Infos Englisch | English


Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Freitag, 7. September 2012


Hungary throws out Monsanto and the IMF


I don’t know about you, but I would label my personal knowledge of Hungary as wanting, if not painfully incomplete. It’s not an easy country to come to grips with, not least of all of course because Hungarian doesn’t look like any western language we know with the possible exception of Finnish. I did visit just after the Wall came down, and remember huge contrasts, almost paradoxes, between rural poverty and a capital, Budapest, that was much richer than other capitals such as Prague, a leftover of Budapest’s status as meeting place between western and eastern diplomats and businessmen.

The riches were not for all, though, the city center was full of beggars and panhandlers, mostly Roma. To keep up the paradox, Mercedes sold more luxury models in Hungary than just about anywhere else back then, reportedly mostly also to Roma; just not the same.

In the years since, precious little attention has been and is being devoted to the former eastern bloc countries in the Anglo press. We know most of the countries are now members of the European Union, but only a few have been allowed to enter the hallowed grounds of the eurozone.

One thing I did pick up on last year was the news that Hungary’s PM Victor Orbán had thrown chemical, food and seed giant Monsanto out of the country, going as far as to plow under 1000 acres of land. Now, I have little patience for Monsanto, infamous for many products ranging from Agent Orange to Round-Up, nor for its ilk, from DuPont to Sygenta, all former chemical companies that have at some point decided they could sell more chemicals than ever before by applying them on and inside everyone’s daily food. Patenting nature itself seems either unworthy of mankind or its grandest achievement. I don’t care much for either one. So Orbán (who has a two-thirds majority in parliament, by the way) has my tentative support on this one.

This is from July 22, 2011, International Business Times:

Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Maize Fields

In an effort to rid the country of Monsanto’s GMO products, Hungary has stepped up the pace. This looks like its going to be another slap in the face for Monsanto. A new regulation was introduced this March which stipulates that seeds are supposed to be checked for GMO before they are introduced to the market. Unfortunately, some GMO seeds made it to the farmers without them knowing it.

Almost 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said. The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added.

Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary. The checks will continue despite the fact that seed traders are obliged to make sure that their products are GMO free, Bognar said. During their investigation, controllers have found Pioneer and Monsanto products among the seeds planted.

It’s remarkably hard to find sources on this, ironically. It’s even harder, even more ironically, to find anything that mentions the Wikileaks report on the connections between the US government and the chemical/seed industry. Which is curious, in my opinion; it’s not as if there’s nothing newsworthy in the topic. Just about the only thing I could find was this from Anthony Gucciardi at

US to Start ‘Trade Wars’ with Nations Opposed to Monsanto, GMO Crops

The United States is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) crops with military-style trade wars, according to information obtained and released by the organization WikiLeaks. Nations like France, which have moved to ban one of Monsanto’s GM corn varieties, were requested to be ‘penalized’ by the United States for opposing Monsanto and genetically modified foods. The information reveals just how deep Monsanto’s roots have penetrated key positions within the United States government, with the cables reporting that many U.S. diplomats work directly for Monsanto. [..]

Perhaps the most shocking piece of information exposed by the cables is the fact that these U.S. diplomats are actually working directly for biotech corporations like Monsanto. The cables also highlight the relationship between the U.S. and Spain in their conquest to persuade other nations to allow for the expansion of GMO crops. Not only did the Spanish government secretly correspond with the U.S. government on the subject, but the U.S. government actually knew beforehand how Spain would vote before the Spanish biotech commission reported their decision regarding GMO crops.

It doesn’t look like Orbán and Hungary have a lot of support in their fight against Monsanto and GMO in general on the political front. But that still does little to explain the radio silence.

There was more international reporting earlier this year, when Orbán again faced up to two other major forces, in this instance the IMF and the EU. On January 1, the Hungarian parliament and president signed a new constitution into law. And it contains a number of things that the Troika members don’t like. In particular, they are probably at odds with taxes levied on bank transactions, and especially central bank transactions. Not the kind of thing the IMF is likely to ever agree with. It all gets clad in protesting (the EU even threatens with courts) the independence under fire of the central bank, the media and other parts of Hungarian society.

The IMF and EU, like the tandem team of Monsanto and Washington before them, act like schoolyard bullies. It’s become their standard MO, and it usually works. Portraits of Orbán as a fool, a reckless idiot and a dangerous populist, on par with that of Hugo Chavez or newly found international enemy Rafael Correa, are much easier to find than those links to Wikileaks Monsanto cables. It would be good to see Orbán continue to stand up to the IMF bullies, but he may not have that choice. They can simply financially bleed him dry, like they have so many other countries and their leaders. It’s a time tested model.

So maybe we’ll have to do with a good and hearty chuckle, and enjoy his announcement yesterday:

Hungarian prime minister unfriends IMF on Facebook

Hungary’s prime minister has long had a testy relationship with the International Monetary Fund — and on Thursday he used Facebook to unfriend the agency and reject its allegedly tough loan conditions.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a video message on his official Facebook page that Hungary could not accept pension cuts, the elimination of a bank tax, fewer public employees and other conditions in exchange for an IMF loan that other officials have said could be about €15 billion ($18.9 billion). The IMF’s list of conditions, Orban said, “ contains everything that is not in Hungary’s interests.”

Orban’s announcement took the markets by surprise, in part because just a day earlier he had said loan negotiations with the IMF and the European Union were going according to schedule and both sides were willing to reach an agreement. [..]

In late 2008, under a Socialist government, Hungary became the first EU country to receive an IMF-led bailout. The Orban government, however, decided not to renew the loan agreement in 2010 so it could implement its economic policies without IMF control. But the increasing weakness of the forint, the Hungarian currency, and investors’ growing loss of trust in the country’s economy made the government abruptly change its mind late last year, when it again sought IMF help.

Basically, what the IMF demands is what it has always demanded through the years from countries it lends money to: cut pensions, cut the public sector, cut benefits yada yada, and then privatize, open markets, and open financial systems, so international operating conglomerates can move in and divvy up the spoils – “create a more ‘business friendly’ environment to boost growth” -. The IMF is the poster child for disaster capitalism, no matter how you twist and turn it. And Orbán can see clearly what is being done to Greece, which is just around the corner from Hungary.

Hungary: Orban’s horror show

A “list of horrors”. That’s how Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán described on Thursday the conditions given by the IMF / EU for a deal, via a video on his Facebook page. [..]

Orban blamed the “long list” of onerous conditions that had, supposedly, been leaked to Magyar Nemzet, a slavishly pro-government daily, on Wednesday. The list contains a number of Orbán’s most sacred political themes, including cuts in pensions, family allowances and transport perks, an increase in the age of retirement, the introduction of a property tax, the abolition of the bank and financial transaction taxes, and modifications to the flat-rate, personal income tax regime.

And here’s a bit more:

Hungary PM rejects IMF/EU terms, hopes fade for deal

Hungary threw hopes for a new loan to prop up its sagging economy into disarray on Thursday as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban rejected what he called unacceptable IMF conditions, crushing prospects for a fast agreement. Orban, in a video posted on his Facebook page, cited demands from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a raft of changes that he said were too high a price for Hungary to pay.

“From cutting pensions to reducing bureaucracy to scrapping the bank tax and the funds to be made available to banks, everything is in there that’s not in Hungary’s interest,” Orban said. “The parliamentary group meeting (of the ruling Fidesz party) took the view, and I personally agree with it, that at this price, this will not work,” he added. [..]

To reverse that momentum, Orban is pushing a 300 billion forint ($1.33 billion) job saving plan, partly funded by a new tax on central bank operations, a key sticking point in the IMF talks, which the European Central Bank has also criticised. [..]

“Junk”-rated Hungary faces a repayment hump in the next five quarters, with the equivalent of €4.6 billion euros falling due from its previous IMF/EU bailout alone.

It’s enough of a David vs Goliath fight, or a Little Red Riding Hood vs the Wolf, to make one question the bullies. Now, I don’t really know Victor Orbán, all I know is western media descriptions of him, not a very reliable source, and he could well be a bully himself. But I still like the Little Red Riding Hood story (and dislike Monsanto and the IMF) enough to give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

And besides, it’s as refreshing as it is high time to talk about something else than Greece or Spain. We’ll have to get back to them soon enough, after Draghi’s unlimited buying bailout boondoggle yesterday.


Research Shows Monsanto Corn Causes Organ Damage in Mammals

of Biological Sciences, analyzing the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, researchers found that agricultural giant Monsanto’s GM corn is linked to organ damage in rats.

According to the study, which was summarized by Adam Shake at Twilight Earth, “Three varieties of Monsanto’s GM corn – Mon 863, insecticide-producing Mon 810, and Roundup® herbicide-absorbing NK 603 – were approved for consumption by US, European and several other national food safety authorities.”

Monsanto gathered its own crude statistical data after conducting a 90-day study, even though chronic problems can rarely be found after 90 days, and concluded that the corn was safe for consumption. The stamp of approval may have been premature, however.

In the conclusion of the IJBS study, researchers wrote:

Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted. As there normally exists sex differences in liver and kidney metabolism, the highly statistically significant disturbances in the function of these organs, seen between male and female rats, cannot be dismissed as biologically insignificant as has been proposed by others.

We therefore conclude that our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity….These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown.”

Monsanto has immediately responded to the study, stating that the research is “based on faulty analytical methods and reasoning and do not call into question the safety findings for these products.”

The IJBS study’s author Gilles-Eric Séralini responded to the Monsanto statement on the blog, Food Freedom, “Our study contradicts Monsanto conclusions because Monsanto systematically neglects significant health effects in mammals that are different in males and females eating GMOs, or not proportional to the dose.

This is a very serious mistake, dramatic for public health. This is the major conclusion revealed by our work, the only careful reanalysis of Monsanto crude statistical data.”

Monsanto Found Guilty of Chemical Poisoning in France

Monday 13 February 2012
by: Anthony Gucciardi, Natural Society | Report

In a major victory for public health and what will hopefully lead to other nations taking action, a French court decided today that GMO crops monster Monsanto is guilty of chemically poisoning a French farmer. The grain grower, Paul Francois, says he developed neurological problems such as memory loss and headaches after being exposed to Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller back in 2004. The monumental case paves the way for legal action against Monsanto’s Roundup and other harmful herbicides and pesticides made by other manufacturers.

In a ruling given by a court in Lyon (southeast France), Francois says that Monsanto failed to provide proper warnings on the product label. The court ordered an expert opinion to determine the sum of the damages, and to verify the link between Lasso and the reported illnesses. The case is extremely important, as previous legal action taken against Monsanto by farmers has failed due to the challenge of properly linking pesticide exposure with the experienced side effects.

When contacted by Reuters, Monsanto’s lawyers declined to comment.

Monsanto’s Deadly Concoctions

Farmer Paul Francois was not alone in his quest to hold Monsanto accountable for their actions. He and other farmers affected by Monsanto’s deadly concoctions actually founded an association last year to make the case that their health problems were a result of Monsanto’s Lasso and other ‘crop protection’ products. Their claims were also met by many other farmers. Since 1996, the agricultural branch of the French social security system has gathered about 200 alerts per year regarding sickness related to pesticides. However only 47 cases were even recognized in the past 10 years.

Francois, whose life was damaged by Monsanto’s products, has now set the powerful precedent in the defense of farmers.

“I am alive today, but part of the farming population is going to be sacrificed and is going to die because of this,” Francois, 47, told Reuters.

It is also important to note that Monsanto’s Lasso pesticide was actually banned in France back in 2007 following a European Union directive that came after the ban of the product in other nations.,1518,812283,00.html

Genetically Modified Pests
The Controversial Release of Suicide Mosquitoes
By Rafaela von Bredow

A British biotech lab has released huge numbers of genetically modified mosquitoes in an effort to combat dengue fever. But locals, some say, were not adequately informed of the experiment — and now a debate has erupted over the potential dangers to humans.

They buzz very, very quietly. That infuriating high-pitched whirring that can rob you of your sleep on summer nights is not part of their repertoire. At this small laboratory near the English university town of Oxford, maintained at a steady 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit), the mosquitoes emit no more than a light purr. Their victims can’t hear them it until it’s almost too late.
Insectophiles might find these animals pretty because of the white markings on their dark bodies. Only the dried drops of blood — horse blood — on the gauze lining of their cages reveal how these animals feed.
The insects in question are female yellow-fever mosquitoes, some of the most dangerous animals on the planet. In addition to the illness after which they were named, they also transmit the dengue virus.
Dengue fever is on the rise worldwide and spreading faster than any other insect-borne viral disease. Every year, female mosquitoes infect at least 50 million people in tropical and subtropical regions (the males don’t bite). More than 20,000 of their victims — most of them children — succumb to their illness.
The mosquitoes at the lab near Oxford serve a rather different purpose: To save human lives. Scientists have implanted a gene they hope will wipe out these mosquitoes‘ wild cousins. When males from the lab mate with wild females, their larval offspring die within a short space of time. The lab insects have been produced to commit infanticide.
Not Exactly a Villain
Yet something of a scientific thriller has developed around these designer animals. Were anyone to turn it into a horror movie, the story would go something like this: At the heart of the tale there are the managers and scientists at a British biotech firm. These are the bad guys. Their crime: Secretly exposing the unsuspecting inhabitants of a faraway Caribbean island to mutant mosquitoes; a flying army of horrific creatures hungry for people to prey upon. The company — of course — is only interested in the huge profits it hopes to make. And then there are the good guys; upstanding researchers and idealistic activists determined to ruin the bad guys‘ evil plans.
By this interpretation, Luke Alphey would be the head villain of the story, though his boyish looks and lean stature wouldn’t exactly typecast him for the role. At the most, his occasional braying laughter would fit the character. Alphey, 48, is the co-founder and chief scientific officer of Oxitec, an Oxford University spin-off. Oxitec headquarters is located in a brick building covered with wild grape in Milton Park, an industrial zone by the road leading to the famous university town.
It was Alphey, a genetic engineer, who dreamed up the idea of the novel insects while he was at Oxford. Today, standing next to the blood-spotted mosquito cages in a disposable lab coat, he defends himself, his company and his mosquitoes. „It was the right time to go out into the field,“ he insists.
Alphey is referring to the fall of 2009, when he and his colleagues released their designer mosquitoes on Grand Cayman, an island in the Caribbean. The following year they released over three million more of these genetically-modified (GM) mosquitoes.
The experiment will go down in scientific history as the first release of GM insects that could bite humans. What’s scandalous about this field trial is that it was largely conducted in secret. Few people on Grand Cayman knew the mosquitoes were genetically modified. The local population was largely kept in the dark.
When the trials were made public a year after the first release of the insects, the locals wondered whether they’d been bitten by these potentially dangerous Frankenstein mosquitoes. Understandably, they felt taken advantage of. „I believe that we are the guinea pigs here,“ wrote a disgruntled islander on the website of the Cayman News Service. Another asked: „Are we considered so dim-witted and unlearned that we cannot participate in our own environment? Were we considered to be a calculated risk?“ Nongovernmental organizations like GeneWatch, a British NGO, have condemned the experiments with GM mosquitoes.
Moths Too
The key question is about what scientists may and may not do. Can they simply release flying, human-biting laboratory-made creatures into the air? And who controls such activity if this is undertaken for a firm that seeks to profit from it?
Companies don’t like divulging their plans, preferring to keep their technology under wraps, particularly when it comes to potential dangers. As such, the work of biotech companies must necessarily be the exact opposite of what scientific research ought to be: transparent. That’s the crux of the matter.
Despite the Cayman PR debacle, Oxitec is moving forward undeterred. The yellow-fever mosquitoes from Milton Park have since been released in Malaysia. More trials are planned for inhabited areas there, because that’s where yellow-fever mosquitoes thrive. They specialize in feeding on humans.
The genetically-modified creatures are also currently buzzing around near the city of Juazeiro in eastern Brazil. Mosquitoes are due to be released in other dengue-plagued countries too, including Panama, India, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. They could also soon turn up in Key West, Florida as early as March; preparations there are underway.
And that’s just the mosquitoes.
Swarms of genetically modified pink bollworm moths, a plant pest in their natural state, have already been unleashed over the fields of Arizona. Oxitec’s latest plan involves another genetically engineered moth, the diamond-back or cabbage moth, which it wants to release in England. In the future, it is hoped, these agricultural pests will likewise mate with naturally-occurring animals to produce dead offspring.
„Oxitec wants to become the next Monsanto,“ says Gerald Franz, the molecular geneticist at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s insect laboratory in the Austrian town of Seibersdorf, referring to the American biotech giant that dominates the business in GM agricultural plants. Indeed, Oxitec already has a monopoly on genetically-modified insects.
Part 2: Exploring the Potential Dangers
The findings of a study published in the renowned scientific journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases on Tuesday could well make life even more difficult for Oxitec. The paper was written by Guy Reeves and his colleagues. The 39-year-old Briton with curly blond locks is a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön, northern Germany.
The geneticist has searched through scientific journals, permit applications and regulations. His findings, reviewed and approved by his peers, primarily reveal one thing: The Grand Cayman experiment wasn’t an exception; a mere oversight by muddle-headed scientists that somehow forgot to inform the local population adequately on their way from the lab to the field.
„Whatever happened in the Caymans is quite likely to be used as a model for releases in your community, wherever you live in the world,“ Reeves suggests.
Through the Back Door
In other words, the approach used in the Caymans was well thought out, as if a small group of ambitious biotech managers were trying to introduce a completely new technology through the back door. There are a number of factors that helped them in their endeavor:
The novelty of the technology, which makes it harder for regulatory authorities to assess the risks associated with the field trials;
The desperation of countries with a high prevalence of dengue, whose willingness to take risks is therefore all the greater;
The fact that there are no drugs or approved vaccines yet, and conventional methods for combating mosquitoes — for instance insecticides — are insufficient in tackling the problem. Every new weapon is therefore welcome;
Good contacts to decision-makers at US approval bodies, whose assessments of risk are valued by experts in other countries.
And it is quite possible that Luke Alphey’s lab-tweaked creatures will indeed prove to be a blessing for humanity, especially in countries plagued by dengue. The way these creatures precipitate their own demise is extremely ingenious.
Ever since the 1950s, male pests have typically been sterilized by exposing them to radioactivity, and then released to mate with females in the wild. Today a similar effect is created by inserting malevolent genes. Alphey has given his yellow-fever mosquitoes genetic material that the males pass onto their offspring when they mate with wild females. This genetic material could be called a „suicide gene“ because the protein it produces poisons the larvae. As a result, the hosts gradually wipe themselves out.
According to Oxitec, this suicide system works not only in the lab, but also in the field, as the trials on Grand Cayman proved. Eighty mating waves with the lab-manipulated males over a period of 11 weeks allegedly reduced the local mosquito population by 80 percent.
Unknown Consequences
And the potential risks? These are only now coming to light in full, partly thanks to the efforts of Guy Reeves.
The problem is that genetically-modified female mosquitoes can still bite humans. This means the protein which kills their own larvae might be injected into humans when the mosquitoes suck their prey’s blood, with unknown consequences for the human organism.
However Luke Alphey has a plausible-sounding set of arguments to allay such fears. „We only release males,“ he says. What’s more, he claims the protein isn’t produced in the salivary glands, so it isn’t in the female mosquito’s saliva in the first place. Being bitten by Oxitec’s mosquitoes is therefore allegedly just like being bitten by „normal mosquitoes.“
It does indeed seem unlikely that the lab animals could cause damage. Nonetheless Alphey admits his technique isn’t perfect yet, and GM females may therefore also be released accidentally. And we have to take him at his word that the larva-killing protein definitely can’t be injected into the human blood stream. Unfortunately, like so much else, he can offer not peer-reviewed scientific proof.
Alphey says Oxitec spoke to people on Grand Cayman, and that the locals didn’t express concern about being bitten by GM mosquitoes. He claims the islanders hadn’t even asked him about it. „It’s not really for us to tell them what their concerns should be,“ he says.
Fundamental Questions
It is precisely this attitude — this lack of openness — that isn’t exactly making Oxitec many friends. Guy Reeves says: „One has to answer these fundamental questions that most people will have before releasing the animals.“
The geneticist doesn’t think Oxitec’s techniques are „particularly risky“ either. He simply wants more transparency. „Companies shouldn’t keep scientifically important facts secret where human health and environmental safety are concerned,“ he says.
Reeves himself is working on even riskier techniques, ones that could permanently change the genetic makeup of entire insect populations. That’s why he so vehemently opposes Oxitec’s rash field trials: He believes they could trigger a public backlash against this relatively promising new approach, thereby halting research into genetic modification of pests before it really gets off the ground.
He’s not alone in his concerns. „If the end result is that this technology isn’t accepted, then I’ve spent the last 20 years conducting research for nothing,“ says Ernst Wimmer, a developmental biologist at Germany’s Göttingen University and one of the pioneers in this field. Nevertheless he says he understands Oxitec’s secrecy: „We know about the opponents to genetic engineering, who have destroyed entire experimental crops after they were announced. That, of course, doesn’t help us make progress either.“
Translated from the German by Jan Liebelt

Yeah, this stuff is a real problem in the US.  I don’t know why people here are so obsessed with the appearance of their lawns.  The man who lives across the street from me is always complaining to me because I never use any kind of weed killer on my lawn.  I tell him that I just don’t like poison, period.  I just prefer to mow the weeds.  And when I find something out there that I don’t want to see growing in my yard I simply dig it up.

I am a member of the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, and my neighbors think that I am crazy, that I want to ‘destroy American prosperity.’    Living in the US is so difficult sometimes!

Thanks for the article!

Now glyphosate found in people’s urine

Friday, 20 January 2012 16:39

According to an article in German in the Ithaca journal, a German university study has found significant concentrations of glyphosate in the urine samples of city dwellers. The analysis of the urine samples apparently found that all had concentrations of glyphosate at 5 to 20-fold the limit for drinking water. As well as being used increasingly widely in food production, glyphosate-based weedkillers often also get sprayed onto railway lines, urban pavements and roadsides.

Disturbingly, the Ithaca journal reports (in our translation), „The address of the university labs, which did the research, the data and the evaluation of the research method is known to the editors. Because of significant pressure by agrochemical representatives and the fear that the work of the lab could be influenced, the complete analytical data will only be published in the course of this year.“

News of this study comes not long after the publication of a study confirming glyphosate was contaminating groundwater. Last year also saw the publication of two US Geological Survey studies which consistently found glyphosate in streams, rain and even air in agricultural areas of the US.

Other recent studies – see the abstracts below – indicate that people may not only be absorbing glyphosate from multiple sources but that it can circulate in the blood and can even cross the placental barrier and so reach the developing fetus.

Aris, A. and S. Leblanc (2011). „Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in EasternTownships of Quebec, Canada.“
ReproductiveToxicology 31(4).

Pesticides associated to genetically modified foods (PAGMF), are engineered to tolerate herbicides such as glyphosate (GLYP) and gluphosinate (GLUF) or insecticides such as the bacterial toxin bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between maternal and fetal exposure, and to determine exposure levels of GLYPandits metabolite aminomethylphosphoricacid (AMPA), GLUF and its metabolite 3-methylphosphinicopropionicacid (3-MPPA) and Cry1Ab protein (a Bt toxin) in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Blood of thirty pregnant women (PW) and thirty-nine nonpregnant women (NPW)were studied. Serum GLYPand GLUF were detected in NPW and not detected in PW. Serum 3-MPPA and CryAb1toxin were detected in PW,their fetuses and NPW. This is the first study to reveal the presence of circulating PAGMF in women with and without pregnancy, paving the way for a new field in reproductive toxicology including nutrition and utero-placental toxicities.

Chang, F. C., M. F. Simcik, et al. (2011). „Occurrence and fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in the atmosphere.“
Environ Toxicol Chem 30(3): 548–555.

This is the first report on the ambient levels of glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the United States, and its major degradation product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), in air and rain. Concurrent, weekly integrated air particle and rain samples were collected during two growing seasons in agricultural areas in Mississippi and Iowa. Rain was also collected in Indiana in a preliminary phase of the study. The frequency of glyphosate detection ranged from 60 to 100% in both air and rain. The concentrations of glyphosate ranged from <0.01 to 9.1 ng/m(3) and from <0.1 to 2.5 microg/L in air and rain samples, respectively. The frequency of detection and median and maximum concentrations of glyphosate in air were similar or greater to those of the other high-use herbicides observed in the Mississippi River basin, whereas its concentration in rain was greater than the other herbicides. It is not known what percentage of the applied glyphosate is introduced into the air, but it was estimated that up to 0.7% of application is removed from the air in rainfall. Glyphosate is efficiently removed from the air; it is estimated that an average of 97% of the glyphosate in the air is removed by a weekly rainfall >/= 30 mm.

Coupe, R. H., S. J. Kalkhoff, et al. (2011). „Fate and transport of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid in surface waters of agricultural basins.“
Pest Manag Sci.

BACKGROUND: Glyphosate [N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine] is a herbicide used widely throughout the world in the production of many crops and is heavily used on soybeans, corn and cotton. Glyphosate is used in almost all agricultural areas of the United States, and the agricultural use of glyphosate has increased from less than 10 000 Mg in 1992 to more than 80 000 Mg in 2007. The greatest intensity of glyphosate use is in the midwestern United States, where applications are predominantly to genetically modified corn and soybeans. In spite of the increase in usage across the United States, the characterization of the transport of glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) on a watershed scale is lacking. RESULTS: Glyphosate and AMPA were frequently detected in the surface waters of four agricultural basins. The frequency and magnitude of detections varied across basins, and the load, as a percentage of use, ranged from 0.009 to 0.86% and could be related to three general characteristics: source strength, rainfall runoff and flow route. CONCLUSIONS: Glyphosate use in a watershed results in some occurrence in surface water; however, the watersheds most at risk for the offsite transport of glyphosate are those with high application rates, rainfall that results in overland runoff and a flow route that does not include transport through the soil. Copyright (c) 2011 Society of Chemical Industry.

Poulsen, M. S., E. Rytting, et al. (2009). „Modeling placental transport: Correlation of in vitro BeWo cell permeability and ex vivo human placental perfusion.“
Toxicol In Vitro 23: 1380–1386.

The placental passage of three compounds with different physicochemical properties was recently investigated in ex vivo human placental perfusion experiments (caffeine, benzoic acid, and glyphosate) [Mose, T., Kjaerstad, M.B., Mathiesen, L., Nielsen, J.B., Edelfors, S., Knudsen, L.E., 2008. Placental passage of benzoic acid, caffeine, and glyphosate in an ex vivo human perfusion system. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health, Part A 71, 984-991]. In this work, the transport of these same three compounds, plus the reference compound antipyrine, was investigated using BeWo (b30) cell monolayers. Transport across the BeWo cells was observed in the rank order of caffeine>antipyrine>benzoic acid>glyphosate in terms of both the apparent permeability coefficient and the initial slope, defined as the linear rate of substance transferred to the fetal compartment as percent per time, a parameter used to compare the two experimental models. The results from the in vitro studies were in excellent agreement with the ex vivo results (caffeine approximately antipyrine>benzoic acid>glyphosate). However the transfer rate was much slower in the BeWo cells compared to the perfusion system. The advantages and limitations of each model are discussed in order to assist in the preparation, prediction, and performance of future studies of maternal-fetal transfer.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Milestone for stacked insect-resistant, herbicide-tolerant cotton

Bayer CropScience’s TwinLink® cotton technology receives full authorization in the US

Monheim, January 27, 2012 – Bayer CropScience is pleased to announce that it has received registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its TwinLink® technology for cotton in the USA. The EPA registration completes the federal regulatory authorization of this technology in the US.

TwinLink technology combines insect-resistance for effective management of a number of lepidopteran pests (caterpillars) and tolerance to glufosinate-ammonium herbicides (Liberty®). When commercialized, TwinLink technology will be offered to US cotton growers as a stack with GlyTol®, the company’s proprietary glyphosate tolerance technology. This stacked product will be the industry’s first dual-gene herbicide tolerance, dual-gene insect resistance solution for cotton, allowing farmers to manage the pests and weeds that reduce yields and fiber quality, as well as prevent or postpone the onset of weed and pest resistance.

„TwinLink technology will be an important solution for cotton farmers looking to improve their crop management choices and increase their productivity in a sustainable way. It is also a critical tool for effective weed and insect resistance management – a serious challenge facing growers in the US and increasingly in other important production areas around the world,” said Mathias Kremer, Head of the BioScience business unit of Bayer CropScience.

It is anticipated that the first cotton varieties with the TwinLink and GlyTol stacked traits will be available in the US from 2013 onwards, pending additional regulatory approvals in key import countries. To date, TwinLink has been approved in Australia/New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the US. Additional regulatory approvals are pending globally.

TwinLink is the next product in a series of new weed and insect management solutions being developed for the cotton farmer by Bayer CropScience. In 2011, the company launched three new cotton products containing GlyTol in high-performance FiberMax® cotton seed varieties in the US, including the cotton industry’s first combined dual herbicide tolerant varieties featuring both GlyTol and LibertyLink- technologies.

Cotton is one of the key crops at Bayer CropScience, which ranks first in the world cotton seed market.

About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 6.830 billion (2010), is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and traits. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of 20,700 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available at:

Richard Breum, Tel. +49 2173 38-3270

Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

The Future of Food – Trailer:

Transgenic Foods –

On Glyphosate… >

Article paru dans Reproductive Toxicology (document PDF)-1

Dr. Huber Explains Science Behind New Organism and Threat from Monsanto’s Roundup, GMOs to Disease and Infertility



10 reasons why we don’t need GM foods

If you want to print this article as an A4 leaflet, download a PDF.
With the cost of food recently skyrocketing – hitting not just shoppers but the poor and hungry in the developing world – genetically modified (GM) foods are once again being promoted as the way to feed the world. But this is little short of a confidence trick. Far from needing more GM foods, there are urgent reasons why we need to ban them altogether…

Why the future doesn’t need us.

Our most powerful 21st-century technologies – robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech – are threatening to make humans an endangered species.

By Bill Joy

Quelle: Blauen-Institut, Switzerland

Switzerland : If People Are Asked They Say NO To GMOs

Florianne Koechlin, February 2011

27.11.2005 was a special day for Switzerland: All Swiss persons age 18 and older were asked to vote if they wanted a five years moratorium on commercial releases of GM crops in Switzerland: Yes or No. The initiative (1) was accepted by 55,7%. The main point being: Every single district, all 26 of them, said Yes to the moratorium. The moratorium is now part of the Swiss Constitution.

For the initiative we had to collect 110’000 signatures – which turned out to be quite easy. But still the positive result was a real surprise. The Swiss Government, the national Parliament, all middle and right wing parties as well as main stream science opposed the initiative. Their campaign contained all the known arguments: damage for the research location Switzerland, loss of jobs, economic disadvantages etc.

A historian told us that it was the first time ever in Swiss history that an initiative was won in all 26 districts, against the opposition of Government and Parliament. (There was one other initiative won in all districts: a request that August first, our national day, should be a public holiday – but this initiative was supported by the Government and all parties).

So: When people are asked about whether they want GMOs or not, they say No. The amazing support for the moratorium came from all the ‚usual suspects‘ as well as many supporters of conservative, pro GMO-parties who voted against their own party’s doctrine and also from people who normally do not bother to vote. So even in the home-country of Syngenta, Nestlé, Novartis &Co people say No to GM food. Interestingly these companies did not feature in the campaign against the referendum; it was the scientists and politicians who spoke on their behalf.

An important condition for the success of the initiative was the extremely broad coalition in support of it. You might say that a five years moratorium is not much, and some of the more radical NGOs (GreenPeace among them) did not support the initiative in the beginning. But this moderate request made it possible to build up a coalition from right to left. The conservative Swiss farmers union was on the boat, as well as the ‚country women Switzerland‘, all organic farmer associations, all consumer, Third World, environment NGOs and many more. The driving force was the SAG (Schweizerische Arbeitsgruppe Gentechnologie), an umbrella organisation of all GMO-critical NGOs in Switzerland, where I’m on the steering committee. It was the first time that such a broad (and fragile) coalition took shape.

The ban on GM crops – and mainly the nationwide and intensive discussion of the moratorium before the vote – had a domino effect. Although some transgenic maize and soja lines are authorized in Switzerland, there is no GM food on offer on the market. And the amount of feed imports has decreased from year to year. Today, according to the statistics of the agriculture department, 99,9% of feed imports are GMOfree. So we’re proud to say that Switzerland is GMO-free: no commercial releases, no transgenic food in the shelves, no transgenic feed on the market. And only three small experimental releases, which turned out to be a scientific fiasco (2).

A few years later, in 2009, the 5th conference of GMO-free regions in Europe was hosted in Lucerne, Switzerland. Switzerland, it seemed, offered possibility to more democracy, and a means to establish a moratorium for commercial releases of GMOs. To be clear: I’m not very proud of being Swiss in many aspects, but this legal possibility of the initiative and referendum seems to me to be a valuable model for people participation, for involving people in the democratic process.

Also in 2009, a year before the moratorium ended, there was a national discussion about how to proceed. Government and Parliament decided to prolong the moratorium for another 3 years, till 2013. What happened? Government and Parliament were still (nearly) the same, and still a majority of GMO-supporters. But it had become clear that the moratorium (which does not include experimental releases of GMOs) had in no way had a negative impact. (Also, of course, everybody knew that if they would not agree to a prolongation we would start another initiative).

To cite from the recommendation of the Government to the Parliament:

„The Government’s opinion is, that neither in agriculture nor for consumers there is an urgent need for GMOs in food.“

“ According to consumer opinion there is not only no need for GMO products, but the rejection of them is perceived even as an advantage. What consumers want are high-quality, natural foods which have not been genetically modified.“

„In the long run the three year extension of the moratorium has no effect for the economy as a whole. No consequences are to be expected for the job market or for the attractiveness of Switzerland as a location for business.“

The moratorium turned out to be a good selling argument too: Swissness includes gentech free food. A competitive advantage on the European and international market for an agriculture which, in small spaced and hilly Switzerland, consists of many small farmers who have difficulties competing against vast monocultures.


(1) The Swiss constitution contains two tools for peoples participation other than elections:
With an initiative you can provoke a vote for a new article of the Swiss constitution. You have to collect at least 100’000 signatures in less than 18 months. Most initiatives are declined by the voters. With the referendum you can provoke a vote if you oppose a new law. You have to collect at least 50’000 signatures in less than 6 months. Changes in the Constitution are automatically put up for a vote.

(2) Transgenic mildew resistant wheat plants. Outside the greenhouse the production sank by 50% and they were 40% more susceptible to ergot, a toxic fungus.

Quelle: Blauen-Institut, Switzerland

Gentech-news 232     Februar 2011

232.5   Schweiz : besser verdauliche – und gentechfreie – Sojabohne

Swiss Develop Better Digestible GM-Free Soybean

All About Feed, The Netherlands, 16.12.2010, (zitiert von GENET news)

Recently, researchers at Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil ACW in Switzerland have, through conventional breeding methods, developed new soybean varieties with a lower trypsin inhibitor level.

This approach is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the industrial processes in which the inhibitor is destroyed by heating.

Soy is an important source of vegetable protein in animal feed. The soy bean contains between 40% and 50% protein and about 20% oil. Main proteins are glycinin and conglycinin. These include a well-balanced content of essential amino acids.

The exception is sulphur-containing amino acids such as methionine and cysteine, which are present only in very low concentrations in the soy bean.

Raw soybeans contain a temperature-sensitive inhibitor that restricts the ability of animals to take full advantage of the proteins of the bean.

Except for ruminants the inclusion of raw soybeans in animal diets leads to disturbances in protein digestion. This occurs because certain soy constituents (so-called anti-proteases) inhibit two protein-cleaving enzymes of the pancreas (trypsin and chymotrypsin).

Two ways of trypsine removal

Without the inhibitors from soybeans, the digestive enzymes trypsin and chymotrypsin, which are rich in methionine and cysteine, are decomposed in the digestive tract into amino acids that are useful to the animal. Therefore it makes sense to take away the inhibitors from the animal feed ban.

By various industrial processes based on a heating of the (crushed) soybeans, it is possible to reduce the levels of inhibitors. However, from an economic and environmental point of view is better to avoid these treatments, because they are expensive and require much energy. They also prevent the farmer to directly feed soy to his animals.

In order to find a more natural way of minimising trypsin inhibitors in soybeans the soybean breeding group of Agroscope ACW started some ten years ago with conventional breeding methods to breed soybean varieties without trypsin inhibitor.

In 2009, in the first series, early-and late-maturing soybean varieties emerged that possess this characteristic.

Should the 2010 results confirm the excellent results, then a new Swiss early soybean variety with high nutritional value for the test in 2011 will be proposed. This will expand the possibilities of using this valuable culture in the near future.


The Number 2 of the Nyeleni Newsletter is now available online in three languages: English, Spanish and French!
This edition of the newsletter has a special on factory farming.

Industrialized food production: the base of the junk food system
There is no more potent symbol of the almost absolute control wielded by the international agri-food system (from landgrabbing to retailing), than the factory farm.  These industrial complexes cause extensive pollution and disease in entire regions and emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases, all in order to produce food destined for the poor: “cheap” meat of dubious quality, whose true costs are never measured. This system is imposed on us, on humanity, and represent in one crisis the sum of multiple crises. In the almost endless list of calamities caused by factory farms, the genetically modified soy bean monoculture – farmed with pesticides and then used to feed imprisoned animals – means that everything returns to the same pockets at a harsh cost to the planet. However, the people are organizing and having more and more conversations and debates in an attempt to comprehend this together. This is very subversive, because our collective memory, and continuing to produce our own foodstuffs, according to our own peasant traditions, represents essentially the most fundamental basis for our autonomy – allowing our peoples, with all our ways and wisdom, to persist, and even to cool the earth, and attain lives of justice and dignity in the present and into the future.

The Newsletter is published every two months on the website. To read the Newsletter in English please click here.

Each newsletter comes with an additional document – a list of reports and more references that can be downloaded from the same website.Next edition on biodiversity and farmers seeds! Send your contributions by the 12th of February.

For any further information, please contact
Please circulate it to your contacts!


¡El Número 2 del boletín Nyeleni está disponible en línea en tres idiomas: Inglés, Español y Francés!
Este número del boletín contiene una edición especial sobre la cría intensiva de ganado.

Ganadería industrial: la base del sistema de comida basura
No hay símbolo más contundente del control casi absoluto que ejerce el sistema agroalimentario mundial (del acaparamiento de tierras a la venta al menudeo de alimentos carísimos), que los criaderos industriales que provocan extensa contaminación y epidemias generalizables en regiones enteras —y una altísima emisión de gases con efecto de invernadero—, por producir la comida que le destinan a los pobres: aglutinado de carnes “baratas”, de muy dudosa calidad, cuyos costos en realidad ni se contabilizan. Fueron impuestos a la humanidad sumiéndonos en esta crisis de varias crisis. En la abultada cuenta de calamidades de los criaderos industriales, el monocultivo de soya transgénica con agrotóxicos para alimentar a los animales encarcelados promueve que todo vuelva a los mismos bolsillos a costa del planeta. Pero los pueblos abrimos más y más espacios para intentar entender juntos. Eso es muy subversivo. Porque en la longevidad de la memoria, producir nuestros propios alimentos, a nuestros modos campesinos, termina siendo nuestra autonomía más primordial, desde donde los pueblos con nuestros modos y saberes permaneceremos, y tal vez consigamos enfriar el planeta, alcanzar la justicia y una vida digna del futuro.

El Boletín se publica cada dos meses en la página web Para leer el boletín de noticias en Español, por favor haga clic aquí. Cada boletín incluye un documento adicional – una lista de informes y más referencias que se puede descargar desde la misma página web.¡Próxima edición será sobre biodiversidad y semillas campesinas! ¡Envía tus contribuciones hasta el 12 de febrero!

Para más información, póngase en contacto con
¡Por favor, difundir a sus contactos!


Le Numéro 2 du Bulletin Nyéléni est maintenant disponible en ligne en trois langues: anglais, espagnol et français!
Cette publication contient une édition spéciale sur l’élevage intensif.

L’élevage industriel à la base de la mal-bouffe mondiale
Il n’y a pas de symbole plus puissant du contrôle absolu exercé par le système agro-alimentaire international (depuis l’accaparement des terres jusqu’à la distribution et la vente au détail), que l’élevage intensif. Ces complexes industriels génèrent une importante pollution et provoquent des maladies dans des régions entières, tout en émettant d’énormes quantités de gaz à effet de serre – tout cela essentiellement afin de produire des aliments destinés aux pauvres: de la viande “bon marché” à la qualité douteuse et dont le coût réel n’est jamais mesuré. Ce mode de production nous est imposé à nous, l’humanité – et englobe, en une seule et même crise, des crises multiples. Dans la liste presque sans fin des calamités engendrées par les élevages intensifs, la monoculture de soja génétiquement modifié – produit à grand renfort de pesticides et ensuite utilisé pour nourrir des animaux captifs dans des parcs industriels – est la garantie pour les grands groupes de l’agro-business de voir tout l’argent de la chaine revenir dans leurs poches, aux dépens des ressources de la planète. Cependant, les gens prennent de plus en plus conscience de ces question et des espaces se créent pour tenter de comprendre ensemble les enjeux de la situation. Ceci est très subversif, étant donne que, à travers notre mémoire collective, la production de notre propre alimentation, selon nos propres traditions paysannes, est l’essence même de la plus primordiale des autonomies – c’est à partir de ce point que nos peuples, avec tous nos moyens et toute notre sagesse, nous avancerons – et que nous parviendrons même à faire reculer le changement climatique, afin de parvenir à une vie de justice et de dignité pour l’avenir.

Le bulletin est publié tous les deux mois sur le site Pour lire le bulletin en français veuillez cliquer ici.
Chaque bulletin est livré avec des informations complémentaires – une liste des rapports et des références – qui peuvent être téléchargés à partir du même site. La prochaine édition concernera  biodiversité et semences paysannes! Envoyez vos contributions avant le 12 février!

Pour toute information complémentaire merci de contacter
Faites circuler ce bulletin!

La Via Campesina
Via Campesina is an international movement of peasants, small- and medium-sized producers, landless, rural women, indigenous people, rural youth and agricultural workers. We are an autonomous, pluralist and multicultural movement, independent of any political, economic, or other type of affiliation. Born in 1993, La Via Campesina now gathers about 150 organisations in 70 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

International Operational Secretariat:
Jln. Mampang Prapatan XIV no 5 Jakarta Selatan, Jakarta 12790 Indonesia
Tel/fax: +62-21-7991890/+62-21-7993426

Stiftung ICPPC, Polen:



„European Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development Accepts GMO Coexistence“

Summary of the Committee’s statement:

The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European
Parliament has published its advice to the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety concerning (revised) Directive 2001/18/EC „As regards the possibility for the Member Sates to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs in their territory.“ (See link at end of this paper).

The document’s stated intention is to aid the Commission in „unlocking the deadlock on decision-making surrounding GMOs and the EU.“

To this end: (quoting from the paper) „Your Rapporteur believes that member States should be required to adopt a case-by case approach when deciding to use this new power to ensure  restrictions are crop specific. This would recognise that different GMOs bring both different threats and benefits to different regions, and therefore should be assessed individually to make sure member States respect the principle of proportionality.“ The report goes on to state: „..elements such as socio-economic or ethical considerations cannot substitute for science-based decisions on safety.“

The European Parliamentary Committee has recommended introducing to the current EU directive: „a requirement to respect the principle of
proportionality and the freedom of choice for consumers and farmers. (It)
has sought to give greater protection to those farmers who wish to cultivate GM-free and greater legal certainty to Member States using this

However immediately following this apparently ‘more restrictive’ regime we find the following statement: „In order to respect (the) freedom of choice it is necessary to ensure that Member States have robust co-existence rules in place on their territory. This requires an amendment to Article 26a of Directive 2001/18/EC to give reassurance to non-GM growers and consumers who wish to grow and purchase GM-free products that their right to do so will be respected.“

The document then calls upon the European Commission to require Member States to „publicise and implement the restrictions they plan to take . at least three months before the start of the growing season, so that farmers can plan ahead with some certainty.“

The European Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and the Rural Economy also calls for the Commission to „draw up a proposal on technical thresholds for labelling GMO traces in conventional seeds at the lowest practicable, proportionate and functional levels for all economic operators..“

We have summarised, in short, the contents of European Parliamentary
Committee’s document in order to convey the main issues contained therein.

Our Comment:

This is a cleverly worded sell-out. In spite of the fact that we now have
the expert advice of some of the most respected independent laboratories in Europe, nowhere is the issue of banning GMO or introducing a GMO Moratorium even raised. On the contrary, the European Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and the Rural Economy has lent over backwards to ensure that ‘the rules of the game’ continue to be adhered to, namely: that the World Trade Organisation’s insistence on the supremacy of  ‘free trade’ over ‘public health’ never be called into question by the European Commission. Exercising the  ‘precautionary principle’ on GM imports into the EU is seen by the WTO as a ‘restrictive’ ‘anti free trade’ measure and therefore in violation of WTO principles.

How can the European Commission exercise a health and safety based
‘precautionary principle’ if it cannot challenge the WTO’s sanitary and
phito-sanitary rulings and extend the safety measures of  such a ruling to
include socio-economic criteria resulting from the views of  bona fide
citizens who are negatively affected by applications of GMO – instead of
only taking the opinion of outside scientists? Public participation is a
crucial component of reliable GMO risk assessment and is indispensable for legitimate WTO and EC regulatory safety measures.

However, the most outstanding admission lies in the European Parliamentary Committee’s full acceptance of ‘coexistence’: the right to plant GM crops and seeds within polluting distance of conventional and organic crops. This recommendation makes a mockery of millions of European citizen’s demand for GM free foods and a GMO free Europe. It also is a totally incomprehensible proposal in view of the hundreds of cases of cross-contamination that have already taken place between GM and non GM crops in all parts of the world, resulting in a gross distortion of the fundamental rights of  rural stakeholders and.

It would appear that the European Parliamentary Committee has failed to
grasp this reality or it has nurtured an irrational faith in national and
regional government’s will and ability to exercise some form of effective
and enforceable cross contamination controls. This, even if it were
possible, also ignores the temporary nature of any regional parliamentary
legislation and the fact that, after  elections, a new national government
could overturn any stringent rulings made by its predecessors and introduce a more liberal GMO agenda. The report also stresses that ethical and socio-economic concerns are less valid than „science-based decisions on safety“. Whereas the opposite is closer to the truth. No mention of ‘independent scientific decisions’.

As if to reinforce the controversial nature of this position the document
states:“In accordance with Article 2(2) Member States should therefore be entitled to have a possibility to adopt rules concerning the effective cultivation of GMO’s in their territory after the GMO has been legally authorised to be placed on the Union market, provided that those rules do not affect the free movement and marketing of GMO products and seeds.“

What will the 70% of European citizens who have stated their clear
opposition to GMO and who have been expecting the European Parliament to represent their views have to say about that?

While appearing to offer the regions the chance to ‘control’ GM planting
regimes, the European Parliament Committee and EU Commission are quietly absolving themselves of responsibilities to protect the health of European citizens and instead, appear to be preparing to open the door to US corporate trade cartels and the US government which have long since been pressurising for a freeing-up of  EU restrictions on the import of foreign GMOs. In short: let them into Europe and hand responsibility for dealing with them to the Member States.

It is startlingly clear that the European Parliamentary Committee has
completely failed in its duty to represent the voice of the great majority
of its constituents. It has instead reinforced the Commission’s failure to
act responsibly – through banning the import and planting of what have now been proved, by independent scientific bodies of the highest calibre, to be dangerous, life threatening and environmentally disruptive gene engineered products.

We must raise our voices loud and clear and force the European Parliamentary Committee to change its Pontius Pilot abandonment of its democratic duties.
We have no time to waste. A burgeoning Pan European  GMO Free Zone movement is not going to sit down and effectively abandon some 15 years of hard graft. On the contrary, we must take this as a signal to increase our demands for a COMPLETE BAN of all GMO and an end to being subservient guinea pigs to profit and power driven WTO backed agribusiness corporations and dysfunctional European and US/Global institutions.


Sir Julian Rose: President ICPPC
Jadwiga Lopata: Goldman Laureate Prize – Ecological Nobel
Pawel Polanecki, Expert, Coalition for a GMO Free Poland

Link to European Parliament Agriculture and Rural Development Committee document:
file in *.doc

in pdf

Klicke, um auf opinion_gmo_draft.pdf zuzugreifen

If you can donate to our antiGMO campaign please see:

ICPPC – International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside,
34-146 Stryszów 156, Poland tel./fax +48 33 8797114

Coalition „GMO Free Poland“

02 12 2010

NOTE: A false story seems to have been planted in the science media leading to headlines such as „GM crops get Vatican’s blessing“.
Vatican has not endorsed genetically modified food, official says Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service, December 1 2010

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican did not endorse an 11-page final statement in favor of easing restrictions on and allowing more widespread use of genetically modified crops, especially in poorer nations, said a Vatican official.

“The statement is not a statement of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences because the Pontifical Academy of Sciences as such — 80 members — wasn’t consulted about it and will not be consulted about it,“ Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the academy’s chancellor, told Catholic News Service.

The statement, which was recently made public by a private science-publishing company in the Netherlands, also „has no value as the magisterium of the church,“ he said in an e-mail response to questions Dec. 1.

Later the same day, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, issued a similar communique, adding that the pro-GM statement „cannot be considered an official position of the Holy See.“

Some news agencies had mistakenly reported that the statement represented the Vatican’s endorsement of easing regulations on and promoting the use of genetically modified food crops.

The Pontifical Academy of Science’s headquarters hosted a study week in May 2009 on „Transgenic Plants for Food Security in the Context of Development.“

The final statement summarized the week’s proceedings and recommended that genetic engineering techniques be freed from „excessive, unscientific regulation“ so that modern and predictable GM technologies could be used to enhance nutrition and food production everywhere.

It called for greater cooperation among private corporations, governments and nonprofit organizations with the aim of increasing funding from governments and charities so that GM crops could be „cost-free“ for poorer regions.

It also encouraged more widespread use of sustainable and sound agricultural practices to help improve the lives of the poor.

The statement said its conclusions were „drafted and endorsed by all participants of the study week,“ which included 33 outside experts and only seven academy members, including the academy’s chancellor, Bishop Sanchez.

Bishop Sanchez told CNS that the final statement was signed by all of the participants and „therefore it is a statement that has the authority and value of the participants.“

Most of the 40 participants were longtime supporters of using modified crops for boosting food production and creating new sources of energy from nonfood crops.

A number of participants have invented genetically modified foodstuffs or work for companies that sell genetically modified seeds.

There also were at least four speakers who have ties to the U.S. agribusiness giant Monsanto, which created a synthetic bovine growth hormone to boost cow milk production as well as insect- and herbicide-resistant seeds.

Bishop George Nkuo of Kumbo, Cameroon, attended the closed-door study week with the idea that he would talk about a warning by African bishops against claims that genetically modified crops would solve Africa’s food crises.

A working document for the Synod of Bishops for Africa released two months before the meeting in 2009 said that using modified crops risks „ruining small landholders, abolishing traditional methods of seeding and making farmers dependent on the production companies“ selling their genetically modified seeds.

Those in charge of organizing and inviting speakers for the study week were academy members Ingo Potrykus, who invented a genetic strain of rice that is rich in beta carotene; Werner Arber, a 1978 Nobel Prize winner in medicine; and Peter Raven, retired president of the Missouri Botanical Garden, which is home to the Monsanto Center and its offices, laboratories and millions of plant specimens.

“Finally, for the moment, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences is not planning another meeting on this topic,“ Bishop Sanchez wrote to CNS.

The academy hosted talks in 2000 and 2004 on whether genetic modification should play a role in promoting food security. After co-hosting the 2004 meeting on modified foods with the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican, the academy showed its support for the potential of modified foods when it released a statement — based on the conference discussions — that praised the important contributions such foods could make in fighting hunger.

However, the Vatican has never taken a formal position supporting or opposing genetically modified foods.

Pope Benedict XVI has denounced the continued scandal of hunger in the world, saying its root causes have more to do with problems of distribution and sharing than with there not being enough food in the world.

The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, said earlier this year that it was not a coincidence that in 2009 the use of genetically modified food crops grew by 13 percent in developing countries and that GM crops covered almost half of the world’s total arable land. And yet „the number of hungry people in the world has for the first time reached 1 billion people,“ the paper said.



The team of International Coalition to Protect the Polish
Countryside – ICPPC warmly invite you to spend



ICPPC – International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside,
Międzynarodowa Koalicja dla Ochrony Polskiej Wsi
34-146 Stryszów 156, Poland tel./fax +48 33 8797114

Przeczytaj – „Zmieniając kurs na życie. Lokalne rozwiązania globalnych
problemów“, autor: Julian Rose

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France and Poland join challenge against Commission decision to

authorise antibiotic-resistance GM potato

Greenpeace International, 5 October 2010

( – Brussels – A growing number of European
countries are challenging the European Commission’s decision to
authorise the cultivation of BASF’s antibiotic-resistance genetically
modified ( GM ) potato, said Greenpeace. France and Poland have
announced that they are joining Hungary, Austria and Luxembourg in a
legal challenge to the European Court of Justice.

The five countries [1] argue that the Commission acted illegally in
authorising the GM potato, known as Amflora, which contains an
antibiotic-resistance gene. [2] The antibiotics affected by this gene
are vital to combat deadly diseases such as tuberculosis and under EU
law, antibiotic-resistance genes that can threaten human health and
the environment should have been phased out by the end of 2004. The
World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency also say
these antibiotics are of „critical importance“.

Greenpeace EU agriculture policy advisor Stefanie Hundsdorfer said:
„Commission president Barroso’s blind crusade for GM crops is being
challenged from all corners of Europe. The Commission should
immediately stop rubberstamping GM crops that have not been properly
tested and withdraw the authorisation of the antibiotic-resistant GM

The antibiotic-resistant GM potato, which was authorised this March by
the Commission, is intended for use in the pulp and paper industry and
as animal feed. The company openly admitted in its application in 2005
[3] that it would be impossible to keep Amflora out of the human food
chain. The Commission therefore also granted BASF the right to
contaminate human food by up to 0.9%, meaning GM food could end up
directly on our plates. BASF botched its first Amflora growing season
this year by accidentally mixing in seed from an untested GM potato
known as Amadea.

Hundsdorfer added: „The Amadea contamination debacle clearly shows
that GM crops cannot be controlled and that this puts the environment
and our health at risk. Even during the first, still small-scale
planting of this GM potato, BASF was not able to prevent a mix-up.“

Over one million Europeans have signed a petition in support of a
moratorium of GM crops in the EU. The petition is the first to reach a
million signatures under the EU’s new citizens‘ initiative. [3]
Notes to Editor
[1] Hungary officially filed the complaint to the European Court of
Justice on 27 May. Austria approached the court to join the complaint
in the first week of September and Luxemburg followed on 14 September.
On 25 September, French environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo told
the press that France was also joining the lawsuit ( ). On 28 September, the Polish
government confirmed its support. The participation of Austria,
France, Luxembourg and Poland still has to be formally accepted by the
European Court of Justice.

[2] Amflora was the first GM crop authorised for cultivation in the EU
for 12 years. BASF’s Amflora and Monsanto’s MON810 maize are the only
two GM crops currently grown in the EU.

[3] BASF Plant Science 2005: Application for Amylopectin Potato Event
EH92-527-1 according to Regulation ( EC ) No 1829/2003, p. 7.

Contact information
Mark Breddy
Communications manager
Telephone: +32 2 274 19 03/ Mobile:+32 496 15 62 29

Marco Contiero
Greenpeace European Unit, Policy Director – GMOs
Telephone: +32 2 274 1906/ Mobile: +32 477 77 70 34

1.Brazilian farmers declare war on Monsanto

David Gutierrez, staff writer

Natural News, July 21 2010

Farmers from two separate Brazilian associations are preparing to file suit against biotechnology giant Monsanto, in a fight over the royalty fees the company demands for its genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready soy.

Roundup Ready crops are engineered for resistance to the Monsanto herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), allowing farmers to apply the chemical liberally without damaging the cash crop. This GM soy variety now occupies half the cultivated soy area in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, and GM crops occupy half of all agricultural fields in the northern part of the state.

2.War against Monsanto

Marcondes Maciel and Tania Rauber

Diario de Cuiaba [Brazil], 29 January 2010

• In Cuiaba, Aprosoja is preparing a court action against Monsanto, and in Sinop, steps are being taken to follow suit

[English translation courtesy Cert ID Brazil and GM-free Ireland]

Growers in [the Brazilian State of] Mato Grosso have declared war against Monsanto, the multinational corporate owner of the GMO soya technology known as RR (Roundup Ready). After exhausting all attempts to engage the company in dialogue, the growers are now considering legal action. In Cuiaba, Aprosoja (the Association of Soya and Corn Producers Association of the State of Mato Grosso) is preparing a lawsuit. In Sinop (500km North of Cuiaba) the growers are looking to sue the company as well.

Article by Julian Rose:

Atmospheric Geoengineering_nowy

(opinion of the author, not of our platform…)




We are peasants, family farmers and indigenous peoples from Mexico and the world.

*       Our sustainable farming practices cool the planet

*       We defend the Mother Earth

*       Help us say NO to false solutions to climate change!

We ask to you support a massive presence of peasants, family farmers and indigenous peoples from Mexico and the world at the Climate Change Summit (COP-16) to be held in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 to December 10, 2010.

Make a secure on-line credit card donation now from any country by clicking on: [Especially if you need your contribution to be tax exempt in the USA].

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For more information:

La Vía Campesina is the global movement of organizations of peasants, family farmers, indigenous peoples, farm workers, the landless, rural women and rural youth. We are an autonomous, plural, multicultural, independent movement without political, economic, or any other type of affiliation. The organizations that form La Vía Campesina come from 69 countries from Asia, Africa, Europe and the American continent.

We farmers are also victims of Global Warming and Climate Change:

  • The rains don’t come as they did before, which has altered our traditional production cycles.
  • There are more and more devastating extreme climate events, like hurricanes, cyclones, and monsoons that destroy our farms, and ever more severe droughts that kill our crops while our animals die from lack of water.
  • There are more and more devastating extreme climate events, like hurricanes, cyclones, and monsoons that destroy our farms, and ever more severe droughts that kill our crops while our animals die from lack of water.
  • In no case have the bad governments or the corporations responded adequately to the mounting losses we are suffering, nor do they take responsibility for the wounds they are inflicting on the Mother Earth and our climate.
  • We fight against the False Solutions to climate change promoted by transnational corporations and governments:
  • Carbon credits and trading mechanisms are really just privatizing our atmosphere and climate. They allow polluters of the atmosphere to keep polluting, and are leading to massive land grabs and mass evictions of peasant communities so that giant corporations can „cultivate climate credits“ in the form of environmentally disastrous monoculture plantations of Eucalyptus, etc., that are really Green Deserts.
  • Agrofuels are another lie that allows corporate criminals to highjack public coffers to plant industrial monocultures – many times with GMOs – and evict peasants and family farmers from our lands – while they do not significantly moderate climate effects.

Among the primary CAUSES OF GLOBAL WARMING is the industrial food system:

  • La Industrial agriculture is responsible for 11 to 15%
  • Deforestation causes 15 to 18% additionally
  • The processing, packaging and transport of food provoke 15 to 20%
  • The decomposition of organic garbage: 3 to 4%
  • In sum, the industrial food system generated between 44 and 57% of global greenhouse gas emissions

Sustainable peasant, family farm and indigenous farming actually cools the planet:

  • We produce for local food systems, with agroecological methods that avoid fossil fuel consumption.
  • A Food Sovereignty based on local production of healthy food by peasants and family farmers is the best way to deal with the Climate Crisis and the Food Crisis


  • At the last Climate Summit, in Copenhagen, our voices were excluded, and we had to take to the streets to be heard.
  • The UN has refused to include the results of Cochabamba Forum in the agenda for Cancun.
  • We must take to the streets again in Cancun, this time in larger than ever numbers, with our allies and friends from around the world, to make sure that the voices of reason are heard in Cancun and around the world.
  • We will hold an ALTERNATIVE PEOPLES CLIMATE FORUM in the camp, open to the world.
  • We need resources so that thousands of peasants and indigenous people, who earn less than USD 300 a year per family, can get to Cancun and be heard. This is a life and death struggle for us.
  • We need support for buses, tents, latrines, drinking water, outdoor cooking facilities, corn, beans and rice, a health post, sound equipment, a generator, etc.
  • If you cannot be in Cancún yourself, with your support WE CAN BE YOUR VOICE.


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For more information:

International Operational Secretariat


La Via Campesina – International Secretariat:

Jln. Mampang Prapatan XIV No. 5 Jakarta Selatan 12790,  Indonesia

Phone : +62-21-7991890, Fax : +62-21-7993426

E-mail: ; Website:


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La Vía Campesina present at the 6th National Assembly of People Affected by The Environment

Magdalena Ocotlán, Oaxaca. México

September 11-12, 2010

A delegation of Vía Campesina representatives from the United States, the Basque Country and different parts of Mexico arrived in the community of Magdalena Ocotlán, in the Central Valley region of Oaxaca in solidarity with the movement of People Affected by the Environment and their 6th National Assembly. This movement is a national effort to link the different environmental struggles and to strengthen the unity between the rural countryside and urban cities to confront the terrible environmental devastation caused by this capitalist system of destruction and plunder.

Representatives of organizations, social movements and communities from Mexico presented their cases of environmental and human devastation caused by the mines, GMO crops, garbage dumpsites, land grabs, the contamination of water and soil, amongst other causes. They also made known their struggles, explaining the course of actions they are taking within their own communities to halt these catastrophes. The Assembly pronounced itself against the neoliberal system and the transnational corporations which are responsible for the climate crisis.




International Operational Secretariat


La Via Campesina – International Secretariat:

Jln. Mampang Prapatan XIV No. 5 Jakarta Selatan 12790,  Indonesia

Phone : +62-21-7991890, Fax : +62-21-7993426

E-mail: ; Website:


Subscribe to Via Campesina News Updates! (Go to and subscribe on line)
¡Suscribe a la lista de información de La Vía Campesina! (Suscribe en línea en
Inscrivez-vous à la liste d’information de Via Campesina! (Inscrivez-vous en ligne sur