GMO Digest: Superweeds Discussed in Congress, Environmental Justice, and More

Here are the latest GMO and sustainable agriculture stories from the last week:

Lawmakers Discuss Superweeds — The House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform held a hearing analyzing whether USDA biotech policy caused the rising superweeds problem.  This hearing comes shortly after a group of legislators proposed new GMO labelling rules after a recent Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s injunction on the planting of GM alfalfa.  Other lawmakers, however, called on Vilsack to deregulate GM Alfalfa.  It’s time to remind your representatives that you stand on the side of consumer rights and environment!

Are Monsanto’s GMO Beets Better? — While litigation continues, Monsanto’s GM beets, which account for 95% of beets grown in the U.S., are yielding just like their conventional counterparts or worse, based on a recent look at USDA data. Not only do the GM beets cost more, but the prices for GM beet seeds jumped 22% last year and other industry-touted benefits are not bearing fruit.

Environmental Justice at EPA — Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public comments on the interim guidance document that requires EPA staff to incorporate environmental justice into the agency’s rulemaking. That’s an encouraging signal after the Bush Administration’s steady focus on corporate welfare.

U.S. Bee Die-off Problem Grows — It seems apparent that the colony collapse disorder problem has been masked by the import of thousands of bee colonies from Australia, but that solution has its own problems. The economics of bee pollination will soon show a real impact on berry, vegetable and specialty agriculture.

Roundup Resistance in the News Again — Rampant Monsanto’s Roundup resistance has now spread to 22 states. To add to Monsanto’s troubles, cheap Chinese generic glyphosate has pushed down Monsanto’s Roundup and glyphosate business by 56 percent in the last quarter, according to  In response, Monsanto and other biotech seed companies are shifting focus to older and, often, more toxic pesticides. Read Organic Seed Alliance’s discussion of Monsanto’s announcement of coming approval for a dicamba-tolerant trait in soybeans.

From Around the World

Approvals For GM Maize Import in EU — European Union executive has approved 6 GM maize varieties for import into EU countries. The approval is seen as a part of a broader effort to erode GM rules for the European bloc.

6th Annual GMO-Free Europe Conference — Participants are being solicited for a conference of European GMO-Free Regions to be held in Brussels and Ghent in mid-September.

Map Reveals GM Farms in Australia — Gene Ethics, an Australian non-profit organization, published an on-line map showing GM and GM-free canola growers around the country. It may help identify GM contamination sources for GM-free farmers, although Australian law still provides no legal recourse in such cases.

Debate Over GMOs in Africa — Biotech crops are hotly debated as a solution to world hunger, especially on the African continent where the biotech industry is exploiting the pervasive hunger in many of the countries to further its agenda. Here is a balanced analysis of this debate.

We will continue publishing similar roundups (no pun intended) of the latest GMO and sustainable agriculture news from around the web. We appreciate your support. Stay tuned! Let us know what you think.

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