Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

News

22.11.2017 |

PRESS RELEASE: Strong Institutional commitment needed to ensure a good legislative transition

Brussels, 22 November 2017 - The trilogue agreement for a new organic regulation reached last June was adopted by the Special Committee on Agriculture on Monday and by the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture today.

The next step is the sign off in the Parliament's plenary and the Council of Agriculture Ministers.

Christopher Stopes, IFOAM EU President: "IFOAM EU acknowledge the huge effort made by the Institutions to improve the text. We recognise that a number of concerns highlighted by IFOAM EU has been taken into consideration and some improvements have been made. The legal check has also solved some of the inconsistencies previously highlighted.

Nevertheless, the lack of a strong majority in both the SCA and the AGRI Committee has shown the fragility of this text. Countries like Austria (biggest share of organic land) and Germany (biggest EU market) did not endorse the text as it still includes a number of inconsistencies and mistakes that will make the practical implementation very difficult."

22.11.2017 |

Scientists warn of toxic chemical cocktail sprayed on food

As the number of chemicals applied to vegetables sold in supermarkets goes up 17-fold, experts say pesticides must be phased out of food production. Report by Claire Robinson

The number of chemicals applied to vegetables sold in supermarkets has increased by up to 17-fold over 40 years, according to data presented at a conference organized by the Epidemiology and Public Health Section of the Royal Society of Medicine in London on 20 November, which I attended on behalf of GMWatch.

Just as disturbing as the data on our escalating exposure to toxic pesticide mixtures was the evidence presented at the conference that the regulatory system for pesticides is failing.

Scientists explained that while the system tests the single active ingredients in pesticides, it fails to test the many accompanying chemicals (adjuvants) used in pesticide formulations to enhance the effectiveness of the active ingredients. It also fails to test the combined effects of the formulations of chemicals used in commercial pesticides, let alone the cocktail effect of being exposed to multiple pesticides, as most farmers, rural residents and consumers are.

21.11.2017 |

The Monsanto Papers, Part 2 — Reaping a bitter harvest

In order to save glyphosate, the Monsanto corporation has undertaken an effort to destroy the United Nations' cancer agency by any means possible. Here is part two of an investigation from Le Monde.

Editors Note: This month Le Monde won the Prix Varenne Presse quotidienne nationale (Varenne award for the national daily press) for their Monsanto Papers series, an investigation on the worldwide war the Monsanto corporation has started in order to save glyphosate, originally published in June.

Below is part two, originally published June 2, 2017, translated by the Health and Environment Alliance.

They had promised it was "safer than table salt" – but that was in the advertisements.

It is the most widely used herbicide in the world. It is the main ingredient in their flagship product, Roundup, the bedrock on which their firm has built its economic model, its wealth and its reputation. A product which has been on the market for more than 40 years and became a best-seller with the development of genetically-modified seeds called "Roundup Ready."

It is this product, glyphosate, that could in fact be carcinogenic.

21.11.2017 |

Why Did MEPs Reject 3 GM Crops Last Month?

One of three significant votes in the European Parliament on 24th October last involved the rejection of the authorisation of GM crops. So what reason did the the MEPs for reject these crops? You can read the full motions for a genetically modified soy, oilseed rape and maize at the links provided.

As we reported here recently, GUE/NGL MEP Lynn Boylan stated that this process of authorisation has been rejected numerous times. “It is beyond frustrating to have a situation whereby President Juncker admits that the procedure is undemocratic but yet his Commission fails to bring forward a credible alternative. Instead they continue to pursue the same route over and over again.”

The motions are accompanied by the evidence MEPs used to to justify their refusal to authorise. These are the footnoted references hyperlinked to the bottom of the page. They shed a light on processes and proceedings in Europe. For each motion, see the links for soy, oilseed rape and maize.

20.11.2017 |

Glyphosate: MEPs debate citizens’ call for a ban

A European Citizens’ Initiative petition calling for an EU-wide ban on herbicide glyphosate was discussed on Monday with the petitioners and the European Commission.

A European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) entitled “Ban glyphosate and protect people and the environment from toxic pesticides”, calling for a ban on the herbicide, a reform of the pesticide approval procedure and EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use, collected over 1 million signatures.

Parliament rejected a ten-year renewal of glyphosate’s licence in October and proposed a full ban by 2022. EU member states will vote on a five-year renewal on 27 November.

20.11.2017 |

The Monsanto Papers, Part 1 — Operation: Intoxication

In order to save glyphosate, the Monsanto corporation has undertaken an effort to destroy the United Nations' cancer agency by any means possible. Here is the part one of an investigation from Le Monde.

Editors Note: This month Le Monde won the Prix Varenne Presse quotidienne nationale (Varenne Award for the national daily press) for their Monsanto Papers series, an investigation on the worldwide war the Monsanto corporation has started in order to save glyphosate, originally published in June.

Below is part one, originally published June 1, 2017, translated by GM Watch and the Health and Environment Alliance.

"We have been attacked in the past, we have faced smear campaigns, but this time we are the target of an orchestrated campaign of an unseen scale and duration." Christopher Wild's smile quickly faded. Through the window of the high rise where the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is headquartered, the rooftops of Lyon, France, spread out behind his tall figure.

Christopher Wild is the director of the agency so he weighed every word—speaking with a seriousness appropriate for the situation. For the past two years, a blazing onslaught has targeted the institution he is running: the credibility and integrity of IARC's work are being challenged, its experts are being denigrated and harassed by lawyers, and its finances weakened.

For nearly half a century IARC has been charged, under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO), to draw up an inventory of carcinogens. But now the venerable agency is beginning to waver under the assault.

16.11.2017 |

Standard CRISPR gene drives may work too well to be used for conservation

Gene-editing tools heralded as hope for fighting invader rats, malarial mosquitoes and other scourges may be too powerful to use in their current form, two new papers warn.

Standard forms of CRISPR gene drives, as the tools are called, can make tweaked DNA race through a population so easily that a small number of stray animals or plants could spread it to new territory, predicts a computer simulation released November 16 at bioRxiv.org. Such an event would have unknown, potentially damaging, ramifications, says a PLOS Biology paper released the same day.

“We need to get out of the ivory tower and have this discussion in the open, because ecological engineering will affect everyone living in the area,” says Kevin Esvelt of MIT, a coauthor of both papers who studies genetic solutions to ecological problems. What’s a pest in one place may be valued in another, so getting consent to use a gene drive could mean consulting people across a species’s whole range, be it several nations or continents.

16.11.2017 |

Genetically-modified crop ban extension in South Australia to 2025 passes Upper House by single vote

South Australia is set to extend its controversial ban on the growing of genetically-modified crops until 2025 after a bill put forward by the Greens passed the Upper House by a single vote.

The current ban will expire on September 1 in 2019 and was due to be debated later next year, but the Greens surprised the State Parliament with its motion to extend it for another 6 years.

The bill is also expected to pass the Lower House, and Greens leader Mark Parnell said when that happens the State's farmers will be the big winners.

"There are a lot of farmers in South Australia who are nervous about the (GM) technology, and what the marketing evidence shows is that there is a price premium for not growing GM crops," he said.

16.11.2017 |

Gene Drives Are Too Risky for Field Trials, Scientists Say

In 2013, scientists discovered a new way to precisely edit genes — technology called Crispr that raised all sorts of enticing possibilities. Scientists wondered if it might be used to fix hereditary diseases, for example, or to develop new crops.

One of the more intriguing ideas came from Kevin M. Esvelt and his colleagues at Harvard University: Crispr, they suggested, could be used to save endangered wildlife from extinction by implanting a fertility-reducing gene in invasive animals — a so-called gene drive.

When the genetically altered animals were released back into the wild, the fertility-reducing gene would spread through the population, eradicating the pests.

15.11.2017 |

The EU glyphosate timeline

9 November 2017

A new Commission proposal for a 5-year, unrestricted glyphosate licence fails to receive the support of a qualified majority of EU countries.

To come:

27 November 2017

The Commission is to present and possibly amend its proposal for a 5-year, unrestricted glyphosate licence in the appeals committee of higher level member state representatives.

End of November 2017

EFSA is to publish an opinion on the impact of glyphosate residues in feed on animal health, and a review of maximum residue levels in food and feed.

Early December 2017

The Commission is to take a final decision based on the appeal committee vote by EU governments. In July, European Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said: “I wanted to make clear that the Commission has no intention to reapprove this substance without the support of a qualified majority of member states. This is and will remain a shared responsibility”.

15 December 2017 The current EU approval for glyphosate expires.

NewsActualitéNachrichtenActualidad

Comité Local d'Organisation