GMOs

Are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) a threat to organic agriculture? Are they dangerous when consumed? Do they lead to higher use of chemical herbicides and pesticides? And why aren’t GMOs labeled so we know which foods are made with them? We find and discuss the latest news on this critical issue.

Feel strongly about this controversial topic? Please let us know what you think, in comments over at our GMO Forum page.

Hazardous Harvest (GMOs)

GMO TomatoWhat GMOs mean to organic growers.

By Bill Kohlhaase for Planet Natural

When U.S. District Judge for New York Naomi Buchwald threw out a lawsuit in February filed by The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) and dozens of other plaintiffs against the Monsanto Corporation, she struck a blow against organic growers, small farmers and concerned citizens across the country. The suit, filed in March of 2011 on behalf of organic farmers and seed growers by the Public Patent Foundation (PUBAT), was a preemptive measure designed to prohibit Monsanto from filing future lawsuit against growers whose fields may have inadvertently been contaminated by genetically-modified crops — known as GMOs — patented by Monsanto. (more…)

GMO Battle 2015

GMO GrassGenetically modified grass (some plants) escape regulation.

From the looks of the “regulated letters of inquiry” page over at the United States Department of Agriculture’s “Animal and Plant Inspection Services,” the list of genetically modified plants looking to enter our environment and food supplies includes potatoes, pineapples, and sorghum (a sweetener with multiple uses). Then there’s the one we don’t consume: lawn grass. In certain ways, it might be the most frightening.

Why? Because it’s completely unregulated. It needs no prior approval from the USDA before it can be unleashed in America’s front yards. And it’s not alone. Among the other GE plants escaping oversight are a corn that promises less methane from the cows who eat it and an ornamental plant that glows in the dark. Yes, really (scroll down to “How We Make the Glowing Plant”). (more…)

The Year In GMOs

Reviewing GMOsEvidence that GMOs are harmful to our health, our environment, and our farming economy continues to grow.

Yes, 2014 was a frustrating, difficult year for those of us concerned about the effects of genetically modified crops on our health, our environment, and on the economics of food production. Defeats of the labeling initiative at the tail end of 2013 in Washington, the turn-down of a labeling initiative in Colorado, and a near-miss, no more than 800 some votes in Oregon, all seemed to point to the inevitability of our never knowing what kinds of food we’re putting on our tables. (more…)

GMOS and Pesticides: Votes, Heart Disease & Seed Diversity

GMO Crop HarverstOregon GMO recount, new Roundup study, heritage seeds threatened.

As the deadline for release of the recount in Oregon nears, we’re reminded that genetically engineered crops create a myriad of problems that aren’t often considered by GMO-labeling foes. Evidence of growing threats to organic farming, seed stocks, and to our health from the herbicides that genetically engineered crops are designed to resist continues to grow. Even liberty and democracy are at stake. Some recent news, a study, and an informative article addressing seed diversity and the dangers of monoculture farming all suggest how complex — and important — the GMO issue is. (more…)

GMO Vote, Leaf Mold, High-Tech Farming … And Pie!

High-Tech TractorShort-takes on natural gardening topics we’re following.

As we enter a new month, your (mostly) timely, inquisitive Planet Natural blogger takes a minute to catch up on a handful of issues.

–Oregon GMO Labeling Vote: The final vote count is in and Oregon Initiative 92 to label products that include genetically modified ingredients is so close that a recount, scheduled to start December 2, has been called. Initial reports from The Oregonian on the day after the election had the measure failing narrowly. That margin — 812 votes or 0.05% of the total — turned out to be closer than imagined and now the race is too close to call. This is encouraging news, no matter what the final tally shows. Corporate forces, as usual in these votes, vastly outspent the pro-labeling side and the closeness of the Oregon vote suggests that they’ll even have to spend more to spread their misinformation. (more…)

Grassroots GMO Triumph

Organic Farm WorkersProtecting farmland and economies from GMO contamination.

The recent loss of GMO labeling efforts in Oregon (barely) and Colorado (not so close) have been a set back for pro-labeling forces, a set-back that raises question of how concerned consumer groups can ever win against massive amounts of money and a flood of advertising.

The cover story of the Seattle Times PacificNW Sunday magazine this past week, “Seeding A Movement: Little San Juan County takes a stand against the GMO giants” written by Brian J. Cantwell, reminds us that there have been small but significant victories in the fight to halt the takeover of our food supplies by the corporate behemoths that patent genetically modified crops and related products. (more…)

USDA Approves Genetically Modified Potato

GMO PotatoesNew potato underscores complexity of GMO issue.

Potatoes genetically engineered to resist bruising and contain less of a suspected cancer causing agent were approved November 7 by the United States Department of Agriculture for commercial planting. A story in The New York Times says the potatoes were developed by the J. R Simplot Company of Boise, Idaho, the first company to provide potatoes to the McDonald’s hamburger chain beginning in the 1960s. Simplot continues to provide the international fast-food chain with potatoes.

The GMO potato raises a variety of questions and a host of issues when it comes to the engineering and the marketing of GMO crops. Is there ever a time when genetic engineering is okay? (more…)

GMO Vote Close Despite Millions Spent Against

Corporate MoneyOregon results mixed, Maui Imposes GMO Moratorium

NOTE: This post on the Oregon GMO Measure 92 was written the day after the election when the fate of the measure was too close to call. Since then, the Oregonian has declared that the measure lost narrowly. The vote count was so close, 50.4 percent against, 49.6 in favor, that some have questioned how the decision can be called with ballots still to be counted. The issues discussed here — the effect of a surge of corporate money used against the measure in the last days of the race as well as the larger issue of winning elections when vastly out spent by corporate and shadow money — are still worthy. We urge you to comment over at our GMO Forum(more…)

GMO Labeling On Oregon, Colorado Ballots

GMO Labeling in Oregon and CaliforniaWill money defeat common sense once again?

We’ve heard this story before. Anti-labeling forces in Colorado and Oregon are working from the same playbook that previously scuttled GMO labeling measures in Washington and California, spending vast sums of cash donated by the same corporate interests on misleading and false advertising. Sadly, they’re reaping the same results.

The Wall Street Journal reports on polls from both states. One, released in late October and commissioned by the Oregonian newspaper and NBC affiliate KGW, shows 42% respondents in support of the Oregon measure and 48% are against it. The reason? (more…)

Safe Food At Home

Eating DangerouslyEating Dangerously discusses the risks, the politics, and the practices that keep meals safe.

Your friendly, health conscious Planet Natural Blogger frequently champions one course to guarantee you’re putting the safest, organically grown food on your family’s table: grow your own. And almost immediately after making that declaration, I provide the caveat: it’s near impossible for us to grow anywhere close to the quantity and variety of food we need for our modern diets.

I’ll admit that this position is something of a cop-out. It leaves unaddressed all the issues connected with the food we buy. It leaves off at discussing just how bad highly processed foods can be for us, how destructive and careless the industry of big agriculture and corporate food is. What exactly does that leave us with? How do we find the healthy foods we want to serve our families and how do we handle it once we have it? (more…)

GMO Ballot Issues Focus Attacks

GMO LabelingAs Colorado and Oregon vote on GMO labeling, media continues to miss big picture.

It’s deja-vu all over again. As Colorado and Oregon prepare to vote on the latest round of GMO labeling initiatives, the press continues to let the pro-grocery, no-labeling forces set the agenda. Media accounts frequently take the arguments of initiative opponents without challenge. They focus on narrow, single-exclusion issues like the “chewing gum exemption” and other forms of smoke-blowing. And, they overwhelmingly report, there’s no proof genetically engineered food products are any different than naturally-bred hybrids. (more…)

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