Friday, November 18, 2011

Groups entitled to attorney fees

Biotech opponents could receive millions
By Mateusz Perkowski
Capital Press
November 17, 2011

Judge says groups entitled to recover attorney fees

A group of biotechnology opponents has been awarded $1.6 million for winning a court battle over USDA’s commercialization of genetically engineered alfalfa.

A federal judge has found Geertson Seed Farms and other opponents of the crop are entitled to recover attorney fees and other costs from the federal government.

The award is primarily based on years of legal work conducted by the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit that has opposed several biotech crops.

That group is also poised to win roughly $2.7 million in attorney fees and other costs due to its litigation over transgenic sugar beets.

The amount of these awards has been contentious — USDA argued biotech critics only won limited victories in both cases and were entitled to much less money.

[Read More…]

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Farmer challenges Monsanto

Maine farmer heads group challenging genetics giant Monsanto
By Avery Yale Kamila
Portland Press Herald
November 10, 2011

A fight to maintain consumer choice and farm independence has landed Maine farmer Jim Gerritsen on Utne Reader’s list of “25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World,” published in the November/December edition of the magazine on newsstands now.

Organic seed potato farmer Jim Gerritsen heads a trade association that is suing chemical giant Monsanto. (photo: Charlotte Hedley ) Gerritsen, wife Megan, and their four children run the Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, which produces and sells organic seed potatoes to kitchen gardeners and market farmers in all 50 states. Gerritsen is also president of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, and it was that role that led to the Utne recognition.

The nonprofit organization created a stir in food and farming communities when, with legal backing from the Public Patent Foundation, it filed a lawsuit in March against the chemical and biotechnology giant Monsanto. OSGATA has since been joined in the lawsuit by 82 other seed businesses, trade organizations and family farmers, which together represent more than 270,000 people.

The lawsuit questions the validity of Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seeds, and seeks protection from patent-infringement lawsuits for the plaintiffs should their crops become contaminated with Monsanto’s transgenic crops.

[Read More…]

CA Labeling Initiative

CA GMO Labeling Initiative submitted
Committee For the Right to Know
Press Release
November 9, 2011

California Ballot Initiative to Require Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods Submitted to Attorney General

Wide-Ranging Coalition Seeks to Secure Initiative on November 2012 Ballot

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, the grassroots Committee For the Right to Know, a wide-ranging coalition of consumer, public health and environmental organizations, food companies, and individuals submitted the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act to the State Attorney General for title and summary, prior to circulation as an initiative measure for the November 2012 election.

The initiative would require genetically engineered foods (also known as Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs) and foods containing GMO ingredients to be clearly labeled, similar to current labels with other nutritional information.

Genetically engineered food is usually plant or meat product that has had its DNA artificially altered in a lab with genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria, in order to produce foreign compounds in that food. This genetic alteration is experimental, and is not found in nature.

The risk of genetically engineered foods is unclear, and unlike the strict safety evaluations required for the approval of new drugs, the safety of genetically engineered foods for human consumption has not been adequately tested. Recent studies show that genetically engineering food can create new, unintended toxic substances and increase allergies, cancer risks, and other health problems, especially for children. Experts agree that by labeling genetically engineered food, we can help identify foods that cause health problems.

[Read More…]

Monday, November 7, 2011

Boulder County GMO survey

56% would vote to ban GMOs on Boulder County open space
By Laura Snider
Boulder Daily Camera
November 06, 2011

New survey commissioned by anti-GMO group

If asked on a ballot whether genetically modified organisms should be allowed on open space land, 56 percent of Boulder County residents would vote to ban such crops, according to a new survey commissioned by a local anti-GMO group.

Thirty-percent of respondents would vote to allow them, while the rest of the 600 survey respondents were undecided.

Those results contrast with an earlier public opinion survey that was sponsored by the county, which seemed to indicate that Boulder County residents were more split on the issue.

The Boulder County survey asked voters generally what they thought about GMOs, but the survey never directly asked respondents whether they would vote to ban the plants.

When Mary VonBreck, an organizer of the group GMO Free Boulder, read the results of the county survey, something didn’t seem right. So the group hired Kupersmit Research to do a second survey.

[Read More…]

Friday, November 4, 2011

Peru’s GMO ban

Peru’s Congress approves 10-year GMO ban
November 4, 2011

Peru’s Congress announced Friday it overwhelmingly approved a 10-year moratorium on imports of genetically modified organisms in order to safeguard the country’s biodiversity.

The measure bars GMOs — including seeds, livestock, and fish — from being imported for cultivation or to be raised locally.

Exceptions include the use of GMO products for research purposes in a closed environment, but those will be closely monitored, the legislature’s official news service said.

The bill, approved late Thursday, now goes to President Ollanta Humala to be signed into law. Humala, who has been in power since late July, has repeatedly said he opposes GM programs.

[Read More…]

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