Just Label It, News Roundup 11-3
This week’s news brought controversy over the safety of Bt toxins, due to a new analysis that raises questions about Bt toxins in food and their environmental safety. Also in the news, the latest study to look at the long-term effects of Monsanto’s Roundup raises questions about the herbicide’s possible contributions to poor health in certain communities. Roundup isn’t the only product being heavily scrutinized by scientists. Studies are showing trouble for the weed killer dicamba, and Monsanto is attacking these findings. GMO arctic apples made news earlier this year when they turned up in the marketplace unlabeled. The arctic apple, also known as the non-browning apple, was engineered by scientists to extend the shelf life of sliced apples. But natural opal apples are available on the market and never turn brown, making the Arctic apple unnecessary. The Bulgarian Parliament has passed amendments to the Food Act prohibiting the promotion of unhealthy foods, including food-containing GMOs, to children. And in India, researchers have found that GMO golden rice trials have led to drastic yield loss and “metabolic meltdown.”
The chief benefit claimed for GMO insecticidal Bt crops is that unlike conventional pesticides, their toxicity is limited to a few insect species. But a new peer-reviewed analysis systematically compares GMO and natural Bt proteins and shows that many of the elements contributing to this narrow toxicity have been removed by GMO developers in the process of inserting Bt toxins into crops. Thus developers have made GMO insecticides that, in the words of one Monsanto patent, are “super toxins”.
Apples are delicious whole, but something about slicing them makes them even more enticing. Maybe it’s because they’re easier to dip into hummus or peanut butter (but ideally caramel sauce), or maybe it’s just the convenience factor. The only problem is, the slices we pack for lunch are always an unappetizing brown by the time we dig them out of the fridge.
The latest study to look at the long-term effects of Roundup, a popular weed killer developed by Monsanto in the 1970s, raises questions about the herbicide’s possible contributions to poor health in certain communities.
The Bulgarian Parliament has passed amendments to the Food Act on Thursday prohibiting the promotion of unhealthy foods, including food-containing GMOs, to children. 102 Bulgarian MPs voted for the changes to the law, only one voted against, and 29 abstained.
GMO Golden Rice is promoted as a potent tool to alleviate vitamin A deficiency. However, Indian researchers now report that the genes needed to produce it have unintended effects. When they introduced the engineered DNA, their high-yielding and agronomically superior Indian rice variety became pale and stunted, flowering was delayed and the roots grew abnormally. Yields were so reduced that it was unsuitable for cultivation (Bollinedi et al. 2017).
In a normal year, Kevin Bradley, a professor of weed science at the University of Missouri, would have spent his summer testing new ways to control a troublesome little plant called water hemp. This has not been a normal year.