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Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 17th, 2017

Farmers in northeast China's Heilongjiang province, China's top grain producer, will be prohibited from growing Genetically Modified(GM) crops, according to a provincial regulation passed on Friday. The regulation will become effective on May 1, 2017. Growing of GM corn, rice and soybean will be banned, while illegal production and sales of GM crops and supply of their seeds will also be prohibited. The new regulation also bans illegal production, processing, sale and imports of edible GM farm produce or edible farm products that contain GM ingredients. It requires all GM food be sold in a special zone, clearly indicated in stores. The decision comes after 91.5 percent of responses in a survey in the province in October raised objections to GM crops. "We support the research and development of transgenetic technology, but we should be cautious in applying the techniques in crop production," said Yao Dawei, director of the provincial legislature.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 17th, 2017

Burkina Faso estimates it will produce 750,000 tonnes of raw cotton in the 2016/17 season, up from the previous harvest of 600,000 tonnes, the country's agriculture minister said on Monday. Jacob Ouedraogo told reporters in Paris that good production had been helped by good rain, but that quality was also better compared with previous genetically modified (GM) crops. He added that Burkina growers had reverted 100 percent to non-GM cotton for the 2016/2017 crop, and that talks were underway with U.S. seed maker Monsanto over compensation for crop quality problems blamed on GM cotton.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 17th, 2017

Bermuda’s Environment Minister Cole Simons is not prepared to lift the ban on weedkillers containing glyphosate “at this point in time”, he stated Thursday. The announcement, made at a stakeholder consultation meeting on Thursday on the Glyphosate Monitoring Study Draft Report, was applauded by the public and welcomed by Greenrock. The environmental watchdog and farmer Tom Wadson spoke out this week in support of the ban after the Government report, written by environmental engineer Geoff Smith, who was tasked to look into the risks of the weed control glyphosate from road spraying, found that there were no significant adverse health effects detected from the chemical’s use and recommended that the ban be lifted. “As far as the minister is concerned, a decision has not been made and it will not be made until I am comfortable that our environment is safe, our people are safe and that we can effectively manage our environment and do minimal damage to it,” Mr Simons said. Adding that the report was not finished and that he would need more convincing, he said: “I am at this point in time not prepared to lift the ban”.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 13th, 2017

The most significant event in food and agriculture over the past year did not take place on our farms. Nor did it occur in our factories, in our restaurants or on our kitchen tables. It happened in the voting booth. Rural voters turned out in overwhelming support of Donald Trump, throwing a Hail Mary pass against the growing economic hardship felt by these communities. Caught in a toxic cycle of depressed commodity prices, rising debt and plummeting income, it comes as no surprise that American farmers voted en masse for change and the hope of different leadership with new ideas. Trump struck a chord with farmers and other rural voterswho were eager for change and desperate to recapture economic opportunity in their industries and communities. Sadly, the inconsistencies of Trump’s agenda are poised to inflict the greatest damage in these pockets of the country that most faithfully supported him.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 13th, 2017

The rusty patched bumblebee, a prized but vanishing pollinator once familiar to much of North America, was listed on Tuesday as an endangered species, becoming the first wild bee in the continental United States to gain such federal protection. One of several species facing sharp declines, the bumblebee known to scientists as Bombus affinis has plunged nearly 90% in abundance and distribution since the late 1990s, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency listed the insect after determining it to be in danger of extinction across all or portions of its range, attributing its decline to a mix of factors, including disease, pesticides, climate change and habitat loss. Named for the conspicuous reddish blotch on its abdomen, the rusty patched bumblebee once flourished across 28 states, primarily in the upper Midwest and Northeast – from South Dakota to Connecticut – and in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 13th, 2017

Colombia started fumigating crops with glyphosate again, the government announced Wednesday, after the technique was suspended in 2015 over health and environmental concerns. The fumigations began on Jan. 2, said Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas at a press conference, adding the fumigation of the controversial Monsanto-produced herbicide was focused in the northern province of Catatumbo and the southeastern provinces of Nariño and Putumayo. Unlike previous fumigation, which was aerial, the new coca erradication plan consists of manual, land-based spraying. Launched in 1994, the spraying program was long treated as sacrosanct by Colombian officials, who gladly accepted billions of dollars in funding from Washington to fumigate farmland throughout the countryside, often spraying all crops, leaving campesinos with no livelihood.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 12th, 2017

Shopping for milk and other dairy products from grassfed cows is a little like the Wild West. There are a wide variety of products with a range of labels, and little oversight from the government. It’s possible that the cows that produced your milk may have roamed on grass and eaten silage, hay, and other forms of dried grass in the wintertime. Or their feed may be supplemented with grain in a so-called grassfed operation. Now, a group of industry insiders have come together to strike a clearer path toward transparency in the industry. In December, the American Grassfed Association (AGA) announced a new standard and certification process for grassfed dairy producers.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 12th, 2017

The four Green MEPs who requested access to unpublished industry studies on glyphosate have put in a second request to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) asking for more information. In their letter to Dirk Detken, the head of legal and regulatory affairs at EFSA, MEPs Heidi Hautala, Benedek Jávor, Michèle Rivasi and Bart Staes say that they welcome the fact that EFSA sent them the unpublished raw data on the genotoxicity and carcinogenicity of glyphosate, and EFSA’s recognition that their motivation was to allow independent scrutiny of the data. But the MEPs say that EFSA is continuing "to withhold sections of the studies that, in our view, are crucial for an independent assessment". They are asking EFSA to send them the sections on "material, conditions and methods" as well as "results and discussion".

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 12th, 2017

Weedkillers containing both the controversial glyphosate and POE-tallowamine can no longer be sold in Malta, and their use will be completely banned come April. The ban comes days after the release of a study showing the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup caused liver disease in rats. The findings are the first to show a causal link between its consumption at a real-world environmental dose and a serious condition. The dose, given to rats as part of the study over two years, was thousands of times below what is allowed by regulators worldwide, but the animals ultimately suffered from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Regulators worldwide accept toxicity studies in rats as indicators of human health risks, so the study results could have serious consequences for human health. Last summer, the Environment Ministry said the government had begun the process to ban the chemical, a “probable human carcinogen” according to the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 11th, 2017

ZIMBABWE has the capacity to produce up to 10 times surplus maize for the export market without using genetically modified technology, a Cabinet Minister has said. The country has maintained its stance against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), a modern technique involving artificial alteration of crop, plant or animal genetic nature, despite suggestions by some sections of society to embrace it as a way of improving yields. Speaking in Bulawayo last Thursday, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Dr Joseph Made, said the on-going specialised maize production scheme under the Government initiated "Command Agriculture" programme does not involve GMOs.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 11th, 2017

The First Amendment of the US constitution guarantees the right to free speech. In an astonishing and outrageous move, the State of Iowa wants to remove this fundamental right in its trial against two protesters against Monsanto, the activist known as Reverend Billy, and his co-defendant, Father Frank Cordaro, a peace activist and co-founder of the Des Moines, Iowa Catholic Worker Group. The State of Iowa’s motivation appears to be to protect Monsanto. In an unusual move, the State of Iowa has asked the District Court for Polk County to preclude the use of First Amendment freedoms as a defense in its trial against two protesters, the activist William Talen, who is also known as Reverend Billy, and his co-defendant, Frank Cordaro, a peace activist and co-founder of the Des Moines, Iowa Catholic Worker Group. The trial stems from the October 13, 2016, arrest of Talen and Cordaro, who were protesting a Monsanto-sponsored gathering at the Iowa State Capitol building. The State of Iowa argues that Talen and Cordaro trespassed, so they shouldn’t be allowed to use any First Amendment arguments or evidence. The jury trail is set to begin January 11th. 


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 11th, 2017

The European Commission decided Tuesday to register a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) inviting the Commission “to propose to Member States a ban on glyphosate, to reform the pesticide approval procedure, and to set EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use”. The initiative will be formally registered on 25 January, This registration will start a one-year process of collection of signatures in support of the proposed ECI by its organizersThe Commission’s decision to register the Initiative concerns only the legal admissibility of the proposal. The conditions for admissibility, as foreseen by the ECI Regulation, are that the proposed action does not manifestly fall outside the framework of the Commission’s powers to submit a proposal for a legal act, that it is not manifestly abusive, frivolous or vexatious and that it is not manifestly contrary to the values of the Union.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 10th, 2017

The weedkiller Roundup causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease at very low doses permitted by regulators worldwide, a new peer-reviewed study shows. The study is the first ever to show a causative link between consumption of Roundup at a real-world environmentally relevant dose and a serious disease. The new peer-reviewed study, led by Dr Michael Antoniou at King's College London, used cutting-edge profiling methods to describe the molecular composition of the livers of female rats fed an extremely low dose of Roundup weedkiller, which is based on the chemical glyphosate, over a 2-year period. The dose of glyphosate from the Roundup administered was thousands of times below what is permitted by regulators worldwide. 


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