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Top GMO News of the Month (Feb. 7, 2010)

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Monthly Review editor Claire Robinson
Website: http://www.gmwatch.org
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CONTENTS
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RESOURCES
INDIA: BT BRINJAL APPROVAL SCANDAL
FEEDING THE WORLD
RESEARCH
REST OF THE MONTH'S NEWS

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RESOURCES
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+ UPDATED 10 REASONS
We've updated our easy to read and carefully referenced leaflet, "10 reasons
why we don't need GM foods":
http://www.gmwatch.org/10-reasons-why-we-dont-need-gm-foods
If you want to print it as a leaflet for distribution, download a PDF:
http://bit.ly/dzm5c0

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INDIA: BT BRINJAL APPROVAL SCANDAL
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ OVER 100,000 INDIANS FAST TO STOP BT BRINJAL AND PROTECT INDIA'S FOOD
SOVEREIGNTY
On Martyrs' day, 30 January, over 100,000 Indians observed a nationwide
one-day fast and candle lit vigil to emphasise that the hard-won
independence led by Mahatma Gandhi cannot be lost now to agri-business MNCs,
with their technologies like GM seeds. "Remember the Mahatma, Stop Bt
Brinjal and Protect India's Seed & Food Sovereignty" was their message.
http://gmwatch.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11901:more-th
an-100000-indians-fast-against-gm-crops


+ INDIA'S CITIZENS RECLAIM DEMOCRATIC PROCESS ON GM BRINJAL
Ever felt that the approval of GM crops and foods by GM 'regulators' across
the world has lacked transparency, due democratic process, and scientific
rigour?

Then take a look at India for a lesson in how we can begin to take back the
power we've given away to corporations and their bought-and-owned
politicians and scientists.

In recent weeks we've put onto our website (http://www.gmwatch.org/ - Latest
News) documents from independent scientists and other experts submitted to
the Indian government, commenting on its Expert Committee's (EC II) recent
recommendation for approval of commercialisation of GM Bt brinjal
(aubergine/eggplant). Links to these documents are below, in THE REAL
EVIDENCE ON BT BRINJAL.

The approval process appeared to be based on junk science generated by the
GM company Mahyco (a subsidiary of Monsanto), who created the GM Bt brinjal
in question. Their data was not made fully public or independently
evaluated.

When the approval announcement met with public outcry, the Minister for the
Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, intervened and launched a public
consultation and review process.

In response, a group of citizens, independent scientists, and other experts
stepped into the knowledge gap to shine a light on the questions and
problems around Bt brinjal that Mahyco and its friends in the Indian
government didn't want the public to know about.

More background from Aruna Rodrigues (lead petitioner in the public interest
lawsuit on GMOs before the Supreme Court of India):
http://gmwatch.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11898:indias-
citizens-reclaim-democratic-process-on-gmos


+ THE REAL EVIDENCE ON BT BRINJAL
NEW: Prof. Seralini's answer to ECII Report submitted to GEAC on Bt brinjal
- Parts I & 2
http://bit.ly/bt2l9H
http://bit.ly/d4h03W

Response to conclusions of the Expert Committee on Bt Brinjal -
microbiologist Dr Johannes Manjrekar
http://bit.ly/bzVN2V

Why Bt brinjal should not be allowed into the food supply - Immunologist and
biologist Dr David Schubert
http://bit.ly/c7cRjI

Health effects and risks of Bt foods/Conflicts of interest in Bt brinjal
approval - health professionals' letter to minister
http://bit.ly/cIsaXN

Effects on health of transgenic Bt brinjal - CRIIGEN member Dr Joël Spiroux
de Vendômois, MD
http://bit.ly/b7dXAd

Bt brinjal health risks - Dr Arpad Pusztai
http://bit.ly/bFziyy

No long-term safety research on Bt brinjal - Letter to Indian Council of
Medical Research from Aruna Rodrigues
http://bit.ly/9lVs88

Mealy Bug Plagues Bt Cotton in India and Pakistan: The new menace that came
with Bt cotton ­ Dr Mae-Wan Ho
http://bit.ly/cKJ5c8

Bt cotton and livestock: health impacts - Dr Sagari R Ramdas (paper)
http://bit.ly/aTL1ho

Bt cotton and livestock deaths: Letter from Sagari R Ramdas to environment
minister
http://bit.ly/cWJcYf

Bt brinjal and absence of safety testing - addendum from Dr Sagari R Ramdas
http://bit.ly/bO1l4Q

Molecular characterization of Bt brinjal "inadequate", results
"unpredictable" - genetic engineer Dr David Williams
http://bit.ly/bO2f9h

Comment on the risk assessment of Bt brinjal - Dr Doug Gurian-Sherman
http://bit.ly/by1OFl

Bt brinjal analysis "too poorly conducted" to assume safety - Prof Jack
Heinemann - Part I
http://bit.ly/ct9rPc

Bt brinjal analysis "too poorly conducted" to assume safety - Prof Jack
Heinemann - Part II
http://bit.ly/cT2wrP

Risk assessment of toxins derived from Bt - important peer reviewed study ­
Christoph Then
http://bit.ly/a3ngla

Is this what Indians should be trusting? The story of the Expert Committee
that recommended Bt Brinjal ­ Kavitha Kuruganti
http://bit.ly/d1W17V

Response to Expert Committee on Bt brinjal - Kavitha Kuruganti - Part I
http://bit.ly/agV18j

Response to Expert Committee on Bt brinjal - Kavitha Kuruganti - Part II
http://bit.ly/9Nt3hN

Response to Expert Committee on Bt brinjal - Kavitha Kuruganti - Part III
http://bit.ly/8XTbXN

Response to Expert Committee on Bt brinjal - Kavitha Kuruganti - Part IV
http://bit.ly/aNMOD8

Appeal by farmers' group representative on Bt brinjal to minister
http://bit.ly/9tyY5Q

"GM Facts" from farmers' group representative to environment minister
http://bit.ly/dDnfcQ

Organic cotton contaminated by GM cotton
http://bit.ly/bEmete

Non-GM soy contaminated by GM cotton and export impact
http://bit.ly/c60XoZ

NOTE: There is also an excellent collection of expert responses on Bt
brinjal and its regulatory approval at
http://www.indiagminfo.org/four/experts-feedback.htm

+ "FATHER OF GREEN REVOLUTION" SWAMINATHAN SAYS NO TO GM BRINJAL
The so-called Father of the Green Revolution, Prof M S Swaminathan, who is
not adverse to GM crops, has said that Bt brinjal should not be introduced
for three reasons, according to a report of Indian poet and environmentalist
Smt Sugathakumari.

Swaminathan reportedly said:
* an independent government owned testing facility has not done the tests,
and it was based on only privately generated data (he reminded Sugathakumari
of his own recommendations in 2004 of setting up an internationally
qualified lab for this purpose)
* consumption of thoroughly untested Bt Brinjal is like the case of tobacco
- a chronic dosage issue
*Bt brinjal should not be introduced in any agro-biodiversity hotspots, as
it will destroy the indigenous varieties.
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11863:sw
aminathan-says-qnoq-to-bt-brinjal
http://bit.ly/8kbfjb

+ BIOTECH'S COLONISATION BY CONTAMINATION
Indian biotechnologists have warned that GM brinjal could enter the Indian
market illegally if the government refuses or delays approval for
commercialisation.

"We have several instances of how transgenic crops under field trials or
being tested in labs have found their way to farmer fields even before they
are formally approved and commercialised. The Indian authorities should
permit commercialisation of transgenic brinjal before this (brinjal) makes
illegal entry into our farms and markets," said Dr Shanthu Shantharam, a
former GM crop regulator at the US Dept of Agriculture (USDA).

GMW comment: This looks like blackmail, or colonisation by contamination:
"You're going to have Bt brinjal whether you like it or not, so you'd better
make it official so you appear in control." Incidentally, we're told by
someone who caught a TV report on the public hearing on Bt brinjal in Andhra
Pradesh, that a farmer was quoted as saying he was also already growing Bt
brinjal - Mahyco-Monsanto's patented crop for which there is no current
regulatory approval.
http://gmwatch.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11902:biotech
s-colonisation-by-contamination
http://bit.ly/cVhWce

+ THE CHAOS CALLED BT BRINJAL
In North Gujarat farmers are complaining that Maharashtra Hybrid Seed
Company (Mahyco), a big-time promoter of the hybrid seeds, has provided some
of them Bt brinjal seeds to 'try out' in their fields.
http://gmwatch.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11902:biotech
s-colonisation-by-contamination
http://bit.ly/cVhWce
Similar reports from Maharashtra
ttp://bit.ly/c33zww

-----------------------------------------------------------
FEEDING THE WORLD
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ UK OVERSEAS AID IGNORES SMALL-SCALE AGRICULTURE
MPs have criticised the Department for International Development (DfID) for
overseeing a decline in support for agriculture in international development
and ignoring the needs of smallholder farmers who make up the bulk of food
production in less industrialised countries.

A new report, "Why no thought for food?", from the All Party Parliamentary
Group (APPG) on Agriculture and Food for Development, revealed that spending
on agricultural programmes makes up just 3 per cent of DfID's annual aid
expenditure.

Patrick Mulvany, senior policy advisor at Practical Action and part of the
global agricultural NGO, The UK Food Group, said the MPs' report had sent a
"wake-up call" to DfID to implement the findings of the International
Assessment on Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development
(IAASTD) report.

The IAASTD called for a move away from chemically intensive farming towards
localised agroecological solutions. IAASTD failed to endorse GMOs as a way
forward on the grounds that yields were "variable". Yet DfID repeatedly
champions GMOs for the third world and pours taxpayer money into their
development and promotion.
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11905:uk
-overseas-aid-ignoring-small-scale-agriculture
http://bit.ly/aulh7c

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

+ ANIMALS RAISED ON GM FEED ARE DIFFERENT
Animals fed on GM components ARE different from those reared on non-GM feed,
according to an important review of the scientific literature by Prof Jack
Heinemann. This is a direct challenge to EFSA and FSA, who have maintained
that there are no differences between GM-fed and non-GM-fed animals and that
there is no need for labelling or segregation of feed supplies to meet
consumer demand for GM-free products.
Summary of the study's findings:
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11841:ar
e-animals-fed-gm-feed-different
http://bit.ly/7URhyQ
Download the full study: http://bit.ly/4HcJuJ

+ GM NO-TILL SEQUESTERS NO MORE CARBON THAN PLOUGHING
Ploughing soil releases carbon dioxide, and Monsanto and its supporters have
long argued that this means GM no-till agriculture ("conservation tillage"),
which avoids ploughing, is more climate-friendly.

Based on this, Monsanto is busy trying to get GM no-till recognised as a
means of reducing CO2 emissions - a carbon sink. This would allow GM no-till
to qualify as a carbon offset and so attract massive economic support.

However, the current scientific literature says that for carbon
sequestration, no-till is no better than ploughing, according to a new
review by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The apparent advantage for
no-till in previous studies of carbon sequestration was an artifact of
sampling carbon only near the soil surface.
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11874:gm
-no-till-sequesters-no-more-carbon-than-ploughing
http://bit.ly/bddu6I

+ ORGANIC AGRICULTURE BETTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
Organic agriculture stores more carbon in the soil than conventional
agriculture. It has fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional
agriculture because it doesn't use fossil fuel intensive pesticides or
fertilizers. Its combination of expanded soil fertility and flexible crop
rotations make it more adaptable to the effects of climate change and, in
the case of developing countries, better suited to produce more food. These
are the findings of a new paper by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization,
Organic Agriculture and Carbon Sequestration.
Download the FOA paper from: http://ow.ly/YFSf

-----------------------------------------------------------
REST OF THE MONTH'S NEWS
For those who do not receive our Weekly Watch.
-----------------------------------------------------------

+ NEW ROTHAMSTED DIRECTOR IS PHARMA CROP MAN
GM pharma crop engineer Prof Maurice Moloney is the new director and chief
executive of Rothamsted Research, a major UK agriculture research institute.
Rothamsted is primarily funded by the public funding body, the BBSRC.

Moloney led the Californian-based group that developed the world's first GM
oilseeds, which resulted in RoundUp Ready canola. He holds over 300 patents
in plant biotechnology and is chief scientific officer of SemBioSys
Genetics, a company based in Calgary, Canada.

Commenting on the appointment, Soil Association policy manager Emma
Hockridge highlighted the recent IAASTD report, which concluded that GM had
little to offer in meeting the major global food and farming challenges.
"What Rothamsted needs is someone who will cover the research agenda of
agro-ecological farming, as identified by IAASTD," she said.

GMWatch described the appointment as "nothing short of a declaration of war
on both public concern over GM crops and the conclusions of the IAASTD
report".

GM Freeze said the appointment sent out "a very clear and unfortunate
message as to which direction the BBSRC wishes to take agricultural research
and development in the future".
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11862:an
ger-at-new-rothamsted-director
http://bit.ly/baJH4o
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11866:mo
re-concern-over-new-rothamsted-ceo
http://bit.ly/bZIOsF

+ HEAD OF EFSA GMO PANEL MOVES TO SYNGENTA
The former head of the GMO Panel at the European Food Safety Authority
(EFSA), Suzy Renckens, has moved directly into the genetic engineering
industry - to a post at Syngenta - without any objections or restrictions
being imposed by the authority.
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11848:re
volving-door-at-efsa
http://bit.ly/6jG7ix
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11858:cl
ose-efsas-open-doors-to-industry
http://bit.ly/5PkIzM

+ GATES FOUNDATION = MONSANTO
Former Union Carbide (responsible for the Bhopal disaster) and Monsanto man
Sam Dryden is the new director of Agricultural Development at the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation. Dryden also has ties to the World Bank, the
Rockefeller Foundation, agrichem company Celgro and biotech firm Emergent
Genetics.
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11842:ga
tes-man-ex-monsanto-ex-union-carbide
http://bit.ly/7qaXb1

+ LACK OF GMOs COSTS MILLIONS OF LIVES - UK FORMER CHIEF SCIENTIST
UK chief scientist Sir David King is at it again. On a previous occasion he
claimed that the flood resistant rice going into farmers' fields was GM,
when it is non-GM. Now, King has claimed that millions of lives have been
lost due to the reluctance of some countries to accept GM crops. Speaking
about flood-resistant rice, he said it would have been available much faster
if it had been GM. But the truth is very different - the rice researchers
tried to produce a GM variety and failed.
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11857:la
ck-of-gmos-costs-lives-claims-leading-scientist
http://bit.ly/6fyG5W
http://gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11861:millio
ns-have-died-over-gm-crops-king-
http://bit.ly/6cy6LL

+ U.S. REPORT ON ITALY AND GMOs IS DISINFORMATION
A USDA report claims that Italy is "the Achilles heel of the campaign to
maintain Europe's defences against genetically modified crops". The report
claims that 65% of Italians support biotech and that the Vatican is a "vocal
advocate" of GM crops as a way of easing hunger in Africa. Both claims are
untrue. The following people and bodies have declared their opposition to
GMOs: the Italian government's minister for agriculture; 16 of Italy's 20
Regional Governments; the main farming union, Coldiretti; and many major
retailers with a presence in Italy.
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11854:us
-gm-report-an-insult-to-truth-and-democracy
http://bit.ly/4Hruay
And far from endorsing GMOs, Pope Benedict XVI has stated, "The campaign to
promote GM sowing, that pretends to grant food security [...] risks to ruin
small farmers and to suppress their traditional crops, making them dependent
on GM production companies." As for the Italian public, the most recent
survey - carried out by Coldiretti-SWG in 2009 - found that nearly three out
of four Italians (72%) believe that foods with GMOs are less healthy than
conventional ones, up from 52% in 2003.
http://www.coldiretti.it/docindex/cncd/informazioni/047_10.htm

+ GM RICE IN CHINA - ANY CLOSER TO COMMERCIALISATION?
GM lobbyists have been claiming that China has flung the door open to GM
rice, but this is far from true, according to an article for the Third World
Network.
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11860:gm
-rice-in-china-any-closer
http://bit.ly/7pfYZQ

+ FARMER SUICIDES AND BT COTTON NIGHTMARE UNFOLDING IN INDIA
New report by Dr Mae-Wan Ho:
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11838:fa
rmer-suicides-and-bt-cotton-
http://bit.ly/7Wep7p
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/farmersSuicidesBtCottonIndia.php

+ GREENPEACE NOT BACKING DOWN ON GM
Contrary to recent claims by pro-GM lobbyists, Greenpeace is NOT "backing
down on GMOs" - quite the opposite.
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11844:gr
eenpeace-qnot-backing-down-on-genetic-engineeringq
http://bit.ly/8yWYNv

+ SO MUCH FOR "SENSE" ABOUT SCIENCE
Every few months, the lobby group Sense About Science (SAS) issues a
pamphlet that makes fun of celebrities getting their science wrong.
Newspapers lap it up. The problem is, says Zac Goldsmith in an article for
The Guardian, they have fallen into a trap. The organisation is suspect,
being a spin-off of a bizarre political network that began life as the
ultra-left Revolutionary Communist Party and switched over to extreme
corporate libertarianism.
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11829:so
-much-for-qsenseq-about-science
http://bit.ly/75HHPx
Lots more about Sense About Science:
http://www.spinprofiles.org/index.php/Sense_About_Science

+ CANADIAN FLAX INDUSTRY MAY BE SHUT DOWN 3-5 YEARS DUE TO GM CONTAMINATION
The worst-case scenario for Canadian flax producers is that the industry
will shut down for 3-5 years to purge whatever GM seed is already growing,
says Barry Hall, president of the Flax Council of Canada. Canadian flax has
been contaminated by a de-registered variety called Triffid, leading to
massive market losses. Officials say Canada's $320 million industry is
threatened.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2010/01/20/mb-flax-triffid-manitoba.
html

+ GM COTTON CROPS IN U.S. ARE USELESS
GM cotton crops in the US are becoming useless as weeds evolve a resistance
to the herbicide glyphosate, says a report for ABC News. In the South,
mutant weeds are becoming so bad that mechanical harvesters are being
damaged, and weed control must be done by hand. Also, a new scientific study
by a research team including Monsanto scientists has found that the
herbicide resistant weed population could threaten GM crop technology.
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11847:gm
-cotton-crops-in-us-useless
http://bit.ly/8IYIQI
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11851:st
udy-explains-development-of-superweeds
http://bit.ly/6XupLG
Video showing hand weeding:
http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=8767877
More on the new study:
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11855:mo
nsanto-funded-study-backs-pesticide-report
http://bit.ly/8ApJma

+ FAILING PEST CONTROL PUSHES BT COTTON COSTS HIGHER
The boll weevil and tobacco budworm are no longer economic pests in most
areas of the Cotton Belt, but they've been replaced by secondary pests like
the tarnished plant bug, which are proving costly bugs to control.
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11852:fa
iling-insect-control-pushes-bt-cotton-costs-higher
http://bit.ly/72fCAo

+ USDA DOESN'T WANT TO PUBLICIZE STUDIES SHOWING NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF ROUNDUP
Robert Kremer is a microbiologist with the US Department of Agriculture's
Agricultural Research Service and an adjunct professor in the Division of
Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri. His and other scientists'
research has found that Roundup (glyphosate):
+increases a root fungi problem that seems to encourage sudden death
syndrome (SDS) in soybeans and corn
+has toxic effects on microorganisms and can stimulate them to germinate
spores and colonize root systems
+immobilize manganese, an essential plant micronutrient
+can be toxic to rhizobia, an important bacterium that fixes nitrogen
+increases infection with Fusarium fungi, some species of which produce
mycotoxins that harm human and animal health
+can persist in soil and contaminate groundwater
+encourages the development of glyphosate-resistant weeds
+encourage a shift of microbial communities in the soil to more detrimental
species.

Why isn't this information getting out to farmers and the public? Kremer
says: "I was working with USDA-ARS to publish a news release about these
studies. I've gone all the way to the administrators, but they are reluctant
to put something out. Their thinking is that if farmers are using this
(Roundup Ready) technology, USDA doesn't want negative information being
released about it. This is how it is. I think the news release is still
sitting on someone's desk."

Meanwhile, Kremer says attempts are ongoing to find a technofix for the
problems that Roundup causes, such as supplementation of nutrients by foliar
application. Understandably, he concludes, "I'm more interested in
sustainable agriculture."
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11840:sc
ientist-finding-many-negative-impacts-of-roundup-ready-gm-crops
http://bit.ly/8TUKgK

+ SELL MONSANTO SHARES - FORBES
http://bit.ly/7Hsqwt

+ MONSANTO'S "CORRUPT SCIENCE" IN GM ASSESSMENT
A report by Madeleine Love of MADGE Australia and submitted to the
politicians of Western Australia and South Australia has revealed that
"evidence" based on corrupt science has been accepted at face value by
regulators across the globe prior to the issuing of consents for RR canola
commercialization and feed and food use.
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11849:mo
nsantos-qcorrupt-scienceq-in-gm-assessment
http://bit.ly/8gP04U
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