genetically modified

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greening it up – mon 19 mar 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-03-19 15:13

Hottest winter since 1880. The world has experienced the warmest December to February period on record, according to the NOAA (US National oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) – 0.72 degrees above the 20th century mean. [newscientist]

”Non-GMO verified” set to become an industry standard in the US. A number of organic farmers, producing organic milk, have found that their feed is ‘contaminated’ by genetically modified organisms, and have begun the process of seeking a new “non-GMO verified” certification. Why? By telling consumers loud and clear which products are GM-free, organic-food producers will give them one more reason to choose organic. [Time]

Environment-friendly school funded by Oprah. The Seven Fountains Primary School in Shayamoya, a remote town in KwaZulu-Natal, was funded by Oprah Winfrey, designed using environmentally responsible principles oprah celebrating at seven fountainsoprah celebrating at seven fountainsand was built with community participation. The school features some innovative green design ideas. As water supply to the area is irregular there is a rain water harvesting system and a water pump powered by children playing on the see-saw and merry-go-round.

They also use solar power and have a garden supplying vegetables for school meals. The school cost R12m, which is in line with the KZN Education Dept's budget for a school of this size.

"The Seven Fountains School is an example of what schools in SA can become," said Oprah.[M&G]


greening it up – fri 23 feb 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2007-02-23 13:36

compost loo with a differencecompost loo with a differenceCape Town in the poo Compost loos should be high on your list of 'must haves' if you live in Cape Town, as the city commits a further R1-billion on treatment plants over the next five years to avoid a sewage crisis – most of the city’s waste-water treatment plants are probably working beyond capacity, which means effluent is leaking into the environment ‘at many plants’ [M&G]. Translated: that means its seeping into underground water reserves.

Where to find a compost loo? There are two types of composting toilets – those that complete the composting process ‘in situ’ – and those that use a ‘bucket and chuck it’ system. And you’ve a number of other choices as well. See: [enviroloo] [Rota-Loo, Dryloo, WHW Dry Toilet & The Earthmill organic toilet] and [ecosan waterless toilets]


gene-wash part 2: bias or blatant spin?

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2007-02-14 16:03

Following on from gene-wash part 1, I've at last finished with part 2.

Biotech industry mouthpiece, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) published a report on the 18 January making a number of claims about the increase in uptake of genetically engineered crops worldwide. [ISAAA]

The report claims:
- total area of approved GM crops in 2006 was 102 million hectares in 22 countries — a 13 per cent rise on the previous year.
- over 90 per cent of those growing GM crops worldwide — around 9.3 million farmers — are small, resource-poor farmers in developing countries.
- about 40 per cent of GM crops were grown in developing countries, which showed the biggest rise in growing area — 21 per cent compared to nine per cent in industrialised countries.


gene-wash part 1: a primer on industry reports

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2007-02-01 17:54

Genes are not the only organisms being manipulated. When it comes to telling the truth, reports by bio-industry funded, yet official-sounding organisations leave a lot to be desired.

Should you believe any report sponsored by the industry that stands to benefit from that same report? Hmmm.

Most of us "believed" the tobacco industry for twenty years whilst their scientist cronies repeatedly told us not to worry about the effects of smoking. "There is no evidence linking smoking to lung cancer" was their mantra, whilst we dragged and inhaled for way longer than we should have. [SourceWatch]

Don't Big Pharmaceutical companies always tell the truth? I wonder where the idea for the movie, The Constant Gardener came from? [The Nation] John le Carré author of the 2001 novel says in the book's afterword "By comparison with the reality, my story [is] as tame as a holiday postcard."


greening it up – tue 23 jan 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-01-23 09:54

© Paul Tingle© Paul TingleEco-town proposed for vacant land in Hout Bay. A section of land in Hout Bay, Cape Town, is the site of heated debate as parties, including the environmental organisation Envirochild, submit proposals for development. Envirochild’s proposal includes 400 eco-friendly houses, an organic farm, community amenities and commercial ventures. Cosatu has called for the poor of Imizamo Yethu to grab the vacant land. [IOL]

Bush comes under pressure from big business to do something about global warming. Nine US corporations, calling themselves the USCAP coalition and including the likes of GE, have demanded that Bush support mandatory caps on businesses’ greenhouse gas emissions. [sietch blog]


something fishy about this ice-cream?

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-01-09 07:19

Unilever is using genetically engineered "antifreeze" fish proteins from the blood of the Ocean Pout (a polar ocean, eel-like species) in ice cream products sold in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Ice-structuring, or antifreeze protein protects the ocean pout in freezing waters by preventing large ice crystals forming; in ice cream and other frozen food it would have the same effect. Unilever touts the benefits of the fish antifreeze protein as "crystallization" when ice cream products warm (above proper temperatures) and then are refrozen.

The GM protein is produced through transgenic baker's yeast, in large vat batches.

Unilever's submission to the Food Standards Agency in the UK is being opposed by the Independent Science Panel as they submit it is potentially able to cause inflammation and should not be approved without comprehensive tests.
Via: Organic Consumers Association

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cloned food coming soon to a plate near you

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2007-01-03 15:55

So not only do we have genetically modified food to contend with, but in the near future we may end up with cloned meat on our plates and no way of knowing it.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently pronounced in a draft ruling that meat and milk from cloned animals is safe for human consumption.

The five year study examined meat and milk products from cattle, pigs and goats, but not sheep and ruled the food "as safe as the food we eat every day".

The agency suggested that it was unlikely to recommend placing special labels on food from cloned animals, but that a final decision on the labelling would not be taken until the end of the public consultation period due to begin soon.

Consumer groups were less than keen on the ruling, which would see the US become the first country to allow cloned food products into the food supply.

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say NO to GMO: potato field trials by ARC

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2006-11-20 16:58

It was unclear from yesterday's article in the Sunday Times when the field trials of GM Potatos by the Agricultural Research Council would start.

Reading on the African Centre for Biosafety's website it appears as though potato field trials have already been in progress since May 2004.

The Sunday Times wanted to know what we think about GMO so tell them: tellus@sundaytimes.co.za

(I think it stinks because... [amend where necessary]

a) I don't want to be eating unnecessary antibiotic's that have been genetically inserted into my favourite food

b) the government doesn't seem to think it's necessary for food processors to tell me when I'm eating GM food

c) it's a bit scary when previous potato trials were canned (in another country) because of high levels of solanine, a natural chemical that can cause intestinal distress.

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the future of food

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2006-10-24 14:31

future of foodfuture of foodSaw this brilliantly shocking movie again at the Labia last night. It really is a must see if you care about your health, the environment or the corporate take-over of the food supply.

I've been thinking about what it is that really worries me about Genetic Modification. I am no Luddite - I believe in technology and medical progress. No one can argue that anti-biotics, vaccines, heart bypass operations etc have their place in modern society (although there are some questionable motives behind the drug companies promoting the technologies... another topic).

I think that GM does have a place in finding cures for incurable diseases. But the differences betw GM modification in the biomedical industry and the biofood industry was poignently highlighted in the future of food: a pill can't escape into the wild and start replicating itself; plants readily do this!


gm tainted organic food

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2006-10-23 14:55

iwisa: gm maizeiwisa: gm maizeI recently came across this list of genetically modified soya and maize products available in SA and was shocked to see just how many of the random sample contain traces of GM. As can be seen from the results published by the GMO Testing Facility at the University of the Free State, there are no guarantees that even if your soya / maize product is labelled "organic" that it is GMO free!

Most of the unlabled soya / maize products contained GM, including the following lables: Ace, Blue Bird, Iwisa, Knorr, Impala, Nutribev, So Fresh.

76% (10 out of 13) soya products labled as either non-GM, GMO-free or Organic contained GM!

50% (2 of 4) maize products labled as free from GM or as Organic contained GM!

As a consumer in this country I'm not warned which products contain GM: I am unable to make an informed choice. I can go ahead and munch on my mielies, eat "stywe pap" and swig soya milk without having a clue that I'm ingesting GM! I'm really angry that the government does not require proper labling of GM food.

It makes me even madder yet to think that I'm buying organic soya only to read that it's tainted with GM.

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