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Our Newsletter

February 2014 Newsletter

December 2013 Newsletter

October 2013 Newletter

Autumn 2014

No More GMOs have actively participated in farmers’ markets across the Greater Toronto Area, and members have given talks at various venues.  We were active participants in the first annual Toronto GMO-Free Festival and Famers’ Market and March against Monsanto, which was a grand success (the march was one of the best attended across the movement). We continue to work with CBAN, the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, and our members are working closely with the Toronto Non-GMO Coalition on various events and actions.

Articles and Discussion Pieces

Autumn 2014:

Labelling of GM Foods in Canada: The Legal Dance.  Labelling is on the table again in Canada.  Mary Lou McDonald outlines the legal dance the federal government is performing to avoid labelling.   The dance is to 1. Frame the discourse in terms of whether GM ingredients are nutritious, healthy or safe, and thereby hand the issue to Health Canada; 2. Impose a stringent and unjustifiable  standard which leads to the conclusion that labelling is not required;  3. Ignore the fact that GM ingredients and components, as ingredients and components in prepackaged products that consist of more than one ingredient, are required to be labelled under the Food and Drugs Act; and 4. Permit breaches of the deceptive practices provisions that prohibit creating false impressions in respect of the safety, character, value, quantity, quality, composition, merit, origin or the method or manufacture or preparation of food.

February 2014:

Glyphosate, Pathways to Modern Diseases II: Celiac Sprue and Gluten Intolerance. Many GMOs are modified to tolerate spraying with glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup.  The authors Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff of this recent article published in Interdisciplinary Toxicology 2013: Vol. 6(4): 159-184 show the links between glyphosate and the marked rise in gluten intolerance, celiac disease and related ailments.

LLP: How Low Will We Go?  No More GMOs’ own Mary Lou McDonald explains the proposed “Low Level Presence” policy of the Federal Government. She points out two concerns.  First, LLP  will allow GM contaminated crops into Canada without the application of Canadian health and safety regulations. Second, the Federal Government is trying to force other countries to drop their zero tolerance for GM contamination in imports.  The motivation is the trade agenda: Canadian crops are contaminated but the Feds are working to export them.

Genetics 101: Why You Should Be Concerned About GMOs.  No More GMOs’ own Ramsey Afifi uses his scientific knowledge to provide this in-depth piece on Genetics 101. Lessons are provided on how genetic engineering is different from traditional breeding and how the current understanding is that genes work in “networks” that are fluid, dynamic and ever-changing,  and not in a simplified mechanical manner.  Since context, location and the environment are key variables affecting how genes behave, genetic changes cannot be easily predicted or controlled. He also provides detail on how vectors are inserted into an organism’s genome and explains risks arising from the technique.  

December 2013:

Journal Retraction of Seralini Study.  Claire Robinson of GMOSeralini raises profound concerns about the retraction of the Seralini study by the editor of journal that published it. She shows how the retraction does not comply with the relevant retraction guidelines, and points out that the appointment of Richard Goodman, a former Monsanto scientist, to a specially created post of associate editor, “raises questions about corporate influence on the editorial board of the journal”.

Substantial Equivalence: Get out of Testing Free.  No More GMOs’ own Mary Lou McDonald shows how the principle of “substantial equivalence” is used by the law to avoid testing of GMOs and provides the case study of GM Alfalfa as an example.

November 2013:

Genetically Modified Fish Takes Step to Commercial Production, Sparking “Frankenfish” Worries.  Posting of a November 25, 2013 article by Keith Doucette of the Canadian Press that explains how the company Aquabounty plans to produce GM salmon eggs in Canada.  CBAN indicates the decision is alarming because it was made without public consultation and it represents a “concrete environmental risk now that’s coming directly from Canada”.

October, 2013:

Public Awareness in the Campaign Against GMOs.  No More GMOs’ own Rob Adams wonders why progress on the GMO file has been slower in Canada than other jurisdictions. He points out public pressure can bring about change, as it has in Europe, but in Canada Monsanto et al and the complicit government have been keeping people in the dark.  There is a vast middle ground of Canadian who are unaware of the concerns. We need to reach these people who are not part of the converted, and the “tactics should ensure we engage, education and inform with every opportunity we get”.

A New Bottom Line for Kevin O’Leary.  No More GMOs’ own Mary Lou McDonald uses the “schooling” of Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary, by teenage activist Rachel Parent to discuss the real facts on the Canadian legal framework when it comes to testing GMOS: testing isn’t required, only evidence provided by the proponents is looked at by officials, the evidence doesn’t address harm or review safety to humans in some respects, there is no review for indirect effects on human health, and only the company’s have the status to complain.  The new bottom line is our government is not looking out for our health.

September, 2013:

Coexistence Plan is Gateway for GM Alfalfa Contamination – CBAN and NFU Commentary and Technical Paper. The paper explains how the Canadian Seed Trade Association is working on a “coexistence plan” that would supposedly allow organic, conventional and GM crops to coexist, but that such coexistence is not possible.  The  spread of some GM crops is inevitable because altered gene sequences, in cases like GM alfalfa, are contained  in the plant’s pollen which is widely distributed by bees from flower to flower.  Coexistence is a misnomer.

International News: “Columbia Farmers’ Uprising puts the Spotlight on Seeds”.  GRAIN, a small international non-profit organization that works to support small farmers and social movements, explains how a peasant mobilisation in August 2013 caused the withdrawal of Law 970, which made it illegal to Columbian farmers to save seeds.

October, 2012:

Seralini and Science: an Open Letter. Posted by jrlatham in Biotechnology, Commentaries, Health.  The writer posts a piece from various authors that discusses how the Seralini study raises the profile of challenges to science in the world of corporate pressures. They provide a detailed study of the influence of corporations, the  media and government on scientific study.

September, 2012:

French Study Finds Tumors and Organ Damage in Rats Fed Monsanto Corn.  We present a video that summarizes the groundbreaking 2012 Seralini study, which tested rats over their entire 2 year life span and found that Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup developed tumours and multiple organ damage, or died prematurely.

Uneasy Allies in the Grocery Aisle.  Stephanie Strom of the New York Times discusses the differing stances of large and small organic companies and corporate owners on Proposition 37, the effort to obtain labelling for GM products in California that was defeated.

5 Ways the Stanford Study Sells Organics Short.  Tom Philpott from Mother Jones takes issue with a Stanford paper that suggests that conventional produce contains trivial amounts of pesticides so there is no need to buy organic.  He points out that there is an overall 81% lower risk or incidence of pesticide residues in organic compared to conventional produce, that the risk discussion of the study is not informative, and that exposures to multiple pesticides, as occurs in the real world, needs to be examined.

Our Hunger Games. Vandana Shiva from Common Dreams points out the myriad of problems associated with industrial chemical agriculture and makes the case that the best strategy for addressing hunger and malnutrition is through biodiverse organic farming.

Chinese Children Unsed in US-Backed GE Food Trial.  Monica Tan from Greenpeace reveals that a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that was backed by the US Department of Agriculture involved feeding Golden Rice, the GM variety that has failed after over 20 years of trials to provide Vitamin A as purported, to a group of 24 children between 6 and 8 years old in China.

 

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