Thursday, June 28, 2012

Syngenta criminal charges

Syngenta corporation faces criminal charges for covering up livestock deaths from GM corn
By Ethan A. Huff
June 27 2012

Biotechnology giant Syngenta has officially been outed for deliberately hiding data that proves the company’s genetically-modified (GM) Bt 176 corn is directly responsible for killing livestock. Dr. Eva Sirinathsinghji writing for QW Magazine explains that Syngenta is now facing criminal charges for willfully concealing the results of an internal, company-run study on Bt 176 corn from 1996 that was abruptly ended when four cows died after just two days of consuming the “Frankencorn.”

Gottfried Gloeckner, a German farmer from Woelfersheim, originally filed the suit roughly a decade after dozens of his own dairy cows died from exposure to Syngenta’s Bt 176 corn. Gloeckner first began feeding his cattle Bt 176 corn as part of their diet back in 1997 when Syngenta gained government approval to run field trials of the crop on Gloeckner’s property. And by 2000, Bt 176 corn was the only thing Gloeckner was feeding his cows.

As this transition from natural feed to GM feed was taking place, however, Gloeckner noticed that his cows were increasingly developing serious illnesses, many of which resulted in the animals’ rapid death. By 2001, five of Gloeckner’s cows had died, and another seven died by 2002, upon which Gloeckner decided to remove all GMOs from his livestock feed. But most of Gloeckner’s remaining cows ended up suffering intestinal damage, decreased milk production, and other ailments that resulted in their having to be put down as well.

[Read More…]

Saturday, April 28, 2012

GM Soy and pig health

GM Soy linked to health damage in pigs — a Danish Dossier
By GM-Free Cymru (Wales)
April 27, 2012


A Danish farming newspaper has caused quite a stir by devoting a sizeable part of its 13 April edition to the discoveries by pig farmer Ib Borup Pedersen that GM soy has a damaging effect both on his animals and on his farming profitability. On the front page of the paper there was a lead story under the headline “Pig farmer reaps gains from GMO-free soy”. On a sidebar the paper referred to Mr Pedersen’s contention that DDT and Thalidomide were minor problems when set alongside GMOs and Glyphosate. In an Editorial Comment on page 2, the paper argued that it would be grossly irresponsible for the authorities to ignore or ridicule the discoveries made by the farmer in his pig farming operations, and it congratulated the authorities for commissioning a new study designed to determine whether stomach lesions and other effects might be associated with GM soy; in the study 100 animals will be fed with non-GM soy and 100 with GM soy in their diets.

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‘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…]

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Farm group takes action

Farm group seeks US halt on ‘dangerous’ crop chemicals
Carey Gillam
April 18, 2012

A coalition of more than 2,000 U.S. farmers and food companies said Wednesday it is taking legal action to force government regulators to analyze potential problems with proposed biotech crops and the weed-killing chemicals to be sprayed over them.

Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical, and Monsanto Co. are among several global chemical and seed companies racing to roll out combinations of genetically altered crops and new herbicides designed to work with the crops as a way to counter rapidly spreading herbicide-resistant weeds that are choking millions of acres of U.S. farmland.

Dow and Monsanto say the new chemical combinations and new crops that tolerate those chemicals are badly needed by corn, soybean and cotton farmers as weeds increasingly resist treatments of the most commonly used herbicide - glyphosate-based Roundup.

“They (farmers) need this new technology,” said Dow AgroScience Joe Vertin, global business leader for Dow’s new herbicide-protected crops called “Enlist.”

But critics say key ingredients in these new herbicides - 2,4-D for Dow and dicamba for Monsanto - already are in use in the marketplace and have proved damaging to “non-target” fields because they are hard to keep on target. Wind, heat and humidity can move the chemical particles miles down the road, damaging gardens, crops, trees. Many farms have suffered significant damage in recent years even though the chemicals are currently sprayed under tight restrictions.

[Read More…]

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