GM 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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EU hampers African food innovations

EU policies are holding African food innovations back, especially in maize crops, banana and coffee crops.

EU policies are holding African food innovations back, especially in maize crops, banana and coffee crops.

Over the last twenty years Africa’s share of world food exports has dropped from 11% to under 3% due in part to current European Union (EU) policies. Now Thailand exports nearly as much food as all of sub-Saharan Africa according to Calestous Juma, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, whose views are published on CapX, a website aggregating stories on popular capitalism around politics, economics, markets and ideas.

To achieve its technological and food export objectives, Africa needs to partner with its historical trading partners such as the United Kingdom...

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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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Calls for innovation grow louder in the UK

Big_ben_closeupWhilst the European Parliament last week voted to endorse a proposal that would allow European governments to restrict or prohibit cultivation of safe genetically modified (GM) crops, calls to allow GM crops to be cultivated in the UK–conversely–have been gaining momentum.

Earlier this month, two senior UK politicians publicly discussed their views on the benefits of GMO cultivation. At the UK’s annual Oxford Farming Conference, The Right Hon. Liz Truss, MP, the UK’s Environment Secretary, and Lord Krebs, the UK government’s advisor on climate change adaptation, both spoke out to support the scientific facts on why growing GM crops is actually a good thing–for farmers, the climate and a growing population. That is quite the list of reasons to support cultivation…

In her speech to ...

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100 billion animals don’t lie: Massive animal feeding review shows GM grain is as safe as any other

IMG_2029Whilst not attracting as much attention as genetically modified (GM) food ingredients, debate over GMOs in animal feed has long been simmering, and making sensationalist claims on the (allegedly negative) impact of GM feed on animal health is a favourite campaign tactic of anti-GM crusaders.

A new, peer-reviewed scientific analysis published by the University of California, Davis, Journal of Animal Science, ‘Prevalence and impacts of genetically engineered feedstuffs on livestock populations’, delivers yet another scientific blow to the anti-GM crusaders’ claims.

In one of the most comprehensive analyses of published scientific papers on animals fed GM crops, the study concludes that GM feeds are safe, and finds that animals fed GM crops show no indication of adverse health effects.

Th...

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Monsanto is a seed company, not a GM company, European Vegetables Business Lead says

Ibrahim El MenschawiWhen many people think of Monsanto, they immediately think ‘Biotech’ and ‘GM’. Whilst we are proud of our global leadership position on GM crops, it will no doubt surprise many that GMOs are not actually Monsanto’s only focus.

Monsanto is a seed company. That’s what we do. The majority of Monsanto’s innovations are in crop and seed improvement, and in advanced conventional breeding techniques.

In fact, of the more than $4 million (USD) invested by Monsanto in R&D worldwide each day, less than half is spent specifically on GM technology.

Speaking to the IFAJ (International Federation of Agricultural Journalists) Congress in Aberdeen today, (5th September),  Monsanto’s EMEA Vegetable lead Ibrahim El Menschawi underlined this point and highlighted some of the many examples of no...

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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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The Guardian’s report on “Why NGO’s can’t be trusted on GMO’s” — Turn of the tide?

We’ve seen too many false starts in Europe to think this marks a tide change, but yesterday’s piece in The Guardian — “Why NGOs can’t be trusted on GMOs” — was a rare and welcome moment of introspection in the pages of a newspaper that has done more than many in Europe to demonize genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Written by an author who is no particular friend of GM seeds, ingredients or whole foods, and who ends the article by criticizing the companies like Monsanto that sell them, the article nonetheless casts a critical eye on many of the outright lies disseminated by certain NGOs, and to which the Reality-Check page of this blog is dedicated.

The article takes two of anti-GM NGOs’ main claims — that GMOS are unhealthy,  and that the research on GMOs can’t be trusted &#...

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Biotech at its best: Aussie ‘super’ bananas could reduce Vitamin A deficiency, saving hundreds of thousands of children’s lives each year

By Brandon Mitchener

More than 10 years ago now, I wrote an article on how the EU debate over genetically modified seeds and foods was stopping Ugandans from accessing the solutions that could help feed their population, and could help prevent disease and destruction of their most vial crops.  One of the most alarming examples was that of bananas.

For Ugandans, bananas are more than a staple, they are “food” (they are actually called “food” in Uganda). Ugandans eat more bananas than any other nation.  But the debate then raging over biotech foods in Europe was preventing Ugandans from doing field trials with banana seeds that could resist one of the banana plants’ biggest threats–leaf disease.

banana

Twelve years later the debate still rages on, but I was heartened to hear recently t...

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Monsanto, El Salvador, Seeds and U.S. Foreign Aid Policy: The Facts

Several articles have recently appeared online reporting false information about the U.S. Government’s aid agreement with El Salvador. These articles incorrectly implicate Monsanto in the agreement. They state that the U.S. government is pressuring El Salvador to purchase genetically modified (GMO) seeds from U.S. agricultural companies, particularly Monsanto.

This is blatantly false. And it is yet another example of an issue that has been laid at Monsanto’s door with no regard to facts, relevance or reality.

So what is actually going on?

The U.S. government, through the independent U.S. foreign aid agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), is in the process of signing a 5-year grant agreement with El Salvador...

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