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12.02.2018 |

Farmers, Conservationists Challenge Trump’s EPA, Monsanto Over Crop-Damaging Pesticide

EPA Unlawfully Approved Monsanto’s XtendiMax Weed-Killer, Ignoring Warnings of Rampant Drift, Destroying Crops on Millions of Acres in Devastating 2017 Farm Season With More to Come

Evidence Shows Hundreds of Endangered Species at Risk and Unprotected

WASHINGTON—On Friday, public interest organizations representing farmers and conservationists made their legal case in a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Monsanto Company, challenging EPA’s approval of Monsanto’s new “XtendiMax” pesticide. XtendiMax is Monsanto’s version of dicamba, an old and highly drift-prone weed-killer. EPA’s approval permitted XtendiMax to be sprayed for the first time on growing soybeans and cotton that Monsanto has genetically engineered (GE) to be resistant to dicamba.

12.02.2018 |

China increases corn imports from Ukraine

Some Chinese buyers have canceled corn purchases from the United States and started to buy corn from rival supplier Ukraine, as Beijing announced rather high requirements for the processing of genetically modified crops.

This has been reported by Reuters with a reference to three trade sources and an analyst.

“Traders this year have been more inclined to buy corn from Ukraine as it is non-GMO and doesn’t require the (processing) permit,” said Cherry Zhang, analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence.

According to the agency, any prolonged shift by one of the world’s top corn importers “would unnerve U.S. farmers as they prepare to harvest a bumper crop this year and could potentially mark a new front in trade tensions festering between China and the United States”.

12.02.2018 |

EPA Settles Syngenta Pesticide Claim For Pennies On The Dollar

The GMO company will pay $150,000 instead of the $4.8 million that had been sought for exposing Kauai workers to pesticides.

Federal environmental regulators have settled claims against a multinational GMO corn grower that exposed dozens of workers on Kauai to a dangerous pesticide in two separate incidents.

Syngenta Hawaii, a local unit of the Swiss giant Syngenta AG, will pay a civil penalty of $150,000 and spend $400,000 on worker protection training sessions for growers under the agreement.

It’s a fraction of the more than $4.8 million the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had announced it was seeking for the 2016 mishap alone, which sent 10 workers to the hospital.

09.02.2018 |

China traders cancel U.S. corn cargoes on tighter GMO controls, buy from Ukraine

BEIJING (Reuters) - Some Chinese buyers have canceled corn purchases from the United States and switched to rival supplier Ukraine, as Beijing tightens controls on processing genetically modified strains of the crop, three trade sources and an analyst told Reuters.

Any prolonged shift by one of the world’s top corn importers would unnerve U.S. farmers as they prepare to harvest a bumper crop this year and could potentially mark a new front in trade tensions festering between China and the United States.

Chinese buyers late last year stepped up purchases of U.S. corn, which is mostly genetically modified, following a rally in domestic prices.

But the sources said it had become tougher for Chinese grain mills to get permits to process genetically modified corn this year, forcing some traders that supply them to instead turn to non-GMO shipments from Ukraine.

China’s agricultural ministry did not respond to a request for comment, while the trade sources declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak with media.

08.02.2018 |

SIT to probe Monsanto’s role in production, sale of herbicide-tolerant Bt Cotton in State

Maharashtra Government has constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to conduct probe into how many seed companies produced and sold Bt Cotton seeds with herbicide-tolerant transgenic gene though there was no permission to do so.

The issue of seed companies selling unauthorised herbicide-tolerant transgenic Bt Cotton seeds had come to fore following the media attention towards the deaths of farmers and farm-labourers due to pesticide spraying. Many farmers had alleged that the dealers had sold to them ‘BG-III’ seeds that were herbicide-tolerant. The herbicide-tolerant Bt Cotton plants remained unaffected even if farmers sprayed herbicides in their farm to remove the weeds and protect cotton plants. Later, the Government found that many seed companies had produced and sold Bt Cotton seeds with ‘transgenic herbicide/Glyphosate tolerant trait’. The said seeds were not permitted to be sold in the market. Against this backdrop, the Government has constituted SIT to conduct a probe into the matter.

08.02.2018 |

Group Asks Trump Administration to Stop Bayer-Monsanto Acquisition

An advocacy group is seeking the attention of the Trump Administration to block Bayer's acquisition of Monsanto. ( Bayer )

Farmers and Families First have launched a television advertisement asking the U.S. Department of Justice and President Donald Trump to stop Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto.

The ad, “Save the Heartland,” highlights what it describes as “negative impacts” of the proposed deal to farmers and middle-class families. The ad is set to air on select Fox News stations in the Washington, D.C., media market.

Farmers and Families First describes itself as a “free market-based policy advocate” created to help American farmers and American families. “Our primary goal is to put ideas into action that promote innovation, lower costs through competition and fairness for farmers and families,” the group’s website states.

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.

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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.

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