Tag Archive | "Crops"

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Honeybee problem nearing a ‘critical point’

Posted on 13 January 2012 by admin

Honeybee problem nearing a ‘critical point’

By Claire Thompson

BeePhoto: Pesticide Action Network North AmericaAnyone who’s been stung by a bee knows they can inflict an outsized pain for such tiny insects. It makes a strange kind of sense, then, that their demise would create an outsized problem for the food system by placing the more than 70 crops they pollinate — from almonds to apples to blueberries — in peril.

Although news about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has died down, commercial beekeepers have seen average population losses of about 30 percent each year since 2006, said Paul Towers, of the Pesticide Action Network. Towers was one of the organizers of a conference that brought together beekeepers and environmental groups this week to tackle the challenges facing the beekeeping industry and the agricultural economy by proxy.

“We are inching our way toward a critical tipping point,” said Steve Ellis, secretary of the National Honey Bee Advisory Board (NHBAB) and a beekeeper for 35 years. Last year he had so many abnormal bee die-offs that he’ll qualify for disaster relief from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In addition to continued reports of CCD — a still somewhat mysterious phenomenon in which entire bee colonies literally disappear, alien-abduction style, leaving not even their dead bodies behind — bee populations are suffering poor health in general, and experiencing shorter life spans and diminished vitality. And while parasites, pathogens, and habitat loss can deal blows to bee health, research increasingly points to pesticides as the primary culprit.

“In the industry we believe pesticides play an important role in what’s going on,” said Dave Hackenberg, co-chair of the NHBAB and a beekeeper in Pennsylvania.

Of particular concern is a group of pesticides, chemically similar to nicotine, called neonicotinoids (neonics for short), and one in particular called clothianidin. Instead of being sprayed, neonics are used to treat seeds, so that they’re absorbed by the plant’s vascular system, and then end up attacking the central nervous systems of bees that come to collect pollen. Virtually all of today’s genetically engineered Bt corn is treated with neonics. The chemical industry alleges that bees don’t like to collect corn pollen, but new research shows that not only do bees indeed forage in corn, but they also have multiple other routes of exposure to neonics.

The Purdue University study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, found high levels of clothianidin in planter exhaust spewed during the spring sowing of treated maize seed. It also found neonics in the soil of unplanted fields nearby those planted with Bt corn, on dandelions growing near those fields, in dead bees found near hive entrances, and in pollen stored in the hives.

Evidence already pointed to the presence of neonic-contaminated pollen as a factor in CCD. As Hackenberg explained, “The insects start taking [the pesticide] home, and it contaminates everywhere the insect came from.” These new revelations about the pervasiveness of neonics in bees’ habitats only strengthen the case against using the insecticides.

The irony, of course, is that farmers use these chemicals to protect their crops from destructive insects, but in so doing, they harm other insects essential to their crops’ production — a catch-22 that Hackenberg said speaks to the fact that “we have become a nation driven by the chemical industry.” In addition to beekeeping, he owns two farms, and even when crop analysts recommend spraying pesticides on his crops to kill an aphid population, for example, he knows that “if I spray, I’m going to kill all the beneficial insects.” But most farmers, lacking Hackenberg’s awareness of bee populations, follow the advice of the crop adviser — who, these days, is likely to be paid by the chemical industry, rather than by a state university or another independent entity.

Beekeepers have already teamed up with groups representing the almond and blueberry industries — both of which depend on honey bee pollination — to tackle the need for education among farmers. “A lot of [farm groups] are recognizing that we need more resources devoted to pollinator protection,” Ellis said. “We need that same level of commitment on a national basis, from our USDA and EPA and the agricultural chemical industry.”

Unfortunately, it was the EPA itself that green-lit clothianidin and other neonics for commercial use, despite its own scientists’ clear warnings about the chemicals’ effects on bees and other pollinators. That doesn’t bode well for the chances of getting neonics off the market now, even in light of the Purdue study’s findings.

“The agency has, in most cases, sided with pesticide manufacturers and worked to fast-track the approval of new products, and failed in cases when there’s clear evidence of harm to take those products off the market,” Towers said.

Since this is an election year — a time when no one wants to make Big Ag (and its money) mad — beekeepers may have to suffer another season of losses before there’s any hope of action on the EPA’s part. But when one out of every three bites of food on Americans’ plates results directly from honey bee pollination, there’s no question that the fate of these insects will determine our own as eaters.

Ellis, for his part, thinks that figuring out a way to solve the bee crisis could be a catalyst for larger reform within our agriculture system. “If we can protect that pollinator base, it’s going to have ripple effects … for wildlife, for human health,” he said. “It will bring up subjects that need to be looked at, of groundwater and surface water — all the connected subjects associated [with] chemical use and agriculture.”

Related action: Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) has a petition asking the EPA to ban Bayer’s toxic pesticide clothianidin.

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EU Bans GMO-Contaminated Honey

Posted on 07 September 2011 by admin

EU bans GM-contaminated honey from general sale

Bavarian beekeepers forced to declare their honey as genetically modified because of contamination from nearby Monsanto crops

Honey bees sit on a honeycomb at Bad Segeberg, northern Germany

Honey bees on a honeycomb in Germany. A European court has ruled that honey which contains traces of pollen from genetically modified crops needs special authorisation before it can be sold. Photograph: Heribert Proepper/AP

The European Union’s highest court on Tuesday ruled that honey which contains trace amounts of pollen from genetically modified (GM) corn must be labelled as GM produce and undergo full safety authorisation before it can be sold as food.

In what green groups are calling a “groundbreaking” ruling, the decision could force the EU to strengthen its already near-zero tolerance policy on genetically modified organisms (GMO

Bavarian beekeepers, some 500m from a test field for a modified maize crop developed by Monsanto – one of only two GM crops authorised as safe to be cultivated in Europe - claimed their honey had been “contaminated” by pollen from the plant.

The European court of justice found in their favour, a ruling that should offer grounds for the beekeepers to claim compensation in a German court.

But the court’s finding also potentially threatens recent EU legislation, introduced in July this year, that permits traces of GMOs in animal feed without a safety review.

Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said that the ruling “would confirm that existing laws allowing traces of unauthorised GM contamination are insufficient and would need revising.”

French Green MEP José Bové, an ex-farmer well-known for his destruction of a McDonald’s franchise in the south of France and the uprooting of GM crops in Brazil, said that the only protection farmers can have is for a complete ban on GMOs in Europe. “Beekeepers are powerless to prevent the contamination of their honey by GM pollen, as farmers are for their crops, and thus powerless to prevent the tainting of the foodstuffs they produce and the integrity of their product.

“The only sure way to prevent this is by precluding the cultivation of GMOs.”

Greenpeace, describing the traces of pollen in the honey as “genetic pollution” said that Monsanto and the Bavarian state should be held liable for the beekeepers’ losses as a result of their product having to be labelled as containing GMOs.

However, agricultural specialists criticised the ruling, saying that the decision has no grounding in science.

Guy Poppy, the director of the centre for biological sciences at the University of Southampton, told the Guardian: “There is no safety issue. This honey is as safe as any other.”

The corn in question is genetically engineered to produce an insecticide that naturally occurs in the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (BT). The production of this toxin protects the maize plants from European corn borer larvae.

“The Monsanto maize is genetically modified to produce the BT protein. But this same protein actually has been regularly used for years as a spray even by organic farmers,” he added.

“The consequences of these sorts of ruling is that new methods of plant breeding, whether GM or other forms that are developed, could be thrown out of potential use, making it impossible to innovate.”

Vivian Moses, professor of biotechnology at the University of London and the chairwoman of Cropgen, an advisory group on GM foods, said: “These beekeepers believe that there is a sensitivity among consumers of the presence of GM material, that the honey containing GM loses quality. They are just protecting their economic interest.

“But scientifically this doesn’t add up to anything, as the crop has been judged as safe for human consumption.”

In response to the ruling, the European commission will in two weeks discuss the issue of GMOs and honey with EU member states.

According to Brussels, it is likely that the decision will have an impact on the honey into the EU as Europe does not itself produce sufficient quantities for the size of the market. The bloc produces 200,000 tonnes per year and must import an additional 140,000 tonnes.

Argentina and China, both GM-friendly countries and the two biggest importers of honey into the EU, are likely to be affected in particular, the commission warned.

“The honey is not dangerous. There is no health risk from honey in the EU,” insisted EU consumer protection spokesman, Frédéric Vincent, worried that shoppers might stop buying honey as a result of the news.

“It’s an important ruling from the court. I can’t say at this point whether we need to change any laws,” he added. “The contamination is done by the bees themselves. We can’t put GPS tracking on the bees.”

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Honey made near Monsanto crops must get EU check, court says

Posted on 07 September 2011 by admin

Wed, 7 Sep 2011 06:05:15

Beekeepers with hives close to fields of Monsanto Co. genetically modified corn must have their honey checked by regulators before selling it in the European Union, the region’s highest court said.EU rules require prior authorization before goods containing genetically modified organisms are marketed.

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GMO Honey – EU Court Puts Limits On Genetically Modified Honey

Posted on 06 September 2011 by admin

BRUSSELS — Honey that contains traces of pollen from genetically modified crops needs special authorization before it can be sold in Europe, the European Union’s top court said Tuesday, in a judgment that could have widespread consequences on the bloc’s policy on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

The ruling from the European Court of Justice came after several Bavarian beekeepers demanded compensation from their government for honey and food supplements that contained traces of pollen from genetically modified maize.

The beekeepers had their hives close to fields where the Bavarian government was growing Monsanto’s MON 810 maize for research purposes.

The EU has strict guidelines on authorizing and informing consumers about foods containing GMOs – a policy that has caused problems for producers of genetically modified seeds such as U.S.-based Monsanto Co. that are used to much laxer rules in other parts of the world.

Kelli Powers, a spokeswoman for Monsanto, said the company could not provide detailed comment on the ruling until the firm had a chance to read the entire judgment.

But Powers emphasized that the company’s engineered corn seed has been approved as safe for human consumption.

“…the safety of MON 810 is confirmed by multiple regulatory approvals, including those in the EU, and by up to 15 years of successful commercial use and consumption of MON810 corn products in the EU and around the world,” Powers said in an e-mail.

Environmental activists said Tuesday’s ruling will force the 17-country European Union to strengthen the rules even further at a time they worried the bloc was dropping its zero-tolerance policy toward GMOs.

“This is a victory for beekeepers, consumers and the movement for GMO-free agriculture in Europe,” Mute Schimpf, a food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said in a statement. “This ruling rewrites the rule book and gives legal backing to stronger measures to prevent contamination from the likes of Monsanto.”

Earlier this year, the EU approved rules to allow the import of animal feed contaminated with small traces of genetically modified crops – a move that was heavily criticized by environmental groups.

The EU and feed suppliers argued that a loosening of the ban was necessary because it was difficult to prevent minute traces of GMOs from finding their way into large shipments from overseas.

In its judgment on the honey, the Luxembourg-based court however seemed to take a stricter view.

The EU’s “authorization scheme for foodstuffs containing ingredients produced from GMOs applies irrespective of whether the pollen is introduced intentionally or adventitiously into the honey,” it said in its ruling.

The obligation to get special permission to sell the honey exists “irrespective of the proportion of genetically modified material contained in the product in question,” the court added.

___

AP Reporter Christopher Leonard in St. Louis contributed to this report.

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Where’s The Outcry To Stop GMO Grass Seed?

Posted on 18 August 2011 by admin

Announced by the United States Department Agriculture back on the afternoon of July 1 — when most people were shopping for beer and burgers for the long holiday weekend — the word that the government was allowing Scotts Miracle Gro to further contaminate our lawns SHOULD HAVE BEEN front-page news. The story about the world’s largest retailer of legal lawn poisons being handed a license to sell even more Roundup SHOULD HAVE been the top story for whomever was filling in for Brian Williams that night.

Instead, the year’s most shocking environmental story was relegated to the blogosphere and, to his credit, Andrew Pollack at the New York Times.

THE BACKGROUND

It might sound like hyperbole to put this story ahead of, say, the epic drought, or the decline of the oceans or this year’s earlier bombshell that the federal government was going to allow genetically modified alfalfa. Certainly all those issues are having more impact today and tomorrow. But what about next year and beyond when Miracle Gro will be allowed to sell Roundup Ready lawn grass — unless we all stand up and do something about it?

This “Miracle GMO” lawn seed story has been unfolding for more than a decade, ever since Scotts Miracle Gro revealed its plans to test its new genetically modified creeping bentgrass in Oregon in 2001. Despite the protests of the environmental community back then, Scotts was allowed to plant test GMO seed, which then predictably escaped the confines of the trial farms and cross-pollinated with other related grasses in the wild. Since pollen from grasses typically rides the wind from plant to plant, this kind of “gene flow” is unavoidable.

The government had the good sense five years ago to block Scotts’ creeping bentgrass experiment gone amok, and even fined the company several hundred thousand dollars for letting the untamable cow out of the proverbial barn. Astory out late last year showed that the government is still spending lots of time and money running from ditch to ditch in the Pacific Northwest to dig up Scotts’ runaway grass.

Back then, in November of 2010, however, Scotts sounded strangely undaunted by the government’s slap on the wrist — as if the chemical giant knew something we didn’t. This year, on July 1, the end game was revealed: the bullish company had convinced the impotent matadors at the USDA to wave the towel, step aside and let the mutant cash cow rush past.

Make no mistake, this deal for Scotts is potentially huge. Whereas bentgrass is grown on golf course greens and a few home lawns in the Northwest, Kentucky bluegrass is grown virtually everywhere in the temperate climates of North America. North of the line that runs from DC in the East to San Francisco in the West, bluegrass is the predominant species on our soccer and football fields, on our home lawns and, in fact, in many farmer’s fields where livestock graze. In the view of Jim Hagedorn, the CEO at Miracle Gro, all that bluegrass will be his one day, to be sprayed several times a year by the toxic weed-killer known as Roundup — which is already his to sell, by the way, given his long-standing retail agreement with the manufacturer, Monsanto.

WHY THIS IS SO BAD . . .

Entire books have been written about the concerns related to genetically modified plants, but this GMO lawn issue essentially boils down to two major factors: 1) undoubtedly more spraying of Roundup, which has been linked to everything from cancer to birth defects and beyond; and 2) the modified bluegrass will most assuredly escape lawns and soccer fields and jump to fields where animals forage. The USDA’s secretary of agriculture, Tom Vilsack, admitted as much in a letter he wrote to Scotts essentially asking the company to self-regulate its latest product.

This comes from the man in charge of protecting our food supply:

“The USDA recognizes that if this GE variety were to be commercially released, producers wishing to grow non-GE Kentucky bluegrass will likely have concerns related to gene flow between the GE variety and non-GE Kentucky bluegrass. Exporters of Kentucky bluegrass seed, growers of non-GE Kentucky bluegrass seed, and those involved in the use of non-GE Kentucky bluegrass in pastures will likely have concerns about the loss of their ability to meet contractual obligations.

“USDA therefore strongly encourages Scotts to discuss these concerns with various stakeholders during these early stages of research and development of this GE Kentucky bluegrass variety and thereby develop appropriate and effective stewardship measures to minimize commingling and gene flow between GE and non-GE Kentucky bluegrass.”

Minimize commingling? That statement is simply beyond absurd. You’d have to build a wall as far and as high as the wind itself can blow if you want to stop genetically modified bluegrass from contaminating the bluegrass that’s growing all around us. Even if you would never even think of spraying Roundup on your own lawn when this mutant bluegrass inevitably shows up, you simply must understand that we’re setting ourselves up for the day when all of our animals are foraging on genetically modified material. The health implications of this — for the animals and for us — are predicted to be catastrophic by many scientists.

THE LEGAL ISSUES

Scotts deftly got around the existing laws that regulate genetic modification of plants and animals with clever legal maneuvering. Operating under The Federal Plant Pest Act of 1957, the USDA has had the power to restrict the introduction of organisms that might harm plants. It had used this power to regulate GMO crops until this July 1 announcement. The reasoning is that most GMO crops qualify as “plant pests” because the DNA from natural plant pathogens and microbial material — such as bacteria and fungi — had been the primary source of material used in the genetic engineering of various plants up to now.

Since Scotts had genetically engineered its bluegrass using genes taken from rice, corn and the Arabidopsis plant, from the mustard family, the company asked the USDA that its new GMO grass not be considered a plant pest under this 54-year-old law. The agency, shockingly or not, agreed.

The USDA’s other jurisdiction in this matter concerns invasive weeds. In other words, if a plant such as purple loosestrife or asiatic bittersweet shows that it roguishly moves where it’s unwanted, the USDA can play sheriff and place the plant on its Most Unwanted list. Folks can’t thereafter legally plant the stuff.

But since Scotts’ new mutant bluegrass hasn’t yet proven itself to be a weed, and existing bluegrass is not considered a weed, the USDA acquiesced to the position that it had no jurisdiction over Scotts’ new product.

To those of us in the environmental community, this is the same kind of legal wrangling that let O.J. and a certain mother walk free. It doesn’t, in other words, pass the common sense test. Scotts’ genetically modified Kentucky bluegrass will cross-pollinate with existing Kentucky bluegrass — there’s no way it won’t — but because of a legal loophole our government can’t, or won’t, do anything about it.

But that’s under existing laws. What about a new law that bans the genetic modification of plants that are wind pollinated? Can we get a politician to propose it? What about a law that bans the genetic modification of perennial plants that come back year after year? That could score some political points. Genetic modification of annual plants like corn, soy and canola at least leaves open the possibility that we can put the cow back in barn. We could conceivably eliminate these annual crops when enough consensus evolves that these crops are bad. But in the case of perennial grasses like alfalfa and bluegrass, there’s no turning back — EVER.

We need to put our government to its best use and implore our Congressional leaders to do something about it. Immediately.

WHAT WE NEED TO DO

In this world of social media, the possibilities are almost endless. You can write Letters to the Editor, letters for your elected officials, or start your own blog. I did manage to find a Facebook page that’s taking dead aim at this issue, but as of this writing it has a whopping 28 “Likes:” http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Scotts-Miracle-Gmo-Products/234083576622986.

Another strategy would be to call Scotts and demand the company put an end to this nonsense. There’s no way in hell that Jim Hagedorn would ever voluntarily walk away from a dollar, but you can get the satisfaction of making your voice heard. Here’s the Scotts Miracle Gro number: 888-270-3714.

Then there’s Thomas Vilsack and Barack Obama. All of this potential tragedy has happened on their watch. Don’t stand for it: http://action.foodandwaterwatch.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5450.

Source: safelawns.org

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Obama Tells Farmer No Need to Worry About Over-Regulation of Agriculture

Posted on 18 August 2011 by admin

Obama Tells Farmer No Need to Worry About Government Over-Regulation of Agriculture

Thursday, August 18, 2011 – by Mike Adams

Mike Adams

(NaturalNews) During a town hall meeting yesterday, when an Illinois farmer told President Obama he was concerned about upcoming regulations regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act and would rather be farming than “filling out forms and permits,” Obama had choice words to offer in reply: “Don’t always believe what you hear.”

For once, Obama has told the truth. “Don’t always believe what you hear” should be the rally cry for all the farmers, raw dairy producers and consumers harmed by government actions taking place under the Obama administration – actions which can only be called war against the People and crimes against nature.

It was Obama’s USDA, for example, that approved genetically modified alfalfa to be openly planted everywhere, thereby contaminating non-GMO alfalfa crops with DNA pollution that’s impossible to remove from the harvest. This is the same USDA that also recently said it would do nothing to halt the release of GMO yard grass seeds into the marketplace.

Because of that decision, by the Spring of 2012, we could see genetically engineered lawns spouting up in neighborhoods all across America, where they will be frequently sprayed with toxic Roundup herbicide chemicals.

It was under President Obama that the FDA masterminded the recent armed raids on American raw dairy farmers by bringing a SWAT team to an L.A. food distribution center. There, under the watchful eye of federal government thugs, agents proceeded to pour all the milk down the drain, then seize and destroy tens of thousands of dollars worth of cheese, watermelons, mangos and other valuable food.

Obama, of course, could have stopped this outrageous incarceration of raw dairy farmers at any time but he stood back and said nothing. Perhaps he was too busy going on vacation to take any meaningful action to try to protect American farmers from gun-toting government tyrants.

It was under Obama’s watch that Michigan gardener Julie Bass was threatened with 93 days of jail time for growing tomatoes in her own front yard. While this wasn’t a federal case (it was drummed up by local tyrants who run the city of Oak Park), Obama could have easily intervened with a national message about “the freedom to garden.”

Where was Michelle Obama on this point in particular? The president’s wife can grow a garden on the White House lawn, but a mom in Oak Park Michigan can’t do the same on her own private property? Insane.

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President delays signing GMO seed law

Posted on 18 August 2011 by admin

President Bronislaw Komorowski has delayed making a decision on whether to sign a controversial GM crops law in Poland. Though he is pro-GM, he says the bill, as written, is “legal junk”.

 

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The head of state held consultations with experts, Wednesday, but has yet to come to a decision on whether to sign the so-called “Seed Law” which has been passed by both houses of parliament.

As the president consulted with a team of scientists and legal experts, protestors gathered outside the Presidential Palace chanting “No to GMO”.

Main critics of the seed bill, including Jadwiga Lopata from the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC), maintain that a key phrase in the bill, which unilaterally disallows GM seeds in Poland, was taken out, leaving the law ambiguous in the matter.

“We think that this act was done in a strange way [which tries] to cover that we will not recognise that this is in fact an act which is opening Poland up to GMO planting, and that’s what the President is also referring to,” Lopata told Polish Radio reporter John Beauchamp.

Komorowski said later that he lamented the fact that there had been little or no public debate concerning the law in Poland.

The president underlined, however, that he is a supporter of GMO, and said that no convincing scientific proof had been produced to show that the technology is harmful to humans or the environment.

The apprehension among some sections of society, said the president, could be calmed down through a public debate.

On Wednesday the head of state forwarded a letter to Prime Minister Donald Tusk asking for more information on the stand of ministries on the effects of genetically modified crops on health, environment and ecological safety.

The president has to take a decision not later than 24 August.

The bill was supported in parliament by the ruling Civic Platform/Polish Peasant’s Party coalition after a previous law banning GM passed in 2006 was referred to the EU Court of Justice for failing to fulfill obligations under European Union law. (pg/ab/jb)

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Court rules Organic Farmers Can SUE Conventional GMO Farmers whose Pesticides ‘Trespass’ and Contaminate Their Fields

Posted on 03 August 2011 by admin

(NaturalNews) Purveyors of conventional and genetically-modified (GM) crops — and the pesticides and herbicides that accompany them — are finally getting a taste of their own legal medicine. Minnesota’sStar Tribunehas reported that the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled that a large organic farm surrounded by chemical-laden conventional farms can seek damages for lost crops, as well as lost profits, caused by the illegal trespassing of pesticides and herbicides on its property.

Oluf and Debra Johnson’s 1,500-acreorganicfarm in Stearns County, Minn., has repeatedly been contaminated by nearby conventional and GMOfarmssince the couple started it in the 1990s. A localpesticidecooperative known as Paynesville Farmers Union (PFU), which is near the farm, has been cited at least four times for violating pesticidelaws, and inadvertently causing damage to the Johnson’s farm.

The first time it was realized thatpesticideshad drifted onto the Johnson’s farm in 1998, PFU apologized, but did not agree to pay for damages. As anyone with an understanding of organic practices knows, even a small bit ofcontaminationcan result in having to plow under that season’s crops, forgetprofits, and even lose the ability to groworganic cropsin the same field for at least a couple years.

The Johnson’s let the first incident slide. But after the second, third, and fourth times, they decided that enough was enough. Following the second pesticide drift in 2002, the Johnson’s filed a complaint with the Minnesota Agriculture Department, which eventually ruled that PFU had illegally sprayedchemicalson windy days, which led to contamination of the Johnson’s organiccrops.

PFU settled with the Johnson’s out of court, and the Johnson’s agreed to sell their tainted products as non-organics for a lower price, and pull the fields from production for three years in order to bring them back up to organic standards. But PFU’s inconsiderate spraying habits continued, with numerous additional incidents occurring in 2005, 2007, and 2008, according to theStar Tribune.

After enduring much hardship, the Johnson’s finally ended up suing PFU in 2009 for negligence and trespass, only to receive denial from the district court that received the case. But after appealing, the Johnson’s received favor from the Appeals Court, which ruled that particulate matter, including pesticides,herbicides, and even GM particulates, that contaminates nearby fields is, in fact, consideredillegaltrespass, and is subject to the same laws concerning other forms of trespass.

In a similar case, a California-based organic farm recently won a $1 millionlawsuitfiled against a conventional farm whose pesticides spread through fog from several miles away, and contaminated its fields. Jacobs Farm / Del Cobo’s entire season’sherbcrop had to be discarded as a result, and the court that presided over the case acknowledged and agreed that the polluters must be held responsible (http://organicfood.einnews.com/arti…).

Precedent has now been set fororganic farmersto sue biotechnology companies whose GMOs contaminate their crops

The stunning victories of both the Johnson’s and Jacob’s Farm / Del Cobo against their chemical-polluting neighbors is huge, in that it represents a new set legal precedent for holding conventional, factory farming operations responsible for the damage their systems cause to other farms. And with this new precedent set, many more organicfarmers, for instance, can now begin suingGMOfarmers for both chemical and genetic pollution that drifts onto their farms.

ManyNaturalNewsreaders will recall the numerous incidents involving lawsuits filed byMonsantoagainst non-GMO farms whose crops were inadvertently contaminated by GM material. In many of these cases, the defendants ended up becoming bankrupted by Monsanto, even though Monsanto’s patented materials were the trespassers at fault.

Be sure to check out the extensive and very informative report compiled by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) entitledMonsanto vs. U.S. Farmersfor a complete history of Monsanto’s war against traditional American agriculture:http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/…

But it appears that the tables are now turning. Instead of Monsanto winning against organic farmers, organic farmers can now achieve victory against Monsanto. In other words, farmers being infringed upon by the drifting of GM material into their fields now have a legal leg to stand on in the pursuit of justice against Monsanto and the other biotechnology giants whose “frankencrops” are responsible for causing widespread contamination of the Americanfoodsupply.

Genetic traits are highly transmissible, whether it be through pollen transfer or seed spread, and organic andnon-GMOfarmers have every right to seek damages for illegal trespassing when such transmission takes place. It is expected that many more organic farms will step up and begin seeking justice and compensation for damage caused by crop chemicals, GM materials, and other harmful invaders.

For too long, Monsanto has been getting away with suing farmers whose crops have become contaminated by Monsanto’s patented genetic traits and chemical materials, and winning. Thankfully, the justice system seems to now recognize the severe error in this, and is now beginning to rightfully hold polluters and trespassers responsible. Monsanto, your days are numbered.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.startribune.com/local/12…

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/033216_GMO_contamination_lawsuits.html#ixzz1avVo1iIi

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Hungary destroys illegal GMO Corn fields, plans to make distributing GMO Seeds a felony

Posted on 23 July 2011 by admin

(NaturalNews) Earlier in the week it was announced that every crop field in Hungary that was known to contain genetically-modified (GM) corn has been plowed under and destroyed. According to reports, GMO seeds are illegal in Hungary, and authorities have been working hard to ensure that no illegal plantings or sales of GMO seeds take place in the nation.

Hungary’s deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar announced that, upon the recent discovery of roughly 1000 acres of illegalGM corn, all of these “frankencrops” were systematically destroyed. He also claimed that none of the pollen from thecropshad spread, and that thegovernmentwill continue to monitor seed distribution and crop plantings to ensure that no moreGMOsare planted.

A new Hungarian law enacted back in March stipulates that before any newseedsare introduced into the market, they must first undergo checks to make sure they are free of GMOs. Seed traders are also required to personally verify that all of their products are free of GMOs before distributing them, especially due to the fact that GMO seeds fromMonsantoand Pioneer, two large biotechnology companies, have been found unintentionally intermixed withnaturalseeds.

Unfortunately for many unwitting Hungarian farmers, thediscoveryof unknown GMOs in their fields came at a time when it was too late to replant new crops in time for this year’s harvest. And any potential compensation paid by Monsanto or Pioneer as a result of the damages will likely go to the creditors of the seed company that provided them, which is now under liquidation.

It was announced shortly just days after these events that the Hungarian government plans to make distributingGMOseeds a felony. Since as many as 6,200 acres of crop land may have already been contaminated by the unintentional or careless planting of GMO seeds, authorities are cracking down as best they know how to keep Hungary GMO-free.

Sources for this story include:

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http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/9…

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Greenpeace Destroys GMO Wheat trial in Australia

Posted on 14 July 2011 by admin

Greenpeace’s own photo of their criminal activity in destroying the wheat trial in ACT, Australia

 

Greenpeace recently enlisted Vandana Shiva to protest on their behalf about GM wheat trialsunderway in Australia. Vandana Shiva endorses criminal arson as direct actionagainst scientific laboratories she disproves (explicit video interview).

Now Greenpeace — by their own self-acknowledged vandalism — are following Vandana Shiva (Sydney Peace [sic] Prize recipient)  into the cesspool of criminality.

.

Greenpeace destroys GM wheat
Jessica Nairn, ABC Radio 666 Canberra
Updated July 14, 2011 11:08:36

Greenpeace protesters have broken into a CSIRO experimental farm in Canberra to destroy a crop of genetically modified wheat.

In the early hours of this morning a group of Greenpeace protesters scaled the fence of the CSIRO experimental station at Ginninderra in the capital’s north.

Greenpeace says activists were wearing Hazmat protective clothing and were equipped with weed string trimmers.

They say the entire crop of genetically modified wheat has been destroyed.

About half a hectare of GM wheat is being grown on the site, as part of Australia’s first outdoor trials.

No genetically modified wheat strain had ever been approved for cropping in Australia before.
Last month the CSIRO received permission to conduct Australia’s first trial in which humans will eat GM wheat.

The wheat’s genes have been modified to lower the glycemic index and increase fibre to create a product which will improve bowel health and increase nutritional value.

Animal feeding trials of up to three months have been conducted, with human trials at least six months away.

Greenpeace says it has taken action because of concerns over health, cross-contamination and the secrecy surrounding the experiments.

Campaigner Laura Kelly says the Federal Government needs to put an end to testing GM wheat in Australia.

She says parts of the United States and many countries throughout Europe have already rejected the crop, and Australia should do the same.

“No one is looking after the health of Australians. Julia Gillard isn’t standing up to foreign GM countries to protect our daily bread so Greenpeace has to,” she said.

ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury used to work for Greenpeace and says he is not surprised the group has taken such action.

“It’s always very controversial these sorts of actions, but you have to stand up for what you believe in sometimes,” he said.

“Greenpeace has clearly formed a view that the best way to both draw attention to this issue and to potentially protect the human food chain in Australia is to take this action.”

Mr Rattenbury says Greenpeace has a track record of breaking the law to highlight problems.
“I’ve certainly been involved in action in the past where Greenpeace has broken the law and that has been necessary to highlight what we’ve considered at the time to be a greater issue than perhaps a simple trespass,” he said.

ACT police have confirmed they are investigating but have not released any further information.

GM crop destroyed
BY STAFF REPORTERS (Canberra Times)
14 Jul, 2011 09:08 AM

…ABC radio reported that the four protesters scaled the fence at the secure facility in Ginninderra wearing full-body Hazmat protective clothing.

Greenpeace have confirmed at least two women scaled the fence, including one mother, Heather McCabe*, who is concerned about her family’s health.

“This GM wheat should never have left the lab,” said Ms McCabe.

“I’m sick of being treated like a dumb Mum* who doesn’t understand the science. As far as I’m concerned, my family’s health is too important. GM wheat is not safe, and if the Government can’t protect the safety of my family, then I will.”

Canberra Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury [Pundit note:former Greenpeacer staffer] this morning condoned the action on ABC Radio, citing Greenpeace’s long-held opposition to GM crops, and saying that sometimes the end justified the means.

The site was being used to grow some of the first outdoor GM wheat crops in Australia, and trials were due to begin on human consumption of the modified wheat.

“We had no choice but to take action to bring an end to this experiment,” said Greenpeace Food campaigner Laura Kelly in a release this morning.

“This is about the protection of our health, the protection of our environment and the protection of our daily bread.

“It is time Julia Gillard stood up to global biotech companies and protected Australia’s daily bread. With public health and our largest food export under threat, this is too big an issue for the Prime Minister to continue to ignore.”

Police are investigating the incident.

There is a  Heather McCabe on the Greenpeace pay-roll according to linked-in. The dumb Mum treatment thus may be related to her place of employment.
Updates:
Robust reader comment thread

BY EWA KRETOWICZ, CITY REPORTER, Canberra Times
15 Jul, 2011 06:57 AM
Scientists have lost a year of work and up to $300,000 after Greenpeace activists destroyed a crop of genetically modified wheat at Ginninderra.
The CSIRO has labelled the act a media stunt and will review its security procedures….
The GM trials were conducted under licences from the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator which imposes strict containment conditions.
CSIRO Plant Industry chief Jeremy Burdon said the wheat was modified to increase yield and improve nutritional value. He denied the government-funded science body had links to multinational biotechnology company Monsanto.
”I don’t see the grounds under which anyone should be concerned about the level of integrity the CSIRO [employs in its] experimental work,” Dr Burdon said.
He said the GM crops were safe.
”Gene silencing basically allows you to turn off genes and manipulate existing genes within a plant. It’s not like some GM products where you bring in a gene from a totally different species. In this case, you are simply taking the existing genes that are there and turning them on or off.”…
From: “Australian Academy of Science”
Subject: Media Release – GM Crop destruction unacceptable: Academy of Science
(14 July 2011)
GM Crop destruction unacceptable: Australian Academy of Science
The Australian Academy of Science today condemned last night’s destruction of a scientific trial of genetically modified crops at CSIRO in Canberra by Greenpeace activists.
“The Academy condemns this behaviour in the strongest possible terms,” said Academy President Professor Suzanne Cory.
“This kind of mindless vandalism against science is completely unacceptable.”
Professor Cory said scientists must be free to conduct their work without fear or favour.
“The trials are being conducted under licences from the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator [official Australian Government gene technology regulatory agency] which impose strict containment conditions,” Professor Cory said.
“These conditions have been deliberately breached by Greenpeace.
“For an organisation that claims to be dedicated to the protection of the environment, this is an unconscionable act.”
Australian Farmers React:
Thursday 14 July 2011

Press release Grain Producers of Australia

GRAIN PRODUCERS SLAM GREENPEACE STUNT

Australian Grain Producers have today called for Greenpeace to be reprimanded and appropriate

action taken, following the destruction of CSIRO wheat field trials in Canberra.

“The destruction of world class science is absolutely despicable.  Attacking the research that supports Australian farmers is the same as attacking Australian farmers and generally we are sick of it. It is irresponsible, unethical and in this case illegal” said Mr Peter Mailler, Chairman, Grain Producers Australia.

Mr Mailler said .”CSIRO is an iconic organisation, responsible for many of the agricultural advancements that enable Australian farmers to produce the cleanest, safest and healthiest food and fibre that feeds and clothes hundreds of millions of people across the globe every year ”

“GM wheat is seven to ten years away, CSIRO has been responsibly conducting GM wheat field trials at this site for fourteen years. Today’s Greenpeace actions are totally unacceptable,” he said.

“Plant science and research and development are critical to the future of our industry,” said Mr Andrew Weidemann, R&D spokesperson, Grain Producers Australia.

“Australian farmers are highly innovative and have continued to adapt to changes in climate, customer requirements and the global operating environment, but we cannot achieve ongoing production without new tools and technologies,” he said.

“Gene technology is a proven and safe plant science. GM crops have been grown, traded and consumed around the world for fourteen years, delivering significant agronomic, environmental and sustainable outcomes,” he said.

“Today’s illegal Greenpeace activity has once and for all proven what many of us have feared for quite some time – Greenpeace is not interested in green outcomes or sustainable agriculture and food production. This is purely a non-factual, high profile fund raiser and Australian consumers need to be aware of this,” said Mr Weidemann.

Pruducers Forum Press release 14 July 2011

FARMERS CONDEMN GREENPEACE ASSAULT

Today the multi-million dollar multi-national Greenpeace continued its assault on Australian agriculture and in doing so revealed its true nature. By illegally entering the CSIRO property and deliberately destroying trial plots at the site, the Greenpeace activists and those who support them are making a mockery of Australia’s dearly held democratic rights and freedoms. “Our farmers are appalled at the unconscionable actions of the trespassers and believe that they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Heather Baldock, National Convenor of Producers Forum.

“People have been contacting me to express their outrage and wondering what we can do about it. Civil protest is one thing. Wilful, illegal, destruction is something else entirely and must be roundly condemned,” she continued. “This is the nation’s property yet we have individuals, egged on by a multi-national NGO, willing to destroy it. It is hardly a wonder people are outraged,” Ms Baldock said.

“Australian farmers are innovators. Adopting new tools, techniques and technologies have allowed them to be among the best in the world, made possible by the support of Australian scientists and research organisations.

“The research and development (R&D) and innovation that today allows Australian farmers to produce the safe, healthy and affordable food that consumers value and expect continues to be needed to face the challenges of food production into the future. Our farmers are rightfully proud of the quality, quantity and variety of foods they produce,” Ms Baldock added.

Wayne McKay farms in the Central West of NSW. He says that the Australian grain industry strongly supports R&D in all facets of agriculture including  GM crops, and notes that the rate of production increase in Australia has declined and that Australians do not need fear mongering naysayers trying to undermine and destroy valuable R&D that supports agriculture and food production.

“Australia’s CSIRO is recognised world-wide as a first class   research organisation. The scientists working in the fields of molecular biology and gene technology operate within the processes and guidelines set down by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) and our regulatory system is widely regarded as among the best in the world.

“To imply that these scientists are doing anything that would harm Australians or any other people is quite  imply and demonstrably wrong. It certainly does Greenpeace no credit,” Mr McKay said.

“Attacking our CSIRO is a bit like attacking motherhood,” he said.

Ms Baldock says that the community must question Greenpeace’s motives in attacking a technology that is good for the environment, and helps small farmers in developing nations to become more self sufficient.

COSMOS magazine are on the job.

Greenpeace targets CSIRO crops

Thursday, 14 July 2011

by Myles Gough

Cosmos Online

SYDNEY: In the early hours of July 14, Greenpeace protestors gained illegal entry into an experimental CSIRO operated farm near Canberra and destroyed a crop of genetically modified (GM) wheat….

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