Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

News

07.02.2018 |

Germany′s Angela Merkel finally reaches coalition deal with SPD

Agriculture: The pesticide glyphosate, a source of much friction between the CSU and SPD , will be banned, along with genetically modified crops. On top of that, the two parties agreed to limit animal experiments and to introduce a new "animal welfare label" to help ensure better conditions in industrial farming. That measure was already being planned by current Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt of the CSU.

06.02.2018 |

India 'illegally' importing genetically modified soya seeds, allege farmers and food activists

NEW DELHI: Farmer and food activists have alleged that genetically modified soya bean seeds are being imported “illegally” for cultivation, in violation of a directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) notification of 2006 that prohibits the import of GMOs without approval from the genetic engineering appraisal committee (GEAC).

Some activists have also found imported packaged foods containing GM ingredients being sold in departmental stores, one of which is a cake mix. The screening of GM products is lax, activists said in a statement on Monday. “We suspect packaged foods containing soya bean or corn seed imported from US may be genetically modified, there is no segregation there. All these products should be checked for GM ingredients,” said Kavitha Kuruganti of the GM free coalition.

06.02.2018 |

At the S&D’s request, the European Parliament creates a special committee to scrutinise the Monsanto scandal

Today the plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg backed the creation of a special committee to find out whether the multinational producing glyphosate - an active ingredient in broadly used pesticides - tried to influence independent scientific research and therefore EU legislation. The mandate, however, will be broader in order to analyse the system by which pesticides are approved into the European market.

S&D vice-president for sustainability Kathleen Van Brempt said:

We have strong concerns on the potentially harmful impact of glyphosate on human health, and we want to know what was behind the renewal of its license. This special committee on pesticides will analyse whether the positive reports on glyphosate by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) were influenced by its developer.

05.02.2018 |

REGULATORY OUTLOOK: Political climate may be favorable for GE crop reform

The latest from the Trump administration suggests USDA may be ready to once again try and overhaul its regulations for genetically engineered crops.

(.....)

GE animals in the cold

Although the administration has shown interest in the GE crop rules, it has yet to signal its intent with regard to FDA's oversight of GE animals.

The Obama administration in January 2017 released draft revisions to FDA's guidance on GE animals. The proposal calls for the agency to continue regulating GE animals as new animal drugs and to expand its oversight – currently FDA considers the presence of an rDNA construct from another species as its trigger for regulation.

But the draft guidance moves far beyond that in a bid to bring in new gene editing technologies, such as CRISPR and TALENs, and to subject any animal with intentionally altered genomes to FDA's new animal drug review and regulations.

The draft guidance drew sweeping criticism from ag and biotech interests, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, BIO, the National Pork Producers Association, the National Milk Producers Federation, North American Meat Institute and NASDA.

Critics worry the proposed revisions will expand the agency's authority and undermine efforts to develop and commercialize biotech innovations that could help producers control diseases, improve food safety, enhance animal welfare and decrease the environmental impacts of animal agriculture.

The vocal opposition, however, has not yet convinced FDA to change course.

05.02.2018 |

Yucatán takes a stand against GMOs

CHACSINKÍN, Yuc. (EL UNIVERSAL) .- After the authorization of the planting of transgenic crops in Yucatan and Campeche in 2011 a judicial struggle started in which producers and civil organizations have warned that they will not allow any GMOs to be grown in their lands, as they assure these will be harmful to the population and the environment in the long term.

The “Guardians of the Seeds” (Guardianes de las Semillas), a fusion of civil organizations and local producers pointed out that they will continue in their fight so that the sowing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is not authorized, and totally forbbiden, even at an experimental level.

In order to address the demanded measures against GMOs and protect the production of honey, of which Yucatan is national leader, decree 418 was issued the in 2016, prohibiting GMOs in the state. Nevertheless, the highest court by the Presidency of the Republic, argued that the State Executive is not authorized to prohibit the crops, as the Biosecurity is responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food: SAGARPA (Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación).

04.02.2018 |

GMO Corn to Blame for Soaring Pesticide Use

VTDigger Editor’s note: This commentary is by Michael Colby, who is a writer and maple syrup producer living in Walden. the former editor of the Food & Water Journal, and the co-founder, along with Will Allen and Kate Duesterberg, of Regeneration Vermont.

Ending its three-year stall on publishing statewide pesticide usage data, Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets finally released the information in January in response to a public records request. The newly released data covers the years 2014-2016, and it shows a dramatic increase in pesticide use on Vermont’s dairy farms, particularly when it comes to managing GMO cornfields. The use of glyphosate, for example, more than doubled in those three years, while overall corn-related pesticide use rose 27 percent.

GMO corn is now grown on more than 92,000 acres in Vermont, making it – by far – the state’s number one crop. And all of it is being grown for the state’s 135,000 cows, mostly now confined as the large, mega-dairy model increasingly takes over, seen most dramatically in Franklin and Addison counties, where “farms” are now warehousing thousands of cows.

02.02.2018 |

Judges to FDA: Government Must Pull Aside Curtain on Genetically Engineered Salmon

Appeals court rejects Trump administration’s attempt to withhold information from the public related to the approval of GE salmon.

Last week, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the FDA’s latest attempt to hide thousands of pages of key government documents related to the agency’s first-ever approval of genetically engineered (GE) salmon for human consumption. The court’s decision is a big win for public transparency and a firm rejection of the Trump administration’s position that it can unilaterally decide whether to withhold government documents from public and court review.

In 2015, the FDA approved a GE salmon made from the DNA of three different animals: Atlantic salmon, deep water ocean eelpout, and Pacific Chinook salmon. The GE version is intended to grow faster than conventional farmed salmon, reportedly getting to commercial size in half the time.

Even though this is the first time any government in the world has approved a GE animal for commercial sale and consumption, so far the FDA has taken a lackadaisical approach to evaluating the salmon’s potential for harm to wild salmon and the environment. If the GE salmon were to escape, it could threaten wild salmon populations by outcompeting them for scarce resources and habitat, by mating with endangered salmon species, and by introducing new diseases.

02.02.2018 |

Monsanto Faces Farmer Antitrust Suit on Dicamba, Resistant Seed

Monsanto Corp. faces a treble damages class action alleging that its pesticide Dicamba poses such a risk to farmers they are forced to purchase resistant seed — marketed under patent at high prices by Monsanto — to avoid catastrophic damage to their crops from pesticide drift.

A North Dakota farm alleges it bought and Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant soybean seeds to avoid damage from nearby farms using the pesticide. The complaint, filed Feb. 1 in Missouri federal court, says that Monsanto recklessly marketed a pesiticide shown to be very volatile and very mobile from target fields to neighboring areas. As a result, it alleges, farmers with no intention to use Monsanto’s dicamba pesticide still must purchase its marketed resistant cotton and soybean seeds or risk heavy crop damage.

“Monsanto’s monopolization and attempted monopolization of the seeds market stymies competition, hurts producers, and harms the public at large,” the plaintiff Forest River Farms alleges. It alleges a class of “all individuals and entities who directly purchased seeds containing Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant trait.”

31.01.2018 |

European Commission: Following the Trump Administration's Retreat from Science-Based Regulation?

In January, European Union agencies published three documents concerning government oversight of nanotechnology and new genetic engineering techniques. Together, the documents put in doubt the scientific capacity and political will of the European Commission to provide any effective oversight of the consumer, agricultural and industrial products derived from these emerging technologies. Instead, it appears that the Commission will allow product developers, including university scientist/entrepreneurs, to be the judge of whether their products pose unacceptable and, indeed, perhaps unmanageable, risks to the public, the environment and to workers manufacturing emerging technology products.

For U.S. public policy advocates, long accustomed to The Republican War on Science and the Trump administration’s Abandoning Scientific Advice, the European Union agency documents amount to a shocking and yet not wholly unexpected déja vu. We’ve become accustomed to the ostensibly regulated U.S. industry controlling what science is presented for regulatory review by U.S. agencies. We have not yet become accustomed to the surrender of European agencies before the policy demands and economic rationales of scientist/entrepreneurs to allow them to develop and commercialize their products unimpeded by government regulation.

In January, Chemical Watch reported on the European Chemicals (Echa) Management Board’s meeting in December 2017 to review the European Commission’s implementation of a nanomaterial reporting regulation. The Board concluded that the results of the European Commission implementation plan had provided inadequate information for Echa to determine whether the atomic to molecular scale nanomaterials were being used safely in commercialized products.

30.01.2018 |

Namibia can now trace GMO origins

NAMIBIA will now be able to trace the history of genetically modified organisms' products on the local market.

The National Commission for Research, Science and Technology's (NCRST) biotechnology manager Paulus Mungeyi said yesterday that the traceability of GMO is critical to determine their content.

He said this after the official launch of the NCRST's biotechnology testing, training and research laboratory in Windhoek yesterday. The establishment of the lab, Mungeyi said, is part of the mandate to administer the Biosafety Act which regulates activities involving the research, development, production, marketing, transportation and other uses of GMOs, and specific products from GMOs.

NewsActualitéNachrichtenActualidad

Local Organising Committee