Dear CBAN News Subscribers, Please read below some amazing news as Monsanto accepts defeat in Europe and the first ever state law for mandatory labelling is passed in the US. This is happening at the same time that the US government is scrambling to limit economic damage from the discovery of contamination from unapproved genetically engineered wheat (there is no GE wheat approved or grown anywhere in the world). CBAN continues to monitor, research and bring attention to these and other important events as we build and implement strategic campaigns to stop dangerous genetically engineered crops and animals. Best regards, Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Monsanto Leaves Europe:
Monsanto has pulled out of GM crop research in Europe and is not planning to request approval for new GM seeds in Europe. Currently Monsanto sells GM corn only in Spain, Portugal and Czech republic. http://www.ir-d.dk/gmo-lose-europe-victory-for-environmental-organisations/ Monsanto confirmed abandoning GM crop efforts in Europe to Danish reporters: "We have plenty of other things to sell...We will sell it where people want it", said Brandon Mitchener, Public Affairs Lead for Monsanto Europe, "We made a strategic decision in 2011 to focus on entirely on hybrid or conventional, normal crops." http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9QbJ_qzHHq8 Monsanto's confirmation follows a similar decision from German biotech company BASF as well as Bayer CropScience and Syngenta who have also largely moved out of Europe.
Connecticut First US State to Pass Law for GE Food Labelling:
On June 3, Connecticut became the first US state to pass mandatory labelling legislation for genetically engineered food ingredients! The compromise law requires that four other states pass similar legislation in order to “trigger” Connecticut’s labeling requirement. One of the states must share a border with Connecticut and their combined population must equal at least 20 million people. http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/ct_first_in_the_nation_to_pass_gmo_labeling_bill
Philippines Court Stops GE Eggplant Field Trials:
A court in the Philippines has ordered the government to stop field trials of genetically engineered (Bt) eggplant. Groups challenged that the trials violated the people’s constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology - the court agreed. http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/business/agri-commodities/13830-ca-bt-eggplant-field-trials-unsafe-for-humans-environment
GE Wheat Contamination Update:
On May 29, the US government confirmed that unapproved GE wheat was discovered in a field in Oregon. GE wheat is not approved or grown anywhere in the world. http://www.cban.ca/content/view/full/1725 The US government has increased its investigation but has still not been able to identify the source of contamination. Meanwhile, a Kansas wheat farmer has filed a civil lawsuit against Monsanto, seeking compensation for damages caused by the discovery which sent wheat export futures prices spiralling downward. “Consider the liability issues. Why is a biotech company such as Monsanto allowed to get away with setting loose their unapproved genetic material via experimental field tests and yet pay none of the consequences when it escapes? The market impacts of contamination are always borne by farmers who had no say in whether, how, or where these field tests took place. This is an injustice and it is not acceptable.” said Glenn Tait of the National Farmers Union Canada.http://www.nfu.ca/story/unapproved-ge-wheat-found-oregon-farm-raises-contamination-concerns
Asian and European markets are now testing US shipments for contamination - no contamination has yet been found in US exports and no contamination has been found in Canada.
Monsanto stocks declined, the biggest drop since Oct. 31, 2011. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-31/monsanto-resumed-field-trials-of-roundup-ready-wheat.html
In addition to our press release, CBAN has posted some basic background information at http://www.cban.ca/content/view/full/1727 and for more information you can also see http://www.cban.ca/wheat
Arrests as People Protest GE Trees (US):
Groups and participants from the Campaign to STOP GE Trees rallied and marched in the May 25 March Against Monsanto in Asheville, North Carolina US, which drew over 1000 people. Anti-GE tree demonstrators converged in Asheville to confront the 2013 Tree Biotechnology conference. ArborGen, one of the sponsors of the conference, wants to commercially sell millions of GE eucalyptus trees in seven southern states from South Carolina to Texas.
Two residents of Asheville, North Carolina were arrested on the opening day of the conference after disrupting a major presentation by tree engineer Wout Boerjan (Belgium) entitled, “Engineering trees for the biorefinery”. “We took dignified action today to directly confront the growing corporate control over our seeds, forests, and communities." The talk was disrupted for 20 minutes. http://climate-connections.org/2013/05/27/breaking-protestors-arrested-at-genetically-engineered-tree-conference/
Three demonstrators were also arrested on May 30 at the conference. They attempted to use GMO caution tape to wrap a bus full of conference participants headed for an upscale dinner. Dozens more groaning zombie "franken-tree" protesters were present in protest: "We're blocking the buses because these conference attendees are on their way to dinner at the Biltmore Estate. Built by the Vanderbilts, the Biltmore is a symbol of the wealthy and powerful, and one of the birthplaces of industrial forestry in the US, which wiped out forests from coast to coast. The tree biotechnology industry is continuing this destructive legacy. They plan to cut down native forests and replace them with GE tree plantations grown solely for the profit of the elite at the expense of local communities and biodiversity," said Will Bennington, one of those arrested.http://climate-connections.org/2013/05/30/photo-essay-three-brutally-arrested-protesting-ge-trees-at-industry-conference/
CBAN is a founding Steering Committee member of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees.
New Study Finds GE Salmon Can Cross-breed with Wild Fish:
Scientists from Canada have found that transgenic (genetically engineered) Atlantic salmon can cross-breed with brown trout, a closely related species. The fish, which have been engineered to grow faster, pass the trait to the hybrid offspring and the new fish out-competed other fish in lab experiments. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22694239 The US could approve the first GE fish - the fast-growing GE Atlantic Salmon - any day.
CBC Report on Failure of GM Insect-Resistant Crops:
Genetically engineered insect resistant (Bt) crops are failing as insects become resistant - just as predicted. There was actually never any dispute that this would happen, it was just a matter of time...and now is the time. You can listen to the discussion of this problem on CBC's The Current: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2013/05/29/gm-resistant-rootworms-and-the-future-of-farming/
Act Before June 7 to Stop Reckless Release of Synthetic Biology:
The Genome Compiler Corporation is promising to send 100 seeds produced through synthetic biology to anyone who backs their project with $40. They already have 7, 700+ such backers; that's 770, 000 synthetically engineered seeds that will be released! The seeds would be the viable and reproducing products of ‘Synthetic Biology’ - a field that has never had a deliberate release into the environment before. The company claims that the US Government had agreed not to regulate, assess or monitor this widespread random and nation-wide release of synthetic organisms. Sign today to stop crowdsourcing site Kickstarter from assisting in this environmental disaster. http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Tell_Kickstarter_not_to_allow_bioengineered_organisms More information: http://www.etcgroup.org/kickstopper