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Five Million Nigerians Oppose Monsanto’s Plans To Introduce GMO Crops

Millions of Nigerians are urging the Nigerian government to reject Monsanto’s attempts to introduce genetically modified (GMO) cotton and maize into the country's food and farming systems. One-hundred organizations representing more than 5 million Nigerians, including farmers, faith-based organisations, civil society groups, students and local community groups, have submitted a joint objection to the country's National Biosafety Management Agency (NABMA) expressing serious concerns about human health and environmental risks of genetically altered crops. The groups' petition follows Monsanto Agricultural Nigeria Limited's own application to NAMBA that seeks to release GMO cotton (Bt cotton, event MON 15985) into the city of Zaria as well as surrounding towns.

GMOs, Herbicides, And Public Health

By Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D. - Two recent developments are dramatically changing the GMO landscape. First, there have been sharp increases in the amounts and numbers of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops, and still further increases — the largest in a generation — are scheduled to occur in the next few years. Second, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified glyphosate, the herbicide most widely used on GM crops, as a “probable human carcinogen”1 and classified a second herbicide, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), as a “possible human carcinogen.”2 The application of genetic engineering to agriculture builds on the ancient practice of selective breeding. But unlike traditional selective breeding, genetic engineering vastly expands the range of traits that can be moved into plants and enables breeders to import DNA from virtually anywhere in the biosphere.

Meet America’s First School District To Serve 100% Organic Meals

By Nadia Prupis in AntiMedia - When schools in California’s Sausalito Marin City District return to session this August, they will be the first in the nation to serve their students 100 percent organic meals, sustainably sourced and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). More than 500 students at Bayside MLK Jr. Academy in Marin City and Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito will eat fresh, local food year-round, thanks to a partnership with the Conscious Kitchen, a project of the environmental education nonprofit Turning Green. “Students everywhere are vulnerable to pesticide residues and unsafe environmental toxins,” Turning Green founder Judi Shils said on Tuesday.

Germany’s Agricultural Minister Moves To Ban GM Crops

By Nick Meyer in March Against Monsanto - As United States citizens battle legislation like the DARK Act (HR 1599, now headed to the Senate) designed to take away mandatory GMO labeling, across Europe the debate is not over whether to label but instead whether to ban the controversial crops. Recently one European nation, Scotland, announced its plans to enact a ban, and now another big domino is set to fall on the side of banning GMOs as well: Germany. According to a report from Reuters today, the nation with a population of over 80 million will make use of the European Union’s “opt-out” clause in order to move toward a ban of genetically modified crops, according to documents seen by the news agency.

Monsanto Pays “Independent” GMO Researcher For Study

By Cassius Methyl in The Anti-Media - In January of 2015, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Oakland organization U.S. Right to Know requested email records between academics, scientists, and representatives of Big Agriculture. The FOIA requests were sent to 14 scientists at four public universities, requesting information on communications and email records. The FOIA findings included communications of well-known, staunch proponents of GM crops like Kevin Folta, a professor and chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Gainesville, who received a $25,000 grant from Monsanto. The emails reveal the funds could “be used at [his] discretion in support of [his] research and outreach projects”. About 4,600 pages of emails, among other records, were obtained from Folta.

GMO Free Calls For Boycott Of Kellogg’s

By Staff for GMO Free USA - Why boycott Kellogg's? Kellogg’s heavily markets to children and presents the company with a wholesome family image. According to the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, marketing of cereals to children has increased significantly over the years. RCFPO’s first study found that the least healthy breakfast cereals are those most frequently and aggressively marketed directly to children as young as age two. Kellogg’s is one of two companies that led in child-targeted marketing, in spite of their participation in the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), the food industry’s self-regulatory program. While all people – children, teens, and adults – should be concerned with their health, children are most vulnerable because their bodies are still developing. Increasing evidence suggests that long term consumption of GMOs is harmful and that the escalated use of toxic synthetic pesticides in GMO agriculture is compounding the problem. These pesticides end up in Kellogg’s products.

Organic Consumer Pressure Works—Stonyfield Quits IDFA

In the latest example of how consumers can pressure food companies to do the right thing, on Friday (December 5, 2014), Stonyfield Farm, a New Hampshire-based producer of organic milk and yogurt, became the second organic dairy company in five months to resign from the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). IDFA is a trade group that is suing Vermont to overturn the state’s GMO labeling law, passed earlier this year. The resignation came after OCA and other groups sent an open letter to leading organic dairy companies, demanding they withdraw their membership in the IDFA. An article in Vermont Digger, stated that Stonyfield and California-based Clover-Stornetta Farms, which pulled out of the IDFA in July, claimed they were “under fire” from consumers.

GMO Labeling Initiative Costliest In Oregon History

Massive funding by Monsanto is proof positive that the big pesticide and junk food companies that rake in huge profits from GMO products are hitting the panic button. They’re spending record amounts to crush transparent GMO labeling in our state because they know that it would take power away from THEM and put it back in the hands of CONSUMERS. Here's the update in the fight for GMO labeling: Oregon Public Broadcasting released a poll that showed that we’re leading by just five points – after being up by 32 points less than three weeks ago Ballots have been mailed statewide, and voting officially began on Measure 92 Monsanto has dropped another $2.5 MILLION into Oregon to crush GMO labeling – bringing their total to more than $4 million just in our state.

OCA Criticizes Agent Orange Food Crops

FINLAND, Minn. - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued final approval today, over the objections of hundreds of thousands of citizens and more than 50 members of Congress, of Dow AgroSciences Enlist-brand corn and soybeans, genetically engineered to resist massive doses of a combination of 2,4-D- (one of the active ingredients in Agent Orange) and glyphosate (the key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide). The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) issued the following statement: "The USDA's approval of these crops is proof that today's destructive, industrial agriculture model, based on a system of GMO mono-crops, is a failure," said Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association and its Mexico affiliate, Via Organica.

Guatemalan Activists Defeat ‘Monsanto Law’

Guatemala’s unicameral Congress voted 117-111 on Sept. 4 to repeal Decree 19-2014, the Law for Protection of Procurement of Plants, in response to a lawsuit and mass protests by campesinos and environmentalists. The law, which was to take full effect on Sept. 26, provided for granting patents of 25 years for new plants, including hybrid and genetically modified (GM) varieties; unauthorized use of the plants or seeds could result in one to four years in prison and a fine of $130 to $1,300. The law had already been weakened by the Court of Constitutionality; acting on an Aug. 25 legal challenge from the Guatemalan Union, Indigenous and Campesino Movement (MSICG), the court suspended the law’s Articles 46 and 55. The law was originally passed to comply with an intellectual property requirement in the 2004 Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), and it was unclear whether Guatemala might now be excluded from the US-promoted trade bloc. Opponents labeled the legislation the “Monsanto Law,” after the Missouri-based multinational Monsanto Company, the world’s leading producer of GM seeds. Activists charged that the law opened the way to the introduction of GM plants, which might contaminate local crop varieties and disrupt traditional indigenous farming. Campesinos also felt they could lose their livelihoods due to competition from large-scale farmers who can afford higher-yielding seeds from multinationals.

German Supermarket Giants Demand Return To GMO-Free Fed Poultry

Germany’s top supermarkets, the powerhouses of Europe when it comes to retail, have delivered a blow to the biotech industry by forcing the German poultry industry to return to the use of non-GMO feed. It was announced last Thursday that the German supermarkets, with a broad consensus, recently demanded from the German Poultry Association (ZDG) to stop using GMO feed for both egg and poultry meat production, starting from January 1st 2015. That is the date when the retailers want to receive GMO-free fed products again, meaning poultry suppliers will have to rush to get their feed supply chains free from GMO feed once more. In February this year, the ZDG unilaterally declared that it was stopping using GM-free animal feed, following similar moves by other associations in England and Denmark. The reasons provided for the step after over a decade of GMO-free feeding were an alleged shortage of GMO-free soya, the risk of contamination, and the associated legal uncertainty. However, following close consultation with Brazilian authorities, the German supermarkets have realized that the reasons given by ZDG do not stand up: There is clearly enough Brazilian GMO-free feed in the system to supply Europe’s needs.

Who Else Labels GMOs?

There are currently 64 countries around the world that require the labeling of genetically modified foods. This includes all of the nations in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia, and China. Most major food producers in America already have labels on their products with GMO ingredients if they sell their products in these foreign markets. GMO labeling requirements like the Oregon Right to Know initiative promote and protect economic development while enabling shoppers to make informed purchasing decisions.

World Bank And IMF Deals Open Ukraine To GMOs

Finally, a little-known aspect of the crisis in Ukraine is receiving some international attention. On July 28, the California-based Oakland Institute released a report revealing that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), under terms of their $17 billion loan to Ukraine, would open that country to genetically-modified (GM) crops and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture. The report is entitled “Walking on the West Side: the World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict.” [1] In late 2013, the then president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, rejected a European Union association agreement tied to the $17 billion IMF loan, whose terms are only now being revealed. Instead, Yanukovych chose a Russian aid package worth $15 billion plus a discount on Russian natural gas. His decision was a major factor in the ensuing deadly protests that led to his ouster from office in February 2014 and the ongoing crisis. According to the Oakland Institute, “Whereas Ukraine does not allow the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, Article 404 of the EU agreement, which relates to agriculture, includes a clause that has generally gone unnoticed: it indicates, among other things, that both parties will cooperate to extend the use of biotechnologies. There is no doubt that this provision meets the expectations of the agribusiness industry. As observed by Michael Cox, research director at the investment bank Piper Jaffray, ‘Ukraine and, to a wider extent, Eastern Europe, are among the most promising growth markets for farm-equipment giant Deere, as well as seed producers Monsanto and DuPont’.” [2]

Federal Judge: Kauai’s GMO Law Is Invalid

A Kauai County law requiring companies to disclose their use of pesticides and genetically modified crops is invalid, a federal judge ruled Monday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren ruled in favor of four seed companies seeking to stop Kauai's new law from going into effect in October. Syngenta Seeds, DuPont Pioneer, Agrigenetics Inc., doing business as Dow AgroSciences, and BASF Plant Sciences sued for a permanent injunction, arguing the ordinance unfairly targets their industry. Kurren's ruling agrees that the ordinance is pre-empted by state law. The judge's ruling stops the county from enforcing the ordinance. "I'm disappointed but that's the judge's option," said Paul Achitoff, an Earthjustice attorney who helped defend the law on behalf of intervening community groups. "I think the consequences for the people of Kauai, in particular, and throughout the state are very unfortunate." He said he'll discuss options to appeal with his clients. Margery Bronster, an attorney representing two of the companies, said the judge's ruling makes it clear that counties don't have the authority to regulate agriculture as called for in the ordinance.

Mexican Farmers Oppose Expansion Of GMO Crops

Bean grower Manuel Alvarado is part of the majority of producers in Mexico who consider it unnecessary to introduce genetically modified varieties of beans, as the government is promoting. “There is no study showing superior yields compared with hybrid or regional seeds. People are still unaware of what transgenic products are, nor the effects they have, but some of the things that are known about them are not good,” said Alvarado, the head of Enlaces al Campo, a bulk beans sales company in the city of Fresnillo, in the northern state of Zacatecas. "There can be no biosecurity with transgenics: they cause genetic erosion (loss of genetic diversity)." -- Silvia Ribeiro Genetically modified organisms (GMO) may cause a number of problems, among them the possibility that “transgenics will contaminate native and hybrid seeds, which have higher germination rates than transgenics,” Alvarado told IPS. Bean farmers in Mexico face a context of overproduction, low prices and increasing imports, in a country where there are 300,000 bean producers, half of them small scale farmers.
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