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Farmers and Groups File Appeal to Defend Right to Grow Food

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, April 2, 2012) Last Wednesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, family farmers filed their Notice of Appeal to Judge Naomi Buchwald’s February 24th ruling dismissing Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will hear the farmers’ appeal, seeking to reinstate the case, which has received worldwide attention. The farmers are determined to move forward with their lawsuit challenging Monsanto’s patents on genetically engineered seed technologies in order to continue their pursuit of Declaratory Judgment Act court protection from Monsanto’s claims of patent infringement should their crops become contaminated by Monsanto’s seed. “Farmers have the right to protect themselves from being falsely accused of patent infringement by Monsanto before they are contaminated by Monsanto’s transgenic seed,” said Dan Ravicher, Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), a not-for-profit legal services organization based at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law that represents the plaintiffs. “Judge Buchwald erred by denying plaintiffs that right and they have now initiated the process of having her decision reversed.” The original complaint in OSGATA et al v. Monsanto was filed on March 29, 2011. In July, Monsanto filed a motion […]


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 […]


New Biological Pesticide To Enter Market

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, March 8, 2012) Researchers at Montana State University-Bozeman (MSU) have discovered a bacterium that could control a variety of plant diseases caused by funghi, bacteria and viruses, and are working with Certis USA, a global biological pesticide company, to develop and commercialize it by early 2013. The product will be based on Bacillus mycoides isolate J, (BmJ), which itself is a naturally occurring, nonpathogenic bacterium that triggers a plant’s immune response to pathogenic funghi, bacteria and viruses resulting in systemic acquired resistance to diseases. BmJ belongs to the Bacillus cereus complex, which also includes Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt), a soil bacterium that is used as biological pesticide by organic farmers, but also widely incorporated into some genetically engineered crops. MSU scientist Barry Jacobsen, Ph.D. first discovered the bacterium in 1994 when a field of sugar beet crops in Sidney, MT had been devastated and nearly wiped out due to the Cercospora leaf spot. Area farmers were spending millions of dollars on aerial applications of fungicides to fight the disease, but were losing the battle due to resistance. Dr. Jacobsen and his team of researchers looked to the few surviving plants to find out what enabled them to ward off […]


Judge Dismisses Case Against Monsanto, Organic Farmers To Appeal

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2012) A U.S. District Court Judge on February 24 dismissed the case of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto and organic farmers, seed growers, and agricultural organizations vowed to fight on. The plaintiffs filed this lawsuit to shield farmers from being sued for patent infringement by Monsanto should they become contaminated by drift of the company’s genetically engineered seed, a legal strategy Monsanto has been pursuing for years. The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, challenges Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed. The suit was originally filed on behalf of 60 plaintiffs on March 29, 2011, with 23 new plaintiffs, including Beyond Pesticides joining on June 1. The 83 plaintiffs involved in the suit represent a combined membership in excess of 300,000 people. Daniel Ravicher, lead attorney for the 81 plaintiffs represented in the lawsuit, said, “While I have great respect for Judge [Naomi] Buchwald, her decision to deny farmers the right to seek legal protection from one of the world’s foremost patent bullies is gravely disappointing.” “Her belief,” added Mr. Ravicher, “that farmers are acting unreasonably when they stop growing certain crops to avoid being sued […]


French Court Finds Monsanto Guilty of Pesticide Poisoning

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2012) A French court has found U.S. chemical giant Monsanto Co. guilty of pesticide poisoning in the case of a French farmer who became ill after exposure to one of the company’s herbicides, according to Reuters. The case is significant in that it sets precedent for other cases alleging pesticide poisoning or negligence in reporting of potential effects on human health resulting from pesticides. The court has said it will seek an expert opinion regarding the farmer’s losses in order to determine the appropriate amount of damages he should be rewarded. The case stems from an incident in which the farmer, Paul Francois, inadvertently inhaled Monsanto’s Lasso pesticide when cleaning his sprayer tank on his farm in southern France in 2004. He then began experiencing memory loss, headaches, and stammering, among other neurological problems. This led to his decision to file suit against Monsanto, asserting that the company did not provide adequate warnings on the product label that would indicate these symptoms could result from exposure. The court agreed with Mr. Francois, stating that, “Monsanto is responsible for Paul Francois’s suffering after he inhaled the Lasso product … and must entirely compensate him,” according to Agence […]


Oral Arguments Presented in Landmark Organic Lawsuit against Monsanto

Friday, February 10th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, February 10, 2012) Federal District Court Judge Nancy Buchwald heard oral arguments on January 31 on a pre-trial motion filed by Monsanto to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) on behalf of family farmers, seed businesses, organic agricultural organizations, and environmental groups. The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, challenges Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed. The suit was originally filed on behalf of 60 plaintiffs on March 29, 2011, with 23 new plaintiffs, including Beyond Pesticides joining on June 1. The 83 plaintiffs now involved in the suit represent a combined membership in excess of 300,000 people. The plaintiffs in this case are suing preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should they ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed, something Monsanto has done to others in the past. “We were very pleased that the court granted our request to have oral argument regarding Monsanto’s motion to dismiss our case today,” said Daniel Ravicher, PUBPAT Executive Director and lead lawyer for the plaintiffs. “The judge graciously permitted both parties to raise all the points they wished in a session that lasted over […]


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 […]


Consumer Safety Groups Sue Food and Drug Administration Over Lax Nanotechnology Review

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2012) A coalition of six consumer safety groups filed suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 21, 2011, citing the FDA’s chronic failure to regulate materials derived from nanotechnology (nanomaterials) used in sunscreens, cosmetics and drugs. The lawsuit demands that FDA respond to a May 2006 petition the coalition filed calling for regulatory actions, including nano-specific product labeling, health and safety testing, and an analysis of the environmental impacts of nanomaterials in products regulated by FDA. The lawsuit cites numerous studies and reports published since 2006 that establish significant data gaps concerning nanomaterials’ potential effects on human health and the environment. Led by the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA), the coalition is calling for FDA to take immediate action to assess the actual risks from nanomaterials and implement appropriate protective measures for consumers. While receiving minimal regulatory scrutiny or public attention, nanotechnology is becoming an increasingly prevalent practice for developing the next generation of ingredients in a wide range of consumer products. Generally defined, nanotechnology is the practice of manipulating matter on an atomic or molecular level to produce materials between 1 and 100 nanometers (nm) in size. A nanometer is […]


Six Largest Pesticide Manufacturers Stand Trial at International People’s Court

Monday, December 5th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2011) On December 3, the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal pesticide plant disaster in Bhopal, India, a trial began in an international people’s court in India involving the world’s six largest pesticide companies: Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow and Dupont. These companies, collectively known as the “Big 6,” are cited by prosecutors for their human rights violations, including internationally recognized rights to life, livelihood and health. Beyond Pesticides joined Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and others in signing a joint statement demanding that these companies be held accountable for their human rights violations, which was presented at the trial. The trial, hosted by PAN International, is facilitated by the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PTT), an international opinion tribunal independent from State authorities. The prosecution’s 230-page indictment outlines the global threats to human rights. It begins: The victims and survivors of [pesticide industry] aggression are the poor peasants, small-scale farmers, agricultural workers, rural women, children, and indigenous and agricultural communities around the world. They are at the mercy of the expanding power of the agrochemical [corporations] and are losing their control over their seeds and knowledge, and suffering debilitating physical and chronic effects due to pesticide poisoning, including coping […]


Genetically Engineered Crops to Boost Use of 2, 4-D and Dicamba

Monday, November 7th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, November 7) Once heralded as a breakthrough for reducing the rates and toxicity of the pesticides applied by farmers, genetically engineered (GE) crops are perversely leading to renewed dependency on the very herbicides they were claimed to make obsolete. Growing recognition that pervasive planting of “Round-Up Ready” corn, soybeans and cotton is accelerating weed resistance is prompting GE seed companies to rush to market ‘stacked’ varieties that are resistant to additional herbicides, including 2, 4-D and dicamba. Farmers planting the stacked varieties will be spraying these older herbicides in addition to glyphosate, which most commodity crops have already been engineered to tolerate. Professor David A. Mortensen of Pennsylvania State University has estimated that adoption of Round-Up Ready and 2, 4-D or dicamba resistant stacked varieties in soybeans could result in a 70% increase in herbicide use in a relatively short time. The St. Louis Pots-Dispatch reported on progress that multinational chemical corporations Dow AgroSciences, BASF, and Monsanto are making to bring multi-herbicide resistant varieties to market. Under separate arrangements with each company, Monsanto adds glyphosate resistance to seeds that are simultaneously engineered to resist other herbicides. In October, Dow AgroSciences obtained a global patent on its Enlist Duo […]


Bayer To Withdraw Most Acutely Toxic Pesticides, Leave Other Hazardous Products on Market

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2011) In September, Bayer CropScience announced that it plans to phase-out its most acutely toxic pesticides, all remaining World Health Organization (WHO) class I products, by the end of 2012. While this is a positive development, Beyond Pesticides points out that other Bayer pesticides, such as its bee-killing insecticides imidacloprid and clothianidin, will remain on the market. Activists around the globe have mixed reactions to Bayer’s announcement, which comes over 15 years after Bayer first promised to phase-out its WHO Class I products. Philipp Mimkes of the Coalition Against Bayer Dangers based in Germany said, “This is an important success for environmental organizations from all over the world who have fought against these deadly pesticides for decades. But we must not forget that Bayer broke their original promise to withdraw all class I products by the year 2000. Many lives could have been saved. It is embarrassing that the company only stopped sales because the profit margins of these chemical time bombs have fallen so much.” Acutely toxic pesticides with a WHO Class I rating are extremely toxic and present an immediate hazard to farmworkers and others in the vicinity of pesticide applications. The WHO estimates […]


USDA Survey Shows Continued Honeybee Losses Across the Country

Friday, June 10th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2011) A report released jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) shows that losses of honeybee populations over the 2010/2011 winter remained abnormally high, reflecting continuing damages attributed to colony collapse disorder (CCD). CCD, linked to a range of factors and agricultural chemicals, including systemic pesticides, has devastated bees and beekeepers around the country in recent years. According to the survey, 30% of managed honeybee colonies across the country were lost over the winter. Over the past five years, since the discovery of CCD, annual winter colony losses have hovered near the 30% mark. Similar loss percentages for the previous four years reflect this trend: 34% for the 2009/2010 winter, 29% for 2008/2009, 36% for 2007/2008, and 32% for 2006/2007. ARS entomologist Jeffrey Pettis, PhD, who helped to conduct the survey and has been the agency’s lead researcher on CCD heading up the USDA Bee Research Laboratory, said, “The lack of increase in losses is marginally encouraging in the sense that the problem does not appear to be getting worse for honey bees and beekeepers. But continued losses of this size put tremendous pressure […]


Groups Join Lawsuit to Protect Against Monsanto’s GE Patents

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, June 2, 2011) New threats by Monsanto have led to the filing of an amended complaint by the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) in its suit on behalf of family farmers, seed businesses, and organic agricultural organizations challenging Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed. Twenty-three new plaintiffs, including Beyond Pesticides, have joined with the original 60 in the amended complaint, bringing the total number represented in the case to 83. The plaintiffs in the suit, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA), et al. v. Monsanto and pending in the Southern District of New York, now include 36 family farmer, food, agricultural research, food safety, and environmental organizations representing hundreds of thousands of members including several thousand certified organic, biodynamic, or otherwise non-transgenic family farmers. “Our clients don’t want a fight with Monsanto, they just want to be protected from the threat they will be contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed and then be accused of patent infringement,” said PUBPAT Executive Director Daniel B. Ravicher. “We asked Monsanto to give our clients reassurance they wouldn’t do such a thing, and in response they chose instead to reiterate the same implicit threat to organic agriculture made in the past.” Soon […]


Monsanto Renews Efforts for Genetically Engineered Wheat

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2011) In what seems like a quest to control much of the world’s food supply, industry giant Monsanto is renewing its efforts to develop genetically modified wheat. Over the past two years, the agricultural biotechnology giant has renewed its interest in wheat, committing more resources to creating new traits and seed varieties. Genetically modified (GM) varieties of soy, corn and alfalfa have already been developed. Recent efforts by the company to have GM crops deregulated by the U.S. government -so that they can be widely grown without restriction- have been successful. In the past two years, Monsanto has renewed its efforts into research for GM wheat. The company has built a ‘seed chipper” for wheat -a proprietary and prohibitively expensive machine that speeds the process of identifying beneficial crop traits. In 2009, the company paid $45 million to buy WestBred, a Montana-based wheat seed company. Monsanto says its efforts will focus on biotechnology and traditional breeding to achieve a drought-tolerant trait and increased yield. Genetic research and modification has been slower for wheat compared to soy and corn because of the grain’s genetic complexity and lower potential monetary returns to commercial seed companies, which discourage investment […]


British Government to Investigate Pesticides Linked to Bee Decline

Friday, April 1st, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2011) A British government scientist on Wednesday announced that he has ordered a review of a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, to determine what effects they may have on bee and pollinator health. Neonicotinoids, such as clothianidin and imidacloprid, have come under intense scrutiny recently due to concerns regarding their toxicity to honeybees, which are essential for a secure food supply in their role as crop pollinators. This has led some to suggest that chemicals such as these could be contributors to honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). According to the London Daily Mail, the chief scientist at the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Professor Robert Watson, has directed DEFRA scientists to reexamine findings on neonicotinoids and their effects on bees. The Mail suggests that Watson may have been partly motivated by a recent study done by Dr. Jeffrey Pettis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. This study was the first to show that neonicotinoids impact the survival of bees at levels below the level of detection, meaning that field studies would not have considered the role of the pesticide, because they would not have detected it. Although a […]


Lawsuit Seeks Protection Against Monsanto’s GE Seed Patents

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, March 31, 2011) In an effort to protect them from patent infringement in the event of drift contamination by Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) seed, 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations preemptively filed suit against the agribusiness giant. The case, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, was filed in federal district court in Manhattan on behalf of Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. Plaintiffs in the suit represent a broad array of family farmers, small businesses and organizations from within the organic agriculture community who are increasingly threatened by genetically modified seed contamination despite using their best efforts to avoid it. The plaintiff organizations have over 270,000 members, including thousands of certified organic family farmers. This year has seen a series of decisions by USDA to allow the unrestricted cultivation of genetically engineered crops. In January, USDA announced plans to fully deregulate GE alfalfa seed, despite contamination risks it poses to both organic and conventional farmers. Then, in February, a federal appeals court decided to reverse a federal order to destroy GE sugar beet seedlings. Most GE crops are engineered to be immune to the herbicide glyphosate, which Monsanto […]


Groups Sue To Stop USDA’s Deregulation of Genetically Engineered Alfalfa

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2011) Last Friday, attorneys for the Center for Food Safety (CFS), Beyond Pesticides, Earthjustice, and farm and environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), arguing that the agency’s recent unrestricted approval of genetically engineered (GE), “Roundup Ready” alfalfa is unlawful. In January, USDA announced plans to fully deregulate GE alfalfa seed, despite contamination risks it poses to both organic and conventional farmers. With the full deregulation of GE alfalfa underway, USDA estimates that up to 23 million more pounds of toxic herbicides will be released into the environment each year. This year has seen a series of decisions by USDA to allow the unrestricted cultivation of genetically engineered crops, and just last month a federal appeals court decided to reverse a federal order to destroy GE sugar beet seedlings. Most GE crops are engineered to be immune to the herbicide glyphosate, which Monsanto markets as Roundup. Currently, USDA data show that 93% of all the alfalfa planted by farmers in the U.S. is grown without the use of any herbicides. The decision to fully deregulate GE alfalfa fails to take several scientifically-validated environmental concerns, such as the indiscriminate nature of GE […]


EPA Rejects Immediate Action On Pesticide Toxic To Bees

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2011) In response to a request by beekeepers and environmentalists to remove a pesticide linked to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a letter, defended the pesticide clothianidin and the scientific study in question which was identified by beekeepers as a critically flawed study. EPA states that it does not intend to suspend or cancel clothianidin, even though independent studies have linked this chemical and others in its class to bee decline. Beyond Pesticides, as a part of a group of environmentalists and beekeepers, broke the news last December that a core study underpinning the registration of the insecticide clothianidin was unsound, citing leaked EPA memos which discloses the critically flawed scientific study and its reclassification as a “core” study on which clothianidin’s conditional registration was contingent on, to a “supplemental” study. Bayer CropSceicne, manufacturer of clothianidin designed and submitted to study to EPA as part of clothianidin’s registration requirement. Beekeepers claim that the initial field study guidelines, which the Bayer study failed to satisfy, were insufficiently rigorous to test whether or not clothianidin contributes to CCD in a real-world scenario: the field test evaluated the wrong crop, over an insufficient […]


USDA Research Links Neonicotinoid Pesticides to Bee Deaths

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2011) Research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory and Penn State University shows that the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid contribute —at extremely low levels— to bee deaths and possibly colony collapse disorder (CCD), the widespread disappearance of honey bees that has killed off more than a third of commercial honey bees in the U.S. While the study has not been published yet, the UK’s The Independent newspaper reports that honeybees exposed to imidacloprid are more susceptible to the fungal pathogen Nosema. This is the first study to show that neonicotinoids impact the survival of bees at levels below the level of detection, meaning that field studies would not have considered the role of the pesticide, because they would not have detected it. USDA researcher Jeffrey Pettis, PhD and Penn State University researcher Dennis Van Engelsdorp, PhD explained their research in the 2010 documentary, The Strange Disappearance of the Honeybees (transcript courtesy of Grist.org): [Pettis] I’ve done a recent study actually in collaboration with Dennis van Engelsdorp and some other researchers, where we exposed whole colonies to very low levels of neo-nicotinoids in this case, and then ”˜challenged’ bees from those colonies, with Nosema […]


Take Action – Tell the President and USDA: Do Not Approve GE Alfalfa

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2011) Beyond Pesticides and the National Organic Coalition (NOC) are encouraging their members to contact President Obama and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and tell them not to approve (or not deregulate) Monsanto’s “RoundUp Ready,” genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa, which contributes to genetic drift, superweeds, and the use of a hazardous herbicide glyphosate. In December, USDA completed its environmental impact statement (EIS) of GE alfalfa. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has rejected the option to prohibit the planting (and continuing to regulate) GE Alfalfa, despite the clear recognition in the EIS that that GE contamination of organic and conventionally grown crops presents a huge problem. USDA released its 2,400 page EIS as required by a 2007 Federal District Court decision and upheld by both 2009 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and June 2010 U.S. Supreme Court rulings. The litigation was led by the Center for Food Safety, and joined by Beyond Pesticides, and other groups, including conventional and organic seed companies and producers. Three alternatives are considered during the preparation of the final EIS: 1) to maintain the RR alfalfa’s status as a regulated article; 2) to deregulate RR alfalfa; or 3) to deregulate RR […]


Judge Orders Destruction of GE Sugar Beets

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, December 7, 2010) Last week, Federal District Judge Jeffrey S. White issued a preliminary injunction ordering the immediate destruction of hundreds of acres of genetically engineered (GE) sugar beet seedlings planted in September after finding the seedlings had been planted in violation of federal law. The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice and CFS on behalf of a coalition of farmers and conservation groups. The lawsuit was filed on September 9, shortly after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed it had allowed the seedlings to be planted. The court outlined the many ways in which GE sugar beets could harm the environment and consumers, noting that containment efforts were insufficient and past contamination incidents were “too numerous” to allow the illegal crop to remain in the ground. In his court order, Judge White noted, “Farmers and consumers would likely suffer harm from cross-contamination” between GE sugar beets and non-GE crops. He continued, “The legality of Defendants’ conduct does not even appear to be a close question,” noting that the government and Monsanto had tried to circumvent his prior ruling which made GE sugar beets illegal. Paul Achitoff of Earthjustice, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said, […]


Fortunes May be Changing for Monsanto

Monday, October 18th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2010) Despite condemnation from environmentalists and human rights advocates, the business practices employed by biotech giant Monsanto seemed to be serving the St. Louis-based company well, until this year where disappointing sales, increased competition and even a federal investigation have sent stock prices into a downward spiral. Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn, soy, and other crops have been engineered to resist the broad spectrum herbicide glyphosate, sold by Monsanto under the trade name Roundup. Monsanto holds the patent for its Roundup Ready seeds, meaning farmers must sign a contract with the company in order to purchase seeds, and are not allowed to save seeds to plant the following season. As seen in the recent documentary Food Inc., Monsanto has been ruthless in collecting royalties from growers. Despite Monsanto’s safety claims, glyphosate is actually very dangerous to human health and the environment. Glyphosate has been linked to cancers including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Acute exposure can lead to swelling of the eyes, face and joints; burning or itching, blisters rapid heart rate, chest pains and other symptoms. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has found glyphosate to be the most common cause of pesticide-induced illness or injury. Glyphosate is also […]


EPA Fines Monsanto for Distributing Misbranded GE Cotton

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, July 14, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Monsanto Company Inc. has agreed to pay a $2.5 million penalty to resolve misbranding violations related to the sale and distribution of cotton seed products containing genetically engineered (GE) pesticides. This is the largest civil administrative penalty settlement ever received under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). “This agreement shows that when a company violates the law by distributing misbranded pesticides, EPA will take action,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The regulated community should understand that we take these violations seriously, and the public will accept nothing less than compliance.” “People who manufacture and distribute pesticide products must follow the federal registration requirements,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “These requirements are critical to preventing the development and spread of insect resistance.” Monsanto Bollgard and Bollgard II cotton seed products contain genetically engineered pesticides known as plant incorporated protectants (PIPs), which are registered as a pesticidal product under FIFRA. As a condition of the registrations, EPA included planting restrictions on Bollgard and Bollgard II, which contain the PIP Bacillus […]