Contamination of food grade or animal feed supplements with genetically engineered bacteria is illegal in the European Union. A German enforcement laboratory alerted EU officials to illegal genetically engineered bacterial contamination of a riboflavin supplement intended for animal feed.
At what point are technologies so complex, uncertain, or unmanageable as to be beyond regulation? The question is key to human and ecological health, writes Jonatham Latham. But instead of learning from successful approaches, such as aviation safety, we are throwing the lessons away when faced with truly complex problems - like chemicals, GMOs, and now 'gene drives'.
With USDA proposing to redefine GMOs for the purposes of food labeling, the issue is more important than ever, writes Jonathan Latham. It's not just to give consumers' the 'right to know' when they buy GM food, it's also a vital means to empower citizens to fight back against the industrialisation of food and farming, and the monopolies of agribusiness corporations.
The purported mission of the Cornell Alliance for Science is to explain the science underlying biotechnology and GMOs, writes Jonathan Latham. So with a debate on the issue taking place tomorrow, 5th October, on the Cornell campus, how come CAS can't find a single speaker prepared to defend their zealously pro-GM stance?
Members of the food movement share an infectious vision, writes Jonathan Latham - one which is constructive, convivial, classless, raceless, international, and embraces the whole world. Unled yet inspirational, it rests on a novel, harmonious philosophy that combines science, recognition of planetary boundaries, and the universal need for wholesome sustenance.
Apparent 'victories' in the fight against toxic chemicals - like the EU's failure to re-approve glyphosate yesterday - are illusory, writes Jonathan Latham. The real problem is not one of specific 'bad actors', but the entire system that allows new, likely to be toxic compounds to pollute the environment in near-total ignorance of their impacts. It's time to take our campaigning to a whole new level.
The very term 'genetic engineering' implies high precision in the alterations made to genes and deep understanding of their consequences, writes Jonathan Latham. In fact, we have never had either. And even with the arrival of CRISPR and other 'gene editing' systems, that remains the case: technologists are thrashing about in a perilous sea of unfathomable complexities and unknowable outcomes.
Are GMOs safe? Up to a point, writes Jonathan Latham - provided you're not eating them. That's certainly not proven to be safe, indeed the hazards are numerous: protein encoding viral DNA fragments, herbicide metabolites, biotoxins whose operation is not understood, poorly conducted experiments ... and those are just the ones we know about.
Next to McDonalds, Burger King and KFC, Chipotle's Mexican Grill is a minnow, writes Jonathan Latham. But its decision to go GMO-free will ultimately compel all America's consumer-facing food brands to follow suit - because that's what their customers want. Could this be the beginning of the end of GMOs? That's what Monsanto, Dupont, Bayer and Syngenta fear.
Monarch caterpillars are vulnerable to neonicotinoid toxicity at concentrations as low as 1 part per billion, writes Jonathan Latham, and that makes them vulnerable to residues from commercial crops - and even more so from horticultural use in plant nurseries!