News

09.08.2020 |

Experts debunk false claims that GM Bt cotton in India has been a grand success

By nearly all measures, hybrid GM Bt cotton in India is a failure.

Three eminent experts have joined forces to debunk claims by members of two influential think tanks that GM Bt cotton in India has been a resounding success.

The claims were made by Dr Ramesh Chand, a member of the Indian Government think tank Niti Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), in an interview published by BloombergQuint in July 2020. Dr Chand said that India has three pressing needs: improving farm efficiency, sustainability, and food security. He claimed that a “positive environment" for GM crops was developing in India “as there is no credible study to show any adverse impact of growing Bt cotton in the last 18 years in the country”.

07.08.2020 |

Why We Oppose Golden Rice

By the Stop Golden Rice Network (SGRN)

(Released today in commemoration of the International Day of Protest Against Golden Rice, now in its 7th year)

The push for corporate-led solutions to hunger and malnutrition is alarming. In particular, Golden Rice is now being proposed as a solution to the worsening hunger and malnutrition associated with the pandemic. Agrochemical transnationals (TNCs) and collaborating institutions such as the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are using concerns over food security during the pandemic to push for an industrial agricultural system that is already discredited.

03.08.2020 |

Gene editing: Unexpected outcomes and risks

Technical advisor: Dr Michael Antoniou

More papers have been published on unintended outcomes and risks of gene editing in medical research on human and animal cells and laboratory animals, compared with plants. The results have implications for the gene editing of farm animals. The problems found with human and animal gene editing are increasingly being confirmed in plant gene editing.

The unintended mutational (DNA damaging) outcomes summarized below occur after the gene-editing tool has completed its task of creating a double-strand DNA break. The mutations occur as a consequence of the cell’s DNA repair machinery, over which the genetic engineer has no control. So even if scientists eventually succeed in avoiding off-target mutations, most of the unintended mutations described can still occur at the intended gene-editing site.

01.08.2020 |

GMO promoter Krebs misleads the BBC and the British public on gene editing

Makes inflated promises and false claims for an unproven technology

Below is a transcript of what the GMO promoter and member of the UK’s House of Lords, John Krebs, told the BBC in an interview about the government's intention to deregulate gene editing so that it's no longer defined and regulated as a genetic modification technique.

Krebs was a supporter of the amendment to the Agriculture Bill, which aimed to deregulate gene editing. While the amendment was withdrawn, ministers have voiced the government's intention to take up the deregulation of gene editing issue, starting with a public consultation in the autumn.

01.08.2020 |

Glyphosate study to assess exposure levels

Researchers at an Irish university are assessing the level of exposure of glyphosate to farmers and their families.

Ireland’s bioMonitoring Assessment of Glyphosate Exposures (IMAGE) project is recruiting farmers and their families to participate in the study.

Non-farming families have also been recruited for the project, but the final call for participants is for farmers and their families.

A total of 100 families are required for the project – 50 farm families and 50 non-farming families.

28.07.2020 |

Groups sue USDA over “Bioengineered” GMO food labeling

The Center for Food Safety has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of nonprofits and retailers against the USDA on its labeling rules for GMO foods.

The groups argue the use of “bioengineered” on labels in place of GE or GMO is misleading to consumers. They say the QR code which is allowed on labels, that can only be read through a smart phone, discriminates against at least 20% of adults who are primarily poor, elderly, rural and minority populations. And they say the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced in-store shopping.

Their lawsuit says the rules excludes 70% of GMO foods used as ingredients in other foods.

24.07.2020 |

HTBT issue: We should embrace seed technology, but not through illegal means

Still reeling from the Covid-19 crisis, the Indian seed sector is being challenged by another deadly contamination: from Herbicide Tolerant (HT) Bt cotton. Reports from Maharashtra confirm that motivated agents are duping farmers and trying to sabotage the legal cottonseed business by channelling an illegal ₹300-crore trade.

HT cotton is a third-generation GMO developed by Monsanto/Bayer, with a Round-Up (Glyphosate-based herbicides) resistant trait. Today, with 50 lakh (of 450 gm each) packets in circulation, it is believed that 10-15 per cent of cotton area has been contaminated with illegal seeds.

23.07.2020 |

Evidence of new genetic engineering: Federal government very late

The German Ministry of Agriculture has launched a study on the feasibility of detection methods for "new" genetic engineering (NGT) - two years after the European Court of Justice clarified that the same rules apply as for "old" genetic engineering. Results should not be available until 2022. Even then, there will be no detection method for the only relevant NGT plant so far.

21.07.2020 |

Chemical company Bayer loses appeal against weedkiller cancer ruling

The court said Dewayne Johnson offered "abundant" evidence that glyphosate and other Roundup ingredients caused his cancer.

A California appeals court has refused to overturn a verdict in favour of a school caretaker who claimed the weedkiller Roundup caused his cancer.

Dewayne Johnson had been awarded $289.2m (£228.4m) in August 2018 after a San Francisco jury was told that the chemical was responsible for his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The award was cut by the trial judge to $78.5m (£62m) and in the decision by the California appeals court this week, it was reduced further to $20.5m (£16.2m).

20.07.2020 |

NZ: Call For Politicians To Keep Regulation On Gene Editing

Politicians from all parties are being asked to ensure there are strict regulations on Genetically Engineered Organisms (GE/GMO), including Gene Editing.

There is media hype and exaggeration of the accuracy and safety of Gene Editing (GE) promoted by industry lobbyists and some so-called science organisations. Research shows there are significant risks to New Zealand's bio-security, health, and reputation if Gene Editing is exempted from regulation

"The published science shows we cannot be confident in sweeping claims of precision or safety," says Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-Free NZ (in food and environment).

The unexpected collateral effects of Gene E

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