A major change to U.S. regulation of biotech will exempt some gene-edited plants from government oversight. The new policy, published in the Federal Register today, also calls for automatic approval of variations of established kinds of genetically modified (GM) crops, easing their path to market.
Industry groups are welcoming the new rule, whereas opponents are decrying the reduction of government oversight.
“The main good thing is that it will allow certain aspects of gene editing to move forward,” says Kent Bradford, a plant geneticist at the University of California, Davis. If researchers use gene editing to design a plant that could have been bred conventionally, the new plant will be exempt from regulation. But anything else—such as moving a gene between species or rewiring metabolism—will still require a regulatory review.
The gist of the shift is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will now focus on new traits themselves rather than the technology used to create them, a change of approach that plant scientists have long wanted. Several reviews by the National Academy of Sciences have concluded that the risk that GM plants will become weeds is generally low, and that molecular tools typically don’t pose new risks compared with traditional plant breeding techniques.
Seemingly hidden under cover of the mainstream media’s ongoing preoccupation with the coronavirus pandemic, the new U.S. biotech policy also calls for automatic regulatory approval of variations on certain types of GM crops. The goal appears to be to make it easier for biotech companies to get such crops onto the market. Predictably, therefore, industry groups are welcoming the new rules as they will inevitably profit from the reduction in U.S. government oversight.
Ultimately, of course, the main reason biotech companies are interested in GM crops is that their seeds can be patented. Patents on GM seeds, and the multibillion dollar potential profits and market control that may result from them, act as powerful incentives for biotech companies to find ways of forcing GM foods onto our dinner plates – regardless of the possible dangers to human health. This patent-based business model, with its focus on products that don’t exist in nature, is essentially the same as the one that is used by the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Not surprisingly, therefore, many pharmaceutical and chemical companies also now have biotech subsidiaries.
Bayer AG has reached verbal agreements to resolve a substantial portion of an estimated 125,000 U.S. cancer lawsuits over use of its Roundup weedkiller, according to people familiar with the negotiations, Fortune reported Monday.
The deals, which have yet to be signed and cover an estimated 50,000 to 85,000 suits, are part of a $10 billion Bayer plan to end a costly legal battle the company inherited when it acquired Monsanto in 2018, the people said. While some lawyers are still holding out, payouts for settled cases will range from a few million dollars to a few thousand each, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Glyphosate Residue Free Certification for Food Brands – Click Here
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A surge in Roundup claims, along with some big court losses, have weighed on Bayer since the Leverkusen, Germany-based company spent $63 billion to buy agricultural giant Monsanto — which developed the weedkiller. The shares have dropped about 40% since the deal closed two years ago, wiping out some $39 billion of Bayer’s market value.
In May 2019, after less than two full days of deliberations, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay just over $2 billion in punitive and compensatory damages to a married couple who both developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma they say was caused by their many years of using glyphosate-based Roundup products.
In March 2019, a unanimous jury in federal court in San Francisco ordered Monsanto to pay roughly $80 million in damages for failing to warn plaintiff Edwin Hardeman of the cancer risks of Roundup herbicide.
In August 2018, jurors in state court in San Francisco ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to school groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, who is dying of non-Hodgkin lymphoma the jury found was caused by his exposure to Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicides. The judge in that case lowered the total verdict to $78 million and the verdict is now on appeal.
Evidence laid out in the three trials included numerous scientific studies that showed what plaintiffs’ attorneys said was proof Monsanto’s herbicides can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma. As well, the attorneys presented jurors with many internal Monsanto communications obtained through court-ordered discovery that show Monsanto has intentionally manipulated the public record to hide the cancer risks.
Among the many revelations that have emerged from the trials:
Monsanto never conducted epidemiology studies for Roundup and its other formulations made with the active ingredient glyphosate to evaluate the cancer risks for users.
Monsanto spent millions of dollars on covert public relations campaigns to finance ghostwritten studies and articles aimed at discrediting independent scientists whose work found dangers with Monsanto’s herbicides.
Monsanto enjoyed a close relationship with certain officials within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who have repeatedly backed Monsanto’s assertions about the safety of its glyphosate products.
The company internally had worker safety recommendations that called for wearing a full range of protective gear when applying glyphosate herbicides, but did not warn the public to do the same.
Studies have repeatedly linked glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup and Ranger Pro brands, to non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a type of blood cancer. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.
In a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is dominating the global psyche, it is of course important to delve deeper into the background reasons for the failure of our immune systems to be able to cope with the serious threat of infectious diseases, which are likely to be a feature of the 21st century.
People all over the world are urgently trying to find out how to boost their own immunity as recent online data has shown; “Immune system” in food chatter on social media is up 66% month over month, Israeli data experts Tastewise revealed. “Usually, as we are getting closer to the end of winter we expect to see less of this function — but Covid-19 changed that.”
There is also a massive rise in the public’s understanding that certain human driven forces, including air pollution, have a direct link to the current crisis, which has been backed up by some excellent peer-reviewed scientific papers.
However, there has been very little discussion so far about the unsustainable overuse of the toxic chemicals that are used to produce the food we eat every day, which are so obviously having a direct impact on our immune systems, thus leaving us exposed to attack by infectious diseases.
Glyphosate, found in products such as Bayer/Monsanto’s Roundup, is a particularly serious culprit in this sphere, as it is the most used herbicide in the world and has also been shown to damage our immune system in a number of ways.
It is of course true that glyphosate and other pesticides are not directly responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic but they are clearly responsible for a severe worsening of global immunity.
The Legal and Scientific Proof:
Glyphosate Causes Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma – A Lethal Immune System Cancer
We are sure that you have heard about the high-profile Non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases in the U.S., which have proven that glyphosate-based herbicides cause this lethal cancer.
You may not know however that Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (also known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, NHL, or sometimes just lymphoma) is a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s immune system. Lymphoma affects the body’s lymph system (also known as the lymphatic system), which helps fight infections and some other diseases.
Glyphosate Targets Vital Enzyme for Maintaining Immune Systems
Bayer/Monsanto recently settled claims in a proposed class action alleging that it falsely advertised that the active ingredient in Roundup Weed & Grass Killer only affects plants with a $39.5 million deal that includes changing the labels on its products.
The suit stated that Monsanto falsely claimed through its labeling that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, targets an enzyme that is only found in plants and would therefore not affect people or pets. That enzyme is in fact found in people and pets and is critical to maintaining the immune system, digestion and brain function.
Global Glyphosate Study Pilot Results Show Microbiota Damage
A groundbreaking pilot study published in May 2018 by Italian and U.S. scientists showed that exposures to commonly used Glyphosate-Based Herbicides, at doses considered safe, are capable of modifying the gut microbiota in early development, particularly before the onset of puberty in rats.
Proof that glyphosate herbicides can inhibit the EPSPS enzyme and the shikimate pathway in gut bacteria had also been lacking until recently. But a new study from late 2019 proved beyond doubt that this does indeed happen.
Various peer-reviewed studies have been slowly unraveling the complex relationship between gut microbiota and immunity. They suggest that the interactions between the host’s gut and the bacteria that colonize our intestines help control how our body responds to illness.
There are of course many other important peer-reviewed studies that have made the direct link between glyphosate and other pesticides and the severe damage they are causing to our immune system, some of which were covered in a major review published as early as 1996 – so this is not new or questionable science.
Glyphosate Residue Free Certification for Food Brands – Click Here
Test Your Food and Water at Home for Glyphosate – Click Here
Test Your Hair for Glyphosate and other Pesticides – Click Here to Find Out Your Long-Term Exposure
It is the perfect time for us all to take stock of the world that was widely accepted before the COVID-19 pandemic – it is now time for a major change to support global immunity and that change can be led by a glyphosate-free and pesticide-free food and farming system!
On Friday, Center for Food Safety (CFS) on behalf of a broad coalition of farmworkers, farmers, and conservationists, filed a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its January 2020 re-approval of the herbicide glyphosate, best known as the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. The suing organizations are CFS, Beyond Pesticides, the Rural Coalition, Organización en California de Lideres Campesinas, and the Farmworker Association of Florida.
While EPA defends glyphosate, juries in several cases have found it
to cause cancer, ruling in favor of those impacted by exposure.
Glyphosate formulations like Roundup are also well-established as having
numerous damaging environmental impacts. After a registration review
process spanning over a decade, EPA allowed the continued marketing of
the pesticide despite the agency’s failure to fully assess glyphosate’s
hormone-disrupting potential or its effects on threatened and endangered
species. The review began in 2009, has already taken 11 years, without a
full assessment of the widespread harmful impacts on people and the
environment in that time period.
“EPA’s half-completed, biased, and unlawful approval sacrifices the
health of farmworkers and endangered species at the altar of Monsanto
profits,” said George Kimbrell, legal director for CFS and counsel for the coalition. “The reckoning for Roundup is coming.”
While EPA has declared that glyphosate does not cause cancer, the world’s foremost cancer authorities with the World Health Organization declared glyphosate to be ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ in 2015. Over 40,000 lawsuits have been filed against the Monsanto (recently acquired by Bayer) by cancer victims asserting that exposure to Roundup caused them or their loved ones to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including many farmworkers. Plaintiffs have prevailed in the three cases decided thus far, with victims awarded roughly $80 million in each case.
“Contrary to the Trump EPA’s claims, both regulatory and independent
scientific studies demonstrate that glyphosate herbicides are
carcinogenic and have adverse effects on internal organs,” said Bill Freese, science policy analyst at CFS. “Far
from consulting the ‘best available science,’ as EPA claims, the agency
has relied almost entirely on Monsanto studies, cherry-picking the data
that suits its purpose and dismissing the rest,” added Freese. “EPA’s
glyphosate decision shows the same hostility to science that we’ve come
to expect from this administration, whether the issue is climate change
or environmental health.”
EPA judged glyphosate far more critically in the 1980s, when the
agency designated it a possible carcinogen and identified harmful
effects on the liver, kidney, and reproductive systems. Thanks to
pressure from Monsanto/Bayer, EPA has since dismissed these harms and
illegitimately raised the safety threshold – the daily amount of
glyphosate regarded as safe over a lifetime – by 20 times.
“The farmworkers and farmers we serve are the backbone of our food
system. Their families are the first – but are not the last – to bear
the huge costs of EPA’s irresponsible decision, while corporate
shareholders of Monsanto-Bayer benefit,” said Lorette Picciano, executive director of the Rural Coalition.
EPA has also failed to collect basic data on how much glyphosate is
taken into human bodies via skin contact or inhalation of spray
droplets. These exposure routes are particularly significant for
farmworkers and others who work around and/or use Roundup, the very
people who are at greatest risk of cancer and other health harms.
“How many more farmworkers have to suffer health impacts to
themselves and their families before EPA “sees” them – the “invisible
people” – and takes action?” said Jeannie Economos of the Farmworker Association of Florida. “EPA must protect human health before one more person suffers acute or chronic illness from exposure.”
“Farmworkers are on the front lines of the pesticide exposure crisis providing vital food for American families,” said Suguet Lopez of the Organización en California de Lideres Campesinas. “They deserve a duty of care from the government which it has failed to provide.”
Glyphosate herbicides also threaten numerous species, including fish,
amphibians, and aquatic as well as terrestrial plants. EPA discounts
these risks by low-balling exposure estimates and ignoring critical
studies showing glyphosate’s potency, and by relying on ineffective and
toothless changes to the language on glyphosate herbicide product labels
to “mitigate” risks. Even worse, despite again registering the
pesticide, EPA failed to complete any assessment of its impacts on
thousands of potentially harmed endangered species, delaying it until a
“EPA failed to consider if Roundup disrupts the balance of nature and
ecosystem health, critical to the survival of a vast number of
organisms on which life depends – from beneficial insects, such as
parasitoid wasps, lacewings, ladybugs, and endangered bumblebees,
monarch butterflies, to fish, small mammals, and amphibians,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides.
To give just one example, the massive use of glyphosate has nearly eradicated milkweed, the monarch butterfly’s host plant, from Midwest farmers’ fields, a major factor in the catastrophic decline in monarchs over the past two decades. Even though monarchs are under consideration for protection under the Endangered Species Act, EPA’s registration decision contains no effective measures to protect milkweed and monarchs from still more glyphosate damage.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has continued its glyphosate cover-up by announcing Thursday that they have finished and published their regulatory review and found that glyphosate is ‘not a carcinogen’.
In a statement released Thursday the agency said; “EPA has concluded
that there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is
used according to the label and that it is not a carcinogen.”
The EPA’s findings contradict the findings
of a working group of 17 experts from 11 countries from the
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), who in 2015
classified glyphosate as a ‘Probable Human Carcinogen’.
Also in 2015 Sustainable Pulse uncovered a 30 year cover up
by Monsanto and the EPA, related to the probable carcinogenicty of
glyphosate, the World’s most used herbicide and according to Sustainable
Pulse Director, Henry Rowlands, “as expected the cover-up simply
Rowlands continued “One thing that helps the EPA continue to assist
companies such as Bayer/Monsanto to harm public health, is the fact that
there are a lack of independent comprehensive studies out there on the
harm being caused globally by glyphosate-based herbicides, due to a lack
of available funding. This is something that the Global Glyphosate Study is trying to put right.”
Bayer / Monsanto, which produces the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup, is currently facing more than 75,000 court cases
in the U.S., some of which have already proven that Roundup is
carcinogenic and specifically that it causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Dr. Charles Benbrook, Project Coordinator of the Heartland Study,
reacted to the EPA’s announcement; “I am flabbergasted at this
decision. There is NOTHING — ZERO — in the EPA decision to reduce worker
exposures and risks.
How can the EPA ignore the thousands of comments highlighting the
need for EPA to recover its spine and require Bayer/Monsanto and other
registrants to take out the high-risk surfactants in glyphosate-based
herbicides (GBHs), so the GBHs sold in the US are as safe as the
reformulated products now sold in Europe?
And why did the EPA not require registrants to add onto labels a
requirement for mixer-loaders and applicators to wear gloves, long
sleeve pants, chemical-resistant shoes (aka rubber boots), especially
for applicators using hand-held equipment and spraying a GBH for several
hours per day, over many days per year, as part of their job, or in
keeping up with weeds on their rural property, homestead, or farm?
This irresponsible action by the EPA sets the stage for a concerted
campaign by activists and public health advocates to ban all uses of
GBHs. For obvious reasons, their prime target won’t be this EPA, and
will instead focus on major food companies.”
Food companies are already reacting in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe by signing up to The Detox Project’s Glyphosate Residue Free certification for their products, which is now one of the fastest growing certifications in North America.
“It is time for consumers to show our industry-supporting government regulators that it really doesn’t matter if they try to hide the truth, we can all make a difference by forcing change at the check-out,” Rowlands concluded.
Sustainable Pulse – Jan 28, 2020 – By Rachel Parent
After Health Canada’s re-approval of the herbicide glyphosate — a probable carcinogen according to the World Health Organization — Safe Food Matters Inc. (SFM), a Toronto based not-for-profit organization concerned about the health impacts of GMO’s and glyphosate, is taking Health Canada to court on January 30, 2020., Rachel Parent wrote on Medium on Monday.
all follows the infamous court battles in the United States against
Bayer/Monsanto over their herbicide Roundup and its links to
non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The key ingredient in Roundup also happens to be
all three court cases against Bayer/Monsanto claiming that roundup
caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma have been won so far, and with more than
45,000 more cases still waiting on review, countries around the world
have started to change their ways.
has not been the case with the United States or Canada, who have done
little to nothing to increase regulations surrounding the herbicide.
light of Canada’s 2017 re-approval of glyphosate there has been a
public outcry for the government to step in. Despite all the evidence,
Health Canada, which is subjected to a strong corporate lobby, has done
nothing except revise the label. Mary Lou McDonald, President of SFM, says it is “time to legally hold them to account”.
Glyphosate is sprayed on most
genetically modified crops (GMOs), including soy, corn, canola and sugar
beets. Glyphosate is also sprayed as a pre-harvest desiccant to dry
over 70 different crops, including chickpeas, lentils, peas, hops, rye,
wheat, and pistachios.
“Canadians spray per capita more glyphosate than the United States does, and I truly believe it will be a health epidemic,” said Brent Wisner, one of the lead attorneys on the Monsanto Trials.
are numerous scientific studies and a growing body of evidence that
shows glyphosate is linked to many health concerns, including cancer,
and specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Other growing concerns are
allergic reactions, kidney disease, fatty liver disease, mental health
concerns, and chronic bowel syndrome. In addition it can mobilize toxic
metals, kill bacteria, and recent research confirms that glyphosate alters the “microbiome” — the essential flora in the gut.
provide evidence that these pesticides disrupt the gut bacterial
populations (microbiome) at doses assumed safe by regulators. When
asking Health Canada about their assessment of safety surrounding the
herbicide, and which studies were used for the approval process, they
could not provide specifics.
new food guide encourages us to eat more plant-based proteins like
lentils, beans and chickpeas, but these are the most contaminated.
Spraying crops while they are still growing can speed dry-down
(desiccation) for harvest, but glyphosate builds up in the seeds of
legumes and cereals, in particular those that are “indeterminate”
plants. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirms that maximum
residue limits are being exceeded in these foods.” McDonald said in a
After reviewing the scientific evidence
and potential negative effects of glyphosate exposure, McDonald felt
that she had no other solution but to go to court on this issue. She’s
been looking to create a case since 2015, when glyphosate was initially
set for re-approval by the Harper government.
In 2017 SFM filed a notice of objection
(“NoO”) to the re-registration decision and asked that an independent
review panel be established. Eight NoOs were filed in mid-2017, and all
were rejected on January 11, 2019. After Health Canada’s statement of
rejection, SFM filed an application in federal court, challenging the
basis for the rejection of its NoO.
In a final statement, McDonald
concluded, “I believe in the law, and think we have a good case. A
proper and valid evaluation is current, looks at all available
information, follows principles of an evidence-based approach and good
scientific practice, and is free from the appearance of conflict of
interest. We expect that a new independent panel will ensure the health
evaluation of glyphosate meets these criteria.”
Safe Food Matters has been granted a court date of January 30, 2020, at the Federal Court in Toronto: 180 Queen St. W; starting at 9:30. The public is allowed to attend and show their support.