science tagged posts

Study trying to link glyphosate to liver disease is bad science

A one litre bottle of Roundup weedkiller.

A bottle of Roundup herbicide.

A study linking glyphosate to liver disease, published in the journal Scientific Reports in January 2017, uses flawed data from 2012, which was rejected by the wider scientific community due to a flawed scientific approach. This latest study was conducted by infamous researchers, including Robin Mesnage and Gilles-Eric Seralini, who have a history of using bad science to link Monsanto’s products to health issues. Similar past studies from these researchers were classified as ‘pseudoscience’ and lacking ethical conduct by the international science community.

This new study relies on the same samples from a 2012 Seralini study that was determined to be scientifically flawed by multiple regulatory authorities around the world and was eventually retracted ...

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Swiss Parliament Rejects Glyphosate Ban

Invasive hogweed

At least decisions are still made on the basis of sound science in some places.

While some European Union governments, led by France and Italy, have proposed new restrictions on the sale and use of glyphosate by farmers, municipalities and others who need to control weeds, the Swiss Parliament has just outright rejected a petition to ban glyphosate.

In a decision recently published on its website, the Swiss Parliament’s Committee on Science, Education and Culture rejected the petition, arguing that “According to current evidence there are no scientific reasons to justify a ban on the use of glyphosate in general, or in agriculture in particular.”

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the world’s most widely used herbicides, including Monsanto’s Roundup® brand weed killer.

For ...

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A comedian’s take on a data scientist from Monsanto

“I would buy out Dow Chemical and Monsanto and shut them down,” said a visiting professor during a breakfast session at Washington University in St. Louis, US, last month. This was one of the professor’s personal solutions when asked how he could make everyone healthy. On 15 June, practicing scientist, author and stand-up comedian Adam Ruben published an opinion story in Science magazine (published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science) on his observations from this event and his encounter with a data scientist at Monsanto.

Image of Louis Pasteur. Thanks to his work we know that certain bacteria are responsible for sickness. But he was denounced by the medical establishment and ridiculed by the public.

Thanks to Louis Pasteur’s work we know that certain bacteria are responsible for sickness. But he was denounced by the medical establishment and ridiculed by the public.

Nathan VanderKraats, a computer scientist by training, was one of the nex...

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Monsanto launches #RootedInScience campaign

Darwin_misrepresentationEvery day in Europe seems to bring a new attack by non-governmental organisations, Greens and others on everything from plant breeding techniques to pesticides (think: glyphosate) to genetically modified seeds and ingredients. Yesterday, European governments failed to reach an agreement on the renewal of glyphosate, the main ingredient in the world’s most widely used herbicide, as the result of an epic onslaught of NGO spin and fearmongering ominously echoed by some misinformed European politicians. Tomorrow marks the annual March against Monsanto, in which angry mobs–especially in France–plan to demonstrate against Monsanto for presumed grievances, most based on conspiracy theories.

Given this context, it’s probably timely that Monsanto is launching a social media campaign celebrating the...

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A Top Court Strikes Down French MON810 Ban – for Fourth Time (EN/FR)

You might think the first three high court rejections would send a clear enough message to the French government that it can’t just ban things on a whim. Think again. Although Monsanto wasn’t even selling the product in the country and had no intention to do so, the government in March 2014 tried a fourth time to ban Monsanto’s MON810 genetically modified (GM), insect-resistant maize on dubious scientific grounds. Now France’s top administrative court has struck the ban down–again–for being scientifically baseless.

On August 1st, 2013 and November 28th, 2011, the Conseil d’Etat had already found that the French government’s 2008 and 2011 bans on MON810 cultivation were illegal. Furthermore, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Sept 8th, 2011 found the French ban on the cultivation...

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Cover-crop farming and glyphosate can reduce Germany’s CO2 output

An actively eroding rill (a shallow channel) on an intensively-farmed field in eastern Germany. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

An actively eroding rill (a shallow channel) on an intensively-farmed field in eastern Germany. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The loss of fertile soil on farms by wind and water erosion is a global problem. To the extent that food production, population and our contribution to climate change are all linked the negative impacts of erosion could worsen in coming years. One study published on 6 March 2016 in The Lancet journal forecasts this impact by 2050 could lead to a per-person reduction in fruit and vegetable consumption of 4%. That may not sound like a lot but that could translate into as many as 529,000 climate-related deaths worldwide.

Soil erosion is a consequence of climate change that will directly impact farmers’ crop harvests and wider ecology.

In Germany alone, an area...

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EU opt-outs on GM crops contradict history of safe use

By Brandon Mitchener

Under the European Union’s newly updated law on the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) seeds within the Union, individual EU member states have the option to “opt out” of the scope of the authorisation for the cultivation of individual GM “events” (traits) on their national territory, or even just part of it. Since Monsanto and other companies who sell GM seeds globally or intend to sell them are responsible for securing authorisation for the sale of those seeds, we were given the opportunity to object to these requests.

As of the expiration of the start of November, when the deadline for our response to those requests ran out, Monsanto has not opposed any of the requests received...

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Innovation? No, thanks! Some EU countries opt out of GM seed cultivation under new law (EN/FR) 

by Brandon Mitchener

Since the European Union first authorised GM crops for cultivation in 1998, EU-level approval was enough to plant them anywhere in the Union, which now counts 28 countries. Several individual nations weren’t happy with that and banned GM crops on political grounds. These bans were systematically struck down as lacking any legitimate scientific basis.

Now, under a new EU law passed earlier this year, countries require no scientific justification for bans on the cultivation of GM crops on their territory and can do so for arbitrary reasons. In fact, some EU countries have begun doing just that.

Monsanto has been made aware of requests (“demands”) to the European Commission from Latvia and Greece to be removed from the scope of our request for EU re-authorization allowi...

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“Son of Séralini” – Monsanto’s response to his latest PR stunt

By Brandon Mitchener

Three years ago, Prof. Gilles-Eric Séralini shocked the world with a PR campaign alleging that feeding lab rats genetically modified (GM) maize and water laced with herbicide lead to the development of terrible tumors. His research was later retracted by the same scientific journal that had published, only to be republished a year later in a lesser journal. We have reacted to that saga elsewhere.

Now, just like the line from The Shining, and using the same scare tactics, “He’s back!”

Today in Paris, Mr. Séralini is telling people that all tests done on lab rats for the past decade or more–including his own–were invalid because of alleged “contamination” by GM ingredients and pesticides...

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Hungry for Change – Why does chronic hunger still exist in 2015? – Encore la faim – Pourquoi la faim chronique existe-t-elle encore en 2015?

For many of us, thankfully, hunger is not an everyday reality we face, however for approximately 795 million people worldwide, chronic hunger is not only daily reality, but also–tragically–the future.

On 27 May, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) released its annual State of Food Insecurity in the World report. The results are startling and saddening. What is even more unsettling is the fact that the 795-million figure is seen as triumph. 25 years ago, one billion people were suffering from starvation. How jubilant can we be, though, when such a large number of people still go hungry every day? José Graziano da Silva, the director general of the FAO, stated that the “near achievement” of the Millenium Development Goals was a step in the right direction...

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