Thursday, May 3, 2012

Syngenta charged

Syngenta charged with lying over cattle deaths
Press Release
Gottfried Glöckner, Aktion GEN-Klage, Public Eye on Science, Basler Appell gegen Gentechnologie
May 02, 2012

Frankfurt am Main - There is a dramatic new development in the widely-discussed case of the German farmer Gottfried Gloeckner.

Between 2000 and 2002 Gloeckner, whose dairy farm was then in North Hessen near Frankfurt, witnessed a mysterious death of numbers of his cows after he had fed them genetically manipulated Bt176 corn from the Swiss company, Syngenta.

Gloeckner, who lost an earlier civil law case asking damages from the company in the Frankfurt Regional Court, has now filed a criminal case against Syngenta.

The charges are new and shocking: In the new filing Gloeckner charges that the director of Syngenta Germany GmbH, Hans-Theo Jachmann, knew about a Bt 176 corn feeding test in 1996 in the USA and that he did not inform either Gloeckner nor the judge in the later legal proceeding of Gloeckner against Syngenta about the outcome. In the US feeding test with Bt 176, which was commissioned by Syngenta, four cows died in two days at which point the company ordered the test stopped. The cows in the control group not fed the GMO corn of Syngenta remained healthy and normal. Gloeckner and a renowned French molecular biologist learned of the study in Paris in 2009. That reinforced Gloeckner’s conviction that his cows in fact died due to the feeding of the GMO corn. He then had a respected German legal expert on GMO give his expert opinion.

[Read More…]

Saturday, April 28, 2012

‘Agent Orange Corn’

Farmers, scientists protest USDA approval Of Dow’s ‘Agent Orange Corn’
By Ashley Portero
International Business Times
April 27, 2012

When Margot McMillen was introduced to the Monsanto Co.’s Roundup Ready crops in the mid-1990s, she suspected the seeds, genetically engineered to be immune to powerful herbicides, were too good to be true.

“The idea was you could spray a field with Roundup and you could kill everything on the field, and then your crop would come up and be resistant to the poison. Then you could have a harvest without worrying about the weeds,” said McMillen, an organic farmer in Missouri who produces vegetables and meat for the restaurant trade.

The question of herbicide resistance was one raised by farmers from the beginning, according to McMillen. Constant use of glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup — designed to kill bugs, weeds, and all plant life other than the genetically modified crops engineered to resist it — has led to the emergence of resistant weeds that can no longer be controlled by Roundup, the herbicide of choice for the past decade.

That’s why McMillen, along with a host of consumer and environmental groups, is concerned now that the Dow AgroSciences unit of the Dow Chemical Co. is on the cusp of winning regulatory approval for corn that is genetically engineered to be resistant to 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, or 2,4-D, an old and robust herbicide that was an active ingredient in the Agent Orange defoliant used during the Vietnam War.

[Read More…]

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mutant corn

Mutant corn created to fend off Agent Orange chemical
By Chris Nuttall-Smith
The Globe and Mail
April 26, 2012

Now that overuse has rendered Roundup, the powerful agricultural herbicide sprayed on genetically modified crops like corn and soy beans, useless against new strains of superweeds, a US chemical company is hoping to market one of the active ingredients in Agent Orange in its place.

Dow AgroSciences has submitted for U.S. regulatory approval a new strain of corn that’s genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D, The New York Times reported. The chemical was one of the active ingredients in Agent Orange, the militarized defoliant cocktail that was used to on Vietnamese jungles during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange cause widespread cancers and deformation in people who were exposed to it.

According to the Times, however, “Most experts agree that the harm from Agent Orange was caused primarily by its other ingredient, 2,4,5-T, which was taken off the market long ago. By contrast, 2,4-D, first approved in the late 1940s, is considered safe enough for use in many home lawn care products.”

Yet Dow’s new genetically engineered corn is nonetheless drawing plenty of resistance, and not just from the usual anti-GMO sources; one of the most vocal opposition groups, called Save Our Crops Coalition, is composed of other farmers and vegetable processors who say that have no problem at all with GMO crops. They’re worried that drifting 2,4-D spray will hurt other crops that haven’t been engineered to resist it but are planted in adjacent fields.

[Read More…]

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Soil ecosystem threatened

Monsanto Bt crops: genetically modified corn linked to soil ecosystem threat
By Ryan Villarreal
International Business Times
April 17, 2012

Bioengineering agricultural giant Monsanto has touted the safety of genetically modified crops, but a new study has found that insecticide-containing corn can be harmful to the overall health of soil ecosystems.

Genetically modified corn has been linked to a decrease in a subterranean fungus that forms a symbiotic bond with plant roots, allowing them to draw in more nutrients and water from the surrounding soil in exchange for carbon.

Researchers at Portland State University conducted a study to examine the effects of corn genetically engineered with the bacteria-derived insecticidal toxin, Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, on growth of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF).

AMF is important for the overall health and fertility of soil ecosystems, and was found to form less bonds with the roots of Bt corn than with non-Bt corn.

[Read More…]

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Butterfly losses

Study ties GMO corn, soybeans to butterfly losses
By Josephine Marcotty
Star Tribune
March 16, 2012

Herbicide-resistant crops can withstand Roundup, which kills monarchs’ preferred nesting plant

Genetically engineered corn and soybeans make it easy for farmers to eradicate weeds, including the long-lived and unruly milkweed.

But they might be putting the monarch butterfly in peril.

The rapid spread of herbicide-resistant crops has coincided with — and may explain — the dramatic decline in monarch numbers that has troubled some naturalists over the past decade, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University.

Between 1999 and 2010, the same period in which so-called GMO crops became the norm for farmers, the number of monarch eggs declined by an estimated 81 percent across the Midwest, the researchers say. That’s because milkweed — the host plant for the eggs and caterpillars produced by one of one of the most gaudy and widely recognized of all North American butterflies — has nearly disappeared from farm fields, they found.

[Read More…]

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