Follow Up on Federal Pre-emption of Local GE Bans

In July, we asked you to oppose the inclusion in the federal Farm Bill of language that would overrule the county GE bans, as well as democratically enacted GE restrictions in several other states.

We are happy to report that your voices have been heard, and the pre-emption language was removed from the House version of the Farm Bill, which passed in August. The Senate is currently taking up its own version of the Farm Bill, and if we hear of any similar attempts by the biotech industry to take away local democratic rights, we will let you know! In the meantime, thank you for your involvement and vigilance!

New Superweed Found in California

Hairy fleabane, a common summer annual in the south Central Valley, has joined the ranks of weeds that are resistant to glyphosate, an herbicide sold under the brand name Roundup. Researchers at USDA-ARS and UC Cooperative Extension recently reported the results from several locations in the Central Valley, and suspect that this resistant weed may be widespread on roadsides and in orchards and vineyards.

A few years ago, some populations of rigid ryegrass and horseweed were confirmed as glyphosate-resistant in California. Worldwide, 13 weed species are resistant to the herbicide.

The increased use of Roundup herbicide leading to weed resistance is a commonly acknowledged consequence associated with genetically engineered Roundup resistant crops.

The media contact for this story is:
Anil Shrestha, IPM Weed Ecologist.

GE Sugar Beet Heads for Market

A genetically engineered sugar beet resistant to Roundup herbicide and developed by Monsanto Corporation has been approved for commercialization by federal regulators and is expected to be marketed for the 2008 growing season. Sugar beets are not produced in California, but are grown in states such as North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wyoming.

A story as reported in the Bismark Tribune can be found at:

http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2007/08/22/news/state/138089.txt.

Cusco, Peru Bans the GE Potato

In mid-July, the regional government of Cusco, Peru banned the GE potato in order to protect the genetic diversity of more than 4,000 native potato varieties that farmers have developed over generations. That area of Peru is a center of potato diversity, where potatoes have been cultivated for centuries and have important cultural, economic and nutritional significance. The decision forbids the sale, cultivation, use and transport of genetically modified potatoes as well as other native food crops.

Local farmers’ organizations fear that genes from genetically modified, GM, potatoes could transfer into local varieties and alter their unique properties. The ban was a response to proposals from a network of local potato farming communities and Asociacion ANDES, an indigenous non-governmental organization based in Cusco.

The full story is available at

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jul2007/2007-07-19-01.asp.

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