News regarding the dangers of GMOs and biotech, and the advantages of organic sustainable agriculture.
We are told that big agribusiness, with its GM crops, flashy techno-fixes and financial clout, will save the world from widespread hunger and malnutrition and help food systems weather the impacts of climate change. However, a report from ETC Group shows that in fact, it is a diverse network of small-scale producers, dubbed the Peasant Food Web, that feeds 70% of the world, including the most hungry and marginalized people. The flagship report, "Who Will Feed Us?", is a data-driven report full of unexpected statistics that reveal a tale of two food systems. This is the third edition, and most complete synthesis, of a research exercise that ETC Group has been undertaking for several years. "Who Will Feed Us?" upturns common assumptions about who feeds whom in a hungry world.
An environmentally relevant concentration of Roundup caused changes in the gut microbiome of rats, according to a new study published by the group of Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini at the University of Caen, France.
The raw milk wars are heating up again. Raw milk is illegal in New Jersey, so many people who wish to drink pure, unadulterated raw milk direct from the farm, need to cross state lines into neighboring states in order to obtain it. Not satisfied apparently with restricting the production, sale, and distribution of raw milk in New Jersey, state regulators, allegedly backed by the powerful FDA, is going after citizens in New Jersey for mere possession of the banned substance. Furthermore, they are apparently targeting immigrants in the state, mainly from India, where raw milk is a big part of their culture and cuisine. Terrified citizens of New Jersey today fear fines and possible civil action simply for possessing raw milk.
A dicamba/glyphosate herbicide mix is being sprayed on Monsanto's GM soybeans that are tolerant to both herbicides. The herbicide is drifting and volatilizing onto neighbouring non-target plants, including non-GM soybeans and a wide variety of food crops, garden plants and wild plants, resulting in massive damage to those crops and plants and even a decline in honey production. In an attempt to reduce off-target spray damage next year, the US EPA has issued new tighter use restrictions that are displayed on the herbicide product labels.
Over 1,200 emails released under open records requests reveal that the US military is now the top funder and influencer behind a controversial genetic extinction technology known as “gene drives” – pumping $100 million into the field. The trove of emails, obtained via open records requests, also shed light on a $1.6 million dollar UN gene drive lobbying operation paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “Emerging Ag,” a private PR firm funded by the Gates Foundation, is working behind the scenes to stack key UN advisory processes with gene drive-friendly scientists, and has recruited ostensibly independent academics and public officials into a private collaboration to counteract proposed regulations and to resist calls by scientists and conservationists for an international moratorium. Some of those recruited entered into the UN discussions without divulging their conflicts of interest or the role that paid political consultants played in shaping their inputs. The files, dubbed “The Gene Drive Files,” additionally cast a spotlight on the central role of the shadowy US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as the key funder now accelerating gene drive development. For example, DARPA is now revealed as the major financial backer of efforts to develop gene drive mammals (mice) that are led by a US environmental NGO, although DARPA has no biodiversity conservation mission, raising questions about the defence agency’s intent. These revelations come on the heels of a public warning issued by a leading gene drive researcher Dr Kevin Esvelt that current gene drives are too powerful to be used in conservation. “Gene drives are a powerful and dangerous new technology and potential biological weapons that could have disastrous impacts on peace, food security and the environment, especially if misused,” said Jim Thomas of ETC Group. “The fact that gene drive development is now being primarily funded and structured by the US military raises alarming questions about this entire field.”
The active ingredients of the commonly used herbicides, RoundUp, Kamba and 2,4-D (glyphosate, dicamba and 2,4-D, respectively), each alone cause antibiotic resistance at concentrations well below label application rates, a new study led by researchers at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand has found. Professor Jack Heinemann of the School of Biological Sciences in UC’s College of Science said the key finding of the research was that “bacteria respond to exposure to the herbicides by changing how susceptible they are to antibiotics used in human and animal medicine.” The herbicides studied are three of the most widely used in the world, Prof Heinemann said. They are also used on crops that have been genetically modified to tolerate them. Prof Heinemann said, “They are among the most common manufactured chemical products to which people, pets and livestock in both rural and urban environments are exposed. These products are sold in the local hardware store and may be used without training, and there are no controls that prevent children and pets from being exposed in home gardens or parks. Despite their ubiquitous use, this University of Canterbury research is the first in the world to demonstrate that herbicides may be undermining the use of a fundamental medicine - antibiotics.”
Replacements for bisphenol A, a hormone-disrupting chemical in plastics and food containers, could be just as harmful or even worse than it, according to a new study by the National Toxicology Program. The study of 24 replacement chemicals found that many already in use are structurally and functionally similar to BPA, and, just like BPA, may harm the endocrine system.
Environmental groups in Wilmington, NC are trying to stop chemical companies from polluting their drinking water with perfluorochemicals, called PFCs, which are highly persistent and magnified up the food chain. They are an increasingly common contaminate in food, water and household dusts. DuPont de Nemours & Company, for example, discharges a PFC abbreviated PFOA. Numerous studies have linked PFCs to genetic and reproductive damage, developmental problems in unborn children, and cancer. The scientific literature, therefore, contains ample evidence that chemical companies are to blame. In a letter to DuPont, The Weinberg Group, a leading public relations firm, offered to reshape the scientific literature. The firm stated that it would “construct” a scientific study to establish that PFOA is safe and provides “real health benefits.” Constructing studies with predetermined outcomes is not science in any sense of the word. And any benefits reported in the scientific literature from such a study would be nothing but fake science. Unfortunately, the peer-reviewed scientific literature is filled with fake science.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the use laboratory infected mosquitoes carrying the bacterium Wolbachia pipientis to be released into the wild. The laboratory-raised mosquitoes are meant to be a way to infect Asian Tiger mosquitoes, which are believed to carry harmful infectious diseases. The long term environmental consequences are unknown. Because mosquitoes are prey for birds and fish, the long-term effects on the greater ecosystem are unclear.
In 2015 the USDA reported orange juice was the most consumed fruit juice in the United States and oranges were second most consumed fruit overall, just slightly behind apples. The average person in America consumes 2.7 gallons of orange juice and 3 pounds of oranges each year. “100% Pure Orange Juice” is a common claim used by many juice brands that allow consumers to feel safe when serving it to their families on a daily basis. However, recent testing revealed that every one of the five top orange juice brands Moms Across America sent to an accredited lab tested positive for glyphosate weed killer. Glyphosate is the declared active chemical ingredient in Roundup, manufactured by Monsanto, and 750 other brands of glyphosate-based herbicides. Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the world, often sprayed as a weedkiller between citrus trees, found in irrigation water and rain.