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Court Blocks Planting of Genetically Engineered Canola in Oregon

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2012) The Oregon Court of Appeals has ordered a temporary halt to the state’s plan to allow genetically engineered (GE) canola to be planted in parts of the Willamette Valley, Oregon. The order is in effect until the court rules on a lawsuit filed by opponents of GE canola planting who say it threatens the state’s $32 million specialty seed industry. The lawsuit and court order are in response to new rules, not subject to required public comment, that would allow for the planting of GE canola in areas previously deemed off-limits. The lawsuit seeking to enjoin the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) from opening to GE canola planting previously protected zones was filed last week in the Oregon Court of Appeals. ODA removed a 2009 rule that banned the planting of all canola on more than 3 million acres in Oregon’s Willamette Valley to protect specialty vegetable seed producers who feared contamination by the plant, which cross-pollinates easily. ODA said it would require GE canola and specialty seed producers to report where and what they intend to grow on 1.7 million acres in the restricted zone, all without a public comment period or hearing. GE […]

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Oregon Officials Fast-Track Decision Allowing GE Canola in Willamette Valley

Monday, August 13th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2012) Until last Friday, Willamette Valley’s organic farmers and seed producers were protected from the planting and cross-pollination of their crops by GE canola. However, new rules, fast-tracked without public comment by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) (announced August 3rd and effective only a week later), now allow for the planting of GE canola in areas previously deemed off-limits. ODA Director Katy Coba states in the department’s press release, “Since canola has been deregulated by USDA, ODA does not differentiate between conventional and GM canola or treat them differently.” Given that 93% of U.S planted canola crops are genetically modified, this move represents a large threat to the integrity of Oregon’s internationally recognized organic seed industry. The new rules are temporary for 180 days, but ODA plans to propose and implement permanent rules before the temporary ones expire. The department will begin accepting public input once the permanent rules are proposed, but by then the canola will already be in the ground. ODA’s decision is a dramatic shift from its previous policy on canola planting in the valley. The previous regulation, ORS 603-052-0880(2) stated, “Production of rapeseed for oil or seed is incompatible with production […]

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USDA Gives Final Approval to GE Sugar Beets

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2012) The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced this week that it is formally deregulating a line of sugar beets genetically engineered (GE) to resist applications of the herbicide glyphosate. Developed by chemical and seed giant Monsanto Co., the new sugar beets, referred to as “Roundup Ready” (RR), were found by APHIS to not present a risk of becoming a plant pest risk and that they will and are not likely to cause a significant environmental impact. Environmental and public interest advocates, however, point to the fact that the proliferation of glyphosate-tolerant crops has already led to increased pesticide resistance among weeds, and increased pesticide use. The planting of engineered sugar beets brings with it the risk of genetic drift and cross contamination of pollen into non-GE and organic fields growing sugar beets or other related crops, such as table beets, spinach, swiss chard, and quinoa. APHIS originally deregulated RR sugar beets in 2005. A coalition of environmental groups and organic seed companies, led by the Center for Food Safety, challenged the USDA approval in 2008. It argued that GE sugar beets would contaminate organic and non-GE farmers of […]

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Concerned Oahu Citizens Demand that Monsanto Stop Poisoning Hawaii

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, July 3, 2012) Several organizations, including Occupy Wall Street Maui and GMO-Free Maui, as well as over 100 concerned citizens, held a protest on Thursday, June 28 in front of the Monsanto Corporation headquarters in Kunia on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. According to the organizers, the protesters met in Kunia and marched over a half mile to the Monsanto, compound for two hours of roadside sign-waving and chanting, demanding that Monsanto leave Hawaii and saying they need real food not exported GMO seeds and chemical contamination. The group also demands that genetically engineered (GE) food be labeled. The protesters wore masks to protect themselves from pesticide drift and GE spores, and received lots of support from many in passing cars that honked their horns and waved in support. According to organizers, a nearby resident even came to find out what was going on and soon donned a mask himself as he was unaware of the dangers so close to his house. The resident expressed concern about the large trucks and equipment operating at night at Monsanto’s fields. Monsanto operates about 8,000 acres in Hawaii for GE seed production. According to organizers, these operations use the most valuable […]

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Report Finds GE Drought Tolerant Corn More Hype than Help

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, June 12, 2012) Monsanto’s new drought tolerant corn, DroughtGard, reduces crop losses only modestly during moderate droughts, and will not reduce the crop’s water requirements, according to a report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The report finds that traditional breeding and improved farming practices have done more to increase drought tolerance, and that further improvements in genetic engineering are unlikely to solve the drought problem in coming years. Monsanto’s advertising campaigns touted its intention to develop seeds that yield “more crop per drop,” but there is no evidence that DroughtGard will help the crops or farmers use water more efficiently. The report, High and Dry: Why Genetic Engineering is Not Solving Agriculture’s Drought Problem in a Thirsty World, finds that during limited testing DroughtGard ””the only crop genetically engineered (GE) for drought tolerance approved for commercial use, containing the engineered gene cspB”” reduced crop losses by about six percent. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) analysis of data supplied by Monsanto show that DroughtGard produces only modest results, and only under moderate drought conditions. The report estimates that DroughtGard does not improve water use efficiency. By comparison, breeding and improved farming practices have increased drought tolerance […]

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Pesticide Companies Seek Canadian Approval of Herbicide-Tolerant GE Crops

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2012) Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto have filed paperwork for Canadian approval of corn and soybeans genetically engineered (GE) to withstand heavy applications of potent herbicides, reports the Ottawa Citizen. The chemical companies are seeking Health Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency assessments for the introduction of four varieties of GE corn and soybeans engineered to tolerate the highly toxic herbicides 2,4-D and dicamba. In the U.S., the federal Department of Agriculture (USDA) is in the process of reviewing Dow’s application for its 2,4-D-tolerant corn, as well. Beyond Pesticides and others recently submitted comments to USDA challenging this approval. Dow’s GE corn is modified to be tolerant to 2,4-D, which is contaminated with dioxin and linked to cancer, birth defects, and more. The company is introducing the new GE corn variety because weeds are becoming resistant to Roundup, the previous chemical of choice for herbicide-tolerant plants. However, solving herbicide resistance with a new, more toxic chemical is like using gasoline to put out a fire. It will cause even more damage to health and the environment, and in a few years, the pesticide industry will be marketing their next “solution” to the growing resistance problem. Dow states […]

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Campaign Underway in UK to Stop GM Wheat Experiments

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2012) In what is being presented as “a clear risk to British farming,” protesters in the United Kingdom have organized a campaign to protest field sites being used to test a new strain of genetically modified (GM) wheat. The industry developing the GM wheat is asking the campaigners not to ruin their experimental plots, but the group, ”˜Take the Flour Back,’ has vowed to “decontaminate” the site unless the research is halted. The “Take the Flour Back” campaign is protesting the outdoor field trials of a new strain of GM wheat which has the potential to contaminate surrounding fields and spread GM material to others areas off-site. Campaigners say controlled indoor trials should be done instead before the crop is planted outdoors. The trial at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, Herts in South East England is evaluating the efficacy of wheat modified to deter aphids, an insect pest. Rothamsted Research insists this minimizes crop losses due to aphid attack and the fungal infections and viruses that can follow in their wake, and reduces the need for chemical spraying against aphids. Rothamsted agricultural research establishment is set to conduct open air trials of wheat to be planted in […]

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Over One Million Comments Delivered to FDA Call for Labeling GE Foods

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2012) The Just Label It Campaign (JLI) announced this week that more than one million Americans submitted comments supporting its petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. The JLI Campaign, a national coalition of more than 500 partner organizations including Beyond Pesticides, submitted the petition in October 2011 to mobilize the overwhelming public support for such labeling. An astonishing 93% of consumers from a national survey in 2010 stated that they favored labeling of GE foods as is currently required in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia, and China. As of the March 27 cut-off date, the JLI Campaign had generated approximately 1,078,000 signatures for its petition —the most comments ever submitted to FDA on a food-related subject. Gary Hirshberg, chairman of JLI Campaign partner Stonyfield, stated that, “In recent years, Americans have shown a real interest in knowing more about our food and now there is a clear mandate for the labeling of genetically engineered foods. This petition asks the FDA to stand up for the rights of average Americans, and not just a handful of powerful chemical companies. It’s time for the FDA […]

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Beyond Pesticides Joins Consumer-Backed Effort to Label GE Food

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2011) Beyond Pesticides has partnered with the Just Label It (JLI) campaign, which is made up of a broad-based coalition of 460 partner organizations demanding that consumers have the right to know what is in our food. The campaign has already generated over a half-million consumer comments in support of a petition which calls for food that is produced with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients to disclose this information on the label. The petition was filed with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and written by attorneys at the Center for Food Safety. Sign the petition and submit your comments at www.justlabelit.org/takeaction. Beyond Pesticides’ goal is to push for labeling as a means of identifying products containing GE ingredients in an effort to sway consumer demand. The European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia, and China, require labeling for GE foods. Recently, the German corporation BASF announced that it would stop developing genetically engineered products targeting the European market, in part due to low consumer demand. Given that a that 93% of Americans support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, Beyond Pesticides believes that we can have the same impact here as in Europe. In addition, the […]

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GMO Development in Europe Takes a Hit, Focus on U.S. Markets To Intensify

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2012) Given the persistent wariness of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Europe, Germany’s BASF will stop developing new products targeting the European market. The group announced on January 16 that it plans to refocus its activities in the sector on more receptive regions. Unfortunately, this means BASF will redouble its efforts in the U.S. to develop new GMO products, leading to public and environmental health concerns in this country. In a statement, a BASF representative announced, “Biotechnologies are not accepted enough in many parts of Europe by the majority of consumers, farmers and political leaders. That is why it does not make sense economically to continue to invest in products aimed exclusively at this market.” BASF promotion of its GMO products has been stalled in the last couple years. BASF fought for a decade before obtaining European Union (EU) marketing authorization in 2010 for Amflora, a genetically modified high-starch potato. Shortly afterwards BASF mistakenly planted in an Amflora field in Sweden another of its GMO potatoes, Amadea, which had not received authorization from European officials. According to the company, after this scandal, “European sentiment towards transgenic products declined further.” BASF plans to halt the planting and […]

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Judge Rules GE Alfalfa Deregulation Was Legal, Decision To Be Appealed

Friday, January 13th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2012) A U.S. District Judge in San Francisco has issued a ruling finding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to deregulate genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa was not unlawful, as has been charged by organic and environmental advocates, including Beyond Pesticides. Judge Samuel Conti of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California found that USDA did not act improperly by deregulating the GE Roundup Ready alfalfa, developed by Monsanto Co., and that the agency’s environmental review of the product was adequate. The plaintiffs in the case, including conventional farmers and seed growers, with Center for Food Safety serving as legal counsel, argued that the environmental impact statement (EIS) the agency prepared failed to take several critical matters into consideration in its evaluation. Among the issues neglected by the EIS are the impacts that the crop would have on endangered species, which advocates hold is required to be considered under the Endangered Species Act, as well as the potential effects that the likely increased pesticide applications would have on the environment. For these reasons, the groups argued that the EIS was woefully incomplete and that the agency’s subsequent deregulation of the GE alfalfa […]

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USDA Deregulates Monsanto’s Drought Resistant Corn, Opens Comment Period on 2,4-D Resistant Corn

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, January 5, 2012) Just as everyone was getting ready for the holidays, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved yet another genetically modified seed by Monsanto, a drought-tolerant variety of corn, MON87460. In addition to its announcement approving Monsanto’s newest GE corn variety, USDA also opened a 60-day public comment period for two additional petitions — one for Monsanto’s GE soybean containing higher levels of an omega-3 fatty acid, that does not naturally occur in soybeans, and the other from Dow AgroSciences for corn that has been genetically engineered to resist the poisonous herbicide 2,4-D. “In 2012 the USDA is proposing approving a new GE corn variety that is resistant to a different toxic herbicide, escalating the toxic treadmill in chemical-dependent agriculture,” said Jay Feldman, Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides. “This is nothing more than a band-aid solution to a serious problem, and will only give rise to more superweeds, more herbicide pollution in our environment, more herbicide poisoning, while likely leading to the need for even more toxic herbicides a couple of years down the line. This foolish circle has to end,” he added. [To listen to a radio interview on 2,4-D by Jay Feldman click here.] […]

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New Report Highlights GMOs’ False Promises and Failed Technologies

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2011) A new report highlights scientific research and empirical experiences around the globe that demonstrate the failure of genetically modified (GM) seeds and crops to deliver on their advertised promises to increase yields, reduce pesticide usage, and tolerate drought with “climate ready” traits. A Global Citizens Report on the State of GMOs, “The GMO Emperor has no Clothes,” states that the on-the-ground experience in many countries discloses that GM technology has failed on all fronts, contrary to industry claims. The examples from around the globe include the financial burden borne by farmers. The report describes the cultivation of GM cotton in South Africa where the majority of farmers growing GM cotton are now in debt due to the high costs of seed, chemical, and other farm inputs. The Global Citizens Report confirms that such experiences are repeated in many countries and regions. The stories of Indian farmer indebtedness and increased suicides further emphasize the tragic costs of failed GM technology and its promises. The prevalence of Roundup Ready GM crops has led to the increases of Roundup resistant weeds in the environment. Farmers and agronomists throughout the world are alarmed by the growing epidemic of “superweeds” […]

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Tell USDA To Deny Deregulation of GE “Roundup Ready” Sugar Beets

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2011) The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently announced the availability of a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) that evaluates the potential environmental effects of deregulating (commercializing) sugar beets genetically engineered (GE) to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, commonly referred to as Roundup Ready (RR) sugar beets. APHIS considered three alternatives in the draft EIS: deny the petition seeking a determination of nonregulated status (prohibit commercial planting), make a determination of nonregulated status (allow commercial planting), or extend the partial deregulation of RR sugar beets for the root crop, with mandatory conditions and restrictions. Comments will be accepted until December 13, 2011. APHIS originally deregulated RR sugar beets in 2005. A coalition of environmental groups and organic seed companies, led by the Center for Food Safety, challenged the USDA approval in 2008. It argued that GE sugar beets would contaminate organic and non-GE farmers of related crops, such as table beets and chard, as well as increase pesticide impacts on the environment and worsen the current Roundup-resistant “superweeds” epidemic in U.S. agriculture. In September 2009, Judge Jeffrey S. White in the federal district court in San Francisco agreed, […]

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IFOAM Requests UN Require Members to Label Genetically Modified Foods

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, October 6, 2011) Representatives of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) presented a special declaration October 1, 2011 to the United Nations (UN), requesting that the international organization commit all of its member nations to a world without genetically modified (GMO) foods and to identify existing GMO foods on product labels. The UN declaration was written in anticipation of the GMO Right2Know March which kicked off at the UN headquarters in New York on October 1 and will end at the White House on October 16. The UN delegation included IFOAM representatives, Joseph Wilhelm, founder of Rapunzel organic products and the force behind “Gene-Free America;” and his employees.” Maria-Luisa Chavez welcomed the delegation and accepted the declaration on behalf of the UN. She will pass it on to the president of the General Assembly, the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. Mr. Wilhelm believes that consumers have the right to know whether the food they buy is genetically altered. “Twenty percent of all manufactured foods in the U.S. contains genetically modified ingredients (GMO),” he said. “We hope the Right2Know march will raise consumer awareness and influence U.S. legislators to require that labels […]

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March and Rallies Will Demand Labeling of GMOs

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, September 23, 2011) In two weeks, a diverse coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals will begin to march from the Historic Flatbush Food Co-op in Brooklyn, NY to the gates of the White House to ask the Obama Administration to support labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The GMO Right2Know March will feature daily events between New York and Washington, DC October 1-16 as hundreds of marchers are expected to walk part or all of the 313 miles to the White House. The route and details on daily events can be viewed here. “Pesticide companies develop genetically engineered food crops by combining DNA from plants, animals, bacteria and viruses, to contain or resist pesticide, which results in more pesticides sold and sprayed,” says Michael Hansen, Ph.D, chief scientist of Consumers Union. “Genetically engineered foods contain untested novel foreign compounds that can be detrimental to our health, just as they are to the environment and farmers’ livelihoods. American consumers deserve the choice whether they want to eat GMOs, just like their counterparts in Europe and Japan,” says Hansen who will join the Oct 1 NYC Right2Know March kick-off rally at Prospect Park at 11am to 1pm followed by marchers […]

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Dow Seeks Approval of New Soybean Resistant to Multiple Herbicides

Friday, September 9th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, September 9, 2011) Despite rising concerns over the side effects of herbicide tolerant, genetically engineered (GE) crops, Dow AgroSciences has recently asked for approval of a new GE soybean variety that will be the first ever to be simultaneously resistant to three different pesticides. The soybean variety, which the company is calling “Enlist,” is designed to compete with Monsanto’s line of “Roundup Ready” crops, which are engineered to be resistant to the company’s glyphosate formulation. The Enlist soybean will be resistant to glyphosate as well as glufosinate and 2,4-D. Antonio Galindez, CEO of Dow AgroSciences, told Reuters that the Enlist system is the company’s “most important project ever.” This is likely due to the company’s ambitious target of taking over Monsanto’s dominance of the GE market in American agriculture. Herbicide tolerant (HT) Roundup Ready crop varieties have become nearly ubiquitous in the corn, cotton, and soybean seed markets. Dow will market the product as a replacement for Roundup Ready soybeans. If farmers are finding that weeds in their fields are not responding to applications of Roundup, Dow will argue, then planting Enlist soybeans will allow them to spray a combination of chemicals in order to eradicate the resistant […]

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Widespread Glyphosate Contamination Detected in Air and Waterways

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, September 2, 2011) The widely used herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been detected in significant levels in rain and rivers in agricultural areas across the Mississippi River watershed, according to two new studies released this month by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The studies’ results raise serious concerns about public exposure and potential environmental damages. Detailed results are available in “Occurrence and fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in the atmosphere,” published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and in “Fate and transport of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid in surface waters of agricultural basins,” published online in Pest Management Science. Glyphosate is used in almost all agricultural and urban areas of the United States. The greatest glyphosate use is in the Mississippi River basin, where most applications are for weed control on genetically-modified corn, soybeans and cotton. Overall, agricultural use of glyphosate has increased from less than 11,000 tons in 1992 to more than 88,000 tons in 2007. The two studies conducted by USGS examine glyphosate content in air and water samples in the states of Iowa and Mississippi across two growing seasons. The results show that glyphosate is detected 60-100% of […]

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Roundup May Be Damaging Soil and Reducing Yields, Says USDA

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2011) A US Department of Agriculture (USDA) official speaking at an agricultural conference said that the heavy use of Roundup, an herbicide manufactured by Monsanto and used heavily on “Roundup Ready” genetically engineered (GE) crops, appears to be causing harmful changes in soil and potentially hindering yields of crops that farmers are cultivating. Reuters reported that Robert Kremer, PhD, a microbiologist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, told the audience at the August 12, 2011 conference sponsored by the Organization for Competitive Markets that repeated use of the herbicide glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup herbicide, impacts the root structure of plants, and 15 years of research indicates that the chemical could be causing fungal root disease. Dr. Kremer first warned us about his research and questioned the government’s response last year. “This could be something quite big. We might be setting up a huge problem,” Dr. Kremer told Reuters last year. “Science is not being considered in policy setting and deregulation. This research is important. We need to be vigilant.” Monsanto created “Roundup Ready” crops to withstand its Roundup herbicide (with the active ingredient glyphosate). Growing previous Roundup Ready crops such as soy, cotton, and […]

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Groups Sue to Halt GE Crops on Southeastern National Wildlife Refuges

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, August 16, 2011) A lawsuit filed in federal court against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) seeks to end cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops on twenty-five national wildlife refuges across the U.S. Southeast. The suit is the latest step in a campaign to banish GE crops from all refuges. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on August 12, 2011 by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the Center for Food Safety (CFS), and Beyond Pesticides, the federal suit charges that FWS unlawfully entered into cooperative farming agreements and approved planting of GE crops in eight states without the environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and in violation of FWS policy. This is the third in a series of lawsuits filed by CFS and PEER challenging FWS’s practice of permitting GE crops on wildlife refuges. In 2009 and 2010, the groups successfully challenged approval of GE plantings on two wildlife refuges in Delaware — Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge — which forced FWS to end GE planting in the entire 12-state Northeastern region. National wildlife refuges have allowed farming for decades despite […]

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USDA Exempts Genetically Engineered Turf Grass from Regulations

Friday, July 8th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2011) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a decision stating that it does not consider a new type of genetically engineered (GE) turf grass to be subject to federal regulations. In the decision announced by the USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the agency stated that it does not have the authority to regulate introduction or transportation of the GE grass seed under the provisions of the Plant Protection Act . The grass, developed by Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, has been engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, commonly sold as Roundup. Kentucky bluegrass is a popular choice for yards and fields as well as pastures and prairies, and the GE seed is expected to be made available for consumers to plant in their home lawns, potentially making it one of the most widely planted GE crops in the country. USDA’s authority to regulate genetically modified organisms (GMOs) stems from provisions of the Plant Protection Act (relevant regulations can be found at 7 CFR 340) that are designed to ensure that GMOs do not present the potential for new “plant pests.” As the New York Times explains, “Since companies have created most […]

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Study Finds Pregnant Women and Fetuses Contaminated with Pesticides Linked to GE Food

Monday, June 27th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2011) A study published in the May 2011 edition of the journal Reproductive Toxicology finds pregnant women and their fetuses contaminated with pesticides and metabolites of the herbicide gluphosinate and the Cry1Ab protein of the insecticide based on the bacterium bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), both affiliated with genetically engineered (GE) food. The study, “Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada,” also identified the same chemicals, as well as glyphosate metabolites in the bodies of non-pregnant women. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre in Quebec, Canada, is intended to pave the way for a new field in reproductive toxicology including nutrition and utero-placental toxicities. Herbicide resistance is the most common genetically modified trait in commercial agriculture. Crops are modified to be able to withstand extremely high doses of glyphosate (Roundup Ready) and gluphosinate (LibertyLink). Current herbicide resistant crops include soy, maize (corn), canola, sugar beet, cotton, with and alfalfa. As of 2005, 87% of U.S. soybean fields were planted with glyphosate resistant varieties. The recently released 2010 Agricultural Chemical Use Report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service […]

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First Motion Filed in Latest Suit Against GE Alfalfa

Friday, June 24th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2011) Attorneys for farmer and environmental organizations filed a motion in court on Monday to seek partial judgment in their case against Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack regarding his department’s recent deregulation of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa. The plaintiffs, including the Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides, and several seed and farming organizations, filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the claim in the lawsuit regarding the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The suit claims that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is required by the ESA to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in decisions regarding regulation of GE products in order to determine any potential impact on endangered species or their habitats. Since APHIS did not consult with FWS prior to its decision to deregulate GE alfalfa, the plaintiffs hold that the decision is invalid until an evaluation is conducted by FWS. Since the alfalfa is engineered by the agribusiness corporation Monsanto to be resistant to the company’s Roundup herbicide products, active ingredient glyphosate, the plaintiffs argue that planting of the so-called Roundup Ready alfalfa will result in significantly increased rates of herbicide application, […]

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