Tag Archives: food

GMObama and the Monsanto Protection Act

28 Mar

GMObama640x330

by Lindsey Boerma / CBS News

There’s no love lost between Washington and the American public, it seems, five days after Congress for the first time in years managed to handle a budget-related issue without reaching the brink of crisis.

Protesters have descended on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House this week, enraged at a potentially health-hazardous provision they allege lawmakers inserted surreptitiously into a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year. The bill sailed through the Capitol on Friday; President Obama signed it into law on Tuesday.

Opponents have termed the language in question the “Monsanto Protection Act,” a nod to the major agricultural biotech corporation and other like firms geared at producing genetically modified organisms (GMO) and genetically engineered (GE) seeds and crops. The provision protects genetically modified seeds from litigation suits over health risks posed by the crops’ consumption. Continue reading

Monsanto Expanding its GMO Operations to Offshore Fish Nurseries

23 Jul

by David Quilty

The GMO soy industry, headed by agriculture giant Monsanto, is expanding into aquaculture and its soy will used to feed farm-raised fish meant for human consumption.

A new report from Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Europe states that Monsanto and Cargill are joining forces to cash in on industrial offshore fish farming by using genetically-modified soy as feed. Monsanto has been doing feed trials with its soy products and Cargill has its own aquaculture division. “Factory-Fed Fish: How the Soy Industry is Expanding Into the Sea” takes a look at how soy-based aquaculture will be an environmental nightmare.

“Our seas are not Roundup ready,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch.

Continue reading

Genetically modified moths called crop aid

16 Dec

cross posted from UPI

A British company says genetically modified moths it has developed could be used to reduce the population of the vegetable-eating insects.

Oxitec says its modified male diamondback moths, carrying a lethal gene, could be released into the countryside, which would cause their offspring to die almost immediately — with a resulting fall in their numbers and increased vegetable yields for farmers, The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

The company said it would like to start trials next year but the proposal faces stiff opposition from organizations concerned about risks to wildlife and to human health.

“Mass releases of GM insects into the British countryside would be impossible to recall if anything went wrong,” Helen Wallace, the director of GeneWatch UK, said.

“Changing one part of an ecosystem can have knock-on effects on others in ways that are poorly understood,” she said. “This could include an increase in different types of pest. Wildlife that feeds on insects could be harmed if there are changes to their food supply.”

Using GM insects to kill the pests that prey on food crops is better for the environment than chemical sprays, Oxitec Chief Executive Officer Hadyn Parry said.

There is a demand from farmers for the technology and Oxitec is developing a number of GM insects for use in Britain and around the world to protect crops, Parry said.

Food from Cloned Animals Debated in Europe

18 Mar

Cloned meat sales are allowed by the US Food and Drug Administration


European Union governments and lawmakers remained deadlocked on how to regulate the production and sale of food from cloned animals, following all-night talks in Brussels that ended on Thursday morning.

EU sources said the remaining sticking point was a demand by lawmakers in the European Parliament for a full EU ban on the sale of food derived from cloned animals and, crucially, their offspring.

EU governments and the bloc’s executive support an EU ban on the use of cloning for food production, and on the import and sale of food from clones.

But banning the sale of food derived from the offspring of cloned animals would be impractical and disrupt global trade, as meat, milk and processed products from such animals cannot be distinguished from those produced traditionally, they argued.

The Parliament’s representatives in the negotiations accused EU governments and the European Commission of intransigence, saying they had turned a blind eye to the ethical and animal welfare concerns raised by the use of cloning for food.

“It is … incredible that the Council is willing to turn a blind eye to public opinion, as well as the ethical and animal welfare problems associated with cloning,” EU lawmakers Gianni Pittella and Kartika Liotard said in a joint statement.

Under EU procedures, governments and the Parliament have until the end of March to reach an agreement on the draft legislation, which regulates the approval and sale of “novel foods” not widely consumed in the EU before 1997.

A final round of negotiations is scheduled for March 28.

MARKET FOR CLONES

Animal cloning, which uses DNA transfer to create an exact genetic copy of an animal, currently has a success rate of below 20 percent, with most cloned animals dying during or shortly after birth.

The technique is complex and costly, ensuring that cloned animals are unlikely to be used directly as food, but they can be bred traditionally to produce offspring that share similar traits, such as high milk production or rapid growth.

The United States is the most advanced country in terms of animal cloning for food production, with estimates provided by companies suggesting that “thousands of cattle” and “hundreds of pigs” have been cloned there so far.

The United States currently has a voluntary moratorium on the marketing of food from cloned animals, but not from their offspring.

In August, it emerged that meat from the offspring of a cloned cow was placed on the market by a dairy farm in Scotland, leading some British supermarkets to pledge not to sell any meat from clones or their young.