Sign the Petition:
Search OCA:
Get Local!

Find Local News, Events & Green Businesses on OCA's State Pages:

OCA News Sections

Organic Consumers Association

GM Watch: Monthly Review No. 65

MONTHLY REVIEW CONTENTS
-----------------------------------------------------------

FOOD CRISIS
ARTICLE OF THE MONTH
LOBBYWATCH
FARMERS TURNING THEIR BACKS ON GM
GM APPROVALS / EXPANSION
PESTICIDES
HEALTH RISKS
CORPORATE TAKEOVER
CONTAMINATION
GM HYPE
BT COTTON FAILURE
RESISTANCE / BANS ON GM
RESEARCH
CAMPAIGNS
QUOTES OF THE MONTH
NON-GM SUCCESSES
CORPORATE CRIMES
NEW REPORTS

-----------------------------------------------------------
FOOD CRISIS
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ FOOD SECURITY AND GLOBAL WARMING: MONSANTO VS ORGANIC
A year ago, a conference at the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics on drought and drought-tolerant crops looked at GM drought-tolerant varieties. The Australian government's Grains Research and Development Corporation analysed the findings as follows: "The most notable and problematic (effect) is the tendency of drought-tolerant GM lines to not perform as well under favourable conditions. This appears to be the case for CIMMYT's GM wheat and Monsanto's GM corn. The flaw is a profound one. It amounts to shifting the yield losses experienced in dry seasons onto the good years."

In contrast, a long-term comparison of organic and conventional farming systems found that in drought conditions, organic systems yielded 28 to 34 percent higher than conventional systems (in good conditions, organic production yielded equivalently to conventional systems after a transition period). Water volumes percolating through the various systems were 15-20 percent higher in the organic systems as compared with the conventional systems over the 12 year period.

The organic systems used 28 to 32 percent fewer energy inputs, retained soil carbon and soil nitrogen better, and offered a higher profitability over conventional systems.
http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2009/1/14/23742/0777

-----------------------------------------------------------
ARTICLE OF THE MONTH
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ DANGEROUS CONFUSION OF SCIENCE WITH TECHNOLOGY
Guy Cook, professor of language at the Open University and the co-editor of the journal Applied Linguistics, writes in the latest edition of The Ecologist that a recent UK government document, A Vision for Science and Society, "fails to address the key difference between science (which develops knowledge of the natural world) and technology (which applies that knowledge). While it claims to be about the former, it is actually about the latter."

"Though not discussed, the distinction is clearly accepted by the authors, who use the phrase 'science and technology' 24 times. One has to suspect the avoidance of this issue is a strategic choice for a government intent on ignoring legitimate, environmentally aware assessment of new technologies, positioning it as opposition to science itself. They are not the same thing"

Prof. Cook continues, "...science can tell us what will happen when a nuclear bomb explodes, but not whether countries are right or wrong to have nuclear weapons. That decision must consider other criteria. The British Government's decision to maintain Britain's nuclear-weapon capability – an instance of a policy informed by science – is a political rather than a scientific one. Once the science and technology is confused, it is easy to characterise opposition to a technology as deriving from lack of scientific knowledge, or antagonism towards science."
http://www.theecologist.org/pages/archive_detail.asp?content_id=2046

-----------------------------------------------------------
LOBBYWATCH
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ 84% OF INDIANS READY TO BUY GM FOODS -- AFIC
A study on food safety by Singapore-based Asian Food Information Centre (AFIC) claims that about 84 per cent of Indians are ready to purchase GM food items such as tomatoes, food staples and cooking oils.

According to its website, the Asian Food Information Centre (AFIC) is "funded largely by the food, beverage and agricultural industries" (includes biotech companies). It also has a "strong alliance" with CropLife Asia - part of CropLife International, which represents Dupont, Monsanto and Syngenta, amongst others.

AFIC appears to be modeled on the International Food Information Council (IFIC), which AFIC describes as its "US sister organization".

IFIC's activities include surveys that consistently report positive consumer attitudes to GM foods. IFIC is financially backed by Monsanto, BASF, Cargill, Dow, DuPont, and Syngenta, amongst others. IFIC's surveys have included survey questions such as:

"All things being equal, how likely would you be to buy a variety of produce, like tomatoes or potatoes, if it had been modified by biotechnology to taste better or fresher?"

James Beniger, a communications professor at the University of Southern California and past president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, reviewed the IFIC survey and said it is so biased with leading questions favoring positive responses that any results are meaningless.
http://www.hospitalitybizindia.com/detailNews.aspx?aid=3308&sid=23

+ AMERICAN ACADEMIC PUNTS GM CROPS FOR AFRICA
US academic Robert Paarlberg has been hyping GM crops for Africa in an article for Voice of America. He "repeatedly emphasizes that the chief benefit of GM technology for Africa is the production of more food."
http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/US-Academic-makes-Fiery-Argument-for-Africa-to-Embrace-Biotechnology-PART-2-of-5.cfm

The problem is that there isn't any convincing evidence that GM crops do produce more food. As the 2500-page IAASTD report, based on peer reviewed publications, noted: yield gains in GM crops were "highly variable" and in some cases, "yields declined". That's why the report concluded GM was not essential to meeting the problems of food security.
http://www.bangmfood.org/feed-the-world/17-feeding-the-world/6-gm-no-solution-to-global-hunger

The Voice of America fails to mention that Paarlberg is "a member of the Biotechnology Advisory Council to the CEO of the Monsanto Company." He is also a member of the Emerging Markets Advisory Committee at the United States Department of Agriculture, and a consultant to USAID, the World Bank and the National Intelligence Council (NIC) - the center for midterm and long-term strategic thinking within the United States Intelligence Community.

According to his Wellesley College profile, "Paarlberg has also recently completed major studies of regional policy harmonization toward biotechnology in eastern and southern Africa, for the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) on the politics of accepting biofortified food crops in developing countries, commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation."
http://www.wellesley.edu/PublicAffairs/Profile/mr/rpaarlberg.html

+ THE GATES FOUNDATION AND THE MONSANTO 'CHARITY'
Bill and Melinda Gates hate controversy, but the world's top philanthropists do seem to be moving ever deeper into political lobbying. They've just given the Danforth plant science centre in St Louis $5.4m (GBP3.8m) to help them persuade African and other poor countries to "overcome regulatory hurdles" and allow the field testing of bio-fortified GM crops. So what is Danforth? Just a "charity" set up and funded by Monsanto.
- John Vidal, Eco Soundings, The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jan/28/eco-soundings-environment
See also:
http//www.truthabouttrade.org/content/view/13106/54/&cid=0&usg=AF
QjCNEVHX8E_Gr7UgmHTMsMeeO995JN_Q

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story
/E34D9E8106D7B38E8625725A00160E76?OpenDocument


+ PAN UK LETTER TO BBC ABOUT JIMMY'S GM FOOD FIGHT
Pesticides Action Network's (PAN UK) letter of complaint to the BBC about the pro-GM hype of its JimmyÕs GM Food Fight programme is at
http://www.pan-uk.org/press/Letter%20to%20BBC.html
GMWatch's review of the programme is at
http://www.bangmfood.org/mediawatch/25-mediawatch/18-jimmys-gm-food-fix

+ TECHNO-FIX OR FALSE SOLUTION?
'Solving climate change' is increasingly being presented as the excuse for gambling on high-risk technologies, writes Jim Thomas in an excellent article for The Ecologist. Dangerous technologies being pursued include GM crops and spraying pollutants into the sky to change the weather. Climate-change deniers are embracing these ideas, says Thomas, in an attempt to justify not taking fundamental action to reduce emissions.
http://www.theecologist.org/pages/archive_detail.asp?content_id=2053

-----------------------------------------------------------
FARMERS TURNING THEIR BACKS ON GM
-----------------------------------------------------------

Here are 2 recent reports of U.S. soybean farmers turning their backs on GM soy. These follow on from a similar report from Brazil. See also the item below on the shrinking Bt cotton acreage in the U.S. which notes that the cost of Bt cotton now exceeds the cost of conventional pest control.

+ FARMERS TURNING THEIR BACK ON GM SOY IN U.S.

"We've been hearing about farmers returning to conventional soybean varieties in 2009 to lower input costs and take advantage of overseas demand for non-GMO beans," says Dr David Wright, Director of Research for the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP).
http://www.prweb.com/releases/SoybeanVarieties/soybeans
/prweb1833374.htm


+ NON-GM SOYBEANS SOUGHT
This article notes that some U.S. producers are interested in getting hold of non-GM soybeans not just because of the high prices for GM but because they would also like to replant seed from their soybean crop, and some are hoping to find a buyer willing to pay a premium for non-GM soybeans.
http://www.seedtoday.com/articles/The_Search_for_Non_GM_Soybeans-69327.html

+ BT COTTON MORE EXPENSIVE
Delta Farm Press reports that U.S. cotton insect losses in 2008 were up from 2007 and that the cost of Bt cotton exceeded the cost of foliar application in 2008. Bt cotton acreage decreased for the second straight year in 2008, although this is more reflective of an overall decline in cotton acreage.
http://deltafarmpress.com/cotton/beltwide-insects-0123/

See also: NON-GM SUCCESSES below.

-----------------------------------------------------------
GM APPROVALS / EXPANSION
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ EUROPEAN COMMISSION PUSHES FOR NEW GM CROPS IN EUROPE
The European Commission has issued proposals for two new varieties of GM maize to be grown in Europe despite safety concerns. The Commission also says it wants to force Greece, Hungary and France to drop their national bans on a similar GM maize. National governments will be asked to vote on the proposals in February.

Helen Holder, GMO coordinator at Friends of the Earth Europe said: "The Commission is making no sense. Barely a month ago European Environment Ministers called for serious improvements to GMO laws. The Commission itself has demanded a two year review of how the safety and environmental impacts of GM crops are assessed. European countries should reject these proposals."
http://www.foeeurope.org/press/2009/Jan21_EC_pushes_for_new_GM_
crops_in_Europe.html


+ GM SORGHUM TEST APPROVED IN SOUTH AFRICA
An appeal board has overturned opposition from the South African GMO Executive Council to allow testing of GM sorghum, known as 'Super Sorghum', in greenhouses in Pretoria. The application by the Council for Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR) was successful at the second attempt when the applicant supplied additional information that it would meet biosafety requirements for the trials.
http://ipsnews.net/africa/nota.asp?idnews=44112

+ UGANDA: GM CASSAVA READY FOR FIELD TRIALS

http://allafrica.com/stories/200901070050.html

+ ATTEMPTS TO PUSH GM WHEAT

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) has issued a statement expressing strong support for developing GM wheat. However, even Monsanto admits the future is non-GM for wheat.
http://www.growersforbiotechnology.org/
http://www.bangmfood.org/quotes/24-quotes/32-non-gm-biotechnology-is-the-future

+ GM GOAT MILK TO GET FDA APPROVAL
http://www.medindia.net/news/Transgenic-Goat-Milk-for-Rare-Clotting-Disorder-to-Receive-FDA-Approval-46207-1.htm

+ BELGIUM: REFUSAL OF GM POPLAR FIELD TRIAL OVERTURNED
The Belgian Council of State has suspended the refusal by federal ministers of a GM poplar field trial.
http://www.vib.be/NR/rdonlyres/E8FB2BC8-3D32-4D76-BFC1-9609FA07C689/2794/2008123 0_ENG_RaadvanStateschorstweigeringvanVIBvel.pdf

-----------------------------------------------------------
PESTICIDES
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ REMOVE GLUFOSINATE FROM MARKET IMMEDIATELY!

European Parliament members have voted to ban pesticides classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction. Permits for 22 substances, among them BayerÕs glufosinate, a pesticide used on many GM crops, will not be renewed. But the Coalition Against Bayer Dangers has asked for glufosinate to be taken off the market immediately.
http://sprayadvisory.blog.ca/2009/01/19/take-glufosinate-bayer-s-herbicide-off-the-market-immediately-and-more-5405713/

+ NATIONAL FARMERS' UNION MUST STOP BACKING THE POISONERS

The UK National Farmers' Union NFU has attacked a recent vote in the European parliament that will result in a ban on a clutch of pesticides deemed hazardous to human health. The NFU warns darkly that without these chemicals, yields of cereal crops such as wheat and barley could fall by one-third. Some staple vegetables such as carrots might not be economic to grow in the UK at all.

But Graham Harvey, writing in The Guardian, says the NFU must stop backing the poisoners, pull itself out of the 1970s and celebrate the call for healthier food. He points out that many growers already produce crops in the UK, including carrots, without pesticides.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/18/agriculture-food-national-farmers-union

-----------------------------------------------------------
HEALTH RISKS
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ BT BRINJAL NOT SAFE
As the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), India's regulatory body for GE crops and foods, meets to look at the results of the two-year large scale trials of Bt Brinjal across the country, new analyses of the data cast doubts on the safety of the GM crop.

Prof Gilles-Eric Seralini of CRIIGEN analysed Mahyco's Bt brinjal biosafety data and points out that Bt brinjal had not been properly tested from the safety and environmental point of view, observing that in feeding trials significant differences were noted in animals fed with Bt brinjal compared to those fed non-Bt controls. He concludes, "Clear significant differences were seen that raise food safety concerns and warrant further investigation. The GM Bt brinjal cannot be considered as safe as its non GM counterpart. Indeed, it should be considered as unsuitable for human and animal consumption."
Full study at
http://www.criigen.org/images/stories/Actualites/ActusOGM/btbrinjal-ges_%200109.pdf

+ US PREPARES TO BLOCK INFLUX OF GM FOODS
After a decade of exporting its GM crops all over the world, the US is preparing to block foreign GM foods from entering the country - if they are deemed to threaten its agriculture, environment or citizens' health. The warning was given to the US Department of Agriculture, which polices agricultural imports, by its own auditor, the Office of Inspector General (OIG): "Unless international developments in transgenic plants and animals are closely monitored, USDA could be unaware of potential threats that particular new transgenic plants or animals might pose to the nation's food supply."
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126923.300-us-prepares-to-block-influx-of-gm-food.html

+ NEW ZEALAND: REGULATOR PUTS MULTINATIONALS BEFORE PUBLIC SAFETY
Food Standards Australia New Zealand, the independent statutory agency charged with setting and reviewing food standards, has been accused by the coalition of critics of placing the business interests of multinational companies ahead of consumers to the point of endangering public health and compromising the safety of Australia's food supply. The group, which includes the Public Health Association of Australia, the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, the consumer advocacy group Choice and Greenpeace, is calling on the Federal Government to hold an inquiry into the actions of the regulator.
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/food-regulator-accused-of-putting-multinationals-before-publicsafety/2009/01/23/1232471590780.html

+ TRASHING GM CROPS ACCEPTABLE

Leading anti-GM activists have condoned the sabotage of GM canola crops in a bid to stop Western AustraliaÕs planned crop trials. Greenpeace anti-GM campaigner Louise Sales said it would be Òcompletely acceptableÓ for protesters to trash crops to protect the Òwider goodÓ.
http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=2&ContentID=120808

+ NONTARGET EFFECTS OF GM
Article with scientific examples:
http://statelineobserver.com/component/option,com_mojo/Itemid,90/p,3760/

-----------------------------------------------------------
CORPORATE TAKEOVER
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ THE DEATH OF AMERICAN FARMING

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Pre-inauguration-reality--by-Linn-Cohen-Cole-090119-205.html

+ VILSACK WRONG CHOICE FOR AG SECRETARY

More than 60,000 supporters of organic farming sent emails opposing the nomination of pro-GM lobbyist Tom Vilsack for secretary of agriculture, to no avail.
http://www.progressive.org/pmpabout.html#anchorsupport

+ HIGH LEVEL CONFERENCE ON FOOD SECURITY CRITICISED
Farmers and social movements have issued a statement criticising the High Level Conference on Food Security in Madrid 26-27 January because it excluded the main stakeholders in the debate on the food crisis from meaningful participation.

The forum is dominated by the World Bank, IMF and WTO, as well as transnational companies such as Monsanto. They were given space on the panels of discussion while representatives of small farmers - who produce 80% of the world's food - were left only a few minutes on the floor to give their position.

COMMENT from Robin Maynard, campaigns director of the Soil Association:
It is deplorable, but predictable, that the very institutions and agribusiness companies that have done so much to undermine global food security, presume to put themselves forward as the solution to the problems they've exacerbated, if not directly caused.
Soil Association website: http://www.soilassociation.org/foodsecurity
http://www.foodsovereignty.org/
http://www.viacampesina.org/main_en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=672&Itemid=1

+ GM FOODS ACCELERATE FOOD INSECURITY IN JAPAN

Japan's lack of food self-sufficiency makes it a heavy importer of GM foods. Therefore most Japanese people eat a large proportion of GM foods even though Japan grows no GM crops. Keisuke Amagasa, a well-known writer and food activist in Japan, says this has to change: "You cannot import 99% of your fuel and 60% of your food. It does not make any sense."
http://martinjapan.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-genetically-modified-foods-are.html

-----------------------------------------------------------
CONTAMINATION
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ CONTAMINATED RICE FOUND IN INDIA
Gene Campaign alleges that GM Bt rice belonging to the Mahyco company has contaminated rice in Jharkhand, India. GM rice carrying the Bt gene was planted by Mahyco company in field trials violated rules prescribed by the government for such testing, Gene Campaign said.

Suman Sahai, convenor of Gene Campaign, says, "even the fact that GM rice could get out of their trial site is damning for Mahyco. Nor is it clear if the GM rice introduced by Mahyco is safe for human consumption. It isn't known how far it has spread but the contamination has surely begun." This violation, she adds, is all the more serious because India is the centre of origin of rice with immense genetic diversity.
http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/482547/Business/4/20/4
http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20090202&fname=ZGM+Rrice&sid=1

+ INDIA: FARMERS AND EXPERTS CALL FOR MORATORIUM

Farmers and experts have called for a moratorium on GM crops in the country in view of established health and environmental hazards. Charging the key regulatory body of "compromising" its brief of securing public health and safety in the context of GM crops, they have called for a stop on the introduction of both GM brinjal and GM rice.

Criticizing the lack of appropriate regulations and the haste to release GM crops in the environment, the founder-director of the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and the Supreme Court's nominee in the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), Dr Pushpa M Bhargava said that the GEAC was not sufficiently enabled to oversee/regulate approvals and ensure health and environmental safety.
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Markets/Commodities/Farmers_and_
experts_called_for_moratorium_on_GM_crops/articleshow/4024347.cms


+ INDIA: DOCTORS CALLS FOR MORATORIUM ON GM CROPS AND FOODS
http://www.gmwatch.eu/archives/50-Doctors-call-for-moratorium-on-GM-crops.html

+ HOW COMMUNITIES ARE TACKLING GM CONTAMINATION
An interesting article in Seedling (from GRAIN) discusses the methods communities around the world are using to get rid of GM contamination from their crops. In Mexico, people found that deformed maize plants had high levels of contamination, so they have begun to weed them out.

In the Philippines, people are "complaining that they have lost practically all the traditional maize varieties in the province due to contamination by hybrid and GM maize. They also fear for their health, as there have been incidents of children being taken to hospital for incessant vomiting after accidentally eating GM maize. There was also a report of a farmerÕs cow that became sick and eventually died after being fed with Bt maize."
http://www.grain.org/seedling/?id=575
GMWatch comment: We've been contacted by people complaining of severe symptoms after eating corn/maize products over the past 5-6 years when they have not had problems previously with this fnod. They ask if it's anything to do with the introduction of GM maize. We tell them there is no way of knowing, as GM scientists didn't bother to find out before releasing GM maize onto world markets.

+ NAFTA COMMISSION GETS GM CORN COMPLAINT
Mexican farm and environmental groups have filed a complaint with the environmental commission of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) over the importing and planting of GM corn seeds in the northern state of Chihuahua. Currently, the planting of GM corn is illegal in Mexico.
http://www.newspapertree.com/news/3381-nafta-commission-gets-gm-corn-complaint

+ GM CONTAMINATION OF HONEY - FULL ARTICLE
A German magazine recently had a range of honeys tested and found 11 out of 24 honeys were contaminated with GM pollen Ð mainly those from South America. We previously posted a summary in English of the article but now we have a translation (thanks to our GMWatch translators) of the full piece: http://www.gmfreeireland.org/news/index.php

+ NEW ZEALAND: SAFETY BREACH DURING GM TRIAL
http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/stories/2009/01/12/12459800051c
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC0901/S00010.htm
http://greenbio.checkbiotech.org/news/call_ge_field_trials_be_closed

-----------------------------------------------------------
GM HYPE
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ INDUSTRY GM CROP FIGURES MASSAGED - AGAIN

Data on the area of GM crops recently obtained by GM Freeze shows that the annual global summary of GM cultivation exaggerated the area grown in the EU by more than four times. Every year the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) publishes a "global status" report on commercial growing of GM crops around the world. But in Romania, ISAAA's figures were more than 150 times the area grown as reported by Monsanto, and in Poland 143 times larger. ISAAA is funded by Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Du Pont, and Nestle.
http://www.gmfreeze.org/page_print.asp?ID=365
GM Freeze briefing with references: http://www.gmfreeze.org/uploads/ISAAA_Q&A_2009.pdf

-----------------------------------------------------------
BT COTTON FAILURES
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ BT COTTON UNDER INVESTIGATION IN QUEENSLAND
Reports of Helicoverpa caterpillar survivors in Bollgard II cotton crops are being investigated by Queensland's Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries and the Cotton CRC. One theory being explored is that at the peak flowering stage, there could be a dip in expression of the plant gene conferring the toxin.
http://sl.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/cotton/general/gm-cotton-under-investigation-in-queensland/1408255.aspx

+ MORE ON SUICIDES AMONG BT COTTON FARMERS IN INDIA
As cotton yield dwindles, costs rise:
http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090120/FOREIGN/850376237/-1/NEWS

-----------------------------------------------------------
RESEARCH
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ THE NEW WEAPONS OF GM
Over the last few years biotech laboratories and industry have developed two new techniques Ð artificial minichromosomes and transformed organelles Ð which, the industry claims, will allow it to overcome the problems it has faced until now with GMOs, especially their low efficiency and genetic contamination. But basic biology and maths indicate that, contrary to what the industry claims, the new technology will not prevent genetic contamination in plants. In fact, as the two technologies converge, the frightening possibility arises that contamination will reach a new level of toxicity, and occur not only within organisms of the same species but also between species as different from each other as plants and bacteria, or plants and fungi, says an article in GRAIN's Seedling publication.
Read on for full explanation: http://www.grain.org/seedling/?id=576

+ ROUNDUP RESIDUES IN FOOD CAUSE CELL DAMAGE AND DEATH
A research study from CRIIGEN shows that Roundup residues found in GM food and feed can cause cell damage and even death -- even at very low levels. This is yet another example of harm associated with GM crops which are currently on the market. In this case the harm is "indirect" -- but it is nonetheless inescapable since all RR crops used for feed and food purposes will contain RR residues at or above the studied level.
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/tx800218n

+ NEW PAPER ON MONSANTO'S SAVE THE WORLD RHETORIC
Development expert Dominic Glover shows the cognitive dissonance that has existed since the earliest days between the kinds of GM crops Monsanto has actually been developing (designed to meet the needs of farmers in industrialised countries) and the company's rhetoric about their relevance to the needs of farmers in the developing world.
http://www.steps-centre.org/PDFs/GM%20Crops%20web%20final_small.pdf

+ NEW REPORT ON GOLDEN RICE
A new report for Food Watch on the Golden Rice Project reveals wildly exaggerated claims of "benefits" for Golden Rice, and dubious science and technical data which has been systematically kept hidden from the public.
http://www.foodwatch.de/english/golden_rice/index_ger.html

+ NEW STUDY: "BIOFUELS" THE WORST OPTION
An ambitious new study, which attempts to rank the desirability of 11 possible future energy sources, has found biofuels to be the least desirable. Ethanol use was found to cause the most climate damage, air pollution, damage to land and wildlife, and chemical waste. The study has been published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.
http://www.scidev.net/en/news/biofuels-bottom-of-the-heap-in-impact-study.html

+ NEW STUDY: CROPS ABSORB LIVESTOCK ANTIBIOTICS
For half a century, US meat producers have fed antibiotics to farm animals to increase their growth and stave off infections. Now scientists have discovered that vegetables such as corn, potatoes and lettuce absorb antibiotics when grown in soil fertilized with livestock manure, according to tests conducted at the University of Minnesota.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/antibiotics-in-crops

+ NEW STUDY: BILLIONS FACE FOOD SHORTAGES
Half of the world's population could face severe food shortages by the end of the century as rising temperatures take their toll on farmers' crops, according to a study in the US journal Science. In many countries, a combination of poor farming practices and deforestation, exacerbated by climate change, may steadily degrade soil fertility, leaving vast areas unsuitable for crops or grazing. In 2007, scientists warned that poor soil fertility meant a global food crisis was likely in the next half-century.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jan/09/food-climate-change

+ ORGANICS CAN FEED AFRICA - OFFICIAL
A major study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) concludes organic farming offers Africa the best chance of breaking the long inherent cycle of poverty and malnutrition. Research conducted by UNEP suggests that organic, small-scale farming can deliver the increased yields which were thought to be the preserve of industrial high-tech farming, in addition to reversing environmental and social damages, leading to greater food security. The report is available at
http://www.unep.ch/etb/publications/insideCBTF_OA_2008.pdf

-----------------------------------------------------------
CAMPAIGNS
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ GET GM OUT OF ANIMAL FEED
GM is still in the food chain, but not on the label. GM crops still feed many of the animals we eat or use for eggs and milk, and it is this "hidden" GM feed that is keeping the biotech industry alive and profitable.

GM Freeze needs your help now to get GM out of our food chain once and for all - especially as supermarkets may be using the "food crisis" as an excuse to open the door to MORE GM, not less.

GM Freeze is working with others to get this hidden GM out of the food chain. You can find everything you need - background briefings to sample letters to send - here http://www.gmfreeze.org/page.asp?ID=366
Or on the banGMfood.org website at http://www.bangmfood.org/stealth-gmos

Professor Bob Orskov OBE, director at the International Feed Resource Unit in Aberdeen: "As a scientist, I wouldn't drink milk from cows fed GM maize with the present state of knowledge."

+ NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM BANGMFOOD.ORG
Easy to read, download and print. Help spread the word - give these carefully produced and well-formatted leaflets to friends, shoppers, MPs/MEPs/other political representatives, doctors, educators, etc. Leave a pile in libraries, doctors' surgeries, wholefood stores, etc.

The last word on GM safety - new science-based leaflet:
http://www.bangmfood.org/publications/4-short-leaflets/1-genetically-modified-gm-foods-renewed-threat-to-europe

10 reasons why we don't need GM foods:
http://www.bangmfood.org/publications/4-short-leaflets/33-10-reasons-why-we-
dont-need-gm-foods

+ UK: OUTRAGEOUS - GM CHOCOLATE ON SALE IN TESCOS UK!
Hershey Brazil has removed GM ingredients from its bars but Hershey appears unwilling to do the same for consumers in the UK. Have a look at this label showing 3 different GM ingredients in Hershey's Nutrageous bars on sale in Tescos.
http://flickr.com/photos/mikegrenville/3174531452
URGENT ACTION: GM Freeze sets out 3 effective actions you can take to protest
http://www.gmfreeze.org/page.asp?id=357&iType=1083

-----------------------------------------------------------
QUOTES OF THE MONTH
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ GM "TOTALLY OVERSOLD"
Article in The Guardian quoting Prof Bob Watson, chief scientist at the UK government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and formerly an adviser to the White House, chief scientist at the World Bank, and the director of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

Still around 900m people go to bed hungry every night. The major problem, said Watson, is not one that GM crops will solve. He stressed the need for good roads to get crops to markets, and simple technologies that will help reduce post-harvest losses in Africa, which currently stand at between 30 and 40%. "GM is a totally oversold technique," [Watson] said.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2009/jan/23/gm-crops-genetically-modified-food-crisis

+ "WE BLEW IT"
Former US President Bill Clinton, in a keynote address for World Food Day on 23 October 2008:

"We need the World Bank, we need the International Monetary Fund, we need all the big foundations, we need all the governments to admit that for 30 years we all blew it, including me, when I was President. We blew it. We were wrong to believe that food is like some other product in international trade. And we all have to go back to a more environmentally responsible, sustainable form of agriculture."
http://www.grain.org/seedling/?id=585

+ "GLOBALISATION IS AN ANOMALY"
James Howard Kunstler, "Globalisation [which enables the industrialized, high-input food production system to continue] is an anomaly and its time is running out: Cheap energy and relative peace helped create a false doctrine." The Guardian, 4 August 2005:

"Today's transient global economic relations are a product of very special transient circumstances, namely relative world peace and absolutely reliable supplies of cheap energy. Subtract either of these elements from the equation and you will see globalisation evaporate so quickly it will suck the air out of your lungs. It is significant that none of the cheerleaders for globalisation takes this equation into account. In fact, the American power elite is sleepwalking into a crisis so severe that the blowback may put both major political parties out of business."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/aug/04/globalisation.comment

+ GM SOYA WREAKS CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC HAVOC
"[Soy is] a disease, stuck in the marrow of my bones. It sustains me enough to keep me breathing at the end of each day, but it is rotting me alive. It is slowly numbing my body from the inside out. This crop has robbed me of my child. It has robbed me of my youth, my hope, my want to look ahead to a future. I am not the only one. There are many of us. In America you have cocaine to kill slowly; in Argentina we have soybeans."
- Sonita Ponce, Argentinian farmer, cited by Meriwether Hardie in Argentina: GM Soy Wreaks Cultural and Economic Havoc in Jujuy, Upside Down World, 8 January 2009. ARTICLE WORTH READING IN FULL:
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/1656/1/

-----------------------------------------------------------
NON-GM SUCCESSES
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ GM FARMERS WANT TO GO ORGANIC
A group of 22 farmers who have been growing GM cotton in the Makhatini Flats region of South Africa have traveled to India to learn about organic methods. It seems GM farming is no longer profitable because the government has stopped subsidizing it. One of the African farmers said they wanted to go back to food crops like corn and sweet potatoes and were here to explore the possibility of taking up organic farming, shedding GMOs, chemical fertilisers and unwanted insecticides.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Thirupuram/SA_farmers_in_
India_to_learn_about_organic_farming/rssarticleshow/4016982.cms

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/SA_farmers_learn_from_
state_counterparts_/articleshow/4009003.cms


+ MALAWI STRIKES ORGANIC GOLD
Peasant farmers in Malawi are breaking the cycle of poverty by using organic farming in an innovative way, reports an article in The Independent.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/appeals/indy-appeal/independent-appeal-malawi- strikes-organic-gold-1225814.html
This is far from a one-off - see Organic farming 'could feed Africa' Ð report:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/organic-farming-could-feed-africa -968641.html

+ WHERE AGRICULTURE IS A HAPPY STORY
In Hyderabad, India, the demand for vegetables grown through non-pesticidal management (NPM) is high, and farmers are switching to NPM to meet the demand.
http://nation.ittefaq.com/issues/2009/01/23/news0448.htm

-----------------------------------------------------------
CORPORATE CRIMES
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ CHILDREN USED AS GM GUINEA PIGS
GM-Free Cymru has revealed that a team from Tufts University in the US is using children in a trial of GM "Golden Rice". Details are to be found on the US Government Clinical trial web site.
http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00680212?cond=%22Vision+Disorders%22&rank= 17
A clinical trial was cut short in China last month when the government found that 24 children of 6-8 years of age at a primary school in Henyang in Hunan province were to be used as guinea pigs to test Golden Rice.
http://www.businessworld.in/index.php/Economy-and-Banking/Golden-Scare.html

+ MONSANTO DOING "RURAL CLEANSING" IN U.S.
An article for OpEd news tells how private detectives in Illinois are serving notices on many farmers and seed cleaners that they are being sued by Monsanto. Farmers report that a Monsanto investigator laughed that they were doing "rural cleansing".
http://www.opednews.com/articles/MONSANTO-investigator-in-by-Linn-Cohen-Cole-090110-871.html
TAKE ACTION: Contact your local newspaper in the U.S. or Congress people:
Investigate Monsanto's antitrust and criminal activities.
http://www.usalone.net/cgi-bin/oen.cgi?qnum=6778

-----------------------------------------------------------
REPORTS
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ NEW REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CENTRE FOR BIOSAFETY
*GMOs in South Africa - 2008 Overviews
http://www.biosafetyafrica.net/portal/images/ACB/files/gmosbooklet.pdf
*Public participation in context of Patent Laws in South Africa
http://www.biosafetyafrica.net/portal/images/ACB/files/public%20participation.pd f
*Agrofuels in South Africa - projects, players and poverty http://www.biosafetyafrica.net/portal/images/ACB/files/agrofuelsbooklet%281%29.p df
*Marine Bioprospecting - key challenges and the situation in South Africa
http://www.biosafetyafrica.net/portal/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=239&Itemid=63

For more information on this topic or related issues you can search the thousands of archived articles on the OCA website using keywords: