Tag Archives: GMO

Philippines Approves GM Golden Rice. The Destabilization of Agriculture

Global Research – Dec 24, 2019 – By GMWatch and Prof Michel Chossudovsky

The broader issue which is casually ignored by both the Philippines government and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is that “golden” genetically modified rice (GMO) is slated to replace rice varieties which have been cultivated for centuries in the Philippines as well as throughout Southeast Asia. 

The bio-safety evaluation not to mention the focus on “nutritional requirements” is a smokescreen. 

The propaganda ploy consists in supporting the interests of the agro-biotech conglomerates to the detriment of the rice farmer and the local economy. 

What this means is that farmers can no longer reproduce their own seeds. 

Small farmers are obliged to buy GMO seeds. This is revenue for the biotech conglomerates including Monsanto. 

GMO agriculture increases the stranglehold of transnational corporations. In turn, the use of GMO seeds undermines the “reproduction of agriculture”.

Small farmers go bankrupt unable to pay their debts. They become landless farmers. 

GMO seeds undermine “the reproduction of real life”. 

Small-holder agricultural land is taken over. The use of GMO seeds ultimately leads to land concentration, food insecurity and mass poverty. 

The unspoken objective of GMO Golden rice is to trigger famine across the land, undermining rice production for local consumption. 

The impacts of GMO rice are amply documented.

There is a vast literature. GMO engineers famine and despair.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, December 24, 2019

Philippines approves potentially unsafe GM golden rice for food and feed

by GM Watch

According to an announcement by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Philippines Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry has stated that it has found GMO golden rice to be “as safe as conventional rice”.

The biosafety permit, addressed to the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), details the approval of GR2E golden rice for direct use as food and feed, or for processing (FFP).

GMO golden rice is engineered to contain the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene and is claimed to target the problem of vitamin A deficiency in developing countries, including the Philippines.

The Stop Golden Rice Network described the move in a press release as “a blow to the millions of rice farmers and consumers not just in the Philippines but also among other countries in Asia where rice is the major staple food”.

The Philippines Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry said it reached its decision “after rigorous biosafety assessment”. In 2018, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, Health Canada, and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published positive food safety assessments for golden rice. A biosafety application is currently undergoing review by the Biosafety Core Committee in Bangladesh.

Not tested for safety

In spite of these opinions, no animal feeding studies have been released to the public that could attest to the food safety of this GM rice. Human trials have focused on efficacy (ability of the subjects to absorb the beta-carotene in the rice) and not safety. So claims of food safety are assumptions that are not evidence-based.

A paper published in 2008 by Prof David Schubert of The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California, noted that there was “no discussion about safety” in a scientific paper promoting GM golden rice, “despite the fact that simple derivatives of beta-carotene are known teratogens [i.e. cause birth defects]”. Over a decade later, proponents of GM golden rice have still failed to engage in such a discussion.

Beta-carotene levels too low to make health claim – FDA

It’s possible that this particular danger may be averted by the failure of genetic engineers to jack up the beta-carotene in the rice to levels that could actually provide a health benefit – or cause adverse effects. The US FDA stated that GM golden rice does not meet the nutritional requirements to make a health claim. It said, “The concentration of beta-carotene in GR2E rice is too low to warrant a nutrient content claim.“

However, the truth is that we can’t be sure that this GM crop won’t cause teratogenicity problems. This is because the mechanism through which beta-carotene derivatives can cause birth defects is genotoxicity – damage to DNA. And it is a general principle of genotoxic agents that even when the individual doses are very low, they can cause an accumulation of DNA damage over time.

It has been scientifically proven that the beta-carotene in GM golden rice degrades in storage, meaning that breakdown products will accumulate in the rice that will then be eaten. No one has produced any research showing these breakdown products to be safe.

Dr Chito Medina, member scientist of MASIPAG, a farmer-scientist group in the Philippines that opposes GM golden rice, said, “The risks of golden rice far outweigh its supposed benefits. We will be better off improving and diversifying the food crops in the farms and diets of our children to ensure that proper nutrition is achieved.”

What, no butter?

Even if the GM golden rice destined for the Philippines were miraculously to be found to contain enough beta-carotene to make a difference, that in itself would not help the poor and hungry. That’s because beta-carotene doesn’t work on its own – the body needs fat to absorb it. Subjects in a human trial of GM golden rice (designed to evaluate efficacy, not safety) were given butter to eat with the rice. If the target consumers for GM golden rice are too poor to afford a balanced diet and can only afford rice, as we are told, they are certainly too poor to buy butter. So there’s simply no point in launching GM golden rice.

The Stop Golden Rice Network said that undue focus on rice alone is a dangerous trap: “As a coalition of more than 30 organizations across Asia where most of the world’s rice is produced and consumed, we experiences first-hand the damaging public health impacts caused by promoting a single-crop diet. The Green Revolution launched in the 1960s pushed new, potentially high-yielding forms of rice on Asian farmers as a way to increase food production. As a result, white rice has come to dominate the once-diverse Asian diets — with dramatic health consequences.”

The Network explained, “Today, 60 per cent of all people suffering from diabetes are in Asia, 90 per cent of whom suffer type 2 diabetes, the preventable form of the disease. Scientists from Malaysia’s Endocrine and Metabolic Society claim that the soaring obesity in the country is due not to Western junk food, but to white rice. Unhealthy diets will worsen as long as the corporations continue to exert their influence over agricultural research and production and profit from it.”

The Network added, “The Philippines has managed to slash their Vitamin D deficiency (VAD) levels among vulnerable sectors with conventional nutrition programmes. The country experienced significant decrease more than half of VAD cases from 40.1% in 2003 to 15.2% in 2008, due to various interventions. IRRI also recognized this success but still harp on the slight increase of VAD over the next five years to justify the Golden Rice approval.”

The Network called for the Philippines authoritative bodies – the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry, PhilRice and IRRI – to protect and uphold the safety of the people not just in the Philippines but also in other target countries and halt the commercial propagation Golden Rice. The Network said, “malnutrition cannot be isolated from poverty and inequality,” adding that biofortification crops like golden rice do not address the root causes of poverty and malnutrition, but “risk blindly reinforcing it”.

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Open Door to GMO? Britain Faced with EU-US Biotechnology Dilemma Post-Brexit

Global Research – Nov 29, 2019 – Natasha Foote

The question of whether the UK will open its doors to GMOs after Brexit has become more pertinent after EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told MEPs on Tuesday (26 November) that in order to secure a trade agreement, the UK would have to agree to maintain a ‘level playing field’ and not undercut EU regulation.

Barnier said that if a new UK government sought to diverge from EU regulatory standards that would weaken environmental standards there will never be a free trade agreement, MEPs at a meeting in the European Parliament revealed.

The discussion over science-based policymaking in the EU, in general, has been heating up in recent years, with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) front and centre of the debate.

Concerns have been raised particularly regarding the unknown impact of the release of GMOs into the environment and the food system, with critics citing a lack of adequate and sufficient risk assessment.

In July 2018, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that organisms obtained by new mutagenesis plant breeding techniques should, in principle, fall under the GMO Directive.

This ruling is one in a long line of resolutions against approvals of the use and import of GMOs that the EU has adopted in recent years.

However, there could soon be a shift of thinking about GM crops in the UK, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledging to “liberate” the UK’s bioscience sector from the EU’s anti-GM regulation post-Brexit.

Opening Britain’s doors to GMOs has also been suggested as key to allowing the UK to draw up a quick trade agreement with the United States.

Speaking at a recent plant breeding conference in Brussels, Dr Thorben Sprink from the Julius Kühn-Institute in Germany said he thought the UK would “make the most” of the opportunity Brexit presented for the country to reject Europe’s “very tight regulation” and encourage more GMO research.

At the event, Secretary-General of Euroseeds Garlich Von Essen said that neither breeders nor farmers want to be in the “second league” and that Brexit would allow the UK to implement “science-based regulation”.

Liz O’Neill, director of GM Freeze, a UK non-profit organisation which campaigns against GM, told EURACTIV that GM regulations have already been identified as a non-tariff barrier to trade, citing that Donald Trump signed an Executive Order in June, aiming to force the UK (and the EU) to open the door to GM crops from the US.

She said that there will undoubtedly be pressure on the UK to accept GMOs, and that Brexit has the potential to “change everything with food and farming and open the floodgates to unregulated GMOs”.

UK National farmers union (NFU) chief science and regulatory affairs adviser, Dr Helen Ferrier, told EURACTIV that biotechnology and GMOs “have the potential to offer multiple benefits to the public, farmers and the environment, and could help tackle some intractable issues in the production and consumption of food”.

She said “there may be opportunities to look at different regulatory approaches after Brexit to the way technologies are developed and used.

The potential impact on trade with key partners, whether the EU or the US, needs to be kept in mind, as well as the need for access to the full toolbox of innovations to help find solutions to major challenges such as climate change and diet-related illness.“

However, she highlighted that the use of biotechnology “must be regulated using sound science in terms of its environmental and health impact”.

The UK department for environment, food and rural affairs (DEFRA) said they were unable to comment on future policy decisions during the pre-election period.

Low consumer acceptance 

However, NGOs and anti-GM campaign groups say that public support for GM remains low in the UK.

O’Neill told EURACTIV that “the UK public consistently rejects the use of GM in food and farming, both in polls and at the checkout” and that they “simply do not sell”.

In April 2018, an IPPR poll found that only 8% of the public thought the UK should lower food safety standards to secure a trade deal with the US, with 82% preferring to keep standards as they are.

O’Neill said that UK politicians will, therefore, have a “very hard time” persuading the electorate that a “US trade deal is more important than the high food standards they consistently support”.

SOURCE

Call to Re-think Genetically Engineered Herbicide-Tolerant Crops

CBAN – Aug 22, 2019 – Lucy Sharratt

Proposed Monsanto corn tolerates four herbicides

Ottawa, August 22, 2019. Canadian civil society groups the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) and Prevent Cancer Now (PCN) are calling for a review of the use of genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) herbicide-tolerant crops in Canada, in response to Monsanto’s request for government approval of a GM corn that can withstand applications of four herbicides, including 2,4-D and dicamba.(1)

“This proposed GM corn demonstrates the breakdown of herbicide-tolerant crops,” said Lucy Sharratt of CBAN. “GM glyphosate-tolerant crops are no longer working due to the spread of glyphosate resistant weeds so companies are replacing them with GM crop plants that are tolerant to other herbicides. This is a short-term fix that will likely recreate the problem and further increase herbicide use. A government review of the impacts of using herbicide-tolerant crops is needed.”

Over twenty years, herbicide-tolerant cropping systems have not reduced herbicide use in Canada as promised. Instead, herbicide sales have gone up and the use of herbicides has led to the development and spread of more herbicide resistant weeds, particularly glyphosate resistant weeds, which are in turn leading to the use of yet more herbicides.

Monsanto’s new proposed corn MON 87429 (now owned by Bayer) is the first GM crop plant to be tolerant to both 2,4-D and dicamba. Most herbicide tolerant crop plants on the market are now tolerant to more than one herbicide. MON 87429 is genetically engineered to tolerate four herbicides: dicamba, 2,4-D, quizalofop, and glufosinate.

“In the escalating weed wars, as herbicide use is increasing the industry is returning to hazardous chlorinated chemicals such as 2,4-D, dicamba and quizalofop,” said Meg Sears, Chair of PCN. “Returning to multiple older herbicide formulations can put farmers and consumers at risk.”

In comments to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, CBAN and PCN call for comprehensive review of the environmental, health and economic impacts of using herbicide-tolerant crops in Canada.

“We need to evaluate the impacts of the whole system, not just assess individual products one by one,” said Sharratt.

Herbicide tolerant crops are designed to survive sprayings of particular pesticide formulations. Approvals of genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops since 1995 have led to a predominance of herbicide-tolerant cropping systems in corn, canola, soy and sugarbeet production in Canada. These systems are reliant on patented GM seeds and the accompanying brand-name herbicide formulations. Almost 100% of all the GM crops grown in Canada are genetically engineered to be herbicide-tolerant.

“A national pesticide-reduction strategy is urgently needed, to support biodiverse, resilient ecosystems and help transition to sustainable agriculture in the face of climate change,” said Sears.

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SOURCE

VIDEO: GMO – Seeds of Destruction – Lecture by F. William Engdahl – 94 min

Opendox SE – Stockholm the 9th of April 2014 – Posted by CCFSH Apr 10, 2019

The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

GMO – SEEDS OF DESTRUCTION by F. William Engdahl – LECTURE, April 9th, 2014

One of the most important video lectures you will ever see on the history of the GMO industry and their agenda…CCFSH.

Opendox.se and Anarchos present F. William Engdahl’s lecture about GMO – genetically modified organisms; Monsanto; international politics of patenting plants and animals; central governance of all food production; controlling human birth rates and depopulation programs.

F. William Engdahl (born August 9, 1944) is an American German freelance journalist, historian and economic researcher. After earning a degree in engineering and jurisprudence from Princeton University in 1966 (BA), and graduate study in comparative economics at the University of Stockholm from 1969 to 1970, he worked as an economist and free-lance journalist in New York and in Europe. His first book was called A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. In 2007, he completed Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation. Engdahl is also a frequent contributor to the website of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Anarchos is a Swedish publishing house which provides works with alternative world views and ideas from authors and researchers like F. William Engdahl, David Icke, Bill Still and many more – often translated from to Swedish.

VIDEO of LECTURE (93 min)

or Youtube VIDEO of Lecture (93 min)

Can You Tell Which GMOs Will Be Labeled under the NBFDS?

Reposted Jan 18, 2019 – Living Non-GMO

Read part one of this blog.
Jump to quiz
Jump to FAQs
Read the NBFDS

The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard requires some food producers to put labels on some products that contain GMOs. Unfortunately, there are two glaring problems with this law that mean consumers will still not be able to tell what is in the food they are eating. Let’s take a closer look at disclosure options and exemptions under the NBFDS.

Disclosures

As a reminder, GMO foods won’t say they contain GMOs, they will say they are “bioengineered food.” However, many products will not even say that. A text disclosure is just one of four main options available. Food manufacturers have a few choices when it comes to disclosing GMO content:

  • Use a text-only disclosure including “bioengineered food,” “contains a bioengineered food ingredient,” and “derived from bioengineering.” “Bioengineered food” means that all ingredients in a product are or could be derived from GMOs. “Contains a bioengineered food ingredient” means a product contains at least one GMO ingredient, and other ingredients may or not be made with GMOs. “Derived from bioengineering” is a special voluntary disclosure.
  • Use one of these symbols instead of a text disclosure:

These symbols (and other types of disclaimers) will begin to appear on packages in 2020 to indicate the presence of GMOs in food.

These symbols say “bioengineered” but they do not explain what that means or how to find more information about it.

Read on…

SOURCE

Genetic Engineering Will Not “Feed the World” CBAN

Many supporters of genetic engineering (also called genetic modifications or GM) argue that GM crops are needed to stop global hunger. They say the technology will increase crop yields and allow us to produce enough food to feed the world’s growing population.

But the world already produces enough food to feed 10 billion people, which is the number our population is predicted to reach by 2050. And where there is hunger, it is mainly a result of poverty and inequality, not insufficient food production.

The reality is that people go hungry today because they lack the money to buy food or because they do not have access to the land, water and the other resources they need to grow food themselves.GM crops do not address these causes of hunger and, so far, they are not increasing global food production.

GM CROPS DO NOT INCREASE GLOBAL FOOD PRODUCTION

The evidence to date shows that genetic engineering has not contributed to an increase in crop yields. Overall, conventionally bred non-GM varieties remain more effective and are less costly to develop. It is these seeds – not the GM traits added to them – that account for yield increases seen in crops like soy and corn. This explains why yields for corn and canola in Western Europe, where GM varieties are not grown, have increased at a similar rate to, or higher rate than North America where production is dominated by GM varieties.

SOURCE