Tuesday, September 20, 2016


China launches probe after PhD dropout claims national GMO testing centre faked records

Agricultural ministry investigating former doctoral student’s claims that laboratory fabricated maintenance records for dozens of projects on genetically modified organisms
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 10:43am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 10:58pm
China’s Ministry of Agriculture began an investigation on Tuesday into claims by a dropout from a top doctoral programme that maintenance reports for a laboratory testing GMO products were made up.
The move came only days after Wei Jingliang, a former PhD student at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences’ Institute of Animal Sciences, said a national GMO testing centre administered by the institute had forged lab maintenance records for dozens of projects on genetically modified organisms.
“An investigation by the Ministry of Agriculture will start to verify work at the institute and the academy will actively cooperate,” the academy said in a statement posted on its website on Monday. “Severe punishment will be handed out if the claims are confirmed,” it added.
Earlier on Monday the Beijing Youth Daily reported that the inquiry hoped to publish its findings within two days.
In an interview with the same newspaper, Wei claimed that the testing centre had doctored lab maintenance records ahead of a major inspection, and that he had electronic copies of the forged documents that related to 30 projects.
“Most GMO testing labs do various scientific research projects. Do they all strictly carry out book keeping and quality control? This is a huge safety loophole,” Wei wrote in a post on Zhihu.com, a Chinese question-and-answer forum.

Wei, who worked at the lab during his doctoral studies, said on social media that the testing centre was due in July last year to have a three-yearly assessment of its quality control system and archives.
Several professors assigned him to get the documentation in order, which involved forging records on the lab’s environment, equipment and usage of testing agents.
He said he was told at a meeting that paperwork had been doctored for the inspection three years earlier. None of the 30 people at the meeting, including many researchers and postgraduate students, raised any questions, he said.
Wei said he protested but his professor, Li Kui, insisted. He then spent less than a month forging the records.

Wei also said some doctoral and postdoctoral researchers who had long left the lab were still counted as staff, and master’s students were told to do tests in the departed researchers’ names.
He said the lab turned down all the testing requests – unless they were assigned by more senior units – to avoid mistakes.
He was also instructed to endorse a GMO testing report that he suspected was concocted because he was not aware a test had been conducted.
Wei dropped out of the doctoral programme in April. He said he reported his claims to the academy’s postgraduate school and the institute in May, but was ignored. Instead, he was offered to be financially compensated for his dropping out of school.

Monday, September 19, 2016


Organic Consumers Association
View This Email On the Web

'Massive environmental damage'

A new study from the University of Virginia says that the adoption of genetically modified (GMO) soybeans has resulted in an increase in herbicide use that correlates with a “massive negative impact on the environment” and increased contamination of local ecosystems.
Just one more reason to hold Monsanto accountable.
If you make a donation by midnight tonight, your donation will be matched by Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner’s. You can donate online, by mail or by phone, details here.
If you’ve already contributed to our fall campaign, thank you! If not, we could use your help. 
As you’ve probably heard by now, Monsanto has agreed to be bought out by Bayer. The deal, if approved, will probably take close to a year to complete.
In the meantime, plans for the International Monsanto Tribunal are moving full speed ahead. This citizens’ tribunal, scheduled for October 15-16 in The Hague, Netherlands, will focus on Monsanto, the poster child for our industrial toxic agriculture system. 
However, the opinions handed down by the international judges will apply to all multinational agribusiness corporations—including Bayer.
In other words, Monsanto can run. But it can’t hide.
In a stunning announcement last week, the United Nations-backed International Criminal Court in The Hague said that it has expanded its purview to include holding multinational corporations responsible crimes against the environment, in addition to crimes against humanity.
We think it’s no coincidence that this announcement precedes the grassroots citizen-led Monsanto Tribunal.
Much is being made of the proposed buyout of Monsanto by Bayer. But whether we are Millions Against Monsanto or Billions Against Bayer, our goals are the same.
We remain focused on stopping the monopolization of the world’s seeds, the bankrupting of the world’s farmers, and the poisoning of our food and our ecosystems.
If you’ve already pitched in to help us meet our third-quarter budget, thank you. 
For those of you who still want to help, we’ve extended our deadline tomidnight tonightYou can donate online, by mail or by phone, details here.
Governments and courts consistently have failed to protect us. We, the people, are our only hope for ending Monsanto's reign of environmental terror. 
In solidarity,
Ronnie Cummins
International Director
P.S. Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner’s will match your donation, made by midnight September 16. Please make a donation today, to take advantage of these generous matching funds offers, and to fuel the battle against Monsanto’s (and Bayer's) crimes against the world.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016



You’ve watched the video, and here’s the thing….Giant agrichemical companies are continuing to consolidate their ownership of seed. During this election year candidates aren’t talking about food and farming…if they won’t represent us, who will? Mr. Seed will take your voice to Washington. Join us in this sign-on letter. Please read the letter, sign, and share on social media.
To: US Department of Justice
CC: USDA and POTUS Candidates
We – the undersigned   organizations, businesses, and individuals – are concerned about ongoing consolidation trends in the seed sector. Already the seed needs of many farmers are not being met due to consolidation stifling innovation in plant breeding and a decades-long decline in federal funding for public plant breeding. US agriculture has become overly reliant on crops bred for pesticides and synthetic fertilizers while ignoring the greater agricultural need and consumer demand for crops that have less of a negative impact on our soil, water, and health. We must take a more diversified approach to crop improvement to develop cultivars that reduce agricultural impact on natural resources, reduce risks of chemical exposure for rural communities, and improve the nutritional quality of our food.
Seed is the foundation of food, and thus food security and food quality. More than ever, we need to invest in seed development that adds diversity and resiliency to American agriculture. The investments made in plant breeding today determine our food future. Placing that future in the hands of a few agrichemical-seed companies is a risky venture. Instead, we should invest in strategies that support future generations of farmers and the communities they feed, and establish a fair and open marketplace for seed.
To do so, we need the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to act. Specifically, we ask for the following:
1. The DOJ should block the proposed merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont, the potential merger of Bayer and Monsanto, and any subsequent merger attempts between the Big Six agrichemical-seed companies (Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, DuPont, Monsanto, and Dow Chemical).
2. We strongly urge state attorneys general to hold hearings on this critical merger and any other potential major agribusiness consolidation mergers so that stakeholders (farmers and other citizens in their states) can fully engage and express their concerns regarding major impacts on the future structure of agriculture, impacts on their livelihoods, and fairness and farmer access to seed choices prior to any such merger agreements.
Please act to ensure that farmers of all kinds have the seed they need. Thousands of farmers spoke out at the 2010 workshops on competition in agriculture hosted by the DOJ and USDA. They expressed frustration with seed choices and prices, and spoke to the loss of regional seed companies and trends in consolidation. Further mergers among the Big Six will not lead to more innovation for these farmers and will instead further narrow seed options and genetic diversity in their fields.
Without your action we risk food insecurity, endanger the future economic success of American agriculture, and ignore consumer demand for a healthier, more just, and sustainable food system.

Friday, September 9, 2016


Organic Consumers Association

Would you feed your child yogurt or ice cream contaminated with an herbicide so bad it was banned in Europe more than a decade ago? 

Not knowingly, of course. But unknowingly, you may be doing just that.
Can you make a donation today to help us expose the poisons in our food and start a #ConsumerRevolution to clean up our food supply? You can donate online, by check or by mail, details here.
A few weeks ago, we ran an article at the top of our weekly newsletter that should have alarmed everyone who read it.
In case you missed it, the gist of the story was this: Dairy cows in Vermont eat a diet of GMO corn sprayed with, among other poisons, atrazine—a chemical the EPA says is unsafe at any level.
We're not talking small amounts here. Between 1999 to 2012, Vermont’s dairy farmers applied more than 2,533,329 pounds of metolachlor, atrazine and simazine to their cornfields.
All three of these chemicals are classified as  “probable” human carcinogens, known endocrine disruptors, and birth defect progenitors.
All three of these chemicals are poisoning Vermont’s waterways. 
Are these dangerous chemicals also poisoning the milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt made from cows fed GMO corn?
With your help, we aim to find out. 
We've started testing dairy products made not only in Vermont, but in other states where atrazine is sprayed on GMO crops.
Can you make a donation today to help us expose the poisons in our food and start a #ConsumerRevolution to clean up our food supply? You can donate online, by check or by mail, details here.
It’s high time you knew the truth about the poisons in your food. Once you do, we believe you’ll join the growing army of consumers who will ultimately force food corporations to clean up their acts.
That’s why OCA is now involved in five lawsuits against companies that falsely label their products “organic” or “100% natural,” when in fact they aren’t.
And it’s why we are now testing a wide variety of foods for not just glyphosate, but also for atrazine, metolachlor, simazine, growth hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals and substances that humans were never intended to eat.
Let’s not kid ourselves. The battle for labels on GMO foods was as much about getting cancer-causing chemicals like glyphosate out of our food, as it was about labeling GMOs.
If the GMO labeling fight taught us anything, it’s that politicians and U.S. regulatory agencies work to protect corporate profits, not us.
We will lobby hard to get glyphosate, atrazine and other chemicals banned.
But I believe that ultimately, it will take a #ConsumerRevolution to get these poisons off the market. We must first identify the foods that are contaminated. Then educate the public and mass media. Then mobilize boycotts.
Over the coming months, as we test foods for poisons like glyphosate and atrazine, we'll need your help to launch massive boycotts.
Right now, we need your help to fund this work.
We still need to raise about $165,000 to reach our goal of $200,000 bymidnight September 16. Can you make a donation today? You can donate online, by check or by mail, details here.
Thank you!
In solidarity,
Ronnie Cummins
International Director
P.S. Atrazine is the second most commonly used herbicide in the U.S. It’s widely used to combat weeds on golf courses, residential lawns and Christmas tree farms. It’s also used on half of all corn grown in the U.S. That means it's in our food. Donate online here.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


"100% Natural" Weed Killer?

Dear K,
You’ve heard a lot in the past few years about consumers’ right to know about GMOs. And believe me when I say that battle is not over yet.
But what about your "right to know" about irradiated synthetic ingredients in “organic” baby formula?  Or about Monsanto’s glyphosate in “100% Whole Grain” Shredded Wheat and “100% Natural” Nature Valley granola bars?
And shouldn't you have the "right to know" if the eggs you bought that had a "pasture-raised" label on them actually came from chickens that never spent a day outdoors, much less on a pasture?
Food manufacturers are lying to you. Every day.
That’s why the OCA is behind five lawsuits against food companies—and why we will soon announce several more.
Can you help support this work by donating to our fall online fundraising campaign? We need to raise $200,000 by midnight,September 16, to meet our budget and keep these, and future, lawsuits going. You can donate online, by check or by mail, details here.
Junk food makers spend millions of dollars studying consumer preferences. They know what you want—and what you don't want.
They know you don’t want food full of pesticides and hormones and other toxic chemicals. They know you care about the environment, about the welfare of farmers, and about the way animals raised for food are treated.
But rather than produce the food consumers want, companies like General Mills, Post, Earth’s Best, Handsome Brook—even a company that calls itself The Honest Co.!—use false and misleading labels to trick you into thinking you’re buying the food you want. 
And then they charge you a premium for it!
On Monday this week, we announced our latest lawsuit, against Handsome Brook Farm. This egg producer was started by a husband and wife, on a “bucolic” farm in New York, according to a recent article in Forbes. When the company started out, its eggs probably came from “pasture-raised” chickens.
But like a lot of small companies, Handsome Brook has grown. According to Forbes, the company has contracts with 75 farms in six states, and its eggs are sold in more than 4500 stores—including Kroger, Publix, Wegmans and Sprouts Farmers Market. 
Handsome Brook still labels its eggs “pasture-raised.” But it’s not true. And by lying about it, Handsome Brook is cheating you, and its competitors—those companies that are doing the right thing.
We’ve also recently sued Post Holdings (maker of Shredded Wheat), and General Mills and its subsidiary, Nature Valley, for claiming that their products that test positive for Monsanto’s glyphosate are “100% natural.”
In April, we sued two baby formula makers—The Honest Co. and Earth’s Best—for stating that some of their infant formula brands are “organic” when they in fact contain ingredients not allowed under federal organic standards.
Last month, we forced Colgate-Palmolive to take down a webpage that intentionally misled consumers into thinking Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, owned by Colgate, was organic. Fortunately, we didn’t need to sue—one letter from our attorney was enough to end the deception.
I’m not personally a big fan of lawyers and courts. But I believe you deserve the truth about what you’re buying.
If Big Food companies refuse to label properly, OCA will sue them.
These lawsuits won’t bring in money for OCA, that’s not why we’re doing this. Our goal is to force companies to stop lying to you. And we need your help to do it.
Please help support this work by donating to our fall online fundraising campaign. We need to raise $200,000 by midnightSeptember 16, to meet our budget and keep these, and future, lawsuits going. You can donate online, by check or by mail, details here.
Thank you!
In solidarity,
Ronnie Cummins
International Director
P.S. We must bring down the factory farm system. Less than 25 percent of GMO crops go into non-organic processed food. The overwhelming majority are used to make animal feed and ethanol. Factory farms are polluting our  water and air, abusing animals, treating workers unfairly, creating an antibiotic-resistant public health crisis and producing food that makes us sick. Please support this important work!  Donate online here.

Friday, September 2, 2016


Swiss seed giant to sell Hawaii operations

HONOLULU (AP) — A Swiss agrochemicals company caught up in legal battles over its farming of genetically modified crops in Hawaii is planning to sell its operations in the state.

Syngenta announced Tuesday that it is looking for a buyer for nearly 6,000 acres of land it leases or owns on Oahu and Kauai. The company says it will continue to operate in Hawaii, but under a contract with a new owner.

Angus Kelly, a Syngenta spokesman, declined to say why the company has chosen to sell other than it being “a change of approach to the business model.”

The company has 105 full-time employees and an unspecified number of contract workers in Hawaii.

Syngenta said the impact of the sale on its operations or employees won’t be felt until a transaction is completed, which is anticipated to happen by June 2017.

The announcement comes as the company is in the midst of a $43 billion acquisition by China National Chemical Corp. Kelly declined to say whether the Hawaii sale effort is related to the pending deal.

“We will not comment on any aspect of the ChemChina review to respect the confidentiality of the process,” he said via email.

Syngenta and four other companies — BASF, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto — operate 10 seed farms on Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Kauai.

The companies produce plants using traditional breeding and genetic modification, and send the seeds to the mainland for mass reproduction and sale to farmers.

In recent years, the companies have sued Kauai, Maui and Hawaii counties over restrictive laws they imposed on their operations in 2013 and 2014. The seed firms won their case in federal court, arguing that the regulation of agricultural crops and pesticides should be left up to state and federal authorities.

The counties along with environmental groups and opponents of genetically modified crops appealed the cases to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court heard arguments in June but has yet to issue a decision.
Source:  http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/news/state/swiss-seed-giant-sell-hawaii-operations

Monday, August 22, 2016


Analysis of glyphosate in residential dust samples and risk of childhood leukemia in the California Childhood Leukemia Study

Solicitation Number: N02RC62644-24
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Office: National Institutes of Health
Location: National Cancer Institute, Office of Acquisitions
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Added: Aug 19, 2016 1:42 pm
Contracting Office Address
Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Office of Acquisitions, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 1E226, Bethesda, MD 20892, UNITED STATES

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) plans to procure services to measure the herbicide glyphosate in 89 homes from a case-control study of childhood leukemia (the California Childhood Leukemia Study) on a sole source basis from Batelle Memorial Institute, 505 King Avenue, Columbus, OH 43201, United States. 
The purpose of this acquisition is to complete the analyses of dust samples in order to evaluate risk of childhood leukemia.

This acquisition will be processed in accordance with simplified acquisition procedures as stated in FAR Part 13.106-1(b)(1) and is exempt from the requirements of FAR Part 6. The North American Industry Classification System code is 541380 and the business size standard is $14.0 million.

Only one award will be made as a result of this solicitation. It will be awarded as a firm fixed price type contract.

It has been determined there are no opportunities to acquire green products or services for this procurement.

OEEB conducts studies of cancer and environmental exposures to pesticides. Residential herbicide use is a suspected risk factor for childhood leukemia; however, the specific chemicals that might be responsible for this association have not been completely evaluated. The DCEG plans to evaluate the association between levels of glyphosate in homes and the association with childhood leukemia risk among participants of a case-control study of childhood leukemia in California (the California Childhood Leukemia Study [CCLS]), which was conducted by the DCEG in collaboration with University of California Berkeley from 2001 through 2007. Dust samples were collected in a second home interview for residentially stable cases and controls ages 0-7 years of age diagnosis (similar reference date for controls). 
Prior analyses of pesticides in the dust samples did not include measurement of glyphosate, a herbicide used in many lawn treatment products and on agricultural crops. A recent evaluation by the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans based on epidemiology and mechanistic studies. In prior analyses of dust samples from this study by the DCEG, five (5) herbicides were measured including 2,4-D, MCPA, dicamba, dacthal, and simazine but only dacthal was associated with leukemia risk. Because self-reported treatment of lawn weeds was associated with increased risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in this study population and because glyphosate is the second most common herbicide found in products for treating lawn and garden areas in this study population (after 2,4-D), the DCEG intends to measure glyphosate levels in homes in order to evaluate the relationship with ALL. In the first phase of this study it was found that glyphosate was detected in over 80% of homes. DCEG plans to analyze an additional 89 samples to increase our power to evaluate childhood leukemia risk and to evaluate determinants of glyphosate levels in homes.

The California Childhood Leukemia study was conducted in 35 counties in California and glyphosate was the one major pesticide that was not previously measured in dust samples from the homes of cases and controls. Accurately measured levels of pesticides and chemicals in the homes are critical to properly assess these exposures as risk factors for childhood leukemia. Battelle Memorial Institute is proposed as the laboratory to conduct the glyphosate measurements for this procurement. Battelle Memorial Institute conducted all the prior analysis of dust samples for over 40 pesticides and other chemicals with good quality control results and low detection limits. Battelle has extensive and unique experience in the measurement of glyphosate in house dust samples from large studies that is not available from any other potential contract source. They are in a unique position to conduct the work because they are the only known laboratory with the demonstrated expertise and experience to conduct these measurements. They actively developed and tested the methodology to measure glyphosate in house dust samples as part of their research program.

This notice is not a request for competitive quotation. However, if any interested party, especially small businesses, believes it can meet the above requirement, it may submit a capability statement, proposal, or quotation, which shall be considered by the agency. The statement of capabilities and any other information furnished must be in writing and must contain material in sufficient detail to allow NCI to determine if the party can perform the requirement. Responses must be received in the contracting office by 12:00 PM EST, on September 2, 2016. All responses and questions can be emailed to Kimesha Leake, Contract Specialist via electronic mail at kimesha.leake@nih.gov. A determination by the Government not to compete this proposed requirement based upon responses to this notice is solely within the discretion of the Government. Information received will be considered solely for the purpose of determining whether to conduct a competitive procurement. In order to receive an award, contractors must be registered and have valid certification in the System for Award Management (SAM) through sam.gov. Reference: N02RC62644-24 on all correspondence.
9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 1E128
Source:  https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=29aeef7bb9269a79644617045824c71c&tab=core&_cview=0
Rockville, Maryland 20852
United States 
Kimesha Leake,
Contract Specialist
Phone: 2402765669
Seena Ninan,
Contracting Officer
Phone: 240-276-5419