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GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible? A group of international scientists has released a report detailing health and environmental hazards from the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready soy and the use of glyphosate (Roundup®) herbicide.
Darío Gianfelici Cerrito, Entre Ríos, Argentina. 57 years old. Rural doctor. Language: Spanish.
Find More Stories Spliced bread Claire Parfitt Food security relies on fair access to land, water, and seeds.
Today the FDA is meeting to discuss labeling of genetically engineered (GMO) salmon. Assuming that the agency makes the experimental fish the first GMO animal approved for human consumption , FDA’s proposal suggests that no labels will be required to let consumers know when they are buying the GMO fish. What’s worse, some suspect that the agency will disallow “no GMO” labeling of salmon from fisherman or fish farms that reject the GMO variety.
This week, in explaining its position that labels will not be required on genetically engineered (GMO) salmon, FDA says that they legally cannot require such labeling. The agency claims that they are bound by labeling laws, which call for a “material” change in the salmon before labels can be required. A material change, FDA says , has to be a change that impacts taste, texture, nutritional value, or other factors.
RESOURCES The new paper by Carrasco et al showing Roundup linked to birth defects http://bit.ly/cLQtnz (PDF) New report coauthored by Carrasco and 8 other international scientists - summary of key points http://bit.ly/coXbdH (PDF) New report coauthored by Carrasco - full text http://bit.ly/bQXybT (PDF) More resources related to the report http://bit.ly/ctqzvq --- --- Groundbreaking study shows Roundup link to birth defects International scientists confirm dangers of Roundup at GMO-Free Regions Conference in Brussels Brussels 16 September 2010 Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the world's best-selling weedkiller Roundup, causes malformations in frog and chicken embryos at doses far lower than those used in agricultural spraying and well below maximum residue levels in products presently approved in the European Union.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent enforcement letters warning food makers that they cannot label their products as free of genetically modified or genetically engineered ingredients. The letters were sent as a heated debate is taking place over whether the agency should approve a genetically engineered (GE) salmon that grows at twice the rate of salmon in the wild.
Buried in a prospectus inviting investors to buy shares in a fledgling biotech company is an arresting claim attributed to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation. "Commercial aquaculture is the most rapidly growing segment of the agricultural industry, accounting for more than $60bn sales in 2003. While land-based agriculture is increasing between 2% to 3% per year, aquaculture has been growing at an average rate of approximately 9% per year since 1970." And then the prospectus for the US company AquaBounty offers this observation to tantalise prospective investors: "The traditional fishery harvest from the ocean has stagnated since 1990."
India's top science academies have done the unthinkable. They have copied and quoted extensively from an industry lobby report to give a clean chit to the controversial genetically modified (GM) brinjal. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh Key portions and data in the much touted Inter-Academy Report on Genetically Modified Crops have been lifted straight from a report of a lobbying group funded by seed companies, including Monsanto and Mahyco.
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Last June the Argentinian newspaper Página 12 carried a report (see article in Spanish, below) regarding a publication prepared by a commission opened by the Chaco State Government (in the north of the country) analyzing health statistics in intensive agrochemical use zones. In one decade, the rates of childhood cancer tripled and babies with birth defects increased fourfold. Download Chaco State Government report on the effects of agrochemical spraying on GM soy and rice on human health in English or Spanish .
I still can't overcome my disbelief. Such 'distinguished' scientific bodies, and such a shoddy report. I have always said there is good science, there is bad science but this report transgresses all earlier known brackets, and I have no hesitation in saying that the Inter-Academy Report on GM crops (see the pdf copy of the report here: http://bit.ly/cQbyCI) does not even qualify to be put in the category of bad science. It is Gutter Science . The Inter-Academy Report on GM Crops -- prepared by the Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Academy of Engineering, Indian National Science Academy, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, National Academy of Medical Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences -- and submitted in September 2010 to the Ministry of Environment & Forests, is no better than the introductory write-ups any graduate student of biotechnology would come out with.
Today is the first of a two-day meeting of the FDA's Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee (VMAC) to discuss the approval of the GE salmon. I've compiled quite a bit of information about the salmon here with more information about VMAC itself here . Long story short is that the regular members of VMAC aren't fish experts or GMO experts, so they decided to add four extra "temporary voting members" to the committee - three of whom seem to be very much on board with the whole GMO thing. The fourth is a fix expert specializing in polyploidy (fish with extra sets of chromosomes). I've compiled a bit of information about each of them, which is linked from the VMAC link above, but I haven't had a chance to review many of their publications, public statements, etc, quite yet. Perhaps what worries me most is that three of the temporary voting members (everyone except the fish guy) have worked - at some time in their career - on increasing public acceptance of GMOs.
EXCLUSIVE: Cops and Former Secret Service Agents Ran Black Ops on Green Groups By James Ridgeway Additional reporting by David Corn, Jennifer Wedekind, Daniel Schulman, and Nick Baumann MotherJones, April 11 2008 http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2008/04/firm-spied-on-environmental-groups.html NEWS: Meet the private security firm that spied on Greenpeace and other environmental outfits for corporate clients. A tale of intrigue, infiltration, and dumpster-diving. A private security company organized and managed by former Secret Service officers spied on Greenpeace and other environmental organizations from the late 1990s through at least 2000, pilfering documents from trash bins, attempting to plant undercover operatives within groups, casing offices, collecting phone records of activists, and penetrating confidential meetings.
Today three giant chemical corporations, Monsanto, DuPont and Bayer, have the control over almost half of the worlds' crop-seed market. Their genetically modified seeds are protected by patents under US law, making it illegal for peasants to grow the resistant seeds without buying them from the companies. To a large extent, corporate technologies have taken the place of traditional agricultural knowledge, making sustainable agriculture less profitable. Peasant farmers around the world must regain control over the land they work.