Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

News

03.05.2018 |

The situation of EU sugar beet farmers made worse by a GM sugar beet from Monsanto

EU farmers need a true shift to agroecology

European sugar beet producers have been suffering in recent years from a succession of transformations of the sector and low market prices. Some Member States have been using the farmers’ difficult situation as an excuse to lift the EU ban on three neonicotinoids - the famous bee-toxic pesticides. And yet, it seems that some of the same Member States are willing to let imported GM sugar beet flood the EU market.

EU sugar beet farmers in a difficult position

The recent confirmation of the ban of the three most used neonicotinoid pesticides in the EU is without a doubt the best news of the year for biodiversity, as these insecticides have been proven to be the main cause for high mortality rates of bees in intensive farming areas. However, until the end, the sugar beet sector and some Member States have been arguing against the ban, or at least in favour of a derogation for sugar beet farmers, highlighting the current dire situation of the market as their main argument.

02.05.2018 |

Independent scientists serving the interests of industry

Untruthful assertions about new methods of genetic engineering

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

At present, biotech lobbyists are very active in the EU - and if they achieve their aims these could severely impact the environment and consumers. The lobbyists are attempting to persuade politicians and law-makers that the new methods of genetic engineering, based on methods such as the CRISPR/Cas technique, should be exempted from EU GMO regulation. They claim that changes introduced by techniques known as genome editing are not distinguishable from those brought about by conventional breeding. This is not true. Nevertheless, it is something that is repeated over and over again. Even the president of the umbrella organisation of German biologists (VBIO), Bernd Müller-Röber, is currently lobbying members of the EU Parliament with this false assertion.

In particular, the VBIO is meant to be politically, ideologically and economically independent. This is, however, evidently not the case for the president of VBIO – for years he has filed patents on genetic engineering technology, most recently on new methods of genetic engineering. Therefore, he somehow appears to be also his own best lobbyist.

01.05.2018 |

Harvest of Greed: Provocative New Film Exposes True Dangers of the Monsanto-Bayer Merger For the World to See

The Monsanto-Bayer merger could be the biggest development in the world of health and agriculture since the introduction of genetically engineered crops and seeds hit the market over 20 years ago.

But despite the pending tsunami about to be unleashed, coverage in the American media has been spotty at best, especially when it comes to looking at the highly controversial new partnership in-depth and with a discerning eye.

While much of the developed world is increasingly falling in love with organic food and focused on supporting the natural food revolution with their wallets, the biggest global players in farming are taking things in a decidedly different direction.

It’s a direction that small family farmers fear, and one that could have the effect of changing our natural world as we know it. When it’s all said and done, the newly-formed company could control over a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticide market, all based around a business model of lab-spliced GE crops and harsh, toxic pesticides designed to withstand them.

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.

(.....)

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.

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