GMOs in the News

GMO’s in the news

Here’s some recent GMO news, from around the world.

GE FREE NORTHLAND (NZ) Press Release l0 December 2009

Local Communities Reject The Risks Of GMO Land Use

The telephone poll on genetic engineering, recently commissioned by the Northland/Auckland Councils, clearly shows Auckland and Northland residents seek stricter regulation of any genetically modified (GE) plants and animals grown in their areas (or an outright ban on such activities).

The GE poll results show that concerns are widespread and the councils on the Working Party have been vindicated in adopting a precautionary approach in response to the wishes of their communities. Two thirds or more of those questioned favor regulation that would make users of GMOs legally responsible for any environmental or economic harm

The poll found clear support from the Northland and Auckland communities for establishing a GE-Free Zone, meaning only producing food that is GM free.

GE FREE NORTHLAND supports Northland councils acting on a local level to put in place substantive rules protecting their constituents and the environment from GMO land use. Extended lobbying of central government to date has failed to produce any result and there are still inadequate rules to protect primary producers, consumers, and the environment from users of GMOs.

GE FREE NORTHLAND Chairman Martin Robinson said today he applauded the commitment of local government to address the critical GE issue, as central government continues to ignore the concerns of many eminent scientists, territorial authorities and our key markets, as well as the majority of New Zealanders.

“The government needs to listen to the community. It is time for a strategy to protect and manage the New Zealand brand. If we are to succeed as a country and profitably export food to the world, someone needs to be able to stop GE contamination, unsustainable factory farming, and the destruction of our international reputation which so many Kiwi primary producers rely on,” said Martin Robinson.

“It is critical that the interests of local government are protected and the wishes of their communities are addressed.”

Martin Robinson said genetic engineering and the lack of strict liability has galvanised Northlanders, with the issue raising one of the most serious biosecurity risks to the region.

Councils’ concerns about GE relate mainly to uncertainties over the economic risks to conventional and organic food producers, the uncertainties over who should bear liability relating to these risks, and the failure by central government agencies to perform professionally.

Without a strict liability regime, innocent third parties and local authorities remain at risk. Liability for unforeseen adverse effects of GE needs to be satisfactorily resolved before any GE experiments are permitted in Auckland/Northland peninsula.

The majority of New Zealanders don’t want to eat genetically engineered food, and they don’t want genetically engineered organisms released into their backyard.

Northland is a prime candidate for REGIONAL EXCLUSION ZONE designation, due to its geographical location and the risks GE presents to our economy and environment.


How to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs) food products

December 2, 12:18 PMRaleigh Environmental Health ExaminerMonica B

The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) launched a new website that takes the guesswork out of how to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and gene-spliced food products. With polls indicating that 9 out of 10 Americans want GMOs labeled, 53% of Americans who say they would avoid GMOs if labeled. It also lists popular brands that don’t use ingredients from the eight GM crops such as GM soy and corn. It also lists dairy products that don’t allow the controversial GM bovine growth hormone.

If it’s not labeled organic, avoid products made with the “Big Four” GM crops: Corn, Soybeans, Canola, and Cottonseed, used in processed foods. Also, more than 50% of Hawaiian papaya is GM and a small amount of zucchini and yellow squash. Also, become familiar with their  list of invisible GM ingredients and avoid sugar from GM Sugar Beets.

The only feeding study done with humans showed that GMOs survived inside the stomach of the people eating GMO food. No follow-up studies were done. Various feeding studies in animals have resulted in potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, damaged immune systems, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partial atrophy or increased density of the liver, odd shaped cell nuclei and other unexplained anomalies, false pregnancies and higher death rates.


Choice Organic Teas to be Non-GMO Verified

SEATTLE—Choice Organic Teas is the first tea company to enroll as an official participant in the Non-GMO Project’s Verification Program. The company’s flagship “Original” product line is in the process of being verified, with other products to follow.

The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization created by leaders in all sectors of the natural and organic products industry from the United States and Canada to offer consumers a consistent non-GMO choice for organic and natural products that are produced without genetic engineering or recombinant DNA technologies. It began as a collaborative effort among independent natural food retailers who wanted to ensure their customers had an abundant selection of clearly labeled, independently verified non-GMO choices. The Project verifies all types of products, including those (like tea) that are not yet produced commercially in GMO form. This allows shoppers to easily identify non-GMO items, and also helps reduce the likelihood of new GMO crops being commercialized.

“We’re proud to be at the forefront of yet another critical issue facing our industry and our customers,” says Ray Lacorte, head of operations for Choice Organic Teas. “By supporting the Non-GMO Project we hope to inspire other manufacturers to seek alternatives to GMOs into the future.”


GMOs could affect wildlife

Students Samantha Butenas, Brian Noland, Kyle Plyman and Mark Wagner examined the effects of genetically modified organisms on wildlife around the world.

“While genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have allowed for a new paradigm of development for agriculture, controversy remains as to the safety and potential adverse effects of GMOs on wildlife.

Insect populations in particular, whose destruction remains the object of many GMOs, have rapidly developed resistance to GMOs and the pesticides required for their maintenance. Genetically modified species of trees, also known as ‘Frankentrees,’ provide cause for concern about the potential imbalances that can result from GMOs.

In addition, genetically modified animals now allow for the realization of a ‘Frankenfuture’ of destructive potential for natural ecosystems and the wildlife they help to sustain.

Please visit our web site ( to learn more.”


And this is NOT good news:

Syngenta GMO maize finally approved for feed, food imports

Monday, 30 November 2009 15:05

After several months of impasse, Syngenta’s genetically modified maize type MIR604 has been finally approved by the European Commission today. The maize type has been authorised for food and feed uses as well as imports and processing in the EU (however growing it will not be allowed). The Commission says in a statement. Following to the EU’s decision, imports of soymeal and soybeans for animal feed could start again.

The request for authorization was addressed to EU Council after that the European Committee for Human Food and Animal Feed failed to find an agreement about the proposal – not in favor nor against it. Accordingly to the current legislation, the authorization request has then went back to the European Commission, which today has finally approved it.

“The MIR604 maize received a positive safety assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) – which has been hit by recent polemics – and underwent the full authorisation procedure set up in the EU legislation”, the Commission said.


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