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31.05.2018 |

Academics Review: The Making of a Monsanto Front Group

Academics Review, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization launched in 2012, claims to be an independent group but documents obtained by U.S. Right to Know revealed it is a front group set up with the help of Monsanto and its public relations team to attack agrichemical industry critics while appearing to be independent.

Covert industry funding

The Academics Review website describes its founders as “two independent professors,” Bruce Chassy, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and David Tribe, PhD, senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Australia. As of May 2018, the website claims, “Academics Review only accepts unrestricted donations from non-corporate sources to support our work.”

However, tax records show that the primary funder of Academics Review has been the Council for Biotechnology Information, a trade association that is funded and run by the largest agrichemical companies: BASF, Bayer, DowDuPont, Monsanto and Syngenta.

According to CBI tax records, the industry-funded group gave Academics Review a total of $650,000 in 2014 and 2015-2016. Tax records for AcademicsReview.org report expenses of $791,064 from 2013-2016 (see 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). The money was spent on organizing conferences and promoting GMOs and pesticides, according to the tax records.

Emails reveal secret origin of academic front group

31.05.2018 |

Exposing a Chemical Company

Dr Thom Davies, Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick @ThomDavies

Many documentary photography projects attempt to reveal the structural violence that society has wrought. Monsanto: a photographic investigation by photographer Mathieu Asselin is more specific in its aim: it is a visual call for corporate responsibility. Drawing on the theme of temporality that pollution often creates, the photobook is a timeline that documents over 100 years of chemical harm. The book explains through word and image how the agrochemical company Monsanto has caused ecological, social, and health problems for countless people across the world.

“The book draws on a wide range of visual techniques to tell its dark story”

31.05.2018 |

Biofortified Partners with the Agrichemical Industry on PR Projects

Biology Fortified Inc., known as “Biofortified,” is a nonprofit organization that works closely with the agrichemical industry and its allies on public relations and lobbying campaigns to defend genetically engineered foods and pesticides and try to discredit industry critics.

Biofortified partners with agrichemical industry

This internal Monsanto document identifies Biofortified as an “industry partner” in Monsanto’s public relations plan to discredit the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), to protect the reputation of Roundup weedkiller. In March 2015, an IARC expert panel judged glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, to be probably carcinogenic to humans.

The Monsanto PR document identified four tiers of industry partners the corporation planned to engage in its “preparedness plan” for the IARC cancer report. Biofortified is listed in “Tier 2,” along with Academics Review, AgBioChatter academics, Genetic Literacy Project and Sense About Science. These groups are are often cited as independent sources, but as the Monsanto plan and other examples indicate, they work behind the scenes with the agrichemical industry to protect corporate interests.

30.05.2018 |

GMO imported crops continue to enter the EU while the flawed authorisation process undergoes reform

2 objections to GMOs were voted today

Making GMO authorizations more democratic

Little by little, the European Parliament is trying to install more democracy and transparency into the EU decision processes. Indeed, following its Committee on Industry in April, the European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional affairs (AFCO) just adopted a position which calls for profoundly reforming the way the EU approves GMOs, active substances contained in pesticides or any product or substance susceptible of having an impact on human health or the environment.

Indeed, the current system (called “comitology”) has been dysfunctional for years, in particular in relation to GMOs. When it comes to their authorisation, the EU Parliament only has a symbolic role in the matter, whilst Member States have been unable to reach a common decision for the last 3 years. This leaves the Commission alone to decide, and the threats from biotech companies to take the Commission to court has led it to deliver the requested authorizations, thereby systematically ignoring the Parliament’s position.

29.05.2018 |

Toxic Mega-Merger between Bayer and Monsanto gets approval from Department of Justice

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Justice formally announced today its approval of the Bayer-Monsanto merger, contingent upon divestments from the two companies.

Tiffany Finck-Haynes, senior food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth, issued the following statement in response:

This toxic mega-merger is another Trump Administration handout to an industry that’s poisoning people and the planet. The Department of Justice is prioritizing corporate profits instead of listening to the 1 million Americans who spoke out against the merger. DOJ also failed to listen to more than 93 percent of polled farmers who are concerned about the merger.

Americans deserve better than corporate monopolies that drive up food prices and put family farmers out of business. The DOJ’s weak divestment requirements will do nothing to stop Bayer-Monsanto from controlling more and more of our food system. This merger will damage the bargaining power of family farmers, prevent farmers from accessing diverse seed varieties, and allow seed prices to rise.

29.05.2018 |

DOJ Approval of Bayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger Hangs Farmers Out to Dry

Today, the U.S. Department of Justice approved the mega-merger of Bayer AG and Monsanto Co.

The Organization for Competitive Markets, which has fought on behalf of U.S. family farmers to block the mega-merger, issued the following statement:

“Today’s news makes it clear that our anti-monopoly laws are completely worthless and the U.S. Department of Justice merger review process is pointless. Economists have well established that there is a strong likelihood of market abuse when four companies control 45% of the market, and the fact that DOJ has now allowed one company to control 77% of all seed corn, 69% of all seed traits and 58-97% of the markets in cotton, soybeans, and canola, means DOJ has just authorized a monopoly.

America’s family farmers will pay the price for this action, and consumers will see fewer choices in the market. Where is the justice in the Department of Justice?”

It is clear to us that our laws don’t work for the people, and therefore our attention and our efforts must be focused on Capitol Hill to call on Congress to take action to stop agricultural mergers until stronger anti-monopoly laws are implemented.

For more information on U.S. farmers’ strong opposition to the merger, see our March 8, 2018 poll results.

27.05.2018 |

Cotton output under threat as non-Bt varieties found contaminated

LAHORE: The official comprehensive tests of cotton seeds have revealed that all non-Bt varieties, including standard elite lines, have been contaminated with Bt genes, leading to productivity losses due to growing resistance against the toxic protein, The News learnt on Saturday.

The Bt cotton has been genetically modified by the insertion of one or more genes from a common soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). These genes encode for the production of insecticidal proteins, and thus, genetically transformed plants produce one or more toxins as they grow.

Pakistan Central Cotton Committee, in a meeting held in Multan, learnt that all the widely cultivated fifteen non-Bt cotton varieties, developed by public and private sector institutions, included in the biochemical test (BCT) under the National Coordinated Varietal Trials (NCVT) 2018 have emerged as contaminated.

According to the BCT results, compiled in accordance with the lab examination of four leading institutions, the standard elite varieties of CIM-620 and CRIS-129 developed by Central Cotton Research Institutes (CCRIs) located at Multan and Sakrand respectively, are also no more conventional seed types.

27.05.2018 |

GR2E Rice: GMO Rice variety meets standards of US FDA

GR2E Golden Rice, a provitamin-A biofortified rice variety, completed its third positive food safety evaluation, this time from the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), Philippine-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said.

The regulatory approval could eventually pave the way for the commercialization of what could be the first nutritionally enhanced genetically modified rice in the world.

In the Philippines, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is now developing high-yielding inbred local rice varieties with the beta-carotene producing GR2E Golden Rice trait.

There is now a Joint Department Circular in the Department of Agriculture on Rules and Regulations for the Research and Development, Handling and Use, Transboundary Movement, Release into the Environment, and Management of Genetically-Modified Plant and Plant Products Derived from the Use of Modern Biotechnology.

25.05.2018 |

Monsanto And Bayer Are Set To Merge. Here's Why You Should Care

Together they will influence markets all over the world on a scale we’ve never seen before.

The U.S. Justice Department this month is expected to approve a merger of two huge corporations ― St. Louis-based seed company Monsanto and German crop-chemical conglomerate Bayer ― and the consequences could be enormous.

The $66 billion deal, already approved by the European Union, will create the world’s biggest pesticides and seeds monopoly. The hookup will confine 61 percent of global seeds and pesticides production in the hands of just three megacorporations ― the other two being newly merged DowDuPont, and ChemChina, which acquired pesticides and seed company Syngenta last year.

Is that a problem?

It depends who you ask. Monsanto and Bayer are pitching their consolidation as a way to develop the technology and innovation necessary to feed a world that in two decades is likely to be home to 10 billion people. For critics ― environmentalists and many farmers ― it’s a terrifying step toward a near-monopoly in agriculture, giving giant companies unprecedented access to farmer data, squeezing out small farmers, and potentially raising food prices for consumers.

25.05.2018 |

Glyphosate Residue Found in Common Foods

Scientists working for the FDA have discovered significant levels of glyphosate in a number of common US foodstuff, including granola, crackers and corn, according to emails intercepted by The Guardian. Glyphosate, which has been in-use for nearly 40 years, has been the center of controversy since 2015, when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) labeled the substance a “probable carcinogen.” A two-part report published by Le Monde last year revealed Monsanto’s major effort to suppress the IARC’s findings and other supporting science. According to the prize-winning report, the agrochemical manufacturer has employed methods ranging from ghost-writing glyphosate-friendly research papers to hiring undercover agents to infiltrate the IARC. Now, this most recent batch of intercepted emails could shed some light on the widespread nature of the glyphosate controversy.

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