Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

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21.10.2011 |

EuropaBio secretly recruiting high-profile ”ambassadors” to lobby European leaders on GM policy

Europe’s largest and most influential biotech industry group, whose members include Monsanto, Bayer and other GM companies, is recruiting high-profile ”ambassadors” to lobby European leaders on GM policy. [...] The 10 or more ambassadors will not be paid directly, but the lobbyists have offered to write, research and place articles in their names, arrange interviews and speaking engagements with the Financial Times and other international media, and secure for them what could be lucrative speaking slots at major conferences.

10.10.2011 |

Belize government orders destruction of illegal GE maize - Toledo Maya call for ban

The Toledo Maya who have been planting corn for genertions are skeptical of these claims, because innumerable other schemes have been foisted upon them by agricultural “experts” over the decades,causing hardship for the Maya while their traditional methods continue to sustain them. They see GMO corn as a dangerous experiment which can cause them grief. The Toledo Maya are not the only opponents to GMO crops being introduced to Belize, Mark Miller of Punta Gorda Town also called for the Belize Agricultural Health Authority to stop any importation of GMO seed until proper consultations with the public can be held.

06.10.2011 |

Canadian GM canola has escaped into wilds of North Dakota (USA)

Genetically modified canola has escaped from the farm and is thriving in the wild across North Dakota, according to a study that indicates there are plenty of novel man-made genes crossing the Canada-U.S. border. GM canola was found growing everywhere from ditches to parking lots, the scientists report, with some of the highest densities along a trucking route into Canada. [...] At almost half of the 634 stops they found genetically modified canola. At some locations there were thousands of GM plants growing. [...] Perhaps most significant, they said, is the fact that two of plants had combinations of herbicide resistance that had not been developed commercially. “That suggests to us there is breeding going on, either in the field or in these roadside populations, to create new combinations of traits,” said Sagers. “In terms of evolutionary biology it’s pretty amazing.”

05.10.2011 |

Battle escalates against genetically modified crops in the USA

Home to a fast-growing network of farmers’ markets, cooperatives and organic farms, but also the breeding ground for mammoth for-profit corporations that now hold patents to over 50 percent of the world’s seeds, the United States is weathering a battle between Big Agro and a ripening movement for food justice and security.

Conflicting ideologies about agriculture have become ground zero for this war over the production, distribution and consumption of the world’s food.

27.09.2011 |

Greenpeace reports suspension of GE rice commercialization in China

The Chinese government may be taking a bold new step by halting the commercialization of GE rice. It’s a move that we at Greenpeace would widely welcome as the long-term effects of GE products on human health are still unknown. China’s major financial weekly the Economic Observer quoted on Friday, Sept 23rd, 2011, an information source close to the Ministry of Agriculture that China has suspended the commercialization of genetically engineered rice.

20.09.2011 |

Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, and Dow Chemical apply for larger GE maize trials in Mexico

Permits to plant large extensions of genetically modified corn for the first time in Mexico are likely to be approved before the end of the year, said a company lobby group on Monday. Monsanto, DuPont’s Pioneer seed unit and Dow Chemical’s agricultural arm have all applied to expand on tiny experimental plots of GM corn in northern Mexico, said AgroBIO, an organization that represents the biotech companies. The group expects the government will approve more sizable pilot plots for the corn-growing state of Sinaloa by the end of October and in Tamaulipas by November with other states following soon after.

19.09.2011 |

Turkey – the delicate GM balance

Turkey’s economy grew in Q2 for the ninth successive quarter, and by 8.8% on the previous year. The rate of GDP growth surprised even the central bank, and while inflation is not yet a concern, food prices are high and rising. This has brought the complicated issue of genetically modified food to the fore, with a request to the government from feed, poultry and egg producers to allow imports of three types of genetically GM corn to be used as animal and chicken feed. “We can solve our raw material problem only through imports,” says Ulku Karakus, chief of the Turkish Feed Industrialists Union, explaining the problem. “Costly feed translates into expensive meat. Unless we pull down the cost of feed, we cannot drive down meat prices.”

13.09.2011 |

Poland calls for cooperation on GMO bans

Is Europe in favour of the freedom of Member States as regards a ban on cultivation of GMOs within their territories? The Polish government, holding the EU presidency in the second half of 2011, calls upon EU member states to come forward with their opinions on a pending proposal of the EU Commission to allow for national bans of GMO cultivation.

06.09.2011 |

honey containing pollen with unapproved GE events cannot be marketed
honey containing pollen with unapproved GE events cannot be marketed (Tobias Kunze/pixelio.de)

EU Court of Justice rules that honey containing pollen with unapproved GE events cannot be marketed

Honey containing pollen from genetically modified maize MON 810 is not marketable. This was announced by the European court of justice today in its groundbreaking verdict. Even tiniest traces of genetically modified (GM) material in food or feeding stuff demand a safety control and a special approval following genetical engineering law. Without an approval, it is illegal to market

such food. With this decision, the German beekeepers‘ association Mellifera e. V. celebrates a big success as it means that bee keepers have a right of compensation if their honey has been contaminated with genetically modified poll that has not been approved as food.

The dispute arose between Mr Bablok, an amateur beekeeper, and Freistaat Bayern (State of Bavaria, Germany), which owns a number of plots of land on which MON 810 maize has been cultivated for research purposes in recent years. In 2005 MON 810 maize DNA and genetically modified proteins were detected in the maize pollen harvested by Mr Bablok in beehives situated 500 metres from the plots of land belonging to Freistaat Bayern. Very small amounts of MON 810 maize DNA were also detected in a number of samples of Mr Bablok's honey. As German authorities held that such contaminations have to be tolerated, Mr Bablok, together with the help of Mellifera e.V., brought legal proceedings against Freistaat Bayern before the German courts and claimed for the damage.

Due to unsettled questions of European law, the Bavarian Higher Administrative Court presented a few decision points to the European Court of Justice in 2009. Today, the court decided in favour of the bee keepers and consumers who predominantly disapprove of genetically engineered organisms in their food. On the occasion of the judgement, the environmental organisation BUND (friends of the earth germany) requests the German government to regulate the protection of honey in the genetical engineering law.

29.08.2011 |

US Embassy in Sofia (Bulgaria) backed pro-GMO lobby

According to the cables, GMO supporters in Bulgaria are actively backed and financed by the American Embassy, as Bivol writes. In a cable, sent in 2006, Charge d’Affaires, Alex Karagiannis, informs the US Department of State that the main obstacle for the passing of more liberal GMO legislation has been opposition coming from the President of the Bulgarian Academy of Science, Ivan Juchnovski. “According to Atanas Atanassov, Director of the Agro-Bio Institute, Juchnovski sent various “experts”, who knew little about the science of GMOs, to the Environmental and Agriculture Parliamentary Committees to critique the draft law.

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