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 here and 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 Wheat Fails Trials in Great Britain

GMO Wheat FieldEngineered to repel aphids, the genetically modified wheat was instead attacked by the pests in field tests.

The first press reports in 2012 were positively glowing. Scientists in the United Kingdom had developed a GMO wheat using peppermint genes that repelled aphids. Not only would the wheat suffer less damage from the pests, it would reduce the amount of pesticides normally used on it. “Whiffy Wheat” as it was called was said to be the first in a new generation of genetically engineered crops, GMOs that were environmentally friendly and more naturally produced. (more…)

USDA Develops Voluntary GMO-Free Label

Inspecting Food LabelIs the USDA’s GMO-free certification program an attempt to kill comprehensive genetically modified labeling initiatives?

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced last month that the Department of Agriculture will create a voluntary certification program for food products that claim to be free of genetically modified ingredients. A USDA “Process Verified” label will be awarded to products that request and meet certification.

Whether or not the certified products will carry a “non-GMO” label is unclear at this point. (more…)

GMO Eggplant Forced On Developing Countries

Genetically Modified EggplantGenetically engineered Bt brinjal, thought to ward off pests, is an apparent failure. But that doesn’t stop its promotion.

The introduction of genetically modified eggplant or “brinjal” as its called in Bangladesh, India, and other places in the East, has been hard to follow here in the U.S. What has emerged in the U.S. media is mostly cheer leading based on the claims that the GMO brinjal will increase yields and fight malnourishment. This message is applied to the larger one: it’s foolish and against science to resist GMOs when they improve human lives.

If only it were true. (more…)

Businesses Responding To Consumers Demands For Safe Foods

Safe Food ChoicesOrganic Sales Up, Antibiotics, GMOs Out, and Other Healthy Eating News.

Businesses from giant chicken suppliers to fast food chains and super markets seem to be hearing demands from consumers for healthy, humanly raised, and safe foods. Encouraging news on the sales of organic produce plus announcements from major restaurant chains and the corporations that supply them suggests that consumer concerns about pesticides, GMOs, and antibiotics in their food is having more than a ripple effect in the industry. (more…)

Roundup Linked To Cancer, Monsanto Throws Hissy-Fit

Roundup and CancerWorld Health Organization review of pesticide used on GMOs attacked.

Monsanto came out swinging after the the World Health Organization said that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is “probably” carcinogenic. The review, conducted by WHO’s International Agency for Research In Cancer, found that glyphosate increased risks for non-Hodgkin lymphoma as well as DNA and chromosomal damage.

Monsanto’s emphatic press release of March 20 attacking the very consideration of that probability was followed by a string of media stories that gave full airing to the corporation’s complaints. At the same time, some reporters — Alice G. Walton at Forbes and Mark Bittmann at The New York Times  — began to question what they were hearing from the chem-ag giant. (more…)

Now In Stores: Genetically Engineered Papaya

GMO PapayasGMO papaya, both fresh and as juice, threatens Hawaiian organics.

It wasn’t so many years ago that papayas were a novelty in our grocery market’s produce department. Markets now have papayas in abundance and priced to move. What’s the difference between now and then? Why it’s the GMO papaya.

Unless it’s labeled organic, the Hawaiian papaya you buy for your family is most likely from a genetically engineered tree.

Papayas are an excellent example of the good intention-bad result history of GMO development, really a smaller part of the GMO struggle when compared to the bad intention- bad result (think Mosanto) history of development. Papayas also offer a lesson in the issue’s complexity with all the various reasons that make GMOs, even those developed with the best intentions, a multi-faceted problem. (more…)

World Health Organization Links Roundup and Cancer

Glyphosate Roundup CancerNew glyphosate review finds it a probable cause of lymphoma, chromosome damage.

A review by the World Health Organization recently determined that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is “probably” carcinogenic. As reported in a study in the The Lancet (free registration required), the review, done by WHO’s International Agency for Research In Cancer, found that glyphosate increased risks for non-Hodgkin lymphoma as well as DNA and chromosomal damage. It implicates other pesticides as well. (more…)

Damning Report on Genetically Modified Foods

GMO Food CampaignPublic relations groups doing the agri-chemical industry’s dirty work against GMO labeling.

We’re often drawn into discussions with intelligent people about the value of genetically engineered crops and the foods that contain them.

These friends, professors among them, often embrace the accepted wisdom tossed about by commercial media outlets — that nature has been genetically modifying plants, often with help from humans, for centuries and that genetically modified crops are providing better yields and higher nutrition in both developed and developing countries. To think that they might be a hazard is to be anti-science. (more…)

Idaho State Rep Calls For U.S.-Wide GMO Labeling

National GMO Labeling SystemIs it part of a back door effort by GMO producers to get ahead of the push to label?

Idaho State Representative Steve Miller is calling for a national GMO labeling system for genetically engineered foods. Miller argues that a nationwide system would avoid a “patchwork” of labeling laws as states consider passing their own measures.

Miller’s call came after the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation expressed concerns that legislation introduced to ban GMO labeling state-wide would bring the wrong kind of attention to Idaho crops. The Bureau, on the record as pro-GMO, doesn’t want to make anti-labeling laws an issue. The passing of an “ag-gag” law in Idaho garnered heavy criticism — and a lawsuit — from consumers and humane treatment advocates. (more…)

GMO Warrior Vandana Shiva

Vandana ShivaThe controversial Indian activist fights the “seed dictatorship.

Every social and political movement has its hero. In the global anti-GMO movement it’s environmentalist Vandana Shiva, a woman who tirelessly attacks patent-protected seeds and corporate agriculture and champions returning the land and the future of seed to small, local farmers.

This stand and the following it’s garnered has, of course, made her one of the most feared anti-corporate activists on the planet. It’s also brought her a lot of controversy. There’s no doubt that she states her case in the strongest terms and occasionally plays loose with the facts. But her principles are solid and her conviction must be admired by friend and foe alike. (more…)

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