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Ending GMOs Now

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 Dr Mae-Wan Ho   Institute for Science in Society     04/21/15

Global rejection sent Monsanto profits plummeting, farmers abandoning GM crops in record numbers, reclassification of glyphosate as probable carcinogen triggering fresh calls for bans and restrictions; GMOs failing old and new, while organic and non-GMO markets continue booming; the days of GMOs are numbered, let’s hasten the demise.

Sign the petition to ban glyphosate here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/monsanto_dont_silence_science_loc/

The year 2015 is auspicious. It started with oil prices plunging to a five year low, sparking a downsizing wave in an industry desperate to rid itself of stranded assets as burgeoning renewable energies are making oil redundant and civil society grassroots movements are winning major campaigns to divest mega-investments from fossil fuels and leave oil in the ground (see [1] Age of Oil Ending? SiS 65).

Simultaneously, a remarkable conjunction of events is boding ill for GMOs (genetically modified organisms). There is superb synergy between the end of oil and the end of the heavily oil-dependent GMO monoculture for a truly sustainable world under climate change, which we made clear in a comprehensive report [2] Food Futures Now -Organic -Sustainable -Fossil Fuel Free published in 2008. So let’s read the signs, and do our best to hasten the end of GMOs.

Mass rejection of US GM corn exports and record losses

It began with China rejecting shipment after shipment of US corn imports that tested positive for Syngenta’s Agrisure Vipera GM corn released and deregulated in the US since 2011, but not approved in China. Between November 2013 and April 2014, 1.45 million tonnes of US GM corn were destroyed or turned back [3]. Farmers and farming businesses in 20 States in the US have filed more than 360 lawsuits against Syngenta and hundreds more are expected as a federal judge is organizing the complex case. Claims may be up to $3 billion [4]. Although China eventually approved Vipera in December 2014, sales have not improved for US corn growers [3]. One reason is that China has been importing Ukrainian non-GMO corn under a loan-for-grain deal [5]. Ukraine shipped nearly 1 million tonnes to China in 2014, 470 047 tonnes were shipped in January 2015, and more expected to follow.

The other more significant reason is that US farmers are abandoning GMO crops and returning to non-GMO or switching to organic crops (see later).

GMO labelling fight reaches national level in the US

The GMO labelling movement in the US has been inching forward, despite the fact that 64 countries worldwide now label food containing GMOs, including China, Japan, Russia, Australia and all the EU countries. Three states, Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island have passed GMO labelling laws so far, but California, Colorado and Oregon have been defeated thanks to heavily-funded counter-campaigns by Monsanto, DuPont and the Grocery Manufacturers Association [6]. A total of 70 bills for labelling were proposed in 30 states within the past two years. Now, the battle has shifted to the national level. Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo introduced the ‘DARK’ (denying Americans the right to know) Act, which would pre-empt states from setting up their own GMO labelling systems and bar them from defining “natural” foods as free from GMOs. Food safety advocates and consumer groups are fighting back, supporting a national mandatory labelling bill called the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act, re-introduced in February by a group of congressional Democrats. Read the rest of this entry »

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