LABB News Archive 2010-2011

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This archive includes some of the more significant news items which have previously appeared on the What's New page. These web-links are not regularly updated now and may well be out of date, so if you find a later link, please let us know. Some items (particularly those marked +) may be described in our Learning Links or Hot Topics pages.
5/1/10  UK government's food strategy 'Food 2030' published, but 'Guardian' editorial suggests a hidden agenda.
11/1/10  Plans are revealed for more GM open field trials this year: by Leeds University, and NIAB in Cambridgeshire. (See 27/7/09)
19/1/10  + Report from GM Freeze shows how resistance of weeds to herbicides has grown as a result of GM herbicide-tolerant crops, and advises sustainable methods of weed control. (See also 25/11/09)
9/2/10  India introduces indefinite moratorium on GM Bt aubergine (brinjal/eggplant).
11/2/10  + The Sainsbury Lab at the John Innes Centre, Norfolk, applies for permission for field trials of GM potatoes, said to resist blight. Guidance for the public on submitting an objection is available.
12/2/10  GM Freeze briefing outlines concerns over 3 year GM potato trials in Yorkshire, proposed by Leeds University. (See 11/1/10)
23/2/10  + Latest 'Who benefits' report by FOE International analyses global GM crop developments to date and debunks many of the claims made by the industry.
1/3/10  A proposed revision of a European regulation on GM food safety is found to be based on a source regarded as "widely disputed" and "oriented to the interests of industry". Several independent scientists had already submitted a detailed critique of the draft regulation.
2/3/10  European Commission approves the cultivation of the GM 'Amflora' potato with altered starch content, intended for industrial uses. The pulp remaining is also approved as livestock feed despite containing an antibiotic resistance gene that could cause medical problems. Three GM maize varieties (MON863xNK603, MON863xMON810 and MON863xMON810xNK603) are also approved for human and animal consumption. (These GM maize lines are mentioned in earlier news.)
8/3/10  An Arkansas court awards a rice farmer compensatory and punitive damages of over 1 million dollars, against Bayer CropScience. This is just one of a series of lawsuits against Bayer, whose unauthorised LL601 GM rice contaminated the US export market. (See 11/9/06)
10/3/10  Scientists at the US University of Rhode Island have created a GM rainbow trout with grossly overdeveloped muscles.
25/3/10  A report by GeneWatch UK shows taxpayers have lost out on billions of pounds, wasted on the 'biotech economy' promise. Research investment decisions were taken by "a small circle of unaccountable advisors".
27/3/10  GM potato trials in Yorkshire are approved by the UK Government (DEFRA). These are to continue over 3 years, until 2012, at the Leeds University farm at Tadcaster. (See 12/2/10)
16/4/10  Russian scientists report reproductive problems in hamsters fed on GM soya beans.
1/5/10  Veterinary reports on a New Zealand trial reveal GM cows had over-sized ovaries that led to their deaths.
4/5/10  Analysis of official data shows Europe's laws on GM do not harm the animal feed industry.
10/5/10  The European Network of Responsible Scientists, ENSSER, initiates a letter of support for Prof Seralini and colleagues, attacked by "a discreditation campaign" that "threatens their livelihood" and funding. The attacks relate to Seralini's critical analysis of a Monsanto GM maize study. (See 11/12/09)
20/5/10  The Craig Venter Institute (US) announces they have genetically engineered a completely artificial organism - creating a simple bacterium with an entirely synthetic genome.
2/6/10  A second expert resigns from the 'GM Dialogue' steering committee of the Food Standards Agency, in protest against its pro-GM bias. (See 10/11/09)
15/6/10  Opinion poll shows 2 out of 3 respondents want meat and dairy products from animals fed GM-free, with 89 per cent wanting clear labelling. Poll detail reveals Asda's recent policy change is not supported by most of its customers.
7/7/10  European Parliament rejects labelling of meat, dairy products and eggs from animals fed on GM feed - due to 23 Conservative MEPs voting against (contrary to their party's commitment). (See 5/2/07)
13/7/10  European Commission approves controversial changes to the regulation of GM crop cultivation. These would speed up approval of new GM varieties, while appearing to allow individual countries to ban cultivation more easily (in theory). Caroline Lucas MEP comments.
29/7/10  Six new GM maize varieties are approved for food and feed - by the European Commission - after member states failed to achieve a 'qualified majority vote'.
11/8/10  + Food Standards Agency reveals that, for the third time, clone technology meat has gone into the UK food chain unauthorised - from cows with a cloned parent. Earlier report identifies a Scottish dairy farm. FSA reports describe assurances that no milk entered the food chain and two premature deaths out of eight animals. (See 22/6/09)
16/9/10  + A group of international scientists present their research on animal embryo malformations attributed to glyphosate - the active ingredient in Roundup(TM) weedkiller that is used with many GM crops.
28/9/10  + Avaaz/Greenpeace petition collects one million signatures as required for a 'Citizen's Initiative', asking the European Commission for a moratorium on GM crops and for a new independent body to research and determine regulation.
8/10/10  European Commission announces proposal to allow up to 0.1 percent of unapproved GM content in animal feed - this would scrap the present policy of 'zero tolerance' to GM content not tested in the EU. GM Freeze describes the dangers. (See 23/6/08, 4/5/10)
25/10/10  French supermarket chain Carrefour launches "free from GM feed" label for animal products. (See 3/4/09, 10/10/09, 15/6/10, 7/7/10)
27/10/10  + Scientists reveal the discovery of a new route for GM gene escape into the environment - involving horizontal gene transfer to fungi when certain GM plants are injured.
11/11/10  In a leaked document, the legal service of the EU Council of Ministers advises that the EC proposal for national GM bans has an "invalid legal basis" and may be incompatible with existing laws. (See 13/7/10)
7/12/10  + Food Standards Agency agrees to advise Government ministers that "there are no food safety grounds for regulating foods from the descendants of cloned cattle and pigs" and that labelling of such products would be unnecessary. See comment on Advisory Committee's opinion and factsheet on Cloned Animals. (See 11/8/10)
9/12/10  + Avaaz/Greenpeace petition of over a million signatures is presented to the European Commission calling on it to halt GM crop approvals and set up a new independent regulatory body. (See 28/9/10)
3/1/11  Leaked embassy cables reveal US diplomats sought to penalise European Union countries opposed to GM crops, and worked around the world to promote commercial biotech interests.
16/1/11  In a letter to the US Secretary of Agriculture a senior scientist seeks assistance for urgent research into what is described as a pathogenic organism, seemingly new to science, that is widespread and somehow associated with 'Roundup Ready'(TM) GM soya and corn. Read Dr Huber's letter. (See 16/9/10)
9/2/11  In a preliminary opinion an Advocate of the European Court of Justice says sales of honey collected near fields of GM maize will require regulatory approval.
17/2/11  + Environment minister states UK Government view there should be no restrictions on the use of offspring of cloned animals.
22/2/11  EU member states vote to allow GM material unauthorised in Europe to contaminate imports of animal feed, ending the policy of 'zero tolerance'. This decision is subject to scrutiny by the European Parliament for 3 months. Greenpeace suggests the decision will lead to a similar change for human food. (See 8/10/10)
8/3/11  MEP Alyn Smith (SNP) has criticised pro-GM MEPs over the "hijacking" of a report on soy imported from South America.
10/3/11  Following an appeal by GM Freeze an Information Tribunal upholds the DEFRA decision to keep secret the location of GM contamination in Somerset in 2008. (See 19/12/08)
15/3/11  Independent watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory calls for an overhaul of the rules on conflicts of interest for the European Food Safety Authority.
16/3/11  Three petitions critical of the GMO approval process of the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority are backed unanimously by the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament. More detail. (See also 15/3/11)
17/3/11  EU ministers once again fail to decide the approval of three new GM crops, one of which is said to be a potential health risk.
29/3/11  Controls on foods from cloned animal offspring are abandoned, after negotiations failed between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The UK farming minister is accused of sabotaging attempts to regulate food from clones and their descendants. But supermarkets pledge not to stock clone-derived meat or milk. (See 'Hot Topics'.)
11/4/11  Report exposes links between the European Food Safety Authority and ILSI, a US group funded by chemical and GM multinationals. (See also 16/3/11)
29/4/11  Study commissioned by the German Greens warms of a rise in toxic residues in GM crops.
17/5/11  European Council and Commission are accused of misleading the Parliament when leaked legal opinion contradicts public statements on cloned animal foods and international trade law. (See 29/3/11)
20/5/11  Following the discovery of a Bt toxin from GM crops in pregnant women and foetuses, GM Freeze calls for an immediate halt to cultivation and imports of Bt crops.
25/5/11  The sale of unlabelled food from the offspring of cloned animals is approved by the Food Standards Agency. (See 17/5/11)
29/5/11  A field trial of blight-resistant GM potatoes is destroyed by protestors in Belgium. (See 11/2/10)
7/6/11  + Report by independent scientists reveals industry has known since the 1980s that glyphosate (constituent of Roundup weedkiller) can cause birth defects, and that EU regulators knew this in 1999, but kept it from the public. (See 16/9/10, 15/10/09)
15/6/11  + Government publishes its response to House of Commons Report on Bioengineering - strongly criticised by GM Freeze.
17/6/11  + Government publishes GM Policy statement - GM Freeze calls for improvements.
20/6/11  Rothamsted Research in Harpenden applies to trial GM wheat in 2012-13. GM Freeze urges the public to object.
5/7/11  The international food safety agency, Codex Alimentarius Commission, agrees guidance on the labelling of GM food. This means a country that adopts labelling no longer faces legal challenge by the World Trade Organisation.
22/7/11  Report by the Academy of Medical Sciences calls for additional scrutiny and regulation of the use of animals containing human material in medical research.
23/7/11  + Protestors gather at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, demonstrating against field trials of blight-resistant GM potatoes. (See 11/2/10)
29/7/11   Research at Iowa State University into severe crop damage shows that the Western Corn Rootworm has evolved resistance to a toxin in GM Bt maize. (See also 8/2/08)
7/8/11  Trials of GM rice containing human genes have been stopped in Spain, following mass public protests.
12/8/11  A US government scientist says repeated use of glyphosate impacts plant roots and might be causing fungal disease. (See also 16/1/11)
6/9/11  European Union Court of Justice rules that sales of honey and supplements containing GM pollen (even unintentionally) will require prior authorisation. (See 9/2/11)
16/9/11  UK Government (DEFRA) approves a Hertfordshire field trial of GM wheat that contains two genes not found naturally, and a gene for antibiotic resistance. (See also 20/6/11)
4/10/11  A coalition of diverse groups files a legal petition, demanding labelling for GM food products in the US.
5/10/11  + US research study shows escapes of GM canola (oilseed rape) are widespread and survive successfully in the wild.
13/10/11  + A Mexican research study has found a significant spread of GM cotton genes in wild cotton populations.
18/10/11  + A detailed report by international NGOs documents how GM crops failed to produce the benefits claimed, and have in fact created significant problems. Read summary
19/10/11  + Briefing on new 'superweeds' reports 21 weed species have now developed resistance to glyphosate herbicide, the main constituent of Roundup™. (See 19/1/10)
10/11/11  Review of insect resistance to Bt toxins in GM crops shows pesticide use has actually increased.
15/11/11  The European Union imposes rigid new controls on imports of Chinese rice products, after rising GM contamination. (See 18/5/09)
20/11/11  Spanish study finds that glyphosate (cf. Roundup™) is contaminating groundwater - this is in line with earlier US studies. GM Freeze comments.
9/12/11  + Summary of Argentine research shows serious risks to human and animal health posed by glyphosate, the herbicide sprayed (as Roundup™) on GM crops. (See 29/4/11, 7/6/11, 20/11/11)
13/12/11  EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) admits that an insect-resistant GM maize threatens non-target insects and butterflies, but has approved its cultivation regardless.

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