March 8, 2011

kathe_kollwitz Sythe

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released its 2011 State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) report this week, just in time for today's International Women's Day. The report illustrates how better investments in female farmers would prevent malnourishment in 100-150 million people, because of the ways women are likely to allocate resources in a food-shortage-threatened world.

"The report shows the hard economic numbers behind a message we've known for a long time, which is that women are crucial for agricultural security,"

March 4, 2011

Poll tells us what we know: we want labels

An MSNBC poll is asking “Do you believe genetically modified foods should be labeled?”

41,000 people have participated as of today with 96% answering “Yes. It’s an ethical issue — consumers should be informed so they can make a choice.”
You can vote here

One argument used to resist genetically modified organism/genetically engineered (GMO/GE) labeling sounds an awful lot like nanny-state thinking: “We must not allow labeling of GMOs because, given a choice, people would make the wrong choice.”
.... Forbes published a column insisting that we must not have GMO labeling. Why? Because then people would avoid such products.
Take a moment to absorb that interesting proposition, from a magazine which is supposed to be about business and economics. Not merely economics, but free market economics.
Can there be a “free market” when consumers are denied the right to make their own choices?
Can there be a “free market” when taxpayer subsidies are used to shore up a product which consumers don't want to buy?
GMO crops would have no place in an agriculture economy based on sound, free-market principles. As in, cost of production should not exceed market-value of end-product.
Fact: GMO crops cost more to grow than they are worth in the market.

Read more of Deb Baumann's great revelation of the obvious in Let the free market decide, Lake County News

Smoking mirrors will shatter

Monsanto's press release, Statement About Alleged Plant Pathogen Potentially Associated with Roundup Ready Crops asserts:

"Monsanto is not aware of any reliable studies that demonstrate Roundup Ready® crops are more susceptible to certain diseases or that the application of glyphosate to Roundup Ready crops increases a plant’s susceptibility to diseases".

Yet this statement can be shown as evidently false by following the (reliable) research listed here:

Glyphosate effects on diseases of plants (G.S. Johal�, D.M. Huber)

Some diseases increased in glyphosate weed control programs. (pathogen noted in bold. disease in italics, researcher and date of study)

Apple: Canker Botryosphaeriadothidea; Rosenbergerand Fargione(2004)

Banana: Panamadisease Fusariumoxysporumf. sp. cubense Harper(2007)

Barley: Root rot Magnaporthegrisea Smileyetal. (1992)

Bean: Anthracnose Colletotrichumlindemuthianum; JohalandRahe(1984, 1988, 1990)

Bean: Damping off, Pythiumspp. ; JohalandRahe(1984)

Bean: Root rot Fusariumsolanif. sp. phaseoli; Harper(2007)

Bean: Hypocotylrot Phytophthoramegasperma; Keenetal. (1982)

Canola: Crownrot Fusariumspp. Harper(2007)

Canola: Wilt Fusariumoxysporum ; Harper(2007), LargeandMcLaren(2002)

Citrus: Citrusvariegatedchlorosis Xylellafastidiosa ; Yamada(2006)

Citrus: Crownrot Phytophthoraspp; Yamada(2006)

Cotton: Dampingoff Pythiumspp. Harper(2007)

Cotton: Bunchytop Manganese deficiency ; Harper(2007)

Cotton: Wilt F. oxysporumf. sp. vasinfectum Harper(2007)

Grape: Blackgoo Phaeomoniellachlamydospora; Harper(2007)

Soybeans: Root rot Corynesporacassiicola; Huberetal. (2005)

Soybeans Targetspot Corynesporacassiicola; Huberetal. (2005)

Soybeans: Sudden Death Syndrome Fusariumsolanif. sp. glycines ; Keen et al. (1982)

Soybeans: Root rot Phytophthoramegasperma ; Keen et al. (1982)

Soybeans: Cystnematode Heteroderaglycines Geisleretal; Kremer et al. (2000)

Soybeans: Whitemold Sclerotiniasclerotiorum; Harper(2007)

Sugarbeet: Yellows Fusariumoxysporumf. sp. beta ; Larson et al. (2006)

Sugarbeet: Root rot Rhizoctoniasolani ; Larson et al. (2006)

Tomato: Crownrootrot Fusarium; Bramhall and Higgins(1988)

Tomato: Wilt Fusariumoxysporumf. sp. pisi; Harper(2007)

Various: Canker Phytophthoraspp. Harper(2007)

Wheat: Barepatch Rhizoctoniasolani; Harper(2007)

Wheat: Glumeblotch Septoriaspp. ; Harper(2007)

Wheat: Root rot Fusariumspp. Fernandez et al. (2005, 2007), Harper(2007)

Wheat: Headscab Fusariumgraminearum ; Fernandez et al. (2005)

Wheat: Take-all Gaeumannomycesgraminis; Hornby et al. (1998)

March 3, 2011

transparency for risk assessment of Trangenic Salmon

Parliament Under Pressure to Stop Genetically Modified Fish: Motion in
the House of Commons requests transparency

Thursday, March 3, 2011.

Ottawa - Today in the House of Commons, New Democratic Party Fisheries
and Oceans Critic Fin Donnelly tabled a motion asking for transparency
and more study before genetically modified (GM) Atlantic salmon are
approved for human consumption.

US company AquaBounty has genetically modified a faster growing
Atlantic salmon by inserting a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon
and genetic material from ocean pout.

AquaBounty has asked the US Food and Drug Administration to approve
the GM Atlantic salmon for human consumption but the status of any
requests for approvals from the company to the Canadian government are
unknown because our federal departments refuse to disclose this

“Why won’t the government tell us if they are doing a risk
assessment?” asked Leo Broderick of PEI and Vice-Chair of the Council
of Canadians, “AquaBounty wants to supply the market with genetically
modified salmon eggs from PEI but Canadians have no clue if the
company has asked for approval here.”

AquaBounty is not planning to produce GM salmon in the US but is
instead proposing to produce all the GM salmon eggs on Prince Edward
Island and then ship the eggs for grow out and processing in Panama,
for selling into the US consumer market.

Today’s motion asks the government to explain its regulations and to
set up a system to notify Canadians about any requests for approval
and approval decisions. The motion also asks the government to
“prevent the introduction of genetically modified salmon destined for
human consumption into the Canadian food system until further
scientific studies are concluded by the relevant departments to
determine the impact of genetically modified salmon on human health
and on the health of marine species, ecosystems and habitats.”

“We call on all Members of Parliament to support the motion. It is a
request for basic transparency,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian
Biotechnology Action Network. "This cloak of secrecy is unjustifiable
and, frankly, ridiculous."

“DFO’s own scientists have acknowledged that genetically modified
salmon pose a real risk to our wild fish stocks,” said Catherine
Stewart of Living Oceans Society in B.C. “Any debate on this issue,
any scientific research informing the debate, must be made available
to all concerned citizens.”

Sixty fisheries and oceans conservation, environmental and social
justice groups released a joint statement in December 6, 2010,
opposing GM fish.

For more information: