Tag Archives: genetically-modified crops

Why does the Chinese ministry protect Monsanto’s business secrets ?

25 Jan

The Chinese ministry of agriculture faces a lawsuit for refusing to publish a glyphosate toxicology report; GMO grain and food oil products have been banned from the diet of Guangzhou military units.

An earlier post published news of Monsanto exerting influence on WHO and an American health hazard assessment office. We now learn that China’s ministry of agriculture has refused to publish the toxicology report of glyphosate used in Monsanto’s products in order ‘to protect the company’s business secrets’.

Looking back over China’s GM grain & soy news, it is noted that:

guangzhou gen miThe Wall Street Journal reported on an English translation of an essay in a Chinese government weekly by Lt. Gen. Mi Zhenyu, the former deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Military Science, published by Chen Yiwen, a senior official with the China Association for Disaster Prevention, on Chen’s verified blog. More detail here. According to the translated version, Mi said that GM soybean residues crushed to manufacture soy oil has been to be causing birth defects, depression, infertility and ‘additional afflictions’ in Chinese citizens. Mi asserts that the fault lies with China’s largest supplier of oilseed – the USA.

Extract: “During recent years, as China’s grain and oil market has continuously developed, certain GMO grain and GMO food oil products have entered the market. In view that the safety concerns about GMO grain and oil products in China at present has not yet been determined, in order to overall assure the health of military members residing in our city and safety of their drinks and food, in accordance to the request from the Guangzhou Military Command Joint Logistics Department and the Provincial Military Grain & Food Oil Supply Center, from this date all military supply stations are allowed to only purchase non-GMO grain and food oil products from the designated processing enterprises. It is forbidden to supply GMO grain and food oil products to military units within their administration areas.”

Advisor Chen I-wan comments: “The army has established excellent model for people of the whole nation: No GMO staple food and GMO food oil should enter army food supply!”

guangzhou in Guanddong provinceChairman of the CPC Central Military Commission inspects Guangzhou units in Guangdong province

Last year the ministry launched a media campaign to inform the public about the science behind GMOs after a wave of negative reports around the technology, but anti-GMO sentiment remains.

In February 2015, China’s Global Times reported that a Beijing court had accepted a lawsuit application filed by three residents against China’s Ministry of Agriculture for refusing to publish the test report of an herbicide used to treat genetically-modified (GM) soy beans.

Yang Xiaolu, one of the three plaintiffs, told the Global Times that they filed the lawsuit alleging lack of transparency in approvals of GMO and related products because the ministry refused to publish the toxicology report of glyphosate, a herbicide named “Roundup,” which was introduced in the market by the US-based agriculture company Monsanto, to protect the company’s business secrets. “Glyphosate on soy beans would affect women’s fertility, cause cancer, deform crops and harm the environment.” Yang said.

Reuter later reported that China plans to increase its oversight of genetically modified crops due to heightened public concern over Beijing’s ability to keep illegal GM products out of the food chain.

WHO: Glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”

26 Mar

Glyphosate, the world’s most widely-used herbicide, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, is “probably carcinogenic to humans”

glyphosate round up

The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times focus on Monsanto’s call for the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency to retract a report published on Friday in the journal Lancet Oncology by researchers for WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The report found that glyphosate, the world’s most widely-used herbicide and the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

This review of existing studies includes reports on the effects of glyphosate on farming and forestry workers. The people exposed to glyphosate experienced a higher incidence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than those who were not exposed, according to the review.

The IARC report points out that 750 products used in agriculture, forestry and domestic gardening contain glyphosate and its use has increased sharply with the development of GM glyphosate-resistant crop varieties.

aerial spraying

Monsanto’s current generation of herbicide-resistant genetically modified crops depends on farmers spraying their fields with glyphosate to kill weeds. Glyphosate had been detected in air during spraying, in water and in food.

But the company has consistently argued that its seeds and weedkillers are safe, and has fought efforts to label foods made with genetically-modified crops.