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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Monsanto' Category


15
Jan

Member EU States Authorized to Plant GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2015) Yesterday, the European Union (EU) passed legislation meant to bridge a long-standing divide amongst EU nations (and the United States) on the planting of genetically-engineered (GE) crops by granting individual countries the authority to opt-out of EU crop approval and institute country-based legislative and regulatory restrictions. Makers of GE crops (like Monsanto) and proponents of GE crop cultivation have faced staunch and successful opposition in getting the required EU permission to plant GE crops. Opposition comes from both EU citizens and certain member states, like France, Italy, and Germany. By giving opposing countries an EU-sanctioned means to opt-out and establish individual member state restrictions, the new law may accelerate  opt-outs in those countries that do not oppose GE crop planting. Countries like France that have repeatedly fought back against GE crop cultivation welcome the new EU legislation, as do environmental advocates. “This is another nail in the coffin of genetically modified crops,” said Mute Schimpf, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, told Bloomberg. “While not perfect, this new law allows governments to shut the door on biotech crops in Europe.” Countries in favor of GE crop cultivation, like Britain, also view the action […]

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13
Jan

Monsanto Once Again Developing Herbicide Resistant Wheat

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2015) Over a decade after consumer opposition halted multinational agrichemical business Monsanto’s plans to develop genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-resistant wheat, the company is trying again. This time, Monsanto’s goal is to create wheat that is resistant to three different herbicides; glyphosate, glufosinate, and dicamba. Although over 90% of corn, soybean, and cotton grown in the United States are GE, no GE wheat is currently allowed to be planted. In 2013, a farmer in Oregon discovered the presence of Monsanto’s original Roundup-Ready wheat, developed to be resistant to glyphosate, in his field despite the company’s plans to abandon the strain and claims to have destroyed the crop  a decade earlier. The company had restarted extensive field trials back in 2011. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) determined that the contamination was an “isolated incident.” It was unable to determine exactly how the wheat came to grow in the Oregon farmer’s field. However, shortly after the agency closed its investigation, another farmer in Montana detected the GE strain in his wheat fields. The recurrence of this incident reveals the contamination event not to be an isolated incident. It instead demonstrates the threat that these crops […]

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17
Dec

GE Labeling Ballot Initiative Narrowly Loses in Oregon Recount

(Beyond Pesticides, December 17, 2014)   Supporters of an Oregon ballot initiative requiring labels on genetically-engineered (GE) food acknowledged defeat last Thursday after an automatic recount failed to change the results of November’s vote and a judge denied their plea for a count of rejected ballots. Advocates expressed deep disappointment that a Monsanto led multi-million dollar opposition campaign narrowly defeated the Oregon ballot initiative even after an emergency lawsuit was filed to prevent the rejection of over 4,000 votes due to non-fraudulent discrepancies. Measure 92 lost by a narrow margin in November elections, triggering a recount and making it the closest statewide election in Oregon history. Measure 92 would have required manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers to clearly label all genetically-engineered foods or ingredients in raw or packaged items. It was defeated by only 812 votes out of 1.5 million. The automatic recount is pursuant to Oregon voting law, but the new tally showed that the measure lost by just 0.056 percent. On December 8, 2014, an emergency lawsuit was filed by the Yes on 92 Campaign in order to prevent over 4,000 votes from being thrown out by state officials due to non-fraudulent discrepancies in voter signatures.   The judge […]

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20
Nov

Rise in Chronic Diseases Correlates with Glyphosate and GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, November 20, 2014) A study published in the Journal of Organic Systems this week examined potential connections between the increase in chronic diseases seen within the United States and other parts of the world over the last 20 years and the explosion of glyphosate use, finding a significant correlation between glyphosate use, genetically-engineered (GE) crops, and human health. Glyphosate, one of the most popular weedkillers in both the U.S. and the world, is the active ingredient in Roundup ® ””the leading glyphosate product developed by Monsanto. Known as “Roundup Ready,” GE soybeans, corn, cotton, and other crops have been genetically altered and patented by Monsanto to be glyphosate-tolerant. Whether a crop stems from a Roundup Ready seed or not, glyphosate is used in almost all agricultural areas of the U.S., as well as on an international scale, in conventional, non-organic farming operations. Because of Roundup’s popularity, glyphosate use has skyrocketed, leading to an estimated application of nearly 250 million pounds of the chemical across the U.S. alone and resulting in significant problems of glyphosate resistance and the increased presence of the herbicide in our food and environment. The increased presence of glyphosate has also ushered in independent data […]

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17
Nov

Court Battle Begins on Maui, Hawaii GE Moratorium

(Beyond Pesticides, November 17, 2014) In anticipation of the lawsuit by agrichemical giants following a newly passed initiative to suspend the planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops in Maui, five residents preemptively filed a lawsuit last Wednesday, November 12 beating their opponents by one day. The moratorium is only a temporary measure that bans GE crops until the county analyzes the public health and environmental effects, and it is deemed safe. Yet, despite this Monsanto, along with Dow AgroSciences, the Maui Farm Bureau and other businesses filed their own lawsuit against the county Thursday, November 13 saying that  the “referendum is invalid and contrary to long established state and federal laws that support both the safety and lawful testing and planting of GMO plants.” Maui County residents Dr. Lorrin Pang, Mark Sheehan, Lei’ohu Ryder, Bonnie Marsh and Alika Atay, along with the Shaka Movement, filed their lawsuit in the Second Circuit court in Hawaii against the county, Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences. The lawsuit seeks to assure transparency and influence over the implementation of the initiative, in light of the enormous amount of money that the ag companies have poured into the county in an attempt to beat the initiative. According […]

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10
Nov

GAO Report Sounds Alarm Again on Poor Pesticide Controls

(Beyond Pesticides, November 10, 2014) According to a new Government Accountability (GAO) report, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not test food for several commonly used pesticides with established tolerance levels —including glyphosate, one of the most commonly used pesticides in the U.S. This and other disturbing findings documented in GAO’s report,  Food Safety: FDA and USDA Should Strengthen Pesticide Residue Monitoring Programs and Further Disclose Monitoring Limitations,  issued last Thursday, sounds an alarm that GAO began sounding  in the 1980’s in several reports that identify shocking limitations of  FDA’s approach to monitoring for pesticide residue violations in food. GAO sharply criticizes FDA for not using statistically valid methods consistent with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards to collect information on the incidence and level of pesticide residues. In fact, GAO states that it “was unable to find publicly available estimates of the overall toxicity or risk associated with the use of agricultural pesticides in the United States.” According to GAO, FDA is testing less than one-tenth of one  percent of all imported fruits and vegetables and less than 1 percent of domestic fruits and vegetables.  The report is also critical of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) […]

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01
Oct

Another Field Contaminated with Unapproved GE Wheat

(Beyond Pesticides, October 1, 2014) Just after announcing a close to its investigation into the illegal presence of genetically engineered (GE) wheat in Oregon, finding it to be an “isolated  incident,”  the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) opened a new investigation into another incident of unauthorized release of  GE wheat, this time  detected in Montana. This new report highlights the contamination threat that these materials pose to farmers and the environment, as well as the government’s failure to recognize the pervasive and persistent nature of GE contamination. According to USDA, on July 14, 2014 it was notified that suspected GE wheat had been discovered growing at the Montana State University’s Southern Agricultural Research Center (SARC) in Huntley, Montana, where Monsanto and researchers grew GE wheat as part of field trials between 2000 and 2003. Testing of the samples by a USDA laboratory confirmed that the wheat is genetically engineered to resist Roundup. The agency states that its ongoing investigation is focusing on why GE wheat was found growing at the research facility location. Currently, GE wheat has not been deregulated by USDA, unlike several other GE crops (corn, soybean, sugarbeets). This means that any experimental use of GE wheat must […]

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19
Sep

USDA Approves 2,4-D-Tolerant (GE) Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2014) The pesticide treadmill continues to turn with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent approval this week of three 2,4-D-tolerto ant corn and soybean crops, developed by Dow AgroSciences. Some growers have been pushing for the new Enlist crops in order to combat the rapid proliferation of glyphosate-resistant weeds. The use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup formulation, on genetically-engineered (GE) crops has proven to be an abject failure due to widespread weed resistance. So widespread is this resistance that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has  granted an emergency use exemption  for fluridone, which does not have registered uses in agriculture.  More recently, Texas regulators requested the use of propazine to combat glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, or pigweed, which EPA recently denied,  citing risks to drinking water and other hazards.   Even though the agency denied the emergency use application, it accepted the argument put forth by the Texas Department of Agriculture that  glyphosate-resistant weeds in three million acres of herbicide-tolerant cotton constituted an  “urgent non-routine situation.”  Beyond Pesticides argued to EPA that the weed resistance in  herbicide-tolerant cropping systems is very predictable and has become routine, thus disqualifying states from using the […]

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08
Aug

New Wave of Herbicide-Tolerant Crops Awaiting Likely U.S. Approval

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2014) Despite the continued documentation of weed resistance all over the United States, as well as the world, another line of herbicide-tolerant crops developed by Monsanto is currently in the pipeline awaiting likely approval by U.S. regulators. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on Tuesday, which, according to regulators, will pave the way for the approval of new  genetically modified cotton and soybean plants tolerant to a mixture of the herbicides glyphosate and dicamba. Monsanto’s new soybean and cotton crops were developed to withstand their new herbicide formulation, called Roundup Xtend, which combines the pesticides dicamba and glyphosate. The “Roundup Ready Xtend crop system” was developed to curb the proliferation of millions of acres of weeds that have grown resistant to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup, which has been used on the company’s biotech corn, soybeans, and cotton. Weed resistance due to cropping systems dependent on herbicides has been documented for years, making APHIS’ conclusions in the EIS all the more alarming. A report that Beyond Pesticides published 12 years ago, “The Environmental Risks of Transgenic Crops: An Agroecological Assessment is the failed pesticide […]

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30
May

Moms Tell EPA to Ban Glyphosate After Residues Found in Breast Milk

Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2014) This week, a group of concerned mothers and environmentalists met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials  to discuss a recent pilot study that detected glyphosate residues in breast milk. Organized by Mom’s Across of America, which is seeking to stop the sale and use of glyphosate, the meeting  underscored the limitations of EPA’s pesticide registration program in addressing  the real-life impacts of pesticides on children and the concerns of mothers surrounding the dangers of glyphosate in particular.  Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, is the most widely applied herbicide in the U.S., with uses ranging from genetically engineered (GE) crops to lawn turf. The meeting with Moms Across America, Beyond Pesticides, Consumes Union, Organic Consumers Association,  other groups  and EPA came after Mom’s Across America’s five-day phone call campaign urging EPA to recall Roundup. Participants in the campaign made close to 10,000 calls to the agency. The pilot study, supported by Moms Across America, looked at ten breast-milk samples from across America. Three of the ten breast milk samples tests reveal high levels of glyphosate, meaning that the amount of glyphosate found is between 76 ug/l to 166 ug/l. The highest glyphosate […]

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23
May

Oregon Counties Ban Planting of Genetically Engineered Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2014) Residents in two Oregon counties, Jackson and Josephine, voted to ban the cultivation, production, and distribution of genetically engineered (GE) crops within the counties’ borders Tuesday.  The Jackson County measure 15-119, passed with 66 percent of the vote, while Josephine County passed with 58 percent. As noted by Reuters, the newly approved measures mandate that people “harvest, destroy or remove all genetically engineered plants” no later than 12 months after the ordinances go into effect. This is great news for farmers of organic and non-genetically engineered crops, who constantly struggle with the threat of GE contamination. Though there are less than 120,000 registered voters in Jackson County, the measure gained national attention due to the fact that opponents raised over $830,000 to advertise againstthe measure, with over 97% of the funding coming in from outside of the county, including over $450,000 from biotech giant Monsanto and five other corporations to defeat the initiative. For comparison, the previous county spending record on a ballot initiative was $111,000. “We fought the most powerful and influential chemical companies in the world and we won,” Elise Higley, a Jackson County farmer and representative from  Our Family Farms Coalition told […]

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20
May

Pesticide Manufacturers Sued over Golf Course Superintendent’s Death

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2014) Pittsburgh sportscaster Rich Walsh is suing multinational chemical companies after his father’s untimely death from cancer in 2009. According to a story from local Pittsburgh station WTAE, Mr. Walsh’s father, Tom Walsh, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2008, after a career as a golf course superintendent. “He loved golf. He loved working outside. He loved to take care of golf courses,” Rich told WTAE. Rich’s lawsuit was filed against Monsanto, Bayer CropScience, BASF, Syngenta, Dow Agroscience, Deere and Company, and John Deere Landscapes in 2010. Genetic testing from Tom’s oncologist showed chromosomal alterations as a result of years of working with pesticides, the only chemicals Mr. Walsh ever worked with. Part of the log books he kept throughout his career included the pesticides he applied, which included the insecticides Dylox and Dursban, active ingredients trichlorfon and chlorpyrifos respectively, and the fungicides Daconil and Chipco, active ingredients chlorothalonil and iprodione. All of these chemicals have been shown to be likely carcinogens, according to Beyond Pesticides’ Pesticide Gateway or Pesticide Induced Diseases Database. Chlorpyrifos, for instance, was banned for homeowner use back in  2001, but uses on agriculture and golf courses were allowed to continue […]

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30
Apr

Industry Campaign and Congressional Hearing Mislead on Bee Decline

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2014) A new report, released this week by author  Michele Simon  and Friends of the Earth  documents the tactics used by Bayer and other pesticide companies to delay regulatory action on neonicotinoid pesticides —a key contributor to bee declines. The report identifies public relations tactics reminiscent of those used by the tobacco industry, is now being used by Bayer, Syngenta, and Monsanto. Meanwhile, a Congressional hearing on pollinator health, with a panel dominated by industry, ignored the risks pesticides pose to pollinators, and failed to address sustainable solutions to bee decline. The report,  Follow the Honey: 7 Ways Pesticide Companies Are Spinning the Bee Crisis to Protect Profits,  uncovers the deceptive public relations tactics used by industry giants Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto, to deflect blame from their products’ contributions to bee declines. The products in question are the chemicals now widely used for seed treatment  —neonicotinoids— as well as on residential sites. They are highly toxic to bees and have been linked to bee decline. Last year, the European Union banned the three most widely used neonicotinoids —imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam— based on strong science indicating these insecticides can kill bees outright and make them more […]

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24
Apr

France Bans GE Corn Cultivation, VT Passes GE Food Labeling Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2014) France’s lower house of parliament passed a bill last week banning the cultivation of all strains of genetically engineered (GE) corn within its borders, even those strains that might not yet be approved within the European Union (EU). The law follows a decree adopted last month, which targeted the only GE crop permitted for cultivation in the EU””Monsanto’s insect-resistant MON810 corn. Back in the U.S., Vermont became the first state to pass a  bill requiring the labeling of food containing GE ingredients  (You can read the House bill as it was introduced here and the Senate amendments to this bill here). The bill, which the Governor said he will sign, passed by large majorities in both houses of the legislature and does not contain a trigger provision similar to laws adopted in Connecticut and Maine  –with a  requirement that  similar action is taken in contiguous states before the law goes into effect. The action in France is not  the first time it has closed the door on MON810, even in the face of its highest court’s rulings that similar bans did not have sufficient justification. Yet, undaunted by these defeats the French General Assembly went […]

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14
Apr

Herbicide Ban Put on Hold In Sri Lanka

(Beyond Pesticides, April 14, 2014) Bowing to political pressure and agrochemical industry opposition Sri Lanka’s government has taken a step back from its original decision to place a ban on one of the most widely used herbicides worldwide ””glyphosate. Scientific evidence has tied glyphosate to the incurable, deadly kidney disease that has afflicted thousands of Sri Lankans. The delay marks a setback in efforts by scientists and activists to remove from the shelves  a chemical widely used on tea and rice paddy plantations in Sri Lanka.   The decision to ban the chemical was initiated following the publication of a scientific report demonstrating that kidney disease was primarily caused by glyphosate. The report provides a summary of existing scientific information demonstrating kidney failure among farmers who were exposed to the popular herbicide. Indeed lead author Channa Jayasumana, PhD. explains that glyphosate bonds with toxic heavy metals in the environment such as cadmium and arsenic, forming stable compounds that are consumed in food and water and do not break down until they reach the kidneys. “Glyphosate acts as a carrier or a vector of these heavy metals to the kidney,” said Dr. Jayasumana. The chemical was initially created as a chelating […]

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11
Apr

Connecticut Senate Moves Forward on GE Grass Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2014) Connecticut State Senate bill no.443, an act that bans the sale of genetically engineered (GE) grass seeds, passed the state Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 25-11. The bill shows Connecticut legislators are taking seriously the risks that increased pesticide use in residential areas pose to the health of the states residents, especially children, and pets. The bill will ban the sale, use, and marketing of lawn or turf seeds that are genetically engineered to be resistant to pesticides. The GE grass seed that is being developed by Monsanto and Scotts is currently not available in consumer markets and is being tested by Scotts employees in their front yards. The bill may face stronger challenges from Connecticut’s House as it is unclear if the House speaker, J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, will call for a vote on the bill before the session ends May 7. One of the major concerns  the bill addresses  is that allowing GE grass seeds for consumer use would lead to dramatic increases in residential pesticide use. “So you will spread this pesticide all across your lawn, back and forth, on your lawn,” said Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, as quoted in […]

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07
Apr

With Big Money, Industry Fights County Ordinance to Ban GE Crop Planting

(Beyond Pesticides, April 7, 2014) A recent report by The Oregonian found that enormous amounts of money are being spent by agrichemical and biotechnology companies in  one Oregon  county to stop an ordinance that would ban farmers from being able to plant genetically engineered (GE) Crops. This current legislative fight encapsulates the uphill funding battle that anti-GE activists face when organizing state and local level campaigns. The ordinance that will appear on the upcoming May ballot in Jackson County, Oregon will ban the planting and rising of GE plants within the county. The ordinance also calls for the county to conduct inspections and allows enforcement through citizen lawsuits. Jackson County was the only county exempt from a law enacted last fall that made the state the regulator of agricultural seeds. The county’s measure qualified for the May ballot before the Oregon Senate passed S.B. 863, which preempts localities ability to regulate seed, so it was exempted in the bill. The bill preempts efforts the efforts in Benton and Lane counties to restrict GE agriculture. Despite state preemption, Josephine County has a similar measure on the May ballot to ban GE crops. According to a recent report in The Oregonian, the […]

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16
Jan

GE Soy Exhibits Higher Glyphosate Residues than Conventional, Organic Healthier

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2014) Researchers in Norway recently released a new study giving organic consumers and anti-genetically engineered (GE) crop advocates another few solid reasons to promote organic and continue the fight against engineered crops.  Findings from the study demonstrate that not only do soybeans grown using organic cultivation practices provide the healthiest nutritional profile of the three classes of soybeans studied, but GE soybeans also retain glyphosate residues at higher levels than their conventional, non-GE soybean counterparts. In Compositional differences in soybeans on the market: Glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans (Soy Study), Thomas Bøhn of Genøk, Centre for Biosafety and his team of researcher examined 31 batches of soybeans””all grown in the United States.  The batches were separated into three categories: (1) GE, glyphosate-tolerant soy (GE-soy); (2) unmodified soy cultivated using conventional ”˜chemical’ practices; and (3) unmodified soy cultivated using organic practices. Among the three categories, all individual soybean samples were analyzed for their nutritional content, including total protein, total fat, dry matter, starch, ash, minerals, trace elements, vitamin B6, amino acid and fatty acid composition, in addition to the relevant pesticides used on the samples during cultivation. The study selected soybeans as the target crop […]

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15
Jan

Supreme Court Denies Family Farmers the Right to Self-Defense from Monsanto Suits

(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2013) The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision on Monday  in the landmark federal lawsuit Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto, limiting the ability of farmers to protect themselves from genetic drift. An earlier Appeals Court decision in the case acknowledged genetic drift as inevitable and evoked a public  commitment from Monsanto that it would not sue farmers faced with contamination of crops containing “trace amounts” of the company’s patented genes.  In the past, Monsanto has claimed that farmers were responsible and liable for its genetic property being found on land farmed by farmers who did not pay to cultivate the company’s genetically engineered crop. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal and reinstate the suit, denying farmers the right to argue their case in court and gain greater protection from potential abuse by the agrichemical and genetic engineering giant, Monsanto. Additionally, the high court decision dashes the hopes of family farmers who sought the opportunity to prove in court Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed patents are invalid. The case, originally filed on behalf of several plaintiffs on March 29, 2011, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, challenges […]

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07
Oct

Oregon Passes Bill to Limit GE Oversight

(Beyond Pesticides, October 7, 2013) A controversial agriculture bill that would bar counties in Oregon from regulating genetically engineered (GE) crops has passed in the state legislature to the dismay of many organic and environmental groups. Senate Bill 863 also includes an emergency clause, which would allow the bill to go into effect immediately, precluding opponents from referring the bill to voters. The Oregon Senate passed S.B. 863 17-12 last week after three-days of a special session to debate a controversial five-bill package. S.B. 863 declares that “regulation of agricultural seed, flower seed, nursery seed and vegetable seed and products of agricultural seed, flower seed, nursery seed and vegetable seed be reserved to the state, thereby preempting   local governments from adopting any of their own GE policies.” The bill precludes efforts in Benton and Lane counties to restrict GE agriculture, but excludes Jackson County, which already has a GE ban up for vote. This GE bill is part of a package of five bills aimed at giving schools more money, freezing college tuition, and reining in escalating costs of the public pension system. Environmental groups and local food activists are upset that the provision sailed through the state’s legislature. […]

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26
Sep

“Monsanto Protection Act” Stripped from Senate Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, September 26, 2013) The controversial legislative rider added at the behest of Monsanto to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) budget bill  last spring, dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act,”  will no longer be effective after Sept. 30 under a new stopgap government funding bill being drafted by Senate Democrats. Just last week, to the dismay of many concerned groups and individuals, the House approved the extension of the provision, which protects genetically-engineered (GE) seed manufacturers  from  litigation. The provision  was included in last spring’s 6-month continuing resolution (CR) spending bill to fund the government  through the end of the month. The House approved a three-month extension to the rider in its own short-term FY14 Continuing Resolution (CR) spending bill, which was approved last week to fund the federal government past September. But the Senate version, overseen by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), will explicitly say that the Monsanto-backed provision will end this month on September 30 before sending the bill back to the House for final approval. Wrapped in a “farmer-friendly” package, the “Monsanto Protection Act” touched off a storm last spring as critics accused Monsanto of  trying to protect its sales of GE seeds, by […]

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25
Sep

USDA Refuses to Investigate GE Alfalfa Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, September 25, 2013) Five days after genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa was confirmed to have contaminated non-GE alfalfa in Washington State, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it would not investigate the incident. Conventional and organic farmers have long been concerned with the economic impacts of GE adulteration, and this incident represents the latest in a long string of contamination events that have brought a global spotlight on the United States’ loose regulatory structure for these controversial crops. GE alfalfa is engineered by Monsanto to be resistant to glyphosate, or “Roundup Ready,” and is the first engineered perennial crop. The contamination could either be a result of cross-pollination or direct contamination of purchased seed. Cross- contamination is highly likely as alfalfa is pollinated by bees that can fly and cross-pollinate between fields and wild sources miles apart. According to a December 2011 report by Stephanie Greene, a Ph.D. geneticist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), after Roundup Ready alfalfa was first deregulated in 2005 industry testing of conventional seed lots found levels of contamination as high as  two percent. USDA claims the contamination is a “commercial issue” and should be addressed by the marketplace and not the […]

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12
Sep

Monsanto Funds Anti-GE Labeling Efforts in Washington

(Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2013) Monsanto recently made a multi-million dollar contribution to an organization fighting to stop a ballot initiative in Washington State that would force food processors to label genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. Monsanto has poured millions of dollars into multiple anti-labeling efforts, previously contributing over $7 million against a similar proposition in California last year. In spite of being out fundraised, support for labeling GE ingredients remains strong in Washington State, and consumers across the country are becoming increasingly aware of the problems associated with GE crops. Washington State’s Initiative 522 (I-522), which will be voted on this coming November, will require manufactured raw agricultural products that are genetically engineered, and processed foods with GE ingredients to be labeled by July 1, 2015. However, in the past week Monsanto contributed nearly $4.6 million to the ‘No on 522’ campaign. With this recent contribution by Monsanto, the No on 522 campaign, which opposes GE labeling, has raised close to $7.9 million, $3.5 million more than the Yes on 522 campaign. This influx of corporate money was predicted by Beyond Pesticides last month. In Washington state, individual and corporate contributions to campaigns for elected office cannot exceed $800-$1800 depending […]

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