The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Monsanto Announces 'Global Center' for Developing GMO Corn
Monsanto announced this week that it is opening a new facility in Mexico to research and develop new hybrid types of corn resistant to disease and climate conditions. On the other side of the globe, the Chinese government has launched a media campaign on TV, in newspapers and on the Internet to convince a skeptical population that GMOs are beneficial.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
While the Chinese government has long been pro-GMO and sees these crops as the key to feeding its large population, the public has been less than receptive. China imports millions of tons of GMO soybeans each year to feed pigs and make vegetable oil but has yet to cultivate its own GMOs. Scientific American reports that while the country has poured money into developing GMO varieties of corn and rice, they never went into production due in part to opposition and their safety certificates, issued in 2009, expired last month. The Chinese military banned GMOs from its food supply chain last spring.
The government's case wasn't helped when an unapproved GMO corn was found in shipments from the U.S. late last year. According to the Wall Street Journal, huge multinational commodity trader Cargill filed a lawsuit last month against seed-maker Syngenta, saying that Syngenta's push to sell the unapproved seeds cost Cargill $90 million. An unapproved genetically modified strain was found by Greenpeace China activists in samples of rice purchased at a supermarket in Wuhan last year; tests commissioned by state television repeated the experiment this summer and found more samples of the illegal rice.
Reception to GMO crops isn't any warmer in Mexico, where Monsanto plans to open a research facility dubbed a "global center" to develop GMO seed corn primarily for sale in the U.S. In doing so, it painted itself as a climate hero.
"The aim is to create new varieties tolerant to diseases and the stresses that affect maize cultivation all over the world due to growing negative conditions caused by global climate change," Monsanto said in a statement.
Last year, in response to a lawsuit filed by community organization Acción Colectiva, a federal judge in Mexico City issued a temporary order stopping the Mexican government from issuing new GMO corn permits. The activists said it would contaminate native corn and undermine its biodiversity. When it was upheld on appeal, Monsanto filed a request in April to remove the judge, saying he was biased. The ban is still in effect.
Update: While the initial reports from Reuters, picked up in several business publications including the St. Louis Business Journal, said Monsanto's global center would research and develop GMO varieties of corn, the company says that in fact it will be working on more disease- and climate-tolerant conventional hybrids. Reuters has updated its story.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Derrick Z. Jackson
As much as hurricanes Katrina and Maria upended African American and Latinx families, the landfall of the coronavirus brings a gale of another order. This Category 5 of infectious disease packs the power to level communities already battered from environmental, economic, and health injustice. If response and relief efforts fail to adequately factor in existing disparities, the current pandemic threatens a knockout punch to the American Dream.
'We Need People's Bailout, Not Polluters' Bailout': Climate Groups Move to Preempt Big Oil Giveaway Amid Pandemic
By Andrea Germanos
A coalition of climate organizations strongly criticized President Donald Trump's in-person Friday meeting with the chief executives of some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world, saying the industry that fueled climate disaster must not be allowed to profiteer from government giveaways by getting bailout funds or preferred treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.
An Important Note
No supplement, diet, or lifestyle modification — aside from social distancing and practicing proper hygiene — can protect you from developing COVID-19.
The strategies outlined below may boost your immune health, but they don't protect specifically against COVID-19.
By Zak Smith
It is pretty amazing that in this moment when the COVID-19 outbreak has much of the country holed up in their homes binging Netflix, the most watched show in America over the last few weeks has been focused on wildlife trade — which scientists believe is the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make no mistake: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is about wildlife trade and other aspects of wildlife exploitation, just as surely as the appearance of Ebola, SARS, MERS, avian flu and probably COVID-19 in humans is a result of wildlife exploitation. As a conservationist, this is one of the things I've been thinking about while watching Tiger King. Here are five more:
By Hector Chapa
With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.
But can these masks be effective?