain wants to bypass the rules

The Spanish authorities have discovered unauthorised seeds of genetically modified cotton. Spain asked the European Commission whether it could process the seeds to turn them into products for feed and food uses. A pragmatic view which would benefit companies...

The presence of unauthorised GMOs in the European Union is not unusual. In the summer of 2017, unauthorised seeds of two genetically modified cottons (MON1445 and MON531) have been detected in Spain on a shipment from Argentina.

Cottons seeds unauthorised for import

Feed and food « produced from » [1] these two transgenic cottons are authorised on the European market : more specifically, the authorisations concern food and feed additives, feed materials and cottonseed oil. But unlike other genetically modified cottons authorised in the European Union [2], the authorisations do not cover products containing or consisting of these genetically modified cottons [3]. The scope of both applications did indeed only cover the products produced from the genetically modified cottons. Thus, it is clear that the two transgenic cottons detected in Spain are not authorised in the form of seeds in the European Union.

Moreover, in its opinion on the applications of both the particular cottons, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) [4] [5] indicates that there were no requirements for scientific information on environmental safety assessment of accidental release or cultivation of the cottons since the scope of the applications « only includes products produced from cotton » MON 531 and MON1445 which contain no viable plant parts [6].

07.11.2017

EU: 4.3% drop in GM crop cultivation

In 2017, not one hectare was sown with genetically modified maize in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia. And in Portugal and in Spain, the surfaces [planting area] of transgenic crops decreased. All in all, throughout the European territory, this surface declined from 136,338 to 13,571 hectares, a decrease of 4%.

Transgenic crops do not exactly have the wind in their sails in the European Union. In 2016, only four countries of the European Union continued to cultivate MON810 maize (the only one allowed for cultivation in the European Union): Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Two of those countries have abandoned these crops in 2017 : the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The crop surfaces strongly decrease in Portugal, and a little in Spain. The drop in the transgenic maize area (-4.3%) is higher than the drop in the total maize cultivation area (including conventional, GM, and organic) (-1.3%) .

01.11.2017

Gates Foundation Grants Additional $6.4 million to Cornel's Controversial Alliance for Science

Synopsis: A new grant means that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has now given $12 million dollars to the Cornell Alliance for Science. But according to Claire Robinson of British group GMWatch, the Alliance "is a propaganda machine for the GMO and agrochemical industry?.

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In a presentation yesterday at Cornell, Alliance for Science Director, Sarah Evanega, revealed that her organisation had received “a renewed contribution” of $6.4 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Originally endowed with $5.6 million by the Gates Foundation in August 2014, the new grant takes the total Gates contribution to $12 million.

26.10.2017

French Health Regulator Withdraws Licence for Bayer Weedkiller

PARIS — French health and environment regulator ANSES said on Thursday it had withdrawn the licence for Bayer's Basta F1 weedkiller made with glufosinate-ammonium, citing uncertainty over its effect on health following a review.

The product, which is used to spray vineyards, fruit orchards and vegetables, was the only weedkiller containing glufosinate authorised in France, ANSES said in a statement.

25.10.2017

Goodbye to Golden Rice? GM Trait Leads to Drastic Yield Loss and “Metabolic Meltdown”

GMO Golden Rice is promoted as a potent tool to alleviate vitamin A deficiency. However, Indian researchers now report that the genes needed to produce it have unintended effects. When they introduced the engineered DNA, their high-yielding and agronomically superior Indian rice variety became pale and stunted, flowering was delayed and the roots grew abnormally. Yields were so reduced that it was unsuitable for cultivation (Bollinedi et al. 2017).

24.10.2017

Monsanto Papers Reveal Company Covered Up Cancer Concerns

Herbicide Health Dangers

Monsanto Faces Blowback Over Cancer Cover-Up

A release of internal emails has revealed that U.S. agrochemical giant Monsanto manipulated studies of the company's herbicide, Roundup. Experts believe the product causes cancer - and the consequences for the company could be dire.

Some companies' reputations are so poor that the public already has low expectations when it comes to their ethics and business practices. That doesn't make it any less shocking when the accusations against them are confirmed in black and white.

Agricultural chemicals giant Monsanto is under fire because the company's herbicide, Roundup (active ingredient: glyphosate), is suspected of being carcinogenic. Permission to sell the chemical in the European Union expires on December 15 with member states set to decide on Wednesday whether to renew it for another 10 years. And now, the longstanding dispute about glyphosate has been brought to a head by the release of explosive documents.

17.10.2017

GM Cotton in Africa: Battleground Between US and Chinese Capital

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACBIO), shares with you its new research report titled, GM Cotton in Africa: Battleground between Chinese and US Capital.

The report shows that 13 African countries undertook field trials or granted approval for the commercial growing of genetically modified (GM) crops in 2016. Cotton is the first adopter GM crop to gain entry into countries where there is fierce opposition to eating GM food or using it as animal feed. There is, however, no barrier between fibre, feed and food with cotton as cotton seed oil is used in a range of food products across the continent, and by-products from the milling process is used for animal feed.

While currently, only South Africa and Sudan cultivate GM cotton commercially, commercial growing is expected in Ethiopia, Malawi and Kenya in 2018/19. Various entities supported by the United States (US) government, are also putting pressure on several African countries to relax their strict liability provisions in their biosafety laws. Zambia, Swaziland and Mozambique are in the process of doing so, and Tanzania has already done so. Yet in many countries such as Swaziland, field trials are being conducted without proper regulatory oversight.

11.10.2017

Oman already glyphosate free even as issue is hotly contested in EU

EU citizens gathered over one million signatures in an effort to get the European Commission to ban glyphosate, the active ingredient used in some herbicides. The European Commission officially received the petition on October 6. The controversial ingredient has been banned in the GCC since last year.

Eng Saleh al Abri, director general of agricultural development in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF), said, “Glyphosate hasn't been available in Oman since 2016.”