World Health Organisation Says Most Common Weedkiller ‘Probably’ Causes Cancer

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In March, 2015, 17 experts from 11 countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC; Lyon, France) to assess the carcinogenicity of the organophosphate pesticides tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate (table). These assessments will be published as volume 112 of the IARC Monographs.

Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide, currently with the highest production volumes of all herbicides. It is used in more than 750 different products for agriculture, forestry, urban, and home applications. Its use has increased sharply with the development of genetically modified glyphosate-resistant crop varieties. Glyphosate has been detected in air during spraying, in water, and in food. There was limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate. Case-control studies of occupational exposure in the USA, Canada and Sweden reported increased risks for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that persisted after adjustment for other pesticides. The AHS cohort did not show a significantly increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In male CD-1 mice, glyphosate induced a positive trend in the incidence of a rare tumour, renal tubule carcinoma. A second study reported a positive trend for haemangiosarcoma in male mice. Glyphosate increased pancreatic islet-cell adenoma in male rats in two studies. A glyphosate formulation promoted skin tumours in an initiation-promotion study in mice.

Glyphosate has been detected in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, indicating absorption. Soil microbes degrade glyphosate to aminomethylphosphoric acid (AMPA). Blood AMPA detection after poisonings suggests intestinal microbial metabolism in humans. Glyphosate and glyphosate formulations induced DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, and in human and animal cells in vitro. One study reported increases in blood markers of chromosomal damage (micronuclei) in residents of several communities after spraying of glyphosate formulations. Bacterial mutagenesis tests were negative. Glyphosate, glyphosate formulations, and AMPA induced oxidative stress in rodents and in vitro. The Working Group classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2A).

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New E.U. Law Lets Nations Ban Gene-Modified Crops

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After nearly five years of debate the European parliament has finally approved a new law that will allow EU nations to restrict or ban the cultivation of GM crops within their borders. While supporters of the new opt out law applauded it as the best possible compromise solution on GM for Europe, the staunchest proponents and opponents of GM cultivation are both sharply critical of the legislation.

‘This is a bad move for Europe,’ the agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto said in a statement. ‘It undermines science, it undermines European farmers and it raises prices for European consumers.’

Bert Staes, the Greens’ parliamentary food safety spokesman, said: ‘Despite a majority of EU member states and citizens being consistently opposed to GMOs, the real purpose of this new scheme is to make it easier to wave through EU authorisations of GM crops.’ In the past, Staes has called the opt out law a ‘Trojan horse’ that will be used to open the door for GM cultivation in Europe.

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Genetically Modified Potato Given Approval From US Department Of Agriculture

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday approved a genetically modified potato, altered to resist bruising and to provide potential health benefits.

Called the Innate potato, produced by J.R. Simplot Co., it would be the first genetically modified potato in the U.S. in more than 10 years. A GMO potato developed by Monsanto Co. was taken off the market in the early 2000s after farmers and consumers showed little interest.

“This approval comes after a decade of scientific development, safety assessments and extensive field tests,” J.R. Simplot said in a statement. The Boise, Idaho, agribusiness company is a major producer of french fries.

The USDA examined whether the potato posed a threat to other plants. Its safety for human consumption is being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. J.R. Simplot, like other companies that develop genetically modified crops, voluntarily submitted its product to the FDA, and company spokesman Doug Cole said it expects FDA clearance in coming weeks.

The Innate potato uses genes from cultivated or wild potatoes to achieve its new traits, hence the traits are “innate,” Mr. Cole said. It was engineered to reduce black spots from bruising, a common reason why potatoes can’t be marketed. It also has been designed to produce lower levels of acrylamide, a potential carcinogen that forms in potatoes and other starchy foods when they are cooked at high temperatures.

That puts it among the first genetically modified crops to offer a direct benefit to consumers. Nearly all other modified crops, such as corn and soybeans, are made to withstand pesticides, making it easier for farmers to grow them.

J.R. Simplot plans to roll out three varieties of the genetically modified potato, the Ranger Russet and Russet Burbank, used for french fries and everyday use by consumers, and the Atlantic, which is used mostly for chips.

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U.S. Approves First Gene-Altered Apples

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The government on Friday approved the commercial planting of genetically engineered apples that are resistant to turning brown when sliced or bruised.

The developer, Okanagan Specialty Fruits, says it believes the nonbrowning feature will be popular with both consumers and food service companies because it will make sliced apples more appealing. The feature could also reduce the number of apples discarded because of bruising.

But many executives in the apple industry say they worry that the biotech apples, while safe to eat, will face opposition from some consumers, possibly tainting the wholesome image of the fruit that reputedly “keeps the doctor away.” They are also concerned that it could hurt exports of apples to countries that do not like genetically modified foods.

“In the marketplace we participate in, there doesn’t seem to be room for genetically modified apples now,” said John Rice, co-owner of Rice Fruit Company in Gardners, Pa., which bills itself as the largest apple packer in the East.

The Department of Agriculture, which approved the apples for commercial planting, said on Friday that it had considered these issues. However, it said that under the law, approval is based on whether a genetically modified crop poses a threat to other plants. The department determined that the apples posed no such risk.

The so-called Arctic apples — which will be available in the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious varieties — are genetically engineered in a way to suppress the production of an enzyme that causes browning when cells in the apple are injured, from slicing, for example.

But over time the apples will still rot and turn brown. In November, the Agriculture Department approved a genetically engineered potato developed by the J.R. Simplot Company that uses a similar technique to prevent browning.

The apple will join relatively few other examples of genetically modified fresh produce, including papaya and some sweet corn. Most of the genetically modified food Americans eat is processed, containing ingredients made from engineered corn or soybeans.

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Grow Your Own Food Summit

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This is a collection of interviews for anyone interested in growing their own food or living a more sustainable existence.Thirty-four presentations cover everything from community building to creating a food forest to beginning your very first garden, saving non-GMO seeds, permaculture and much more.

So like you I’ve also missed the first couple of days but it runs until the 14th, the snag is the lectures are only available for 24 hours after they post them (10am US Eastern Daylight Time) but it’s worth signing up now for the remainder of the videos and talks. I really enjoyed the one I just listed to the talk with Vandan Shiva about, among other things, the vital importance of seed saving as well as the abundance that comes from say 1 tomato gives you enough seeds to grow potentially hundreds more tomatoes.

I think you’ll like these, so get them while they you can for free.

SIGN-UP LINK: http://www.growfoodsummit.com

French Parliament Bans All Getetically Modified Corn

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France’s lower house of parliament passed a law Tuesday prohibiting genetically modified (GM) maize from being grown, citing environmental concerns. The law can be applied to any GM strain that is adopted at EU level.

The law follows a decree last month, which halted the planting of Monsanto’s insect-resistant maize MON810, which will be allowed for cultivation in the EU, Reuters reported.

But if any strain of GM crop is adopted in the future at EU level – including Pioneer 1507, which was developed by DuPont and Dow Chemical – it will be subsequently banned in France.

Pioneer 1507 could be approved by the EU later this year, after 19 of the 28 EU member states failed to gather enough votes to block it.

The law adopted Tuesday by France’s lower house (National Assembly) is similar to one rejected by the upper house (Senate) in February, which was seen as unconstitutional.

“It is essential today to renew a widely shared desire to maintain the French ban. This bill strengthens the decree passed last March by preventing the immediate cultivation of GMO and extending their reach to all transgenic maize varieties” Jean Marie Le Guen, the minister in charge of relations with parliament, told the National Assembly.

The current Socialist-led government in France, like the previous conservative one, has opposed the growing of GM crops because of public suspicion and protests by environmentalists.

Le Guen called for an EU system that would make sure that the decisions of member states not to adopt GM crops could not be challenged legally.

A debate on the future of EU policy is going on at EU level, with the European Commission suggesting an opt-out that would allow individual countries to ban GM crops.

The French ban on GM maize will now have to go to the Senate for approval. However, even if it is rejected again, the National Assembly will have the final say.

While France is against genetically modified crops, the UK argues that without them, Europe risks becoming “the museum of world farming.” Spain also says its own farmers have to be able to compete with those outside the EU – many of whom are growing GM crops.

GM crops, though still unpopular in Europe, are widely grown in the US and Asia.

LINK: http://rt.com/news/french-ban-gm-maize-736/

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