News

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

20.07.2020 |

Conflicts of interest plague GM mosquito experiments

Journal refuses to publish scientist’s defence of his paper warning of unexpected outcomes from GM mosquitoes release. Report: Claire Robinson

As the citizens of Florida and Texas prepare to act as subjects in an experiment in which millions of Oxitec's genetically modified mosquitoes would be released in their states, a scandal has emerged around a journal's treatment of a scientific article that drew attention to unanticipated outcomes and risks of the project.

20.07.2020 |

Appeals court upholds groundskeeper's Roundup cancer trial win over Monsanto

In yet another court loss for Monsanto owner Bayer AG, an appeals court rejected the company’s effort to overturn the trial victory notched by a California school groundskeeper who alleged exposure to Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicides caused him to develop cancer, though the court did say damages should be cut to $20.5 million.

The Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District of California said Monday that Monsanto’s arguments were unpersuasive and Dewayne “Lee” Johnson was entitled to collect $10.25 million in compensatory damages and another $10.25 million in punitive damages. That is down from a total of $78 million the trial judge allowed.

“In our view, Johnson presented abundant—and certainly substantial— evidence that glyphosate, together with the other ingredients in Roundup products, caused his cancer,” the court stated. “Expert after expert provided evidence both that Roundup products are capable of causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma… and caused Johnson’s cancer in particular.”

09.07.2020 |

The EU must not de-regulate gene-edited crops and foods

Some members of the outgoing EU Commission and the agbiotech lobby want the regulations governing genetically modified crops and foods relaxed or scrapped to open markets for gene-edited products. But this goes against the science underpinning the technology and could put the public and environment at risk, writes Dr Michael Antoniou.

Dr Michael Antoniou is molecular geneticist at King’s College London

Some members of the outgoing European Commission want to change the EU legislation on genetically modified (GM) foods and crops to accommodate the products of new gene-editing techniques, often called “new plant breeding techniques” or NBTs.

Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said DG SANTE “has already prepared the ground for a new initiative on gene editing to overhaul the current GMO legislation”. The “initiative” will be taken up by the new Commission after this year’s elections.

07.07.2020 |

Groups warn against release of genetically-engineered mosquitoes in Nigeria

Over 75 Civil Society Organizations from Nigeria, Africa and the world have condemned moves to open the way for the release of genetically modified mosquitoes in Nigeria.

Their condemnation follows a recent call by the West African Integrated Vector Management Programme and the National Biosafety Management Agency for the fast track the introduction of genetically based vector control methods such as transgenic mosquitoes into Nigeria.

Reacting, the coalition in a statement warned against the introduction of the transgenic mosquitoes, genetically modified vectors or other unproven technologies into Nigeria as such releases would pose serious risks to humans, the nations’ biodiversity and its ecosystem balance.

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