Sunday, June 17, 2012
Why genetically engineered food is dangerous
Earth Open Source
June 17, 2012
LONDON, UK – Aren’t critics of genetically engineered food anti-science? Isn’t the debate over GMOs (genetically modified organisms) a spat between emotional but ignorant activists on one hand and rational GM-supporting scientists on the other?
A new report released today, “GMO Myths and Truths”, challenges these claims. The report presents a large body of peer-reviewed scientific and other authoritative evidence of the hazards to health and the environment posed by genetically engineered crops and organisms (GMOs).
Unusually, the initiative for the report came not from campaigners but from two genetic engineers who believe there are good scientific reasons to be wary of GM foods and crops.
One of the report’s authors, Dr Michael Antoniou of King’s College London School of Medicine in the UK, uses genetic engineering for medical applications but warns against its use in developing crops for human food and animal feed.
Dr Antoniou said: “GM crops are promoted on the basis of ambitious claims – that they are safe to eat, environmentally beneficial, increase yields, reduce reliance on pesticides, and can help solve world hunger.
“I felt what was needed was a collation of the evidence that addresses the technology from a scientific point of view.
Friday, April 27, 2012
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.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Gene-modified corn violations triple among U.S. farmers
By Jack Kaskey
February 09, 2012
Updates with entomologist’s comment in 11th paragraph.
Monsanto Co. and other seed makers reported a threefold increase last year in U.S. farmers caught violating requirements for planting genetically modified corn.
The data relates to farmers planting seeds that are genetically modified to produce a toxin derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, a natural insecticide. The Environmental Protection Agency requires the growers to plant an adjacent area — a so-called refuge — of non-Bt corn so that bugs don’t become immune.
About 41 percent of 3,053 farmers inspected in 2011 failed to fully comply with the refuge requirement, according to data from the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee, which Monsanto provided today in an e-mail.
Seed companies are trying to get farmers to plant refuges amid concern that an increasing number of bugs may be developing resistance to modified crops. In July, Iowa State University found some rootworms have evolved resistance to Cry3Bb1, a Bt gene engineered into Monsanto corn. Entomologists in Illinois and other Midwestern states are studying possible resistance in fields where rootworms devour Monsanto’s Bt corn.
An increase in the proportion of farmers found not planting refuges was expected because of a new industry initiative that uses sales data, the National Corn Growers Association said today in a statement on its website. Seed companies used their data to identify farmers who may not have purchased enough seed for a refuge, said Nick Storer, global science policy leader for Dow Chemical Co. and the company’s representative on the ABSTC.
New GM crops tolerant to old toxic herbicides a step backwards
By Prof. Joe Cummins
February 09, 2012
Dow Agroscience petitions for deregulating new GM maize tolerant to 2,4-D and Quizalofop. This report has been submitted to USDA/AHIS on behalf of ISIS, please circulate widely and forward to your representatives
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced that Dow AgroScience Company is seeking deregulation of a new genetically engineered corn (DAS -4027809), tolerant to broadleaf phenoxy auxin herbicides such as 2,4-D and grass herbicides such as quizalofop, and is soliciting public comments by February 27, 2012, to be submitted at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!searchResults;rpp=10;po=0;s=APHIS-2010-0103
The herbicide 2,4-D was discovered in the early 1940s . For many years 2,4-D and its relatives in the phenoxy auxin group were the primary chemical used to control broad leaf weeds. In recent years 2,4-D has become the third most widely used herbicide in the world behind glyphosate and atrazine. The development of 2,4-D resistant crops will greatly increase the use of the herbicide and greatly amplify the environmental pollution associated with this old herbicide. Introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops tolerant to it is a step backwards for health and the environment.
According to USDA Economic Research Service, 73 % of the area planted to maize in the United States is GM herbicide tolerant (HT) varieties . It has become increasingly clear that the current plantings of HT maize are plagued by weeds that have grown as tolerant to the herbicides as the HT maize.
As a solution, Dow Agrosciences are putting forward a GM maize variety DAS-40278-9 that is tolerant to the old herbicide 2,4-D and its relatives of the phenoxy auxin group, as well as the herbicide quizalofop, along with its chemical relatives of the aryloxyphenoxypropionate acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase (ACCase) inhibitor group; and has petitioned USDA/APHIS for non-regulated status . APHIS has duly prepared a draft environment assessment .