Sainsbury's needs a reminder

January 2012

Greenpeace anti-GMO protest
Photo © Greenpeace / Eric de Mildt
Tell the Government that using a GM-sympathetic supermarket to persuade the public that GM is “good to eat and safe to eat” is NOT representing your best interests. At the same time, remind its pals in Sainsbury's that you won't buy GM food.

Sainsbury's managers seems to have an attitude problem: they view their customers as “naive”, and unable to think for themselves without “an independent voice” to tell them about GM.

Could that be you they're talking about?

Perhaps the UK government is awash with Sainsbury's customers, because it seems unaccountably naive on the subject of GM food.

GMO assessment in need of improvement

January 2012

Question marks over GM maize. Photo © Greenpeace / Martin Langer
A major issue highlighted by the GM food debate has always been what to debate. While Joe Public has deep misgivings spanning not only the immediate concerns, such as food safety, the scientific limitations, and the undue influence of commercial pressures, but about the long-term environmental, social and economic issues. The regulators have, so far, refused to deal with the breadth of questions that the people want answered.

Concerns raised are routinely dismissed with with assurances that GM food has been rigorously assessed. What this means is that some form of risk assessment has been carried out and, in terms of whatever parameters have been applied, the GMO has passed. The problem is that, with careful selection and application, these parameters can be made to tell you anything you want to know (see TORTURING THE RISK ASSESSMENT - GMFS News Archive, November 2010).

Why was GM alfalfa grass ever developed?

January 2012

Round bales of alfalfa in a Montana field, USA.
Picture from Wikimedia Commons
In 2005, the US government approved the growing of a 'Roundup Ready' (herbicide-tolerant) GM fodder grass, 'RR alfalfa'. Since people don't eat grass, this might seem one of the less controversial GM crops to go on sale. Or, is it?

One US farmer, Philip Geertson, who has spent 30 years raising a diversity of crops and 25 years as a partner in alfalfa breeding programmes is having trouble understanding why anyone would want herbicide-tolerant alfalfa. He said:
“When Roundup Ready alfalfa was first suggested I did not think that it would be developed and introduced because most alfalfa fields are never sprayed for weed control. And, if a chemical weed control was needed, there is a long list of off-patent low-cost herbicides that are effective if used properly.”

Evidence of deformities caused by Roundup

January 2012

Evidence of deformities? ... what evidence?

The publication of a study showing that the herbicide, glyphosate, caused deformities in embryos must have sent a shiver down many a spine. Using amphibian embryos (a recognised model for early human embryo development), Argentinean scientists found that glyphosate disrupted the formation of the 'neural tube' which goes on to form the spine and cranium. They also identified the biochemical basis of the disruption. (See ROUNDUP CAUSES BIRTH-DEFECTS - GMFS News Archive, October 2010)

This finding is serious. Glyphosate is the active ingredient of Roundup herbicide, now used in huge quantities on all major GM crops in America including staples such as soya, maize, sugar-beet, oilseed rape, and cotton.

New US laws to regulate GM foods

January 2012

Rally for the Right2Know About GMOs March 26, 2011
Rally for the Right2Know About GMOs, Washington DC, USA
Photo by Millions Against Monsanto on Flickr
Up until now, the biotech industry has succeeded in blocking just about every attempt to introduce honest labelling of GMOs in the USA. The result is that 74% of Americans don't know they're eating GM foods at all, and their food supply is being steadily polluted with both legal and experimental genes.

However, awareness is gradually spreading. The voices of dissent are beginning to shout in unison from Washington to San Francisco, and the scene is set for some new legislation which won't so easily be lobbied into oblivion by industry.

Support GM Watch

January 2012

If you're a regular visitor to GM-free Scotland's news, analysis and comment you'll be aware of what emerges as the GM threads are drawn together: no matter how bad each individual piece of news is, when you join all the dots, the bigger picture is always much, much worse.

In putting our articles together, the greatest hurdle to be overcome is often getting hold of all the dots to start with. One invaluable source of information over the years has been the regular, global news reviews prepared by 'GM Watch'.

Connections for connections sake

January 2012

Here's an uncomfortable thought...

The recognition that interconnectedness is the most fundamental quality lending stability to the natural world (living and non-living) has played a significant part in the ongoing global financial collapse.

Simplistic thinking joined up all the financial institutions into one great big web thought to imitate nature.