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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Washington' Category


06
Dec

Pesticide Exposure Alters Bacterial Diversity in the Mouth

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2016) A new study released by researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle finds that exposure to organophosphate insecticides is associated with changes in oral bacterial diversity, particularly for exposed farmworkers. The study provides insight into the far-reaching changes pesticide exposure can cause to the human body, which are not captured by current risk assessment models used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Although past research has investigated the impact of pesticide exposure on the gut microbiome, this is one of the first studies to look at oral bacterial diversity. For the study, scientists took oral swabs from 65 adult farmworkers and 52 non-farmworker adults in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. Swabs were taken both during the spring/summer, when exposure to pesticides is high, as well as winter, when lower exposure is expected. At the same time the swabs were taken, researchers also took blood samples of individuals in the study. Scientists focused on exposure to the organophosphate insecticide Azinphos-methyl (AZM), which at the time of the study (2005-2006) had not begun its cancellation proceedings. Results show that farmworkers have greater concentrations of AZM in their blood than non-farmworking adults in the area. It […]

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25
Jul

Oregon Prohibits 14 Horticultural Products Used in Marijuana Production, Not Labeled as Containing Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides July 25, 2016) The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) last week issued 12 notices of statewide detainment and stop sale and removal orders for horticultural pesticide products that contain active ingredients not listed on the label. The orders call for the product manufacturers to immediately cease all sales, offers of sale, or other distribution in Oregon. This is the latest effort by a state with a legalized marijuana market to try to  curb the use of illegal pesticides in cannabis production, a practice that poses potential health threats to consumers, creating a regulatory challenge for state officials in states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal and or recreational purposes. Because the U.S. government classifies cannabis as a narcotic, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) does not register pesticide products for use in its production, leaving consumers exposed to hazardous pesticides through inhalation, ingestion, and dermal absorption without any evaluation of potential health effects. The products in question are commonly used in horticulture and hydroponics, including cannabis production. The 12 notices cover 14 products sold in Oregon that were also identified by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) in late June as containing undeclared pesticide active ingredients. In an […]

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24
May

Washington State Institutes Recall Procedures for Pesticide Tainted Pot

(Beyond Pesticides May 24, 2016) Nearly two years after the first legal retail sales of marijuana in Washington State, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) finally took action to protect the rights of consumers by strengthening its ability to issue product recalls when there is a risk to health and safety. Under the new rules, businesses will be required to isolate and prevent the distribution of products that violate state pesticide regulations, and, in certain cases, may mandate that some products be destroyed under the LCB’s supervision. This action is the final codification of emergency rules that were passed by the state earlier this year to combat contaminated cannabis products. The move by Washington follows  widespread cannabis recalls  in the City of Denver,  and actions from Colorado’s Governor  to declare pesticide-tainted cannabis “a threat to public safety.” However, it is not all good news as the state also set allowable levels for unapproved pesticides on pot. Washington State currently lists  over 200  pesticide products as permitted in cannabis production, despite their lack of compliance with federal and state testing requirements for the range of consumer, worker, and environmental exposures. Outside of that list, the state previously employed a “zero […]

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29
Mar

Washington State’s Emergency Rule Allows Recall of Contaminated Cannabis Products

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2016) Last week, Washington State’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) adopted emergency rules allowing the state to recall cannabis products that have been tainted with illegal pesticide residues. The move follows widespread cannabis recalls in the City of Denver, and actions from Colorado’s Governor to declare pesticide-tainted cannabis “a threat to public safety.” Earlier in the month, Beyond Pesticides sent letters to Washington State Department of Agriculture  (WSDA) and Governor Jay Inslee imploring the state to take a proactive approach in restricting the use of hazardous pesticides in cannabis production. Until now, Washington State had no process in place to remove illegally contaminated cannabis products from the market. WSLCB will now issue recalls or allow producers to initiate product removal if there is evidence that pesticides not approved by the state were used or are present on salable marijuana plants or products. However, because the state does not mandate batch testing of cannabis plants or products, it is unclear how or whether the new rule will be enforced. In an interview with the Seattle Times, WSLCB spokesman Brian Smith indicated that the state will not be taking a zero-tolerance approach.  “If a product tests very high […]

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13
Jan

WA Oyster Growers Request Approval to Spray Neonicotinoid Pesticides in Bay, Despite Public Opposition

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2016) Last Friday, the Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association (WGHOGA) in Washington State sent a 71-page request to the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) asking state regulators to approve  a permit to  spray neonicotinoid insecticides  that are having devastating effects on the ecosystems worldwide. Yet, WGHOGA is pursuing a single-minded approach to chemically control the shrimp that are hurting their oyster crops, while using chemicals that the preponderance of science finds cause ecosystem imbalance. In  April 2015, much to the dismay of activists and concerned local residents, Ecology approved a permit for the use of imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) to combat a growing native population of burrowing shrimp that threatens  valuable shellfish (oyster) beds in Willapa Bay and Grays  Harbor. But, with a  nationwide public outcry, the permit was withdrawn in May 2015. Ecology sent KING 5, a local Washington news agency, the below statement last Friday: “We received the permit application this morning from the Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association to use imidacloprid on shellfish beds. It will take some time for us to review the 71-page application. On May 3 (2015) the Oyster Growers Association asked Ecology to withdraw their permit. Since then, […]

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29
Jul

Passage of the DARK Act Sheds Light on Next Steps for Opposition

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29 2015) The  Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,  H.R. 1599, often referred to as the “DARK” Act or Denying Americans the Right to Know what is in their food, passed the U.S.  House of Representatives last week by a vote of 275-150. Backed largely by House Republicans, the DARK Act makes it harder for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require mandatory national labeling of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and strengthens current policies that allow companies to voluntarily label foods containing GE products, an option they rarely choose to do. The bill also continues to allow misleading “natural” claims for food that contain GE ingredients. Most concerning, however, is the prohibition  that H.R. 1599 would place  on states’ authority to require labeling of GE ingredients in food products, instituting federal  preemption of state and local authority. While the bill was being debated on the floor, co-sponsors Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) repeatedly cited a lack of scientific evidence that GEs were dangerous to support the passage of the bill, ignoring arguments from the opposition that people should be able to know what is in their food, regardless of whether it […]

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05
May

Plans to Spray Toxic Insecticide in Washington Bays Are Canceled

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2015) In a major  victory for the environment and health, the Washington state Department of Ecology (Ecology) and oyster growers association agreed to withdraw a permit allowing the use of the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid to control burrowing shrimp in oyster beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. The decision was reached in large part due to vocal public outrage over the plan, as consumers, environmental organizations, and prominent local chefs spoke out against the spraying. “One of our agency’s goals is to reduce toxics in our environment,” said Ecology Director Maia Bellon in a News Release published by the agency over the weekend. “We’ve heard loud and clear from people across Washington that this permit didn’t meet their expectations, and we respect the growers’ response.” In an article published in the Seattle Times Friday, the largest shellfish producer in country, Taylor Shellfish, announced it will not treat its oyster beds with imidacloprid in response to numerous calls, emails, and social media comments made by its customers. “Our customers spoke loud and clear today, and that speaks volumes to us,” said Bill Dewey, spokesman for Taylor Shellfish. Given Taylor Shellfish’s size, it is likely that the Willapa/Grays […]

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29
Apr

Toxic Imidacloprid To Be Sprayed on Oyster Beds in Washington Bays

(Beyond Pesticides, April 29, 2015) Much to the dismay of activists and concerned local residents, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) approved a permit for the use of imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) to combat a growing native population of burrowing shrimp that threatens valuable shellfish (oyster) beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor in Washington state. Imidacloprid is known to be toxic to bees but is also toxic to aquatic organisms, raising questions on the impacts of its use on the long-term ecological health of the bays. The shellfish industry is important to the Pacific Northwest, injecting an estimated $270 million or more into the region’s economy, and providing jobs for many. Washington’s tidelands, especially those in Willapa Bay, have been particularly productive for more than 100 years. However, according to shellfish growers, the burrowing shrimp (ghost shrimp, Neotrypaea californiensis,  and mud shrimp, Upogebia pugettensis) undermines the industry. The creatures burrow into shellfish beds, making the beds too soft for shellfish cultivation. Their burrowing churns the tidelands into a sticky muck, smothering the oysters. After several years of deliberations and studies, Ecology identified imidacloprid as its  preferred choice for eradicating the shrimp. According to the agency, imidacloprid disrupts the burrowing shrimps’ […]

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30
Jan

Persistent Organic Pollutants, Pesticides Linked to Early Menopause

(Beyond Pesticides, January 30, 2015) Extensive exposure to common chemicals may be linked to an earlier start of menopause, according to a new study out of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Researchers of the study found that women whose bodies have high levels of these chemicals, including three pesticides, experience menopause two to four years earlier than women with lower levels of the chemicals. The pesticides found to have a significant correlation with an early start in menopause were p,p’-DDE (a metabolite of DDT), β-hexachlorocyclohexane (a byproduct of the production of lindane), and mirex. All three pesticides are organochlorine insecticides or their breakdown products that have been banned for use  in the U.S., but continue to persist in the environment and in the food chain. The study, Persistent Organic Pollutants and Early Menopause in U.S. Women, published this week in the journal PLoS ONE, investigates the link between levels in blood and urine of 111 endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), or chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormonal activity, and focused on known reproductive toxicants or persistent environmental contaminants. The findings suggest a significant association between 15 chemicals —nine polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, which are industrial products), three pesticides, two […]

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27
Jan

CDC Reports Deficiencies in Farmworker Protection from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, January 27, 2015) In  evaluating a farmworker poisoning incident in Washington State last year, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report identifies “at least three potential occupational hazards in agriculture: off-target pesticide drift, toxicity of some recently marketed pesticides, and a gap in worker notification requirements.” The report recounts the poisoning in  April 2014 of 20 farmworkers at a Washington State cherry farm who were trellising cherry tree branches when a new pesticide mixture being applied to a neighboring pear orchard drifted on to their work site, causing acute illness within minutes. Sixteen farmworkers sought medical treatment for symptoms ranging from headache and eye irritation to gastrointestinal disorders and respiratory problems. Half of the affected workers had symptoms which persisted over two weeks. The workers were not notified of the planned pesticide application at the neighboring orchard. The  CDC report on the incident, authored by Geoffrey M. Calvert, MD (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), Luis Rodriguez, and Joanne Bonnar Prado, MPH  (Washington  State Department of Health), cites 31% of acute pesticide related illnesses for farmworkers between 2005 and 2012 occurring as a result of off-target drift from a neighboring farm. In the April incident, […]

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08
Jan

Thurston County, Washington Bans Neonics from County-Managed Lands

(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2015) At the close of 2014, Thurston County in Washington State became the first county government to ban the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on county-owned and managed lands. The ban comes in the form of an amended pest and vegetation policy and was passed by County Commissioners by a 3-0 vote in favor of the amendment. According to The Olympian, the ban will impact 77 acres of county facilities, 2,646 acres of parks, 47.1 miles of trails, and one mile of right-of-way landscape. Commissioners instituted the ban because of concerns over the pesticides effects on pollinators. Neonicotinoids (“neonics”) are a relatively new class of insecticides that share a common mode of action that affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death. They include imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. Recent scientific research has uncovered many uncertainties and new information on neonic-induced adverse impacts with regard to the environmental fate and sublethal exposure on foraging behavior of pollinators. Thurston County’s ban is not the first time the county has taken up the issue of neonics in defense of pollinators. In 2013, the Commissioners petitioned the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) […]

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21
Oct

Threatened Status Proposed for West Coast Fisher after Poisonings with Rodenticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2014) Due in large part to the use of rodenticides in the cultivation of illegal marijuana grow operations, earlier this month the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced a proposal to list fishers, medium sized carnivores of the weasel family, as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Fishers are the second species in the West that have been recognized by regulators as adversely affected  by illegal marijuana grow operations. Coho salmon have also been affected as a result of pesticide and fertilizer use, water withdrawals, and clear-cut logging that have silted, dried up, and polluted streams where the salmon run. Fishers, which are found throughout North America and have been part of the forests in Pacific states for thousands of years, have all but virtually disappeared in much of Washington, Oregon and California, according to FWS. Illegal marijuana grow operations have been a troubling source of wildlife deaths as growers often use “industrial-sized quantities of poison in forests to fend off rodents,” says Humboldt County District Supervisor Rex Bohn. A study published in PLOS One in 2012 found that 79% of fishers surrounding an illegal marijuana grow operation had been exposed to anticoagulant rodenticides. Fishers […]

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29
Sep

Seattle Joins the Growing List of Cities To Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2014) Last week, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to prohibit the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on land owned or maintained by the city. Neonicotinoid insecticides have been linked to colony collapse disorder (CCD) and declining bee health that has resulted in a near devastating decline in viable managed beehives, which are critical to pollination of one-third of the nation’s food supply. Seattle is the largest city thus far to enact such a ban to protect pollinators in the absence of federal regulation. Other localities taking action include  Skagway, Alaska, Eugene, Oregon and Spokane, Washington and dozens of other jurisdictions that have adopted organic land management practices or pesticide bans on   public land, private land, parks, schools, and other land under their authority. Resolution 31548, adopted and expected to be signed by Mayor Ed M.urray, states that the City of Seattle shall ban the purchase and use of neonicotinoids on city-owned property and calls for a national moratorium on the use of the toxic pesticides, urging the White House Task Force, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Congress to suspend the registration of neonicotinoids. Along with encouraging federal action, the resolution asks retailers within Seattle to […]

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28
Jul

New Research Links Pesticide Exposure to Adverse Effects Three Generations Later

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2014) New research from Michael Skinner, Ph.D.’s laboratory out of Washington State University finds that —yet again”” exposure to pesticides may have devastating consequences for future generations. The study, “Pesticide Methoxychlor Promotes the Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Adult-Onset Disease through the Female Germline,” published in PLOS ONE, finds that gestating rats exposed to the pesticide methoxychlor develop a higher incidence of kidney disease, ovary disease and obesity in offspring spanning three generations. The incidence of multiple diseases increased in the third generation or “great-grandchildren.” This study suggests that ancestral exposures to methoxychlor over the past 50 years in North America may play a part in today’s increasing rates of obesity and disease. The epigenetic changes observed were specific to methoxychlor exposure and, according to researchers, may prove to be valuable biomarkers for future research on transgenerational disease. For people exposed to the pesticide, Dr. Skinner says his findings have implications such as reduced fertility, increased adult onset disease and the potential to pass on those conditions to subsequent generations. “What your great-grandmother was exposed to during pregnancy, like the pesticide methoxychlor, may promote a dramatic increase in your susceptibility to develop disease, and you will pass […]

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26
Jun

Study Finds Majority of “Bee-Friendly” Plants Sold at Garden Stores Contaminated with Bee-Killing Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2014) Over half of the “bee-friendly” home garden plants sold at garden supply centers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Walmart have been pre-treated with pesticides shown to harm and kill bees, according to a study released yesterday by Friends of the Earth, Beyond Pesticides and allies. The study, Gardeners Beware 2014, shows that 36 out of 71 (51 percent) of garden plant samples purchased at top garden retailers in 18 cities in the United States and Canada contain neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides — a key contributor to recent bee declines. Some of the flowers contained neonic levels high enough to kill bees outright and concentrations in the flowers’ pollen and nectar are assumed to be comparable. Further, 40% of the positive samples contained two or more neonics. Gardeners Beware 2014 is a larger follow up to a first-of-its-kind pilot study co-released by Friends of the Earth, Beyond Pesticides, and other groups last August. The new study expanded the number of samples and number of locations where plants were purchased, and also assessed the distribution of neonic pesticides between flowers and the rest of the plant. “Our data indicate that many plants sold in nurseries and garden […]

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11
Jun

Vermont Prepared for Challenges to GE Labeling Law

(Beyond Pesticides, June 11, 2014) Vermont is currently gearing up to defend against possible litigation its groundbreaking law to label genetically engineered (GE) food ingredients. The law, which is the first of its kind in the nation, was specially written so that it created  the Food Fight Fund that allows individuals to donate to defend the law if it were to be challenged in court. The Vermont law and polling data  show that consumers strongly want to know what is going into their food and are willing to stand up to industries that do not want consumers to have this right. As of the first week of June, the  Food Fight Fund raised just over $15,000, with over $$9,000 of it coming from outside the state. Most of the donations come in small amounts of less than $50, which is indicative of the grassroots structure of the GE labeling movement. The fund will be the initial money used by the Vermont attorney general’s office if the state’s GE labeling law is challenged in court. Currently, the $15,000 is not  enough funds to cover legal fees to  defend this law. Lawsuits brought against the state, according to testimony by Assistant Attorney […]

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13
Jan

With Legalization of Marijuana, Chemical-Intensive Production Practices Questioned

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2013) As medical and recreational production of marijuana in the U.S. increases, new and complicated questions have risen over how to limit consumers’ exposure to pesticides through marijuana consumption. Many growers are facing limited institutional knowledge and economic forces that could lead to the unnecessary use of pesticides. States are also still wrestling with the adequate  regulation of production and testing practices. Exposure to pesticides from marijuana consumption may also be more harmful than exposure through food consumption when consumed through inhalation. As marijuana consumption becomes more widely legalized, many are calling for  stronger safety standards for marijuana production. Alan Schreiber, Ph.D., President of the Agriculture Development Group, believes that the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington will lead to immense demand for pest prevention research. Currently, growers of marijuana lack institutional assistance from federal agencies or state agricultural extension services, which have limited understanding of marijuana production. There is a concern that the lack of  field research and increased demand may lead to heavy pesticide use. In Washington, the state will allow the equivalent of 46 acres to be grown for recreational use, a factor that Dr.. Schreiber says will drive most […]

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05
Nov

Fate of GE Labeling in Washington State To Be Decided Today

(Beyond Pesticides, November 5, 2013) Today residents of Washington State will vote on ballot measure I-522, to determine whether food sold on supermarket shelves will be required to disclose the presence of genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. The simple premise of labeling GE food has been fueled by a growing grassroots movement demanding a right to know the ingredients in the food they consume. Opposition to the ballot measure has been propped up by a moneyed cadre of chemical and food corporations that claim labeling would confuse consumers and lead to higher prices at the check-out line. Funding behind I-522 has tracked a similar trajectory to Proposition 37 on the ballot in California last year, with food and chemical corporations pouring tens of millions of dollars into advertising against the measure in the run-up to Election Day.  However, while proponents of labeling were outspent 6 to 1 in California, the gap in spending for I-522 narrowed to about 3 to 1 ($22 million to $7.8 million) in Washington State. The largest single donor on the “No” side comes from agrichemical giant Monsanto, which alone contributed over $5 million dollars in attempts to defeat the initiative. The “Yes” campaign saw a large […]

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11
Oct

Moms Fined $10,000 in Genetically Engineered Labeling Counterattack

(Beyond Pesticides, October 11, 2013) A group of mothers working to disclose donors of the No-on-522 campaign, which opposes genetically engineered (GE) labeling in Washington State, has been fined $10,000 plus attorney’s fees for bringing a suit against Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) for allegedly violating state campaign finance disclosure laws in Washington. Washington State’s Initiative 522, which is on the November ballot, will require the labeling by July 1, 2015 of genetically engineered  crops and processed foods. The grassroots group, Moms for Labeling, filed the suit against GMA and the No-on-522 campaign on September 17, asserting that GMA is falsely labeled as a top donor for the campaign, in order to conceal the identities of large out of state corporations who are against GE labeling. Last year, many of GMA members who contributed against labeling efforts in California prompted negative publicity and widespread consumer boycotts. The lawsuit was initially dismissed on a technicality because the group ””newly formed and made up of a handful of moms”” violated state filing procedures by not waiting 55 days after giving notice of an action to sue. In dismissing the suit, the judge ruled that under the circumstances, only the state attorney general now […]

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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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13
Aug

Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Supported Widely in Washington State, Industry Pushes Back

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2013) Despite the defeat of California’s Proposition 37 at the polls last November, it’s evident that advocates of labeling genetically engineered (GE) foods have not let the loss slow them down. In fact, Prop 37 has acted as a rallying point, lifting the issue to national attention and highlighting the GE industry’s vain attempts to quash the national grassroots movement. Recent victories with high-profile supermarkets such as Whole Foods, states including Connecticut and Maine, and the introduction of a federal GE labeling bill in both Houses of Congress set the backdrop for the biggest food fight of the year, Washington State’s Initiative 522 (I-522). Washington State’s I-522 would require manufacturers selling foods containing GE ingredients to disclose their presence conspicuously on the front of a product’s package. The initiative comes at a critical time for the state’s agricultural economy, particularly the apple and salmon industry, which are threatened from GE counterparts currently being considered for deregulation. Aquabounty’s GE Salmon are designed to reach maturity faster than their wild counterparts, and a Canadian company is currently waiting for approval of a GE apple that won’t brown. But the biggest threats still come from multi-billion dollar transnational agrichemical […]

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11
Jun

Multiple Lawsuits Filed Against Monsanto for Transgene Contamination of Wheat

(Beyond Pesticides, June 11, 2013) Several different lawsuits have been filed against the agrichemical giant Monsanto after the recent discovery of illegal Genetically Engineered (GE) glyphosate-resistant wheat plants  in an Oregon wheat field. The GE wheat was first found in early May when field workers in eastern Oregon noticed a volunteer patch of wheat that survived a dousing with glyphosate. Ernst Barnes, a Kansas wheat farmer, brought the first lawsuit against Monsanto. Soon after, a separate lawsuit was filed by the Center for Food Safety on behalf of Pacific Northwest wheat farmers. The lawsuits allege that the presence of GE wheat crops spurred top wheat importers, such as Japan, South Korea, and the European Union, to enact damaging restrictions on American wheat. These restrictions could lead to lower wheat imports and will cause devastating economic effects to wheat farmers. While the world’s largest wheat importer, Egypt, has not signaled it would stop importing U.S. wheat, Japan has cancelled its order to buy U.S. western white wheat. Meanwhile, the European Union has prepared to begin testing shipments for the Roundup Ready gene. In 2012, U.S. exported wheat was valued at $18.1 billion, with 90% of Oregon’s wheat sent abroad. Since 1994, […]

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