The Royal Society purports to provide unbiased information on scientific issues, writes Steven Druker. But its new guide on GMOs is grossly misleading - glossing over the many dangers inherent to the technology with bland, unsupported re-assurances. The Society must end its partisan promotion of GMOs or risk its reputation as Britain's premier scientific body.
Greenpeace is being attacked for 'crimes against humanity' by 100 Nobel laureates for blocking GMO 'golden' rice, reports Claire Robinson. But the low-yielding crop is years away from going on sale, and there is no proof of any nutritional benefit to the malnourished children it's meant to benefit. Could the distinguished prize-winners have fallen for slick pro-GMO PR and spin?
The European Parliament has had a great week, writes Molly Scott Cato MEP - for those who oppose GMOs in food and farming. MEPs voted on five occasions to say no to GMOs, and gave their support to agroecology as the only sustainable way to feed the world.
The European Parliament today called on the Commission and member states like the UK to stop funding the 'New Alliance' plan to force export-oriented agribusiness onto Africa. Instead they want support for small-scale family farms and agroecology.
The mainstream British media have long acted as cheerleaders for GMOs, but none quite so much as The Times and its disgraced correspondent Matt Ridley, writes Colin Todhunter. His most recent article on the topic is a strange concoction of misrepresentations, falsehoods and blunders dressed up as science, and reflects both his ignorance of the real facts and his deep ideological commitment to corporate profit and power.
Celebrities have a unique ability to engage people in environmental campaigns, writes Pat Thomas. Neil Young is a case in point: his latest album, The Monsanto Years, conveys an eloquent message of the dangers of GMOs and corporate power, and his upcoming European tour offers green campaigners a unique opportunity to engage a broader public in the fight for a green future.
The Royal Society has form on GM crops, writes the Soil Association - consistently Gung-ho! for the last 20 years, while refusing to engage with critics of the technology or even accept the existence of any problems. Its latest effort represents more of the same, while exposing this once August body to ridicule for its egregious scientific howlers.
Those opposed to the mass release of GM crops and foods inadequately tested for health and ecological safety are routinely accused of being anti-science, writes Elizabeth Henderson. But it's the GM corporations and their academic allies that are suppressing scientific research, and organic farmers that are building alliances with independent scientists for a future of safe, healthy food.
A recent scientific study found the same long-chain omega-3 oils that are engineered into a new GM Camelina oilseed variety make butterflies grow up with deformed wings, writes Claire Robinson. Attempts by the 'pro-science' non-scientist Mark Lynas to discredit the study are a mixture of ignorance, research failures, 'straw man' arguments and outright errors.
The leaked chapters of the EU-US TTIP 'free trade' deal reveal a shredding of health, environmental and other protections for consumers and citizens, writes Pete Dolack. It's a wet dream for corporate monopolists and profiteers, and the elite bureaucrats that serve them. But for civil society it represents an irreversible destruction of democracy itself.
A new study shows that the market-leading Roundup herbicide kills soil microbiota at concentrations 50 times lower than used in agriculture, writes Claire Robinson. The findings raise serious new concerns about the environmental impacts of glyphosate herbicides.
Investment analysts say Oxitec's GM mosquito technology 'won't work, is way too expensive, and is many years from generating even minuscule revenue', writes Claire Robinson. As shares in its owner, Intrexon, slump, three law firms have announced they are investigating.
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.
Little Vermont is having a big impact on GMO food labeling across the US, writes Lawrence Woodward. And with 'regulatory cooperation' under TTIP that influence could reach into the EU. Trouble is, Vermont's labeling law contains major exemptions - on meat products, take-aways and restaurant food, as well as products from animals fed GM feeds. The US, and the EU, deserve better.
What's the point of farming? To produce an abundance of wholesome food, writes Colin Tudge, while supporting a flourishing rural economy and a sustainable, biodiverse countryside. Yet the powers that be, determined to advance industrial agriculture at all costs, are achieving the precise opposite. It's time for a revolution in our food and farming culture, led by the people at large.
The EU Commission has caved in to US pressure in TTIP trade talks by deciding to consider organisms modified by new 'gene editing' techniques as non-GM - in violation of the EU's own laws. The move could make the 'new GMOs' exempt from labeling and from health and environmental testing.
It looked like such a good idea: take the pressure off wild fish stocks by growing GM oilseeds that produce health-enhancing long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, writes Claire Robinson. But as a new study has established, those fish oils, novel in terrestrial ecosystems, cause wing deformities in cabbage white butterflies. Yet a third open field trial of these GM crops could soon be under way.
GMOs have been in our diets for about 20 years, writes Rupert Read. Proof that they are safe? No way - it took much, much longer to discover the dangers of cigarettes and transfats, dangers that are far more visible than those of GMOs. On the scale of nature and ecology, 20 years is a pitifully short time. To sustain our human future, we have to think long term.
There's absolutely no evidence for BBC Panorama's claim of 90% success for Bt brinjal in Bangladesh, writes Claire Robinson. But that has not stopped the BBC Trust from dismissing all complaints against its monstrously dishonest report. Nor has it diminished the jubilation of GMO cheerleaders.
An exciting new project has been launched to give children a chance to join in the GMO debate, writes Pat Thomas. With young people speaking up and becoming more aware of food, health and environmental issues, they deserve the platform to voice their concerns and join in a wider global network of youth working for positive change in the world they will inherit.
GMO crops are marketed as providing quick fixes to complex problems, writes Julia Wright. But they only perpetuate 'business as usual' farming that's depleting soils, water and biodiversity, and entrench unsustainable models of agriculture in place of agroecological systems that work with, not against, nature.
Perhaps all the 'do gooders' busy forcing industrial models of agriculture onto poor but independent African farmers really do think they are helping them, writes Colin Todhunter. But if so they are deeply deluded. All they will achieve is the takeover of export-oriented agribusiness and GMOs, the destruction of agroecological farming systems, and a future of debt and landlessness.
British NGOs have objected to two applications for open-air field trials to grow GM crops. One is for a blight-resistant potato that is much less resistant than existing non-GM varieties. The other is an oilseed to be used as fish food whose fatty acid profile has been subject to only 'rudimentary analysis'.
India's food system, essentially clean just a generation ago, has been comprehensively contaminated with sugar, bad fats, synthetic additives, GMOs and pesticides under the country's neoliberal 'great leap forwards', writes Colin Todhunter. The result? a surge in obesity, diabetes and cancer incidence, but no let-up in the under-nutrition of those too poor to join in the over-consumption.