Nation of Change - The World Trade Organization finally issued a decision in the challenge made by Mexico and Canada to the U.S.s country-of-origin labeling rules (COOL) for meat. And environmental and food safety groups are hopping mad, as WTO upheld the contention made by those countries, supported by multi-national meat packers, that the rules unfairly impede global trade.
The current U.S. rules, which went into effect in 2013, require that meat sold in groceries be labeled to show separately where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. The WTOs ruling agrees that those regulations unfairly discriminate against imported meat to give an unfair edge to domestic products. In the ongoing dispute, then-Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack suggested last November that WTO should resolve the dispute and that the U.S. would abide by what the WTO decided.
Nation of Change - Honoring the complaints of a small group of beekeepers in the state of Yucatán, who complained that Monsantos planned planting of thousands of hectares of GM soybeans made to withstand Round Up would demolish their honey industry by decimating bees a judge in Mexico has removed Monsantos planting permit.
Though Monsanto will surely appeal the ruling, it will at least stall the growing season and give the bee-keepers time to gather additional support for their cause.
If the permit had been honored, Monsanto would have been able to plant seeds in seven states, covering more than 253,000 hectares of land. (This amounts to almost a million acres.) Mayan farmers, beekeepers, and activist groups like Greenpeace, the Mexican National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, and the National Institute of Ecology have been vocally protesting this action.
The judge was apparently convinced that the scientific data showing a link between Round Up, GMOs, and lowered honey production is very real. The Yucatán peninsula grows vasts amounts of honey, and in fact is the third largest exporter of honey to the world. The area includes Campeche, Quintana Roo, and Yucatán states. More than 25,000 families build their livelihoods on honey production. Almost all of the honey grown there is exported to the EU and amounts to over $54 million in Mexican money annually.
The judge ruled that honey production and GM soybeans could not co-exist.
Cascadia Times - While independent research shows that chlorpyrifos, a Dow Chemical insecticide used in Kauai's GMO fields [in Hawaii], can cause significant harm to children nearby, Dow is intent on convincing the EPA otherwise.
The bodies and minds of children living on the Hawaiian island of Kauai are being threatened by exposure to chlorpyrifos, a synthetic insecticide that is heavily sprayed on fields located near their homes and schools.
For decades, researchers have been publishing reports about children who died or were maimed after exposure to chlorpyrifos, either in the womb or after birth. While chlorpyrifos can no longer legally be used around the house or in the garden, it is still legal to use on the farm. But researchers are finding that children aren't safe when the insecticide is applied to nearby fields.
Like a ghost drifting through a child's bedroom window, the airborne insecticide can settle on childrens skin, clothes, toys, rugs, and furnishings.
In fact, it's likely that the only people who needn't worry about exposure to chlorpyrifos are adults living far from the fields in which it is sprayed. That includes civil servants who work for the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates the stuff, and executives with Dow Chemical, the company that manufactures it.
In a regulatory process known as re-registration, the EPA will decide in 2015 whether it still agrees that chlorpyrifos is safe for farming, or whether it will order a complete ban, as Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Pesticide Action Network have demanded in lawsuits filed in 2007 and in 2014.
Dow has long insisted that its chlorpyrifos products are safe, despite tens of thousands of reports of acute poisoning and multiple studies linking low-level exposures to children with lower IQ. The company also has a long historygoing back decadesof concealing from the public the many health problems it knew were linked to chlorpyrifos.
In 1995, the EPA found that Dow had violated federal law by covering up its knowledge of these health problems for years (p. 3-2). In 2004, then-New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer found that Dow had been lying about the known dangers of the pesticide in its advertising for nearly as long. Together, the EPA and the State of New York have levied fines against the company approaching $3 million.
Environmental News Network - A wide variety of packaged food that carry the label "natural" on US supermarket shelves were found to contain substantial amounts of genetically modified organisms, according to Consumer Reports.
Tests on dozens of common food products including breakfast cereals, crisps and infant formula found almost all of them contained recognizable levels of GMOs.
The research results has led to Consumer Reports to now call for the mandatory labeling of GMOs in food and a ban on the "natural" label, which suggest products don't contain the controversial ingredients.
A recent survey of 1,000 American adults conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center showed that a majority of people 64 percent mistakenly equate "natural" with no GMOs. The same survey also showed that nearly three-quarters of all Americans are seeking foods produced without genetically modified organisms.
Truth Out - Roundup is now heavily sprayed in what is known as the "Soy Republic," an area of Latin America larger than the state of California. This region has undergone a profound transformation since genetically modified crops were first introduced in 1996. Some 125 million acres in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay are now devoted to GM soy production.
Doctors serving these areas have documented an alarming increase in cancers. A group of dedicated physicians formed an organization, Doctors of Fumigated Towns. They held a national conference in August of 2010 in Córdoba, the center of Argentina's soy region. The Department of Medical Sciences of the National University at Córdoba sponsored the conference. An estimated 160 doctors from throughout the country attended.
Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez, a pediatrician specializing in environmental health, explained his concerns:
"The change in how agriculture is produced has brought, frankly, a change in the profile of diseases. We've gone from a pretty healthy population to one with a high rate of cancer, birth defects and illnesses seldom seen before. What we have complained about for years was confirmed and especially what doctors say about the sprayed towns and areas affected by industrial agriculture. Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides."
Dr. Avila Vazquez blamed the biotech agricultural corporations for placing their profits over the public's health:
"The tobacco companies denied the link between smoking and cancer, and took decades to recognize the truth. The biotech and agrochemical corporations are the same as the tobacco industry; they lie and favor business over the health of the population."
It was the health of the population that concerned Dr. Damian Verzeñassi, professor of social and environmental health from the National University at Rosario. In 2010, he began a house-to-house epidemiological study of 65,000 people in Santa Fe, also in Argentina's soy region. He found cancer rates two to four times higher than the national average, with increases in breast, prostate and lung cancers.
VIA DAN HOLLINGSWORTH