biotechnology tagged posts

Balance wanted: European media coverage of GMOs and pesticides often misses it

by Brandon Mitchener

In a year in which the Oxford English Dictionary has named “post-truth” the word of the year, it should surprise no one that the global news media are under increasing scrutiny for failing to hold politicians and others accountable for telling outright lies that leave a mark—sometimes a decisive mark—on public policies. Lies helped fuel the “Brexit” vote in the United Kingdom, and lies and fake news played a starring role in the U.S. presidential election.

In the U.S., major news organisations including The New York Times and The Washington Post belatedly ramped up live online fact-checking services in the realisation that most voters couldn’t tell lies from facts. Google and Facebook have belatedly announced plans to ban fake news from their sites...

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Fighting the hydra of science myths: an interview with Kavin Senapathy

We interviewed Kavin Senapthy on food myths and counter movements, food education and how consumers both in Europe and beyond can be better informed about where their food comes from and how it is produced.

Kavin Senapathy

Who is Kavin Senapathy?

Kavin Senapathy is a science communicator tackling myths on science, health and food. She is the co-Executive Director of international pro-science, pro-biotech organization March Against Myths, and co-author of “The Fear Babe: Shattering Vani Hari’s Glass House,” a book discussing popular food misconceptions and why they proliferate in the face of mountains of evidence against them...

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Global Warming: New report warns of food security threat

By Aoife O’Halloran 

Global warming leads to extreme weather conditions, such as extreme drought in some areas and severe flooding in others around the globe. Together, they could conceivably wreak havoc with global food security, a new study warns.

According to a report by experts from the UK-US Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience, global food production will decrease dramatically in the next 25 years as a result of extreme weather conditions. Unless we do something, fast, this will lead to more people going hungry every day, since more than 800 million people – or one in every nine people on the planet – already suffer from hunger and our planet’s population continues to grow rapidly.

Image of a maize field decimated by drought. Global Warming.

A maize field decimated by drought.

We will not have enough food to feed t...

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A response to Russia Today’s report on Bt cotton in India

By Arun Gopalakrishnan

A recent report by Russia Today titled, “GMO that kills: GM-cotton problems drive Indian farmers to suicide” has been making the rounds in various social media platforms. While it aims to showcase nothing less than complete devastation in India’s cotton fields, the reality is completely different.

If ever there was a ready example of how technology directly translates into improved standards of living for farmers, it would be India’s success story in cotton. Since the introduction of hybrid Bt cotton seeds in 2002 and farmers choosing to plant them widely since, farmers have turned India into the world’s largest producer of cotton...

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Monsanto publishes 2014 Sustainability Report

Monsanto today released its latest Sustainability Report, a 168-page report prepared in accordance with Global Reporting Initiative guidelines.

Since announcing its first sustainability commitment framework in 2008, the company has advanced its three sustainability principles: (1) improving the lives of farmers, workers and communities, (2) producing enough food to make a balanced meal accessible to all, and (3) conserving Earth’s resources and preserving the natural environment.

“When it comes to growing food, members of the food value chain have a tremendous responsibility and opportunity to advance sustainable agriculture,” said Jesus Madrazo, Monsanto’s Vice President of Corporate Engagement...

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Why grow Bt cotton? A farmer in Burkina Faso shares his own experience (EN/FR)

Soma Amadou“Why do farmers use genetically modified (GM) seeds?” we often get asked. We usually respond by saying that they provide farmers economic and environmental benefits, and that we have seen this happen first-hand in Spain and Portugal, Africa, the United States, Canada, South America and Australia — basically everywhere that GM plants are grown.

The problem, in the increasingly cynical society that we live in, is that people are often skeptical of that message because of the messenger: Monsanto. “Well you would say that, wouldn’t you?” people often respond, “After all, you sell them.” We also sell plenty of non-GM seeds, so the question is somewhat unfair, but they do have a point.

So we put the question to Soma Amadou, a cotton farmer in Burkina Faso, who has been growing Bt cotton for seve...

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Patently false: The militant organic hype machine chokes on a tomato patent

mons_9132Here we go again…

While most of Europe and the U.S. were celebrating the holidays, certain websites associated with “natural” causes were celebrating the “revocation” by the European Patent Office of a “fraudulent” Monsanto patent on a tomato seed.  Typical was, which claimed Monsanto was “slammed for ‘Fraudulent’ EU Patent on Non-GMO Tomatoes.” (Just savour their outrage a moment for full effect.)

An Austrian website suggested that Monsanto had cheated in its application, claiming that the tomato seed was the product of biotechnology so that it would qualify for the patent.

What really happened? In fact, Monsanto itself asked the European Patent Office to revoke the patent after the company decided to abandon it for technical and business reasons...

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Vandana Shiva, The New Yorker, and cold hard facts: Debunking the myths behind GMO “debate”

Genetically modified cotton grown from Monsanto seeds.

For years, media coverage of genetically modified foods (GMOs) has been dominated by simplistic coverage that media watchdogs would fondly describe as “he said, she said” stories, or stories that quoted one person making a sensationalist claim of some sort (e.g. “The earth is flat”), and another person responding to it, and just leaving it at that. It’s no wonder that such journalism has left the world little wiser in in its understanding of GM seeds and foods.

The latest edition the ‘‘New Yorker’ magazine finally breaks the mould, with one of the most well researched and carefully analysed pieces of investigative journalism in years...

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Here we go again… Zombie Seralini study repackages discredited research

Two years ago, the global scientific community responded en masse to thoroughly reject and discredit a two-year rat feeding study led by Prof. Eric Giles-Seralini and published by Food and Chemical Toxicology.  Public scientific and medical societies worldwide found fault in almost every aspect of Mr. Seralini’s work and its claims about the health effect of genetically modified maize and the herbicide ingredient glyphosate on rats. Just a few examples:

The feedback...

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Nigerian paper sows misinformation on GM and hybrid seeds

On May 19, the The Guardian, a Nigerian newspaper, published a commentary alleging that genetically modified and even hybrid seeds are carcinogenic and “deadly.” The author of the commentary? A Nigerian architect with a self-professed “passion for geo-political sustainability, equity and fairness.”

Let’s leave aside the obvious question of whether architects, however qualified, should be considered authorities on anything other than building design. Many of the accusations in Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour’s rant lack any credible substantiation, or are just downright bizarre. For example, his claim that biotech tomatoes (which don’t exist, btw) can become toxic and cause cancer...

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