Will agri-business be allowed to charge ahead, imposing genetically modified food on an unwilling public?
The work is publicly funded through a £696,000 grant from the government’s UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and $294,000 from the US Department of Agriculture. Other partners include the universities of Lancaster and Illinois.
Secret State 15: Why did BBC helicopter footage of flooding fail to show the threatened Cumbrian nuclear installations?
Secret State 1 drew attention to a 2011 report in the Guardian showing how the business and energy departments worked closely behind the scenes with multinationals EDF Energy, Areva and Westinghouse, to try to ensure that the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident did not derail their plans for a new generation of nuclear stations in the UK.
Three years ago DEFRA reported on the nuclear sites which are at risk of flooding and coastal erosion – see Rob Edwards in the Guardian – but politicians are not facing the risks. Today’s Drigg flood alert:
Last year, the Guardian reported that in internal Environment Agency document, suggests that it was a mistake to position the Drigg radioactive waste site close to the Cumbrian coast because of the risk of flooding. In 2013 Drigg Railway station was closed due to the flooding and the area was also affected in 2014.
Ian Parker, the Environment Agency’s group manager in Cumbria said, after detailed technical examinations: ‘It’s highly probable the coast will erode and the waste (at Drigg) will be disrupted.’
Marianne Birkby who lives in the area, has been questioning the Environment Agency and the Department of Energy and Climate Change via the Freedom of Information facility about the condition of nuclear installations in Cumbria and Lancashire.
Earlier this month, she reports that the BBC helicopter relaying images of the devastation avoided showing areas in which nuclear installations are located: Sellafield, Drigg, Lillyhall and the proposed new nuclear plant on the river Ehen floodplain, Moorside.
In her blog she asks:” Why the journalistic omission? Why are there no questions being asked about the breaching of Cumbria’s growing number of uncontainable nuclear installations which already leach “a controlled release of radioactivity” into groundwaters, marine holding tanks and such like?”
Answer: most mainstream media, including the BBC, depend on corporate or political favour for survival and become, to varying degrees, servants of the state.
Drigg Coast (above) is a special marine protected area of conservation – ideal for housing radioactive waste?
Government websites record that it has extensive sand dunes, saltmarsh, intertidal mudflats and sandflats and estuaries. The dune wetlands support other SSSI notified features including an amphibian assemblage with great crested newt, natterjack toad and dragonfly assemblage. They also provide an important environment for reptiles, breeding birds and invertebrates. Its politically-backed corporate neighbour – Drigg radioactive waste disposal site – may be seen below:
Successive governments have also promoted risky and polluting nuclear and waste disposal industries, encouraging mass medication of the water supply. The current administration has permitted the latest abuse, fracking, and looks on supportively as the corporate drive to use the green belt for unnecessary ‘aspirational’ housing is underway. Approval for GM crops, though constrained by EU legislation, is another item on their agenda.
In 2016, will the public continue to tolerate politically backed corporate pollution – a threat to human and environmental health?
“10 reasons we don’t need GM foods”, a new short report from genetic engineers Dr Michael Antoniou and Dr John Fagan, the authors of “GMO Myths and Truths”, is published today as a free download by the sustainability and science policy platform Earth Open Source.
Download short report:http://earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/10-reasons-we-don-t-need-gm-foods
Claire Robinson, third co-author of the new report, said:
“At just 11 pages plus references, ’10 reasons’ is designed for people who may not have the time to read ‘GMO Myths and Truths’, which extends to 330 pages. ’10 reasons’ is ideal for giving to friends, family, politicians, and journalists, when a longer document is not appropriate.
” ’10 reasons’ explains that GM crops do not increase yield potential or reduce pesticide use. Nor can they help us meet the challenges of climate change any better than existing non-GM crops, or deliver more nutritious foods. GM crops have been shown to have toxic effects on laboratory and farm animals.
“There is only one way in which GM crops outperform non-GM crops: they are easier to patent in a way that guarantees ownership not only of that GM plant variety but also all plants bred from it. This process enables consolidated ownership of the seed and food market by a few large companies on a scale that has never happened before.
“That is a recipe for loss of food sovereignty and security. It is the opposite to feeding the world – the line we are constantly fed to justify the introduction of GM crops.”
“10 reasons” is based on the extensive evidence collected in “GMO Myths and Truths”.
Download full report “GMO Myths and Truths” (2nd edition published 19 May 2014):
Contact Claire Robinson firstname.lastname@example.org
UK Food Group Chair asks if The Observer/Guardian is now joining the quislings, collaborating with powerful industrial interests (Monsanto etc)
John Mulholland’s hackneyed article strings together a series of ‘feed the world’ myths ‘busted’ a thousand times by reputable academics*.
The scourge of hunger has almost nothing to do with food production per se – it’s a problem of redistribution, rights and reduction of waste
Working in Kamayoq in Peru at the moment, “where there is such strong defence of good food and local control”, Patrick Mulvany, chair of the UK Food Group, once more dispels these misconceptions ardently promoted by the Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer etc.
He writes to Mulholland:
The scourge of hunger has almost nothing to do with food production per se – it’s a problem of redistribution, rights and reduction of waste. GM crops have almost nothing to do with productivity and produce mainly industrial commodities – animal feed, agrofuels and fibre – not food.
So, on what basis can your editor assert that GM crops will solve the problem of hunger?
As many of your readers will know, UK plc’s AgriTech business strategy, pushed by BIS and implemented by the BBSRC (the UK’s biotech science funder), is to export proprietary British technology that will deliver returns through patents and the sale of scientific know-how with biotechnological and chemical input packages of benefit to the UK – the only technologies that the UK now has expertise in, having lost most of its capacity to do research that supports real food production.
To achieve their strategy, government, the scientific establishment and agro-biotech industry need to have a testbed in a UK that permits the release of GM crops, for which, as government and retailers well know, there is no consumer demand.
Multinational corporations have their eye on controlling the world’s industrial commodity production system
Once legalised, it will also open the floodgates to US GM crops – with the collateral advantage to powerful industrial interests of easing the entry of US GM technologies into the EU.
Those who feed most people in the world, the smallholder farmers, livestock keepers, artisanal fishers and other small-scale food providers, have the solution – developed in their framework of food sovereignty – to the problem posed in your editorial.
Supporting localised food regimes will secure future food. Industrial commodity production will trash it.
From where I am here in Cuzco, Peru, a region that has legally rejected GM crops in favour of supporting local campesinos’ production of biodiverse foods produced ecologically, your editorial appears insular – the views of a little Englander – and rather farcical if there were not a darker side to it.
Is The Observer/Guardian now joining the quislings who are collaborating with powerful industrial interests, which are set to undermine and contaminate the world’s efficient, effective, biodiverse and ecological food systems, so that their proprietary technologies dominate globally?
The GMO Myths and Truths report: one of many rebuttals.