13/03/2013 – Biowatch release book ‘A Landmark Victory for Justice’
Last Thursday evening our long-standing South African partner Biowatch celebrated the launch of a new book capturing the highs, the lows and the real inside story of an all-consuming, decade long battle. A Landmark Victory for Justice – Biowatch’s Battle with the South African State and Monsanto tells a true David and Golliath story of a small but feisty NGO who took on the weight of a global corporate giant, and won. Read the full story and download a pdf of the book here.
08/03/2013 – USA TODAY – Whole Foods to label genetically modified products
Whole Foods says all products in its North American stores that contain genetically modified ingredients will be labeled as such by 2018.The company it’s the first national grocery chain to set a deadline for labeling foods that contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. A spokeswoman for the supermarket operator said organic foods will not have to carry the labels since they do not contain genetically modified ingredients by definition.Although Whole Foods is known as an organic grocer, it also sells a wide array of non-organic products.Read more here.
04/03/2013 Huffington Post – GMO Poll Finds Huge Majority Say Food Should be Labelled
According to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, Americans are largely uncertain over whether genetically modified foods are safe for the environment or safe to eat, but the vast majority say that foods containing genetically modified ingredients should be labeled. According to the new survey, 82 percent of Americans think GMO foods should be labeled, while only 9 percent say they should not be labeled. The vast majority of respondents across demographic groups favoured labeling, with little division either by political party or by how much respondents had heard about the development of genetically modified crops.Read more here.
19/02/2013 GMO OMG!
Check out the trailer for documentary “GMO OMG,” the opening night film for the Berlinale’s Culinary Cinema section. The film follows first-time feature director Jeremy Seifert as he investigates genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in seeds and the subsequent effects on health, biodiversity and the global agriculture industry.
14/02/ 2013 Slow Food – Too much at Steak
Eat less meat, eat better meat, and pay a fair price. The pleasure that food gives us cannot be complete if it causes harm and hunger around the world, nor if it endangers our health because we eat too much or animal welfare is poor. ‘Too much at steak‘ a guide produced by Slow Food, Action Aid and Compassion in World Farming takes a closer look at one of our most popular foods: meat. Read more here.
14/02/2013 The Observer – It is hard to trust GM when it is in the grip of a few global giants
Thirty years ago, genetic engineers hoped new technology would revolutionise world farming and reduce or even eliminate the need for fertilisers and pesticides. It was a noble idea that deserved success.But only promises came. In the 1990s the public was told genetic modification would increase yields enough to feed the world. Now in an age of climate change we hear that GM can reduce climate change emissions, improve drought tolerance,stimulate growth and eliminate poverty. John Vidal fears that after tens of billions of dollars of public and private research and development money have been spent by some of the world’s most powerful companies, GM has met a dead end.Read more here.
14/02/2013 Greenpeace – Take the poll to keep GM food off your plates
Inserting alien genes into food crops is not going to solve the problem of food shortage. It will only make food unsafe. We have to keep up the opposition against GM foods so that decision makers don’t force potentially toxic food on us. We can start by gathering opinion against GM food with this poll. Read more and take the poll here.
14/02/2013 Compassion in world farming – Method of Production Labelling Campaign
More than 80% of the animals raised in the EU each year are factory farmed. These inhumane farming practices are hidden behind closed doors, out of the public view. Consumers want to be able to choose foods that are better for animal welfare. Compassion in World Farming is campaigning in partnership with RSPCA, World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and Soil Association for method of production labelling. The call is for labelling on all animal produce and ingredients in the EU with labels that convey the chief characteristic of the production system. This will give consumers the information they most want to know: ‘how was this animal kept?’ Read more and sign the petition here.
31/01/13 GM Freeze – BASF Drops Key GM Projects
BASF is abandoning efforts to gain EU authorisation for three GM potatoes after over a decade of investment and research. The company is also dropping research into GM “nutritionally enhanced corn” in the US, which will trigger the closure of six field sites and the loss of 40 jobs. BASF’s statement says of its GM potato, “Investment cannot be justified due to uncertainty in the regulatory environment and threats of field destructions,” but this fails to acknowledge that in fact there is no market for the products and activist interference in GM trials is in fact very rare. Read more here.
24/01/13 La Via Campesina – The Maize Manifesto: No to GMO Maize
The National Union of Autonomous Regional Peasant Organization (UNORCA) rejects that the State, in Mexico, sacrifice the consumer population (turning them into lab rats) and the peasants and small producers, to support transnational companies who produce GMO seeds and agro-chemicals. UNORCA calls upon organizations, activists, and cultural and public figures, and all concerned people, to join them, because only with the full participation of an organized society this outrage can be stopped. Read the Maize Manifesto here.
24/01/13 La Via Campesina – Mexico: Hunger strike against GM maize
This Wednesday, January 23rd, a new phase of struggle against the planting of GMO maize started in Mexico, consisting of a collective hunger strike, to express indignation for the terrible blow that would come with the imminent approval of large-scale commercial planting of GMO maize in Mexico. The National Union of Autonomous Regional Peasant Organization (UNORCA) demands that the Mexican government place the interests of peasants and the majority of Mexican farmers above the interests of a few transnational corporations. After his official visit to Mexico in 2011, the Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food of the United Nations, Olivier de Schutter, recommended that the government of then-president Calderón immediately suspend experimental planting of GMO maize, because of its impact on the rights of peasants, on biodiversity, and because of the importance of maize in the diet and culture of Mexicans. The government ignored that recommendation.Read more here.
24/01/13 The Atlantic- The Agricultural Fulcrum: Better Food, Better Climate
This past year treated us to a climate change preview in spades: crazy heat waves, prolonged drought, and epic storms like Sandy. To help us stabilize the climate, before we reach the point of no return, we must tap the immense potential of our food system.Since becoming an agrarian society, we’ve known that growing food successfully depends on climate stability. Not enough water, crops wither and die. Too much, they rot. Beyond this, we know that crops have specific climatic requirements. These are basic parameters. If we continue to disregard them, food will become more scarce over time and we will go hungry. Agriculture, positioned as it is at the intersection of food and climate, presents a unique fulcrum. Pushed in the direction of industrial agriculture, it contributes egregiously to our climate problem. But we can tip the scale in the other direction toward sustainable agriculture, working in concert with natural systems instead of depleting them.Read more here.
24/01/13 GM Freeze – Designed to Mislead: Inaccurate “coexistence” survey won’t help Government
A postal survey sent to English farmers by the Centre for Agricultural Strategy at Reading University gives inaccurate and misleading information about coexistence of GM and conventional oilseed rape and should be abandoned, GM Freeze said today. GM Freeze is critical of the survey because it uses inaccurate and misleading information, omits other information and asks farmers to respond to unrealistic scenarios.Read more here.
24/01/13 GM Freeze – Hidden viral gene revealed in GMOs
Biotech industry claims, and regulator reassurances, that GM technology is predictable and safe have been shaken by the discovery of viral gene sequence in many GM crops. Two thirds of GM crops approved in the US contain the hitherto unidentified viral gene, but although regulators have insufficient information to determine if it is safe for human consumption EFSA has opted for a retrospective review rather than a ban. Read more here.
23/01/13 The Guardian- Europe has failed to learn from environmental disasters
Europe has failed to learn the lessons from many environmental and health disasters like Chernobyl, leaded petrol and DDT insecticides, and is now ignoring warnings about bee deaths, GM food and nanotechnology, according to an 800-page report by the European environmental Agency. Thousands of lives could have been saved and extensive damage to ecosystems avoided if the ” precautionary principle” had been applied on the basis of early warnings, say the authors of the 2013 Late Lessons from Early warnings report published on Wednesday.
The report also says that GM crops provide no direct benefit to consumers, are over-hyped, not necessarily safe and are largely unsuitable for the great majority of the world’s farmers.It argues that “top-down” GM companies cynically manipulate the international patent and subsidy systems to gain maximum returns. Read more here.
23/01/13 AFP – EU freezes approval of GM crops to 2014
The European Commission has decided to freeze the approval process for genetically modified food crops through the end of its mandate next year while it works towards an agreement with EU member states. A spokeman for Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said “The authorisations for farming are frozen”, and added that the priority of Borg, who only recently took up the post of health commissioner, was to relaunch discussions with member states.
23/01/13 – Baronet farmer to drive tractor to Reading
A symbolic ‘solidarity’ action in support of Polish farmers will take place on Sir Julian Rose’s Path Hill Farm on the Hardwick Estate, Whitchurch-on-Thames, Saturday 26th January. Sir Julian will also drive his tractor on a shopping trip to Reading.
The action is being organized by Sir Julian, owner of the Hardwick Estate and President of The International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC), to express solidarity with Polish farmers who are blockading towns in North West Poland in order to stop the government selling off prime farmland to multinational corporations to grow GM food on. Jadwiga Lopata, founder of the ICPPC and Goldman Prize Laureat, is co-organising the event.Sir Julian recently mounted a prominent ‘GMO Free Zone’ sign on the gates of his Hardwick Estate at Whitchurch-on-Thames and is an active campaigner against GM foods in Poland and in the UK.
Saturday 26th January, 11:00 am, Path Hill Farm, Whitchurch-on-Thames, Pangbourne, Reading RG8 7RE
17/01/13 GMO Inside – Call on US Cereal Giants to Take GMOs Out of Our Breakfasts
GMO Inside, a coalition dedicated to advancing the right of consumers to know whether or not foods are genetically engineered, announced that it is shining the light on the largest breakfast cereal companies: Kellogg’s and General Mills. GMO Inside is calling on these companies, who claim to be wholesome and healthy, to make aFresh Start and label or remove the ingredients in their products that have been genetically engineered. In cereals, this could apply to major ingredients such as corn, soy, and added sugars. Read more and sign the petition here.
17/01/13 Avaaz – Stop the Frankenfish Attack
The US is about to treat the world to the first genetically modified meat: a mutant salmon that could wipe out wild salmon populations and threaten human health – but we can stop it now before our plates are filled with suspicious Frankenfish. The new fake salmon grows twice as fast as real salmon, and not even scientists know its long-term health effects. Yet it’s about to be declared safe for us to eat, based on studies paid for by the company that created the GMO creature! Luckily, the US is legally required to consider public opinion before deciding. A growing coalition of consumers, environmentalists, and fishermen is calling on the government to trash this fishy deal. Let’s urgently build an avalanche of global support to help them win. Read more and sign the petition here.
11/01/13 Political Deception – Poland’s GM Crop Ban is nothing more than Political Deception
Recent news that Poland had banned GM crops was received with great jubilation by anti GM campaigners who have been fighting for years to secure a GM free Poland. However, hopes were soon dashed as it became clear that loop holes in the legislation would still allow GM crops into the country because trading is not banned. Read the article here. Find out about the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside here.
11/12/12 The Hunger Games – War on Want report shows DFID using aid funds to support big agri-business
New research from War on Want reveals that the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) has been using the aid budget to promote the interests of multinational food companies in Africa – with potentially devastating effects on small-scale farmers and rural communities.
Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money are being channelled towards projects with the express purpose of extending the power of agribusiness over the production of food in sub-Saharan Africa. While this will boost the profits of corporate giants such as Monsanto, Unilever and Syngenta, it threatens to disempower small farmers and rural communities and condemn them to long-term poverty. DFID’s promotion of genetically modified crops will also lock small farmers into dependency on corporate providers of seeds and chemical inputs, undermining any chance of defeating hunger. Read more here.
10/12/12 Food Myth Busters – Everything you need to know to fight the good food corner
We’ve stumbled upon a fantastic website and short film which summarises everything you need to know about why the industrial agricultural system cannot and does not work, and why agro-ecological farming is the way forward. Myth busters take the “industrial farming is the only way to feed the world” myth, perpetuated by the big bucks of business and they BURST it. Take a look around the site, watch the film and read the accompanying guide for a great overview of what’s really going on in our food system.
07/11/12 Infowars – Media Prepares Public to Accept Defeat of Prop 37 to Label GMOs
Analysis of the public ballot in California to decide whether foods containing GM ingredients should be labelled. The campaign to label was a grassroots movement, heavily out-funded by the $46 million donations from Pepsi, Monsanto and other biotech giants lobbying to block the move. Infowars reporter Aaron Dykes says:
“Unfortunately, Prop 37 was defeated handily, according to reported results, following a heavily financed and nasty smear campaign to keep Americans from knowing what’s in their food. Supposedly unbiased papers mirroring mega-corporate interests have lined up by the dozens to uncritically regurgitate the phony claims that GMO food is ‘tested’ and ‘safe’ throughout the election cycle…”
01/11/12 Mother Jones – Is the Junk Food Industry Buying the WHO?
As evidence of harm piles up, the industry is only accelerating its effort to keep government action at bay. Back in April, a Reuters investigative report found that the food industry had “more than doubled” its annual lobbying spending under Obama and had successfully pursued a strategy of “pledging voluntary action while defeating government proposals aimed at changing the nation’s diet.”
But the food industry isn’t satisfied with just keeping the US safe for its junk products. As a new Reuters report shows, the industry is also actively seeking influence at the global level by cozying up to the World Health Organization, the public-health arm of the United Nations. The WHO is most known for its efforts to fight communicable diseases like malaria and AIDS. But the UN has recently charged it with focusing on chronic, diet-related ailments like heart disease and type 2 diabetes… See the full article
26/10/12 The Guardian – Saving Seed
Saving seed has never been more relevant: the crops that did well for me this year were open-pollinated varieties suited to my conditions because they were bred for them.
25/10/12 Scottish Farmer – GM maize feed gets approval
US MAIZE growers were celebrating this week as the European Union finally approved Syngenta’s genetically modified MIR 162 Agrisure Vipterra variety for import. There has been confusion and no shortage of ill-feeling amongst North America’s arable farmers over the GM variety, after many bought seed without realising that neither the EU nor China had approved it for sale on their markets. Read more…
2/10/12 Down to Earth – Global report on challenges faced by seed sector
Over 100 authors have put their names to a damning report coordinated by Dr. Vandana Shiva, which looks into the reasons for our global food crisis and the root problems with the food industry today. The report blames the tightening of laws controlling the exchange and cross-pollination of seed, an ancient and natural process which keep our crops healthy and resilient. Speaking at the report launch, Dr. Shiva said “there was a need to oppose [the seed laws] united at the global level”.
Worse still are the controversial TRIPS patenting laws which allow scientist to engineer, patent, and claim ownership of, whole varieties of seed. Dr. Shiva states that to patent life – in the form of engineered seeds – is “ethically and ecologically unjustified”, and the report documents the far-reaching damage the practice is doing to biodiversity, food security and human health.
The villains are the giant, profit-hungry biotech industry, backed up by cash-strapped or ineffective governments who legislate in favour of their business. And the solution, says Dr. Shiva, can start in your garden or window-box!
The report was launched to begin Seed Freedom Fortnight (see below). Click to read the full Seed Freedom report.
2/10/12 Vandana Shiva launches Seed Freedom fortnight
From 2nd October (Gandhi’s Birth Anniversary), to 16th October (World Food Day) the Global Alliance for Seed Freedom, led by Dr Vandana Shiva, is planning intensive actions to create a global citizens’ response on the issue of Seed Freedom and a wake up call for citizens and the government. Gandhi had said, “as long as the superstition that unjust laws must be obeyed exist, so will slavery exist”. Humanity and diverse species on the Earth are being pushed into a new form of seed slavery. Vandana Shiva states “In the spirit of Gandhi, we therefore call for a civil disobedience against unjust laws”. Send your calendar of calendar of events and actions to email@example.com to be included in the global calendar so that for the Seed Freedom campaign. Watch the video featuring Vandana’s request to take action, and visit the website to find out more about how to be involved! Don’t forget, one way that you can take part in this is to host a screening of Seeds of Freedom within your local community. Find out more here and drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
20/09/12 Russia Today – Revealed: Monsanto GM corn caused tumors in rats
French scientists have revealed that rats fed on GMO corn sold by American firm Monsanto, suffered tumors and other complications including kidney and liver damage. When testing the firm’s top brand weed killer the rats showed similar symptoms.
The French government has asked its health and safety agency to assess the study and had also sent it to the European Union’s food safety agency, Reuters reports.
“Based on the conclusion…, the government will ask the European authorities to take all necessary measures to protect human and animal health, measures that could go as far as an emergency suspension of imports of NK603 maize in the European Union,” the French health, environment and farm ministries said in a joint statement. Read more…
19/09/12 New Scientist – New tests heighten calls for limits on arsenic in rice
Pressure is mounting on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set a limit on concentrations of arsenic in rice, in the wake of two studies finding significant amounts of the toxic element in rice products on grocery shelves.
The magazine Consumer Reports commissioned tests of more than 200 samples of 60 types of rice and rice products, measuring concentrations of total and inorganic arsenic – the most toxic form. Read more…
09/07/12 Food Sovereignty Movement in the UK
On Sunday 8th and Monday 9th July around 100 representatives from across the UKs food landscape – from farmers to growers to producers to ngos, gathered together to tackle the way forward for the UKs growing food sovereignty movement.
The collective have now dispersed but the cogs of the movement have been firmly set in motion.
“We have come together to form a movement for Food Sovereignty in the UK. Food sovereignty is an alternative food system that creates practical, sustainable and democratic solutions to the failed industrial food model.”