Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

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30.04.2018 |

Weedkiller found in granola and crackers, internal FDA emails show

The FDA has been testing food samples for traces of glyphosate for two years, but the agency has not yet released any official results

US government scientists have detected a weedkiller linked to cancer in an array of commonly consumed foods, emails obtained through a freedom of information request show.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing food samples for residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in hundreds of widely used herbicide products, for two years, but has not yet released any official results.

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Along with glyphosate, the agency has been trying to measure residues of the herbicides 2,4-D and dicamba because of projected increased use of these weedkillers on new genetically engineered crops. The FDA spokesman said that the agency has “expanded capacity” for testing foods for those herbicides this year.

27.04.2018 |

EU Member States back plans to protect pollinators

The Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed has today voted to approve the extension of the European Commission's restrictions on the use of three of the most widely used neonicotinoids.

Greens/EFA food safety spokesperson Bart Staes comments:

"At long last, this strong action against neonicotinoids has been approved. Comprehensively banning the mostly widely used neonicotinoids is an essential step to reverse the decline in bee populations. Bees and other pollinators play a huge role in maintaining biodiversity and in the production of our food and they have to be protected."

26.04.2018 |

Which Crops Are Genetically Modified?

While we may not yet know exactly how genetically modified foods affect our health, many of us have taken the preemptive steps to avoid them in our diet. We’ve learned from the negative effects of pesticides and antibiotics on our bodies, so we know better than to trust the medical assessments of big ag experiments. Besides, why would we tempt fate when we know for sure that organic, non-GMO vegetables (still readily available) won’t cause such issues?

The good news is that, despite all the press on GMOs, there aren’t a lot of crops that are actually genetically modified. The bad news is that, for people who eat a lot of processed food, those few crops are in a huge percentage of food products (as opposed to whole food).

Unfortunately, the U.S. government elected not to legally obligate manufacturers to label our foods when they have GMOs in them. Well, when others won’t take responsibility for what they are doing, when the authorities drop the ball, the onus falls on us to avoid becoming the victims of their misdeeds. We know what foods to avoid:

26.04.2018 |

GMO Debate: Consumer Perspectives

Consumer awareness and concern around GMOs has intensified. Here’s a sampling of the pros and cons of GMOs from the consumer’s perspective in response to this question: Is AVOIDING genetically modified foods (GMOs) and ingredients important to you?.

Resources:

Report: Organic & Natural 2018

26.04.2018 |

Pakistan tightens regulatory checks on cargoes to curb GM rice trade

LAHORE: Pakistan has tightened grip on international rice trade with a view to getting rid of any impression of involving in the trade of tainted genetically modified (GM) rice, officials said on Wednesday.

Federal government, early this month, issued instructions to Department of Plant Protection, Ministry of Food Security & Research (MFS&R) for strict regulation of inbound and exporting rice consignments.

This move was initiated following serious concerns raised by Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) about incidence of detecting GM rice from some shipments, resulting in rejection of exporting consignments from European Union.

Echoing similar concerns, Punjab government on April 10, 2018 wrote a letter to express strong reservations about tainted trade of GM rice.

We do not produce GM rice nor do we import it.

24.04.2018 |

Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 on the Placing of Plant Protection Products on the Market

Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 lays down the main instruments for placing effective plant protection products (using pesticide substances) on the market that are safe for humans, animals and the environment, while at the same time ensuring effective functioning of the internal market and improved agricultural production. This European Implementation Assessment found that the above objectives, while largely relevant to real needs, are not being achieved in practice. In particular, implementation of the main instruments of the regulation – substance approval, plant protection products authorisation and enforcement of the regulatory decisions taken in the frame of the approvals and authorisations, is problematic, which also affect other related EU policies. Nevertheless, despite the implementation challenges observed, stakeholders – including national competent authorities, health/environment NGOs, manufacturers of substances and plant protection products and their users (farmers) – agree that the EU is the appropriate level at which regulatory action in the field of pesticides (used in plant protection products) should continue to take place.

20.04.2018 |

State Must Accept Foreign Agency´s Determination on Carcinogens

California is not barred by the state Constitution from listing a chemical as carcinogenic based solely on a determination of a foreign agency, the Court of Appeal held yesterday, spurning contentions by Monsanto, producer of the herbicide, “Roundup.”

The state Office of Environmental Health Assessment placed that product, in use for more than 40 years, on the list of carcinogens last July, and Monsanto was ordered to place a warning label on the containers by July 1 of this year, as a condition of making sales in California. However, a federal judge on Jan. 26 temporarily blocked enforcement of the labeling order.

In yesterday’s state Court of Appeal decision, Justice Robert L. Dondero of the First District’s Div. One said:

“At the heart of this case is a singular assertion. Appellants believe it is improper for a foreign entity, unaccountable to the citizens of California, to determine what chemicals are known to the state to cause cancer.”

Agency in France

Under Proposition 65, there must be placed on the list any “chemical known to the state to cause cancer,” and any chemical found to be carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer—an agency of the World Health Organization, based in Lyon, France—must be included.

Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” according to a 2015 determination by that agency. The finding has not been substantiated within the United States.

19.04.2018 |

State can label widely used herbicide Roundup as possible carcinogen

An appeals court ruling said California can list glyphosate, an ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, as a chemical that could cause cancer based on findings by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

A state appeals court on Thursday backed California’s listing of the widely used herbicide glyphosate as a possible cause of cancer and the state’s prohibition against discharging it into public waterways.

The chemical is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, popular with farmers as well as homeowners. Citing new findings by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, state health officials added glyphosate to their list of potential carcinogens in July 2017 under Proposition 65, a 1986 initiative that requires warnings of exposure to products that pose a risk of cancer or reproductive harm.

19.04.2018 |

CFS and State of California Win Appeal Affirming Listing of Glyphosate Pesticide as Probable Carcinogen Under Proposition 65

Ruling rejects Monsanto's latest attempt to keep consumers in the dark about the hazards of glyphosate

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today, a California Appellate Court sided with the State of California and Center for Food Safety (CFS) affirming that Monsanto's glyphosate pesticide can be listed as a probable carcinogen under Proposition 65. Monsanto's lawsuit challenged the 2015 announcement by California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) that it intended to list glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide, Roundup, under California's landmark Proposition 65. Proposition 65 requires notification and labeling of all chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and prohibits their discharge into drinking waters of the state. CFS intervened in the case, defending the listing of glyphosate as a carcinogen and the public's right to know when it is being exposed to cancer-causing chemicals.

"This is a huge win for all Californians—and a huge loss for Monsanto—as it upholds our right to protect ourselves and our environment from unnecessary and unwanted exposure to the dangerous chemical, glyphosate," said Adam Keats, senior attorney at CFS.

19.04.2018 |

How Many Genes Do Cells Need? Maybe Almost All of Them

The activities of genes in complex organisms, including humans, may be deeply interrelated.

By knocking out genes three at a time, scientists have painstakingly deduced the web of genetic interactions that keeps a cell alive. Researchers long ago identified essential genes that yeast cells can’t live without, but new work, which appears today in Science, shows that looking only at those gives a skewed picture of what makes cells tick: Many genes that are inessential on their own become crucial as others disappear. The result implies that the true minimum number of genes that yeast — and perhaps, by extension, other complex organisms — need to survive and thrive may be surprisingly large.

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