Friday, November 21, 2014

ROUNDUP - LAWSUITS, BANS AND AN ORGANIC THANKSGIVING IN GMOs FRONT YARD

GMO ballot measure 'too close to call'

KPTV.com - ‎54 minutes ago‎
The Oregon ballot measure concerning GMO labeling is now too close to call, according to FOX 12 political analyst Tim Hibbitts.

ADM Sues Syngenta Over Genetically Engineered Corn

Wall Street Journal - ‎Nov 19, 2014‎
Archer Daniels Midland Co. sued Syngenta AG over losses the grain trader and processor said it suffered after Syngenta sold genetically engineered corn in the U.S. that had yet to win approval in China. ADM said Syngenta's push to sell its biotech corn ...

'Monsanto uses Indian farmers to contaminate world with GMO crops'

RT (blog) - ‎5 hours ago‎
By persuading Indian farmers to buy genetically modified organism (GMO) seeds Monsanto spreads its genetically engineered crops around the world so that no one can compete with pure non-GMO products after that, anti-GMO activist Jeffrey Smith, told RT.

This Worm Is Genetically Engineered to Spin Spider Silk

Modern Farmer - ‎Nov 19, 2014‎
And bushwhacking through the jungle to harvest the best wild spider webs isn't cost effective. For a genetic engineer daydreaming of spider silk produced in a commercially viable way, it doesn't take long to connect the dots to the docile, communal ...

Genetically Engineered Crops, Monsanto's Glyphosate and the Deterioration Of ...

Center for Research on Globalization - ‎Nov 17, 2014‎
The herbicide glyphosate was introduced in 1974 and its use is accelerating with the advent of herbicide-tolerant genetically engineered (GE) crops. Evidence is mounting that glyphosate interferes with many metabolic processes in plants and animals and ...

EarthTalk: Assessing the risks of genetically engineered crops

The Rock River Times - ‎Nov 18, 2014‎
Twenty-one countries and the European Union have instituted policies requiring foods created using genetic engineering (GE) be labeled accordingly so consumers can know what they're putting into their mouths.

In Kenya, Calls Grow to Lift Controversial GMO Ban

Voice of America - ‎21 hours ago‎
NAIROBI—. With a virus threatening the crops of up to 70 percent of Kenya's maize farmers, a number of lawmakers are calling for the country's controversial ban on GMOs - genetically modified organisms - to be lifted for the sake of food security. If ...

Dr. Dani Segal speaks about GMO's in Vernon

NorthJersey.com - ‎10 hours ago‎
Dr. Dani Segal, PhD Certified Holistic Nutritionist, recently spoke to the Warwick Valley Gardeners about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's) to a very enthusiastic crowd. The talk "OMG...GMOs are HERE! The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the ...

Idaho Cattle Association backs GMO feed

Capital press - ‎22 hours ago‎
John Hall, superintendent of the University of Idaho's Nancy M. Cummings Center in Salmon, discusses the need for the Idaho Cattle Association to take a stance in support of GMO feed Nov. 18 during the organization's annual convention and trade show in ...

Farmers growing GMO alfalfa sue to overturn Jackson County ban

OregonLive.com - ‎1 hour ago‎
Jackson County voters passed an ordinance by a 2-to-1 margin that bans anyone from growing GMO crops, which goes into effect June 6, 2015.

Americans Buy Organic, Non-GMO Food Without Knowing What It Means ...

Medical Daily - ‎18 hours ago‎
When they asked consumers how they felt about GMOs, 59 percent of respondents said they were concerned about GMOs, but only 32 percent were able to define what a GMO was. A GMO is a food altered inside of a laboratory. Scientists will remove a gene ...

How GMO Crops Can Be Good for the Environment

Businessweek - ‎Nov 18, 2014‎
Among the winners in this month's elections, along with the Republican candidate in just about every competitive race, were foods containing genetically modified organisms. Ballot initiatives that would have mandated the labeling of GMOs on store ...

Buchanan: We know far too little about the safety of GMOs

MetroWest Daily News - ‎9 hours ago‎
Like many people, I've long wondered about the safety of genetically modified organisms. They've become so ubiquitous that they account for about 80 percent of the corn grown in the United States, yet we know almost nothing about what damage might ...

Germany to press EU for national right to ban GMOs before 2015 harvest

Reuters - ‎Nov 14, 2014‎
German farm minister Christian Schmidt said "social-economic reasons" should be taken into account to allow a European Union country to ban GMO crops even when the bloc had approved the crops as safe. This would allow bans based on opposition from ...

Monsanto Is Using Big Data to Take Over the World

Mother Jones - ‎Nov 19, 2014‎
You probably know Monsanto as the world's leading producer of genetically engineered seeds—a global agribusiness giant whose critics accuse it of everything from boosting our reliance on pesticides to driving Indian farmers to suicide.

Monsanto plans $75M expansion at Muscatine Roundup plant

DesMoinesRegister.com - ‎9 hours ago‎
Monsanto is planning to invest just under $75 million into its Muscatine plant that produces Roundup herbicide. The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board will consider a request from Monsanto on Friday for state incentives to help finance the ...

Farming in the face of climate change? Monsanto has an app for that

Grist - ‎Nov 20, 2014‎
You probably know Monsanto as the world's leading producer of genetically engineered seeds - a global agribusiness giant whose critics accuse it of everything from boosting our reliance on pesticides to driving Indian farmers to suicide.

Reverend Billy invites you to an organic Thanksgiving dinner at Monsanto HQ

Treehugger - ‎19 hours ago‎
Want to do something really different for Thanksgiving this year? Come have an organic dinner on the lawn of Monsanto's World Headquarters and watch the latest show from Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir. Regardless of whether or not the corporate ...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

THE "TRIPS" DEALS THAT MAKE SAVING SEED A CRIMINAL OFFENSE

What could be more routine than saving seeds from one season to the next? After all, that is how we grow crops on our farms and in our gardens. Yet from Guatemala to Ghana, from Mozambique to Malaysia, this basic practice is being turned into a criminal offence, so that half a dozen large multinational corporations can turn seeds into private property and make money from them.
But people are fighting back and in several countries popular mobilisations are already forcing governments to put seed privatisation plans on hold.
GRAIN has produced an updated dataset
on how so-called free trade agreements are privatising seeds across the world.

Guatemala’s trade agreement with the US obliges it to adhere to the UPOV Convention. But popular resistance forced the government to repeal a national law passed for this purpose. (Photo: Raúl Zamora)Guatemala’s trade agreement with the US obliges it to adhere to the UPOV Convention. But popular resistance forced the government to repeal a national law passed for this purpose. (Photo: Raúl Zamora)
Trade agreements have become a tool of choice for governments, working with corporate lobbies, to push new rules to restrict farmers' rights to work with seeds. Until some years ago, the most important of these was the World Trade Organization's (WTO) agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Adopted in 1994, TRIPS was, and still is, the first international treaty to establish global standards for “intellectual property” rights over seeds.1 The goal is to ensure that companies like Monsanto or Syngenta, which spend money on plant breeding and genetic engineering, can control what happens to the seeds they produce by preventing farmers from re-using them – in much the same way as Hollywood or Microsoft try to stop people from copying and sharing films or software by putting legal and technological locks on them.
But seeds are not software. The very notion of “patenting life” is hugely contested. For this reason, the WTO agreement was a kind of global compromise between governments. It says that countries may exclude plants and animals (other than micro-organisms) from their patent laws, but they must provide some form of intellectual property protection over plant varieties, without specifying how to do that.

Trade agreements negotiated outside the WTO, especially those initiated by powerful economies of the global North, tend to go much further. They often require signatory countries to patent plants or animals, or to follow the rules of the Geneva-based Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV) that provide patent-like rights over crop varieties. Whether in the form of patent laws or UPOV, these rules generally make it illegal for farmers to save, exchange, sell or modify seeds they save from so-called protected varieties.2 In fact, in 1991 the UPOV convention was modified to give even stronger monopoly powers to agribusiness companies at the expense of small and indigenous farming communities. This 1991 version of UPOV now gets widely promoted through trade deals.
Onslaught of FTAs
The North America Free Trade Agreement – signed by Mexico, Canada and the US, at about the same time TRIPS was being finalised – was one of the first trade deals negotiated outside the multilateral arena to carry with it the tighter seed privatisation noose. It obliged Mexico to join the UPOV club of countries giving exclusive rights to seed companies to stop farmers from recycling and reusing corporate seeds. This set a precedent for all US bilateral trade agreements that followed, while the European Union, the European Free Trade Association and Japan also jumped on the same idea.3
A nonstop process of diplomatic and financial pressure to get countries to privatise seeds “through the back door” (these trade deals are negotiated in secret) has been going on since then. The stakes are high for the seed industry. Globally, just 10 companies control 55% of the commercial seed market.4
But for these corporations, that market share is still not enough. Across Asia, Africa and Latin America, some 70-80% of the seeds farmers use are farm-saved seeds, whether from their own farms or from neighbours or nearby communities. In these unconquered territories, the agribusiness giants want to replace seed saving with seed markets and take control of those markets. To facilitate this, they demand legal protections from governments to create and enforce corporate monopoly rights on seeds. This is where free trade agreements come in as a perfect vehicle to force countries to change their laws.
Latest trends
GRAIN has been tracking how trade deals signed outside the multilateral system are coercing countries to adopt the industry's wish-list of intellectual property rights for seeds, and ratchet up global standards in that process, since 15 years. A recent update of our dataset shows that this trend is not letting up. In fact, there are worrisome signs on the horizon.
◦ The most important recent gains for Monsanto, Dupont, Limagrain and Syngenta – the world's top seed companies – have come from new trade deals accepted by Latin American states. In 2006, the US (home to Monsanto and Dupont) closed major deals with Peru and Colombia forcing both countries to adopt UPOV 1991. The EFTA states (home to Syngenta) did the same in 2008 and the EU (home to Limagrain) in 2012.5 In Central America, a similar pattern occurred. The US secured a very powerful Central America Free Trade Agreement in 2007, forcing all countries to adhere to UPOV 1991. EFTA did the same last year.
◦ An important step towards stronger proprietary seed markets was recently taken in Africa. After ten years of talks, Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) were concluded between the EU and sub-Saharan African states in 2014. Most of them “only” liberalise trade in goods for now, but also contain a commitment to negotiate common intellectual property standards with Brussels. The expectation is that those standards will be based on what the Caribbean states already agreed to in their 2008 EPA: an obligation to at least consider joining UPOV. This is significant because until now African states have been under no obligation to adopt UPOV as a standard, and actually tried to come up with their own systems of plant variety protection.6 And while it's true that African entities like the anglophone African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) and the francophone African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI) are already joining UPOV, under the EU trade deals, countries themselves would be the ones to join. Further towards the horizon, Africa is harmonising within itself as its subregional trade blocs merge and unite to form a single continental free trade zone, supposedly by 2017. This is expected to bring with it an internal harmonisation of intellectual property laws across the continent, likely tightening the noose even further.
◦ The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is possibly the scariest FTA under negotiation right now in terms of what it may do to farmers' rights to control seeds in Asia and the Pacific. This is because the US, which is leading the talks with 11 other Pacific Rim countries, is playing hardball. Leaked negotiating text from May 2014 shows the US calling not only for UPOV 1991 to be applied in all TPP states but also for the outright patenting of plants and animals. We don't yet know whether these demands will also appear in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated between the US and the EU, as the text remains inaccessible to the public.
◦ While the extent of what has to be privatised expands, so do the penalties for disrespecting these norms. Under numerous FTAs, countries like the US require that farmers who infringe on these new intellectual property rights on seeds face punishment under criminal law instead of civil law. In some cases, like the recently concluded EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the mere suspicion of infringement could see a farmer's assets seized or have their bank accounts frozen.7
Big battles heating up

The good news is that social movements are not taking this sitting down. They are becoming very active, vocal, bold and organised about this. In 2013, Colombians from all walks of life were shaken up when they saw firsthand how US and European FTAs could result in their own government violently destroying tonnes of seeds saved by farmers who did not know what the new rules were. The outrage, breaking out in the midst of a massive national agrarian strike, was so strong that the government actually agreed to suspend the law temporarily and re-examine the issue directly with farmers' representatives.8 In 2014, it was Guatemala’s turn to be rocked when the general public realised that the government was pushing through the adoption of UPOV 1991 without proper debate because of trade deals like CAFTA.9 People were furious that indigenous communities were not consulted as is required, especially when the purpose of the law – ultimately – is to replace indigenous seeds with commercial seeds from foreign companies like Monsanto or Syngenta. After months of pressure, the government backed down and repealed the law.10 But – as in Colombia – this retreat is only temporary while other measures will be looked at. In yet other parts of Latin America, like in Chile and Argentina, new laws to implement UPOV 91, often dubbed “Monsanto Laws”, are also being intensely and successfully resisted by social movements.
In Africa too, waves of public protest are rising against the plant variety protection regimes which countries are now going into. In Ghana, a vibrant campaign is under way to stop the country from adopting UPOV 1991 legislation.11
Elsewhere, civil society networks like the broad based Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa are filing appeals to stop ARIPO from adopting UPOV-based legislation and joining the union.12 Corporate interest groups have pushed too far trying to privatise what people consider a commons. This is not limited to seeds. The same process has been going on with land, minerals, hydrocarbons, water, knowledge, the internet, even important microorganisms, like avian flu a few years ago or the Ebola virus today. People are fighting back to stop these things falling under the exclusive control of a few corporations or defence ministries. A good way to take part in this battle is to join the campaigns to stop important new trade deals like TTIP, CETA, TPP and the EPAs – and to get old ones like the US and European deals with Mexico, Central America, Colombia or Chile rescinded. Trade deals are where a lot of these rules do get written and that is where they should be erased.
For a closer look at the status of trade agreements that impose seed privatisation, download GRAIN's November 2014 dataset, “Trade agreements privatising biodiversity”.
Going further
- GRAIN, “Seed laws in Latin America: the offensive continues, so does popular resistance”, December 2013. (EN, ES, FR)
- Biodiversidad, “Leyes de semillas y otros pesares”, September 2014. (ES only)
- Daily updates on trade deals at http://bilaterals.org or @bilaterals_org or https://www.facebook.com/bilaterals.org (EN, ES, FR)

Notes
1 “Intellectual property” is a government enforced monopoly right. It serves to ensure that people pay for the right to use something for a certain period of time, so that whoever invented it can recoup his or her investment. “Plant variety” means seeds which will grow into a specific kind of plant with specific characteristics.
2 Under the UPOV system, farmers can sometimes save seeds from protected varieties to use them again. It depends on which version of the UPOV Convention a country signs and whether the government exercises this option. Sometimes it is restricted to farmers' replanting the seeds on their own farm or to only certain crops or to payment of a licence. Under the patent system, it is simply illegal to use patented seeds without paying for them – even if a bird drops them onto your field!
3 EFTA is composed of Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
4 ETC Group, “Who owns nature?”, 2008.
5 Ecuador is also now negotiating with the EU, based on the text signed with Colombia and Peru.
6 For example, the Organisation of African Unity drafted its own model law on plant variety protection based on community rights.
7 See National Farmers' Union, “CETA + Bill C-18 = too much power for seed companies”, June 2014.
9 Perhaps not very visible to the public eye was the 2013 EFTA-Central America FTA, which makes the same demands as CAFTA.
10 See EFE, “Guatemala repeals plant breeder rights law”, 5 September 2014.
12 Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, “AFSA appeals to ARIPO, AU and UNECA for protection of farmers’ rights & right to food”, 2 July 2014.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

GMO BANS IN the EU IN THE WORKS


EU one step closer to law on national GMO crop bans

 Nov 12, 2014
Anti-GMO protest. New York, May 2013. [waywuwei/Flickr]
Members of the European Parliament on Tuesday (11 November) backed a plan to allow nations to ban genetically modified crops on their soil, even if they are given approval to be grown in the European Union, raising the chance their use will remain limited on the continent.

Widely grown in the Americas and Asia, GM crops in Europe have divided opinion, with opposition in many countries including France and Germany, while Britain favours them.
A previous compromise endorsed this year by EU ministers would have required negotiations with the relevant companies, if a nation wanted to ban a GM crop in the event it had been approved for EU-wide use.
>> Read our LinksDossier: GMO cultivation in Europe: A decade of legal battles
The plan voted through the Parliament's environment committee on Tuesday would leave out that stage and allows member states to ban GM crops on environmental grounds.
It drew praise from GM opponents.

“MEPs have today voted to strengthen the hand of member states or regions wanting to opt-out of EU authorisations of GMOs," said Bart Staes, a spokesperson for the Greens in the European Parliament. "No must mean no: countries wanting to opt out of GM authorisations must have a totally legally watertight framework for doing so."

"Today's vote would give European countries a legally solid right to ban GM cultivation in their territory, making it difficult for the biotech industry to challenge such bans in court," Marco Contiero, Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director, said.
Left-leaning politicians also welcomed Tuesday's vote, which kicks off formal negotiations on a legal text, saying it strengthened the grounds for opting out of any GM cultivation.
Conservatives were opposed.

"The parliament's position on GM cultivation risks inflicting untold damage to robust, science-based policymaking in Europe. We strongly oppose these proposals and voted against them today. We will continue to oppose them," Julie Girling, environment spokeswoman for the Conservatives in the European Parliament, said.

The executive European Commission said in a statement it was confident the law could be in place in 2015, once it had received final endorsement from the European Parliament and member states.

GM cultivation has provoked opposition in Europe for years. An earlier attempt to agree a compromise on GM cultivation failed in 2012, when EU ministers were unable to agree.
So far, EU authorities have approved only two GM crops for commercial cultivation, and one was later blocked by a court.

That leaves Monsanto's GM maize MON810 as the only GM crop grown in Europe, where it has been cultivated in Spain and Portugal for a decade.

Positions: 
Food & Water Europe, a nonprofit consumer group, hailed the Parliament's vote, saying the discussion on GMO opt-outs had been fraught because they allowed seed companies to have a say.

"The Parliament has rightly rejected the totally unacceptable involvement of biotech companies in national GM policy development," said Eve Mitchell, EU Food Policy Advisor at Food & Water Europe. Mitchell said the Council's proposals were "legally flawed" because they were they were not certain to provide GMO bans with "the sound footing needed to survive any challenge from the biotech industry or international trade partners."
“Pro-GM governments like the UK must accept that trying to force GM crops onto an unwilling public has not worked and will not work. Citizens want protection from GM contamination, the right to make decisions without interference from vested interests and the simple right to decide what they will eat and what they reject. Talk about democracy is nice, but this is what it looks like on the ground. Unresponsive Ministers and unelected Commissioners can have a deal on GM crops if they want one, but the Parliament sets the rules.”
"The ball is now firmly in the Council and Commission courts — will they listen to the democratic representatives of EU citizens, or will they listen to biotech lobbyists?”
Timeline: 
  • 2014-2015: European Parliament and Council to continue discussions in second reading to reach agreement on a common text
  • 2015: Final adoption expected
External links: 

European Commission

NEW STUDY & GMO SAFTEY, BANS, PROTESTS AGAINST NEW GMO CROPS


$ 25 Million GMO and Pesticide Safety Study Launched in London

The World’s Largest Study on GMO and Pesticide Safety was launched by Factor GMO in London, UK on Tuesday.
The $ 25 million ‘Factor GMO’ study will investigate the health effects of a genetically modified (GMO) crop that has been in our food and animal feed supplies for many years. It will answer the question: Is this GMO food and associated pesticide (Glyphosate / Roundup) safe for human health?
Farmers, retailers, governments, scientists and consumers have been involved in a heated international debate since GM foods were introduced in 1994. However, there has never been a scientific study that is comprehensive enough to give them a clear answer regarding the safety for human health of any one GM food – until now.
Factor GMO will also add invaluable data of unprecedented power to enable regulators, governments and the general public of every country to answer the question: Is the GM food and associated pesticide tested safe at real-world levels of consumption and exposure?

Study summary
Factor GMO’s preparatory phase started in early 2014. The full experiment will begin in 2015 and will last 2-3 years, with interim results being published at regular intervals during that time.
The study will test a herbicide-tolerant GM maize and realistic levels of the glyphosate herbicide it is engineered to be grown with a total of over 6000 rats.
The study will take place at undisclosed locations in Western Europe and Russia. The exact locations of the study must be kept confidential for security reasons as Factor GMO wants to avoid any outside interference that could compromise the day-to-day running of the experiments and/or the final results.

Laboratory animals (rats) will be fed the GM food and pesticides according to a protocol whose scale, rigour and range of measurements will meet and exceed current international standards for testing the toxicity of GM foods, pesticides, and other chemicals.

The experiment uses more rigorous approaches to investigate the fundamental question of the safety of GM foods and pesticides than are currently required by regulators. It will provide sufficient data to say with confidence whether the real world levels of consumption of the GM food and its associated pesticide are safe.

The three arms (toxicity, carcinogenicity and multi-generational arms) of the experiment will enable vital questions to be answered, such as:
Is the GM food (or its associated pesticide) toxic to organ systems over the long-term?
Does the GM food (or its associated pesticide) cause cancer?
Does the GM food (or its associated pesticide) reduce fertility or cause birth defects?
Is the mixture of chemicals present in Roundup herbicide more or less toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate?

The Scientists
The scientists involved in Factor GMO come from a ‘neutral’ background, in that they have no connection to the biotech industry or the anti-GMO movement, a factor that will add credibility to the results.
The 3 scientists on the study review board are internationally respected experts in their fields:

Dr. Oxana Sinitsyna; Deputy Director for Science at the Federal State Organization “A. N. Sysin Research Institute of Human Ecology and Environmental Health” of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Moscow.

“The scale and format of this research project will allow us to create a really objective and comprehensive data set on the mechanics of the impacts of a GMO diet on the health of living organisms over the long term. From a scientific point of view the ‘Factor GMO’ project is highly ambitious, which makes it very interesting, for both the public and for the scientists involved.

“The evaluation of allergenic and immunotoxic effects are accompanied by the possibility of evaluating general toxicity and carcinogenic long-term effects (not just 90 days, but long-term over 2-3 years) of the use of appropriate GMO diets. In addition, there has never been comprehensive research investigating the effects of a GM food on reproductive function. The protocol of the ‘Factor GMO’ project includes the assessment of the impacts of a GM food on 5 generations, not only 2, as is suggested in the OECD* recommendations. Due to the uniqueness of the project, it’s a special honour and responsibility for me to represent Russia on the Factor GMO review board. With my international colleagues, we will make every effort to ensure a comprehensive research experiment with an impeccable reputation.”

* The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sets protocols for industry safety studies on chemicals.

Dr. Bruce Blumberg; Professor, Developmental & Cell Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine, USA.

“The Factor GMO study has the potential to provide invaluable information on the health effects of a commercialized, herbicide-resistant GM food and its associated herbicide. The cultivation of herbicide resistant crops is widespread in the US, and the use of the herbicides to which these crops are resistant has increased many-fold in the decades since they were introduced. There is a notable lack of published, peer-reviewed data on their safety, as well as data on the safety of the increased use of herbicides with which they are grown. The Factor GMO study could be very useful in reducing the uncertainty about the safety of these products.”

Dr. Fiorella Belpoggi (on the Review Board as a Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini); Director and Chief of Pathology of the Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Centre of the Ramazzini Institute, Bentivoglio, Italy.

“The concern over genetically modified (GM) crops is largely due to the fact that plant breeders can construct synthetic DNA sequences and insert these into crop genomes, effectively adding new traits to the plant. This raises enormous possibilities for developing benign products, but equally it has the potential to create products with unwanted traits and side-effects. The animal feeding studies performed up to now to study GM-related risks for consumers vary in test diet, length, and type of animal used, making the results difficult to compare and interpret. Most are too short to detect potential long-term effects. The proposed integrated rat-feeding study will investigate a wide range of possible health effects in consistent experimental conditions. The long-term study design will reveal any effects that take time to show up. The Factor GMO study could provide the detailed data needed for a scientific evidenced-based risk assessment of possible human health hazards from the GM crop and its associated pesticide.”

The Organizers
The Russian National Association for Genetic Safety (NAGS) is the initiator and coordinator of the Factor GMO experiment. However, NAGS has had and will have no involvement in designing the study, in the day-to-day running of the experiment, or in the gathering, interpretation, or publication of the scientific results. These aspects have been and will continue to be decided and controlled by the independent and neutral scientific review board.

The neutral scientific review board showed interest in the comprehensive study, after the idea for such a study was introduced online by NAGS. Following a full introduction by the members of the scientific review board regarding their work experience and expertise, NAGS supported the idea of them taking full control of the Factor GMO scientific process.
The evaluation of correct protocols and the selection of scientists to work directly on the experimental phase of the study is under the complete control of the neutral scientific review board. NAGS has not had any involvement in this process.

NAGS was formed in 2004 as a non-governmental, non-profit organization based in Moscow, Russia. NAGS’s aim is “to contribute the protection of biological and genetic safety of humankind and the environment, and to promote sustainable development.”
NAGS has always promoted the idea of comprehensive safety studies on GMOs and their associated pesticides and has therefore taken on the role of coordinating the funding and security for the Factor GMO study.

Elena Sharoykina, initiator of the project ‘Factor GMO’, director and co-founder of NAGS:
“Comprehensive scientific safety studies on GMOs and their related pesticides are long overdue. All previous studies caused controversy for various reasons: choice of animal, insufficient statistics, duration of tests, research parameters, and researchers’ connections to the anti-GMO movement or the biotech industry. ‘Factor GMO’ is intended to remedy the situation. The project organizers have considered all of the points of disagreement and distrust surrounding this subject. Factor GMO has in its arsenal a scientific protocol drawn up with all the necessary standards, an international scientific team of leading professionals with a neutral background, independent funding, and perhaps most importantly, full transparency. Food is the main source of energy for all living beings, and its safety is the key to their health and well-being, as well as to sustainable development. In order to prevent irreversible consequences, humankind must ensure the total safety of GM crops and their associated pesticides before they are planted even more widely.

Funding
The funding process will be totally transparent and a full list of funders will be provided at the start of the experimental phase in 2015. We will not wait for the results to be published before publishing the full list of funders as many scientific studies do.
Up to this stage private individuals from across Russia and the EU have put forward their funds to support the project (names to be disclosed next year). We cannot disclose the exact amount of funds collected until now due to contractual agreements with the funders, however we can say that a high % of the total needed has been secured, allowing us to start the experimental phase in Spring 2015.
The close to $25 million in funding needed for this project has been/is being sourced from around the world.

Factor GMO has not and will not accept funds from the industry that manufactures GM crops and their associated pesticides.
The funders will have no influence on the design, results, or publication of the study.

For details on the study please contact NAGS and visit the website www.factorgmo.com:
Nadya Novoselova (for Russian and English): novoselova@factorgmo.com  Tel: +7 910 468-17-32
Ivan Lambert (for English first language): ivanlambert@factorgmo.com