Genetic engineering

Fighting Mosquitoes with GMO Mosquitoes

April 11, 2016

Genetic engineering isn’t just changing what’s in your food. A company called Oxitec has created a genetically engineered (GMO) mosquito, and they want to release millions of them into a community in the Florida Keys. The problem they’re trying to solve with these GMO bugs is real, but in this case, the cure might be as bad as the disease. The Food and Drug Administration is asking for input right now on whether to approve this project. Tell them to reject GMO mosquitoes! Why GMO Mosquitoes? Local governments in places like the Florida Keys are always looking for ways to control mosquito populations, especially where mosquitoes spread disease. Oxitec’s GMO mosquito is intended to help prevent the spread of dengue fever. They’ve also proposed that their mosquitoes could help fight the Zika virus. The idea is that the offspring of the GMO mosquito will die, reducing overall populations. Read

Monsanto Profits Drop 25% AGAIN as Farmers, Individuals go Organic

April 11, 2016

Biotech giant Monsanto reported multiple profit-plummets in 2015 relating to sales for both its genetically modified crop creations and its best-selling herbicide, Roundup. Once again, Monsanto has reported declining profits for the fiscal second-quarter earnings – by 25%. For Monsanto’s 2nd quarter, total sales for Monsanto dropped 13%; with one of Monsanto’s top-sellers, corn seeds, falling 11%. The biotech giant cites an “unfavorable agricultural market” for its losses, pointing out that: Pressures in overseas markets is increasing Farmers are reporting less income due to less-than-ideal harvests The strength of the U.S. dollar made products more expensive But the company makes little or no mention of the other key factors affecting its bottom line. Organic food demand is exploding like crazy – and the figures show no sign of it slowing any time soon. Read

Will Organic Cattle Be Pumped Full of GMO Vaccines?

April 6, 2016

We must act to maintain the integrity of organic standards! Action Alert!  The semiannual meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will take place April 25–27 in Washington, DC. Because the NOSB makes decisions that, in large part, determine the future of organic foods (it’s the advisory board for the National Organic Program, or NOP), ANH-USA has been engaged with the board for some time. After reviewing the agenda, we noted two items of concern. GMO Vaccines As we reported last fall, the issue of removing GMO vaccines from organic production has been stalled for years. The stated rationale for NOSB’s inaction is the difficulty in distinguishing GMO from non-GMO vaccines, given the rapid pace of technological advancement. Read

Katherine Paul, Ronnie Cummins – Food Companies Plan to Label GMOs—but Is There More to the Story?

March 26, 2016

The world’s largest food corporations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars (some of it illegally) to avoid being required to label the genetically engineered ingredients in their products. But with the July 1 deadline for complying with Vermont’s GMO labeling law on the horizon, a handful of the largest multinational food corporations have announced they will now label GMOs—not solely because they will be forced to, but because as General Mills claims, they believe “you should know what’s in your food and how we make ours.” Have consumers won the GMO labeling battle? Have these food companies that so fiercely fought to keep labels off their products really split with the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the multi-billion-dollar lobbying group that is still trying to overturn Vermont’s law in the courts, and preempt it in Congress? Read

Lydia Mulvany – India cuts Monsanto modified cotton-seed royalty fees by 70%

March 15, 2016

* Government makes move despite opposition from Monsanto venture * Venture had said it would ‘reevaluate’ position in India India cut royalties for genetically-modified cotton seeds, defying Monsanto Co., which has said such a move would cause it to reevaluate its business in the country, the largest grower of the fiber. The agriculture ministry said Tuesday that so-called trait royalties will be capped at 49 rupees (73 U.S. cents) per 450-gram pack of so-called Bt cotton seeds, a 70 percent reduction from current levels. It also set the maximum sale price at 800 rupees. St. Louis-based Monsanto sells cotton seed in India via Mahyco Monsanto Biotech, or MMB, a joint venture with Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co. The venture licenses Monsanto technology to seed companies and then collects trait fees. MMB said March 4 it would have no choice but to “reevaluate every aspect” of its position in India should the government make a substantial cut to royalties, saying such intervention would override its contracts with seed companies and undermine its operations. Read

Genetically modified crop cultivation plateaus in US

March 14, 2016

Cultivation of genetically modified crops looks to have hit a peak in the U.S. as a soft international grain market pushes farmers to grow more traditional varieties in exchange for special premiums. GM crops accounted for 94% of U.S. soybean cultivation by area in the 2015-16 growing season, unchanged from a year earlier, the Department of Agriculture reported last July. That share for corn fell from 93% to 92%. “The premiums paid for non-GM products have become more appealing amid a soft crop market,” explained a representative for general trading house Kanematsu. Growing and harvesting non-GM crops takes more time and effort than is required by their genetically engineered cousins. Farmers putting their non-GM products on the Chicago commodities market can thus receive premiums, which have risen in recent years. Those for North American soybeans are typically in the mid-$2 level per bushel, four times the level from 10 years ago. Read

Wenonah Hauter – The United States of Monsanto?

March 14, 2016

This week thousands of Americans took time out of their busy days to call their Senators to demand that they vote against the DARK Act, a bill sponsored by Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, which would prevent consumers from knowing if the food they eat and feed their families contains genetically engineered (GMO) ingredients. Their support for GMO labeling was echoed by more than 600 organizations, including farming and fishing groups and food companies, representing tens of millions of members and customers who this week also urged the Senate to reject this troubling bill. GMO crops are created by transferring genetic material from one organism into another to create specific traits, such as resistance to treatment with herbicides, or to make a plant produce its own pesticide to repel insects. Unlike traditional plant and animal breeding, which tries to develop better varieties by selecting traits from the same species, genetic engineering techniques can insert specific genes from any plant, animal or microorganism into the DNA of a different species. The DARK Act passed out of committee last week by a 14-6 vote and is expected to hit the Senate floor any day now. The House already passed a similar bill in July. If

Peter Koenig – Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) – Planned Sterilization of Humanity?

March 3, 2016

Severe health risks of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are not new. Studies by scientists among others in France, Germany, Austria, since at least the 1990s, pointing to several levels of health dangers to mankind abound. A recent study released by Egyptian researchers found that rats fed a GMO diet suffer from infertility, among other health issues. In the US similar studies were muzzled by Monsanto and the Monsanto staffed FDA. In a 2011 paper the Institute for Responsible Technology – IRT refers to 19 animal studies linking GMOs to mostly liver and kidney organ disruption. In the early 2000 the first Russian studies revealed reduction in fertility and birth defects in hamsters and rats. In a 2013 Russian study, scientist have discovered that mammals that eat GMO foodstuffs have difficulties to reproduce. The study concluded that “Campbell hamsters that have a fast reproduction rate were fed for two years with ordinary soya beans which are widely used in agriculture and those contain different percentages of GMOs. Another group of hamsters, the control group, was fed with pure soya [found in Serbia, as 95% of soya in the world is transgenic].” According to Dr. Alexei Surov, who led the study on behalf of the National Association

What The Hell Kind Of Vaccine Is That?

March 1, 2016

This generation of vaccines is not the vaccine people imagine in which a bit of antigen from some disease is injected into the person to stimulate antibodies. Skipping over whether that ever worked or not, people might want to know the current vaccines are DNA vaccines. They shoot patented genetically modified stuff into people, intended for “uptake” by the person’s DNA.  Skipping over whether once someone has patented material in them the corporations might claim ownership of organs or blood.  This is just what Monsanto does of crops in which their patented DNA shows up in farmers’ plants, even if by accident of wind and pollen, or caused to be there by Monsanto itself. Whether a corporation which owns the patent on what is being injected into people’s children might make claims on that child’s body or not, people might want to stop and consider what the genetically modified stuff consists of in the first place. Read

Marco Torres – Fruits and Vegetables Reaching an Alarming State of Nutrient Depletion

February 24, 2016

What if our food has been getting less and less nutritious? What if modern intensive farming methods — many of which solved malnutrition problems when they were first introduced — have affected the mineral and vitamin content of what we eat? Could having a constant supply of varied produce and introducing genetically modified foods be compromising nature’s goodness? Whether it be vegan, low carb, paleo, or any other diet, the quest for the healthiest method of eating shows no sign of abating, yet all have considerable controversy. We know more than ever about what food does to the body and the importance of antioxidants, healthy fats and a low glycaemic index. Read
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