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U.S. Representative Questions EPA’s Risk Assessment of 2,4-D-Based Herbicide

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, September 2, 2014) U.S. Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week asking them a poignant question: Why didn’t the human health risk assessment of Dow’s newest 2,4-D-based herbicide apply the ten-fold safety factor required by national law to protect children and infants? The question is a good one and events leading up to it began back in April 2014, when EPA opened up a public comment period for Dow AgroSciences’s application to expand the use of its 2,4-D choline salt herbicide, known as Enlist Duo ®, on 2,4-D-tolerant corn and soybeans. This application was the next step in ushering in a new wave of genetically-engineered (GE) crops sought to replace the quickly waning glyphosate-resistant or Roundup Ready ® varieties. As EPA described on its Enlist-Duo ® webpage, “Weeds are becoming increasingly resistant to glyphosate-based herbicides and are posing a problem for farmers. If [the Enlist Duo ® application is] finalized, this action would provide an additional tool to reduce the spread of glyphosate resistant weeds.” In other words, because of the overuse of glyphosate on GE glyphosate-resistant crops and the resulting development of weeds across the U.S. showing resistance […]

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Connecticut Senate Moves Forward on GE Grass Ban

Friday, April 11th, 2014

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

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Survey Finds GE Contamination of Organic Farms

Monday, March 10th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2014) New data finds that organic farmers are growing increasingly concerned with genetically engineered (GE) crops cross-pollinating and contaminating their fields. This contamination can lead to serious economic losses for organic farmers and has created tension between neighbors. The data comes at a critical time as USDA is advancing the notion that “coexistence” between GE and non-GE growers  presents no problems for the  organic market.  USDA has been widely criticized in organic circles because its decisions to deregulate numerous GE crops  place  the burden of reducing contamination on non-GE growers. A survey,released by Food and Water Watch and Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM), finds that a third of U.S. organic farmers have experienced GE contamination in their fields due to the nearby use of GE crops, while over half of these growers have had loads of grain rejected because of unwitting GE contamination. These rejections can lead to big income losses for farmers, with a  median cost of approximately $2,500 per year, according to the  survey. Additionally,  several farmers report annual losses of over $20,000 due to the need to establish buffer zones, while limit the threat of contamination from their neighbors by taking […]

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Environmentalists, Farmers Challenge USDA’s Call for the Deregulation of Crops with Genetically Engineered Tolerance to the Highly Toxic Herbicide 2,4-D

Monday, January 6th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2014) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Friday released for public input its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which calls for the deregulation of genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybeans engineered to be tolerant to the toxic herbicide 2,4-D. These new varieties of GE corn and soybean, created partly due to proliferate weed resistance resulting from the widespread use of glyphosate (Roundup) on other GE crops, is set to usher in dramatic increases in 2,4-D use with associated health and environmental hazards, according to environmental scientists. The GE crops are being produced by Dow AgroSciences under the brand name “Enlist.” According to Nichelle Harriott, senior scientist at the national environmental group Beyond Pesticides, “The engineered varieties will not only spawn new weed resistant strains, but contaminate the environment and increase the public health risks to cancer and Parkinson’s disease, especially in farmworkers and farming communities exposed to 2,4-D.” The failure of GE-glyphosate (Roundup) tolerant crops to live up to their promises is a main contributing factor behind the development of stacked varieties such as “Enlist,” which combines resistance to 2,4-D and glyphosate. So widespread is glyphosate resistance that EPA has granted emergency use exemptions for pesticides […]

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The Decline of Turtle Doves Tied to Pesticide Use

Monday, December 9th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, December 9, 2013) Unless regulators take action,  one of the gifts in the lyrics to “Twelve Days of Christmas,” the turtle dove,  may  become extinct. The dove has experienced major population decline in England over the past 20 years, due in significant part to the destruction of  turtle dove habitat and food sources from  increasing herbicide use in English agriculture. Other species, such as Monarch butterflies and other pollinators around the world, are also experiencing similar loses of habitat and food sources through an increase in herbicide use. These increasing rates of population decline in wild species underscore the problem that chemical-intensive agriculture plays in the degradation of natural habitats. According to a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, “The turtle dove is the fastest declining bird in the country [England] and within ten years we could lose this icon of the British countryside completely.” Turtle doves in the United Kingdom are found in just a few areas of Southern England and migrate during the winter toward Africa. Turtle doves are obligate granivors, feeding predominantly on seeds of certain arable weeds form farm countryside, such as fumitory, clover and vetch. However, increased herbicide use […]

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The Planting of Genetically Engineered Corn Stopped by a Mexican Court

Friday, October 18th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2013) On October 10, a judge in Mexico issued an injunction against  the planting and selling of genetically engineered (GE) corn seed, effective immediately,  within the country’s borders. The decision comes nearly two years after the Mexican government temporarily rejected the expansion of GE corn testing, citing the need for more research. The decision prohibits agrichemical biotech companies, including Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, PHI Mexico, and Dow AgroSciences, from planting or selling GE corn seed in Mexico, though imports of GE food will still be allowed. This move follows the filing of a class action lawsuit on July  5 by farmers, beekeepers, environmentalists, and scientists, in total representing 53 citizens and 20 civil associations. “The action encompasses what we have been calling for over the past fifteen years: the protection of maize as the staple food of Mexicans and the preservation of our country, free of transgenic crops”¦” said Adelita San Vicente, representing seed interest group FundaciĂłn Semillas de Vida A.C. The injunction was granted by Judge Jaime Eduardo Verdugo J. of the Twelfth District Court for Civil Matters of Mexico City, who cited “the risk of imminent harm to the environment” due to GE crops. […]

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USDA Refuses to Investigate GE Alfalfa Contamination

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

(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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Oregon Blocks Canola Planting in Willamette Valley to Prevent GE Contamination

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, August 20, 2013) In a victory for consumers and Willamette Valley’s $50 million vegetable seed industry, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed HB 2427 last week, banning the commercial production of canola in the region until at least 2019. Supporters of the law assert that the moratorium is necessary to maintain the integrity of the region’s internationally recognized organic vegetable seed industry. Farmers in Oregon’s specialty seed and organic vegetable industries, valued at well over $50 million in annual sales, have been fighting the planting of  canola, an oilseed plant in the brassica family, in the Willamette Valley because it readily cross-pollinates with specialty crops grown there, the brassica specialty seed crops like broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Canola can  spread plant diseases and pests to brassica vegetable and seed crops; and can contaminate pure lots of vegetable and clover seed, rendering them unsalable in international and local markets. Additionally, genetically engineered (GE)  herbicide resistant varieties of canola can further cross-pollinate with weeds, creating new invasive species problems as herbicide resistant traits spread to native weed populations. The canola controversy emerged after  a decision by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) last year to temporarily allow the planting of GE […]

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Emergency Exemption Granted to Allow Fluridone on GE Cotton

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2012) In response to an emergency exemption granted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow the unregistered use of the herbicide fluridone on cotton in order to control glyphosate-resistant weeds, the agency announced in the Federal Register Monday that it is establishing time-limited tolerances for residues of the chemical on food. Because resistance to herbicides in genetically engineered crops is predictable and expected, Beyond Pesticides has challenged EPA’s use of the emergency exemption provision of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), Section 18, in this and other similar cases. According to EPA, of the glyphosate-resistant weeds, Palmer amaranth has become the most severe weed problem in Arkansas cotton production. It can reduce yields of cotton by more than 50 percent if there is a density of at least 10 of these weeds per row. Over 95% of Arkansas cotton and 80% of soybeans is genetically engineered (GE) to be glyphosate tolerant. Because glyphosate is the base herbicide used for weed control in this region, economic loss is expected on nearly 25% of acres grown. Over-reliance on herbicide-tolerant GE crops have caused the spread of resistant weeds that force farmers on the pesticide […]

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Increased Pesticide Use and Resistant Weeds -The Troubling Legacy of GE Crops

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, October 3, 2012) A study published this week by Washington State University’s research professor Charles Benbrook, PhD, finds that the use of herbicides in the production of three genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops -cotton, soybeans and corn- has actually increased, contrary to industry claims that the technology would reduce pesticide applications. While Dr. Benbrook’s analysis is the first peer-reviewed, published estimate of the impacts of genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-tolerant crops on pesticide use, scientists have been raising the alarm over the mounting numbers of herbicide resistant weeds. This herbicide resistance finding, which contradicts chemical industry claims, is based on an exhaustive analysis of publicly available data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service. In the study, “Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. — the first sixteen years,” which appears in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe, Dr. Benbrook writes that the emergence and spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds is strongly correlated with the upward trajectory in herbicide use. Marketed as Roundup and other trade names, glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds. Approximately 95 percent of soybean and cotton acres, and over 85 percent of corn, are planted to […]

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Controversial New Study Reports GM Corn Can Cause Cancer

Friday, September 21st, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, September 21, 2012) A new French study reports that rats fed a diet of Roundup-tolerant genetically modified (GM) corn had an increased risk of developing tumors, suffering organ damage and dying prematurely. The study is the first animal feeding trial studying the lifetime effects of exposure to Roundup tolerant GM corn and has prompted the European Food Safety Authority to look into the study’s results. However, it is also being criticized by some other scientists who said the methodology was flawed and that other research had not found similar problems. The study, “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize,” which is being published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, was led by Gilles-Eric SĂ©ralini, PhD, at the University of Caen in France. The study followed 200 rats for two years, the life-span of the rat, but far longer than the typical 90-day feeding studies used in regulatory assessments and subsequent approval of GM crops. The rats were fed different amounts of NK603 corn developed by Monsanto to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup. In some cases, the corn had been sprayed in the field with Roundup. Other rats were given […]

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Court Blocks Planting of Genetically Engineered Canola in Oregon

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2012) The Oregon Court of Appeals has ordered a temporary halt to the state’s plan to allow genetically engineered (GE) canola to be planted in parts of the Willamette Valley, Oregon. The order is in effect until the court rules on a lawsuit filed by opponents of GE canola planting who say it threatens the state’s $32 million specialty seed industry. The lawsuit and court order are in response to new rules, not subject to required public comment, that would allow for the planting of GE canola in areas previously deemed off-limits. The lawsuit seeking to enjoin the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) from opening to GE canola planting previously protected zones was filed last week in the Oregon Court of Appeals. ODA removed a 2009 rule that banned the planting of all canola on more than 3 million acres in Oregon’s Willamette Valley to protect specialty vegetable seed producers who feared contamination by the plant, which cross-pollinates easily. ODA said it would require GE canola and specialty seed producers to report where and what they intend to grow on 1.7 million acres in the restricted zone, all without a public comment period or hearing. GE […]

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Oregon Officials Fast-Track Decision Allowing GE Canola in Willamette Valley

Monday, August 13th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2012) Until last Friday, Willamette Valley’s organic farmers and seed producers were protected from the planting and cross-pollination of their crops by GE canola. However, new rules, fast-tracked without public comment by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) (announced August 3rd and effective only a week later), now allow for the planting of GE canola in areas previously deemed off-limits. ODA Director Katy Coba states in the department’s press release, “Since canola has been deregulated by USDA, ODA does not differentiate between conventional and GM canola or treat them differently.” Given that 93% of U.S planted canola crops are genetically modified, this move represents a large threat to the integrity of Oregon’s internationally recognized organic seed industry. The new rules are temporary for 180 days, but ODA plans to propose and implement permanent rules before the temporary ones expire. The department will begin accepting public input once the permanent rules are proposed, but by then the canola will already be in the ground. ODA’s decision is a dramatic shift from its previous policy on canola planting in the valley. The previous regulation, ORS 603-052-0880(2) stated, “Production of rapeseed for oil or seed is incompatible with production […]

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USDA Gives Final Approval to GE Sugar Beets

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2012) The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced this week that it is formally deregulating a line of sugar beets genetically engineered (GE) to resist applications of the herbicide glyphosate. Developed by chemical and seed giant Monsanto Co., the new sugar beets, referred to as “Roundup Ready” (RR), were found by APHIS to not present a risk of becoming a plant pest risk and that they will and are not likely to cause a significant environmental impact. Environmental and public interest advocates, however, point to the fact that the proliferation of glyphosate-tolerant crops has already led to increased pesticide resistance among weeds, and increased pesticide use. The planting of engineered sugar beets brings with it the risk of genetic drift and cross contamination of pollen into non-GE and organic fields growing sugar beets or other related crops, such as table beets, spinach, swiss chard, and quinoa. APHIS originally deregulated RR sugar beets in 2005. A coalition of environmental groups and organic seed companies, led by the Center for Food Safety, challenged the USDA approval in 2008. It argued that GE sugar beets would contaminate organic and non-GE farmers of […]

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Concerned Oahu Citizens Demand that Monsanto Stop Poisoning Hawaii

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, July 3, 2012) Several organizations, including Occupy Wall Street Maui and GMO-Free Maui, as well as over 100 concerned citizens, held a protest on Thursday, June 28 in front of the Monsanto Corporation headquarters in Kunia on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. According to the organizers, the protesters met in Kunia and marched over a half mile to the Monsanto, compound for two hours of roadside sign-waving and chanting, demanding that Monsanto leave Hawaii and saying they need real food not exported GMO seeds and chemical contamination. The group also demands that genetically engineered (GE) food be labeled. The protesters wore masks to protect themselves from pesticide drift and GE spores, and received lots of support from many in passing cars that honked their horns and waved in support. According to organizers, a nearby resident even came to find out what was going on and soon donned a mask himself as he was unaware of the dangers so close to his house. The resident expressed concern about the large trucks and equipment operating at night at Monsanto’s fields. Monsanto operates about 8,000 acres in Hawaii for GE seed production. According to organizers, these operations use the most valuable […]

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Report Finds GE Drought Tolerant Corn More Hype than Help

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, June 12, 2012) Monsanto’s new drought tolerant corn, DroughtGard, reduces crop losses only modestly during moderate droughts, and will not reduce the crop’s water requirements, according to a report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The report finds that traditional breeding and improved farming practices have done more to increase drought tolerance, and that further improvements in genetic engineering are unlikely to solve the drought problem in coming years. Monsanto’s advertising campaigns touted its intention to develop seeds that yield “more crop per drop,” but there is no evidence that DroughtGard will help the crops or farmers use water more efficiently. The report, High and Dry: Why Genetic Engineering is Not Solving Agriculture’s Drought Problem in a Thirsty World, finds that during limited testing DroughtGard ””the only crop genetically engineered (GE) for drought tolerance approved for commercial use, containing the engineered gene cspB”” reduced crop losses by about six percent. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) analysis of data supplied by Monsanto show that DroughtGard produces only modest results, and only under moderate drought conditions. The report estimates that DroughtGard does not improve water use efficiency. By comparison, breeding and improved farming practices have increased drought tolerance […]

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Pesticide Companies Seek Canadian Approval of Herbicide-Tolerant GE Crops

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2012) Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto have filed paperwork for Canadian approval of corn and soybeans genetically engineered (GE) to withstand heavy applications of potent herbicides, reports the Ottawa Citizen. The chemical companies are seeking Health Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency assessments for the introduction of four varieties of GE corn and soybeans engineered to tolerate the highly toxic herbicides 2,4-D and dicamba. In the U.S., the federal Department of Agriculture (USDA) is in the process of reviewing Dow’s application for its 2,4-D-tolerant corn, as well. Beyond Pesticides and others recently submitted comments to USDA challenging this approval. Dow’s GE corn is modified to be tolerant to 2,4-D, which is contaminated with dioxin and linked to cancer, birth defects, and more. The company is introducing the new GE corn variety because weeds are becoming resistant to Roundup, the previous chemical of choice for herbicide-tolerant plants. However, solving herbicide resistance with a new, more toxic chemical is like using gasoline to put out a fire. It will cause even more damage to health and the environment, and in a few years, the pesticide industry will be marketing their next “solution” to the growing resistance problem. Dow states […]

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Campaign Underway in UK to Stop GM Wheat Experiments

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2012) In what is being presented as “a clear risk to British farming,” protesters in the United Kingdom have organized a campaign to protest field sites being used to test a new strain of genetically modified (GM) wheat. The industry developing the GM wheat is asking the campaigners not to ruin their experimental plots, but the group, ”˜Take the Flour Back,’ has vowed to “decontaminate” the site unless the research is halted. The “Take the Flour Back” campaign is protesting the outdoor field trials of a new strain of GM wheat which has the potential to contaminate surrounding fields and spread GM material to others areas off-site. Campaigners say controlled indoor trials should be done instead before the crop is planted outdoors. The trial at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, Herts in South East England is evaluating the efficacy of wheat modified to deter aphids, an insect pest. Rothamsted Research insists this minimizes crop losses due to aphid attack and the fungal infections and viruses that can follow in their wake, and reduces the need for chemical spraying against aphids. Rothamsted agricultural research establishment is set to conduct open air trials of wheat to be planted in […]

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Over One Million Comments Delivered to FDA Call for Labeling GE Foods

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2012) The Just Label It Campaign (JLI) announced this week that more than one million Americans submitted comments supporting its petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. The JLI Campaign, a national coalition of more than 500 partner organizations including Beyond Pesticides, submitted the petition in October 2011 to mobilize the overwhelming public support for such labeling. An astonishing 93% of consumers from a national survey in 2010 stated that they favored labeling of GE foods as is currently required in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia, and China. As of the March 27 cut-off date, the JLI Campaign had generated approximately 1,078,000 signatures for its petition —the most comments ever submitted to FDA on a food-related subject. Gary Hirshberg, chairman of JLI Campaign partner Stonyfield, stated that, “In recent years, Americans have shown a real interest in knowing more about our food and now there is a clear mandate for the labeling of genetically engineered foods. This petition asks the FDA to stand up for the rights of average Americans, and not just a handful of powerful chemical companies. It’s time for the FDA […]

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Beyond Pesticides Joins Consumer-Backed Effort to Label GE Food

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2011) Beyond Pesticides has partnered with the Just Label It (JLI) campaign, which is made up of a broad-based coalition of 460 partner organizations demanding that consumers have the right to know what is in our food. The campaign has already generated over a half-million consumer comments in support of a petition which calls for food that is produced with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients to disclose this information on the label. The petition was filed with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and written by attorneys at the Center for Food Safety. Sign the petition and submit your comments at www.justlabelit.org/takeaction. Beyond Pesticides’ goal is to push for labeling as a means of identifying products containing GE ingredients in an effort to sway consumer demand. The European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia, and China, require labeling for GE foods. Recently, the German corporation BASF announced that it would stop developing genetically engineered products targeting the European market, in part due to low consumer demand. Given that a that 93% of Americans support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, Beyond Pesticides believes that we can have the same impact here as in Europe. In addition, the […]

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GMO Development in Europe Takes a Hit, Focus on U.S. Markets To Intensify

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2012) Given the persistent wariness of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Europe, Germany’s BASF will stop developing new products targeting the European market. The group announced on January 16 that it plans to refocus its activities in the sector on more receptive regions. Unfortunately, this means BASF will redouble its efforts in the U.S. to develop new GMO products, leading to public and environmental health concerns in this country. In a statement, a BASF representative announced, “Biotechnologies are not accepted enough in many parts of Europe by the majority of consumers, farmers and political leaders. That is why it does not make sense economically to continue to invest in products aimed exclusively at this market.” BASF promotion of its GMO products has been stalled in the last couple years. BASF fought for a decade before obtaining European Union (EU) marketing authorization in 2010 for Amflora, a genetically modified high-starch potato. Shortly afterwards BASF mistakenly planted in an Amflora field in Sweden another of its GMO potatoes, Amadea, which had not received authorization from European officials. According to the company, after this scandal, “European sentiment towards transgenic products declined further.” BASF plans to halt the planting and […]

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Judge Rules GE Alfalfa Deregulation Was Legal, Decision To Be Appealed

Friday, January 13th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2012) A U.S. District Judge in San Francisco has issued a ruling finding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to deregulate genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa was not unlawful, as has been charged by organic and environmental advocates, including Beyond Pesticides. Judge Samuel Conti of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California found that USDA did not act improperly by deregulating the GE Roundup Ready alfalfa, developed by Monsanto Co., and that the agency’s environmental review of the product was adequate. The plaintiffs in the case, including conventional farmers and seed growers, with Center for Food Safety serving as legal counsel, argued that the environmental impact statement (EIS) the agency prepared failed to take several critical matters into consideration in its evaluation. Among the issues neglected by the EIS are the impacts that the crop would have on endangered species, which advocates hold is required to be considered under the Endangered Species Act, as well as the potential effects that the likely increased pesticide applications would have on the environment. For these reasons, the groups argued that the EIS was woefully incomplete and that the agency’s subsequent deregulation of the GE alfalfa […]

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USDA Deregulates Monsanto’s Drought Resistant Corn, Opens Comment Period on 2,4-D Resistant Corn

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, January 5, 2012) Just as everyone was getting ready for the holidays, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved yet another genetically modified seed by Monsanto, a drought-tolerant variety of corn, MON87460. In addition to its announcement approving Monsanto’s newest GE corn variety, USDA also opened a 60-day public comment period for two additional petitions — one for Monsanto’s GE soybean containing higher levels of an omega-3 fatty acid, that does not naturally occur in soybeans, and the other from Dow AgroSciences for corn that has been genetically engineered to resist the poisonous herbicide 2,4-D. “In 2012 the USDA is proposing approving a new GE corn variety that is resistant to a different toxic herbicide, escalating the toxic treadmill in chemical-dependent agriculture,” said Jay Feldman, Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides. “This is nothing more than a band-aid solution to a serious problem, and will only give rise to more superweeds, more herbicide pollution in our environment, more herbicide poisoning, while likely leading to the need for even more toxic herbicides a couple of years down the line. This foolish circle has to end,” he added. [To listen to a radio interview on 2,4-D by Jay Feldman click here.] […]

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