martes, septiembre 30, 2014

WWF's collaboration with Monsanto

WWF's lawsuits failed to achieve ban on book
In 2011 the German film maker Wilfried Huismann released his documentary film exposé of WWF, The Silence of the Pandas. The film highlighted the devastation caused by the expansion of GM soy in South America and WWF's collaboration with Monsanto in the Round Table on Responsible Soy, an industry-led greenwashing forum that tries to portray GM soy as "responsible".

Now Huismann has published an English language book on his investigations. It's available as an 
e-book or in a Kindle edition from Amazon. Paperback version available soon.

PandaLeaks – The Dark Side of the WWF, 24 Sept 2014

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GM Lags Behind Conventional in Drought-Resistant Maize Breeding Efforts, by GM Watch's Claire Robinson

An important article has been published in Nature journal. “Cross-bred crops get fit faster”, by Natasha Gilbert, explains how genetic engineering lags behind conventional breeding in efforts to create drought-resistant maize for Africa.
drought maize
Source: Comment by Claire Robinson of GMWatch
Gilbert writes, “Old-fashioned breeding techniques seem to be leading genetic modification in a race to develop crops that can withstand drought and poor soils.”
The article foregrounds the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa project, launched in 2006 with $33 million. The project has developed 153 new varieties to improve yields in 13 countries. In field trials, these varieties matched or exceeded the yields from commercial seeds under good rainfall conditions, and yielded up to 30% more under drought conditions.
Reiterating a point that the Earth Open Source report GMO Myths and TruthsGMWatch, and many others have repeatedly made over the years, Gilbert notes, “Drought tolerance is a complex trait that involves multiple genes. Transgenic techniques, which target one gene at a time, have not been as quick to manipulate it.”
Gilbert reports that the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico City and six other research organizations are also developing GM varieties of drought-resistant maize, in collaboration with Monsanto. But any GM variety that comes out of the project won’t be ready for African farmers before 2016 “at the earliest”.
So much for the GMO lobby meme that GM is quicker and more efficient than conventional breeding!
There are many more non-GM successes in the GMWatch database.

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lunes, septiembre 29, 2014

Prof Jack Heinemann on vaccines, climate, power, and GMOs


The latest tactics of the GMO lobby are designed to mislead
In two articles below, Prof Jack Heinemann challenges popular GMO lobby memes and dishonest PR tactics.
In the first article, Prof Heinemann takes on Monsanto PR woman Janice Person over her suggestion that opposition to GMOs is comparable to opposition to vaccines. He also explains why opposition to GMOs is not equivalent to "climate denial".
In the second article, Prof Heinemann asks whether attacks on Reuters journalist Carey Gillam by the blogger Keith Kloor and the former Vice President for Food & Agriculture of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Val Giddings, have any credibility. Gillam has fallen foul of these people because she presents both sides of the GMO issue.
1. Vaccine and climate as sophistry on GMOs
2. If it weren’t for false balance there’d be no balance at all

1. Vaccine and climate as sophistry on GMOs

by Jack Heinemann

2. If it weren’t for false balance there’d be no balance at all

by Jack Heinemann
Academic Freedom Aotearoa
18 September, 2014
A recent exchange over at Twitter illustrates what can happen when expression of controversial opinions causes conflict in the media. In this episode, those serving as critic and conscience of society are not the direct targets. Instead, the journalist becomes the target for having mentioned that these other opinions exist.

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jueves, septiembre 25, 2014

NO hay coexistencia posible

Artículo por Carmelo Ruiz Marrero, publicado en ALAI el 30 de junio 2014


Ante el reto de la agroecología, los defensores de la obsoleta agricultura industrial tóxica se quedan sin argumentos. En lugar de recapacitar, algunos toman refugio en el cómodo argumento de que se puede combinar ambas, tomando lo mejor de una y la otra para así llegar a una síntesis armoniosa. Con ese hábil discurso, que nos dice “podemos tener ambas agriculturas, dejen de pelear”, los proponentes de la producción agroecológica somos presentados como intolerantes que nos queremos imponer.

Vemos esta argumentación en el trabajo de la organización internacional Ecoagriculture Partners (1), y más recientemente en un artículo de Jonathan Foley en la revista National Geographic (2). La secretaria de agricultura de Puerto Rico, Myrna Comas, ha adoptado esta línea tras ser confrontada por oponentes de los transgénicos y agrotóxicos. En su ponencia al Senado el pasado 6 de junio, dijo que “aspiramos a una agricultura de coexistencia donde las estrategias utilizadas para la producción agrícola sean promovidas sin excluir la libertad de nuestros agricultores.”

Pero los datos científicos muestran claramente que no hay coexistencia posible. Los pesticidas agrotóxicos empleados en la agricultura industrial eventualmente acaban contaminándolo todo.

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martes, septiembre 23, 2014

Herbicide-Resistant Palmer Amaranth a Growing Threat to U.S. Farms

Publication date: September 11, 2014 

Dear Friends and Colleagues 
Herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth a growing threat to U.S. farms 
Researchers from the University of Illinois report that an invasive weed called Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri), which is showing growing resistance to common herbicides, including the widely used glyphosate, has “devastated cotton production” in the southern USA and is spreading at an alarming rate now across the Midwest. Already, it is found in 23 states.
Palmer amaranth is a prolific seed producer which can tolerate heat extremes, grow up to 2.5 metres tall and is challenging to remove. For instance, it cost the state of Georgia at least USD 11 million in 2009 to manually remove it from one million acres of cotton fields. The weed can decrease soybean yields by 78% and corn yields by 91%.
An article in Nature states that the spread of resistant weeds like Palmer amaranth can be traced to the widespread cultivation of crops genetically engineered (GE) to be resistant to glyphosate, citing that glyphosate-resistant weeds had infested 25 million hectares of US cropland by 2012. The article questions the proposal to develop GE crops made resistant to multiple herbicides as this is likely to be a flawed solution which will instead fuel the spread of more herbicide-resistant weeds. It calls on the Environmental Protection Agency to do more by way of integrated pest management. The article is available at

With best wishes
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
10400 Penang
Website: and
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lunes, septiembre 22, 2014

Troubling inspection reports reveal vast outdoor experimentation in the US with GMO crops

 06 September 2014.

Investigative reporter Bill Lambrecht uncovers a trail of mistakes and violations in GMO field trials

EXCERPT: Companies and universities conducting field trials usually are eager to remedy problems and avoid further scrutiny. That apparently wasn't the case last year at the University of Florida, which received a formal letter from APHIS about its failings after a tomato researcher told an inspector that he didn't plan to monitor adjacent land for unwanted volunteer plants and intended to lie about it if asked.

Gene-altered apple tested in Washington state


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domingo, septiembre 21, 2014

La audiencia de este blog / This blog's audience

I had no idea that the Biosafety Blog's biggest audience is in DEUTSCHLAND! I had fully expected Puerto Rico, the USA and Latin America to rank first. Greetings to all our readers in Germany, France and Turkey! Feel free to write and tell us about your activism:

Gráfico de los países más populares entre los lectores del blog
EntradaPáginas vistas
Estados Unidos
Puerto Rico


Raj Patel: How to Be Curious About the Green Revolution

Social media is alive with folks’ thoughts on Michael Specter’s recent New Yorker piece. As the controversy fades, I worry that people will be left with three ideas.
  1. Vandana Shiva is unreliable therefore all critiques of GMOs are too.
  2. Farmer suicides aren’t about GMOs so we can stop worrying about them.
  3. The Green Revolution is worth repeating, because what we need to feed the world is yet another boost in food production.
All three of these ideas ought to be banished from your mind.
  1. Specter’s ad hominem isn’t a substitute for good argument.
  2. Farmer suicides are a serious problem, in India and elsewhere, and have much to do with farmer debt. If you’re interested, Stuffed and Starved has a whole chapter on how suicides from the US to the UK to India are linked, and have much to do with the modern food system. Louis Proyect’s piece at Counterpunch makes the argument about debt nicely. Specter himself has dismissed Proyect as “perfect for Marxists flattering frauds” (though it could also be that he’s dismissing Mark Bittman’s tweet about Proyect, thus inverting the designation of Marxist and fraud. Twitter is an engine of ambiguity).
Claim number 3 is the most pernicious. The idea that “the Green Revolution worked by increasing crop production to end hunger, and that we need to repeat it with GMOs” is, despite the last paragraph in Specter’s piece, one that suffuses his argument. Unsurprisingly,  the social media debate over GMOs turns on the idea that GMOs can feed the planet, and those who are suspicious of these crops are peddlers of famine and ignorance.

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sábado, septiembre 20, 2014

Bangladesh Bt brinjal farmers demand compensation


Farmers say they were "fooled" and used as "guinea pigs" for failed crop
Farmers in Bangladesh who were given Bt brinjal plants have demanded compensation for huge losses they incurred cultivating the GM crop.

British pro-GMO campaigner Mark Lynas presented the Bt brinjal as a success, claiming that reports about its failure were false "scare stories" put about by anti-GMO activists.

However, an investigation by The Guardian newspaper (UK) confirmed the widespread failure of the crop.

EXCERPT: [Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association] chief executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan said they would go to court if the government did not compensate the farmers. Demanding Bt brinjal cultivation to be stopped, she said that the government was adamant to cultivate the controversial crop despite public outcry and failure in its field level cultivation.

Bt brinjal farmers demand compensation

Staff Correspondent
New Age (Bangladesh), September 1, 2014

Farmers, who were given Bt brinjal saplings, on Sunday demanded compensation for huge losses they incurred cultivating the genetically modified crop.

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¿Quién se beneficia con los cultivos transgénicos? Una industria fundada en mitos

Sistema alimentario mundial
El presente informe analiza la realidad de la producción de cultivos transgénicos a nivel mundial. Se diferencia lo que se dice, de lo que realmente sucede, en base a las experiencias de los pequeños agricultores y las comunidades que viven con cultivos transgénicos.
La relación que tenemos con los alimentos y la forma en que los producimos está sometida a presiones crecientes. Fenómenos meteorológicos extremos, cambios en el clima y el crecimiento demográfico mundial ponen en riesgo la soberanía alimentaria de las comunidades. Al mismo tiempo, los expertos en salud cuestionan seriamente nuestra dieta moderna. La Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) advierte de una “epidemia mundial de obesidad”, aunque se estima que 868 millones de personas padecen hambre crónica. Por eso quizás no debería sorprender que se reclamen cambios fundamentales en la manera como producimos los alimentos y alimentamos al mundo.
La industria de la biotecnología se ha colocado a sí misma en el centro de este debate. Las empresas de biotecnología trabajan con gobiernos y la comunidad internacional de asistencia en iniciativas que según ellos mejorarán el rendimiento y los niveles de nutrición. Sus promotores sostienen que los cultivos transgénicos (genéticamente modificados) pueden ayudar a alimentar un mundo limitado por el clima.
Para acceder al documento (PDF) haga clic en el enlace a continuación y descargue el archivo:

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viernes, septiembre 19, 2014

GM Watch: Biofortified continues to misrepresent GMO facts

Pro-GMO group claims to champion science but promotes corporate talking points, writes Claire Robinson

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martes, septiembre 16, 2014



Carmelo Ruiz Marrero
Comentario para el noticiero Hoy en las Noticias de Radio Universidad de Puerto Rico
21 de mayo 2014

La controversia en torno a los alimentos y cultivos genéticamente modificados, o transgénicos, continúa y crece. Los transgénicos son organismos cuyos códigos genéticos han sido alterados mediante técnicas de ingeniería genética para crear combinaciones genéticas que nunca serían posibles en la naturaleza.

Las compañías que nos están empujando esta biotecnología agrícola, cuyo líder indiscutible es la Monsanto, nos dicen que estos cultivos ayudan a combatir el hambre mundial, ayudan a los agricultores al reducir sus costos operacionales, y son ecológicamente sustentables ya que- supuestamente- reducen el uso de agroquímicos tóxicos. Pero a casi 20 años de su introducción, los agricultores siguen peleando con las malezas y plagas, dos problemas que si acaso se han puesto peor, usan más agroquímicos que antes, y su situación económica no ha mejorado para nada, y hoy tenemos en el mundo más gente hambrienta que nunca.

Informes recientes de las organizaciones científicas Union of Concerned Scientists y Earth Open Source y el grupo ecologista internacional Amigos de la Tierra, tiran por el piso los supuestos beneficios de los cultivos transgénicos (1).

A estas alturas el que diga que hay un consenso científico en pro de los transgénicos simplemente desconoce la literatura científica y no está al tanto del debate. El pasado mes de octubre la Red Europea de Científicos por la Responsabilidad Social y Ambiental (ENSSER) emitió una declaración detallada y con referencias bibliográficas al efecto de que ese consenso simplemente no existe (2). En los siguientes meses sobre 300 científicos firmaron la declaración.

Si los alimentos transgénicos son tan seguros, entonces ¿por qué la oposición a que los rotulen para que la gente decida si los quiere comprar y consumir? El Senado de Puerto Rico tiene ante su consideración el proyecto de ley #524, el cual haría obligatorio el etiquetado de productos transgénicos. Este proyecto, presentado por la senadora independentista María de Lourdes Santiago, tiene el apoyo de senadores de los otros dos partidos políticos. La oposición al etiquetado en Puerto Rico y en el mundo la dirige la corporación Monsanto.

Unanse a la marcha mundial en contra de Monsanto este sábado. A la 1 de la tarde saldremos del Parque Muñoz Rivera en Puerta de Tierra hasta el Capitolio. Le reclamaremos a la legislatura que tome acción y realice vistas públicas en torno al proyecto 524. Y los que se oponen al etiquetado, que vayan a las vistas y expliquen al país por qué creen que no tenemos derecho a saber qué comemos.

Para más información sobre el etiquetado de transgénicos:

1) Union of Concerned Scientists "High and Dry: Why Genetic Engineering Is Not Solving Agriculture's Drought Problem in a Thirsty World"; "Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops"; Blog de Bioseguridad de Puerto Rico

Earth Open Source "GMO Myths and Truths"

Amigos de la Tierra "¿Quién se beneficia con los cultivos transgénicos? Una industria fundada en mitos"
2) "No scientific consensus on GMO safety: Scientists release statement saying public is being misled";

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lunes, septiembre 15, 2014

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) - Myths and Truths

The information is based on the new report "GMO Myths and Truths" by You can find more information here: 

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domingo, septiembre 14, 2014

GMO Corn Faces Hurdles in Mexico

September 10, 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues 
GM maize face hurdles in Mexico 

In April this year, a Mexican court upheld an injunction issued in October 2013 against the further testing or commercialization of genetically modified (GM) maize in the country citing "the risk of imminent harm to the environment" (Item 1).

In 2009, the Mexican government approved applications by Monsanto and other corporations to conduct experimental trials on GM maize in six northern states. The government was on the verge of granting approval for the large-scale commercial planting of GM maize in these states when the injunction was issued last year. 

The court order was the result of a class action suit filed by 53 citizen plaintiffs, including farmers, environmentalists, and consumers on the grounds that the approval of permits for planting GM maize had violated Mexico’s biosecurity law of 2005. The law provides for the special protection of maize and stipulates that GM maize is not to be sown in proximity to any area known to be a "center of origin" for maize. 
Scientists from the National Commission on Biodiversity (CONABIO) have pointed out in a recent paper (Item 2) that Mexico is a center of origin and diversity for maize and other crops.  They warn that given the “agricultural, cultural, and historical contexts that surround maize production in Mexico,it will be very difficult (if not impossible) to control gene flow if commercial releases (of GM crops) take place, and this could threaten food security for all those that depend on its production through landraces”. 
With best wishes 
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
10400 Penang
Website: and
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Item 1 
Monsanto Meets its Match in the Birthplace of Maize

Timothy A. Wise 

Item 2

How Much Can GMO and Non-GMO Cultivars Coexist In A Megadiverse Country? 
Caroline Burgeff, Elleli Huerta, Francisca Acevedo, and José Sarukhán
Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad (CONABIO)

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From Devon Peña's blog: Seed Savers Exchange Statement on Seed Libraries and the CRG Safe Seed Pledge


Seeds. Jyoti Thomas. Source:
Devon Peña’s Note: The Seed Savers Exchange has actively served the nation’s farmers, gardeners, plant breeders, and seed librarians since 1975 as a reliable source of non-GMO heirloom seed. The Seed Savers released a statement in support of seed libraries last week. I am reposting their eloquent declaration in defense of seed libraries; for the original, please visit the Seed Savers home page.

The statement makes a strong declaration of support for the principle tenet that seed saving is part of our deepest cultural heritage and people have been saving and sharing seeds for millennia. Moreover, “Despite what some institutions have suggested, seeds can be valuable, safe and healthy without laboratory germination tests or government licenses.”

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viernes, septiembre 12, 2014

Seed Sovereignty | Grassroots seed savers and libraries organize


Seed libraries are one strategy to avoid the compression of seed
 biodiversity we have seen under the practices of commercial seed houses.
Seed Library Social Network calls for discourse

Devon G. Peña | Las Colonias de San Pablo, CO | August 31, 2014

On August 5, I reported on the closing down of a seed library in Pennsylvania by the state’s Department of Agriculture.  A week later, August 13, I posted an analysis and position paper on U.S. seed laws prepared by Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC).

Continuing with this series on Seed Sovereignty in the U.S., I am posting this call for a discussion of a National Seed Library Protocol prepared by Leslie Goldman affiliated with the Seed Library Social Network (SLSN). The call was posted on August 27 on the SLSN homepage. I have re-posted Leslie Goldman’s announcement and call for discussion below (unedited). Goldman also reports on initial email correspondence with state officials in Pennsylvania.

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