Europe is faced with a new wave of GM-crops that could drastically change the way we produce food in Europe – including extensive pesticide spraying. These GM-crops are unnecessary, risky and profit large multinational companies at the expense of small scale and sustainable farming.
The website and film "Stop the Crop" present some of the dangers of GM-crops, and call for people across Europe and beyond to take action to stop them. We need a future of food and farming that benefits people and planet, and not the pockets of big business. We need to stop GM-crops from spreading across Europe.
Visit the website to know more and to get engaged: stopthecrop.org
By Stuart Newman
When scientists first learned in the late 1970s how to sequence DNA and transfer it from one kind of organism to another, improving foods and other crop plants by introducing foreign genes was among the first applications proposed. Given contemporaneous findings in molecular genetics, such as the recognition that a mutation in a single gene could promote a cell's transformation to cancerous state, it was unsurprising that concerns were raised about the capability of the transgenic methods to dramatically change the biochemistry or ecological stability of plants. Some critics suggested that the quality and safety of fruits and vegetables could be impaired, making them allergenic or toxic to humans and nonhumans who consume them, or that "superweeds" might be created which could disrupt wild or farmed ecosystems.
7th European Conference of GMO-Free Regions
Brussels, 4th - 5th September 2012
We are happy to announce the 7th GMO free regions conference which will be held on the 4th and 5th of September in Brussels.
Six years after the first GMO free regions conference in Berlin, the movement is stronger than ever. The entry of the German Länder Thuringia, North-Rhine Westphalia and likely soon Baden Württemberg into the European Network of GMO free regional governments, demonstrate this trend.
Central topics of our conference this year will be the upcoming seed legislation and the right to a national ban of GMO cultivation, the import of GM soy in connection with the approaching European CAP reform and the deficient risk assessment of GMO by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Here you can find the preliminary Program and the registration form.
Krems – Austria – 22nd August 2011
After 5 days of intense, inspired and constructive exchange, the Nyeleni Europe 2011, European Forum for Food Sovereignty, closed yesterday. The Forum adopted the first European Declaration on Food Sovereignty.
Over 400 delegates from European countries committed to strengthening their collective capacity to reclaiming community control over food system, to resisting the agro-industrial system and to expanding and consolidating a strong European movement for Food Sovereignty.
Over 120 organisations and individuals, representing civil society and social movements, discussed the impact of current European and global policies. Together they developed a comprehensive platform and a set of principles to achieve food sovereignty in Europe. The Forum emphasized the contribution of voices of young people, woman and food producers, whose concerns are often overlooked. This diversity and richness of experience enabled the Nyeleni Europe 2011 Forum to identify a common framework, and to define a joint action plan based on a democratic and participatory process.
The Declaration proclaims, “we are convinced that a change to our food system is a first step towards a broader change in our societies”. The Forum delegates strongly committed to taking the food system into their own hands by:
- Working towards an ecologically sustainable and socially just model of food production and consumption based on non-industrial smallholder farming, processing and alternative distribution.
- Decentralizing the food distribution system and shortening the chain between producers and consumers.
- Improving working and social conditions, particularly in field of food and agriculture?
- Democratizing decision-making on the use of the Commons and heritage (land, water, air, traditional knowledge, seeds and livestock).
- Ensuring that public policies at all levels guarantee the vitality of rural areas, fair prices for food producers and safe, GMO-free food for all.
At this time of political volatility, social and economic crisis, the delegates of the Nyeleni Forum for Food Sovereignty reaffirmed their vision of unity that emphasized the right of all peoples to define their own food and agriculture policies and systems, without harming either people or precious natural resources, as Food Sovereignty implies.
That’s why we demand food sovereignty in Europe now.
The No Patents on Seeds coalition was initiated by the Berne Declaration, Greenpeace, Misereor, No Patents on Life, Swissaid and the Norwegian Development Fund. It campaigns for a clear regulation in patent laws
This initiative is supported globally by over 300 NGOs and farmers’ organisations and has collected about 100.000 signatures against patents on plants and animals.
These patents create new dependencies for farmers, breeders, food producers and consumers. These patents have to be regarded as misappropriation of basic resources in farm and food production and as general abuse of patent law. It is necessary an urgent re-think of European patent law in biotechnology and plant breeding and to support clear regulations that exclude from patentability processes for breeding, genetic material, plants and animals and food derived thereof.
Help this cause by signing the open letter to Members of the European Parliament and the European Commissi on.
For more information on this campaign: No Patents on Seeds
GMO Free Europe 2010, Brussels, 16-18 September 2010
300 representatives from 37 countries, representing formal and informal GMO-free regions, GMO-free initiatives and activists on related issues from all over Europe. Breeders and seed exchangers, farmers, bee-keepers, gmo-free traders, processors and retailers as well as consumers, critical scientists and environmental activists have met in Brussels and Ghent from 16 to 18 September 2010.
The participants critically discussed the new GMO policy of the European Union, which was presented to them by EU Commissioner John Dalli. They welcomed the announcement of the environment minister of the Region of Brussels, that the government of the Capital of Europe has just declared itself GMO Free. The agricultural minister of Wallonia, vize-chairmen of the European Parliaments Agricultural Committee, José Bové and Janusz Wojciechowski, presidents and representatives of major farmers unions, from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, Euro-Coop and IFOAM expressed their solidarity with the GMO Free movement. The secretary general of Carrefour and representatives of the German EDEKA and tegut supermarket chains confirmed their commitment to stay GMO free and to build a reliable supply chain of non-GMO animal feed for their milk, meat and egg products. This was especially welcomed by the secretary general of the association of Brasilian GMO Free soybean producers, ABRANGE.
In the evening the conference was welcomed by the vice-major and echevin for the environment, Bertin Mampaka, in the historic City Hall of Brussels at the Grande Place.
Shocking news came from Professor Andres Carrasco, Argentina's leading embryologist, who presented newly published scientific evidence that Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the worlds best selling weedkiller "Roundup", to which about 75% of all GMOs of the world are resistant, cause serious embryonic damage.
For two days the participants then retreated to exchange information and discuss joint strategies for a GMO free Europe. 30 workshops covered a diversity of issues while the final plenary agreed to fight for a moratorium of any releases of GMOs into the environment, to both expand GMO Free Regions at national level and to demand a serious overhaul of the risk assessment procedure at European level.
For more information, visit the conference's website.
Myths and outright lies about the alleged benefits of genetically engineered crops persist only because the multinationals that profit from them have put so much effort into spreading them around. They want you to believe that GMOs will feed the world; that they are more productive; that they will eliminate the use of agrichemicals; that they can coexist with other crops, and that they are perfectly safe for humans and the environment. False in every case, and in this article we’ll show how easy it is to debunk these myths. All it takes is a dispassionate, objective look at twenty years of commercial GE planting and the research that supposedly backs it up. The conclusion is clear: GMOs are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
what emerges from [Sir Gordon Conway’s] book, One Billion Hungry, from this week’s breakthrough, and from a host of other evidence, is how little – so far, at least – GM technology is contributing to beating hunger. involved in the NIAB’s quantum leap, which was due to conventional breeding techniques. Nor was it involved, to give an example from Prof Conway’s book, in developing new varieties of African rice, called Nerica, which are up to four times as productive as traditional varieties, contain more protein, need a much shorter growing season, resist pests and diseases, thrive on poor soils and withstand drought. The same is true of another of his superstars, Scuba Rice, which beats flooding by surviving 17 days underwater and still achieving enhanced yields – and, within three years, had been taken up by 3.5 million Asian farmers.
The notorious ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ rider stuffed into the non-related Senate spending bill may soon be repealed thanks to the massive amounts of activism and outrage that have now amounted into a legislative charge towards action. Action that has turned into legislation progress through Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, who has announced an amendment that would remove Section 735 (the Monsanto Protection Act as its known) from the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 Senate spending bill.
Just months after a study was published showing that two Monsanto products, a genetically modified maize and Roundup herbicide, damaged the health of rats, the journal that published the study appointed a former Monsanto scientist to decide which papers on GM foods and crops should be published, a new article reveals. Monsanto and GM foods suffered a storm of bad publicity after a study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology in September 2012 reported that a GM corn and Roundup caused organ damage and increased rates of tumors and premature death in rats.
When it comes to winning hearts and minds about the merits of genetically engineered ingredients (and whether to alert consumers to their presence on food labels), it’s fair to say that the biotech industry has not done a great job. But it’s not too late to change the conversation, Cathy Enright, executive vice president for food & agriculture at the Washington DC-based Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), tells FoodNavigator-USA. “We haven’t spent enough time talking about the technology, the benefits and the products. It’s safe, and it can create a cleaner environment, but we need to do a better job of explaining why.”
Best Public Relations Money Can Buy: A Guide to Food Industry Front Groups describes how Big Food and Big Ag hide behind friendly-sounding organizations such as: the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, the Center for Consumer Freedom, and the Alliance to Feed the Future. The idea is to fool the media, policymakers, and general public into trusting these sources, despite their corporate-funded PR agenda. With growing concern over the negative impacts of our highly industrialized and overly-processed food system, the food industry has a serious public relations problem on its hands. Instead of cleaning up its act, corporate lobbyists are trying to control the public discourse. As a result, industry spin is becoming more prevalent and aggressive.