Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

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30.06.2018 |

Yucatán and its fight against transgenics

Since many rural communities in Yucatán depend on the cultivation and harvesting of corn, honey and other basic products, different organizations conformed by Maya speaking people that defend the Human Rights of Indigenous People, Environmental Associations and Yucatecan businessmen got together to form the Ma GMO collective.

A triumph for the people

The fight gave its first fruits in 2014, when the opponents of Monsanto, arguing violations of their right to have a healthy environment, filed and obtained legal protections before federal judges.

In this regard, it is important to point out the support of the Government of the State of Yucatan, who listened to the people’s concerns, and not only supported their communities, but also sent these proposals to the Federal Government and strongly fought for their approval.

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In the case of Yucatan, the beekeeping activity and the planting of corn is a standard of the economy, and becoming a GM free zone is an achievement of the last two state government administrations, of several associations and of course, of society, that should serve as an example for other Mexican states.

29.06.2018 |

Japan-Korea-Taiwan Non-GMO Asia Forum established

On 8 May 2018, a symposium was held in the Taiwanese capital Taipei on the theme of GM food. The symposium was organized by the School Lunch Project 22 and the GMO Free School Campaign. 22 is the number of major administrative divisions in Taiwan. Homemakers Union Consumers Co-op and the GMO Free Campaign in Taiwan also cooperated with the event in a gathering aimed at making school lunches GMO free. At the gathering, Honorary Professor of Taiwan University Warren Kuo reported on the history of GMOs in Taiwan and explained how Taiwan's GMO food labeling and restrictions were once behind those of Japan and South Korea but are now the most advanced. The gathering ended with the announcement that "Yesterday, May 7, Taiwan’s parliament passed an Organic Agriculture Promotion Act. As similar acts have now also passed in Japan and South Korea, if three of the six countries that use the largest amounts of pesticides per unit area, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, promote organic farming, it will be possible to bring about a large reduction in the amounts of pesticides used in the world." On the same day, a ceremony for the establishment of the Non-GMO Asia Forum was held and it was agreed that in the future the citizens of the three countries would maintain close contact with one another and coordinate their actions.

29.06.2018 |

Biosafety in Danger | How industry, researchers and negotiators collaborate to undermine the UN Biodiversity Convention

Documents released to Corporate Europe Observatory following a Freedom of Information request reveal how pro-biotech lobby platform Public Research Regulation Initiative (PRRI) unites industry, researchers and regulators in ‘like-minded’ groups to manipulate crucial international biosafety talks under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

This discovery is all the more important because two crucial moments which may have a huge global impact on biosafety are to take place shortly. From 2 – 13 July 2018, experts from the 196 countries that have signed this international agreement will gather in Montreal to continue discussions on controversial technologies such as Synthetic Biology and so-called gene drives made through gene editing. And on 25 July 2018 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will publish a ruling about the legal status of new genetic engineering techniques including gene editing.

Biotech developers are trying hard to avoid the food and environmental safety rules that govern GMOs being applied to their products from new genetic engineering techniques, like gene editing. But environmental groups, scientists and farmers are calling for strict regulation of these new techniques, and for careful consideration of the socio-economic impacts of these technologies.

28.06.2018 |

Victory!!! Monsanto and Bayer Defeated in Mexico as Anti-Trust Agency Orders End to Monopolistic Seed Practices

The Monsanto-Bayer merger came to light with a ton of controversy, but now, it appears to have slipped the radar screen as the two companies quietly merge into a monstrous entity that could control more than a quarter of the world’s pesticides and seeds market.

The two companies were able to receive anti-trust approval in the United States despite petitions and objections toward their allegedly monopolistic practices, infuriating many activists who had fought for more regulations or a halt to the merger.

But meanwhile in Mexico, the historic pesticide and GMO alliance has just been dealt a monumental blow, as the country’s anti-trust agency has just ordered Monsanto and Bayer to disinvest in two of their biggest GMO business interests.

Monsanto, Bayer Dealt Huge Blow in Mexico

According to this article from the website Reuters, Monsanto and Bayer have been ordered to disinvest in their GMO cotton seed business and all of their vegetable seed businesses.

27.06.2018 |

Survey: Nearly Half of U.S. Consumers Avoid GMO Foods; Large Majority Primarily Concerned About Human Health Impact

Proposed Federal Bioengineered (BE) Foods Disclosure Suggests Lower Consumer Acceptance, Less Willingness to Pay Under Various Labeling Options

Washington, D.C., June 27, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Labels proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to disclose “bioengineered” (BE) foods dramatically increase a wide variety of consumer concerns, especially regarding human health.

Those are among the findings of new research by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation into areas where AMS sought comments on its proposed BE labeling standards, as well as consumers’ views generally of genetically modified foods, or GMOs.

Concerns Arise When BE Foods Are Labeled

With AMS’s July 3 deadline to comment on the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law fast approaching, the IFIC Foundation tested reactions to the three BE labeling symbols and two variations of text disclosures. In every combination, levels of concern across a variety of factors increased—often substantially—when a disclosure label was applied.

27.06.2018 |

Concerns about GMOs prompt consumer demand for labels

Dive Brief:

Even though consumer awareness and knowledge of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) aren't very high​, a recent online survey from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation found that shoppers will typically avoid these foods if possible. In addition, consumers want food labels to tell them whether GMOs are present.

IFIC said about half of consumers (47%) don't worry about whether foods contain GMOs, but 41% consider the presence of GMOs when purchasing foods, the survey found. Consumers also want to see a GMO symbol or wording on food packaging so they have access to the information while shopping. However, they don't want to call a number or visit a website to get such information.

The online survey of 1,002 people also found the most common reason people avoided these foods was human health, followed closely by environmental and animal health concerns.

22.06.2018 |

Landmark lawsuit claims Monsanto hid cancer danger of weedkiller for decades

In June, a California groundskeeper will make history by taking company to trial on claims it suppressed harm of Roundup

At the age of 46, DeWayne Johnson is not ready to die. But with cancer spread through most of his body, doctors say he probably has just months to live. Now Johnson, a husband and father of three in California, hopes to survive long enough to make Monsanto take the blame for his fate.

On 18 June, Johnson will become the first person to take to trial on allegations that it has spent decades hiding the cancer-causing dangers of its popular Roundup herbicide products – and his case has just received a major boost.

Last week Judge Curtis Karnow issued an order clearing the way for jurors to consider not just scientific evidence related to what caused Johnson’s cancer, but allegations that Monsanto suppressed evidence of the risks of its weed killing products. Karnow ruled that the trial will proceed and a jury would be allowed to consider possible punitive damages.

22.06.2018 |

The Monsanto Papers: Roundup (Glyphosate) Cancer Case Key Documents & Analysis

Multi District Litigation: More than 425 lawsuits are pending against Monsanto Co. in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, filed by people alleging that exposure to Roundup herbicide caused them or their loved ones to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and that Monsanto covered up the risks. The cases have been combined for handling as multidistrict litigation (MDL) under Judge Vince Chhabria. The lead case is 3:16-md-02741-VC.

Monsanto sought to have its internal records and communications sealed from public view but the judge has allowed many to be made part of the public record, and these “Monsanto Papers” are contained within the records below.

State litigation: Thousands of other plaintiffs have made similar claims against Monsanto in state courts. Plaintiffs’ attorneys estimate the total number of plaintiffs at approximately 4,000. The first trial in the Roundup litigation is set for June 18, 2018 in the Superior Court for the County of San Francisco. Documents pertaining to that case as well as others are also included below in the middle column. An expert admissibility and summary judgment hearing was held May 10 in San Francisco County Superior Court. Details regarding the time and location of the trial can be found here: (STATE CASE) Dewayne Johnson V. Monsanto trial date set

Jury selection in the case began June 21, 2018

The Johnson case is Case Number: CGC16550128

Title: DEWAYNE JOHNSON VS. MONSANTO COMPANY ET AL

Cause of Action: PRODUCTS LIABILITY

21.06.2018 |

New GMOs are not progress, but another tool of industrial farming

By Bart Staes, José Bové, Maria Heubuch, Martin Häusling and Thomas Waitz

The EU Court of Justice will soon publish its ruling concerning the legal statute of a group of biotechnologies, which have been called “new plant breeding techniques” by the industry.

This opinion article is co-signed by Members of the European Parliament from the Greens/EFA political group: José Bové, Martin Häusling, Maria Heubuch, Bart Staes and Thomas Waitz.

The ECJ will decide if these techniques produce GMOs – as the Greens/EFA and many environmental NGOs have been arguing for years – and if some of these will be exempt from proper assessment, traceability and labelling as if they weren’t GMOs.

After the ruling, tense negotiations will set the future of the current European GMO regulation. As always, citizens and lawmakers will face the full force of the industry lobbies.

19.06.2018 |

South Korea suspends wheat and flour sales from Canada over GMO plants found in Alberta

Moves comes on heels of similar move by Japan last week

The Canadian Press

South Korea has joined Japan in suspending trade in Canadian wheat following the discovery of a small number of genetically modified plants in southern Alberta.

It's standard protocol in both countries to temporarily close markets in such cases, Global Affairs spokesman Jesse Wilson said Monday.

"The Government of Canada is working with foreign trading partners to ensure they have all the necessary information to make informed decisions and limit market disruption," he said in an emailed statement.

Japan suspended imports of Canadian wheat on Friday after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced the discovery. South Korea followed suit on Monday.

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