Metallic rice

February 2017

Global mapping shows an "unequivocal overlap" of poverty, micronutrient deficiency and rice consumption.

Estimates suggest some 15% of the world's population suffer from iron-deficiency anaemia, and a similar number from zinc-deficiency. These have serious consequences for health and energy, immune- and nervous-system function, gene regulation and child development, and for productivity.

Part of the problem is that rice doesn't have enough iron and zinc in it for people with little else to eat. From the biotech scientist's point of view, this is the rice's fault. The answer is therefore to insert artificial genes which drive an unnatural accumulation of iron and zinc in the rice plants.

Missing the signs of GM disease

February 2017
Indian shepherd. Photo Creative Commons
What would happen if, after 12 years of eating a food in its conventional form, and being in your own estimation quite healthy, you ate the same food in a GM form with added bacterial insecticide for four years, and became sick?

What if you noticed during the following four years that up to 20% of the people around you died or became sick with the same symptoms?

You might expect government health departments to be checking the GM food for possible GM-related toxins and checking out the sick and the dead for possible chronic GM-related reactions. You might expect a focus on the health of the organs which deal with toxins, the liver and kidneys, and effects on the organ most exposed to the questionable food, the gut.

If the response of the Indian government to the plight of shepherds and farmers whose livestock were grazed on 'Bt' insecticidal cotton is anything to go by, you can expect ...

Roundup Ready crops - designed to poison

February 2017
 
Despite the biotech lobby's best efforts to suppress the bad news, adverse findings continue to flow from Gilles-Eric Séralini's life-long study of rats fed Roundup herbicidal formulation (active ingredient glyphosate) and the Roundup-resistant GM maize it's sprayed on [1,2].
 
This study found signs of anatomical pathologies plus blood- and urine-biochemistry indicative of liver and kidney dysfunction after exposure to Roundup.
 
Molecular profiling, the latest thing in tissue analysis, has been applied to the livers of the Roundup-fed rats. The results confirm the evidence of glyphosate-induced liver disease first observed in the 1980s and since backed up by a growing body of evidence.

The Glyphosate dodge

February 2017


OUR QUESTION:

If you're wondering why glyphosate herbicide is still legally present in your food and in GM animal feed when the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has found it "probably carcinogenic to humans", some light was shed on this by the evidence heard during the 'Monsanto Tribunal' held in October 2016 (see below).

The IARC looked at experiments on mice fed glyphosate. In one life-time study, they saw significant increases in kidney tumours, and in another they saw increases in blood vessel cancer. They also noted increases in malignant lymphoma (blood cell cancer) in a further three mouse studies, but these were only mentioned, not included in the final report, because they were non-peer reviewed industry studies whose details couldn't be ascertained.

An IARC classification of 'probably carcinogenic' was unwelcome because it's only one short step away from "presumed carcinogen" which would, under EU law, trigger an automatic ban unless exposure levels were "negligible" (and this doesn't mean 'below permitted levels').

The GM fish oil business

February 2017

Global materials-supply company, Cargill, is entering the GM race. With its existing well-honed expertise in farmer services [1], agricultural commodity and processing, animal feed and nutrition, transportation and logistics (not to mention sustainability consulting, and financial and risk management), the Company is aiming to supply us with farmed fish raised on GM plant-based 'fish' oil in less than five years.

The team assembled to achieve this includes German chemical company BASF which has been working on transforming canola (oilseed rape) with look-alike algal genes for 20 years, plus GM compliant farmers in Montana with whom Cargill has a close relationship, and a newly-purchased Norwegian fish feed company.

The GM Glyphosate game

February 2017

In the last five years, concerns surrounding glyphosate-based herbicides have been the subject of some 90 articles here on GM-Free Scotland, one-fifth of the total.

These herbicidal formulations have been, and continue to be, the lynch-pin of GM crops, the vast majority of which have been engineered to survive spraying with glyphosate. They have, therefore, been central to the profitability of GM and to the biotech industry's control of agriculture.

A recent pest-protection consultant review of the history and future of this herbicide describes the predicament which this particular GM-based agriculture has got us into.

NK603 maize is not equivalent

January 2017
Photo: Creative Commons

It has long been a refrain in GM-free Scotland articles that the 'safety testing' of GM foods is too crude, too limited and too old-fashioned to tell us anything except that eating it won't make anyone drop dead. Science has many more sophisticated and more meaningful testing techniques at its disposal, if only there was the will to develop them for routine use.

At the end of 2016, however, the ball finally got rolling.