You are here

Blog

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Sep 28th, 2016

In July 2016 the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin signed a law to ban the cultivation and breeding of genetically modified plants and animals (GMO), except in cases where they will be used in testing and scientific research. In fact, this law makes Russia the world’s largest GMO-free territory and offers a great platform for the development of organic agriculture. This decision made by the Russian government was also influenced by environmental organizations, farmers and other representatives of Russian society, concerned by the absence of reliable scientific studies on the long-term (‘long-term’ comes here with an emphasis) risks of GMO food to human health and the environment. The Kremlin has also apparently taken into consideration the interests of national food security, as the world market of genetically modified (GM) seeds is monopolized by transnational, mostly American, German and Swiss based companies.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Sep 28th, 2016

Two EU-funded animal feeding projects with GM foods, GRACE and G-TwYST, are intended to inform the further development of Europe’s GMO regulations. They will help lawmakers decide which type of animal feeding trials are required, or indeed whether they should be required at all. The first of these two projects, GRACE, has already become mired in controversy over its failure to declare relevant conflicts of interest in the experts involved, as well as its apparent attempt to airbrush away data indicating health impacts in rats fed a GM diet. Now members of the GRACE and G-TwYST research teams have published a paper, “Proposed criteria for the evaluation of the scientific quality of rat and mouse feeding trials with whole food/feed derived from genetically modified plants”, in the journal Archives of Toxicology. They are inviting “stakeholders” to contribute to further developing these criteria by sending comments.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Sep 28th, 2016

As you may recall, the Zika virus made big headlines back in January and February when the Brazilian government blamed Zika-carrying mosquitoes for an uptick in reports of microcephaly,1,2 a condition in which babies are born with unusually small heads. Like many other nations, the U.S. overreacted to the news by increasing states' mosquito eradication efforts. 3 Some early models estimated that 200 million Americans, about 60 percent of the U.S. population, would become infected with Zika this summer4 — estimates that were clearly vastly overblown. Sounds just like President Bush who 11 years ago claimed that over 200 million would not only get infected with Bird Flu but would actually die from it. They must have figured most people forgot about this and it was time for another scare to sell more chemicals and vaccines.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Sep 27th, 2016

Taking a break from the busy harvest season, 67 New York State organic farmers sent a letter Thursday to Dean Boor of the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and to the Trustees of  Cornell University, asking them to evict the Alliance for Science over their biased and unscientific attitude towards GMOs. The letter respectfully requests that Cornell University evict the “Alliance for Science” from the campus. Funded largely and amply ($5.6 million) by the Gates Foundation, since 2014, the “Alliance for Science” has been spreading propaganda for genetic engineering under the cover of creating a “balanced” view of biotechnology.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Sep 27th, 2016

For most of us, the issue of genetically modified food isn’t important enough to write our grocery lists around. While the idea of ingredients that have been scientifically engineered in order to survive diseases and be pest-resistant is hardly appetizing, proponents say they are a way to end world hunger, and there is no solid proof that they can harm us. At the food co-op where I shop, a well-meaning committee affixes green stickers to the shelves beneath non-GMO items, yet if I’m being honest, the labels have little bearing on what I throw in my basket.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Sep 27th, 2016

Big farms are about to get a lot bigger. With six agricultural giants on the verge of merging into three separate companies, consumers and farmers are feeling uneasy about the global implications and how it might impact the food system. Top executives from Bayer, Monsanto, DuPont, Dow Chemical, and Syngenta today (Sept. 20) testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, making a case for why federal regulators should approve the mega-mergers, which stand to fundamentally reorganize global agriculture. (Executives from the sixth company involved in the consolidation, China National Chemical Corp., declined an invitation to appear at the hearing.)

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Sep 26th, 2016

Monsanto Chief Executive Hugh Grant sees “minimal” antitrust issues with Bayer’s purchase of his company, but he insisted on a $2 billion insurance policy against those very issues. The $2 billion is a breakup fee that Bayer must pay if regulators reject the $66 billion deal, and it was a priority for Monsanto during negotiations. Monsanto rejected Bayer’s first offer in May partly because it didn’t contain a breakup fee, and when Bayer later offered a $1 billion fee Monsanto said it was “insufficient to ensure deal certainty.” Monsanto’s insistence on the breakup fee highlights the uncertain nature of antitrust enforcement around the world, especially in a politically sensitive sector such as agriculture. According to Thomson Reuters, regulators have blocked deals worth $682 billion this year, including large mergers in the health insurance, retail and oil field services industries.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Sep 26th, 2016

When Jason Smith was a boy in the 1980s, a farmer could drive into town, stop at a dealership and buy a seemingly endless variety of Bush Hog blades. Everyone he knew mowed field edges and had a ditch bank mower. Broad-spectrum herbicides were available at a high dollar, but when a technological messiah arrived in the form of Roundup Ready, the turnrow game was flipped on its head. Areas once mowed became spray zones as glyphosate prices dropped and pushed Bush Hogs deeper into the farm shed. On many farming operations, mowing has given way to high-powered pre-emerges to kill vegetation, but bald ditches may spawn a regulatory leviathan. Silt gathering in the bottom of ditches and canals; eroded turn rows; washed out roads; and hammered PTO ditches are caught in a vicious spray cycle of unintended consequences with no simple fix.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Sep 26th, 2016

Prominent civil society members Aruna Roy, Medha Patkar and Prashant Bhushan today urged the government not to approve the release of GM mustard citing “non-scientific, opaque and deceptive” processes adopted by country’s biotech regulator in studying it. In a letter to Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave, they said, “We write to you to communicate our rejection of transgenics in our food, farming and environment and to urge you to stop your regulators from providing any regulatory clearances to GMOs and their environmental release.” “This applies to the current case of GM mustard in particular (all the 3 GMOs) but also all GM foods,” said the letter written by citizens, which also include former health and agriculture ministers, eminent academics cutting across different disciplines and senior retired bureaucrats.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Sep 23rd, 2016

Environmental destruction and landgrabs could lead to governments and individuals being prosecuted for crimes against humanity by the international criminal court following a decision to expand its remit. The UN-backed court, which sits in The Hague, has mostly ruled on cases of genocide and war crimes since it was set up in 2002. It has been criticised for its reluctance to investigate major environmental and cultural crimes, which often happen in peacetime. In a change of focus, the ICC said on Thursday it would also prioritise crimes that result in the “destruction of the environment”, “exploitation of natural resources” and the “illegal dispossession” of land. It also included an explicit reference to land-grabbing. The court, which is funded by governments and is regarded as the court of last resort, said it would now take many crimes that have been traditionally under-prosecuted into consideration. The ICC is not formally extending its jurisdiction, but the court said it would assess existing offences, such as crimes against humanity, in a broader context. 

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Sep 22nd, 2016

Wednesday’s confirmation that Monsanto and Bayer have agreed to a $66 billion merger is just the latest of four M&A announcements, but at least three more game-changing mergers are in play (and flying under the radar).  The acquisition activity is no longer just about seeds and pesticides but about global control of agricultural inputs and world food security.  Anti-competition regulators should block these mergers everywhere, and particularly in the emerging markets of the Global South, as the new mega companies will greatly expand their power and outcompete national enterprises.  Four of the world’s top 10 agrochemical purchasing countries are in the global South and account for 28% of the world market.[1] If some of these throw up barriers, shareholders will rebel against the deals regardless of decisions in Washington or Brussels.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Sep 22nd, 2016

For grocery shoppers who want to avoid genetically engineered ingredients, the only milk they can buy is organic — usually the most expensive option. A gallon of organic milk from Petaluma’s Clover Stornetta Farms, which comes from cows given non-GMO feed, costs upwards of $8. But with its newest product, Clover is betting that there is also a market for conventional milk produced without GMOs that is cheaper than organic milk. “Our primary constituency group is moms buying milk for their children,” said Marcus Benedetti, president and chief executive officer of his family’s $200 million company, which will be the first major dairy in the United States to sell non-GMO conventional milk.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Sep 22nd, 2016

puff piece on the gene editing technique CRISPR in The Atlantic online magazine is titled, “CRISPR could usher in a new era of delicious GMO foods”, and asks, “Can the gene editing technique redeem the reputation of engineered crops?” These “new GMO foods” presumably are considered “delicious” in comparison with the repulsive old-style GMOs – such as herbicide-laden and insecticide-containing soybeans and maize. The article, by Atlantic reporter Sarah Zhang, tells how the Swedish plant biologist and gene editing proponent Stefan Jansson ate a meal of gene-edited cabbage as a publicity stunt for the benefit of a TV reporter.


Pages

© 2016 Food Democracy Now | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Log In |

Created by RA Globe