Saturday, June 16, 2012

Syngenta charged

Syngenta charged for covering up livestock deaths from GM corn
By Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji
ISIS Report
June 13, 2012

Biotech giant Syngenta has been criminally charged with denying knowledge that its genetically modified (GM) Bt corn kills livestock during a civil court case that ended in 2007 [1].

Syngenta’s Bt 176 corn variety expresses an insecticidal Bt toxin (Cry1Ab) derived from the bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and a gene conferring resistance to glufosinate herbicides. EU cultivation of Bt 176 was discontinued in 2007. Similar varieties however, including Bt 11 sweet corn are currently cultivated for human and animal consumption in the EU.

The charges follow a long struggle for justice by a German farmer whose dairy cattle suffered mysterious illnesses and deaths after eating Bt 176. They were grown on his farm as part of authorised field tests during 1997 to 2002. By 2000, his cows were fed exclusively on Bt 176, and soon illnesses started to emerge. He was paid 40 000 euros by Syngenta as partial compensation for 5 dead cows, decreased milk yields, and vet costs (see [2] Cows ate GM Maize and Died, SiS 21). During a civil lawsuit brought against the company by the farmer however, Syngenta refused to admit that its GM corn was the cause, claiming no knowledge of harm. The case was dismissed and Gloeckner remained thousands of euros in debt.

Gloeckner continued to lose cows and many more had to be put down due to serious illnesses, compelling him to stop using GM feed from 2002. He approached the Robert Koch Institute and Syngenta to conduct a full investigation. However, only one cow was ever analysed and the data are still unavailable to the public. Unsurprisingly, no causal relationship between the GM feed and deaths was determined; and there is still no explanation for the deaths.

[Read More…]

Friday, June 1, 2012

GM wheat journalists

GM wheat journalists unquestioning and supine
By Lawrence Woodward
GM Education
June 01, 2012

The Guardian carried an article by James Randerson on the 30th May entitled “The GM debate is growing up” saying that those people protesting against the Rothamsted GM wheat trial seemed to be “fanatical” whilst the scientists were full of “reason and openness”. It also highlighted the efforts of The Science Media Centre failing to mention that this authoritatively sounding body is little more than an industry lobbying agency.

I was sufficiently appalled by the article to risk the insult infested Guardian comment thread to post the following response:

James Randerson talks about the “reason and openness of the scientists”. I can accept media smart but “open” is another matter; mesmerising is nearer the mark because journalists seem to have been hypnotised into a state where they have been incapable of asking any penetrating questions and ignoring the inconsistencies in the Rothamsted statements.

[Read More…]

Thursday, May 24, 2012

GM crop trials (UK)

GM crop trials are needless and reckless
By Joanna Blythman
The Independent
May 24, 2012

Canadian researchers have found traces of GM pesticide in 93 per cent of baby foetuses

This Sunday, exasperated farmers and citizens will travel to a field near Harpenden to uproot a crop of genetically modified wheat. They have been denounced in purple prose by pro-GM commentators, as science haters, “Nazi book burners” and vandals. But what else can concerned citizens do when the company conducting the GM wheat trial, Rothamsted Research, presses on recklessly with an open field experiment that has the potential to contaminate neighbouring farmers’ crops and trigger unpredictable impacts on other species?

Recent Swiss research shows that some GM wheat varieties can cross-pollinate with crops more than 2.75km away, and that in the field, they cross-pollinate six times more than conventional varieties. Yet in contamination incidents involving long-grain rice in the US and flax in Canada, GM companies refused to accept liability.

[Read More…]

Monday, May 21, 2012

France’s ban rejected

EU food agency rejects France ban on Monsanto GM maize
Agence France Press
May 21, 2012

Europe’s food safety agency EFSA on Monday rejected the grounds for a temporary French ban on a genetically modified strain of maize made by US company Monsanto.

“Based on the documentation submitted by France, there is no specific scientific evidence, in terms of risk to human and animal health or the environment,” EFSA said in a scientific opinion issued on its website.

A spokesman for Europe’s health commissioner John Dalli said the EU executive “will consider how to follow up on this ruling, though technically we could ask France to raise its ban” on MON 810.

[Read More…]

Monday, May 14, 2012

The dangers of GM

The dangers of GM - Europe must learn the lessons from America
by Helen Wallace
Public Service Europe
May 14, 2012

American farmers are increasingly expressing regret over the planting of GM crops, which are now causing major problems, and Europe must take note before it is too late – warns campaign group

The British House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee’s new report on sustainable food recommends government action to tackle the United Kingdom’s unhealthy and environmentally damaging food system. In addition to important recommendations to improve healthy eating and sustainability, the report highlights the need to diversify the research agenda in food and agriculture. The committee also questions the role of genetically modified crops in the future food system.

And it calls for independent research on the co-existence of GM crops with conventional and organic systems. Last week, the European Parliament adopted a welcome resolution calling for the European Patent Office to stop granting patents on the conventional breeding of plants and animals. Such patenting is technically prohibited, but patents on conventionally-bred plants - including sunflowers, melons, cucumbers, rice and wheat – have nevertheless been granted by the patent office in recent years, as companies seek to exploit loopholes in the law to obtain increased monopoly control of seeds.

[Read More…]

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