News

14.03.2019 |

New cause for concern over weedkiller glyphosate

Study examines how herbicide adds to phosphorus levels in soil and waterways

New research from McGill University reveals an overlooked impact that the widely used herbicide glyphosate may be having on the environment.

First commercialized by Monsanto under the name Roundup, glyphosate has come under scrutiny in the past, mostly in relation to its potential toxicity. This new research, published recently in the Ecological Society of America’s Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, focuses not on direct health risks associated with the herbicide, but on its contribution to environmental phosphorus levels, an issue that has yet to receive much attention.

“No one has thus far investigated the impact of glyphosate use on phosphorus loads in agricultural areas, most likely because pesticides have always been considered a negligible source of nutrients,” says Marie-Pier Hébert, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in the Department of Biology at McGill University.

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“Our study argues that the recent and rapid rise in glyphosate use has magnified its relative importance as a source of anthropogenic phosphorus, especially in areas of intensive corn, soybean and cotton cultivation,” Hébert says.

13.03.2019 |

Domestic supplies of organic, non-GMO crops grow

Mercaris, a market data and auctions startup that is helping to grow organic and non-GMO agriculture in the U.S., released March 13 its monthly market update outlining the current state of organic corn and soybean production and imports in the U.S.

U.S. organic corn production reached nearly 42 million bushels last year, experiencing a 2% year-over-year (y/y) increase that was boosted by acreage expansion in the 2018/2019 marketing year. Yields held mostly even with the prior year, Mercaris noted.

13.03.2019 |

CRISPR spin-off causes unintended mutations in DNA

DNA base editors not as safe as previously thought

The past few years have seen a large number of research articles showing that the CRISPR gene-editing tool, designed to make a double-strand break in the DNA in a targeted location, may also cause many unintended mutations (damage to DNA).

Genetic engineers have tried to get around this problem by adapting the CRISPR gene-editing tool so that it no longer makes a double-strand break in the DNA. One adaptation consists of piggybacking onto the CRISPR tool an enzyme that changes individual DNA bases (so called “base editing”).

Base editing has been touted as a way of introducing changes in genes while avoiding the unintended effects, such as large deletions or rearrangements, which can arise from DNA repair processes following the usual CRISPR-induced double-strand DNA break.

13.03.2019 |

New Quality Assurance International certification mark links organic, non-GMO

SAN DIEGO – Quality Assurance International (QAI) has launched a certification mark to help consumers understand that products certified organic by the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) also must be free of genetically modified organisms/bioengineered ingredients.

San Diego-based QAI, a provider of organic certification services, conducted a study that found 80 percent of respondents were unaware that products with the USDA organic seal were also non-GMO.

13.03.2019 |

Non-Gmo Foods Market 2021: Global Size, Key Manufacturers, Upcoming Trends, Growth and Regional Forecasts Research

Non-Gmo Foods Market overview :About Non-GMO Foods

The global non-GMO foods market is growing at a steady pace. The increase in the number of health-conscious people and increasing demand for non-GMO food products by middle class families are the primary reasons for the growth of the market. The rising demand for organic food products has also increased the demand for non-GMO food products from consumers. However, premium pricing of non-GMO food products is expected to act as one of the major barriers for the growth of the global non-GMO foods market. The increased adoption of non-GMO seeds by farmers and the growing number of food companies in the non-GMO food sector are expected to fuel the global non-GMO foods market positively during the forecast period.

12.03.2019 |

EU liberal party forced to end corporate sponsorship after Macron pressure

The EU’s liberal political party has been forced to end corporate donations after complaints from Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche over funding received from agrichemical giant Bayer.

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) brings together liberal parties from across Europe and is the fourth biggest political family in the European Parliament. Alde have been courting Mr Macron’s centrist party as future allies after pan-EU elections in May.

On Wednesday Hans van Baalen, Alde chairman, said the party would no longer allow private sector companies to sponsor stands at its political events or give corporate donations after controversy over money received from Bayer in 2017.

12.03.2019 |

Gene-edited food quietly arrives in restaurant cooking oil

NEW YORK (AP) — Somewhere in the Midwest, a restaurant is frying foods with oil made from gene-edited soybeans. That’s according to the company making the oil, which says it’s the first commercial use of a gene-edited food in the U.S.

Calyxt said it can’t reveal its first customer for competitive reasons, but CEO Jim Blome said the oil is “in use and being eaten.”

The Minnesota-based company is hoping the announcement will encourage the food industry’s interest in the oil, which it says has no trans fats and a longer shelf life than other soybean oils. Whether demand builds remains to be seen, but the oil’s transition into the food supply signals gene editing’s potential to alter foods without the controversy of conventional GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.

Among the other gene-edited crops being explored: Mushrooms that don’t brown, wheat with more fiber, better-producing tomatoes, herbicide-tolerant canola and rice that doesn’t absorb soil pollution as it grows.

11.03.2019 |

Here Come the Frankenfish: Critics Warn GE Salmon Import Approval Puts Consumers and Fisheries at 'Serious Risk'

Consumer advocates charge the move "runs counter to sound science and market demand."

The Trump administration has lifted a ban on importing genetically engineered or GE salmon, which critics have long called "Frankenfish," in a move that consumer advocates charge "runs counter to sound science and market demand."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the decision on Friday, more than three years after approving GE salmon as the first biotech animal authorized for commercial sale and consumption in the United States.

"With this move, FDA has put American consumers at serious risk by putting unlabeled, unnatural fish on the market."

—Friends of the Earth

11.03.2019 |

Global Glyphosate Study Pilot Phase Shows Reproductive and Developmental Effects at ‘Safe’ Dose

A new study has found that exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs), including Roundup, caused reproductive and developmental effects in both male and female rats, at a dose level currently considered safe in the U.S. (1.75 mg/kg bw/day).

Exposure to GBHs was associated with androgen-like effects, including a statistically significant increase of anogenital distance (AGD) in males and females, delay of first estrous and increased testosterone in females.

09.03.2019 |

Monsanto loses millions of dollars after Indian farmers switch to indigenous seeds

Monsanto claims that the genetically modified cotton seeds they sell are superior. So why are so many people trying to switch?

Monsanto is losing millions of dollars now that farmers in India are switching to indigenous cotton seeds rather than Bt cotton.

The agrochemical company is known for pushing a form of Bt cotton in India for the last decade. They have been accused of manipulating laws in order to enter the Indian market.

Monsanto’s manipulation and greed in India has caused hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers to commit suicide. Between the years of 1995 and 2013, more than 300,000 farmer suicides occurred, many of which were linked to Monsanto. Farmers are forced to pay for Monsanto’s costly seeds, which then force them to pay for the expensive pesticides to effectively grow them, as Bt cotton’s pest resistant quality fades over time.

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