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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Genetic Engineering' Category


13
Dec

U.S. Asks World Trade Organization to Force Lower International Safety Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2018) The U.S. is pushing back against international standards that restrict pesticides by appealing to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to intervene. At issue are new EU maximum residue levels (MRLs) on food for the following pesticides: buprofezin, diflubenzuron, ethoxysulfurom, ioxynil, molinate, picoxystrobin and tepraloxydim. Advocates are concerned that a U.S. challenge to stronger EU standards could cause the WTO to force a weakening of standards internationally. Most significantly, EU proposed lowering its MRLs on imports. The EU said lower MRLs are needed to protect consumers, as research shows pesticides are shown to be carcinogenic, and that, contrary to chemical-industry claims, no level of allowable exposures can be assumed. Taking issue with the new MRLs – as with all other STCs mentioned above – the U.S. said new MRLs would cause barriers to trade, and therefore, must be rejected by the WTO. Advocates point to the introduction of GMOs as an example of the U.S. using the WTO to block standards that restrict potentially hazardous products. Recently, the U.S. has been involved in four of five new specific trade concerns (STCs) raised before WTO. As part of reviewing the current agreement of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary […]

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30
Nov

Multiple Pesticide Residues in Soil Raise Alarm

(Beyond Pesticides, November 30, 2018) A study published this month in Science of the Total Environment reveals numerous pesticide residues persisting in soil, harming the viability of agricultural lands and increasing risk of off-site contamination. Funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission, researchers from the European Diverfarming project at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands suggest nations urgently reevaluate conventional land use and inputs including water, energy, fertilizers, machinery and pesticides. Researchers decrying the lack of soil protection policies endeavored to determine which pesticides had the highest soil persistence and toxicity to non-target species. Three hundred seventeen surface soil samples were analyzed from 11 European countries. Selected countries were those with the largest amounts of active agricultural land, characterizing six distinct cropping systems. Sampled soils purposefully represented different soil properties and were taken from crops with the highest pesticide use per hectare. Samples were then analyzed for the concentration of 76 pesticide residues. These 76 pesticides were selected as being most often applied on conventional crops. Eighty-three percent of samples contained varying degrees of pesticide residues, with 25 percent showing one pesticide residue and 58 percent showing mixtures of two or more. Only 17 percent of […]

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29
Nov

Release of GE Mosquitoes Canceled by Cayman Islands Officials

(Beyond Pesticides, November 29, 2018) The British Cayman Islands will no longer fund the release of genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes, as reports indicate that the program failed to achieve its intended goals.  The government is formally terminating its contract with the UK-based company Oxitec, which marketed GE mosquitoes as a sort of silver bullet for the management of diseases such as Zika, yellow fever, malaria, and dengue. Advocates opposed to the GE mosquito program are continuing to encourage a focus on education and source reduction as the best method to address mosquito-borne diseases. Oxitec first began introducing its line of GE mosquitoes earlier in the decade, at a variety of locations including India, Brazil, Malaysia, and the Florida Keys. Public opposition to the release has been consistently strong. In the Florida Keys, over 230,000 people signed a change.org petition opposing the release. In the Cayman Islands, residents launched a number of lawsuits. In each instance the company was granted free reign to initiate its program. GE mosquitoes aim to ‘gene drive’ mosquito populations out of existence, a process intended to propagate a particular set of genes in a species. The company developed GE mosquitoes in a laboratory, injecting a gene […]

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27
Nov

Continuing Pattern, Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler Ignores Science, Embraces Monsanto (Bayer), and Continues Dicamba Herbicide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ignored the input of an expert weed scientist on the controversial herbicide dicamba, bending to Bayer’s Monsanto and the pesticide industry, according to emails obtained by the Arkansas Democrat and Chronicle (ADC) through a Freedom of Information Act request. The scandal centers on the recent re-approval of the pesticide, a highly volatile and drift-prone herbicide that has become a serious problem for many farmers and state regulators. As top-level EPA officials continue to work with industry to subvert their own agency’s scientific findings, more and more consumers are moving to organic products in order avoid the pesticide risks government regulators ask consumers to accept. Emails ADC received indicate that Jason Norsworthy, PhD, a weed scientist with the University of Arkansas, worked closely with Bayer’s Monsanto in conducting field trials this past summer, but found high volatility and drift of the company’s new dicamba-based herbicide XtendiMax. The product was developed in the face of widespread resistance to glyphosate-based herbicides in genetically engineered (GE) farm fields. However, recent accounts from farmers in the south and midwest indicate that, not only is the switch to dicamba unhelpful  in eliminating drift and reversing escalating weed resistance, its […]

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08
Nov

Study Confirms Chemical-Intensive Production Contaminates Organic with Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2018) Two months after publishing its first series of tests, part two of an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study finds residues of Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, in all General Mills’ Cheerios and PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats products sampled. Health advocates are expressing concern about the consequences of chronic glyphosate exposure, and say U.S. federal agencies must limit the herbicide’s use on oat-based breakfast foods regularly marketed to children. In addition, organic itself is under threat, as chemical-intensive management practices undermine the future of the growing organic movement. In this second round of testing, EWG scientists purchased products around San Francisco and Washington DC. 28 samples of conventional and 16 samples of organic oat products were collected. Approximately 300 grams of each General Mills and PepsiCo product were packaged and shipped to Anresco Laboratories, in San Francisco. Detected glyphosate residues were compared to EWG’s own health benchmark of 160 parts per billion (ppb). This benchmark is based on risks of lifetime exposure and what EWG scientists consider allowable and protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.  EWG’s results detected glyphosate residues in all 28 samples of conventionally grown oat products. The vast majority (all but two) […]

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13
Aug

Take Action: Tell USDA that Purposeful Mutagenesis Is Genetic Engineering

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2018) Tell USDA to Follow the EU in Classifying New Mutagenesis Techniques as GMO. The Court of Justice of the European Union has highlighted the fact that failing to classify mutagenesis (purposeful changes in DNA) as genetic engineering is a backdoor way of allowing GMOs (genetically modified organisms) without labeling them as such. The court issued an opinion on July 25, saying, “Organisms obtained by mutagenesis are GMOs [genetically engineered organisms] and are, in principle, subject to the obligations laid down by the GMO directive.” Although the opinion does not apply to techniques that “have been conventionally used in a number of applications and have a long safety record,” the court says that member states may subject even those organisms to the obligations of the GMO or other directives. The court finds that the risks of new mutagenesis techniques, may yield results –and risks— similar to those of transgenesis (introducing genes from other organisms), and should thus be regulated as genetically engineered organisms. Tell USDA to classify mutagenesis techniques as GMO. This issue is one on which the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture requested comment during an informal comment period that ended July […]

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02
Aug

Weeds on Missouri Cropland Found To Be Resistant to Six Different Herbicides

(Beyond Pesticides, August 2, 2018) Weed scientists from the University of Missouri (UM) have just published evidence of a water hemp population resistant to six different herbicides. The study is sending shock waves throughout the chemical-intensive agricultural community, particularly in light of the plant’s resistance to 2,4-D. In its reporting on the study, KTIC Rural Radio begged the question, “If we’re already seeing 2,4-D resistance now, what will happen when use of the herbicide becomes even more commonplace?” KTIC is referring to the impending commercialization of products like Enlist Duo, developed by DowDupont in an attempt to address widespread weed resistance to glyphosate. Enlist Duo is an herbicide containing both glyphosate and 2,4-D, and is intended to be sprayed only on crops genetically engineered (GE) to tolerate exposure to both chemicals. However, with growing reports like this, many farmers may begin to rethink their approach. In 2014, a farmer contacted UM indicating that water hemp was not responding to 2,4-D during a regular ‘burndown’ the farmer conducted before planting a new crop. (Chemical-intensive farmers will often use a synthetic herbicide to clear their field for new plantings.) The farmer had also used other herbicides, fomesafen and glyphosate, in this process […]

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26
Jul

Another Lawsuit Blames Monsanto for Crop Loss

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2018) A legal complaint filed by a Kansas farmer claims industry giant, Monsanto, knew its new dicamba-formulated product would harm other crops, but marketed and sold it anyway, damaging thousands of acres of crops. The lawsuit, filed by 4-R Farms based in Corning Kansas, lost over 200 acres of soybeans. This is the latest in a string of lawsuits Monsanto is facing. Farmers in Arkansas, Missouri, and elsewhere have been hit with crop losses as a result of the dicamba damage. Advocates  and victims of damage argue that Monsanto places profits ahead of possible damage to crops when it markets seeds resistant to a powerful weedkiller before making a less volatile herbicide available. This, according to the lawsuit filed in court. The petition, filed last week, could be the catalyst for a class action lawsuit of Kansas farmers against Monsanto, which faces a growing docket of legal challenges. The lawsuit also names chemical company BASF as a co-defendant. BASF is facing its own mounting pile of lawsuits over dicamba. The lawsuit requests unspecified damages and a trial by a federal jury in Topeka. Monsanto marketed its new line of dicamba products, Xtend, to go hand in hand with […]

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19
Jul

Scotts-Monsanto Genetically Engineered Experimental Bentgrass Threatens Oregon Environment, Waterways, and Seed Industry

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2018) A variety of bentgrass, genetically engineered by Scotts Miracle-Gro and Monsanto to tolerate the glyphosate herbicide Roundup, escaped from an experimental field planting in Eastern Oregon 15 years ago, and continues to plague area farmers. Bentgrass is prized by those who maintain golf course greens because of its fine texture and habit of spreading in even, horizontal mats. But the genetically engineered (GE) version has become a giant annoyance for farmers and other growers who battle its spread through the irrigation systems of Malheur County in eastern Oregon. The escape of this GE version of Agrostis stolonifera is especially alarming in Oregon, the grass seed capital of the world. The GE grass showed up after crossing the Snake River from where it had been planted in seed fields in Idaho, despite the fact that the USDA had not approved its release into the seed market. By 2010, farmers and others found it spreading in mats across most of the irrigation canals and ditches that snake across Malheur County. It is now found in Jefferson County, Oregon, and Canyon County, Idaho, as well. The growth habit of the perennial grass is what greenskeepers love, but its persistent […]

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04
Jun

Take Action: Tell USDA We Need Honest, Transparent, Informative GE/GMO Labeling

(Beyond Pesticides, June 4, 2018) As the deadline approaches for regulations on labeling genetically engineered (GE or GMO —genetically modified organism) food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed a rule that fails in every important respect: It allows information to be conveyed by QR codes, whose use requires a cell phone (with camera function) and a reliable broadband connection. It allows GE food to be identified as “bioengineered” OR by a smiley-faced symbol containing the letters “be.” It does not cover highly processed GE foods, like vegetable oils or sugar, and does not include newer genetic engineering techniques, such as CRISPR (a gene editing tool). Implementation is delayed. USDA is accepting comments through Regulations.gov. For quick copy and paste, use the text below to comment at regulations.gov. Add a personal message at the beginning about why this is important to you, if possible. Tell USDA We Need Honest, Transparent, Informative GE/GMO Labeling Suggested Comments: As a consumer, I have a right to know whether my food is produced using genetic engineering. As USDA finalizes labeling regulations, please ensure that labels are honest, transparent, and informative by adopting the following policies: Reject package labeling with unreliable “QR codes” and other […]

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11
May

USDA Proposed Rule for GE Labeling Criticized as Misleading

(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2018) Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its long-awaited proposal for disclosing the presence of genetically engineering (GE) in foods. Much to the disappointment of health, environmental, and consumer advocates, the draft rule appears as an attempt mask or to promote GE products, rather than caution consumers. Concerned individuals can send comments to USDA on the proposed rule through regulations.gov until July 3rd. USDA’s proposal will move forward with wholly insufficient disclosure requirements that the Department’s own study had indicated are discriminatory, according to analysts. Rather than use the phrase “genetically modified,” or “genetically engineered,” or include the acronyms “GE” or “GMO,” USDA is using the term “bioengineered.” The symbols proposed by USDA are a happy, smiling sun that would read either “bioengineered” or “may be bioengineered food.” Of course, such a symbol suggests to consumers that these foods are a positive, rather than concerning addition to a food product. However, USDA is also giving the option of simply including the words “bioengineered food,” “contains a bioengineered food ingredient,” or even leaving that language out and directing consumers to a QR code. A lawsuit by the Center for Food Safety forced USDA […]

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13
Feb

Court Ruling Stops Trump Administration from Withholding Documents in GE Salmon Case

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2018) Arguments by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to withhold from public and court review key documents revealing how it approved the first genetically engineered (GE) salmon were rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, documents detailing how the agency reviewed and approved the GE animal will have to be produced for court review in the ongoing case challenging its controversial approval. Thousands of pages of government documents pertaining to the 2015 approval of GE salmon for human consumption were being withheld even after plaintiffs challenging the approval demanded that FDA provide all the information the agency considered in its decision. The case, Institute for Fisheries Resources v. Burwell, Case No. 3:16-cv-01574-VC, brought by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Earthjustice on behalf the Institute for Fisheries Resources, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Golden Gate Salmon Association, Kennebec Reborn, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, Cascadia Wildlands, Ecology Action Center, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Food and Water Watch, and the Quinault Indian Nation, was filed in 2016 after FDA approved its first-ever GE food animal, an Atlantic salmon engineered to grow quickly. The lawsuit challenges FDA’s claim that […]

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25
Jan

Arkansas Officially Bans Use of Monsanto’s Dicamba Herbicide Linked to Crop Damage

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2018) Monsanto’s herbicide dicamba, widely used on genetically engineered crops, will be prohibited from use in agriculture from April 16 to October 31, 2018 in Arkansas, following a vote this week by the state’s Legislative Council. Action by lawmakers was the last step needed to make the ban official after the Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) voted last year to continue a temporary ban on the drift and damage-prone herbicide into 2018. The ban is a win for farmers and health advocates who have suffered from drift, health effects, and crop damage as a result of widespread dicamba use, as over 29,000 people, including many Beyond Pesticides supporters, voiced their support for ASPB’s proposal when it was announced in October. Prior to the vote by the Arkansas Legislative Council lawmakers had delayed a vote on the ban, sending the proposal back to ASPB for review and potential revision. Under state law, the Legislative Council, which acts as a decision making body when the state legislature is not in session, must either approve or disapprove of regulations promulgated by ASPB; lawmakers cannot amend ASPB’s rules. Despite concerns from lawmakers friendly to the chemical industry, ASPB refused to […]

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12
Dec

Monsanto Offers Farmers Payments to Use Controversial Herbicide Dicamba, According to Reuters

(Beyond Pesticides, December 12, 2017) According to a Reuters story, agrichemical company Monsanto plans to offer farmers a cash incentive to use its highly toxic and drift-prone dicamba-based herbicide next season, despite links to widespread crop damage that has pitted neighbor against neighbor in agricultural communities throughout the country. The move comes as more and more states enact or consider restrictions on use of the herbicide, which is intended to be paired with genetically engineered (GE) soybean seeds resistant to both dicamba and another controversial herbicide produced by Monsanto, glyphosate. Monsanto plans to provide farmers more than half of the cost of herbicide per acre as an incentive to plant its GE seeds. However, given the range of new regulations surrounding the products, as well as the social stigma around its use, it remains to be seen whether the offer will sway farmers. Dicamba has stirred up fights between neighbors in a number of agricultural communities. Bader Farms, which grows over 110,00 peach trees on over 1,000 acres in Missouri, is suing Monsanto after its insurance company issued a refusal to pay for damages caused by dicamba drift from surrounding farms. In June of this year, University of Arkansas’ agricultural […]

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04
Dec

Take Action: Don’t Allow Dow Chemical to Poison Farms and Communities

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2017) You told the Arkansas Plant Board to exercise its authority to protect farmers, consumers, and the environment from use of the herbicide dicamba on genetically engineered (GE) soybeans, and the board listened. Now, we need to ask the board to stop the use of 2,4-D on GE cotton. The action of states is critical as the federal government ignores basic safety concerns. Action in Arkansas will influence other states. Tell the Arkansas Plant Board to adopt the proposed rule and to prohibit use of 2,4-D on cotton! The decision concerning 2,4-D use on herbicide-tolerant cotton goes to the Arkansas Plant Board on December 12. The choice has many similarities to the decision to allow — and then prohibit — the use of dicamba on herbicide-tolerant soybean varieties. Both 2,4-D and dicamba are phenoxy herbicides — 2,4-D being the infamous ingredient (along with 2,4,5-T) of Agent Orange. Our voices were heard when the Arkansas Plant Board considered dicamba, so please weigh in on 2,4-D. At this December 12 meeting, the Arkansas Plant Board is holding a hearing on a proposed regulation that would allow the Board to request more information from pesticide registrants, which could support restrictions based on conditions within Arkansas. The […]

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30
Oct

Deadline Today: Stop Monsanto from Poisoning Farms and Communities

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30, 2017) Tell the Arkansas State Plant Board to stand up to Monsanto, and protect farmers by banning dicamba’s use in Arkansas agriculture. Comment period closes today, Monday, October 30, 2017, at 4:30pm (Eastern Time). Your comments are needed to stop the disaster in Arkansas being created by Monsanto’s new genetically engineered (GE) cropping system, which relies on the toxic pesticide dicamba. If Arkansas bans dicamba, other states should and will follow —given the chemical industry’s takeover of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is allowing this extremely hazardous pesticide use. This is a problem that has regional and national implications, given the breakdown of the EPA and its pesticide program. We cannot let this failure of protection stand in Arkansas or anywhere in the country. Promoted by Monsanto as a way to address rampant Roundup (glyphosate) resistance, Monsanto’s new GE soybeans are now able to withstand both glyphosate and dicamba, an older herbicide with a range of documented health effects —from neurotoxicity to reproductive problems. Dicamba is also highly volatile and, as a result, has drifted across crop fields throughout the region, damaging high value fruit tree and organic operations. The Arkansas State Plant Board is […]

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20
Oct

New EPA Restrictions of Herbicide Dicamba, Prone to Drift, Criticized as Not Stopping Major Crop Damage

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2017) Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that label changes to the herbicide dicamba would be made to try to minimize drift that has left thousands of acres of crops already damaged this season. The label changes include making dicamba “restricted use,” which allows only certified applicators to apply the chemical. Dicamba drift has been damaging farmers’ crops for at least two years due to the approval of new dicamba-tolerant genetically engineered (GE) crops. Advocates says that the new changes do not ensure that drift will be eliminated. According to EPA, the agency reached an agreement with the makers of dicamba, (Monsanto, BASF and DuPont) to restrict its application. This comes after hundreds of official complaints of crop damage related to dicamba across 17 states this year alone, leading to questions about the new formulation of the chemical used in genetically engineered (GE) crop productioon. New GE crops developed by Monsanto must be paired with specific formulations of dicamba, and thus led to a vast increase in dicamba use over the past couple growing seasons. Dicamba-based herbicide use has climbed dramatically as farmers have adopted, especially, Monsanto’s GE soybean seeds; in the 2017 season, 20 […]

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26
Sep

USDA Study Confirms Concerns about Electronic GE Labeling Law

(Beyond Pesticides, September, 26, 2017) A congressionally mandated study belatedly released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) questions the feasibility of electronic disclosures as a means of providing consumers with information on genetically engineered (GE) food ingredients. The study, which should have been published in July 2017 by law, confirms concerns held by many that “electronic and digital disclosures” (QR codes) will pose technological challenges for consumers, limiting access to food information. The study was required by the 2016 Federal Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standards Act (the “GE Labeling Act”) to help inform the establishment of federal standards for labeling by July 2018. USDA issued the study just days after the Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a lawsuit challenging the agency’s unlawful withholding of the required study. Twelve days after the lawsuit was submitted on August 24, USDA publicly released the study p. The labeling law allows USDA to consider several options: on-package text, a GE symbol on packages, or “electronic or digital disclosures,” which would require shoppers to use a smart phone to scan packages to access a website or call a 1-800 number for every single product to find out if it was produced with genetic engineering. The study is crucial in analyzing […]

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07
Sep

Lawsuit Filed on GE Food Labeling

(Beyond Pesticides, September 7, 2017) Last month, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump Administration for its failure to comply with the 2016 federal law on the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food, National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law.  Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are charged with implementing the new labeling rules, and part of that process is a study on “electronic and digital disclosures” (QR codes) for GE foods, as opposed to on-package text.  That study was required to be finished by July 2017, with an opportunity for public commetn, but USDA never met it legal obligation. The federal lawsuit is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against USDA regarding that agency’s failure to comply with mandatory deadlines established by the 2016 Federal Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standards Act (the “GE Labeling Act”). The suit contends that the “American public deserves full disclosure, the right to transparency and free choice in the marketplace.” Consumers have advocated for mandatory labeling of GE foods for nearly two decades. Polls show that over 90% of U.S. residents support requiring the labeling of GE foods, as 64 countries already do, including many U.S. trade partners […]

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26
Jul

Campbell’s Soup Parts with Grocery Manufacturers Association over GE Labeling

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2017) Campbell Soup Co. announced that it will leave the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) by the end of the year over concerns that the trade association no longer represents its views concerning labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food. Campbell’s President and CEO Denise Morrison said that while the company does not question the safety of GE food, it recognizes that most consumers want to see GE ingredients on the label. Meanwhile, Campbell’s has supported the GMA digital disclosure and lists ingredients that “may be derived from crops grown from genetically engineered seeds” on its website. The move by Campbell Soup comes as USDA is pondering possible disclosure options under the “compromise” bill on labeling genetically engineered food passed last year by the U.S. Congress. The company says, “While this legislation offers a range of disclosure options for manufacturers, we will introduce an on-pack statement as we know that’s what the overwhelming majority of Americans support. We’re working on language that provides specific ingredient information and supports the science that GMOs are safe.” A number of other companies have also announced their intention to label GE ingredients, while similarly maintaining their safety. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has extended to August […]

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18
Jul

Take Action: Comment to Stop U.S. Senate from Undermining Value of USDA Organic Food Label

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2018) The value of the organic label is under attack in the U.S. Congress. If proposed changes are adopted, the public will not be able to rely on the label to identify the stark differences between current organic and chemical-intensive food production practices. Beyond Pesticides has long advanced organic agriculture as a means of protecting  farmers, farmworkers, consumers, biodiversity, and the environment. The U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee is accepting comments now on Farm Bill proposals that will erode the meaning of organic. Although there are about 400 days to go before 2012 Farm Bill funding ends, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R, KS) is taking the opportunity of Senate hearings to attack those institutions that make organic agriculture standards clear, transparent, and subject to Congressionally mandated public oversight. In particular, Sen. Roberts and others are attacking the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which is an impediment to organic factory farms. Organic production is subject to rigorous oversight through a certification and inspection process, not found in conventional agriculture, but needing continual improvement to keep pace with the tremendous growth of the organic sector. We want to protect and strengthen these standards, not reduce and weaken them. Part One […]

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14
Jul

What Should Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Look Like? USDA Seeks Your Input

(Beyond Pesticides, July 14, 2017) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking input into draft regulations that will determine whether genetically engineered (GE) ingredients [or genetically modified organisms (GMO)] are identified on products labels, or hidden behind high tech codes. Let USDA know by Monday, July 17 what you think and how important clear and meaningful labeling is. A “compromise” bill on labeling genetically engineered food was passed last year by the U.S. Congress, leaving it to USDA to decide which foods would be labeled, and how they would be labeled. In preparation for drafting regulations, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has posed 30 questions regarding the implementation of the law. AMS is accepting input until Monday, July 17. Commenting provides a chance to help shape USDA’s proposal. The law includes labeling options other than on-package labeling, such as QR codes and websites, which would only serve to hide the information this law was passed to provide. It also allows USDA to decide which GE ingredients must be disclosed. Beyond Pesticides is telling USDA the following: The definition of “bioengineering” must include all forms of genetic engineering including newer forms like CRISPR and RNA interference (RNAi). Definitions should be compatible […]

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26
Jun

Inspector General: EPA Must Evaluate Impact of Chemical Mixtures

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2017) A new report released last week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of the Inspector General finds that the agency must collect and assess information on chemical mixtures and potential synergistic effects in order to improve oversight over pesticide registrations and management of developing herbicide resistance. Synergy results when the mixture of chemicals creates effects greater than the aggregation of individual effects, leading to underestimated toxic impacts on human and environmental health. EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention states it will consider how best to use synergistic effects data for pesticide registration decisions by 2019. The report, released June 21, 2017, EPA Can Strengthen Its Oversight of Herbicide Resistance With Better Management Controls, is the result of an assessment into EPA’s management and oversight of resistance issues related to herbicide-resistant genetically engineered (GE) crops. The report finds, “EPA uses the pesticide registration process to collect information on human health and environmental risks from pesticides used on herbicide-resistant weeds, but no information is collected regarding synergism.” It states that information on synergy is important because it allows EPA “a greater ability to assess human health and environmental risks combined with real-world pesticide […]

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