Friday 21st of June 2019

is genetic engineering democratic?...


is genetic manipulation democratic?...

Well this where there is confusion; The answer to genetic engineering is quite clear: NO... Not at this point in time... Though it depends on who and what we include in our "democracy"... Has nature got a vote?...

So far not a single country has had the courage to get their voters to adjudicate on the "genetic engineering" vexing issue...

I believe that should the question be put to the Americans: "should GMO food and stuff be allowed on your table?" the democratic answer would be presently a resounding "NO"...

For starters most of the religious nuts should be horrified that life is being manipulated "in vitro" by little gods in white coats...

Second, the conservationists should be horrified that nature is being "denatured" by scientists and polluting the natural gene pool...

Third scientists should be horrified that other scientists are crossing the strong line of species by unnatural gene splicing...

Fourth, you, the consumer should be horrified that the food you eat today isn't that of your ancestors and NO-ONE knows the effect of this transformation on the future of humankind in generations to come....

Thus presently, GMOs are not democratic. They are enforced in a despotic way by corporations who have bamboozled your governments — especially that of America into not allowing proper labelling of food with a loud warming and not having had the guts to put a vote on the creation and usage of GMOs... But have not humans done genetic manipulation for yonks without knowing it?

What is the beef...?
GMO companies like Monsanto are about profits. They claim that food shortage demands new ways to grow things. But the way to grow things intensively and mono-culturally leads to invasion of pests and weeds that have been the scourge of farmers for years... Stronger weed-killers and stronger insecticides have been "invented" but these eventually enter the food chain... In order to "minimise" these, the idea is to create a patent seed for crop resistant to insects and resistant to powerful weed-killers such as Round-Up... All you need to do is do a bit of genetic "engineering" and bob is your uncle... 

Over the last 10 millennium, humans have "modified" some grasses into wheat, rye and corn... by "selection" of seeds. There were wild wheat, wild rye, spelt... But humans by favouring which grasses had the plumpest of seeds did some nifty gene-"manipulation"... This gene manipulation is obviously seen in breeds of dogs, roses, cats, and a million other stuff that humans use for food, decoration or companions. So what's the problemo? 

The major difference here between seed "selection" manipulation and GMO "engineering" is huge... Genetic engineering is performed in the most "unnatural" way by crossing the essential non-crossable species boundaries... In nature, although there is evolution and devolution, at no point is there a cross-over between say "a fish gene-segment and a cactus gene-segment"... This cross-over is not possible in nature. 

What are the genes?
The genes are the memory of life since the beginning of life... They are complex molecules that contain the memory of duplication and reproduction of life which over more than three billion years have diversified into the life-force of all species....

Each species have evolved "separately" from the same stock (or similar various stocks of amino-acids?) — but the diversity of species are such that no species can "remix" with other species readily — apart from very closely related species such as horses and donkeys of which the offsprings are mostly sterile, or the "possible" remix of homo sapiens with homo neanderthalis...
If species were not so strongly defined by the separation of genes, there would be an enormous array of man-fish, dog-turtle or horse-cow on this planet (imagine in antiquity by the man-goats) — and a lot of confused individuals...

Even within species such as humans, the individual gene-pool is controlled by strong mechanisms that disallow the "in-breeding" by making related parents' offsprings of poor quality — or impossible...
Where our medical teams have achieved "miracles" in organ transplants, one has to realise there are strong parameters for success, such as compatibility of donor and management of rejection of tissues, using strong drugs that reduce individuals natural defense mechanism against "alien" invasion. In order to "protect" their body against diseases, transplant repients have to take other medicines such as anti-biotics as well...
We know that blood transfusion of the wrong blood type can lead to death very quickly...

The GMOs
GMOs are a misnomer designed to confuse the issue... They are Engineered... GMOs (GEOs) are not about finding the best seed stock resistant to this or that by selection, but to "create" the seed stock by gene splicing of "alien" gene segments into an existing gene stock.

So how do they do it?
There is a lot of trial and error using various "spicing" chemicals, until "a satisfactory" new seed stock is generated upon which futher selection of seed stock by intense breeding. A "terminator" gene ican also created so that after a "healthy plant" has gone to maturity, it is "infertile" in most instance, so that the farmer has to go back to the Darth Vader laboratories to get the next PATENTED seeds for the new crop... Some GEOs seeds are not "infertile and their pollen will pollute non-GEOs crops suchas organically grown crops. There are presently court cases in which the farmer of the "polluted" crop will sue the GEOs companies who in return will sue the farmer for stealing their PATENTED "pollens".
All this allows the Darth Vader laboratories to control the next crops, protect their patents and become the ruler of the universe — as far as farming is concerned, so far...

What are the advantages of GEOs/GMOs?
The major claims made by the "laboratories" are about the need to "increase the production of food"... But do these stack up?
No... My own calculation tells me that a continent like Africa can feed itself, without GEOs/GMOs nor large monoculture. These are only introduced there for profit of multimnationals — and nothing else.
But in a country like the USA, the present food wastage — should it be reduced to half of what it is — could actually feed another 150 million Americans on top of the "450" million people already living there... I say 450 million because, yes, I know, the population is barely above 300 millions but most Americans over-consume food to such extend that every American on average is worth about 1.5 normal person, in weight, eating and a bit less in dunnydoos (that's why they grow fat)...
So what about the food "waste"? It has been calculated that the US wastes about US$165 billion in food each year, at various levels of "wastage"... From over-production to packing and in your kitchen, the amount of waste is about 40 per cent of the production.

Time to do some major rethink and ban GMOs (GEOs) crops as soon as possible.
They are unnecessary, potentially dangerous as demonstrated by many independent scientific research and intrusive on natural crops and other species. I a sentence: we don't need GEOs for whatever clever reasons their makers peddles them with...
Demand labelling of GMO food crops and the vote on this issue. In the meantime, do your research and vote with your buying: reject these UNNATURAL products by buying as much as possible organic food...


food waste...

How the U.S. manages to waste $165 billion in food each year

By Brad Plumer , Updated: August 22, 2012

Each year, about 40 percent of all food in the United States goes uneaten. It’s just tossed out or left to rot. And that’s a fairly large waste of resources. All that freshwater and land, all that fertilizer and energy — for nothing. By one recent estimate, Americans are squandering the equivalent of $165 billion each year by rubbishing so much food.

evil in your refrigerator...

When we consider the rogue's gallery of devilish, over-sized, greedy and disproportionately powerful corporations, we generally come up with outfits like Microsoft, Bechtel, AIG, Halliburton, Goldman-Sachs, Exxon-Mobil and the United States Senate. Yet somehow, Monsanto, arguably the most devilish, over-sized, greedy and disproportionately powerful corporation in the world has been able to more or less skulk between the raindrops -- only a household name in households where documentaries like Food Inc. are regarded as light Friday evening entertainment. My house, for example. But for the most part, if you were to ask an average American for their list of sinister corporations, Monsanto probably wouldn't make the cut.

It should.

Founded by Missouri pharmacist John Francis Queeny in 1901, Monsanto is literally everywhere. Just about every non-organic food product available to consumers has some sort of connection with Monsanto.

Anyone who can read a label knows that corn, soy and cotton can be found in just about every American food product. Upwards of 90% of all corn, soybeans and cotton are grown from genetically engineered seeds, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These genetically enhanced products appear in around 70% of all American processed food products. And Monsanto controls 90% of all genetically engineered seeds. In other words, Monsanto controls -- and owns patents on -- most of the American food supply.

enemies of the natural...


As the battle to get genetically engineered foods (or GMOs) labeled in California — a battle that could very well have an impact on labeling nationwide — heats up, Big Food and Big Ag are working in concert to push back to the tune of $25 million. The fight centers around Proposition 37, the ballot initiative from the Right to Know Campaign that will go to vote in November.

If it passes, the result would be no small change. As Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott wrote recently:

Since GM corn, soy, sugar beets, and cotton (the oil part) are processed into sweeteners, fats, and other additives that suffuse the US food system, the initiative would require the labeling of something like 80 percent of all non-organic processed food sold in supermarkets.

As you can see in the chart below, The “Big 6” pesticide makers (BASF, Bayer, Dow, Dupont, Monsanto, and Syngenta) are putting up big money — especially Monsanto and Dupont (full name E. I. Dupont de Nemours). That’s because all of the Big 6 either produce GMO seeds themselves, or pesticides that work in concert with the seeds, so they have the biggest vested interest in seeing GMO proliferation fly under the radar of most Americans.

The names behind processed foods are also getting in on the fight — like PepsiCo, whose many sub-brands sell many foods and beverages that contain GMO high-fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, etc. So are the companies behind quite a few “health food brands” — from Kashi to Gardenburger to Silk. In fact, the Cornucopia Institute just released a handy shopping guide to help eaters keep their dollars from going to help oppose Prop 37.

Where is the money going, exactly? Many of these companies are paying the same consultants who worked for the tobacco industry to create “astroturf,” or fake grassroots groups that will do their best to make it look like there’s a big crowd of citizens who think labeling is a bad idea. And they’ll undoubtedly convince many voters. This Reuters article that ran yesterday predicts a close battle.

Here’s a breakdown of the 20 largest donors as of Wednesday, Aug. 15:



the chicken and the egg versus the shock jocks...

A year five student who made a discovery about a new kind of link between protein and eggs was among those honoured at last night's Eureka Prize ceremony for excellence in science.

Inspiration can come from unexpected places, and for Ignatius Fox it came when his chickens suddenly laid bigger eggs after breaking into the worm farm.

"So we thought that the worms would give protein to them so we tried giving protein to give the big eggs and it worked," Ignatius said.

The student, from Oyster Bay Public School in Sydney's south, received the top honour at the awards in Sydney for a short science film made by a primary school student.

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, who presented the award, thinks the student's insight puts him ahead of many adults.

"So we've got an 11-year-old person who's made an observation, accidental observation, then formed a hypothesis and then tested it out as opposed to certain radio jocks who'll say, gee, it was warm now and it's colder tonight, therefore there's no such thing as global warming," he said.

Global warming did not play much of a role in the awards but another, lesser-known global issue was front and centre.

Dr Dana Cordell was part of a team that won an award for research into sustaining the dwindling global supply of phosphorus, which is an essential ingredient in fertiliser.

"The good news is we can avert a crisis," Dr Cordell said.

"We will need to recover phosphorus from all organic waste and that includes food waste, human excreta, manure, crop waste.

"At the same time we'll also need to dramatically increase the efficiency of our current food systems."

the antibiotics versus organics...

HEALTHBEAT: Is organic healthier? Study says not so much, but it’s key reason consumers buyBy Associated Press, Published: September 4

WASHINGTON — Patient after patient asked: Is eating organic food, which costs more, really better for me?

Unsure, Stanford University doctors dug through reams of research to find out — and concluded there’s little evidence that going organic is much healthier, citing only a few differences involving pesticides and antibiotics.

Eating organic fruits and vegetables can lower exposure to pesticides, including for children — but the amount measured from conventionally grown produce was within safety limits, the researchers reported Monday.

Nor did the organic foods prove more nutritious.

“I was absolutely surprised,” said Dr. Dena Bravata, a senior research affiliate at Stanford and long-time internist who began the analysis because so many of her patients asked if they should switch.

“There are many reasons why someone might choose organic foods over conventional foods,” from environmental concerns to taste preferences, Bravata stressed. But when it comes to individual health, “there isn’t much difference.”

Her team did find a notable difference with antibiotic-resistant germs, a public health concern because they are harder to treat if they cause food poisoning.

Specialists long have said that organic or not, the chances of bacterial contamination of food are the same, and Monday’s analysis agreed. But when bacteria did lurk in chicken or pork, germs in the non-organic meats had a 33 percent higher risk of being resistant to multiple antibiotics, the researchers reported Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

That finding comes amid debate over feeding animals antibiotics, not because they’re sick but to fatten them up. Farmers say it’s necessary to meet demand for cheap meat. Public health advocates say it’s one contributor to the nation’s growing problem with increasingly hard-to-treat germs. Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, counted 24 outbreaks linked to multidrug-resistant germs in food between 2000 and 2010.

The government has begun steps to curb the nonmedical use of antibiotics on the farm.


The difference between organic and non organic is far more than the "nutritional value" which can appear to be the same... For example there is also "taste" and what I call "elegance"... Elegance is devised as an organically grown produce is often less "gross"  than the intensely grown farm produce — which often is tougher and tasteless, through force feeding and liberal usage of pesticides and herbicides. As well the organic food produce does not kill insects and as such respects the natural processes in which bees act as a pollinator for example.  The problem posed by the antibiotics are numerous and we've only seen the tip of the iceberg so to speak... In "organically" grown food, there is no boosters, nor is there antibiotics that can throw the future of medicine at risk...

some mixed sanity at last...

The US supreme court has ruled unanimously that natural human genes cannot be patented, a decision that scientists and civil rights campaigners said removed a major barrier to patient care and medical innovation.

The court on Thursday held that human DNA was a "product of nature", a basic tool of scientific and technological work, thereby placing it beyond the domain of patent protection. It struck down patents held by Myriad Genetics Inc, a Utah company, on two genes linked to a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

But it also said that synthetic genetic material could be patented, in a mixed ruling for the biotechnology industry, which has argued that patents are necessary to recoup the billions of dollars it spends on research.

Myriad carries out tests for BRCA genes, recently brought into the public eye when actor Angelina Jolie revealed she had a double mastectomy after learning she tested positive for one of the genes.

The ruling represents a major shift in the law, overturning three decades of patent awards by the US government and could have a profound effect on the biotechnology and drug industry.

Justice Clarence Thomas ruled that Myriad's assertion that the DNA it isolated from the human body for its tests were patentable had to be dismissed because it violated patent rules. The court said that laws of nature, natural phenomena and abstract ideas lay outside patent protection.

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agent monsanto...


The Undercurrent delves into the world of mass agriculture to ask how one company has such huge control over the world's food supply. The name Monsanto was once synonymous with Agent Orange, but in today's world it's the dominance of the widespread pesticide Roundup which helps keep the company on top of the pile. But is the World Health Organisation's claim that Roundup 'probably' causes cancer, cause for concern? And what about the company's stance on patenting which sees farmers in developing countries unable to hold on to their seeds for the next season? Guardian Australia has joined forces with The Undercurrent – an online news show billing itself as an antidote to the five-second soundbite – for a four-part series over June and July. Brisbane creators Jen Dainer and Dan Graetz say it is the show they wish existed – so they created it themselves

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  1. monsanto | Your By Gus Leonisky at 25 Aug 2012 - 3:06pm; Login or register to post comments; Thumbnail. The opinions expressed in this site are those of ...
  2. deadly concoctions ..... | Your Democracy
  4. 22 Feb 2012 ... The monumental case paves the way for legal action against Monsanto'sRoundup and other harmful herbicides and pesticides made by other ...
  5. beware corporations bearing gifts ..... | Your Jan 2011 ... "A fabulous Easter gift," commented Monsanto Director of Development Initiatives Elizabeth Vancil. Nearly 60,000 seed sacks of hybrid corn ...
  6. genetically modified lies... | Your‎5 Jul 2011 ... [1] The world's top four seed companies - Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta andBayer - now control over half of the world's seed sales. These are ...
  7. of silent killers... | Your‎13 Jun 2012 ... Monsanto, the massive biotechnology company being blamed for contributing to the dwindling bee population, has bought up one of the ...


the project would be handled discreetly...

For a blockbuster recent piece, the New York Times' Eric Lipton got a first look a massive cache of private emails between prominent public university scientists and GMO industry executives and flacks. The emails came to light through a barrage ofcontroversial Freedom of Information Act requests by U.S. Right to Know, which is funded by the scrappy, anti-corporate Organic Consumers Association.

In addition to the correspondence uncovered by USRTK, Lipton used the FOIA to uncover emails showing close ties between former University of Washington researcher Charles Benbrook and organic food companies like farmer-owned dairy company Organic Valley. Lipton paints a fascinating picture of the the place occupied by public universities in the PR and lobbying war between the agrichemical/GM seed and organic food industries.

"I understand and appreciate that you need me to be completely transparent and I am keenly aware that your independence and reputations must be protected," a Monsanto rep wrote to professors.

But his piece, excellent as it is, may actually underplay the extent to which Monsanto, other ag-biotech companies, and their trade groups and hired PR gunsrely on friendly professors as foot soldiers in the industry's battle against regulators and critics.

Here are some highlights that didn't make it into theTimes. Although there is no specific evidence to suggest that Monsanto paid professors for these activities, and many of the professors have said they reached their conclusions independently, the correspondence is nonetheless interesting: 

• In an August 2013 email to nine prominent academics, Monsanto's strategic engagement lead Eric Sachs broached a plan: that the group would pen "short policy briefs on important topics in the agricultural biotechnology arena," chosen "because of their influence on public policy, GM crop regulation, and consumer acceptance."

Sachs assured the professors that the project would be handled discreetly. "I understand and appreciate that you need me to be completely transparent and I am keenly aware that your independence and reputations must be protected," he wrote. Two outside entities—an industry-funded group called the American Council on Science and Health and a PR outfit called CMA—would "manage the process of producing the policy briefs," "coordinate website posting and promotion," and "merchandize" the briefs by helping turn them into "op-eds, blog postings, speaking engagements, events, webinars, etc." This third-party management is "an important element," the Monsanto exec added, "because Monsanto wants the authors to communicate freely without involvement by Monsanto."

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the news you won't get about monsanto...


Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to join a worldwide protest against the multinational biotech and agribusiness corporation Monsanto with rallies to be held in as many as 46 countries in various parts of the world.

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Your Western press paper today will mention a lot about such footballer's chunder of boozy carrots, but nothing about the fact the carrots are sprayed with Roundup to kill the leaves and make it easier for carrots to be uprooted. But with Baron Rupert of Mediocrity controlling much of what the English media will choose as news, we can't be surprised.

the only option left: buy certified organic...

Update (7/8/2016): The full Senate approved the labeling-preemption bill by a vote of 63-30 Thursday evening. The measure now goes to the House of Representatives, "where it is expected to pass," Reuters reports.

Update (7/7/2016): The labeling-preemption compromise bill cobbled together in the Senate Ag committee moved forward Wednesday, winning a procedural vote 65-32, meaning it will be voted on—and likely approved—by the full Senate as early as Thursday night. Drama accompanied the vote. Pro-labeling activists dumped $2,000 in cash on the Senate floor, shouting "Monsanto Money" and "Sen. Stabenow, listen to the people, not Monsanto," reports The Hill. And Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), an opponent of the bill, executed an epic Twitter troll of Senate Ag Committee Democrats, as Quartzexplains. Assuming the bill passes the full Senate, it will still need to be approved by the House and signed by the president.

As recently as two weeks ago, the food industry was preparing to place labels on food products that contain genetically modified ingredients. But if a bipartisan deal cobbled together last Thursday in the Senate Agriculture Committee gets signed into law, widespread labeling likely won't come to pass. Instead, food companies will have the option of disclosing GM ingredients on their products with QR codes that can be read by smartphones, accompanied by only the words "scan here for more food information"—without direct on-package mention of GMOs.

The fight centers on a Vermont law, due to go into effect on July 1, that would require labeling in that state. Rather than go through the trouble of segregating out and labeling products destined for a state with a population 626,000, many huge food companies had instead resigned themselves to labeling nationwide. In recent months, Mars, General Mills, Kellogg, ConAgra and Campbell Soup all announced plans for labeling.

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crap from monsanto and other crap...

Farmers in Arkansas, Tennessee and southern Missouri are angry at their neighbors – and agrochemical giant Monsanto – over a new weed-killer that has ravaged 200,000 acres of soybean fields. The herbicide is used to treat Monsanto’s new strand of soy.

As controversies mount over its glyphosate-based herbicide, also known as Roundup, the Missouri-based Monsanto has rolled out a new soybean seed intended to be resistant to another weed-killer, known as dicamba. While the "Roundup Ready 2 Xtend" soy has been approved for planting in 2016, US federal regulators have yet to approve the use of dicamba.

Farmers who bought Monsanto’s seeds have taken to spraying their crops with dicamba obtained from other vendors – which is prone to drifting into neighboring fields, severely damaging the non-Xtend crops. Officials across the three states cite a “rough figure” of 200,000 acres affected by the drift, Delta Farm Press reported.

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a blessing in disguise for India...


As India tightens regulatory norms, Monsanto has withdrawn its proposal to introduce next generation genetically modified cotton seeds into the country.

Seed giant Monsanto has decided to suspend the introduction of next generation genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds in India. Monsanto, in a statement acknowledged that the decision was prompted by differences with the Indian government over royalty fees and price caps.

"Our decision to suspend this introduction in India is an outcome of the uncertainty in the business and regulatory environment, which includes the regulation of trait fees and introduction of the draft compulsory licensing guidelines," a Monsanto spokesperson said in a statement to the Press Trust of India.

Monsanto planned to sell Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex cotton seeds to India.


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insecticides for profits...

The idea that pesticides are essential to feed a fast-growing global population is a myth, according to UN food and pollution experts.

new report, being presented to the UN human rights council on Wednesday, is severely critical of the global corporations that manufacture pesticides, accusing them of the “systematic denial of harms”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics” and heavy lobbying of governments which has “obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions”.

The report says pesticides have “catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole”, including an estimated 200,000 deaths a year from acute poisoning. Its authors said: “It is time to create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production.” 

The world’s population is set to grow from 7 billion today to 9 billion in 2050. The pesticide industry argue that their products – a market worth about $50bn (£41bn) a year and growing – are vital in protecting crops and ensuring sufficient food supplies. 

“It is a myth,” said Hilal Elver, the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food. “Using more pesticides is nothing to do with getting rid of hunger. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), we are able to feed 9 billion people today. Production is definitely increasing, but the problem is poverty, inequality and distribution.”

Elver said many of the pesticides are used on commodity crops, such as palm oil and soy, not the food needed by the world’s hungry people: “The corporations are not dealing with world hunger, they are dealing with more agricultural activity on large scales.”


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round up...

Agrichemical giant Monsanto is currently facing lawsuits from people who claim that exposure to the company’s blockbuster product Roundup has caused cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers of the blood. The active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, is the suspected culprit. Roundup is the most widely used herbicide on the planet right now.

As part of this ongoing litigation, Judge Vince Chhabria has unsealed some of the documents that have been filed with the court. These documents appear to show that Monsanto had numerous contacts with regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the time that the agency was supposed to be investigating the link between Roundup and certain cancers.

The New York Times provides the following summary of the exchanges revealed in the unsealed documents:

“The court documents included Monsanto’s internal emails and email traffic between the company and federal regulators. The records suggested that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that was later attributed to academics and indicated that a senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency had worked to quash a review of Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, that was to have been conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The documents also revealed that there was some disagreement within the E.P.A. over its own safety assessment …

In one email unsealed Tuesday, William F. Heydens, a Monsanto executive, told other company officials that they could ghostwrite research on glyphosate by hiring academics to put their names on papers that were actually written by Monsanto. 'We would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak,' Mr. Heydens wrote, citing a previous instance in which he said the company had done this.”

These documents could help shine some light on issues that had remained a relative mystery up to this point.

For example, why did the EPA determine in 1985 that glyphosate should be classified as a group C carcinogen — possibly cancer-causing in humans but lacking sufficient studies of humans and animals — only to reverse that decision six years later? Did it have anything to do with Monsanto’s influence over the agency, or did new studies emerge that cast doubt on previous conclusions? The latter seems less likely considering the fact that the bulk of independent research has reached the same conclusions about the existence of a probable link between Roundup’s glyphosate and cancers.

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the colour orange...

Regulators in Europe and the United States are asking flower breeders to destroy vast numbers of petunias after a chance discovery by a Finnish plant biologist revealed that several varieties are genetically engineered (GE). Officials say the petunias pose no threat to human health or the environment—and likely were unknowingly sold for years—but it’s illegal to sell them without a permit. The varieties may be descendants of a 30-year-old biotechnology breakthrough that researchers in the field assumed were never commercialized. The petunia carnage highlights the growing complexity of regulating GE plants, which have a history of showing up where they aren’t allowed and can be hard to track.

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According to the article, these orange petunias were the result of some early genetic engineering in Germany, when they used a maize (corn) gene in 1987 to produce a pigment in the petunia, pelargonidin, the colour orange. At the time "transgenic" was used synonymously with "toxic".

Hopefully, the orange petunias is only an isolated case of GM product entering the cycle of nature, without being regulated, but according to some other sources, this is only the tip of an iceberg of corruption of natural genes... as new GM techniques don't leave any definitive evidence of tinkering. 

You are allowed to panic.

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toxic purchase...


Monsanto Merger Migraine

Safe Or Not, Roundup Is Toxic for Bayer

German multinational Bayer underestimated the risks of acquiring Monsanto. Now, the company is desperately seeking to contain the damage by selling business divisions and cutting jobs. So far, though, none of these moves have helped.

By Frank Dohmen, Martin Hesse and Armin Mahler

In Werner Baumann's world, the truth is one-dimensional, as he likes to put it, based on facts and scientific findings, studies and expert opinions. That's why the head of Germany's Bayer Group has no doubts about the safety of glyphosate. He says he would acquire Monsanto, the American manufacturer of the controversial crop herbicide at any time, "without any ifs, ands or buts."

But the world outside Bayer Group views things differently. A large segment of the public considers glyphosate to be toxic and Monsanto itself to be the epitome of evil. Thousands of farmers with cancer have filed lawsuits against Monsanto's new owner, and investors now view Bayer shares as high-risk stocks they don't want to include in their portfolios. This has made the past year one of the most difficult in Bayer Group's 155-year history. The new year could prove to be even more turbulent, and it's possible the situation could grow even more perilous for the company. 

"Life is always life-threatening," says Baumann. "In both the corporate and private spheres, we make decisions that entail risks every day." But of course, "all reputation issues and risks were actively identified and assessed" in the course of the Monsanto acquisition. 

It is now clear, however, that the company clearly underestimated them. Bayer's supervisory board unanimously approved the $63 billion acquisition, the most expensive in German business history. 

Shedding Market Capitalization

Bayer has shed more than 30 billion euros from its market capitalization since the acquisition in the summer of 2018, largely because Monsanto lost one of the first lawsuits against it relating to glyphosate. Bayer executives have been almost desperate in their attempts to reassure shareholders: The company is cutting huge numbers of jobs, selling off parts of the company and has even announced the repurchase of its own shares -- a step usually taken by companies swimming in money that are unsure how to invest it. So far, though, none of these measures have had the desired effect.

And what happens if other plaintiffs prevail and the company is not able to appeal those decisions, as it can still do in the first lawsuit? Will the stock then become a pawn for speculators and the corporation the target of an attack by activists who plan to break Bayer up because the individual parts could be worth more than the whole? 

It would spell the end of a company that is an intrinsic part of Germany and its business history.


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Obviously Bayer did not look at the concequences or were pushed by the USA to buy Monsanto. Profits were reasonable but the reputation of RoundUp and other Monsanto insecticides would have had to be considered. Meanwhile the Chinese bought the other killing chemical company — possibly to reduce competition. 


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a hot potato...

The following is an edited and abridged version of an open letter recently sent by Dr Rosemary Mason to Michael Gove, the British Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The full version containing relevant citations and additional data and information may be accessed here

You can also find on the site linked to all of Rosemary Mason’s previous work outlining the devastating impact of glyphosate and modern farming practices which remain in place due to the well-documented subversion of science and the corruption of governments and regulatory bodies by industry interests.

It seems likely that a post-Brexit trade deal with the US could mean more of the same and lead to the introduction of GM crops in the UK alongside the lowering of standards for the use of biocides in agriculture. Sainsbury Laboratory already has plans for a new open air field trial of GM potatoes on farms in Suffolk and Cambridge.

Below, Dr Mason lays out her concerns to Mr Gove.

Dear Michael Gove,

I am surprised to learn that from the huge number of scientists employed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Rothamsted Research (research institute involved in developing and testing GM crops) that not one of them has read the new book by Caius Rommens, former team leader at Monsanto. He helped create GM potatoes and has retracted his research as he explains in the book ‘Pandora’s Potatoes: The Worst GMOs’.

Professor Jonathan Jones, group leader for the Sainsbury Laboratory has worked for Monsanto in the past, so he has massive conflicts of interest.

It all shows an ignorance beyond belief!

In an interview with Sustainable Pulse, Caius Rommens has revealed the hidden dangers of the GMO potatoes he created:


"During my 26 years as a genetic engineer, I created hundreds of thousands of different GM potatoes at a direct cost of about $50 million. I started my work at universities in Amsterdam and Berkeley, continued at Monsanto, and then worked for many years at J. R. Simplot Company, which is one of the largest potato processors in the world. I had my potatoes tested in greenhouses or the field, but I rarely left the laboratory to visit the farms or experimental stations. Indeed, I believed that my theoretical knowledge about potatoes was sufficient to improve potatoes. This was one of my biggest mistakes.”


When asked why he decided to reveal information about the failings of GM potatoes after spending many years creating them, he responded that looking back he believes he and his colleagues were all brainwashed:


"We all brainwashed ourselves. We believed that the essence of life was a dead molecule, DNA, and that we could improve life by changing this molecule in the lab. We also assumed that theoretical knowledge was all we needed to succeed, and that a single genetic change would always have one intentional effect only.”


Rommens states that he and the other scientists he knew were supposed to understand DNA and to make valuable modifications, but the fact of the matter was that they knew as little about DNA as the average American knows about the Sanskrit version of the Bhagavad Gita:


"We just knew enough to be dangerous, especially when combined with our bias and narrowmindedness. We focused on short-term benefits (in the laboratory) without considering the long-term deficits (in the field). It was the same kind of thinking that produced DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, recombinant bovine growth hormone, and so on. I believe that it is important for people to understand how little genetic engineers know, how biased they are, and how wrong they can be.”


He adds that it is amazing that the USDA and FDA approved the GM potatoes by only evaluating the company’s own data. He asks: how can the regulatory agencies assume there is no bias? 


"I was biased and all genetic engineers are biased. It is not just an emotional bias. We need the GM crops to be approved. There is a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed, to justify our existence by developing modifications that create hundreds of millions of dollars in value. We test our GM crops to confirm their safety, not to question their safety. The regulatory petitions for deregulation are full with meaningless data but hardly include any attempts to reveal the unintended effects.

For instance, the petitions describe the insertion site of the transgene, but they don’t mention the numerous random mutations that occurred during the tissue culture manipulations. And the petitions provide data on compounds that are safe and don’t matter, such as the regular amino acids and sugars, but hardly give any measurements on the levels of potential toxins or allergens.”


Caius Rommens concludes that the main problem about the current process for deregulation of GMO crops is that it is based on an evaluation of data provided by the developers of GMO crops.




Defra is quoted as saying that after Brexit:


"The most promising crops suitable for introducing to England would be Roundup Ready GA21 glyphosate tolerant crops, which synergises well with herbicides already widely used in the UK…”


Campaigner Georgina Downs has written about the long-awaited Agriculture Bill that has been introduced before Parliament. She says that this is the UK Government’s plan on what UK farming will look like post Brexit:


"There is no reference to the protection of human health or public health in the Agriculture Bill as regards to farmers, the main users of pesticides… The widespread use of pesticides and other toxic chemicals in our existing farming system appears to be the Government’s ‘elephant in the room’ because of DEFRA’s reluctance to mention it – let alone focus on it. Therefore, there is no recognition or even any specific reference in the Agriculture Bill – or Mr Gove’s statements – to the continued risks associated with the continued use of pesticides and other agrochemicals on crop fields across the UK.”


Mr Gove, your predecessor George Eustice was interviewed by Arthur Neslen on 30/05/2016 about Brexit and stated:


"The birds and habitats directives would go. But the directives’ framework is so rigid that it is spirit-crushing.”


On pesticides, he said:


"The EU’s precautionary principle needed to be reformed in favour of a US-style risk-based approach, allowing faster authorisation.”


More than 1,700 tonnes of glyphosate were sprayed on crops last year, up a third on 2012, according to Defra. The total area sprayed with the weedkiller grew by almost 500,000 hectares to 2.1 million hectares, an area the size of Wales.

The Soil Association, has called on supermarkets to take bread containing glyphosate residue off shelves. It said the maximum residue level for glyphosate in wheat of 10 mg per kg had been set well before the finding that the herbicide was probably carcinogenic. 

In a recent court case, evidence was laid out showing that Monsanto worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to block a toxicity review of glyphosate by a separate government agency. A current trial and two previous trials have all included evidence that Monsanto engaged in ghostwriting certain scientific papers that concluded glyphosate products were safe; and that Monsanto spent millions of dollars on projects aimed at countering the conclusions of the international cancer scientists who classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. 

Monsanto (now Bayer) faces cascading scientific evidence linking glyphosate to a constellation of other injuries that have become prevalent since its introduction, including obesity, depression, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, kidney disease, and inflammatory bowel disease, brain, breast and prostate cancer, miscarriage, birth defects and declining sperm counts. Strong evidence now links glyphosate to various other conditions too.

Researchers peg glyphosate as a potent endocrine disruptor, which interferes with sexual development in children. The chemical compound is certainly a chelator that removes important minerals from the body, including iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and molybdenum. Roundup disrupts the microbiome destroying beneficial bacteria in the human gut and triggering brain inflammation and other ill effects. 

The UN expert on toxins Baskut Tuncak wrote in the Guardian on 06/11/2017 that it’s time to put children’s health before pesticides. He said that children are growing up exposed to a toxic cocktail of weedkillers, insecticides, and fungicides. It’s on their food and in their water, and it’s even doused over their parks and playgrounds:


"Many governments insist that our standards of protection from these pesticides are strong enough. But as a scientist and a lawyer who specialises in chemicals and their potential impact on people’s fundamental rights, I beg to differ. Last month it was revealed that in recommending that glyphosate – the world’s most widely-used pesticide – was safe, the EU’s food safety watchdog copied and pasted pages of a report directly from Monsanto, the pesticide’s manufacturer. Revelations like these are simply shocking.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most ratified international human rights treaty in the world (only the US is not a party), makes it clear that states have an explicit obligation to protect children from exposure to toxic chemicals, from contaminated food and polluted water, and to ensure that every child can realise their right to the highest attainable standard of health. These and many other rights of the child are abused by the current pesticide regime. These chemicals are everywhere and they are invisible.”


Tuncak argues that the only way to protect citizens, especially those disproportionately at risk from exposure, is for governments to regulate them effectively, in large part by adhering to the highest standards of scientific integrity. He states:


"Paediatricians have referred to childhood exposure to pesticides as creating a “silent pandemic” of disease and disability. Exposure in pregnancy and childhood is linked to birth defects, diabetes, and cancer. Because a child’s developing body is more sensitive to exposure than adults and takes in more of everything – relative to their size, children eat, breathe, and drink much more than adults – they are particularly vulnerable to these toxic chemicals.”


According to Tuncak, increasing evidence shows that even at “low” doses of childhood exposure, irreversible health impacts can result. But most victims cannot prove the cause of their disability or disease, limiting our ability to hold those responsible to account. He concludes:


"In light of revelations such as the copy-and-paste scandal, a careful re-examination of the performance of states is required. The overwhelming reliance of regulators on industry-funded studies, the exclusion of independent science from assessments, and the confidentiality of studies relied upon by authorities must change.”


Finally, based on a three-year UN-backed study from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, there are grim implications for the future of humanity. The authors conclude that the rapid decline of the natural world is a crisis even bigger than climate change.

Industrial farming is to blame for much of the destruction and extinction of nature. 

We need agriculture systems that regenerate ecosystems not degenerate them.

Rosemary Mason



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According to Le Monde and other French media, Bayer-owned agribusiness giant Monsanto built up a file featuring around 200 names with detailed personal data.

The Paris Prosecutor's Office has launched a preliminary investigation into a leaked file allegedly assembled by the American agrochemical company Monsanto to lobby its interests.

The company, which was purchased by Bayer for $63 bln in 2018, is reportedly facing accusations of illegally collecting personal data of people who criticised it or filed complaints against it, reported Le Figaro on Friday.

The probe was opened after a complaint filed by the French daily Le Monde that cites several deputies, as well as representatives of non-governmental organisations and the media.

READ MORE: India Caps BT Cotton Royalty to Monsanto; Third Cut in Four Years

Earlier, Le Monde and France 2 TV obtained a list of some 200 politicians, journalists, scientists, heads of trade unions and public organisations.

The leaked document reportedly contained detailed personal data, including phone numbers and addresses, as well as information about their stance regarding the substance glyphosate and extended permit to sell it – the subject of heated EU debates, pesticides and genetically modified products. 

READ MORE: France Bans Popular Bee-Killing Pesticides Made by Bayer

The document, according to le Monde, was leaked by U.S public relations and marketing agency FleishmanHillard, and was dated 2016, at the time of a merger deal with German Bayer against the backdrop of the glyphosate row.

"FleishmanHillard and our staff are committed to compliance with applicable laws and we are committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct," the firm said in a statement.

"We continue to take that responsibility very seriously and will carefully examine the questions raised by certain media outlets about the lists of stakeholders that included publicly available information."


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