Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

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17.03.2018 |

Kenya’s top GMO labs filthy and pose serious health risks

Three top laboratories handling genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Kenya are highly contaminated with disease-causing germs. A study published early this month (March 7) found the three laboratories highly contaminated with bacteria and harmful fungus.

The study also reports laboratory workers are not observing basic safety measures, hence putting themselves and others in danger. In October, the Biosafety Appeals Board also made similar claims against the same labs, saying workers had become too lax in observing safety measures.

Escaping into environment This, laboratory experts say, raises doubt whether GMO materials held in these facilities are secured well enough to prevent them from escaping into the environment. The new study was led by Dennis Nyachae of the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Kenyatta University (KU).

16.03.2018 |

GMO directive : the origins of the mutagenesis exemption

In his opinion on the « Mutagenesis » case [1], the Court of justice Advocate general considered there is no link between the mutagenesis exemption and the recital which states that the directive should not apply to organisms obtained through certain techniques of genetic modification which have conventionally been used in a number of applications and have a long safety record. However, the study of the preparatory work shows the mutagenesis exemption appeared at the same time as the recital in question...

The European Union GMO legislation does not apply to all organisms obtained through genetic modification. Since the first European GMO directive, genetically modified organisms obtained through mutagenesis are exempted, under certain conditions, from the obligations laid down in the directive. As a consequence, these GMOs can, under certain conditions, be cultivated without having been subject to an environmental risk assessment and they can be marketed without traceability or labelling.

15.03.2018 |

Objection to Application by Dow for general release of GM maize: MON89034 X TC1507 x NK603 with the intention for cultivation in the entire region of South Africa

The ACB has played an essential watch-dog role on new GMO permits in South Africa for a decade now, adding substantially to the discourse about the scientific assessment of GMOs as well as about issues of socioeconomic impacts and democratic decisionmaking, through lodging substantive comments on at least 30 permit applications.

We are objecting to the general release of MON 89034 x TC1507 x NK603, due to concerns surrounding lack of safety to human and environmental health of this GM maize variety and its associated pesticides, glyphosate and glufosinate. This latest variety will serve to further increase exposure by the peoples of South Africa to yet more chemical pesticides, consolidate the corporate control of South Africa’s already corporatized food systems and entrench inequities and food insecurity.

Under these circumstances, we urge the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to decline approval.

14.03.2018 |

Monarch Butterfly Numbers Keep Declining

The annual count of Monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico shows declines from last year’s numbers—a 15 percent decrease –according to figures from an official Mexican government count in the winter of 2017. These numbers underscore how at risk the iconic animal is, with a possible collapse of migration if populations are critically low.

Monarch butterflies (also known as Eastern Monarchs) embark on an impressive migration every year. Roughly 99 percent of all North American monarchs migrate each winter to oyamel fir forests on 12 mountaintops in central Mexico. Scientists estimate the population size by measuring the area of trees turned orange by the clustering butterflies. But for the second year in a row, its numbers are declining — 2.48 hectares of occupied winter habitat is down from 2.91 hectares last winter. Apart from partial rebounds in the winters of 2001 and 2003, numbers have gone down steadily since 1996. Overall monarchs have declined by more than 80 percent over the past two decades.

14.03.2018 |

Japan: 2018 GMO-Free Zone Movement Report

Report from the 2018 GMO-Free Zone Movement Event Held in Nagoya, Japan

The 13th annual event to celebrate the Japanese GMO-Free Zone movement was held in Nagoya, Aichi prefecture, on March 3, 2018. During the past year, many groups participated in the preparation of the event, including members of the Seikatsu Club co-operative movement, local citizens and farmers groups in and around Nagoya, as well as the No! GMO Campaign.

Some 300 people joined this year’s event. We welcomed five participants from South Korea’s National Korean Anti-GMO Movement and two participants from Taiwan’s Anti-GMO School Lunch Movement. Starting From Seed to Otowa Rice, the research council that promotes the Otowa variety of rice, the Aichi Network to Promote Sustainable Organic Agriculture, and the nation-wide grass-root movement to test wild-growing GM canola reported about their respective activities in Japan. Also, the latest figures from Japan’s growing GMO-Free Zone movement were announced.

14.03.2018 |

Saint Lucia strengthens capacity for GMO regulation

THE FRAMEWORK ASSESSES THE SAFETY OF GENETICALLY-MODIFIED FOODS COMPARED TO NON-GMOS.

The Department of Sustainable Development recently hosted a two-day training workshop on the development of Food and Feed Safety Assessments for GMOs currently in trade in Saint Lucia.

The activity is one of many being held to strengthen Saint Lucia’s capacity to regulate GMOs and safeguard human health and the environment from any adverse impacts resulting from GMO use.

Jannel Gabriel, Environmental Officer within the Department of Sustainable Development, said biosafety is one of the department’s main concerns.

“Saint Lucia is a party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. We signed that protocol in 2005, and since then we have been developing a framework for biosafety in Saint Lucia. The framework will regulate the processes through which genetically modified organisms enter the country, or regulate those that are produced in the country or that are being exported out of the country. So the entire framework seeks to ensure that if a GMO is being used, that it is being done in a way that it is safe to human health and to the environment.”

Ms Gabriel explained that the workshop worked towards examining GMOs already on the global market.

14.03.2018 |

Nationwide GMO corn class action lawsuit settled for $1.51 billion

Settlement against Syngenta believed to be largest agricultural litigation settlement in U.S. history.

A $1.51 billion settlement has been reached in the nationwide class action lawsuit filed in Kansas federal court over Syngenta's genetically modified Viptera corn seed. It is believed to be the largest agricultural litigation settlement in U.S. history.

The settlement was first announced in September, but the details weren’t made public until the March 12 filing.

A motion for preliminary approval has been filed. The settlement must be approved by the Honorable John W. Lungstrum, a United States District Judge for the District of Kansas.

If preliminarily approved, the settlement terms and claims process information will be set forth in notices mailed to class members and published in various media outlets across the country, as well as in a settlement website.

14.03.2018 |

EC forced to reopen 2015 decision on allowing GMO soy imports

The EU Commission has been forced to revisit a 2015 decision to allow the import of genetically-modified soybeans after a court rules it breached a technicality on deciding that the modified oilseed had no impact on human or animal health or on the environment.

The European Court of Justice said Wednesday the EU executive must review whether the EU’s food and safety body should have consulted with non-governmental organisations when declaring GMO oilseeds fit for consumption in 2015.

An executive director for the complainant company – Berlin-based anti-GMO lobby group TestBiotech – told Agricensus that the internal review on the environmental impact of GMO beans would now be reopened.

“We are using the law to increase the level of protection but importing these [genetically modified] soybeans will be a political decision in the end,” Christoph Then said.

“The current risk assessment is not in accordance with the law and there are gaps in it,” he added.

In November 2015, the EC rejected an application by TestBiotech to review a decision by its food safety body to allow genetically modified soybeans in the EU market because the body did not consult with civil society - as required under the Aarhus Regulation.

13.03.2018 |

Syngenta GMO Corn Seed Lawsuits: $1.51B Deal Agreed

This is a settlement for the Syngenta GMO Corn Seed Lawsuits lawsuit.

Santa Cruz, CA: A $1.51 billion settlement has been agreed between Syngenta AG and a nationwide class of plaintiffs who allege the chemical company should have delayed the release of its genetically modified corn seed until Chinese authorities, who represent a major corn market for US farmers, approved importing the GMO corn.

The settlement deal for multidistrict litigation (MDL) covers all cases brought by corn growers, grain facilities and ethanol plants across the US, who bought insect-resistant GMO corn seeds from Syngenta during the class period. Only four plaintiffs have not opted in.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs said the deal is believed to be “the largest agricultural litigation settlement in US history.” The firm also noted that even farmers who may have opted out of previous Syngenta lawsuits are eligible for the settlement, and said funds could be distributed as soon as the first half of 2019.

13.03.2018 |

South Korea: Civic groups demonstrate to demand labeling of GMO products

A diverse group of 57 civic organizations, including the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice and the Korea Federation for Environmental Movements, demonstrated in the fountains in front of the Blue House on Mar. 12 to demand explicit labeling of genetically modified organism (GMO) products.

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