Sunday, October 30, 2011
Old chemicals are back in battle against weeds
By Georgina Gustin
October 30, 2011
As industry standard Roundup falters, concerns emerge about herbicides from decades past.
As farmers wage war on a worsening weed problem, they are being forced to enlist the aid of chemicals they once virtually abandoned.
Since 1996, Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killing system has become the dominant approach in agriculture, changing the way American farmers grow commodity crops. In the past several years, though, American farmers have increasingly reported that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, isn’t killing weeds. So once-popular chemicals such as “2, 4-D” and “dicamba” again have been called to duty.
“It’s really ironic that in this day and age of genetic engineering we’re going back to a herbicide from the 1940s,” said Dean Riechers, an associate professor of weed physiology at the University of Illinois, referring to the chemical “2, 4-D.” “It’s the oldest herbicide we have, and it’s going to become really popular again.”
The ineffectiveness of glyphosate has left companies scrambling to come up with other options, but some farmers and environmentalists are concerned about health and environmental risks.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Board puts off GE food labeling resolution vote; revised document to be brought back
By Elizabeth Larson
Lake County News
27 October 2011
LAKEPORT, Calif. – The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday delayed a scheduled vote on a proposed resolution in support of mandatory labeling for genetically engineered foods, directing that a revised document be brought back to its next meeting.
Supervisor Denise Rushing had brought the resolution to the board after she said she was approached by a group of citizens.
The resolution asks state and national legislators to enact legislation requiring mandatory labeling for all food ingredients made of genetically engineered – or genetically modified – plants.
Thurston Williams, a member of that group that approached Rushing, told the board, “We’re not here today to ask you to ban genetically engineered plants,” but rather to ask the board to support labeling rules, which he said didn’t require them to agree on the use of GE.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
California pushes to label GMOs
By Linda Bentley
October 26, 2011
Ballot initiative could be death knell to ‘Frankenfood’ express
CHINO, Calif. – In March 1994, Asgrow Seed Co. (a Monsanto subsidiary) President Norman Braksick was quoted in the Kansas City Star as saying: “If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.”
The Committee for the Right to Know, a political action committee based in Chino, Calif., is preparing to begin a signature drive to require just that – mandatory GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) labeling – on the California ballot in 2012.
The initiative aims to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods and food ingredients, which have also been referred to as “Frankenfoods.”
The initiative is backed by a broad base of health, environmental and consumer groups, and is heartily endorsed by Dr. Joseph Mercola, an alternative medicine advocate, who promotes dietary and lifestyle approaches to health.
Surveys also indicate 90 to 95 percent of the general public want to know which foods contain GMOs.
Europe is almost entirely devoid of genetically modified foods because they are banned in several countries. The countries in which they are permitted require mandatory labeling of GMO ingredients, which has, for the most part, steered consumers away from those products.
LabelGMOs.org is organizing the campaign to get the initiative on the ballot in California as soon as the state completes its review of the initiative, which takes 40-60 days.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Court loss won’t stop environmentalists’ battle against modified-eucalyptus trees
By Peter Downs
The Commercial Appeal
October 23, 2011
Environmentalists are vowing to continue their fight against genetically engineered “frankentrees” after losing a test case in Florida earlier this month.
“We’re not terribly discouraged,” said Anne Petermann, executive director of the Global Justice Ecology Project and the coordinator of the STOP GE Trees Campaign.
“We’ll wait until the next stage of the regulatory process and intervene there,” said Mike Stark, communications director for the Center for Biological Diversity, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that aimed to block field tests of genetically modified eucalyptus trees across the South.
The trees in question were developed by Arborgen, a joint venture of Memphis-based International Paper, MeadWestvaco Corp. and New Zealand-based Rubicon Ltd.
Industry expects the fight to continue.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Anti-GMO protests heat up this fall
By Monica Eng
October 21, 2011
While last winter brought an unprecedented wave of genetically modified crop approvals from the U.S. government, this fall has brought an unprecedented wave of protests aimed at getting genetically modified foods labeled in the U.S.
Last weekend Right2Know marchers finished up their trek from New York to the White House, where they rallied for mandatory labeling of GMOs in food.
A couple of weeks ago Nature’s Path released its new infographic on GMOs in American food. And before that, Stonyfield Farms CEO Gary Hirshberg launched the broad-based “Just Label It” campaign petitioning the FDA to require GMO labeling similar to provisions in Europe, Japan and elsewhere.
October also happens to be national Non-GMO Awareness month, a designation started last year by the Non-GMO Project, which recently started offering a voluntary, non-GMO seal for products that it verifies to be free of GMOs.
But rather than a voluntary process, many activists want the FDA to require manufacturers to state whether their products contain GMOs. They would also like the FDA to establish a specific testing regimen aimed at ensuring that GMO foods are safe to eat before they are released on the market.