USDA Begins National Survey of Honey Bee Pests and Diseases

USDA Begins National Survey of Honey Bee Pests and Diseases

A 13-state survey of honey bee pests and diseases that will help USDA scientists to determine the factors that may be contributing to the decline of honey bee colonies nationwide.

British Academic Resigns From FSA Group Over GM

Professor Brian Wynne was vice chairman of a steering group set up by the Food Standards Agency to gauge the public mood on genetically modified (GM) food. Prof Wynne said that he resigned when it became clear that the consultation was biased in favour of GM. Earlier in the week another member of the group, Dr Helen Wallace, Director of the non-governmental organisation Genewatch, resigned in protest at the Food Standard Agency’s allegedly close links with the agri-chemical industry.

Latest USDA Research On Colony Collapse Disorder

Latest USDA Research On Colony Collapse Disorder

Recent research from USDA points to a correlation between a fungus and a family of viruses that may be working together to cause the Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees. Many still believe, however, that other causes such as pesticide use in agriculture and GMOs that produce pesticides, also play a role in the collapse.

Why Big Chicken May Be Obama's Next Antitrust Target

Last week, current and former chicken growers, mostly from the South, gave attorney general Eric Holder and USDA secretary Tom Vilsack accounts of a lack of competition, poverty-level earnings and bait-and-switch tactics among the big chicken producers. “This system takes hard working farmers and makes them indentured servants on their own land,” Kay Doby, a former chicken farmer from North Carolina, told a crowded room at Alabama A&M University.

GE Alfalfa At the Supreme Court: Analyzing Oral Arguments

GE Alfalfa At the Supreme Court: Analyzing Oral Arguments

We review and provide legal analysis of the oral argument in the Monsanto v Geertson matter heard recently by the Supreme Court.

USDA Approves Genetically Modified Trees For Trial Planting

USDA Approves Genetically Modified Trees For Trial Planting

Ignoring criticis and finding their concerns to be “unlikely,” on May 12, 2010 APHIS approved for continued field tests the planting of experimental genetically modified eucalyptus trees across seven states.

Your Veggi Burger May Be Toxic

Until recently, not many consumers were aware of the widespread use of a toxic and environmentally damaging chemical, hexane, in the manufacturing of “natural” soyfoods such as vegetarian burgers, nutrition bars, and protein shakes. The use of chemical solvents such as hexane is strictly prohibited in organic food processing, yet its use is widespread in the “natural” soy industry, including in some products labeled as “made with organic soybeans,” such as Clif® Bars. Hexane, a neurotoxin, is listed as a “hazardous air pollutant” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and grain processors, including soy processors, are responsible for more than two-thirds of all hexane emissions in the United States.

Deconstructing Monsanto’s PR Message on GE Alfalfa

Deconstructing Monsanto's PR Message on GE Alfalfa

Monsanto claims that it is pursuing a legal battle over the right to grow genetically modified alfalfa because it is concerned with farmers, fairness and choice. Yet Monsanto’s appeals in the case have a lot more to do with protecting its right to continue selling GM seeds and pesticides.

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in the case of Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms. At stake is a decision issued by California District Court which issued a permanent injunction against any further planting of genetically engineered alfalfa crop in 2007.

Marketplace Radio is Accepting Public Comments on Monsanto Endorsements

Marketplace Radio is Accepting Public Comments on Monsanto Endorsements

After airing another arguably favorable report on genetically modified crops without acknowledging Monsanto as Marketplace’s sponsor, the program is soliciting listeners’ comments as to whether the program should announce Monsanto’s sponsorship when airing reports discussing Monsanto and their products.

New Study Finds Widespread Pesticide Contamination of Beehives

New Study Finds Widespread Pesticide Contamination of Beehives

A new study by Penn State University found widespread and remarkably high level pesticide and other toxicant contamination of bee hives. The study sheds light on how modern day agriculture contributes to Colony Collapse Disorder.

Genetically Modified Bananas Harvested In Australia

Genetically Modified Bananas Harvested In Australia

The first genetically modified bananas were recently harvested in Australia. But there is little reason to celebrate as, like other GMOs, genetically modified bananas bring to the table the same unanswered questions and concerns about their impact on health and the environment.

Ban On GE Sugar Beets Not Ruled Out, But Planting Goes Forward

Ban On GE Sugar Beets Not Ruled Out, But Planting Goes Forward

On March 16, 2010, a California District Judge denied plaintiffs’ request to halt the planting of GE sugar beets. The Court’s decision, however, left open the possibility of a ban, which is to be determined at the permanent injunction hearings in July.

All Tested Fish In U.S. Streams Is Contaminated With Mercury

All Tested Fish In U.S. Streams Is Contaminated With Mercury

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey found that ALL fish tested from 291 freshwater streams across the United States was contaminated with mercury.

District Court Reserves Judgment On GE Sugar Beets’ Injunction

District Court Reserves Judgment On GE Sugar Beets' Injunction

After nearly a two-hour hearing yesterday, the U.S. District Judge Jeffery White reserved judgment as to whether a preliminary injunction, that would prevent the production or planting of genetically modified sugar beet seeds, should issue. Both parties, however, expect a quick decision as farmers will soon be ready to plant their crop.

Plaintiffs Seek Injunction To Prevent Planting Of GM Sugar Beets

Plaintiffs Seek Injunction To Prevent Planting Of GM Sugar Beets

Organic farmers and environmental groups will seek this week an injunction to stop the planting of the GM beets until the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”) conducts an environmental impact statement (“EIS”). The lawsuit also seeks to bar the sale of sugar made from GM modified beets.

Urge USDA To Continue Regulating Monsanto's Roundup Ready Alfalfa

In December 2009, the USDA has released its draft environmental impact statement proposing to deregulate Monsanto’s genetically engineered alfalfa. GMO Journal submitted its public comment to the agency urging it to continue regulating GE alfalfa. There is still time to take action before the March 3, 2010 deadline. Do you part — tell USDA to reject Monsanto’s GE alfalfa.

Internal Report Finds USDA’s Failure to Effectively Regulate GMOs

Internal Report Finds USDA's Failure to Effectively Regulate GMOs

The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS), which oversees biotechnology regulation, was heavily criticized by its own Inspector General 2005 audit report. Did APHIS change its way since then?

Analyzing Monsanto’s Ironclad Contract – In Fear of The Dotted Line

Monsanto's Ironclad Contract - In Fear of The Dotted Line

There is little doubt that Monsanto-farmer contracts are fundamentally unfair to the farmers. In this case, David does not fair well against Goliath. But are such agreements also fundamentally unfair to society because, unless you grow it yourself, what the farmer grows is what you eat.

Doubts About USDA’s Ability to Effectively Regulate Second Generation GMOs

Doubts About USDA’s Ability to Effectively Regulate Second Generation GMOs

As a result of policies enumerated by the Coordinated Framework, regulatory control over GMOs in the United States was divided among different regulatory agencies. The consequences of such a decision was a myopic, and at times, haphazard regulatory control by each agency over GMOs. For USDA, this raises significant questions as to the agency’s ability to effectively regulate second generation GMOs.

Buyer Beware: Monsanto’s New GM Soy To Contain Omega-3s

Buyer Beware: Monsanto's New GM Soy To Contain Omega-3s

We’ve all been told: consume Omega-3 fatty acids, usually found in cold water oily fish, for better health. But we’ve also been warned: with global fish stocks in decline, if everyone consumed the recommended amounts of fish in order to obtain enough Omega-3s, the results would be catastrophic for wild fish. Enter Monsanto: with the collaboration of Solae, the company has developed a soybean that has been genetically engineered to contain the Omega-3 fatty acids.

USDA and GMOs:  The Roots of Failure

USDA and GMOs: The Roots of Failure

How can the public trust government agencies to ensure the safety of GMOs if those agencies have a long track record of failure? USDA’s regulatory track record begs the question of whether it is a government “regulatory” agency or an industry group.

Supreme Court Asked To Review GM Alfalfa Ban

Supreme Court Asked To Review GM Alfalfa Ban

According to a story published recently in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Monsanto Co. asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court’s decision to ban the planting of genetically modified alfalfa until an environmental review is complete.”

Monsanto – The New Big Brother

Monsanto is now the world’s leading agricultural biotechnology corporation and that spells bad news for small farmers. As many farmers have learned, they are not free from the watchful eye of the Big Brother, who, in this case, is Monsanto.