Maui Bans GMO

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Maui Bans GMO

Maui Bans GMO

Score one for the little guy. Voters on the Hawaiian island of Maui passed the nation’s first-ever ballot initiative targeting genetically engineered food following a campaign in which opponents of the measure, including corporate giants Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, outspent supporters by a ratio of 87 to 1.

The initiative temporarily bans the farming of GMO crops in Maui County until the county conducts an analysis of the health effects of genetically modified farming and foods.

“I feel that this is a really strong message to the entire agrochemical industry in the state of Hawaii that we are no longer going to sit idly by and watch them expand their operations without the kinds of regulations that ensure the health and safety of people across Hawaii,” Ashley Lukens, director of the Hawaii chapter of the non-profit the Center for Food Safety, told Honolulu Civil Beat.

An abundance of studies have shown no negative health effects from the consumption of GMO foods.

Monsanto Co. and Dow Chemical Co., which conduct field trials of genetically modified crops and also grow engineered seed for commercial purposes in Maui, said they plan to challenge the ban.

Monsanto will “ask the court to declare that this initiative is legally flawed and cannot be enforced,” Charla Lord, a spokewoman for St. Louis-based Monsanto, said today in an e-mail. She declined to elaborate on the company’s next steps.

“We believe that the ban would be illegal, and we intend to protect our legal rights,” Robyn Heine, a spokeswoman for Midland, Michigan-based Dow said in an e-mail. The company is considering its options, she said.

A measure to require labels for any food product that contains GMO ingredients was defeated in Colorado, and another in Oregon remains too-close-to-call.

Bloomberg News’ Jack Kaskey contributed to this report. 


Major Company Removing Controversial Ingredient Carrageenan Because Of You!




Article Source:
By: Food Babe

You never cease to amaze me Food Babe Army! The power you have to change the world is incredible. I just received confirmation that Whitewave Foods, who owns Horizon and Silk, will be removing all carrageenan from their products in 2015.

Earlier today, I received an anonymous email that stated:

“To whom it may concern, Through friends I have made in the industry an announcement from Whitewave was shared with me regarding their removal of Carrageenan from their products. Due to the overwhelming pressure from consumers and encouragement from your website, Whitewave has announced that they will be removing Carrageenan. Keep up the good work. Attached you will find the announcement letter from Whitewave regarding this”.
Along with this attached document from Whitewave Foods:

We are removing carrageenan from our Horizon and Silk products!

Our consumers have expressed a desire for products without it and we are listening!
Carrageenan will be removed from Horizon flavored milk in Q1 2015, and from all other Horizon items by Q2 2015 (eggnog, Tuberz, heavy whipping cream, regular and lowfat cottage cheese and lowfat sour cream).
It will be removed from our top 5 Silk ESL Soy and Coconut beverages by Q2 2015 and remaining Silk Aseptic and other ESL products by end of 2016.
What is carrageenan?
A purified extract of red seaweed that is widely used in food and beverage products as a natural thickener and stabilizer. Allowed for use in organic products since 1995
National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Handling Committee voted unanimously in February 2012 to recommend it for relisting
Food grade carrageenan is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by FDA, and is permitted for use by federal and international food safety agencies including FDA, and Health Canada
It was just reported by the Associated Press via ABC News that they decided to remove it “because customer feedback has been so strong“. Yes, it is because of all of YOU and your resounding voices, they have decided to make this positive change. This is in direct response to your continued activism in holding companies accountable for the ingredients they put in their products.

Carrageenan Should Be Removed From All Food – Here’s Why:
I first wrote about this controversial additive back in May of 2012 when a cousin of mine asked me to investigate this ingredient. I highlighted research from food industry watchdog group, The Cornucopia Institute, who completed an in-depth analysis regarding the safety of this ingredient and subsequently petitioned the FDA to remove the additive from the “Generally Regarded As Safe” or GRAS determination and from organic foods all together.

In their report, they explained why even food-grade carrageenan is dangerous, yet how many food companies have continued to unscrupulously add it to their products. According to Cornucopia, animal studies show that “food-grade carrageenan causes gastrointestinal inflammation and higher rates of intestinal lesions, ulcerations, and even malignant tumors”. It can also cause cancer, because food grade “undegraded” carrageenan is contaminated with “degraded” carrageenan (the kind that’s not considered “food grade”). The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Research Council of the United States have both determined that degraded carrageenan is a carcinogen. So, it clearly should not be in our food – but it still is.

As reported this week in the Washington Post, Joanne Tobacman, a physician and professor, “asked the FDA in 2008 to examine the additives safety, submitting five of her own studies concluding that carrageenan can cause inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes. The studies were financed with grants from the federal government. The FDA denied her petition, citing several other industry-funded studies that contradicted her findings“.

Since the FDA won’t do anything to get carrageenan removed from our food, it is up to us to make this happen.

Other Companies Are Guilty, But This Can Be Changed.
I’m so thrilled that Whitewave made this announcement, because this will likely lead to other companies following suit. Mark Kastel of The Cornucopia Institute has been working on this issue for years, and says that Whitewave’s decision reflects the rise of “people power” – which is so true. We do have the power to enact big changes in the food industry and this is proof of that.

Let’s help to be part of this sweeping change to remove carrageenan from our food supply by avoiding all products with carrageenan and ask companies who are still using it to drop it.

In this shopping guide, created by The Cornucopia Institute, you’ll find a list of all companies guilty of using this ingredient. If one of your favorite products is listed, please do your part and contact that company and ask them to remove it. If you know of other companies that are still using carrageenan, list them in the comments below.

FDA Asleep At The Wheel!
Whitewave’s announcement proves targeting companies works much faster than targeting the FDA. Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for food, even admitted this week that “We simply do not have the information to vouch for the safety of many of these chemicals” and “we do not know the volume of particular chemicals that are going into the food supply.” The FDA is completely asleep at the wheel. It’s up to us to hold these companies accountable and that’s exactly what we are doing.

You are so awesome. Congratulations Food Babe Army! We are changing the food system once again.

Sending you lots of love and courage to keep moving forward,


P.S. If you are new to Food Babe and want to change the food system, come on over and sign up here, it’s completely free!

Indiegogo fundraiser for GMO Free AZ


Message From GMO Free AZ

We dedicate and sacrifice so much because we love to volunteer to raise awareness. We are going to need a little help for a project. We would like to extend our volunteering to go outside of Arizona! We created an Indiegogo fund raising campaign to raise monies for traveling, lodging, food, and rental car expenses in order to for us to volunteer at the 2014 Justice Begins With Seeds Conference in Portland, Oregon! It is the largest food sovereignty and Non-GMO advocacy gathering in the nation!! All donations are welcome and thank you in advance for all of your support!! The deadline of the fund raiser is on 9/5/14.

GMO Free AZ road trip fund to help in Oregon!

Thank you so much in advance!!!


Cool down smoothie


Need to cool down after a tough workout or a hot day at the beach? Lap up this low-cal, citrus-infused drink.


1 navel orange, peeled
¼ c fat-free half-and-half or fat-free yogurt
2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
¼ tsp vanilla extract
4 ice cubes

COMBINE the orange, half-and-half or yogurt, orange juice concentrate, vanilla, and ice cubes. Process until smooth.

NUTRITION (per serving) 160 cal, 3 g pro, 36 g carb, 3 g fiber, 28 g sugars, 1 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 60 mg sodium

Going Bananas

Bananas aren’t just for monkeys


Article Source:
By: JB Bardot

You’ll never look at a banana the same way again after discovering the many health benefits and reasons to add them to your diet. Bananas are high in fiber and three natural sugars — glucose, sucrose and fructose — giving them almost magical powers to provide a huge energy boost. Bananas combat depression, make you smarter, cure hangovers, relieve morning sickness, protect against kidney cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and blindness. They can cure the itch of a mosquito bite and put a great shine on your shoes. If you think bananas are just for monkeys, think again.

~ Bananas help overcome depression due high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin — the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter
~ Eat two bananas before a strenuous workout to pack an energy punch and sustain your blood sugar
~ Protect against muscle cramps during workouts and night time leg cramps by eating a banana
~ Counteract calcium loss during urination and build strong bones by supplementing with a banana
~ Improve your mood and reduce PMS symptoms by eating a banana, which regulates blood sugar and produces stress-relieving relaxation
~ Bananas reduce swelling, protect against type II diabetes, aid weight loss, strengthen the nervous system, and help with the production of white blood cells, all due to high levels of vitamin B-6
~ Strengthen your blood and relieve anemia with the added iron from bananas
~ High in potassium and low in salt, bananas are officially recognized by the FDA as being able to lower blood pressure, and protect against heart attack and stroke

Eating bananas aids digestion

~ Rich in pectin, bananas aid digestion and gently chelate toxins and heavy metals from the body
~ Bananas act as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria in the bowel. They also produce digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing nutrients.
~ Constipated? High fiber in bananas can help normalize bowel motility.
~ Got the runs? Bananas are soothing to the digestive tract and help restore lost electrolytes after diarrhea.
~ Bananas are a natural antacid, providing relief from acid reflux, heartburn and GERD
~ Bananas are the only raw fruit that can be consumed without distress to relieve stomach ulcers by coating the lining of the stomach against corrosive acids

Natural cures from a simple banana

~ Eating bananas helps prevent kidney cancer, protects the eyes against macular degeneration and builds strong bones by increasing calcium absorption
~ Bananas make you smarter and help with learning by making you more alert. Eat a banana before an exam to benefit from the high levels of potassium.
~ Bananas are high in antioxidants, providing free radicals and protection from chronic disease
~ Eating a banana between meals helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce nausea from morning sickness
~ Rub a bug bite or hives with the inside of the banana peel to relieve itching and irritation
~ Control blood sugar and avoid binging between meals by eating a banana
~ Eating a banana can lower the body temperature and cool you during a fever or on a hot day
~ The natural mood-enhancer tryptophan, helps to relieve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
~ Quitting smoking? Bananas contain high levels of B-vitamins as well as potassium and magnesium speed recovery from the effects of withdrawal
~ Remove a wart by placing the inside of a piece of banana peel against the wart and taping it in place
~ Rub the inside of a banana peel on your leather shoes or handbag and polish with a dry cloth for a quick shine

Oh, and remember — bananas make great snacks and delicious smoothies. Now you know why monkeys are so happy. Eat a banana!

Organic Produce Bad For You?

Is organic/non gmo produce really better for you?


By: Dominique Mosbergen
Article Source:

Organic Food Has More Antioxidants, Less Pesticide Residue: Study

Organic food really is better for your health than its conventional counterparts. At least, that’s the conclusion of a new study conducted by researchers at Newcastle University and published this week. But not everyone is convinced.

Specifically, the researchers said that organic fruits, vegetables and cereals contain significantly higher concentrations of antioxidants than conventionally grown crops. They added that organic produce and cereals were found to have lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides.

For the study — said to be the largest of its kind — the researchers analyzed more than 340 international, peer-reviewed studies that looked at compositional differences between organic and conventional crops.

According to the paper, researchers found that organically grown produce and cereals have between 19 and 69 percent higher concentrations of certain antioxidant compounds than conventionally grown crops.

“Many of these [antioxidant] compounds have previously been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including [cardiovascular] and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers, in dietary intervention and epidemiological studies,” the paper reads.

The researchers added that pesticide residues were four times more likely to be found in conventional crops than organic ones. Organic produce and cereals were also found to have significantly lower concentrations of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal.

“This study demonstrates that choosing food produced according to organic standards can lead to increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic heavy metals,” lead study author Carlo Leifert said, per a news release. “This constitutes an important addition to the information currently available to consumers which until now has been confusing and in many cases is conflicting.”

The question of whether or not organic food is really better nutritionally has plagued health-conscious foodies for years; but despite Leifert’s confidence, it doesn’t seem that his new study will put this debate to rest.

When it comes to antioxidants, for example, the jury is still out as to whether the compounds really have a substantial impact on health. In addition, as The Guardian notes, “the higher levels of cadmium and pesticides in the conventional produce [referenced in the study] were still well below regulatory limits.”

The BBC also pointed out that levels of proteins and amino acids “were lower in the organic crops sampled” in the study.

“You are not going to be better nourished if you eat organic food,” Tom Sanders, a professor of nutrition at King’s College London, told The Guardian this week. “What is most important is what you eat, not whether it’s organic or conventional. It’s whether you eat fruit and vegetables at all. People are buying into a lifestyle system. They get an assurance it is not being grown with chemicals and is not grown by big business.”

A number of earlier studies that have looked at the differences between organic and conventional crops seem to support Sanders’ comments.

In 2012, for instance, a large study conducted by Stanford researchers found that organic foods are, on average, “no more nutritious” than conventional ones, per The New York Times. A 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition similarly concluded that there’s “no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs.”

But there are also studies that seem to support the idea that organic crops are indeed better for health. A 2010 study by Washington State University researchers found evidence that organic strawberries contained more vitamin C than conventional ones.

In addition, there is some scientific evidence to support the idea that consuming pesticides could be harmful to health.

Ultimately, it seems that more research still needs to be conducted to determine conclusively whether or not organic produce is really better for health.

Leifert himself acknowledges that his team’s study should only be used as a “starting point” and that more research needs to be done into the possible health benefits of organic food.

“We have shown without doubt there are composition differences between organic and conventional crops, now there is an urgent need to carry out well-controlled human dietary intervention and cohort studies specifically designed to identify and quantify the health impacts of switching to organic food,” he said, per a press release.

GMO News

GMO-labeling movement poised for ballot initiative in Colorado Article Source:

Article Source:

Supporters for the labeling of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in Colorado delivered a petition on Monday with about twice the number of signatures required for a ballot initiative to appear before voters in November.

Right to Know Colorado, the group backing the labeling effort, collected more than 170,000 signatures on the petition, according to the KDVR. A petition in Colorado is required to have 86,105 valid signatures from registered state voters for ballot initiative approval. The ballot initiative would allow voters to decide on the explicit labeling of any product containing genetically-engineered ingredients sold in the state.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office now has 30 days to verify the signatures. “We start off with a 5 percent random sample with each of them. If with that sample we find out they qualify, then we will qualify them. If not, we have to go hand by hand through each of them,” Richard Coolidge, spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, said.

Right to Know Colorado delivered the signatures at the state capitol on Mondayas part of a “parade,” with live music and participation from local natural grocers and farmers.

“It was actually fantastic,” Larry Cooper, a petition organizer, told the Denver Post of Monday’s events. “We had over 500 people collect signatures throughout the state. We had signatures from every county in the state. I think it was a great movement.”

According to the US Department of Agriculture, in 2013, GMO crops were planted on about 169 million acres of land in the US — or about half of all farmland from coast to coast.

More than 80 percent of conventional processed foods in the US are made with genetically modified ingredients. Around 93 percent of all soybean crops planted in the US last year involved genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant (HT) variants, the USDA has acknowledged, and HT corn and HT cotton constituted about 85 and 82 percent of total acreage, respectively.

“HT crops are able to tolerate certain highly effective herbicides, such as glyphosate, allowing adopters of these varieties to control pervasive weeds more effectively,” reads an excerpt from a recent USDA report.

As those weed-killers are dumped into more and more fields containing HT crops, however, USDA experts say it could have a major, as yet uncertain impact on the environment.

Supporters of GMOs say adverse effects of food products which come from the manipulation of an organism’s genetic material are unproven at this point.

Yet science is also inconclusive on whether genetically engineered products cannot cause long-term harm to human and environmental health. At least, that is the consensus held by the several dozen countries which have banned or severely restricted their use worldwide.

Polling suggests over 90 percent of Americans would prefer GMO ingredients in consumables to be labeled to some extent. Dozens of states have considered GMO labeling laws on some level, as there is no federal labeling standard.

“Right now there’s not a family in the country that isn’t impacted by diabetes or autism or allergies or cancer. People are having a food awakening and they want to know what’s in their food,” said Robyn O’Brien of the Allergy Kids Foundation, according to KDVR.

Vermont recently passed legislation making the state the first to require GMO labels on its food. That regulation is expected to go into effect in July 2016, though the law is already the target of legal challenges from opponents.

In other states, initial polling support for labeling cratered under what was reported to be heavy spending by the likes of DuPont and Monsanto. Both California and Washington state considered labels in recent years but the proposals ultimately failed after millions of dollars of corporate spending entered the equation.

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo (Kan.) has introduced a bill in Congress that would prohibit all states from implementing their own labeling laws, on the grounds that having each state create its own rules would result in “a patchwork” of requirements “that makes it enormously difficult to operate a food system.”

David Bronner


By: Just Label It
Article Source:

David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, is an organic industry pioneer and outspoken genetically engineered food labeling activist. David and his brother Michael established Dr. Bronner’s as a trendsetter in the organic body care industry by becoming one of the first brands to certify its soaps, lotions and balms under the USDA National Organic Program in 2003 — marking the beginning of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps’ issue-oriented activism in the natural products marketplace.
We had the pleasure of interviewing him about the incredible work he’s done on the GE labeling front, check it out.

Q&A: Right to Know Champion, David Bronner, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap

Q: What made you first become passionate about the issue of genetically engineered food, and advocating for mandatory labeling?

A: At Dr. Bronner’s we are passionate about organic agriculture, and are one of very few personal care companies whose entire product range is certified under USDA’s National Organic Program standards, the same program that certifies food. Organic versus conventional agriculture is about building soil health and tilth naturally and sustainably, without the petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers that destroy our soil and pollute our food, water and bodies.
While genetic engineering could be a beneficial technology in principle, as applied to agriculture it’s been a disaster. Far from freeing us from the chemical treadmill of conventional industrial agriculture, it’s now on steroids. Only two genetically engineered traits are in widespread commercial use: herbicide resistance, so that huge amounts of herbicide can be sprayed on food crops, and crops that produce their own insecticide. Both have the entirely foreseeable effect of exerting massive selection pressure on weeds and pests to develop resistance, much like overdosing factory farmed densely confined animals with antibiotics is causing resistance in virulent strains of bacteria. Pesticide use has predictably skyrocketed as weeds and pests gain resistance, which is great for the giant chemical companies that engineer the seeds to resist their chemicals and sell the chemicals, but not for anybody else.
Labeling GMOs would give consumers that right to choose if they want to buy a genetically engineered food or not. It is a no-brainer: we need complete transparency in order for consumers to be able to make an informed choice about the products they are buying and the kind of agriculture they want to support.

Q: From a business perspective how hard would it be for companies to label the presence of GE ingredients in their products?

A: It would not be hard at all. Companies change their labels all the time (including Dr. Bronner’s) and not once has that meant we raised prices to our customers. It’s so dumb. Further, U.S. food companies already label in 64 countries that require GMOs to be disclosed, including all of the European Union and Japan, and food costs have not gone up in those countries.

Q: Do you think there are any potential benefits to biotechnology?

A: Definitely I appreciate the fact that we can produce medicines like insulin via genetically engineered microorganisms, versus grinding up cow pancreases. And theoretically in agriculture, drought tolerance or nitrogen fixing would be great. Unfortunately these are complex genetic traits and they have so far been commercial failures. People need to focus on the facts on the ground versus make-believe: over 99% of GMO crop acreage is engineered to resist and/or produce pesticides. And the resulting widespread weed and pest resistance means that even more pesticides are being blasted on our food and farmlands.

Q: As a company, what has Dr. Bronner’s done to support GE labeling?

A: We financially support diverse NGOs (including Just Label It) dedicated to organic sustainable agriculture, who are opposed to the disaster of genetic engineering in agriculture. We were an early major supporter of California’s Prop 37, a GMO labeling initiative that was voted on in 2012. Despite being outspent $45 to $9 million by the opposition, we almost won that election, 49-51.
In 2013 we were heavily involved in Washington State’s 522 Initiative for GMO labeling. We were the largest contributor to the campaign, giving almost 2 million dollars to try to get it passed. We also experimented with having a special label on our soaps for the first time, to inform consumers about the issue. We were still vastly outspent by the opposition, and again, narrowly defeated, 49-51. The movement, on the one hand, made a mistake trying to pass a measure in an odd-year electorate which is much smaller, older and more conservative. On the other, we kept the pressure on in the larger culture and fight, that helped pave the way to the major 2014 victories in Vermont and Jackson County, Oregon.
We also were major donors to the Vermont effort, giving over $300K over the past three years, as well as $40K to Jackson county’s fight. We support various state and national efforts, but this year we are very excited that the Oregon Right to Know GMO effort is going to ride the momentum off Vermont and Jackson county, and break open the dam for states everywhere to enact labeling. Things are lined up there with a very favorable and informed electorate, and a terrific and experienced campaign team. And we are once again going to do a special GMO info label on our soaps.

Q: Do you personally try to avoid eating GE foods? How?

A: I eat organic foods as much as possible. By definition, organic food cannot contain any genetically engineered ingredients. To be clear, simply because something is not GE, doesn’t mean it isn’t coated in pesticides and grown in a completely unsustainable manner. Only organic delivers the full sustainable deal.

Q: Who do you admire for their leadership on GE labeling?

A: Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association takes names and kicks ass like no other; Andy Kimbrell founder of Center for Food Safety has been a crucial leader and strategist for the movement. Rather than try to list all the rock stars and miss anyone I’ll just say there’s a lot more on the spectrum rocking hard across the board in this movement.

Q: What other causes are you involved with?

A: We’re passionate about fair trade – while organic certification addresses the environmental side of farming and production, it does not touch the social side. Migrant workers in California don’t get any better wages or working conditions in organic fields, although it’s great they’re not being doused with pesticides. We also are active in reforming drug policy in this country, to take a more humane rational approach, such as re-commercializing industrial hemp and legalizing medical marijuana for patients. Those who are addicted and abuse drugs should get treatment; we should not be destroying otherwise productive nonviolent citizens and their families with jail time and records. And we’ve recently opened up an animal rights front, fighting with allies for animal husbandry regulation to stop meat and dairy products from being produced under such poor conditions.

Q: What would you say to others who are hoping to start and lead a movement around positive change?

A: Go for it. Be ready to make a lot of mistakes and learn by doing. And any leader is only really as good as his or her team – so surround yourself with people who complement your skills and who have your back.

Q: Would you recommend any good resources for others hoping to learn more about GMOs?

A: Just Label It is a fantastic resource for updates and how to engage and help at the national level, as well as finding your local state effort and battles and plugging in. GMO Inside is also doing excellent work as well to educate folks on the issue.

A return to basics is needed!

Article Source:

Brazilian farmers are asking Monsanto and other producers of pest-resistant corn seeds to reimburse them for money spent on additional pesticides when the bugs killed the crops instead of dying themselves.

The so-called BT corn seeds are genetically modified to produce an insecticide that will kill the corn leafworm (also known as the southern grassworm). After the insect eats the corn, the toxin inside paralyzes the insect’s digestive system, forming a hole in the gut wall. This forces the bug to stop eating within a few hours, and subsequently starve to death, according to a Colorado State University fact sheet. The GMO seeds are produced by four major manufacturers: Dow Agrosciences, DuPont, Monsanto and Sygenta AG.

In Brazil, however, the farmers say that the seeds did not deliver as promised.

“The caterpillars should die if they eat the corn, but since they didn’t die this year producers had to spend on average 120 reais ($54) per hectare … at a time that corn prices are terrible,” Ricardo Tomczyk, president of Aprosoja farm lobby in Mato Grosso state, said in a statement.

The farmers, who are represented by Association of Soybean and Corn Producers of the Mato Grosso region (Aprosoja-MT) in their battle against the agricultural giants, had to spray up to three coats of additional pesticides after the scourge remained.

But Monsanto and the other seed companies are blaming the farmers, saying they warned them to plant the GMO seeds alongside conventional seeds to prevent bugs from mutating and developing resistance to the toxic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) protein that makes the pesticide effective.

The same mutation and resistance occurred in the US, beginning in 2009. Researchers, led by Aaron Gassmann, an entomologist at Iowa State University, found that GMO corn ‒ specifically two of the three types of Bt corn ‒ is no longer as efficient at killing the bugs. The resistance arose quickly, due to some extent, to farmers avoiding the simple, but profit-cutting precaution of crop rotation. The scientists published their paper online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in March.

Large-scale farming in the bug-ridden tropics has always been a challenge, Reuters reported. In Brazil, the dependence on the GMO seeds have left the agricultural industry vulnerable to pest outbreaks and increasingly reliant on the use of toxic chemicals to battle them. Tomczyk, speaking on behalf of the farmers, said that farming with conventional seeds is not a viable option for those Aprosoja-MT represents.

“There are barely any non-GMO seeds available … it is very uncomfortable that the companies are blaming the farmers,” Tomczyk said. It doesn’t help that the four agro companies didn’t give clear instructions to the farmers, he added. Aprosoja hopes to reach a negotiated agreement with the seed companies, but if all else fails farmers may sue to get reparations for pesticide costs, according to Tomczyk.

“Monsanto, et al are unlikely to accommodate the farmers,” according to an article by Instead, their response is likely to be further seed modifications and increased use of pesticides that these companies also produce, regardless of environmental or financial impact..

“Industry tries to tackle this issue by commercialization of so called ‘stacked events’ that produce several different Bt toxins,”GM Watch wrote. “The best known example is Monsanto’s SmartStax maize that produces six different Bt toxins.”

Previously, 5 million Brazilian soybean farmers sued US-based Monsanto, claiming the genetic-engineering company was collecting royalties on crops it unfairly claims as its own. In 2012, the Brazilian court ruled in favor of the Brazilian farmers, saying Monsanto owes them at least US $2 billion paid since 2004. The biotech giant promised to appeal, and reached an agreement with the farmers last August to end the litigation, Reuters reported at the time.

In exchange for dropping the suit, Monsanto agreed to lower the price on a new type of genetically modified soybean ‒ not the older RR1 version the case was based on ‒ that the farmers were encouraged to purchase and plant in eight percent of Brazilian fields. Aprosoja represented the plaintiffs in that case as well.

But in October, a judge in that country blocked Monsanto’s attempt to make farmers sign restrictive agreements before being able to purchase the new RR2 Intacta soybean seeds. In December, the soybean farmers again sued the GMO company for about US $1 billion for illegally collecting royalties on the old RR1 seeds and forcing the Brazilians to sign “abusive” purchase contracts for the new ones, according to Sustainable Pulse.

Brazil is harvesting its second of two annual corn crops and expects to produce 78 million tonnes this crop year, slightly less than last season’s record. Domestic prices recently fell to their lowest in four years because of abundant supplies, Reuters reported.

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