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  • "Our mission is to provide the highest quality scientific information and analysis to enable a healthy food system and a healthy world"

Project News and Views

Monsanto’s Worst Fear May Be Coming True

Independent Science News has just published “Monsanto’s Worst Fear May Be Coming True,” an important new article by Jonathan Latham of the Bioscience Resource Project.

Synopsis: The decision of the restaurant chain Chipotle to go GMO-free is potentially a huge blow to the agbiotech industry. The decision opens up a crack in the previously solid front offered by the food industry in support of GMOs. Two factors are at work that will widen that crack: the growing unpopularity of GMOs and the pressure being felt by most sectors of the food industry to produce safer, healthier, and more sustainable products. Going GMO-free is a simple and manageable way for stores and brands to meet that demand. Consequently, a race to become GMO-free may be developing. But there is a third factor in this scenario: hazards in the GMO product pipeline. Many new GMOs are expected to be produced using a phenomenon called RNA interference which uses perfectly double stranded RNAs (dsRNAs). Our research shows that RNA molecules exactly like these were tried and rejected by medical researchers in the 1960s and 1970s as being too hazardous for medicine. The scientific literature evaluating the hazards of RNA molecules in crop biotechnology has so far overlooked this important historical research. As this research becomes better known, it will make defending the use of GMOs much harder.

Read the full article at: http://www.independentsciencenews.org/health/monsantos-worst-fear-may-be-coming-true/

Additional Information

For an excellent examination of how cracks in the biotech facade arise and how their identification can lead to consumer wins in the fight against GMO foods see:

Andree, P. (2011). Civil society and the political economy of GMO failures in Canada: a neo-Gramscian analysis. Environmental Politics, 20(2), 173-191.

For a copy of the paper contact http://carleton.ca/polisci/people/andree-peter/

In order to succeed with its biotech revolution, the agrichemical industry needed to bring food processors, retailers, and grain traders onside. In Canada, the evidence shows that these companies stood together on many issues regarding GMOs.” Andrée gives two illuminating examples of how and when this unity was broken: the rejection — after widespread civil society resistance — of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (1999) and herbicide-tolerant Roundup Ready (RR) Wheat (2004).

Note: If you have any trouble accessing Independent Science News, please read “Monsanto’s Worst Fear May Be Coming True” at one of these other locations:

The counterpunch version keeps all the links that are in the original: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/19/are-monsantos-worst-fears-coming-true/

http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2015-articles/16172-monsanto-s-worst-fear-may-be-coming-true

http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsantos-worst-fear-may-be-coming-true-the-end-game-for-gmos%E2%80%A8/5450196

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Anthropocene Boosters and the Attack on Wilderness Conservation

Independent Science News has just published: Anthropocene Boosters and the Attack on Wilderness Conservation an important new article by George Wuerthner, the Ecological Projects Director of the Foundation for Deep Ecology. While the Anthropocene booster agenda opposes wilderness conservation, it is also an attack on public health as well as social and environmental justice movements — including the food movement.

Synopsis: Conservation is under attack. The attack comes from individuals and institutions (described in this article as Anthropocene Boosters, but sometimes referred to as “Neo-greens,” the “New Conservationists,” the “New Environmentalism,” etc.) whose intention is to undermine traditional wildlife conservation Read More »

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What Happened to Obama’s Promise to Restore Scientific Integrity?

Independent Science News has just published “What Happened to Obama’s Promise to Restore Scientific Integrity?” by Jonathan Latham, PhD.

Brief summary:

For plenty of people, including many outside academia, President Obama was elected as a champion of rationality and integrity. In the standard narrative, after the corruption of the Bush era, President Obama would Read More »

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New Research Links Neonicotinoid Pesticides to Monarch Butterfly Declines

Independent Science News has just published: New Research Links Neonicotinoid Pesticides to Monarch Butterfly Declines by Jonathan Latham, PhD

Article synopsis: New research has identified the neonicotinoid insecticide clothianidin as a likely contributor to monarch butterfly declines in North America. The research, published on April 3rd 2015, identifies concentrations of clothianidin as low as 1 part per billion as harmful to monarch butterfly caterpillars. These concentrations of clothianidin were found on naturally growing milkweeds sampled by the researchers. Read More »

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Food Sovereignty — best bet for food and environmental security

“(P)romoting self-sufficiency and food sovereignty does not compromise global food security and environmental quality. On the contrary, it is the best option for feeding humans and safeguarding the planet. ”

Published today in Independent Science News: Will Food Sovereignty Starve the Poor and Punish the Planet? by Gilles Billen, Luis Lassaletta and Josette Garnier. Read More »

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Agroecology Declaration Outlines Food Sovereignty Vision and Rejects Co-option by Industrial Agriculture

The recent Declaration of the International Forum for Agroecology, Nyéléni, Mali (27 February 2015) represents “diverse organizations and international movements of small-scale food producers and consumers, including peasants, indigenous peoples and communities (together with hunter and gatherers), family farmers, rural workers, herders and pastoralists, fisherfolk and urban people.” According to the declaration, the peoples and organizations represented “produce some 70% of the food consumed by humanity. They are the primary global investors in agriculture, as well as the primary providers of jobs and livelihoods in the world.”

The declaration outlines the integral role that agroecology must play in creating equitable and healthy food systems while at the same time stabilizing, mitigating and allowing adaptation to climate change. As explained in Read More »

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Beyond the Ban Event Success

Well over 100 people attended last Thursday’s Beyond the Ban held at Ithaca’s Unitarian Church. The Bioscience Resource Project hosted and introduced the event. First to speak were veterinarian Michelle Bamberger and Cornell professor of molecular medicine Robert Oswald, authors of “The Real Cost of Fracking,” who updated the public on fracking’s documented harmful health effects on humans and animals. They discussed their original findings, new results from follow-up studies, and the implications of fracking for the food supply. They also pointed out the many risks facing NY State from current and intended fracking infrastructure — risks that do not disappear even if drilling itself is banned. Links to information about their book and to copies of all their published papers are available: Bamberger and Oswald Fracking Publications.

After their joint presentation, Sandra Steingraber (author of “Raising Elijah” and “Living Downstream,” and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College) spoke about the plans of Texas-based company Crestwood Midstream to store highly pressurized and explosive natural gas in salt caverns near Seneca Lake. Read More »

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No Scientific Consensus on GMO Safety Affirm 300+ Scientists

Environmental Science Europe just published a joint statement that concludes “the scarcity and contradictory nature of the scientific evidence published to date prevents conclusive claims of safety, or of lack of safety, of GMOs.” Developed and signed by “a broad community of independent reseachers” the paper states “Published results are contradictory, in part due to the range of different research methods employed, an inadequacy of available procedures, and differences in the analysis and interpretation of data.” It also asserts that “Rigorous assessment of GMO safety has been hampered by the lack of funding independent of proprietary interests. Research for the public good has been further constrained by property rights issues, and by denial of access to research material for researchers unwilling to sign contractual agreements with the developers, which confer unacceptable control over publication to the proprietary interests.”

Cite: Hilbeck, Angelika, et al. “No scientific consensus on GMO safety.” Environmental Sciences Europe 27.1 (2015): 4.

PDF File of the published Statement “No Scientific Consensus on GMO Safety.”

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Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA

Independent Science News has just published Carol Van Strum’s review of: Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA (Bloomsbury Press 2014), a new book by Evaggelos Vallianatos (with McKay Jenkins).

Summary: What goes on inside the US Environmental Protection Agency is no longer a mystery. Evaggelos Vallianatos had a twenty five year career as a staff officer in EPA’s Pesticides Division. Now that he no longer works there Vallianatos calls its activities “The Big Business of Fraudulent Science” and in Poison Spring he documents multitudinous ways in which, while he was there, EPA ignored and dismissed scientific evidence of harm for numerous synthetic chemicals. This downplaying of risk by the EPA is not based in ignorance; rather, it is a function of calculated collusion with polluters and “independent” testing organizations. The result is a complex and elaborate illusion of governmental precaution and rigor that ultimately gives the petrochemical industries and agribusiness free reign. Poison Spring is an essential guide to understanding – and rolling back – industrial and agricultural pollution.

To read Carol Van Strum’s review of this important book click on: Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA.

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Press Release: Beyond the Ban Event on Thursday February 26

IMPORTANT VENUE CHANGE: Due to Frozen Pipes at original venue the Beyond the Ban event is now at the Sanctuary at The First Unitarian Church of Ithaca, 306 N. Aurora St., Corner of Buffalo St. and N. Aurora St., Entrances on Aurora. Nothing else has changed. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope to see you at the event.

Contact: Allison Wilson, Science Director of The Bioscience Resource Project

Scientist-Authors,
Sandra Steingraber, Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald
To Speak at “Beyond the Ban” Event in Ithaca
on Thursday, February 26, 2015 from 7 – 9 pm

Event Title: Beyond the Ban: Fracking, Health & Infrastructure in New York State from Port Ambrose to Seneca Lake

Time and Place: Thursday, February 26, 2015 from 7 – 9 pm, in the Sanctuary at The First Unitarian Church of Ithaca, 306 N. Aurora St. on the Corner of Buffalo St. and N. Aurora St., Entrances on Aurora St., Doors open at 6:45 pm.

Speakers: Sandra Steingraber (author of “Raising Elijah” and “Living Downstream”, and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College) will join veterinarian Michelle Bamberger and Cornell professor of molecular medicine Robert Oswald, authors of “The Real Cost of Fracking.” Read More »

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    The Bioscience Resource Project provides scientific and intellectual resources for a healthy future. It publishes Independent Science News, a media service devoted to food and agriculture, and their impacts on health and the environment. It also offers resources for scientists and educators and internships and training for students. Through its innovative scientific journalism and original biosafety review articles, the project provides unique and revealing perspectives on issues that are fundamental to the survival of people and the planet. The project does not accept advertising or corporate funding and is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. It is completely dependent on individual donations.

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