Sunday, December 4, 2011

Corn pest damage

More Monsanto corn showing pest damage
By Georgina Gustin
STLtoday.com
December 3, 2011

Corn plants genetically engineered by Monsanto to repel pests are suffering severe damage from insects in more areas than previously reported, according to government scientists, who called the company’s monitoring of the problem “inadequate.”

In a memorandum posted this week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, scientists reported that corn plants genetically engineered to kill the corn rootworm are showing signs of severe damage in Minnesota and Nebraska fields.

This past summer, researchers from Iowa State University and the University of Illinois reported damage in their states. At the time, those appeared to be the only states with reported damage. But the EPA memo, dated Nov. 22, said that reports of severe damage in Minnesota and Nebraska actually surfaced three and four years ago.

“Producers are reporting greater-than-expected damage, and investigators are trying to pinpoint the cause,” said Mike Gray, an entomologist with the University of Illinois, who this summer found evidence of damage in Illinois fields. “EPA is saying: ‘Hey. What’s going on? We need to take these reports seriously.’”

[Read More…]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

French ban annulled

French court annuls ban on growing Monsanto GMO maize
By Sybille de La Hamaide
Reuters
November 28 2011

PARIS - France’s highest court on Monday overturned France’s ban on growing a strain of genetically modified maize (corn) developed by U.S. biotech firm Monsanto, saying it was not sufficiently justified.

The decision follows a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in early September saying France had based its decision to impose a moratorium on the growing of Monsanto’s insect-resistant MON810 maize on the wrong EU legislation.

Suspension or banning measures ought to be taken at European Union level unless a member state can demonstrate a potentially serious risk to human or animal health or the environment, the courts said.

“Drawing on the consequences of the ECJ’s ruling, the State Council finds that the agriculture ministry could not justify its authority to issue the decrees, failing to give proof of the existence of a particularly high level of risk for the health and the environment,” the highest French court said.

The French agriculture ministry declined to comment.

[Read More…]

Monday, November 21, 2011

GE law probe (NZ)

GE law probe a big surprise
By David Fisher
NZ Herald
November 20, 2011

A highly sensitive Government study into how much money can be made by changing genetic engineering laws will be underway immediately after the election.

Environment Minister Nick Smith is facing embarrassment after admitting he knew nothing about the study.

The proposal from his Ministry for the Environment is in sharp contrast to his assurance GE laws will not change.

The study aims to find out how much money can be made by relaxing laws governing GE and the release of foreign organisms into our environment. The ministry has specifically ordered genetically engineered organisms be included in the study.

Details are in a tender document drafted and quietly released by the ministry this month.

The document - obtained by the Herald on Sunday - shows the Treasury, scientists and companies in the industry believe the country’s “economic performance” is suffering because of strict laws around release of new organisms into the environment.

It says there is concern other countries with more relaxed rules will get a competitive advantage.

Officials say there is no current estimate on how much money restrictive laws cost New Zealand and they want to know if a relaxation will make a difference. They say they want to know how much money the country can make if the law is changed.

[Read More…]

Friday, November 18, 2011

Contamination without representation

Genetically modified crops - contamination without representation
By April Scott
Salem-News.com
November 17, 2011

If Oregon allows GM sugar beets to be deregulated, we may not stand a chance against full federal deregulation of all GM crops

(SALEM, Ore.) - A public hearing is being held in Corvallis, Oregon this Thursday, November 17th to determine if Genetically Modified sugar beets will be deregulated in Oregon.

Meanwhile, the public comment period maybe just a local distraction giving way to full federal deregulation without any representation of organic and conventional crop farmers.

Let us not forget that the U.S House of Representatives, Committee on Agriculture held a formal hearing on Genetically Modified (GM) Alfalfa on Jan 20, 2011.

The hearing corresponded with an open 30-day comment period, designed to provide relevant testimony with regard to deregulation of Genetically Modified Alfalfa.

The democratic process neglected to include a single organic or conventional farming representative. Throughout the two hour hearing various legislators publicly humiliated the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsak for even suggesting any compromise through talks with the organic and conventional communities. They all but ordered him to stand down his conversations with anyone but pro-GM enthusiasts.

Representatives left no seed unturned in honor of their allegiance to biotech crops and complete penetration into all foreign and domestic markets. In fact, Minnesota‚Äôs Representative Collin Peterson referred to organic producers and consumers as “our opponents”.

[Read More…]

Biotech compensation plan

USDA weighs biotech compensation plan
By Mateusz Perkowski
Capital Press
November 17, 2011

The USDA is floating the idea of creating a mechanism to compensate farmers harmed by cross-pollination from genetically engineered crops.

The agency has suggested the concept as a way to resolve conflicts between biotech, conventional and organic farmers, but experts say developing such a mechanism would be rife with challenges.

“They’re complex ideas and they’re going to take a while to thrash out,” said Barry Bushue, vice president of the American Farm Bureau Federation and president of the Oregon Farm Bureau.

Bushue is a member of the USDA’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture, which was assembled earlier this year to seek common ground on contentious biotech issues.

The committee will hold discussions in late November and early December about the possibility of developing a “compensation mechanism.”

The proposal is likely to come up against skepticism from biotech supporters and opponents alike.

[Read More…]

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