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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Genetic Engineering' Category


13
Dec

Report Finds EPA “Sugarcoating” Effects of Hazardous Neonic Seed Coatings

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2016) Net Loss, a new report released by the Center for Food Safety (CFS), indicates the use of neonicotinoid-coated seeds is exactly that, an economic drain for farmers that only results in the indiscriminate poisoning for non-target wildlife, such as pollinators. The report is a follow up to a 2014 report, Heavy Costs: Weighing the Value of Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Agriculture, which concluded  that neonic seeds bring greater costs than benefits to farmers. Later that year, a study published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which  looks specifically at the economic value of neonic coated soybeans, made similar determinations —insecticide seed coating provide little or no overall benefit in controlling insects or improving yield or quality. CFS’s new report cites  numerous new studies published over the past several years that reinforce the group’s original determination on the realized benefits pesticide-coated seeds provide to farmers. Front and center in the report are preliminary results from the European Union’s suspension on the use of neonics on certain agricultural crops. The report finds that after the 2013 EU moratorium, despite cries from the agrichemical industry of rampant crop failures, yields actually increased. For maize, the EU saw a […]

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12
Dec

Bader Farms v. Monsanto, An Epic Duel Over Illegal Spraying of Herbicide Dicamba

(Beyond Pesticides,  December 12, 2016)   On November 23, Bill Bader of  Bader farms, Missouri’s largest peach farm with over 1,000 acres and 110,000 peach trees, filed a suit against the multinational, agrichemical giant Monsanto. Mr. Bader seeks compensation for extensive damags to his peach trees, which he blames on the illegal, or non-labeled, use of the toxic herbicide dicamba, brought on by sales of Monsanto’s new, genetically engineered (GE), dicamba-tolerant crops. Mr. Bader is projected to lose $1.5 million in revenue from the crop damage. The case was filed in the Circuit Court of Dunklin County, an area that has been hit especially hard by alleged illegal dicamba spraying. The farm’s insurance company refuses to cover damages from any illegal herbicide use. Without compensation for the damages, the farm risks going out of business. The illegal use of dicamba in this case is not an isolated incident. There have been many disputes in the Midwest over the  illegal spraying of dicamba and subsequent crop damage due to pesticide drift.  Numerous news reports over the past two  months in southern soybean growing regions have found that many farmers are, in response to weeds on their farms that have become resistant […]

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08
Dec

Delaware Pollinator Protection Plan, Like Other State Plans, Fails to Eliminate Bee-Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, December 8, 2016) On Monday, the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) released its Managed Pollinator Protection Plan, which allows for the continuation of widespread pesticide use in landscapes across the state. The plan includes voluntary strategies for farmers, beekeepers, landowners and pesticide applicators, but fails to include any recommendations for reducing or eliminating toxic pesticide use. DDA resorts to recommending approaches that include “best management practices,” strategies to increase pollinator forage on public and private lands, and advocating for the use of Driftwatch, an online initiative that focuses on pesticide drift. Driftwatch is a voluntary effort run by the non-profit, Fieldwatch, which, according to its website, was created by Purdue University Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Agricultural Communications departments and  Purdue University Cooperative Extension Specialists  “to help pesticide applicators and specialty crop growers communicate more effectively to promote awareness and stewardship activities to help prevent and manage drift effects.” Like other state pollinator protection plans,  there is little mention of pesticides, despite the fact that neonicotinoids (neonics) are highly toxic, persistent and systemic pesticides that have been widely implicated as a leading factor in pollinator decline. According to environmentalists and beekeepers, little meaningful action has been taken to […]

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28
Nov

Court Fails to Provide Redress for Beekeeper Damages Caused by Regulatory Gaps

(Beyond Pesticides,  November 28, 2016) Last week, a  federal judge effectively  rubber stamped  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policies that allow seeds to be coated with bee-toxic pesticides known as neonicotinoids. These pesticides, persistent in water and soil, are associated with acute bee kills, widespread pollinator declines and environmental damage. The Judge’s Order was issued on Nov. 21 in the case of  Anderson et al. v. McCarthy, No. 3:16-cv-00068-WHA (N.D. Cal.). “It is astounding that a judge, EPA or anyone with any common sense would not regulate this type of toxic pesticide use, especially when the seed-coatings are so broadly applied and there is so much at risk. Study after study has shown that seeds coated with these chemicals are a major culprit in catastrophic bee-kills. Now more than ever our country’s beekeepers, environment and food system deserve protection from agrichemical interests, and it is EPA’s job to deliver it,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Director of Center for Food Safety. The neonicotinoids share a common mode of action that affects the central nervous system of insects, resulting in  paralysis and death. They include  imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. Neonicotinoid pesticides have  consistently been implicated  as a key contributor […]

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11
Nov

EPA Registers Dicamba for GE Crops, Adding to Growing Herbicide Resistance Issue

(Beyond Pesticides, November 11, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered a new formulation of dicamba to control weeds in cotton and soybean crops that have been genetically engineered (GE) to tolerate the chemical. The new formulation is called Xtendimax with VaporGripâ Technology, which is claimed to be specifically designed to have lower volatility. The registration, which is time-limited, will automatically expire after two years. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, EPA ignored the legal requirement to explore threats to endangered species, approving this new formulation without considering impacts to species protected under the Endangered Species Act. This decision comes directly after EPA announced that it is reapproving the toxic herbicide mixture Enlist Duo, and proposed to expand the number of crops and states in which it can be used. Dicamba has been linked to damage of the kidney and liver, neurotoxicity, and developmental impacts. The chemical has a strong propensity to volatilize small particles of the herbicide into the air and drift far off-site. Sensitive crop species can be damaged by dicamba at levels in the parts per million.  A study published by Pennsylvania State scientists in late 2015 found dicamba drift was “frequently responsible for […]

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04
Nov

EPA Proposes to Expand Pesticide Uses in Failed GE Crops, Public Comments Needed

(Beyond Pesticides, November 4, 2016) After withdrawing in January its registration approval for the toxic herbicide mixture Enlist Duo, for use in genetically engineered (GE) crops, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  announced  this week that it is not only reapproving  the chemical combination, but it is proposing to expand the number of crops and states in which it can be used. The expanded registration will allow the use of Enlist Duo on GE cotton and extend use to GE corn, soybean, and cotton from 15 states to 34 states. This follows an EPA review triggered by manufacturer claims that Enlist Duo ingredients have synergistic effects, which EPA had not evaluated. According to EPA, its latest review of the data found no synergistic effects. Ironically, this EPA-proposed expansion of pesticide use in GE crops across the U.S. comes on the heels of a front page Sunday New York Times exposé  that concludes “genetically engineered crops fail to increase yields and reduce pesticide use,” despite continuing claims to the contrary. Developed by Dow AgroSciences (Dow), Enlist Duo is an herbicide that incorporates a mix of glyphosate and a new formulation of 2,4-D, intended for use on GE Enlist-Duo-tolerant corn and soybean crops. […]

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01
Nov

Genetically Engineered Crops Fail to Increase Yields and Reduce Pesticide Use, Exposé Reveals

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2016) A report published this weekend in The New York Times finds that the shift to genetically engineered (GE) crops in the United States and Canada over the past two decades has increased the use of pesticides in North America, and failed to produce any significant yield increases. When the technology was first introduced, multinational agrichemical companies claimed just the opposite would occur- yields would spike and pesticide use would be minimized. As far back as 1998, Beyond Pesticides asked, “Is the failed pesticide paradigm being genetically engineered?” As the Times and numerous other publications before it have found, the answer was and still is yes. The far-ranging expose by the Times on the state of the GE industry used publicly available data from the United Nations to compare yields between that of Europe and North America. Their data show “no discernible advantage in yields — food per acre” for the United States and Canada over Western Europe during the time of GE crop adoption. A comparison between rapeseed yields in Canada and Western Europe shows increases in both regions, with Europe’s yields consistently higher, independent of the use of GE crops. For corn, gains in […]

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26
Oct

Massachusetts Attorney General Stops Deceptive Safety Claims about Bee-Toxic Pesticides, Beyond Pesticides Urges Other States to Follow

(Washington, D.C. October 26, 2016)  With the Massachusetts Attorney General forcing Bayer CropScience to end its statewide advertising containing deceptive safety claims about bee-toxic pesticides, Beyond Pesticides yesterday asked the other 49 states to do the same. In a letter to State Attorneys General, Beyond Pesticides said, “With neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides linked to the increase in pollinator decline, we are writing to urge you, on behalf of our members in your state, to stop misleading and fraudulent advertising of these pesticide products.” Beyond Pesticides continues, “We make this request following the settlement reached by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy with Bayer CropScience, announced today, that ends the company’s deceptive advertising practices on their neonicotinoid-containing lawn and garden products.” Bayer agreed to change its advertising practices, so that the neonic-containing lawn and garden products are no longer misrepresented by false safety claims. This landmark settlement, filed under the state’s Consumer Protection Act, is believed to be the first time any major pesticide company has agreed to a court order to address alleged false advertising regarding risks posed by neonic products to honey and native bees, and other pollinator species.  The lawn and garden products subject to the settlement, which include Bayer […]

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26
Oct

Report Says Farmers Illegally Use Herbicide Dicamba on Glyphosate/Roundup-Resistant Weeds in Genetically Engineered Crop

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a criminal investigation at several locations in Missouri into the illegal spraying this summer of the herbicide dicamba. EPA’s investigation is ongoing and stems from widespread complaints of damage to various crops across Missouri and several other states in the Midwest and Southeast. Dicamba, a widely used herbicide, has had frequent problems with drift and subsequent crop injury. Many suspect that  farmers who planted the new dicamba-tolerant genetically engineered (GE) seeds in the region, when faced with a proliferation of pigweed this year, illegally sprayed dicamba across their fields, leading to drift and off-site crop damage to other farmers. While USDA has deregulated (approved) dicamba-tolerant crops, EPA is expected to but has not yet registered a formulations of dicamba for use on GE crops. Dicamba is highly volatile and prone to drift. In a statement to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, EPA’s Region 7 office said the Missouri Department of Agriculture received more than 100 complaints since June 22, 2016. The complaints allege damage to more than 41,000 acres of soybeans, and other crops including peaches, tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupe, rice, purple-hull peas, peanuts, cotton and alfalfa; as well as […]

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12
Oct

In Bayer-Monsanto Merger, Bayer Pledges Not to Push GE Crops on Europe

(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2016) German chemical company Bayer said it would not introduce genetically engineered (GE) crops in Europe after its historic takeover of U.S. seed and pesticide producer Monsanto. The European Union (EU) has been skeptical of GE crops, with many countries refusing to approve certain varieties of them. However, in the U.S., where GE crops make up about half of the crops grown, the merger will probably have little to no effect on GE use. Last month, St. Louis-based agrichemical giant  Monsanto Co. agreed to sell the company  to German pharmaceutical and chemical conglomerate, Bayer, in  an unprecedented $66 billion dollar deal. This takeover of the U.S. firm is the biggest ever by a German company. The combination would create a global agricultural and chemical giant ””and bring Bayer together with a leading producer of genetically engineered seeds that are engineered to resist pesticides, particularly Monsanto’s flagship product, Roundup. Roundup, whose active ingredient is glyphosate, is used alongside various GE crops including corn and soybeans. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a landmark  report naming glyphosate as  “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Glyphosate’s EU license was set to expire this […]

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08
Sep

GE Crops Lead to Increase in Toxic Herbicide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2016)  According to  a study  published last week by scientists at Iowa State, genetically engineered (GE) crops have not lived up to their promise to reduce pesticide use, and have instead led to an increase in toxic herbicide usage. The research, led by Edward Perry, Ph.D., found “clear evidence of increasing herbicide use by [GE] variety adopters over time for both soybeans and maize,” a finding that they credited partly to the emergence of weed resistance. The detailed dataset analyzed came from the company, GfK Kynetec, which conducts surveys of randomly selected farmers to assess decisions about pesticide and seed choices. The farm-level dataset that the researchers used was collected over the years 1998-2011 and includes a yearly average of 5,424 corn farmers and 5,029 soybean farmers. One striking trend that was noted since 1998 was the increase in the use of  glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. As of 2011, glyphosate was the primary herbicide used on soybeans, with just over 80% of total herbicide applied, and in corn it made up 40% of herbicide use, representing close to a 20-fold increase since 1998. Marketed as Roundup and other trade names,  glyphosate  is a […]

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07
Sep

Bayer Increases Historic Takeover Bid For Monsanto

(Beyond Pesticides, September 7, 2016) Industry giant Bayer has increased its offer to acquire Monsanto to $65 billion, making it the largest all-cash takeover bid in history. Bayer is now offering $127.50 per share- up two percent from its earlier bid of $125. The pharmaceutical giant has been pursuing Monsanto in an attempt to become the world’s largest biotechnology and pesticide manufacturer. But many are concerned that should this merger be successful, farmers would have even fewer choices for acquiring seed, ensuring that the American food supply is dominated by a few mega-corporations. According to The Guardian, Bayer’s proposal will create a global pharmaceutical and farm supplies giant, just as  rival firms are also consolidating. ChemChina earlier this year offered  to buy Switzerland’s Syngenta for $43bn, after the latter rejected takeover approaches from the St. Louis-based Monsanto. This ChemChina-Syngenta merger is all set to move forward after getting approval from the regulatory agency, Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS). U.S. firms Dow Chemical and DuPont are pursuing a $130bn merger, to be followed by a breakup into three businesses. Bayer’s previous offers for Monsanto were rejected, but Monsanto remains open to further discussion. However, Monsanto has faced financial […]

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23
Aug

Senator Blumenthal Calls for Repeal of New, Weak GE Labeling Law that Preempts States

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2016) “Fundamentally anti-consumer,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) of the new genetic engineered (GE) labeling bill signed into law by President Obama late last month. Senator Blumenthal’s frustration with the new legislation and its preemption of state-level laws such as Vermont and Connecticut’s led the Senator to announce he will be introducing a bill next session to repeal the divisive law. After years of state-level ballot initiatives in California, Oregon, Washington State, and Colorado, which were defeated after the chemical industry poured millions of dollars into ad buys that played on consumer fears of higher prices at the check-out line, Maine and Connecticut took a stand for consumer’s right to know. While their legislation required trigger clauses to go into effect, Vermont’s was passed shortly after without such a clause, and withstood a legal challenge from the multinational food and chemical industry. Vermont’s law propelled industry to move its efforts to Congress, and the state’s legislation actually went into effect on July 1, 2016, as industry was still working to garner the necessary votes for its new DARK deal.   Pushed forward by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), the new law has […]

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19
Aug

More Evidence Shows Neonics Harm Butterflies

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2016) A study published earlier this week has found that the increasing use of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides is correlated with a steep decline in butterfly health and reproductive success — as more neonics are used, butterflies are struggling to survive. This study adds to previous evidence that demonstrates, in addition to bees, neonics can cause serious harm to other important pollinators. The study, Increasing neonicotinoid use and the declining butterfly fauna of lowland California, looks at 67 species of butterfly fauna in the lowlands of Northern California at four sites that were  monitored for approximately 30-40 years. The sites include Suisun Marsh, West Sacramento, North Sacramento, and Rancho Cordova. While controlling for land use and other factors, the researchers found a correlation between butterfly population decline and increasing neonic applications, which also appeared to be more severe for smaller-bodied species. According to the researchers, the results suggest that neonics could influence non-target insect populations when applied nearby. This study contributes to the mounting evidence that neonicotinoid insecticides are linked to pollinator decline. Neonics have increasingly been the subject of studies that highlight a relationship between neonicotinoid exposure  and harmful effects to pollinators. These effects are being […]

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08
Aug

Failure of Hawai’i to Enforce Pesticide Law Sparks Request that EPA Revoke State’s Authority

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2016) Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received a  letter  from Earthjustice requesting that the agency notify the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture (HDOA) of its chronic failure to meet statutory duties for pesticides regulation and enforcement under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and, if timely corrections are not made, to rescind HDOA’s primary enforcement authority completely. Earthjustice has asked EPA to immediately notify HDOA that it has failed to carry out its responsibilities, and, pursuant to FIFRA, to give the agency 90 days to correct its overwhelming shortcomings. If the problems, which include failure to enforce pesticide use violations and a large backlog of pesticide complaints and investigations dating back to as early as 2008, are not corrected and addressed within 90 days, Earthjustice requests that EPA revoke HDOA’s primary enforcement authority indefinitely.  In the event that HDOA’s authority to regulate is stripped, EPA would then take over the responsibility for enforcing pesticide use violations occurring within the state. Under FIFRA,  the federal statutory authority for  pesticide approval and use, EPA may  delegate to  a state primary responsibility for enforcing pesticide use violations if thestate has adequate pesticide laws and adequate […]

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01
Aug

President Signs Weak Product Labeling Law on Genetically Engineered Ingredients, Preempts States

(Beyond Pesticides, August  1, 2016) As expected, President Obama signed into law an amendment to S. 764, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law, which establishes a national GMO (genetically modified  organisms or genetically engineered-GE) food labeling requirement that food safety advocates say may be deceptive, preempts states from adopting stronger label language and standards, and excludes a large portion of the population without special cell phone technology. Pushed by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), the law is being characterized by its supporters as a compromise, stronger than the original legislation, the Biotechnology Food Labeling and Uniformity Act (S.2621), which was dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act. That bill failed to reach cloture in the Senate in March. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, a big supporter of genetically engineered food production, will have two years to develop the standard, during which time it will assess the question of equitable access to the disclosure of ingredients. This new law will invalidate a stronger GMO labeling law that took effect in Vermont on July 1. The law, signed by the President on July 29, does very little to ensure that consumers will actually be able to […]

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07
Jul

U.S. Senate Moves to Limit GMO Labeling

(Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2016) Despite an outpouring of letters, calls and protests, in a key procedural vote yesterday, the Senate voted to deny Americans the right to know what is in in their food products, and to preempt states’ rights to create their own genetically engineered food labeling laws. In a cloture vote of 65-32, the highly-flawed genetically engineered (GE or GMO) labeling bill, S.B. 764, offered by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KY), also known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, passed through the Senate. This “compromise” bill allows producers to use QR codes and “smart labels” instead of clear, on-package labeling of food products that contain genetically modified organisms, which means that consumers will need to use a smart phone for the information. The bill also exempts major portions of current and future GE foods from being labeled, and, in an affront against democracy, preempts the genetically engineered food labeling laws in Vermont (which went into effect July 1), Connecticut, Maine and Alaska. “The American people have a right to know what they’re eating,” said Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who vowed to put a hold on the bill if they didn’t […]

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27
May

FDA Deliberating Release of GE Mosquitoes in Florida Keys

(Beyond Pesticides, May 27, 2016) Oxitec, a self-described pioneer in using advanced genetics to control target  insects, has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant emergency approval of genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes to fight the spread of the Zika virus. Oxitec has proposed a trial to determine the efficacy of their self-limiting mosquitoes for the control of Aedes aegypti, a type of mosquito known to transmit the Zika virus, in Key Haven, Monroe County, Florida. However, some in the environmental community are concerned about the possible non-target effects of releasing these genetically modified mosquitoes into nature and urge additional research in the lab. The plan for a release of these GE mosquitoes has been in the works for a while. In February 2015, it was reported that the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) was working alongside Oxitec to release these GE mosquitoes, but, at the time, the plan had not yet been finalized. A change.org petition against the release garnered over 146,000 signatures and continues to grow, with numbers around 168,000 to this date. In February 2016, Oxitec submitted a draft environmental assessment to FDA, and a month later, FDA published a preliminary finding of no […]

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20
Apr

GAO Finds USDA Regulation of Genetically Engineered Crops Deficient

(Beyond Pesticides April 20, 2016) A recently released study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) assesses the actions of three government agencies responsible for regulating genetically engineered (GE) crops, finding several shortcomings in the process. The report, which was commissioned by U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), is entitled Genetically Engineered Crops:  USDA Needs to Enhance Oversight and better Understand Impacts of Unintended Mixing with Other Crops. The report finds that while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have taken some steps to regulate GE crops, USDA’s failure to update its regulations that oversee GE crops has created a large data gap on the extent and impact of the unintended mixing of GE and non-GE crops. To address this, GAO recommends, among other things, that USDA set a timeline for updating its regulations and include farmer’s growing identity-preserved crops in its survey efforts to better understand the impacts of unintended mixing. The issue of coexistence between farmers using genetically engineered (GE) crops and non-GE farmers is as important as ever. GE crops pose a constant threat to the livelihood of organic farmers and undermine the burgeoning growth of the organic […]

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07
Apr

EPA Introduces Safer Choice Label for Cleaning Products

(Beyond Pesticides, April 7, 2016) Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced the Safe Choice Program (not to be confused with Beyond Pesticides’ longstanding Safer Choice program), an overhauled labeling system created by Design for the Environment (DfE) that encourages consumers to seek out and use cleaning products that protect public health and the environment. Safer Choice uses the technical expertise of its DfE workgroup of EPA scientists to compare ingredients in the same functional class and thereby identify those ingredients with the lowest hazard profile. In order to earn a Safer Choice Standard label, products must have chemical ingredient formulations that “function in making the product work,” which allows formulators “to use those ingredients with the lowest hazard in their functional class.” Safer Chemical Ingredients are listed on EPAs website. “EPA’s Safer Choice program helps consumers find products that are productive and contain ingredients that are safer,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Products that carry the Safer Choice label have been carefully evaluated by EPA scientists to ensure they contain ingredients that are safer for both humans and environmental health.” The  Safer Choice Standard  and the  Criteria for Safer Chemical Ingredients  are protective and […]

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24
Mar

More Companies To Label for GE Ingredients, While Maintaining Their Safety

(Beyond Pesticides, March 24, 2016) This week, four major food manufacturing companies, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Mars, and ConAgra, committed to labeling food containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, while exclaiming the safety of GE food. Each company released statements citing the new Vermont labeling law, set to take effect this summer. The four companies joined Campbell Soup Company, which announced its  own label on GE ingredients in January. At the time,  Agri-Pulse reported, “Campbell made clear that it still supported the use of genetic engineering in agriculture, but said that there is a need for national labeling standards that would preempt state standards.” A summary of the companies’  releases are as follows: Kellogg’s Kellogg’s North America President, Paul Norman, insists upon the adoption of a “federal solution for the labeling of GMOs.” Until that happens, he says, “We will start labeling some of our products nationwide for the presence of  GMOs beginning in mid-to-late April. We chose nationwide labeling because a special label for Vermont would be logistically unmanageable and even more costly for us and our consumers.” In addition to a label, Kellogg’s launched OpenForBreakfast.com, which invites consumers to ask questions and learn more about products that include GE ingredients. […]

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23
Mar

Vermont House Votes to Authorize State Regulation of “Treated Articles,” such as Neonic-Coated Seeds

(Beyond Pesticides March 23, 2016) Last week, the Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill that authorizes state  regulation of pesticide-treated products,  including  telephone poles and coated seeds, that are exempt from federal pesticide regulations. H.861 is the latest in a string of laws introduced this legislative session in Vermont to address the impact of harmful neonicotinoid insecticides  on Vermont’s ecology and agriculture, and symbolizes a concentrated effort by the legislature to reverse pollinator declines within the state. If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, the bill will  allow the Secretary of Agriculture to regulate above and beyond current federal laws, which exempt treated articles from regulation completely, and write appropriate rules in response to recommendations from a state Pollinator Protection Committee. The bill, which passed with wide support in the House, gives the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets the authority to regulate “treated articles,” a term coined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to denote products treated with pesticides, such as utility poles, commercial crop seeds, and lumber. Traditionally, EPA gives rulemaking authority over pesticides to states, but that authority does not extend to products pre-treated with pesticides, which, until this point, has posed […]

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21
Mar

Boulder County, Colorado to Phase Out GE Crops on Public Land

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2016) Last Thursday, Boulder County (CO) commissioners directed staff to draft up a plan to phase out genetically engineered (GE) crops on all farmland owned  by the county. The county’s current policy, adopted in 2011, allows tenant farmers to grow certain types of GE corn and sugar beets on land leased through Boulder County, and will remain in effect at least until the end of the year. The five-year policy old has frequently come under fire from individuals and environmental groups that challenge the safety of GE crop production systems, and their effect on human health, water quality, soil health, and the overall environment. The Boulder County commissioners heard  recommendations from the county’s advisory committees, including the county’s Croplands Policy Advisory Group, the Food and Agriculture Policy Group, and the Parks and Open Space Advisory Group. A public hearing was held on Feb. 29  also provided public input on whether to continue or change the current approval in Section 6.1 of the Boulder County Parks & Open Space Cropland Policy that allows for the use of certain genetically engineered (GE) crops on Open Space land. That approval expires on December 20, 2016. More than 100 people […]

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