This is in south central Missouri, but hopefully it will be really well attended! Especially in light of the fact that the powers that shouldn’t be are shutting down seed saver swaps all across the country to “protect us” from possible disease…
12 Jan 2015 Leave a comment
09 Jan 2015 Leave a comment
Seems like something we should all take notice about. The petro dollar is coming to the end of it’s run.
Shoppers thronged grocery stores across Caracas today as deepening shortages led the government to put Venezuela’s food distribution under military protection.
Long lines, some stretching for blocks, formed outside grocery stores in the South American country’s capital as residents search for scarce basic items such as detergent and chicken.
“I’ve visited six stores already today looking for detergent — I can’t find it anywhere,” said Lisbeth Elsa, a 27-year-old janitor, waiting in line outside a supermarket in eastern Caracas. “We’re wearing our dirty clothes again because we can’t find it. At this point I’ll buy whatever I can find.”
A dearth of foreign currency exacerbated by collapsing oil prices has led to shortages of imports from toilet paper to car batteries, and helped push annual inflation to 64 percent in November. The lines will persist as long as price controls remain in place, Luis Vicente Leon, director of Caracas-based polling firm Datanalisis, said today in a telephone interview.
Government officials met with representatives from supermarket chains today to guarantee supplies, state news agency AVN reported. Interior Minister Carmen Melendez said yesterday that security forces would be sent to food stores and distribution centers to protect shoppers.
“Don’t fall into desperation — we have the capacity and products for everyone, with calmness and patience. The stores are full,” she said on state television.
President Nicolas Maduro last week vowed to implement an economic “counter-offensive” to steer the country out of recession, including an overhaul of the foreign exchange system. He has yet to provide details. While the main government-controlled exchange sets a rate of 6.3 bolivars per U.S. dollar, the black market rate is as much as 187 per dollar.
Inside a Plan Suarez grocery store yesterday in eastern Caracas, shelves were mostly bare. Customers struggled and fought for items at times, with many trying to skip lines. The most sought-after products included detergent, with customers waiting in line for two to three hours to buy a maximum of two bags. A security guard asked that photos of empty shelves not be taken.
Police inside a Luvebras supermarket in eastern Caracas intervened to help staff distribute toilet paper and other products.
“You can’t find anything, I’ve spent 15 days looking for diapers,” Jean Paul Mate, a meat vendor, said outside the Luvebras store. “You have to take off work to look for products. I go to at least five stores a day.”
Venezuelan online news outlet VIVOplay posted a video of government food security regulator Carlos Osorio being interrupted by throngs of shoppers searching for products as he broadcast on state television from a Bicentenario government-run supermarket in central Caracas.
“What we’re seeing is worse than usual, it’s not only a seasonal problem,” Datanalisis’s Leon said. “Companies are not sure how they will restock their inventories or find merchandise, with a looming fear of a devaluation.”
The price for Venezuela’s oil, which accounts for more than 95 percent of the country’s exports, has plunged by more than half from last year’s peak in June to $47 a barrel this month.
“This is the worst it has ever been — I’ve seen lines thousands of people long,” Greisly Jarpe, a 42-year-old data analyst, said as she waited for dish soap in eastern Caracas. “People are so desperate they’re sleeping in the lines.”
02 Dec 2014 Leave a comment
Like a snake eating it’s own tail…so are the manipulations of the consolidated control aspects of USDA Approved agribusiness. China is rejecting GMO corn, so is Russia and about 60 other countries. Here in the US, we can’t get it labeled and if you eat prepared box foods or meat from the store, you are getting it whether you like it or not. What you don’t know can indeed harm you! But ADM, one of the largest ag market controlling entities, is actually suing Syngenta because China keeps refusing shipments of GMO contaminated corn. China (and ALL countries, but particularly those who are categorized as lesser developed countries by the WTO) have the right to exercise the Sanitary Phyto Sanitary clause of the WTO agreements and refuse this based on their own science based principles. I just find it really amusing that biotech is being sued by one of the biggest distributors in the world. And we can’t even get a label on food in stores….
(Two articles below, both linked to GM Watch in the title)
China has rejected the “vast majority of US corn shipments” because of the presence of Syngenta’s GMO MIR162
China’s barriers to imports of some US GM crops are disrupting seed companies’ plans for new product launches and keeping at least one variety out of the US market altogether.
1. In wake of China rejections, GMO seed makers limit U.S. launches
2. Archer Daniels Midland says GMO corn is killing U.S. exports to China
1. In wake of China rejections, GMO seed makers limit U.S. launches
By Tom Polansek
Reuters, 25 Nov 2014
China’s barriers to imports of some U.S. genetically modified crops are disrupting seed companies’ plans for new product launches and keeping at least one variety out of the U.S. market altogether.
Two of the world’s biggest seed makers, Syngenta AG and Dow AgroSciences, are responding with tightly controlled U.S. launches of new GMO seeds, telling farmers where they can plant new corn and soybean varieties and how can the use them. Bayer CropScience told Reuters it has decided to keep a new soybean variety on hold until it receives Chinese import approval.
Beijing is taking longer than in the past to approve new GMO crops, and Chinese ports in November 2013 began rejecting U.S. imports saying they were tainted with a GMO Syngenta corn variety, called Agrisure Viptera, approved in the United States, but not in China.
The developments constrain launches of new GMO seeds by raising concerns that harvests of unapproved varieties could be accidentally shipped to the world’s fastest-growing corn market and denied entry there. It also casts doubt over the future of companies’ heavy investments in research of crop technology.
The stakes are high. Grain traders Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] and Archer Daniels Midland Co, along with dozens of farmers, sued Syngenta for damages after Beijing rejected Viptera shipments, saying the seed maker misrepresented how long it would take to win Chinese approval.
In the weeks since Cargill first sued on Sept. 12, Syngenta’s stock has touched a three-year low. ADM in its lawsuit last week alleged the company did not follow through on plans for a controlled launch of Viptera corn.
Syngenta says the complaints are unfounded.
Bayer, told by Beijing in September that the new soybean seed, LL55, had not been approved for imports, says it will keep on trying, seven years after the company first filed its request. In the meantime, it will withhold the new seed. China granted its last import approval for any GMO grain in June 2013.
TEN YEAR EFFORT
“Our objective is to get the approval and the clearance from the Chinese authorities so that we can go into a full commercial launch as soon as possible,” said Frank Terhorst, global head of seeds for the company.
It can take up to 10 years and $150 million to develop new GMO seeds and further delays in Chinese approvals will raise concerns about Bayer’s future investment in new GMO products, Terhorst said.
The slowdown in Beijing’s regulatory process comes amidst growing consumer sentiment against GMO food in China and concerns amongst some government officials about excessive dependence on U.S. food supplies.
China is a key market for the $12 billion U.S. agricultural seeds business and for global grain traders and accounted for nearly 60 percent of U.S. soybean exports and 12 percent of corn exports two years ago. Nearly 90 percent of corn in the United States is genetically engineered, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as farmers embrace technology that helps kill weeds and fight pests.
It is a common practice to mix different corn varieties in storage and during transportation, so a lack of approval for one GMO variety can put at risk of rejection large shipments that include approved GMO grains.
The controlled releases by Dow and Syngenta aim to bring new GMO seeds to the U.S. market while assuring U.S. farmers and exporters that the harvests will not be rejected by countries that have not approved the GMO grain.
Dow AgroSciences this month said it will limit sales of its new genetically modified corn and soybeans next year while it waits for China’s approval. Farmers who grow the new Enlist corn must maintain isolation areas around their fields, use the corn only as livestock feed, and submit to audits of their compliance.
When Syngenta released its Agrisure Duracade corn this year, which is approved in the United States but not by China, it contracted grain handler Gavilon, owned by Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp, to oversee the launch. Gavilon assigned as many as six workers at its Omaha headquarters to keep Duracade out of markets where it had not been cleared, said Greg Konsor, general manager for grain operations.
At harvest, growers have to fill out canary-yellow tracking agreements where they identify themselves, their trucking firms and the destinations for their Duracade corn. The bright color is meant to tell buyers the shipments require special attention.
Iowa farmer Gary Vetter said that after he planted 240 acres of Duracade last spring, he received calls and certified mail from Gavilon checking on his compliance with restrictions aimed to keep the grain out of unapproved markets.
“No matter what, they want to know where the corn goes,” he said.
Controlled launches, however, are at best a temporary fix because they are costly, complicated and risk accidental contamination of other export grains, said Jim Sutter, chief executive of the U.S. Soybean Export Council.
“The long-term solution is to work with our partners in China and build confidence in the process in the way we want it to work,” he said. “Easier said than done.”
(Additional reporting by Niu Shuping in Beijing; Editing by David Greising and Tomasz Janowski)
2. Archer Daniels Midland says GMO corn is killing U.S. exports to China
By SABRINA CANFIELD
Courthouse News Service, 24 Nov 2014
The Archer Daniels Midland Company sued the developer of a genetically modified corn, accusing the company of intentionally stymieing United States exports to China.
In a lawsuit filed in the St. Charles Parish District Court in Louisiana, ADM says Syngenta Corporation sold GMO corn seed to farmers across the U.S. without undertaking reasonable “stewardship” practices designed to ensure genetically-modified seeds do not taint or become intermixed with the regular corn seed supply.
As a result, China has rejected the “vast majority of U.S. corn shipments” because of the presence of Syngenta’s GMO MIR162, which has become intermixed with regular corn seed.
Those safeguards are critical because China, a major importer of corn from the U.S., has not approved genetically-modified corn containing Syngenta’s MIR162 genetic trait, and won’t accept shipments containing so much as a trace of GMO corn.
Syngenta’s seed is sold under the brand names Viptera and Duracade.
According to ADM, which owns 200 grain elevators across the United States, Syngenta’s actions have cost corn exporters tens of millions of dollars in lost profits.
Until recently China had been a significant purchaser of U.S. grown corn, and Archer Daniels Midland Company sold and exported substantial volumes of corn to China. China is the second-largest corn consumer in the world.
The regular corn crop has been tainted as a result of cross-pollination, where the wind has blown pollen containing MIR162 onto fields where regular corn is planted, and also by channeling, where the modified corn is combined with regular corn at processing facilities.
Once it became apparent that MIR162 corn was tainting the regular corn supply, Syngenta was warned but took no measures to quarantine its crop which made $875 million in 2013 alone, the lawsuit says.
Archer Daniels Midland Company filed the lawsuit in St. Charles Parish because that where its two largest export grain terminals and elevators are located.
The U.S. is one of the world’s top corn exporters. In 2013, the U.S. exported 18.3 million metric tons of corn. That same year, China consumed roughly 24.5 percent of the world’s corn, making it the second largest corn consumer in the world and the third largest purchaser of U.S. exported corn.
When Syngenta’s GMO corn was approved by the USDA, Syngenta had promised to follow strict guidelines, and to force farmers to also follow guidelines, to ensure the MIR162 crop did not comingle with other crops.
But forcing farmers to participate in a stewardship process when using its corn seed would have made the seed less desirable, so Syngenta didn’t require it, the lawsuit says.
Additionally, Syngenta could have asked grain elevator operators to keep its corn separate so it wouldn’t intermingle with and taint regular corn, but Syngenta didn’t. Instead, Syngenta actually encouraged the cross-pollination of its GMO corn with regular crops by telling farmers to grow GMO and regular corn side by side, according to the lawsuit.
Until recently, Syngenta had a document on its website that purported to be an approval from the Chinese government of MIR126 to encourage corn seed buyers to believe China had finally approved the GMO when actually it has not.
As a result of Syngenta’s failure to implement reasonable stewardship actions, its genetically modified corn brands, Viptera and Duracade, have cross-pollinated with neighboring corn fields, including corn fields owned by farmers who did not purchase the GMO brands of seed. When the unknowing farmers sell their tainted corn at a grain elevator, MIR162 inadvertently enters the grain supply system.
After Archer Daniels Midland Company unknowingly purchased and comingled GMO corn with its grain supply, Archer Daniels Midland Company’s supply became tainted. This happened at all of Archer Daniels Midland Company’s 200 U.S. grain elevators, the company says.
As a result, corn Archer Daniels Midland Company has attempted to export to China has been refused by the Chinese government.
The parties did not reply to emailed requests for comment.
Archer Daniels Midland Company seeks damages for negligence and violations of the unfair trade practices and consumer protection acts.
Named defendants are Syngenta Corporation, Syngenta Seeds Inc. and Syngenta Crop Protection LLC.
The lawsuit was filed by Glenn Goodier of Jones Walker LLP in New Orleans.
13 Nov 2014 Leave a comment
While the topic of gene silencing brought about by ingestion of GMO’s has had some scientific study done, not once has it been taken into consideration by the Powers that Shouldn’t Be when approving GMO’s for human or animal consumption in the US. The article below touches on that subject in relation to the recent approval of GMO Simplot potatoes. These are the primary potatoes for McDonald’s french fries.
USDA approves new GM potato developed with new, little understood form of genetic engineering called RNA interference (RNAi)
EXCERPT: “We simply don’t know enough about RNA interference technology to determine whether GE crops developed with it are safe for people and the environment. If this is an attempt to give crop biotechnology a more benign face, all it has really done is expose the inadequacies of the U.S. regulation of GE crops. These approvals are riddled with holes and are extremely worrisome,” said Doug Gurian-Sherman, Ph.D., CFS director of sustainable agriculture and senior scientist.
Poorly tested gene silencing technology to enter food supply with Simplot potato
Center for Food Safety, November 7th, 2014
* A new form of genetic engineering will soon be sold to unsuspecting consumers
Center for Food Safety (CFS) is today warning consumers about a new genetically engineered (GE) potato that may soon enter the food supply. Because GE foods are not required to be labeled, the new GE potato will be sold to consumers without their knowledge. The GE potato was one of two new crops approved today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that uses a new, little understood form of genetic engineering called RNA interference (RNAi). The other is a new low-lignin alfalfa from Monsanto. Despite the unprecedented nature of these approvals, USDA has inexplicably failed to undertake the legally required rigorous and overarching analysis of the GE crops’ impacts or reasonably foreseeable consequences.
“We simply don’t know enough about RNA interference technology to determine whether GE crops developed with it are safe for people and the environment. If this is an attempt to give crop biotechnology a more benign face, all it has really done is expose the inadequacies of the U.S. regulation of GE crops. These approvals are riddled with holes and are extremely worrisome,” said Doug Gurian-Sherman, Ph.D., CFS director of sustainable agriculture and senior scientist.
Analysis of RNAi by a panel of independent scientists requested by the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that there were many significant uncertainties about potential risks from this technology, and that current risk assessment procedures were not adequate. Despite such cautions USDA is rushing the technology forward.
Unlike earlier genetic engineering techniques that splice in segments of DNA, the new technique used in the Simplot potato and Monsanto’s low-lignin alfalfa is based on the manipulation of the plant’s RNA-based control mechanisms. RNA interference (RNAi) induces the plant to silence or dial back expression of the plant’s own genes, such as those responsible for natural processes like browning or lignin production.. However, RNA manipulations may end up turning down, or off, genes other than those that were targeted because many genes contain similar, or even identical, stretches of DNA. Current testing requirements do not reliably detect such effects on other important crop genes.
Concerns with Simplot Potato:
Developed by the J.R. Simplot Company, the potato would be the only GE potato variety on the U.S. commercial market. The Simplot potato has been genetically engineered with RNAi technology to reduce browning by silencing the expression of one of five polyphenol oxidase genes, which is normally highly expressed in potato tubers. This is attractive to the potato processing industry because bruised potatoes are culled for cosmetic reasons. However, bruised potatoes have not been associated with health risks.
These potatoes are also silenced for genes affecting sugar production and the amino acid asparagine, which during frying and baking lead to the production of acrylamide, a probable carcinogen. However, it is unclear whether the observed reductions will lead to positive health outcomes, given that acrylamide is found in many other foods. In addition, fried potato products have other serious negative health effects.
“In light of the obesity crisis, there has been an important national push to discourage children and adults from eating large quantities of fried foods like french fries or chips. In creating the false illusion that fried potatoes are now healthy, the Simplot potato sends the absolute opposite message,” said Elizabeth Kucinich, policy director at CFS. “Claims of health benefits by USDA and Simplot are short sighted, misleading, and in the light of the science, could actually be potentially dangerous.”
The asparagine gene has also been shown in recent research to be important in plant defenses against pathogens. The Simplot potato was not adequately tested for a possible weakening of its ability to defend itself against disease. If this occurs in the field, it could lead to increased fungicide use, greater farmer expense, and possibly reduced productivity. The latter effect was seen in several tests of these potatoes.
“We need answers to these questions before these potatoes are commercialized,” said Gurian-Sherman.
Concerns with Monsanto’s Low-Lignin Alfalfa:
Monsanto and Forage Genetics International (FGI) have genetically engineered alfalfa for reduced levels of lignin through the suppression of a key enzyme in the lignin biosynthetic pathway. It represents the first non-regulated GE crop with reduced lignin levels. Lignin and its building blocks perform many functions in plants, including structural stability and plant defense. Lowering lignin levels could make the alfalfa more prone to attack by insects or diseases, and potentially increase pesticide use. Moreover, there are still many unknowns about how plants make lignin, making it premature to manipulate this important pathway. Additionally, alfalfa is a perennial crop and can cross-pollinate at great distances, allowing it to interbreed with other types of alfalfa. Any adverse impacts of the new variety will therefore be spread rapidly through much or all of the alfalfa seed supply
USDA assessed the risk from these crops under the inadequate plant pest provisions of the Plant Protection Act (PPA) of 2000. USDA has ignored the noxious weed provision of the PPA, which would allow a more thorough risk assessment. By failing to develop reasonable regulations under the PPA 14 years after its passage, USDA continues to fail in its mandate to protect the public and the environment.
13 Nov 2014 Leave a comment
This is both frightening and hilarious. It does have a bit of adult language, so be aware of that. This has been documented in serious fashion previously, but this comedic approach may really drive it home for some people.
The video is about 16 minutes long, and if you want to get why the “war on drugs” is so corrupt, you need to stay around until the end where a couple loses their home because their son brought $40 of drugs into their home…The house was guilty of a crime, see.
12 Nov 2014 Leave a comment
To me, the Federal level agencies would best serve the citizens of this country by being completely gutted. They have “charges” under specific legislation, and they routinely expand their authority and “boot on the face” approach on people who hurt no one, and they completely fail to do the tasks they were created to accomplish. Yes, this is a broad brush, but we would be better served doing everything ourselves….Case in point below:
Consumers count on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to keep food safe, but the agency tests very little of the produce sold in the United States for pesticides and some of its methods were deemed incomplete, according to a recent report.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found the FDA “takes relatively few targeted samples to test for pesticide residue and detects what is likely to be a small percentage of the foods that have violative levels of residue. Moreover, FDA does not disclose in its annual monitoring reports that it does not test for some commonly used pesticides that have established tolerances for many commodities.”
The FDA tests only one-tenth of 1% of the food imported for use on U.S. dinner tables, and that’s actually far more testing than happens to domestic food. The GAO said the FDA tests only about a quarter as many domestic products as imported. “According to its recent annual reports, FDA has placed a greater emphasis on testing imported foods because it has found a higher percentage of imported samples with violations,” according to the report.
This is startling considering that “from 1970 to 2007, hundreds of millions of pounds of pesticides were applied annually to U.S. food crops to protect them from pests,” the GAO wrote.
The lack of testing includes pesticides that another federal agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, considers dangerous enough for which to have tolerance levels, Common Dreams noted.
“FDA takes relatively few targeted domestic and imported samples to test for pesticide residues. Additionally, FDA does not test for several widely used pesticides that have established tolerances for many commodities, meaning that it is unable to detect violations of those tolerances,” the GAO reported.
Food safety advocates at the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation organization, criticized the lack of pesticide inspections at the FDA.
“The FDA is supposed to be protecting the American people from dangers in their food and it’s clear they’ve dropped the ball when it comes to pesticides,” Lori Ann Burd, endangered species campaign director for the organization, said in a statement.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley
12 Nov 2014 1 Comment
(This article is linked through the title at the top of the picture. This is not surprising news at all, but I contend that if there is a wholesale repudiation of GMO corn, where farmer’s refuse to grow it, that we could breed it out of existence over time. That is likely the only way to purify corn left to us. Soy is even worse than corn, although it isn’t quite as prolific in it’s cross pollination capacities. Planting real food in revolt is our best and most important effort. It won’t restore balance quickly, but we can’t stop the wind, so we have to do what we can or give up…Now, here’s the article.)
With each passing year, an increasing number of states are attempting to adopt GMO labeling laws amid the federal government’s resistance to allow you to know what’s in your food. With each victory, or even loss, we get stronger — and closer to making GMO labeling a reality. The sad reality, however, is that many experts say GMO labeling will not suffice in the overall fight against biotech due to the fact that GMO crops can easily contaminate nearby farms.
A new report finds that the GMO contamination issue is much more serious than previously thought, and the concerned experts couldn’t be more correct.
There have been numerous real-life cases of GMO contamination thus far, though most aren’t well known. One key example rests with Australian farmer Steve Marsh, an organic farmer who sued a neighboring farmer for compensation after his field of non-GMO wheat was contaminated by Michael Baxter’s RoundUp Ready canola seeds. He took his case to the Supreme Court of Western Australia and lost.
Another example of GMO contamination can be seen with an unapproved strain of genetically modified wheat discovered in Oregon. The Roundup Ready strain was nixed in 2005 when global resistance to Monsanto forced the company to stop working on it. It was never approved for use, let along growing and exporting.
The claim by the biotech industry that GMO crops can be contained and kept away from organic farmers who have chosen not to use genetically modified ‘suicide’ seeds has steadily been proven false. A third of organic growers are now reporting problems with cross contamination, according to one survey. More than 80% of farmers who participated in the survey are ‘concerned’ about the impact of genetic seeds. About 60% are ‘very concerned.’
One organic farmer, Oren Holle, blames the USDA’s loving relationship with Monsanto:
“…the USDA has been extremely lax and, in our opinion, that’s due to the excessive influence of the biotech industry in political circles.”
The newly released report outlining the prevalence of GMO contamination, which can be found in the International Journal of Food Contamination, reports that by the end of 2013 and since 1997, 396 incidents of GMO cross-contamination across 63 countries had been recorded. Many of which had involved GM rice.
The Paper Makes the Following Main Points:
- 1. GMO contamination is unavoidable and will happen no matter what through nature.
- 2. Contamination will even occur via field trials or illegal plantings. The report references 9 cases of contamination of unauthorized GMO crops which have bypassed environmental and food safety testing.
- 3. Genetically modified rice made up about 33% of the contamination cases by crop. This is despite the fact that as of December 2012, GM rice hasn’t even become widely available for production or consumption. There is a global absence of any commercial cultivation of GM rice. The authors suggest this figure might be related to the routine testing of imports of GM rice at national borders.
- 4. It is difficult to contain and halt contamination after it has already happened.
- 5. “From these data, it’s not clear what the main factors affecting contamination rates are. It’s not only the GM contamination itself (cross-pollination, mix-ups etc.) that contributes to the number of cases, but also the the testing regime (both routine and targeted). The highest rates of contamination are in imported foodstuffs to Germany but this is probably because they do a lot of testing. All EU countries have high rates because they report their findings of the RASFF database. The data for contamination exists – but not the factors to analyse what influences contamination.”
- 6. The researchers conclude that for most experimental GMOs, there is no protocol for testing, which makes detection for contamination extremely difficult.
The report concluded:
“The detection of GMO contamination is dependent on both routine and targeted monitoring regimes, which appears to be inconsistent from country to country, even within the EU. The lack of an analytical methodology for the detection of GM crops at the field trial stage (i.e. pre-commercialisation) can hamper efforts to detect any contamination arising from such GM lines.”