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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.

19.04.2018 |

U.S. agencies clash over who should regulate genetically engineered livestock

Originally published by E&E News.

A disease that kills millions of pigs a year may soon meet its match — if two federal agencies can agree on the idea.

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus is one of the latest examples of a condition that scientists believe they can beat with genetic engineering, and one that's caught up in a disagreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over how quickly such methods should be approved, and by whom.

On one side: FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, whose agency regulates genetically engineered food similarly to a drug. On the other: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, pushing for faster approvals of a wide range of biotechnology that could block animal diseases and help cows produce more milk, among other benefits.

"I think Dr. Gottlieb and I have disagreed about FDA's position on that," Perdue said yesterday at a U.S. House of Representatives agriculture appropriations subcommittee hearing.

Perdue said he worries that FDA's regulations on biotech animals could stifle innovation and slow the introduction of animals that could be more productive or resistant to diseases without the use of drugs or hormones. USDA already allows genetic engineering in plants, and Perdue said he sees livestock in a similar way.

18.04.2018 |

Taking 'plants' out of North's GMO policy creates total ban

What a difference a word makes.

Animals are now included in the Northland policy banning trials or growing genetically modified organisms, following a successful court case to toughen up the talk.

After nearly five years of conflict, the latest war of words over the soft precautionary language in the anti-GMO policy came down to deleting just one word - plants.

Last week the Environment Court ruled in favour of Whangarei District Council's (WDC) case against Northland Regional Council's (NRC) precautionary stance in the Regional Policy Statement, agreeing the wording should not specify plants only.

16.04.2018 |

Is this tomato engineered? Inside the coming battle over gene-edited food

The agriculture industry, which hopes Crispr technology will transform the business, faces opponents who call it "GMO 2.0"

EXCERPT: Professor Jennifer Kuzma, co-director of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at North Carolina State University, says she understands why companies want to stay away from the GMO label, but says referring to the new gene-editing techniques as breeding “seems a little disingenuous”.

“It is a biotech-improved crop,” she says. “Something along those lines would be more honest and is more likely not to come back and bite them in the future if consumers find out it is not really just breeding, it’s something more.”

15.04.2018 |

Two pests targeted by GM Bt toxins hybridise to form global mega-pest

Cotton bollworm and corn earworm have outsmarted GM Bt and chemical insecticides and have now joined forces

The cotton bollworm and corn earworm are two pests targeted by the Bt toxins engineered into GM Bt insecticidal crops. Both pests have in past years become resistant to these GM Bt toxins. Now a new study has found that the two pests have hybridised, meaning that attempts to kill them with GM or chemical toxins are increasingly likely to fail.

Neither the new study (see abstract, item 3 below) nor press articles about it (items 1-2) talk about GM Bt crops as offering any kind of solution to this problem. The study simply mentions GM Bt crops as a former pest control tactic that has since been made redundant by resistant pests.

13.04.2018 |

Another win for a GE-free NZ!

The Soil & Health Association welcomes a decision released today by the Environment Court declining Federated Farmers’ attempt to challenge regulation of genetically modified organisms under the RMA.

In the latest case before the Environment Court, Whangarei District Council appealed the Northland Council’s Regional Policy Statement, asking to delete one word – ‘plants’ so that the policy would require a precautionary approach to be adopted towards introducing genetically engineered organisms generally – not just plants – to the environment.

“The court’s decision is a victory for common sense and for the interests of all Northlanders concerned about the possible introduction of GMOs into the environment, whether they be plants, animals, insects or microorganisms,” said Graham Clarke, Soil & Health’s chair.

12.04.2018 |

New Filings Reveal Enlist Duo Unlawfully Approved by Trump EPA, Will Harm Endangered Species and Non-GMO Crops

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Late Wednesday, a coalition of environmental organizations and farmers represented by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Earthjustice filed new legal papers in federal court seeking the reversal of Scott Pruitt and the Trump Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) approval of Dow Chemical's toxic pesticide, Enlist Duo. The novel pesticide is a combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D, to be sprayed over the top of corn, cotton, and soybeans that are genetically engineered by Dow with resistance to both pesticides.

"Our filing reveals that EPA approved Enlist Duo despite its significant harms to health, environment, farms, water, and endangered species," said Sylvia Wu, CFS attorney and counsel for the coalition. "EPA's job is protecting the environment, human health, and farmers, not blindly do the bidding of pesticide companies. The court must stop its use."

11.04.2018 |

Rural China Economics and Policy: Spring GMO Seed Crackdown in China

With spring planting approaching, Chinese provinces are cracking down on illegal trading, testing, and planting of genetically modified seeds.

A March notice issued by Heilongjiang authorities warned farmers not to buy illegal GMO seeds sold as "pest-resistant or weed-resistant," offered free testing for seeds they already have, and urged farmers to report any merchants selling illegal GMO seeds.

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