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26.05.2017 |

GMOs 2.0: New technologies, new risks, and no regulations

Many products made using new genetic engineering technologies such as synthetic biology and gene editing are entering the market with little or no regulation and even with “natural” or “non-GMO” claims.

Twenty years ago, proponents of genetic engineering promised that GMO foods would increase yields, reduce pesticides, produce nutritious foods, and help feed the world. Today, those promises have fallen far short as the majority of GMO crops are engineered to withstand sprays of Roundup herbicide, which is increasingly documented as a risk to human health.

Now, new genetic engineering technologies such as synthetic biology and gene editing are being hailed with the same promises of revolutionizing food production, medicine, fuels, textiles, and other areas.

But a closer look at this next generation or “GMOs 2.0” technologies reveals possibly even greater risks than existing GMO technology with possible human health risks and negative impacts on farming communities worldwide, among other unintended consequences. And while products developed using current genetic engineering methods are regulated by the U.S. government, GMOs 2.0 products are entering the market with few or no regulations.

24.05.2017 |

Critics claim liability bill would banish GMOs from Oregon

Critics of a bill imposing liability on GMO patent holders say it would effectively banish biotech crops from Oregon.

SALEM — A proposed bill imposing new financial liability on biotech patent holders in Oregon would effectively banish genetically engineered crops from the state, opponents claim.

Under House Bill 2739, biotech patent holders would be liable for triple the economic damages caused by the unwanted presence of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

The bill is now before the House Rules Committee, which is considering an amendment clarifying when landowners can file lawsuits over GMOs on their property and the defenses available to patent holders, among other provisions.

The amendment would also ensure that patent holders cannot transfer liability to farmers who cultivate GMOs, though they could transfer liability to seed companies.

“It’s putting the onus on the producers and people who sell these crops rather than grow them,” said Amy van Saun, an attorney with the Center for Food Safety, a non-profit that supports HB 2739.

23.05.2017 |

GMO potatoes will not be grown commercially on P.E.I. this season - Prince Edward Island

There will be no commercially grown GMO potatoes on Prince Edward Island this year, according to Simplot Plant Sciences, the company that developed the Innate potato.

Innate potatoes bruise less and have less black spots than conventional potatoes.

New genetically engineered potato approved for Canada

Doug Cole, director of marketing and communications, said the company is holding off allowing commercial growth of Innate potatoes in Canada until there's a proven market for them.

"There is strong interest from the grower community and retailers are also interested. But it's a very involved purchase decision," said Cole.

19.05.2017 |

EC glyphosate renewal discussion to restart

The European Commission has decided to restart member state discussions over a 10-year renewal of glyphosate.

The Commission said: "We have taken into account the latest state of scientific research" and will"work with the member states to find a solution that enjoys the largest possible support."

No date has yet been set for when discussions with representatives of EU member states will start.

The EU granted an 18-month extension last July of its approval of glyphosate, less than the expected 10 years.

18.05.2017 |

Decisions on glyphosate should be based on independent data - MEP

Decisions on the renewal of the controversial weedkiller glypho-ate should be based on publicly available and independent data, Labour MEP and Socialists and Democrats spokeswoman Miriam Dalli insists.

Her comments followed news that the College of Commissioners was set to propose a 10-year renewal of glyphosate’s licence.

S&D MEPs yesterday reiterated their rejection of the European Commission’s intention to reauthorise glyphosate, in light of the lack of transparency in the classification process of the European agencies. The group is insisting that the classification process of glypho-sate has been largely based on unpublished scientific evidence provided by industry, or scientific reviews sponsored by the same industry “under the pretence” of independence.

18.05.2017 |

Decisions on glyphosate should be based on independent data - MEP

Decisions on the renewal of the controversial weedkiller glypho-ate should be based on publicly available and independent data, Labour MEP and Socialists and Democrats spokeswoman Miriam Dalli insists.

Her comments followed news that the College of Commissioners was set to propose a 10-year renewal of glyphosate’s licence.

S&D MEPs yesterday reiterated their rejection of the European Commission’s intention to reauthorise glyphosate, in light of the lack of transparency in the classification process of the European agencies. The group is insisting that the classification process of glypho-sate has been largely based on unpublished scientific evidence provided by industry, or scientific reviews sponsored by the same industry “under the pretence” of independence.

17.05.2017 |

Groups Call on Grocery Stores to Reject GM Fish and Produce as Parliament Votes Down Mandatory Labelling for GM Foods

Ottawa, May 17, 2017 – Public interest groups the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and Vigilance OGM, are expressing profound disappointment that Members of Parliament voted down Private Member’s Bill C-291 for mandatory labelling of genetically modified (GM, also called genetically engineered) foods.

Polls over twenty years consistently show that over 75 percent of Canadians want GM foods labelled. Health Canada’s 2016 survey put this number at 78 percent.

“Transparency and traceability are missing in Canada when it comes to GM foods,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. “The continued lack of mandatory labelling is an untenable situation for consumers.”

17.05.2017 |

Calls to halt GM maize and cotton import

MEPs objected on Wednesday to EU Commission plans to authorise imports of products made from genetically modified maize and cotton which are herbicide-resistant.

- Concerns over harmful herbicide residues

- Overhaul of authorisation procedure by Commission needed

They highlight concerns raised by independent research and member states, and repeat Parliament’s call for an overhaul of the EU’s GMO authorisation procedure.

A resolution opposing the marketing of products containing maize DAS-40278-9 points to concerns raised by independent research about the risks of the 2,4D herbicide, to which the maize is resistant, for embryo development and endocrine disruption.

Member States criticised the authorisation procedure during the three-month consultation period before approval, referring to missing or insufficient data, contradictory statements and poor test design.

The non-binding resolution was adopted with 435 votes to 216 and 34 abstentions.

In a separate resolution, adopted with 425 votes to 230 and 27 abstentions, MEPs say that imports of products from genetically modified cotton GHB119 should not be authorised, as this would encourage the use of glufosinate ammonium-based herbicides (to which GHB119 is resistant) in the world, while glufosinate is classified as toxic for reproduction.

16.05.2017 |

GMOs again fail to secure Member State support

GMOs rejected in appeal committee

An appeal committee of national experts has today voted on the European Commission’s proposals to authorize two GMO licences, one cotton and one maize. Both are specifically designed to be used with herbicides that pose risks to human health. The appeal committee, like the standing committee before it, failed to reach a qualified majority in favour. MEPs will vote on objections to the two GMOs tomorrow (Wednesday).

Commenting after the vote, Green food safety spokesperson Bart Staes said:

"We welcome that the majority of Member States refused to give their backing to these GMOs. Both of these strands are specifically designed to be tolerant to herbicides that pose credible risks to human health. We will continue to make the case that we can feed ourselves and our farm animals without resorting to dangerous and unnecessary GM crops and an abundant cocktail of toxic chemical products.

"The decision again highlights the failure of the current approvals process. Time and time again, the European Parliament has expressed its opposition to GMOs, as have a majority of Member States in numerous committee decisions. We need a more democratic and accountable way of making these decisions, which would truly do justice to the impact they have on our health, the environment and agricultural practices. While the Commission's recent proposal to improve the decision making process falls far short of what is needed, we look forward to helping shape the Parliament's input.”

14.05.2017 |

Illegal GM maize found growing in Bolivia

NGO warns of eventual disappearance of 77 varieties of native corn

According to a press statement by the NGO, SOS MAIZ BOLIVIA, GM Roundup Ready maize has been found growing illegally in the Bolivian village of Charagua, in the south of Santa Cruz department.

The discovery occurred on March 17 2017, when an expedition of agronomists, sociologists, economists and journalists organized by SOS MAIZ BOLIVIA went to the village and performed a scientific test that detected the GM maize.

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