News

2018-12-12 |

How France and Germany Are Ousting Glyphosate In A Search For Healthy Soils and Pesticide-Free Crops

The Macron Government of France is offering its farmers a way out of glyphosate dependency within the next 3 years.

Millions have been following European discussions on the possible ban (or a new licensing period) for glyphosate-based herbicides; discussions which stemmed from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declaring glyphosate a probable human carcinogen in March, 2015.

(.....)
The French solution to glyphosate

In November, 2018, the French government presented possible mechanisms for achieving such a ban. Here is my best understanding on how the French government sees a transition away from glyphosate use while protecting farmers financially.

Overall, the plan emphasizes good farming practices and encourages dialogue among farmers. The government has also declared that no one will be left without a solution if they abandon glyphosate.

2018-12-07 |

GMO-free food and drinks launches up 366% in Canada - research

The number of food and drinks products claiming GMO-free status has risen dramatically over the last ten years in the Canadian market.

According to Mintel's Global New Product Database, there was a 366% increase in 'GMO-free' claims on natural food/drink launches in Canada from 2007-17. Products claiming 'no additives/preservatives' grew 21%.

At the same time, Mintel said less specific claims such as 'all natural product' declined 62% in the same time period.

2018-12-07 |

GMO-free food & drinks launches up 366% in Canada

The number of food and drinks products claiming GMO-free status has risen dramatically over the last ten years in the Canadian market.

According to Mintel's Global New Product Database, there was a 366% increase in 'GMO-free' claims on natural food/drink launches in Canada from 2007-17. Products claiming 'no additives/preservatives' grew 21%.

At the same time, Mintel said less specific claims such as 'all natural product' declined 62% in the same time period.

2018-12-07 |

Gene drive symposium

Interdisciplinary symposium on gene drives with a focus on their scientific, ethical, socio-economic and regulatory aspects

FRIDAY 24 MAY 2019
9:00―17:00 Eventforum Bern Fabrikstrasse 12
3012 Bern, Switzerland

The idea of circumventing the rules of inheritance in order to quickly spread and maintain desired traits through an entire population or species, has long existed. With new genetic engineering techniques for genome editing, such as CRISPR-Cas9, it may soon be possible to turn this idea into reality. It has been claimed that gene drive technology may be used to combat infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue or zika, as well as to reduce the threat posed by agricultural pests and ecologically harmful invasive species. However, a crucial difference with conventional gene technology is that gene drives intentionally target wild populations in order to permanently alter them.

Gene drives are a technology that raises fundamental ecological, social, ethical, and legal questions:
* Which path do we want to take as a society?
* Is it a good idea to seek to irreversibly alter ecosystems in the age of mass extinctions?
* Are there dispensable species?
* Are the promised goals achievable?
* Who gets to decide?
* What environmental implications could we face if we were to eliminate populations or species using gene drives?
* What are the consequences of making such attempts if they are unsuccessful?
* Who is responsible when things go wrong with a technology that potentially crosses borders?
* Are the appropriate regulations in place?

A working group of international scientists and philosophers has extensively considered these questions. The outcome of this process will be presented for discussion at the Gene Drive Symposium.

SPEAKERS
Lim Li Ching, Third World Network
Christopher Preston, University of Montana
Ricarda Steinbrecher, Federation of German Scientists (VDW)
Helen Wallace, GeneWatch UK

PANEL DISCUSSION
Kevin Esvelt, MIT Media Lab
Ignacio Chapela, University of California, Berkeley

PANEL MODERATION
Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Honorary president, Club of Rome

More information at: https://genedrives.ch

European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility

2018-12-07 |

Mark Lynas slammed for exploiting African farmers’ images to promote GMOs

African farmers are demanding that Lynas cease using their images in his GMO promotionals; Lynas’s mischief-making may have triggered Tanzania’s ending of GMO field trials. Report: Claire Robinson, GMWatch and Mariam Mayet, African Centre for Biodiversity

The British pro-GMO activist Mark Lynas has angered African farmers over his mis-use of their images on the internet to promote his pro-GMO agenda. The farmers have demanded that Lynas remove their images and names from all online platforms.

These developments are documented in a new report by Dr Eugenio Tisselli, an IT specialist, and his co-author, biosafety scientist and agroecologist, Dr Angelika Hilbeck of ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Since 2011, Drs Tisselli and Hilbeck have coordinated a project, “Sauti ya wakulima” (“The voice of the farmers”), aimed at supporting Tanzanian farmers create a collaborative network of shared knowledge.

Drs Tisselli and Hilbeck felt compelled to speak out when they discovered that some Tanzanian farmers, whom they know personally, were used in Lynas’s public relations campaign to promote GM crops in Tanzania. Drs Tisselli and Hilbeck emphasized that the farmers know nothing of the GMO “debate” or Lynas’s role in it. They are only concerned that their voices were used without their knowledge or consent in a context they do not understand and do not want to be a part of.

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