By Just Label It for Nation of Change – The new GMO potato cleared this week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for sale in the U.S. is yet another in the long list of reasons why consumers deserve an on-package, federal mandatory labeling system, according to Just Label It. The FDA’s decision means that the Idaho company responsible for the new GMO potato, J.R. Simplot, will be able to bring the product to market next year, assuming it gets final approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams – Jackson County, Oregon wins new protections against cultivation of genetically engineered crops. Organic farmers are racking up new victories in the fight against ‘franken-food’, as a growing number of counties line up to bar genetically engineered (GE) crop cultivation throughout the country. A federal judge in Jackson County, Oregon recently upheld a consent decree that designates the region a “GE-free zone,” a ruling which officially protects the decree from appeal, granting new protections to farmers, consumers, and the environment.
By Allison Vuchnich for Global News – At the time, Rachel Parent was 14 years old and had a growing social media following. Her message to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food was attracting attention – including from those who promote GMOs in the U.S. Their internal emails reveal they were discussing how they could counter her message. “To think at this point, I was on their radar and I had no clue,” Parent said. The strategizing was revealed in emails, along with thousands of other pages of documents released in a freedom of information request by US Right to Know(USRTK), a non-profit advocacy group funded by the Organic Consumers Association concerned with the safety of GMOs.
By Global Justice Ecology Project. New York (15 December 2015)– In the midst of the holiday season, while thoughts turn to roasting chestnuts, a handful of scientists are working to genetically engineer the iconic American chestnut tree which they hope to release throughout the Appalachians and the Eastern US. Indigenous Peoples, scientists and others are raising alarms about the risks of these trees, cautioning about their dangerous impacts to forests, wildlife and human health . Due to these unassessed risks, they warn, GE chestnuts, or any GE trees trees should never be approved for planting. But GE tree scientists appear less worried about risks than about public relations.
By Jason Best for Take Part – There’s no doubt about it: The food industry is counting on you to be distracted at this busy time of year, what with all those visions of sugarplums, etc., as it tries to make a stealth end run to quash any effort to require the labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. That presumes, of course, that you want food made with GMOs to be labeled, but the odds are pretty heavy that you do: After all, just last week yet another poll confirmed that a whopping nine out of 10 Americans think the federal government should come up with a GMO label and require food makers to use it.
By Ocean Robbins for the Food Revolution Network. In phenomenal and ground-breaking news, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just announced that it is revoking the registration of the controversial chemical Enlist Duo. This is a huge set-back for the GMO industry. Enlist Duo is the super-toxic herbicide (a combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D) that is designed to be sprayed on Dow Chemical’s genetically-engineered corn (and soy), widely referred to in the organic industry as Agent Orange Corn. The EPA recognized that the two active ingredients in Enlist Duo could result in greater toxicity to non-target plants, and issued a ruling that may effectively end the threat of Agent Orange Corn. But, at the very same time, Monsanto, Dow, and their special interest friends have unveiled a new, sneaky approach to hide information about GMOs. Recognizing that the “Deny Americans Right to Know (DARK)” act that they pushed through the U.S. Congress is likely dead in the Senate, they’re offering a “compromise” piece of legislation. It would require GMO labels on food products, but ONLY if they’re hidden in QR codes (which take a smart phone to decipher) on the back of a product.
By Staff of Center for Food Center – SAN LUIS, COLORADO (November 12, 2015)— THE CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY (CFS) is proud to support a new ordinance introduced today in Costilla County, Colorado that would establish a “Center of Origin” GMO-Free Zone of Protection to preserve the county’s unique agricultural products and traditional farming systems. The ordinance is intended to protect the county’s traditional acequia (community irrigation ditch) farmers and their land race heirloom maize varieties that are unique to the Upper Rio Grande watershed.
By Staff of Mint Press News – MINNEAPOLIS — An outspoken opponent of Monsanto’s genetically-modified crops recently challenged the agribusiness giant to prove that it’s working with safety assessment standards for its GMO soybeans and other products. If Monsanto follows through, the challenger’s Boston-area property could be at stake. Shiva Ayyadurai, an American scientist with a PhD in systems biology from MIT, challenged Monsanto Corporation to disprove a study published in Agricultural Sciences, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
By Staff of Organic Consumers Association – “The [Oct. 21, 2015] Senate Agriculture hearing reaffirmed the broad consensus among scientists and regulators that GMOs are safe . . . We were pleased to hear Senator Stabenow’s [D-Mich.] personal commitment to work to develop a bipartisan bill that can pass the Senate by the end of this year…”. – Pamela Bailey, Grocery Manufacturers Association, in an October 21, 2015 press release. In the ever-complicated debate over labeling of genetically modified foods, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offers this idea: Use your smartphone. Vilsack told members of Congress on Wednesday that consumers could just use their phones to scan special barcodes or other symbols on food packages in the grocery store.
By Jim Goodman for Popular Resistance. Wonewoc, WI – The US farm press is a segment of the media that most people never see. The glossy magazines tell farmers everything they need to know in order to be successful, efficient and progressive— that is, in constant growth mode. Most have no subscription fees, there are plenty of advertisers to cover costs. Editorial content is clearly tailored to keeping advertisers happy. By supporting the trend to bigger farms, they also support the sale of bigger and more expensive machinery. Labor management articles clue farmers in on how to keep the growing Hispanic agricultural labor force productive. Editorials endorsing Genetically Modified (GM) seed, the associated pesticides and their inherent ability to feed the world are frequent and insistent.
By Greenpeace – In the latest blow to the European Commission’s laissez-faire approach to GM crops, at least 16 EU countries and four regions (in two other countries) are in the process of banning the cultivation of GM crops on their territories, with more expected to follow by a 3 October deadline for notifications to the EU, said Greenpeace. Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said: “A clear majority of the EU’s governments are rejecting the Commission’s drive for GM crop approvals. They don’t trust EU safety assessments and are rightly taking action to protect their agriculture and food. The only way to restore trust in the EU system now is for the Commission to hit the pause button on GM crop approvals and to urgently reform safety testing and the approval system.”
By Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project – A new organizing initiative called “GE Trees Fall” launched with a four day GE trees action training camp outside of Asheville North Carolina, over September 24th to the 27th. Following the camp, activists converged on the world headquarters of ArborGen in Ridgeville, SC on Monday September 28th, resulting in two arrests. The action at ArborGen exposed their secret research and pointed out the potentially serious risks presented by these GE loblolly pine trees. Ruddy Turnstone, GJEP’s GE Trees Campaigner and I were arrested during the protest, which demanded ArborGen tear down their wall of secrecy surrounding their GE tree research and development, and pointed out that resistance to GE trees is growing, with more than a quarter of a million people signing on to letters and petitions rejecting GE trees, and protests against GE trees on six continents in 2015 alone.
By Global Ecology Justice Project – A plan by activists to inform Andrew Baum, President and CEO of ArborGen that over 250,000 people signed letters and petitions  rejecting Genetically Engineered (GE) Trees was interrupted when police arrested the two people who intended to deliver that message. Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and Coordinator of the international Campaign to Stop Genetically Engineered Trees, Anne Petermann, and Global Justice Ecology Project’s GE Tree Campaign organizer, Ruddy Turnstone were stopped by police and arrested. The letters and petitions rejecting GE Trees and international protests mark a growing concern about the dangers of GE Trees and the threats they pose to the environment.
By Amanda Froelich in True Activist – Victory! Following news of Scotland and Germany opting to ban genetically modified foods, news has surfaced of the Russian Government completely banning the use of genetically modified ingredients in any and all food production. During an international conference on biotechnology, Deputy PM Arkady Dvorkovich stated: “As far as genetically-modified organisms are concerned, we have made decision not to use any GMO in food productions.” Basically, Russia flew past the issue of GMO labeling and shut down the use of any and all genetically modified foods that would have otherwise entered the food supply through packaged foods (and the cultivation of GMO crops). For anti-GMO proponents, this is huge, exciting news. To put the bold move into perspective, imagine what effect this would have in the United States.