The claims by biotechnology corporations that genetic engineering increases crop yields, and is therefore necessary to feed a growing world population, have also recently been refuted. Failure to Yield, a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists published in April 2009, is the first to evaluate in detail the overall yield effect of genetic engineering. Specifically, the report concludes “no currently available transgenic varieties enhance the intrinsic yield of any crops. The intrinsic yields of corn and soybeans did rise during the twentieth century, but not as a result of GE traits. Rather, they were due to successes in traditional breeding.”
Monsanto has crops resistant to glyphosate. Bayer is selling cotton and soybeans resistant to glufosinate, another weedkiller. Monsanto’s newest corn is tolerant of both glyphosate and glufosinate, and the company is developing crops resistant to dicamba, an older pesticide. Syngenta is developing soybeans tolerant of its Callisto product. And Dow Chemical is developing corn and soybeans resistant to 2,4-D, a component of Agent Orange, the defoliant used in the Vietnam War.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’s money buys the “truth” even on public radio so that it too spreads Monsanto’s PR message “Produce more, Conserve More.” In reality, agriculture a la Monsanto is everything but conservation or sustainability. Read our analysis of Monsanto’s treatment by Marketplace.
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.
Industry bias, lax scientific standards, exemption of food crops containing pesticides from registration requirements, and failure to independently monitor GM crops after approval, are among the regulatory problems exhibited by the EPA when it comes to regulating GMOs.
A new breed of genetically engineered dandelions is currently in development and could be implemented in a number of industrial, chemical and pharmaceutical uses. Currently, transgenic dandelions are used to create dandelion-derived latex.
Barry B. Benson from the Bee Movie, might have been right after all – bees have a reason to sue humans, more than one reason. Honey bee population faces a dire reality in the United States. Since the major honey bee die-offs have started 3 years ago, some areas have seen deaths of 30-90% of bee colonies each winter.
A genetically engineered variety of soybean resistant to Asian rust will soon be widely available in West and Central Africa.
As a follow up to my July 16, 2009 post, here are some more interesting statistics. The USDA reports that American farmers have adopted genetically engineered crops widely since their introduction in 1996, notwithstanding uncertainty about consumer acceptance and economic and environmental impacts.