On transparency, intimidation, and being called a shill

A while back, a group of scientists involved in research or communication about various aspects of biotechnology (GMOs) were the subjects of freedom of information requests. Keith Kloor, who broke the story in Science, also posted one of the letters sent to the University of Illinois. The request asks for all emails in the last 2+ years between the scientists and a long list of companies. Gary Ruskin, an activist funded by the Organic Consumers Association, is making these requests while suggesting the …

Read More

Are herbicides responsible for the decline in Monarch butterflies?

The monarch butterfly is in bad shape. The number of monarchs returning to their overwintering sites in Mexico has been declining steadily for at least a decade. The consensus suggests there are several reasons for this decline, including loss of their overwintering habitat and unfavorable weather patterns. But the purported cause of monarch decline that seems to get the most coverage is the loss of milkweed (Asclepias spp) in the midwestern US migratory path. The evidence seems clear that the number …

Read More

Glyphosate resistant wheat found in Oregon

USDA-APHIS announced recently that volunteer wheat growing in an Oregon field has been confirmed to be resistant to glyphosate. Reports indicate the glyphosate resistance is due to the same transgenic event that was used in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready wheat. More information from the National Association of Wheat Growers and Agri-Pulse. The good news is that this wheat event has already been reviewed by the FDA (back in 2004) and found to be as safe as conventional wheat for food and …

Read More

Supreme Court sides with Monsanto about seed patents

This wasn’t really a surprise to anyone, but the Supreme Court released their decision and opinion in the Bowman v. Monsanto Co. case. The case revolved around a farmer purchasing soybean seed from a local elevator, planting the seed, spraying it with Roundup, then harvesting the seed to plant the following season. He did this for several seasons in a row. The supreme court ruled unanimously (9-0) that what the farmer did violated patent law. The supreme court decision (authored by …

Read More