News

2019-03-29 |

Canada doesn’t label GMO foods even though 88% of us say we should

GMOs are on the market, but not labelled in Canada
In the late 1990s, the first genetically modified organisms (GMOs) came on the market. They were genetically engineered for two main reasons: to create insecticidal crops (i.e. plants that produce their own insecticide) and to make plants that can survive herbicide spraying.

My mom was skeptical about the industry’s promise of higher yields and reduced need for pesticides. She wanted to learn more, and her insatiable curiosity was contagious. I soon found myself exchanging books with her, attending conferences and learning as much as I could about these new foods. But it was only after living in Europe for two years, where the law mandates that GMOs be clearly labelled on food products, that I began to ask why, if they are labelled in 64 countries around the world, we don’t do the same here in Canada.

2019-03-27 |

Monsanto found liable for California man's cancer and ordered to pay $80m in damages

Agrochemical corporation found responsible for Roundup weedkiller’s health risks in ‘bellwether’ federal trial

A federal jury ruled that Monsanto was liable for a California man’s cancer and ordered the Roundup manufacturer to pay $80m in damages.

The ruling on Wednesday, which holds the company responsible for the cancer risks of its popular weedkiller, is the first of its kind in US federal court and a major blow to Monsanto and its parent company, Bayer. A representative said Bayer would appeal.

In a verdict during an earlier phase of the trial, the jury in San Francisco unanimously ruled that the herbicide was a “substantial factor” in causing the cancer of Edwin Hardeman.

2019-03-27 |

Andriukaitis: New plant breeding techniques need new regulatory framework

The ‘new plant breeding techniques’ need new EU legislation that takes into account the latest advanced technologies, EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis told EURACTIV.com, adding there was too much manipulation and “scare-mongering” around the issue.

“From my point of view, we need a new legal regulatory framework for these new techniques,” Andriukaitis said, adding that it should be dealt with by the new European Commission after the EU elections in May.

New plant breeding techniques, developed in the last decade, allow the development of new plant varieties by modifying the DNA of the seeds and plant cells.

In July 2018, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that organisms obtained by mutagenesis, or gene editing, plant breeding technique are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and should, in principle, fall under the GMO Directive.

The decision was a victory for environmentalists but it shocked the industry, while EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan told EURACTIV he was “surprised” by the ruling.

2019-03-26 |

Media Release: New Report Documents Impacts of GM Contamination in Canada

New Report Documents Impacts of GM Contamination in Canada
Groups call for deregistration of genetically modified alfalfa

March 26, 2019 – Regina.

Since genetically modified (GM) crops were introduced into Canadian agriculture almost 25 years ago, GM contamination has had significant economic consequences, according to a report published today by the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) and the SaskOrganics’ Organic Agriculture Protection Fund (OAPF) Committee. The report calls for action to prevent future contamination incidents.

“GM Contamination in Canada: The failure to contain living modified organisms – incidents and impacts” documents the details and impacts of all the known contamination incidents in Canada involving GM crops and animals. The costs of GM contamination and escape incidents include the temporary or permanent loss of export markets, lower crop prices, the loss of access to grow a particular crop, and the loss of some farm-saved seed.

2019-03-25 |

Gene-silencing GMO dsRNA insecticides can be taken up by soil microbes

Study finds new insecticides don't degrade as efficiently as previously thought

Genetic engineers are developing new types of insecticides based on dsRNA (double-stranded RNA). They are intended to work by reducing (“silencing”) the expression of target genes of insect pests through a mechanism called RNA interference (RNAi), resulting in the death of the pests.

They can either be genetically engineered into the plant or sprayed on.

However, scientists have not understood what happens to these insecticides once they contact the soil. Do they break down easily or persist, potentially affecting soil organisms?

A new study by researchers at Washington University in St Louis, USA and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, gives some answers.

The researchers looked at the fate of dsRNA in different types of soil. They found that in some soils, enzymes in the soil can break down the insecticide and microbes can eat it, meaning that the dsRNA insecticide degrades.

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