Glyphosate causes crop disease

June 2017

In 2003, during a 5-year study of crop disease, the first alarm was raised that wheat appeared to be worse affected by 'fusarium head blight' in fields where glyphosate herbicide had been applied just before planting. Laboratory studies at the time also indicated that fusarium grows faster when glyphosate-based weedkillers are added to the medium they're growing in.

Fusarium head blight is a devastating fungal disease which destroys a fifth of wheat harvests in Europe alone. This fungus produces 'mycotoxins' (poisons) known to cause cancer of the liver and kidney, disorders of the blood and lung, vomiting, and damage to the immune system. Anything which promotes fusarium is a serious business.

GM lessons, for free, forever

June 2017

Meet Robert. Robert is an on-off-on-off student at Cornell University, New York State, with a "passion for science".

As a freshman, Robert was "deeply unaware of our current GMO agriculture paradigm" and of his university's connection to it (see below).

During an off-student period, Robert participated in three unique seasons of agroecological crop production, and witnessed its "incredible results". Inevitably, this made him aware of the other end of the agricultural spectrum: GM food ruled by giant corporations. He also recognised that GM commodity monocultures fed to factory-farmed animals are one of the most destructive forces to our environment and health that our planet's ever seen.

With this new perspective on 'conventional' agriculture, Robert eagerly sat in on a Cornell University course entitled "The GMO Debate".

Glyphosate-free food labels

June 2017

A US consumer survey in 2013 found that 71% of Americans were worried about pesticides in their food, and almost three out of four would like to eat food with fewer pesticides.

By 2014, a similar survey found pesticides had become a concern for 85% of American consumers, more than any other food-related issue. Pesticides are even higher on the list of concerns than GMOs, even although the two are inextricably bound together [1].

The US GMO non-labelling act

June 2017

For years, the biotech industry has been able to rely on the fact that America remains one of the few industrialised countries whose regulators haven't demanded clear labelling of GM foods.

Big Food has been happy to hide behind this and ignore consumer concerns.

But, as consumer frustration mounts over the denial of their right to know what they're eating, things are starting to change.

GMOs, human rights and the environment

June 2017

The advisory opinion of the International Monsanto Tribunal, referred to in GM-Free Scotland articles earlier this year [1,2], has been published.

Six questions were addressed by the Tribunal, and its opinions were based exclusively on legal considerations, grounded in international human rights and humanitarian laws (see below).

Pesticides' catastrophic impacts

May 2017

In March this year, the United Nation (UN) special rapporteurs on the right to food and on toxics presented a scathing report on pesticides.

It pointed to the "catastrophic impacts (of pesticides) on the environment, human health and society as a whole", including an estimated 200,000 deaths a year from acute poisoning alone, plus untold suffering from chronic pesticide exposure now linked to "cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, hormone disruption, developmental disorders and sterility".

The billion dollar bug

May 2017

In 1868 western corn rootworm (WCR) was observed in Kansas to be a harmless chewing insect from Central America found in low populations on the Western Great Plains.

*Note the naturally low numbers, and the suggestion that these beetles can naturally travel long distances. 

When centre-pivot irrigation with it's quarter mile watering radius (so efficient it's now sucking the plains dry) was introduced in the 1950s, maize monoculture madness gripped American farmers. Across the land, prairies were converted to horizon-scale corn fields.

To the WCR, which fed exclusively on corn and lay their eggs there, this became an 80-million acre banquet-plus-nursery.