Tag Archive | "Patents"

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Roundup Ready Soybean Patent Expiration

Posted on 02 November 2011 by admin

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The world’s most widely adopted biotech trait, Roundup Ready® soybeans, is set to go off patent soon in the U.S. – the last applicable Monsanto-owned patent is expected to expire in 2014.

We introduced our second-generation Roundup Ready soybean technology in 2009 – Genuity™ Roundup Ready 2 Yield®. Monsanto-owned seed brands will be wholly focused on the Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield platform by 2012. We believe the grower benefits will be impressive, as compared to the post-patent choice of a royalty-free Roundup Ready trait. That’s why Genuity™ Roundup Ready 2 Yield technology will be the base platform for our future soybean technologies.

Seed Company and Farmer Choice After 2014

Farmers and seed companies will have the opportunity to make their own decisions about the value of Genuity™ Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans compared to Roundup Ready soybeans. Our seed company licensees will be able to continue to provide farmers with soybeans containing the Roundup Ready trait through the Roundup Ready patent expiration and beyond.

That means Roundup Ready trait licensees can make business plans that make the most sense for their operations and for their customers.

Here are some key points about the Roundup Ready patent expiration:

  • Monsanto is amending all Roundup Ready soybean trait licenses to extend through the final patent expiration. As a result, the last crop year for which Monsanto will collect royalties on the technology is 2014.
  • Licensees have no obligation to destroy or return seed due to expiration of the Roundup Ready soybean trait licenses.
  • Monsanto will not use variety patents against U.S. farmers who save varieties containing the Roundup Ready trait for planting on their own farms after expiration of the trait patent. Farmers should check with seed suppliers regarding the policy for seed varieties developed by other companies and contain the Roundup Ready trait.
  • Monsanto will maintain full global regulatory support for this first-generation technology through 2021. This will allow grain from the 2014 crop to be sold and processed. We will continue to monitor and assess the planned use of this first-generation technology beyond 2021 and work with appropriate stakeholders on any extension of regulatory support that may be needed.
  • Seed company licensees who choose to work with Genuity™ Roundup Ready 2 Yield technology will be able to continue to sell varieties with Roundup Ready after the patent expires. There is no need for them to stop selling Roundup Ready technology in order to sell the new trait.
  • Universities will also be able to offer soybean varieties containing the Roundup Ready trait. A number of universities have been breeding with the Roundup Ready soybean trait for a number of years and they will be able to continue this both now and following expiration of the patent.

Patent Protection, Innovation and Choice

The fact that Monsanto and other biotech companies continue to invest in the development of new soybean traits that will benefit farmers shows the U.S. patent system provides incentive for innovation.

The transition of Roundup Ready soybean technology into the public domain represents another benefit – patent expiration provides a means for public access to this technology.

This system motivates individuals as well as companies, to invest in all types of new technologies that make U.S. farmers and our economy more competitive.

Roundup Ready Trait and Soybean Variety Patents

Despite the advantage of the Genuity™ Roundup Ready 2 Yield trait, some farmers may want to use Roundup Ready soybean technology following the end of the trait patent.

Many Roundup Ready varieties are also covered by variety patents and plant variety protection certificates.  Monsanto will continue to enforce its intellectual property, including variety patents, with respect to commercial and developmental use of patented Roundup Ready varieties after the patent expiry.

However, as stated above, Monsanto will not use variety patents against U.S. farmers who save soybean varieties containing the Roundup Ready trait for planting on their own farms after patent expiration.

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FDA’s Vicious Attack on Dietary Supplements

Posted on 14 September 2011 by admin

By Dr. Mercola

S.1310: Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2011, introduced at the end of June by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) is, using Byron J. Richards’ words, “an alarming regulatory nightmare that is trying to treat vitamins as if they are drugs.”

Its stated purpose is to:

“… improve the safety of dietary supplements by amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require manufacturers of dietary supplements to register dietary supplement products with the Food and Drug Administration and to amend labeling requirements with respect to dietary supplements.”

As is typical of most diabolical laws, it initially sounds harmless enough. But there’s more. Durbin’s bill goes hand-in-hand with new FDA regulations that amend the definitions for new dietary ingredients (NDI’s), and together, they can threaten your health and freedom of choice, and further serve to strengthen the fatally flawed paradigm of health and medicine.

We’ve seen proposed legislation that sorely threatens your health and well-being before, but this time they’re really trying to hit the alternative health field, and your right to take control of your own life, hard.

It’s Not about Safety, It’s about Profits

Whose profit, you might ask?

Why, the pharmaceutical industry, of course. Vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements have a tremendously safe track record. Drugs are known to cause well over 100,000 deaths per yearwhen taken as prescribed.

For comparison, look at the latest statistics available from the U.S. National Poison Data System, which covers acute poisonings. In 2007, 1,597 people reportedly died from drugs. Meanwhile there was not one single fatality caused by a vitamin or dietary mineral supplement that year. Yet, Durbin and the FDA want you to think that they’re just acting in your best interest. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Up to this point, the FDA has had to prove a supplement unsafe in order to take action against it, but now they want the supplement industry to prove the safety of what in many cases amount to food, before they can reach the market.

Why add an extremely costly testing and approval process for compounds that are inherently safe? Well, an obvious side effect of these proposed regulations will be the elimination of small and medium sized companies, which in turn will drive up costs while at the same time reduce your access to historically safe nutritional products. The end result is that fewer people will use supplements to improve their health; driving them back into the extremely profitable fold of conventional medicine and drugs.

Byron J. Richards writes:

“The elimination of health options is required for the control of a population, while the preservation of health freedom is a leading indicator of the overall freedom within a society… [T]he control of health options is as important as the control of food and money.

… Big Pharma influences Republicans by aligning itself as a corporate conglomerate that is too big to fail, one that should be free of prudent safety regulations or reduction in grotesquely inflated prices. It fights against drug safety at every turn, while at the same time lobbying to pass laws that lock in sales or eliminate its competition.

The media plays along, as Big Pharma is a wonderful source of advertising dollars that are in no small part made possible by taxpayer funding of Big Pharma drug sales. While Big Pharma sees many aspects of the dietary supplement industry as competition, it is also the case that many pharmaceutical companies are in some aspect of the dietary supplement industry, often as raw material suppliers.

Big Pharma does not want to see the dietary supplement industry eliminated, it wants to see the small and medium sized independent businesses in the dietary supplement industry eliminated and it wants to own the industry. Their key strategy to accomplish this at this time is to lobby to pass costly laws and regulations which they can comply to and which other smaller, independent companies cannot. “

The Second Part of an Orchestrated Attack

Back in the early 1990s, the FDA threatened the availability of dietary supplements to the point that consumers staged a massive revolt, which resulted in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). The law specifically protects your access to dietary supplements by classifying them as foods, not food additives or drugs, and it grand-fathered in dietary supplements that were already in use as of 1994. Only novel ingredients introduced after October 15, 1994 are required to seek FDA approval.

Now, along with Durbin’s bill, the FDA has concocted new proposed mandates regarding the definition of a New Dietary Ingredient , known as NDI, that can be retroactively applied to products already on the market.

You can read the FDA Draft Guidance on New Dietary Ingredients (NDI’s) here. A detailed analysis of the FDA Draft Guidance is also available.

According to Richards:

“It is important to understand that this is a Durbin effort to ruin the dietary supplement industry, using both newly proposed legislation (S.1310) and retroactively redefining the DSHEA law through new FDA regulations to reflect what is being proposed in S.1310 – undermining the clear intent of the DSHEA law.

The DSHEA law intended consumers to have wide access to dietary supplements. Durbin is intent upon the opposite.” These regulations seek to change what was essentially a notification process into a costly approval process. The net effect of the regulations is to reclassify many nutritional compounds currently on the market as NDI.”

The DSHEA legislation states that:

  • the Federal Government should not take any actions to impose unreasonable regulatory barriers limiting or slowing the flow of safe products and accurate information to consumers;
  • dietary supplements are safe within a broad range of intake, and safety problems with the supplements are relatively rare;
  • and legislative action that protects the right of access of consumers to safe dietary supplements is necessary in order to promote wellness

The proposed mandates directly contradict what DSHEA sought to prevent, and the FDA is using its authority in direct violation of Congressional intent. As explained in an article by Alliance for Health, the proposed regulations turn what was clearly supposed to be a pre-market notification system into a pre-approval system, just like that of drugs. As a result, dietary supplements that have been freely available for nearly two decades can be forced off the market until they receive NDI approval. And the NDI approval process is a lengthy affair that may take months or years to complete, and cost a small fortune.

What might make an “old” ingredient “new,” under the new regulation?

The methods of production and extraction, for example… As bizarre as that sounds, the mere fact that a product is being extracted or produced by improved means compared to methods used in the past, could reclassify any grandfathered nutrient as an NDI that would now have to undergo the same type of safety testing and approval process as a drug.

Ridiculously Excessive Safety Testing Would be Required Under New Rules

If the FDA and Durbin get their way, once a supplement is taken off the market pending approval as an NDI, the manufacturer would have to conduct outrageously expensive studies using abnormally high doses—in some situations multiplied by a “safety factor” up to 2,000-times the recommended dosage on a per product basis. In fact, some of the safety thresholds are in excess of those required by pharmaceutical drugs despite studies showing supplements are FAR safer than drugs!

An estimated 106,000 hospitalized patients die each year from drugs that, by medical standards, are properly prescribed and administered, and two million more suffer serious side effects. How does the safety of supplements compare?

  • In 2001, 84.6 percent of all substances implicated in fatal poisonings were pharmaceutical drugs, according to that year’s American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) report. This compares with 0.8 percent for all dietary supplements combined, even including substances such as dinitrophenol, a dangerous (and illegal) substance banned in 1938, as well as the central nervous system stimulant Ma Huang (Ephedra).

    ONE drug alone, the anti-asthma drug theophylline, which was responsible for 15 deaths that year, amounted to 66 percent more than all the available dietary supplements combined.

  • According to CDC mortality data for 2005, prescription drugs killed more than 33,500 people that year, second only to car accidents. That same year, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 27 deaths that were associated with dietary supplements (one of which was reportedly due to Ephedra; the herbal supplement banned the year before for being too dangerous. In 2005, low-dose Ephedra was also subsequently banned).

Now, since dietary supplements are not patented drugs with outrageous profit margins, very few supplement makers will be able to afford the required safety studies, which could run in the millions of dollars per ingredient! Furthermore, the manufacturer is not the only one that would have to seek approval—every distributor that wants to use the NDI would have to file a separate NDI application.

Get Involved NOW!

Folks, this is not the time to doze off on the sidelines. Durbin’s bill and the FDA proposed mandates for NDI’s are a poorly veiled attempt to usurp your rights and health freedom. As Richards writes:

“This chess game is being played with a pathetic opening strategy based on imaginary safety problems. The gambit requires an ignorant public for its success.

It’s time to prove them wrong yet again, just like we did back in 1994. The open comment period on the FDA’s proposed guidelines expires on September 30, 2011. It’s vitally important for everyone to file a written protest and not allow them to rewrite the intent of the DSHEA law. Durbin’s bill and the FDA proposal pose a direct threat to your health and longevity, so please, step up and defend your right to continue using supplements and to gain access to new natural ingredients with demonstrated efficacy by following the steps outlined below:

  1. Write to your State Senators and tell them to beware of S.1310 and to vote NO on it.

  2. Log on to www.lef.org/lac to send a written petition to the FDA, or use the sample letter provided below. Print out this petition and add any words you choose and fax this to the FDA at the following number: (301) 443-9767
  3. Call FDA at 1-888-723-3366 and read this petition to personnel at the Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements
  4. Send a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by logging in to lef.org/FOIA to find out what pharmaceutical interests are behind these absurd proposals that will cause the cost of what supplements remain on the free market to skyrocket in price. (Sample letter is also provided below.)
  5. Send a letter to your Representative and two Senators demanding the FDA immediately withdraw their oppressive proposed guidelines pending rationale discussions with those who depend on dietary supplements to protect their health and livelihood. You can do this easily by logging into www.lef.org/lac, or use the sample letter below.

Empower yourself today. Recall how Consumers revolted back in 1994 and the result was a glorious victory over FDA tyranny!

Let your voice be heard by logging on to www.lef.org/lac today and exercising your right to petition the government against these serious violations of the law and scientific principle.

SAMPLE FDA PETITION:

PLEASE NOTE, it is best if you customize or change the letter below to state your specific concerns and beliefs as it will be better. If you are unable to then you can send the one below but it will work MUCH better if you can customize it.

TO: Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements

Food and Drug Administration

5100 Paint Branch Pkwy.HFS-009

College Park, MD 20740-3835

Telephone:1-888-723-3366

Fax: (301) 443-9767

On July 11, 2011, President Obama issued an Executive Order that requires the FDA to:

  1. Make regulatory decisions only after consideration of their costs and benefits (both quantitative and qualitative).
  2. Review significant regulations to make sure they are not excessively burdensome.
  3. Develop and release to the public a plan within 120 days under which the FDA will periodically review its existing significant regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed so as to make the agency’s regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives.

I am petitioning the FDA regarding your draft guidance on New Dietary Ingredient notifications for dietary supplements (known as Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues).

I demand that you immediately disregard all the proposals you outlined and instead consider a rationale and scientific approach to regulating new dietary ingredients that will be submitted to you by the Alliance for Natural Health within the next 180 days.

Your proposed guidelines on New Dietary Ingredients will cause the price of my supplements to skyrocket and some of these life-sustaining supplements are likely to disappear altogether.

This is not acceptable, especially when there are no significant reports of adverse reactions to the supplements you plan to ban.

In as much as your threat to ban my access to new dietary ingredients is causing me great anxiety which is injurious to my health, I insist that you immediately put your proposed new rules on hold for a 180 day period so that the Alliance for Natural Health can draft guidelines that will protect me against unsafe ingredients without destroying my access to low cost effective nutrients.

Sincerely,

Name___________Address____________City___________ST____ Zip___

SAMPLE LETTER TO CONGRESS:

The Honorable ______________________, Washington, DC

In direct violation of the law, the FDA is threatening to ban my access to new dietary supplements.

The FDA defines dietary supplements as being “new” if they were introduced after October 15, 1994. That means that nutrients that I have been safely using over the course of three decades will be subject to FDA’s oppressive policies that mandate costly animal testing, which translates into forced withdrawal from the market, and higher prices for me if the supplement is ever allowed to be sold again.

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 states that:

The Federal Government should not take any actions to impose unreasonable regulatory barriers limiting or slowing the flow of safe products and accurate information to consumers.”

It says that Congress finds that:

dietary supplements are safe within a broad range of intake, and safety problems with the supplements are relatively rare.”

And it says that:

legislative action that protects the right of access of consumers to safe dietary supplements is necessary in order to promote wellness.”

This draft guidance does the exact opposite of what Congress intended. It imposes unreasonable barriers that limit and slow the flow of safe products and accurate information to consumers. I call upon Congress to:

  1. Uphold the landmark legislation it passed seventeen years ago, and to direct the FDA to revise its New Dietary Ingredient draft guidelines to reflect DSHEA’s (and Congress’s) stated values and goals.
  2. Vote against the newly introduced Dietary Supplement Labeling Act as this would give the FDA even greater arbitrary powers to remove safe dietary supplements from the market, which will a profoundly adverse impact on this nation’s health.

All of these proposals results in wasteful federal spending, while imposing a massive new “regulatory tax” on consumers and the vitamin industry.

Kindly let me know what actions you are taking in response to the urgent issues raised in this letter.

Sincerely,

Name______________Address____________City___________ST____ Zip___

SAMPLE FOIA REQUEST:

Below is a sample letter that you can use to select one or more of the 19 listed requests for records, or create your own individual request. You can then copy, edit, print, and send this to the FDA at the address on the letter. Please note that you are committing to paying a $25.00 charge if FDA agrees to respond to your request. The more records you request, the greater the FDA fees are likely to be. If you choose to file a Freedom of Information Act request, please read this letter carefully.

Date: _____________
Food and Drug Administration

Division of Freedom of Information

Office of Shared Services

Office of Public Information and Library Services

12420 Parklawn Drive

ELEM-1029

Rockville, MD 20857

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear FOIA staff:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. §552, we wish to have copies at the earliest possible time, of any and all public records in the custody of the Food and Drug Administration that relate to the “Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues” released in July 2011.

I specifically request:

  1. All records relating to the expenditure of time and money by FDA personnel (and outside consultants) in researching, drafting and promulgating the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  2. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with pharmaceutical company representatives (including lobbyists) that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  3. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with any member of Congress or Congress as a whole that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  4. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with any member of private industry that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  5. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with any scientific advisory committee, scientific advisory board, or individual scientist that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  6. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with FDA’ General Counsel’s office, or outside legal counsel that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  7. All records relating to FDA’s evaluation of safety issues relating to new dietary ingredients that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  8. All records relating to FDA’s decision to impose barriers that limit the ability of consumers to access new dietary ingredients that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  9. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with other FDA personal that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  10. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with personal from the Department of Health and Human Services that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  11. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with personal from the U.S. Treasury Department that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  12. All records relating to the cost benefit analysis performed by FDA or outside consultants that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  13. All records relating to financial estimates made by FDA personnel or outside consultants relating to the cost to the FDA of administering the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  14. All records relating to financial estimates made by FDA personnel or outside consultants relating to the cost burden of the dietary supplement industry in complying with the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  15. All records relating to what human and other resources within the FDA would be utilized to oversee and administer the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  16. All records relating to what human and other resources within the FDA would be moved or transferred from other positions within the FDA in order to oversee and administer the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  17. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with the Department of Justice that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  18. All records relating to the steps taken by the FDA to ensure the Administrative Procedures Act was fully complied with as it relates to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  19. All records relating to the steps taken by the FDA to ensure that provisions in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 was fully adhered to as it relates to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.

I agree to pay any and all expenses up to $25.00 related to this request. If you anticipate that the nature or volume of the records requested is such as to require extensive use of information technology, resources, or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by personnel of the Food and Drug Administration, and such expenses would exceed $25.00, I would appreciate being advised thereof in advance of the assembly of those records and the estimated charge in excess of $25.00, if any, for doing so.

If the FDA asserts an exemption from Public Records Act disclosure of any records falling within the scope of the above request, we request that it include in the records inspected, or otherwise make available to us as soon as possible and in no event no later than the date of the initial production of the records, a reasonable description of the nature of the records for which an exemption or exemptions are claimed and the statutory or other legal bases under any such exemption is claimed.

I would appreciate your contacting me, at ___________ at the earliest possible time to advise us of when the FDA will make the requested copies available.

Please call if you have any questions regarding this request.

Sincerely,

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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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GMOs Failing Across America – Farmer to Farmer Documentary Film Reveals Disastrous Failure

Posted on 14 June 2011 by admin

(NaturalNews) The mainstream media reports almost nothing about the downside of GMO farming. Only the propaganda of creating more agricultural abundance cheaply is broadcasted. A short video documentary “Farmer to Farmer: The Truth about GM Crops” offers a glimpse into the undisclosed downside reality of GMO farming.

Documentary Essence

Michael Hart has been a commercial farmer in Cornwall, England for thirty years. He is not an organic farmer, but he is a proponent of agricultural diversity from family farms. He wants the EU to avoid theGMOseed/herbicide trap.

His recently produced short documentary focuses onAmerican farmers, who have bought into thebiotechindustry’s propaganda of higher yields with less overhead. Thefarmershe interviewed underscore the same theme:Monsantohas trapped them into a financial system of patented seeds andherbicidesthat have resulted in faltering crop yields with higher operating expenses.

Major Points Discussed in the Video

Monsanto sells its Roundupherbicidespecifically for itsRoundup ReadyGM seeds. It’s part of a rigidly enforced deal. The deal is sold with the promise that one post emergence pass (spraying after plants emerge) ofRoundupwill be sufficient for high crop yields of Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready GMOseeds.

At first this appeared to be the case. But within a short time, Roundup resistantweedsbegan sprouting. Different combinations of tank mixed herbicides had to be contrived and purchased in addition to Monsanto’s contractually required Roundup herbicide. Monsanto even sold tank mixed herbicides as well.

Not only did one pass not work, but farmers also attested to different combinations of herbicides with several passes, which included pre-emergence and post emergence spraying to manage theircrops. The new weeds had become a plague. And GMO crop production wound up demanding even morepesticideapplications thannon-GMOcommercial farming.

Because the biotechindustrynow funds most agricultural university research, the farmers are concerned about the lack of attention toward developing betterpesticidesthat would minimize spraying. When the composite chemical tank pesticides don’t do the job, Monsanto advises farmers to pull weeds by hand. Many crop fields are well over a thousand acres!

GMO farmers are contractually barred from saving seeds for future crop planting. This violates a centuries old custom. They have to buy new GMO seeds from Monsanto for every new crop planting. A non-GMOfarmercan save seeds to raise new crops. Even if GMO seeds are cheaper, in the long run the non-GMO farmer saves money since he’s able to use seeds saved from prior plantings many times over.

Even so, prices for non-GMO seeds have increased substantially as public (not patented) seeds are being crowded out of the market with Monsanto’sgovernment granted ability to patent seeds that are not genetically modified. Farmers hire professional seed cleaners to clean and sort their saved seeds. Monsanto harasses seed cleaners to ensure they are not mixing Monsanto’s patented seeds with farmers’ saved seeds.

American farmers realize the co-existence of non-GMO fields with GMO fields is impossible. They’ve had to learn the hard way that cross pollination and seeds carried by wind and migrating birds contaminate their non-GMO fields. And Monsanto uses patent law to prosecute farmers, who have been unwittingly contaminated by nearby GM fields belonging to other farmers. This type of intimidation forces non-GMO farmers out of business.

Conclusion

Michael Hart has vowed to promote GMOresistanceto EU farmers. Beyond Hart’s mission, health freedom activists, who are concerned about GMO threat to human health, should consider including disgruntled GMO and non-GMO commercial farmers in an international coalition of GMO resistance.

You can view the Farmer to Farmer video here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEX6…

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/033264_farmers_GMOs.html#ixzz1avQuvhzT

 

Farmer to Farmer: The Truth About GM Crops (Video)

Presented and Narrated by Michael Hart
Edited by Pete Speller
2011, 24 minutes
Websites: gmcropsfarmertofarmer.com and PeteSpeller.com

Michael Hart, a conventional livestock family farmer from Cornwall (UK), investigates the reality of farming genetically modified crops in the USA since their introduction in 1996.  He travels across the US interviewing farmers and other specialists about their experiences of growing GM.

Hart has been farming in Cornwall for nearly thirty years and has actively campaigned on behalf of family farmers for over fifteen years, travelling extensively in Europe, India, Canada and the USA.

During the making of the film he heard problems of the ever increasing costs of seeds and chemicals to weeds becoming resistant to herbicides.

US farmers told him that a single pass (one herbicide application) is a fallacy and concurred that three or more passes are the norm for GM crops.

As weeds have become more resistant to glyphosate there has been a sharp increase in the use of herbicide tank mixes (most of them patented and owned by the biotech companies). Astonishingly some farmers were now having to resort to hand labour to remove weeds.

Farmers have seen the costs spiral, for example, the price of seed has gone from $40 to over $100 per acre over the last few years.

Farmers referred to co-existence (the ability to grow GM crops next to non-GM and organic crops) as “unsolvable” and say that it does not work.

His work uncovers:

  1. A huge “weed” problem;
  2. The myth of co-existence;
  3. Farmers trapped into the genetically modified biotech system; and
  4. Huge price increases for seeds and sprays- well beyond the price increases farmers have received for their crops.

In short, the film shows US farmers urging great caution to be exercised by UK and European farmers in adopting this technology.

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Scientists Use Human Genes in Animals, So Cows Produce Human-Like Milk—Or Do They?

Posted on 03 April 2011 by admin

Don’t expect to see any human-like milk products on store shelves. That’s just a trick of redirection, hoping you won’t notice the ethical issue of patenting human genetics.

by Heidi Stevenson

3 April 2011

Calf and baby in grass

 

The latest in genetic engineering involves implanting human genes into cow embryos to produce human-like milk. You can imagine who the intended recipients are, can’t you? Just think: There’ll be no need for mommy to risk saggy breasts to feed her baby! Baby won’t know the difference between a bottle and mommy’s breast! No more guilt for not feeding babies what’s best!

Or maybe not.

Scientists in China are claiming to have produced a human-like milk by introducing a human gene into 300 Holstein cows. They’ve inserted the gene for human lysozome (HLZ), which is involved in significantly more than production of milk. It’s an organelle, which is found in most cells, that’s involved in intracellular digestion. Thus, the entire cow’s body has been turned over to production of human-like cellular digestion.

No mention is made of how this affects the cows, but it’s difficult to believe that it’s anything but harmful, likely resulting in misery for the animals. Nor does it look like the result is anything that even approaches human-like milk.

Human-Like Milk?

The authors of the study, “Characterization of Bioactive Recombinant Human Lysozyme Expressed in Milk of Cloned Transgenic Cattle”, published in PLoS, state that HLZ “increases the levels of beneficial intestinal microflora and strengthens disease resistance in infants”. This is fine, but this is the only thing that they’ve introduced into cows’ milk. They have not duplicated the nutrient composition, though their hype would have you believe that’s been done.

Professor Ning Li, the project leader, stated, “The milk tastes stronger than normal milk.” That alone clarifies the fact that the result is far removed from human milk. The single most significant taste difference between human milk and cow’s milk—or most others—is its sweetness, not its strong taste.

 

Milk is, of course, the perfect food for the offspring of the mother. It provides perfect nutrition and a natural source of antibodies to prevent disease in the young. A breast-fed baby is known to have lower risk of disease and better development.

Obviously, the physiology and diet of the mother will have a great deal to do with the quality and substance of the milk—and the simple fact is that a cow is not a human. A cow doesn’t eat the same sort of food a human does. A cow has four stomachs, instead of a human’s single stomach. A cow’s digestion process includes chewing its cud. When was the last time you saw someone chewing cud?

A cow is never going to produce human milk, even with a human gene imposed on it. A cow’s physiology is simply too different. So what is this human-like milk?

Real Purpose of the Human-Like Milk

The primary intention of the researchers can be discerned in this quote from the second paragraph of the study report:

Furthermore, some reports have shown that HLZ has anti-fungal and anti-viral activities. Moreover, changes in the HLZ concentration in serum or urine is used as a diagnostic marker for certain diseases. Also, HLZ is under study as a potentially useful material for use in food products, cosmetics (as a preservative), medicine feed, baby formula, and so on.

 

The researchers are focused primarily on using HLZ as a chemical. Cows are being genetically modified so that they will produce a chemical that they hope to use as a drug, diagnostic product, and additive to foods and cosmetics. If they can also convince the public that it’s a health food, then the profits will be even greater.

The scientists have also created cows that produce milk with the protein lactoferrin, which assists the immune system in babies. In other instances, they have increased the milk fat and changed the milk solids. However, each of these is a single change. They have not been combined.

The reality is that there has not been any milk produced by cows that comes near duplicating human milk. All that’s been done is the recreation of single human molecules in cow’s milk.

Suffering and Death of the Cows

While the scientists are claiming that their cloning and GM technologies are harmless, the fact is that their experiments have been extremely harmful to the animals. During two of them, 42 calves with human genes were born. However, 10 died shortly after birth and 6 died within six months. Only 26 survived. Most of the deaths were from gastrointestinal disease. That does not bode well for the health or comfort of the surviving animals.

The Director of GeneWatch UK stated:

We have major concerns about this research to genetically modify cows with human genes. There are major welfare issues with genetically modified animals as you get high numbers of still births.

There is a question about whether milk from these cows is going to be safe for humans and it is really hard to tell that unless you do large clinical trials like you would a drug, so there will be uncertainty about whether it could be harmful to some people.

Ethically there are issues about mass producing animals in this way.

 

Deformed calves are being brought into the world to suffer horrendously so that a few people can make profits from their anguish. And we haven’t any reason to believe that these products are safe for humans.

False Claims for the Technology

Biology Professor at the University of Nottingham, Keith Campbell, states:

Genetically modified animals and plants are not going to be harmful unless you deliberately put in a gene that is going to be poisonous. Why would anyone do that in a food? Genetically modified food, if done correctly, can provide huge benefit for consumers in terms of producing better products.

 

Of course, Mr. Campbell doesn’t offer any basis on which he makes his claims. That’s because he can’t. There are no studies to document them.

Hype and Human Genes

So why are the scientists making irrational claims for their research? The answer is in the ultimate goal: profits. By creating buzz about what they’re doing, they can bring interest to their projects, while redirecting attention away from their real goal. The scientists are working in conjunction with Beijing GenProtein Biotechnology Company. This association is so close that four of them are employees.

Everything about the project is focused on publicity. The lead researcher, Ning Li, makes claims about the experiments that are simply not justified by the results. He stated:

The modified bovine milk is a possible substitute for human milk. It fulfilled the conception of humanising the bovine milk.

 

As explained above, that claim is far from reality. When a scientist makes such claims that are unjustified by studies, it can only be explained by a desire to sell products.

Perhaps they will ultimately manage to create cows that produce a human-like milk. First, though, the only thing that makes sense is that they intend to use the human molecules produced by the cows’ milk to evade questions about patenting human genes.

While everyone’s attention is focused on the idea of producing human-like milk from cows—a feat they aren’t even close to accomplishing—they will be working away at producing patentable products based on human genes by the convenient sleight-of-hand of slipping them into cows.

Don’t expect to see any human-like milk products on store shelves. That’s nothing but a trick of redirection away from the genuine ethical issue of patenting human genetics.

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OCA’s Resource Center on Genetically Modified Wheat

Posted on 16 October 2010 by admin

Genetically Modified Wheat is a Threat to Farmers

  • Stop GM WheatWe are seeing massive problems with the genetic contamination from neighboring farms with GM corn, soybeans and canola. Most of the soybean supply in the U.S. is already contaminated with genetically modified seeds. Many organic and conventional corn farmers are losing markets because their crops are testing positive for GM traits. Many experts have said that it is next to impossible to find non-GM canola in Canada because of this genetic trespass. Wheat pollen is even more pervasive than that of canola.
  • All these new GM crops are patented, which prohibits farmers from planting the seeds in subsequent years. This means that they must purchase the patented seed every year from the seed company. Monsanto sells 90% of all GM seeds in use today. This corporation is currently taking legal action against hundreds of farmers for saving seed, but many of these farmers have not planted Monsanto’s seed; their crops have GM traits only because of contamination from GM pollen. Percy Schmeiser, a Canadian canola grower, was sued by Monsanto and lost his case over this very same issue. His case is currently under appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Genetically Modified Wheat is a Threat to the Economy

  • GM wheat is a mortal threat to the U.S. wheat market. It is estimated that the loss of markets for GM corn, soy and canola has reached over 300 million dollars per year because the European Union will not purchase GM crops. The U.S. is the world’s leading wheat exporter. Many foreign companies have stated that they will not purchase GM wheat or any wheat if GM wheat is grown in the region. Korea is the fifth largest purchaser of U.S. wheat exports. The Korean Flour Mills Industrial Association has stated that they want GM-free certification of any hard red spring wheat they purchase. The price of spring wheat could drop by one-third if a GM variety is introduced commercially into Montana or North Dakota, according to agricultural economist Dr. Robert Wisner of Iowa State University. This will spell doom for North American wheat growers even if they decide to not plant GM wheat themselves.
  • GM crops are not required to go through any type of independent safety peer review to determine if they are safe for either human consumption or the environment.
We must oppose this theft of a great common resource and protect the sovereignty of independent farmers and our right to safe food.

http://www.organicconsumers.org/wheat.cfm

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GMO Seeds and Sugar Beets by Monsanto

Posted on 03 September 2010 by admin

India Monsanto farmer in a fieldIndia is in the midst of a flood of suicides among farmers. A new feature film written and directed by Anusha Rizwi and produced by Bollywood megastar Aamir Khan, called Peepli Live, takes a look at this grim topic.

The vast majority of people in India still farm for a living, but are caught between deep debt and the erratic nature of seasonal change.

Indian farmers are pressured into mortgaging their farms to purchase genetically modified seeds, pesticides, and fertilizer from American companies like Monsanto.

According to AlterNet:

“Since GM seeds are patented by Monsanto, their repeated use each year requires constant licensing fees that keep farmers impoverished. One bad yield due to drought or other reasons, plunges farmers so deep into debt that they resort to suicide. One study estimates that 150,000 farmers have killed themselves in the past ten years.”

Meanwhile, in the U.S., District Judge Jeffrey White, a federal judge in California, has banned the planting of genetically modified Roundup Ready sugar beets created by Monsanto. The beets are engineered to withstand Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

White said he was “troubled by maintaining the status quo that consists of 95 percent of sugar beets being genetically engineered while [the USDA] conducts the environmental review that should have occurred before the sugar beets were deregulated.”

The ban does not affect crops already planted and harvested for sugar.

The St. Louis Business Journal reports:

“Environmental groups … filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in January 2008 to challenge the deregulation of Roundup Ready sugar beets by the USDA … Opponents say the beets promote superweeds, weeds that cannot easily be killed because they have developed a tolerance to weed killer. They also raise concerns about the contamination of conventional and organic crops.”

 

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
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I believe genetically modified plants and foods are one of the most significant  threats against humanity and life on this planet, for a number of reasons.

Biotechnology has changed the face of farming as we know it, and with each passing year, we move further away from the ancient farming practice of saving the best seeds for replanting the following season – a method that is both inexpensive and proven successful for optimal crop quality.

Now, the increased use of genetically modified seeds that must be purchased anew each year are starting to take its toll. A mere 15 years into commercial GM seed use, we’re now seeing GM crops contaminating conventional and organic crops; different GM varieties combining with each other in the wild, creating unintended GM hybrids; and farmers driven to desperate acts due to financial devastation.

Genetic Engineering May Sterilize Nature. Then What?

Consider this: Monsanto’s “suicide gene” has not only been inserted into certain food crops, rendering them sterile in order to force farmers to buy new seeds. This technology is now spreading to other industries, such as forestry.

Scientific American reported on this in January. Two paper industry giants are planning to replace the native pine in the forests of southwestern US with genetically engineered, sterile, eucalyptus. By making the trees unable to reproduce naturally, they propose there’s no need to worry about the GM eucalyptus turning into an invasive species…

Really?

Earlier this week I wrote about two GM varieties of canola spreading into the wild, and cross-breeding with each other, creating a third hybrid that is resistant to not one but two herbicides. Science has already discovered that the genome is more “intelligent” than previously thought, and by planting non-native trees that have been gene spliced to reduce proliferation does NOT make me rest easy.

On the contrary. I believe there are plenty of indications that the introduction of sterile plants of various kinds may allow this genetic ability to “turn off” reproductive capability to spread into other parts of nature, in ways that none of us can predict.

For an eye opening look at the genetic engineering now overtaking the forestry industry, I highly recommend watching the documentary film “A Silent Forest,” available in full on MEFEEDiA.com.

How are GM Crops Provoking Farmers to Commit Suicide?

According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, more than 182,900 Indian farmers took their own lives between 1997 and 2007. It estimates 46 Indian farmers commit suicide every day. That equates to roughly one suicide every 30 minutes!

Some will argue that natural events are to blame, such as lack of rain, but crop failures have occurred before, and it didn’t push thousands of farmers to end their lives by drinking pesticide.

No, the increased desperation can be traced directly back to the use of patented, and therefore expensive, seeds, and the unconscionable tactics of Monsanto.

Monsanto has been ruthless in their drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops. Over the past decade, millions of Indian farmers have been promised radically increased harvests and income if they switch from their traditional age tested farming methods to genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton seeds.

So, they borrow money to buy GM seeds, which need certain pesticides that were previously unnecessary, which requires even more money. When rain fall is sparse, the GM crops actually fare far worse than traditional crops – a fact that these farmers oftentimes don’t learn until it’s too late and they’re standing there with failed crops, spiraling debts, and no income.

And by next season, they have to do it all over again because the GM seeds cannot be saved and replanted. They must be purchased again.

In addition, GM crops have spawned:

  • Bt resistant pests
  • New pests
  • Superweeds

For example, the evolution of Bt resistant bollworms worldwide have now been confirmed and documented, and what used to be minor pests are now becoming major problems – such as mirid bugs, which have increased 12-fold since 1997 in China, and can be directly linked to the scale of China’s Bt cotton cultivation.

In addition, the promise that GM crops would reduce pesticide/herbicide use has turned out to be entirely false.

The use of Roundup herbicide has increased dramatically since the GM Roundup Ready crops were introduced. In the first 13 years, American farmers sprayed an additional 383 million pounds of herbicide due to these herbicide-tolerant crops. And now the repeated exposures have given Mother Nature all she needs to stage her comeback in the form of devastating superweeds.

Since 1996, when GM crops were first introduced, at least nine species of U.S. weeds have developed resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, which means farmers must use additional herbicides, some of them even more toxic than Roundup.

In the end, we’re left with all of the downsides and none of the intended benefits.

Bollywood Brings Indian Farmers’ Plight to the Big Screen

AlterNet.com reports on a new Indian film called Peepli Live that grapples with this topic:

“The story is set in an Indian village named Peepli where one young debt-burdened farmer named Natha is talked into taking his own life after he learns that his family will be financially compensated through a government program created to alleviate the loss of farmers taking their own lives.”

The film features Bollywood megastar Aamir Khan. An interview with him about the film and the plight of Indian farmers can be found here.

Hopefully this film is successful in raising awareness about the destructive power of this technology.

US Judge Halts Deregulation of Roundup Ready Sugar Beets – For Now…

Meanwhile, the US has been granted a temporary reprieve from yet another GM food.

The U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White, a federal judge in California, recently banned the planting of Monsanto’s GM Roundup-resistant sugar beets. The ruling, which can be read here, does not affect any crop that has already been planted or harvested, however, so GM sugar will still reach the market place.

The GM sugar beet is called Genuity, and was introduced during the 2008-2009 season.

Although considered a victory, the judge’s ruling did not grant plaintiffs’ motion for a permanent injunction against GM sugar beet plantings.

The St Louis Business Journal recently reported:

“White ruled in September 2009 that the USDA will have to complete an Environmental Impact Statement for the sugar beets. The USDA has estimated that an EIS may be ready by 2012.

Monsanto has said in court papers that revoking regulators’ approval of sugar beets would cost the biotech giant and its customers approximately $2 billion in 2011 and 2012.”

Roundup Residue Causes Cell Damage

The increasing use of Roundup on crops engineered to survive being doused in the herbicide has its own set of health consequences.

Residues of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide found in GM food and feed has been linked to cell damage and even death, even at very low levels. Researchers have also found it causes membrane and DNA damage, and inhibits cell respiration.

So not only are you exposed to foods that contain built-in toxins, you’re also consuming larger amounts of toxic residues on the food, for the simple fact that more is now being used.

Pesticide and herbicide residues are very difficult to remove from grains, fruits and vegetables. Even meticulous washing cannot get rid of it all.

What Can You Do to Affect Change?

Did you know that genetically modified foods are so prevalent in the US that if you randomly pick an item off your grocery store’s shelves, you have a 75 percent chance of picking a food with GM ingredients?

It’s true. At least seven out of every 10 food items have been genetically modified, and there’s more to come.

The potential health ramifications of these world-wide experiments with our food supply are frightening to say the least. If you care about the health and future of your family, I strongly urge you to refuse to participate in this destructive trend.

How?

It’s actually simpler than you might think… By buying only non-GM foods.

Must-Have Guide to NON-GMO Foods

The True Food Shopping Guide is a great tool for helping you determine which brands and products contain GM ingredients. It lists 20 different food categories that include everything from baby food to chocolate.

Additionally, here are four simple steps to decrease your consumption of GM foods as much as possible:

  • Reduce or eliminate processed foods in your diet. The fact that 75 percent of processed foods contain GM ingredients is only one of the many reasons to stick to a whole foods diet.
  • Read produce and food labels. Conventionally raised soybeans and corn make up the largest portion of genetically modified crops. Ingredients made from these foods include high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn flour and meal, dextrin, starch, soy sauce, margarine, and tofu.
  • Buy organic produce. By definition, food that is certified organic must be free from all GM organisms, produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers and from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Additionally, grass-fed beef will not have been fed GM corn feed.
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Genetically Manipulated Crops – GMO Catastrophe in the USA is Lesson for the World

Posted on 18 August 2010 by admin

Recently the unelected potentates of the EU Commission in Brussels have sought to override what has repeatedly been shown to be the overwhelming opposition of the European Union population to the spread of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in EU agriculture. EU Commission President now has a Maltese accountant as health and enviromnent Commissioner to rubber stamp the adoption of GMO. The former EU Environment Commissioner from Greece was a ferocious GMO opponent. As well, the Chinese government has indicated it may approve a variety of GMO rice. Before things get too far along, they would do well to take a closer look at the world GMO test lab, the USA. There GMO crops are anything but beneficial. Just the opposite.

What is carefully kept out of the Monsanto and other agribusiness propaganda in promoting genetically manipulated crops as an alternative to conventional is the fact that in the entire world until the present, all GMO crops have been manipulated and patented for only two things—to be resistant or “tolerant” to the patented highly toxic herbicide glyphosate chemicals that Monsanto and the others force farmers to buy as condition for buying their patented GMO seeds. The second trait is GMO seeds that have been engineered genetically to resist specific insects. Contrary to public relations myths promoted by the agribusiness giants in their own self-interest, there exists not oné single GMO seed that provides a greater harvest yield than conventional, nor one that requires less toxic chemical herbicides. That is for the simple reason there is no profit to be made in such.

Giant super-weeds plague

As prominent GMO opponent and biologist, Dr Mae-Wan Ho of the  Institute of Science in  London has noted, companies such as Monsanto build into their seeds herbicide-tolerance (HT) due to glyphosate-insensitive form of the gene coding for the enzyme targeted by the herbicide. The enzyme is derived from soil bacteriumAgrobacterium tumefaciens. Insect-resistance is due to one or more toxin genes derived from the soil bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). The United States began large scale commercial planting of GMO plants, mainly soybeans and corn and cotton around 1997. By now, GM crops have taken over between 85 percent to 91 percent of the areas planted with the three major crops, soybean, corn and cotton in the US, on nearly 171 million acres.

The ecological time-bomb that came with the GMO according to Ho, is about to explode. Over several years of constant application of patented glyphosate herbicides such as Monsanto’s famous and highly Roundup, new herbicide-resistant “super-weeds” have evolved, nature’s response to man-made attempts to violate it. The super-weeds require significantly more not less herbicide to control.

ABC Television, a major US national network, made a recent documentary about the super-weeds under the rubric, “super weeds that can’t be killed.”[1]

They interviewed farmers and scientists across Arkansas who described fields overrun with giant pigweed plants that can withstand as much glyphosate as farmers are able to spray. They interviewed one farmer who spent almost €400000 in only three months in a failed attempt to kill the new super-weeds.

The new super-weeds are so robust that harvester combines are unable to harvest the fields and hand tools break trying to cut them down. At least 400000 hectares of soybean and cotton in Arkansas alone have become invested with this new mutant biological plague. Detailed data on other agricultural regions is not available but believed similar. The pro-GMO and pro-agribusiness US Department of Agriculture has been reported lying about the true state of US crop harvest partly to hide the grim reality and to prevent an explosive revolt against GMO in the world’s largest GMO market.

Superweed

One variety of super-weed, palmer pigweed can grow up to 2.4 meters high, withstands severe heat and prolonged droughts, and produces thousands of seeds with a root system that drains nutrients away from crops. If left unchecked, it takes over an entire field in a year. Some farmers have been forced to abandon their land. To date palmer pigweed infestation in GMO crop regions has been identified in addition to Arkansas, also in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, New Mexico, Mississippi and most recently, Alabama and Missouri.

Weed scientists at the University of Georgia estimate that just two palmer pigweed plants in every 6 meter length of cotton row can reduce yield by at least 23 percent. A single weed plant can produce 450 000 seeds. [2]


Roundup toxic danger being covered-up

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the US and the world at large. Patented and sold by Monsanto since the 1970s under the trade name Roundup, it is a mandatory component of buying GMO seeds from Monsanto. Just go to your local garden store and ask for it and read the label carefully.

As I detail in my book, Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, GMO crops and patented seeds were developed in the 1970’s with significant financial support from the pro-eugenics Rockefeller Foundation, by what were essentially chemical companies—Monsanto Chemicals, DuPont and Dow Chemicals. All three were involved in the scandal of the highly toxic Agent Orange used in Vietnam, as well as Dioxin in the 1970’s, and lied to cover up the true damage to its own employees as well as to civilian and military populations exposed.

Their patented GMO seeds were seen as a clever way to force increased purchase of their agricultural chemicals such as Roundup. Farmers must sign a legal contract with Monsanto in which it stipulates that only Monsanto Roundup pesticide may be used. Farmers are thus trapped both in buying new seeds from Monsanto each harvest and buying the toxic glyphosate.

France’s University of Caen, in a team led by molecular biologist, Gilles-Eric Seralini, did a study that showed Roundup contained one specific inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA. Seralini’s team demonstrated that POEA in Roundup was more deadly to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than even the glyphosate itself. Monsanto refuses to release details of the contents of its Roundup other than glyphosate, calling it “proprietary.” [3]

The Seralini study found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells—even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns! The French team studied multiple concentrations of Roundup, from the typical agricultural or lawn dose down to concentrations 100,000 times more dilute than the products sold on shelves. The researchers saw cell damage at all concentrations.

Glyphosate and Roundup are advertised as “less toxic to us than table salt” in a pamphlet from the Biotechnology Institute promoting GMO crops as ‘Weed Warrior.’ Thirteen years of GMO crops in the USA has increased overall pesticide use by 318 million pounds, not decreased as promised by the Four Horsemen of the GMO Apocalypse. The extra disease burden on the nation from that alone is considerable.

Nonetheless after introduction of Monsanto GMO seeds commercially in the USA, use of glyphosate has risen more than 1500% between 1994 and 2005. In the USA some 100 million pounds of glyphosate are used on lawns and farms every year, and over the last 13 years, it has been applied to more than a billion acres. When questioned, Monsanto’s technical development manager, Rick Cole, reportedly said the problems were “manageable.” He advised farmers to alternate crops and use different makes of herbicides produced by Monsanto. Monsanto is encouraging farmers to mix glyphosate with its older herbicides such as 2,4-D, banned in Sweden, Denmark and Norway for links to cancer and reproductive and neurological damage. 2,4-D is a component of Agent Orange, produced by Monsanto for use in Vietnam in the 1960s.


US Farmers turn to organics

Farmers across the United States are reported to be going back to conventional non-GMO crops instead. According to a new report from the US Department of Agriculture, retail sales of organic food went up to $21.1 billion in 2008 from $3.6 billion in 1997.[4] The market is so active that organic farms have struggled at times to produce sufficient supply to keep up with the rapid growth in consumer demand, leading to periodic shortages of organic products.

The new UK Conservative-Liberal coalition government is strongly backing lifting a de facto ban on GMO in that country. UK Chief Scientific Adviser, Prof. John Beddington, recently wrote an article in which he misleadingly claimed “The next decade will see the development of combinations of desirable traits and the introduction of new traits such as drought tolerance. By mid-century much more radical options involving highly polygenic traits may be feasible.” He went on to promise “cloned animals with engineered innate immunity to diseases” and more. I think we can pass that one up, thank you.

A recent study by Iowa State University and the US Department of Agriculture assessing the performance of farms during the three-year transition it takes to switch from conventional to certified organic production showed notable advantages of organic farming over GMO or even conventional non-GMO crops. In an experiment lasting four years—three years transition and first year organic—the study showed that although yields dropped initially, they equalized in the third year, and by the fourth year, the organic yields were ahead of the conventional for both soybean and corn.

As well, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) has recently been published, the result of three-year deliberation by 400 participating scientists and non-government representatives from 110 countries around the world. It came to the conclusion that small scale organic agriculture is the way ahead for coping with hunger, social inequities and environmental disasters. [5] As Dr Ho argues, a fundamental shift in farming practice is needed urgently, before the agricultural catastrophe spreads further across Germany and the EU to the rest of the world.[6]

Endnotes:

[1] Super weed can’t be killed, abc news, 6 October 2009. See also,Jeff Hampton,  N.C. farmers battle herbicide-resistant weeds, The Virginian-Pilot, 19 July 2009, http://hamptonroads.com/2009/07/nc-farmers-battle-herbicideresistant-weeds

[2] Clea Caulcutt, ‘Superweed’ explosion threatens Monsanto heartlands, Clea Caulcutt, 19 April 2009,http://www.france24.com/en/20090418-superweed-explosion-threatens-monsanto-heartlands-genetically-modified-US-crops

[3] N. Benachour and G-E. Seralini, Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells, Chem. Res. Toxicol., Article DOI: 10.1021/tx800218n

Publication Date (Web): December 23, 2008.

[4] Carolyn Dimitri and Lydia Oberholtzer, Marketing U.S. organic foods: recent trends from farms to consumers, USDA Economic Research Service, September 2009, http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB58/

[5] International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, IAASTD, 2008,http://www.agassessment.org/index.cfm?Page=Press_Materials&ItemID=11

[6] Ho MW.UK Food Standards Agency study proves organic food is better. Science in Society 44, 32-33, 2009.

F. William Engdahl  is the author of Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

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Genetically Modified Salmon

Posted on 27 July 2010 by admin

aquabounty_salmonGenetically Modified Salmon is the newest proposal from the biotech industry. Many of us here at Justmeans have been weighing the topic of GMOs over the last several months, not just in the Sustainable Food department, but globally across the site.

The consensus still stands that nobody is sure what exactly GMOs will do in the wild or in our bodies. And because we don’t know, this is why there is so much hesitation from the consumer sector. Personally, my fear is less about the immediate damage we can cause on our bodies (though it is still a primary concern), rather, the idea that GMO products can easily cross-bread with non- genetically modified organisms. What will happen if superfoods breed out organic and traditional foods? When so much pesticides are used that the soil won’t fertilize a traditional seed? When, now, salmon overtake the already unstable traditional salmon population? The answers are “we don’t know.” And this is why we should be cautious.

Because if patented “products” are alive, then it is in the best interest of said company to breed out any competition. Then who benefits? Who loses? What happens when we open up the possibility of a monoculture in our food system? Think: Potato Famine of Ireland. They depended on one kind of potato that one season, failed.

The genetically modified salmon is up for serious approval by the FDA. The New York Times reports, “The salmon’s approval would help open a path for companies and academic scientists developing other genetically engineered animals, like cattle resistant to mad cow disease or pigs that could supply healthier bacon.” [1]

The genetically modified salmon is meant to be kept in a farm-raised environment, but studies have shown that farm-raised salmon contains toxic levels of PCBs and other cancer-causing materials. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are mixtures of up to 209 individual chlorinated compounds (known as congeners). There are no known natural sources of PCBs. PCBs are either oily liquids or solids that are colorless to light yellow. PCBs have been used as coolants and lubricants in transformers, capacitors, and other electrical equipment because they don’t burn easily and are good insulators. The manufacture of PCBs was banned in the U.S. in 1979 because of evidence they build up in the environment and can cause harmful health effects. However, PCBs persist in the environment. Fish absorb PCBs from contaminated sediments and from their food. [2]

USA Today reported this concern in February:

“PCBs stay in the body for 10 years,” says David Carpenter, one of the study’s authors and director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany in New York. A 10-year-old girl who eats contaminated fish will still have half the contaminants when she’s 20 and would pass them on to her child if she gives birth, Carpenter says. [3]

Moreover, Farmed salmon are “fatter” and PCBs are stored in fat and remain there for an extended period of time, so farmed salmon can potentially contain higher levels of PCBs. So now we want to introduce genetically modified salmon whose sole aim is to get bigger, faster. And because Americans are typically fatter than other populations, these PCBs store in our fat. Nice.

It seems that the American ideal of “bigger, faster, better, more” is really just a side effect of greed. If salmon farmers start using genetically modified salmon, we will likely see an decrease in our already overwhelmingly unhealthy population as salmon is touted a “healthy fish” because of its rich fat laden with omega acids. This is still true for wild salmon, but as farmed salmon has focused more on market profitability rather than the health of the fish (and therefore the clientele) we risk a lot more than just our health: we risk the health of an entire ecosystem of marine life. Why don’t we try a new approach: pay more, eat less. Genetically modified salmon is not the answer.

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Bayer Must Pay Dow $5M In Fees In Corn Patent Loss

Posted on 09 June 2010 by admin

Bayer BioScience NV has been ordered to pay $4.9 million in attorneys’ fees to Dow AgroSciences LLC following a ruling that four Bayer patents for genetically modified corn were invalid because of inequitable conduct before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Judge James A. Beaty Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued the ruling Tuesday, another blow to Bayer, which was ordered by a federal court in Missouri to pay nearly $8.4 million in attorneys’ fees toMonsanto Co. in a similar dispute.

The current suit was originally brought by Aventis CropScience NV, which alleged Dow infringed four patents. The roles were reversed in Missouri, with Monsanto bringing suit and seeking a declaration that the Bayer patents were invalid. Bayer acquired Aventis CropScience in 2002.

The North Carolina suit was eventually stayed pending the outcome of the Missouri suit. In Missouri, the court granted summary judgment to Monsanto, finding the patents were invalid, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the decision and remanded the case for trial.

At trial, however, it was determined again the patents were invalid, and the judge determined the case was exceptional, allowing Monsanto to seek attorneys’ fees from Bayer. The findings were once more appealed to the Federal Circuit, which affirmed them.

The stay was lifted in the North Carolina case in December 2008. Because the Federal Circuit upheld the trial court’s findings that the patents were invalid and the case exceptional, Bayer agreed it could not argue otherwise in the North Carolina action.

Bayer did contend, however, that Dow’s attorneys’ fees request of just over $5 million should be denied, or at least reduced, because the amount was unreasonable. It also claimed that it had already been severely punished in the Monsanto case by being forced to pay fees there.

Judge Beaty, however, was not persuaded by Bayer’s arguments.

“The court’s decision to award attorneys’ fees and costs does not hinge on whether a party has been sufficiently ‘punished’ in another proceeding, but instead, focuses on the issue of whether in the court’s discretion, [Dow] should be reimbursed for the cost of defending against a suit which Bayer has conceded was based upon invalid and unenforceable patents,” the judge said.

“The court notes that Bayer initiated these proceedings against [Dow] in this forum, seeking to exploit the protections afforded by the United States patent laws for patents that it improperly procured based upon its own inequitable conduct,” he added.

Ultimately, the judge awarded $4.9 million to Dow, trimming about $190,000 from the initial fees request to accommodate a reasonable rate for travel time and correct partners’ hourly billing rates.

A second defendant in the case, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., previously settled its fees request with Bayer.

The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Numbers 5,254,799; 5,767,372; 6,107,546; and 5,545,565.

Dow is represented by Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP.

Bayer is represented by Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice.

The case is Aventis CropScience NV v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. et al., case number 00-463, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

To see court documents and read more articles on this subjectvisit Law360.com.

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