Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Growing fatter on GM diet
By Arild S. Foss
July 17, 2012
Rats being fed genetically modified food eat more and grow fatter than those on a non-GM diet.
Since genetically modified (GM) food started to appear in shops in the early nineties, large quantities have been sold for human consumption – without any harmful effects, as far as we know. But is there a risk of a long-term impact?
An international research project is exploring the effects of GM food, studying the impact on rats, mice, pig and salmon. The wide-ranging study includes researchers from Hungary, Austria, Ireland, Turkey, Australia and Norway.
”We are trying to identify which indicators we need to measure in order to explore unintentional effects from GM food,” explains Professor Åshild Krogdahl of the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science.
”The findings could give us some understanding of the potential effects for these animal species as well as for humans.”
Sunday, July 15, 2012
British GM crop scientists win $10M grant from Gates
July 15, 2012
A team of British plant scientists has won a $10m (£6.4m) grant from the Gates Foundation to develop GM cereal crops.
It is one of the largest single investments into GM in the UK and will be used to cultivate corn, wheat and rice that need little or no fertiliser.
It comes at a time when bio-tech researchers are trying to allay public fears over genetic modification.
The work at the John Innes Centre in Norwich is hoped to benefit African farmers who cannot afford fertiliser.
Agricultural fertiliser is important for crop production across the globe.
But the many of the poorest farmers cannot afford fertiliser - and it is responsible for large greenhouse gas emissions.
The John Innes Centre is trying to engineer cereal crops that could get nitrogen from the air - as peas and beans do - rather than needing chemical ammonia spread on fields.
If successful, it is hoped the project could revolutionise agriculture and, in particular, help struggling maize farmers in sub-Saharan Africa - something the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is keen to do.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Ocean-farmed fish, brought to you by Monsanto and Cargill
Food & Water Watch
July 07, 2012
Soy Industry Stands to Gain Hundreds of Millions Annually from Open Ocean Aquaculture
Washington, D.C. and Brussels - If proponents of soy in aquaculture have it their way, soy will be used to feed fish in open ocean pens in federal waters, a move that would negatively impact the marine environment as well as the diets of both fish and consumers.
Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Europe’s new report, ”Factory-Fed Fish: How the Soy Industry is Expanding Into the Sea,” shows how a collaboration between two of the most environmentally damaging industries on land and sea —the soy and open ocean aquaculture industries, respectively—could be devastating to ocean life and consumer health. And since much of the soy produced in the United States is genetically engineered (GE), consuming farmed fish would likely mean eating fish that are fed GE soy.
”Our seas are not Roundup ready,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. ”Soy is being promoted as a better alternative to feed made from wild fish, but this model will not help the environment, and it will transfer massive industrial farming models into our oceans and further exacerbate the havoc wreaked by the soy industry on land—including massive amounts of dangerous herbicide use and massive deforestation.”
Friday, July 6, 2012
Organic farmers file appeal against Monsanto
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA
July 6 2012
Farmers and organizations file brief Appellate Court today
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Seventy-five family farmers, seed businesses, and agricultural organizations representing over 300,000 individuals and 4,500 farms filed a brief today with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington asking the appellate court to reverse a lower court’s decision from February dismissing their protective legal action against agricultural giant Monsanto’s patents on genetically engineered seed.
The plaintiffs brought the pre-emptive case against Monsanto in March 2011 in the Southern District of New York and specifically seek to defend themselves from nearly two dozen of Monsanto’s most aggressively asserted patents on GMO seed. They were forced to act pre-emptively to protect themselves from Monsanto’s abusive lawsuits, fearing that if GMO seed contaminates their property despite their efforts to prevent such contamination, Monsanto will sue them for patent infringement.
“It’s time to end Monsanto’s scorched earth legal campaign of threats and intimidation against America’s farmers. Family farmers should be protected by the courts against the unwanted genetic contamination of their crops,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots community of more than 300,000 farmers and citizens dedicated to reforming food and agriculture, that is co-plaintiff in the suit.
Monday, July 2, 2012
Congress’ big gift to Monsanto
By Tom Philpott
July 2, 2012
Big Ag’s big bucks get results on GMO labeling
If you want your crops to bear fruit, you have to feed the soil. Few industries understand that old farming truism better than ag-biotech—the few companies that dominate the market for genetically modified seeds and other novel farming technologies. And they realize that the same wisdom applies to getting what you want in Washington, DC.
According to this 2010 analysis  from Food & Water Watch, the ag-biotech industry spent $547.5 million between 1999 and 2009. It employed more than 100 lobbying firms in 2010 alone, FWW reports, in addition to their own in-house lobbying teams.
The gusher continues. The most famous ag-biotech firm of all, Monsanto, spent $1.4 million on lobbying in the first three months of 2012, after shelling out $6.3 million total last year, “more than any other agribusiness firm except the tobacco company Altria,” reports  the money-in-politics tracker OpenSecrets.org. Industry trade groups like the Biotechnology Industry Organization and Croplife America have weighed in with $1.8 million and $524,000, respectively.
What fruits have been borne by such generous fertilizing of the legislative terrain? It’s impossible to tie the fate of any bit of legislation directly to an industry’s lobbying power, but here are two unambiguous legislative victories won on the Hill this month by Monsanto and its peers.