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.
A coalition of fishing, consumer, and environmental groups are suing the FDA for its 'unlawful' approval of Aquabounty's GM salmon, as it relied on treating the fish as an 'animal drug' under a 1938 law, and ignored serious risks to wild salmon and fishing communities.
Groups representing over 5 million Nigerians are resisting Monsanto's attempt to introduce GM maize and cotton, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers. With growing evidence of harm to human health and environment, and failing GM crops in other countries, they say Monsanto's applications must be refused.
The small state of Vermont is changing the face of US food as companies hasten to comply with its GMO labeling rule which comes into effect in July 2016. Mars and General Mills - and now Kelloggs and ConAgra - are the latest companies to announce their labels will comply with Vermont law US-wide - and many more are sure to follow.
Some of the world's most powerful figures tout the benefits of GMOs, writes Stacy Malkan, but what's the real story? Facts on the ground expose the PR spin, half truths and outright propaganda that has come to dominate a public conversation that is not so much about engineering genes, but engineering truth for the benefit of multinational corporations.
The 'Biotechnology Food Labeling Uniformity' bill has been introduced to the US Senate to require clear, simple labelling of GMOs nationwide - informing consumers while saving manufacturers from a confusing patchwork of state regulations. Could it defeat the dreaded DARK Act?
Next week, EU governments will vote on whether to re-authorise the weedkiller glyphosate, judged by IARC to be a probable human carcinogen, writes Molly Scott Cato. The disgraceful shenanigans of the Commission and the European Food Safety Agency to date provide a clear example of the EU and member states conspiring with corporations, against citizens.
Monarch butterfly numbers are dwindling despite protection of their wintering forests in Mexico, and voluntary schemes to restore their food plant, milkweed, in US field margins, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji. These measures alone are insufficient: no less than an end to the mass spraying of glyphosate on crops, predicated by 'Roundup-ready' GM corn and soy, will do.
A synthetic biology plant producing the anti-malarial drug artemisinin has just shut down as it's much cheaper to use wormwood grown by African farmers, writes Almuth Ernsting. The technology is even further from making affordable diesel, with a production cost of $20-50 per litre. No wonder investors are losing patience - and confidence - in loss-making synbio companies.
Those who dare suggest that pesticides might be implicated in Brazil's microcephaly outbreak are being furiously attacked as irrational, nonsense-spouting 'conspiracy theorists', writes Claire Robinson. But the attackers have an uncanny ability to get their own facts in a twist. And among them are writers linked to industries with huge economic interests in the matter.
India's farmers are the targets of structural violence aimed at uprooting indigenous agriculture and replacing it with an intensive corporate model based on GMOs and agrochemicals, writes Colin Todhunter. But as Monsanto's GM cotton succumbs to insect infestations despite repeated pesticide applications, agroecological farming is an increasingly attractive option for cultivators.
The Gates Foundation has received a 57,000 strong petition denouncing its support for a 'biopirated' GM banana program in Africa, and calling on it to suspend a feeding trial on US students, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers. The banana threatens both the health of the students, say campaigners, and the future of African agriculture.
Vandana Shiva is more than just a leading scientist, author and campaigner on green issues and anti-globalisation, writes Scott London. She is also among the most prominent of Mahatma Ghandi's intellectual heirs. In this interview, she discusses how this led her to be an outspoken voice on such crucial environmental issues as seed legacy, biopiracy and economic injustice.
Global oilseed, agribusiness and biotech corporations are engaged in a long term attack on India's local cooking oil producers, writes Colin Todhunter. In just 20 years they have reduced India from self-sufficiency in cooking oil to importing half its needs. Now the government's unlawful attempts to impose GM mustard seed threaten to wipe out a crop at the root of Indian food and farming traditions.
Over 100,000 Burkina Faso farmers were pleased with Monsanto's yield-boosting Bt cotton, write Brian Dowd-Uribe & Matthew Schnurr. But not the companies that had to buy the crop at a fixed government-set price. The shorter fibres produced by Bt varieties led to less lint being extracted, and of lower quality, making it a lose-lose proposition for the country's most important industry.
Cornell’s 'no pest' Bt brinjal project in Bangladesh appears to be going great with 200 farmers signed up, reports Farida Akhter. Only its not - hardly any of the farmers who grew the GM plants in previous years have come back for more after their crops wilted, failed to ripen, or were devastated by pests.
Biotech corporations have invested billions in a range of new 'GM 2.0' technologies designed to redesign the world's germplasm and create new generations of super-GMOs, writes Nina Holland. And powerful investors have no intention of letting tedious EU regulations get in the way of the profits they are now poised to reap - no matter what the laws actually say.
How can progressive movements rise above merely being right, to mount effective mass opposition to corporate rule and the dictatorship of the super-wealthy? By learning from Gandhi, writes Colin Todhunter, and devising new campaigns that engage with people's everyday concerns - like access to safe, wholesome, affordable, 'open source' food.
In Brazil's microcephaly epidemic, one vital question remains unanswered: how did the Zika virus suddenly learn how to disrupt the development of human embryos? The answer may lie in a sequence of 'jumping DNA' used to engineer the virus's mosquito vector - and released into the wild four years ago in the precise area of Brazil where the microcephaly crisis is most acute.
The European Commission must not re-approve the 'probably carcinogenic' weedkiller glyphosate so long as its assessment is based on secret industry studies, actual products are not investigated, and in the absence of scientific criteria for endocrine disruption, write 66 MEPs in this Open Letter to Commissioner Andriukaitis, in charge of health and food safety.
Protesters have now blocked a Monsanto seed factory in Córdoba, Argentina for over two years, writes Ciara Low. Another eviction attempt is now imminent, and campaigners are calling for a big mobilization this Sunday to fortify the blockade and send out a strong message to Monsanto and its acolytes: 'No Pasaran!' - 'They shall not pass!'
Monsanto has acquired a commanding role in the biotech, seed and agro-chemical industries, writes Carmelo Ruiz. So why is the company desperate to merge with its rival Syngenta? The truth is the company is in deep trouble, as its top-selling Roundup herbicide runs out of steam, and its rivals combine to challenge its dominance.
Cornell, one of the world's leading academic institutions, has abandoned scientific objectivity, writes Stacy Malkan - and instead made itself a global hub for the promotion of GM crops and food. Working with selected journalists and industry-supported academics, Cornell's so-called 'Alliance for Science' is an aggressive propaganda tool for corporate biotech and agribusiness.
The Gates Foundation - widely assumed to be 'doing good', is imposing a neoliberal model of development and corporate domination that's opening up Africa's agriculture to land and seed-grabbing global agribusiness, writes Colin Todhunter. In the process it is foreclosing on the real solutions - enhancing food security, food sovereignty and the move to agroecological farming.