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Ineos gas tanker at port. Photo: ineos.com.

Challenging the delusion of cheap, safe shale gas extraction

Alex Russell & Peter Strachan

20th October 2016

The UK government's insistence of pursuing fracking is based on a flawed and utterly misinformed vision of our future, write Alex Russell and Peter Strachan. Rather than delivering the prosperity they promise, large scale fracking would cause massive pollution of air and water, undermine vital export industries, and leave us with an irretrievably damaged economy and natural environment. more...

WITNESS: Obesity, Ecology and the Confines of the Government Strategy

Yvonne Adebola

13th October, 2016

In the first of our new WITNESS series of blogs, food anthropology researcher YVONNE ADEBOLA suggests a 'One Health' approach to childhood obesity which recognises the ecological impact of modern food systems on the environment and on our collective health and wellbeing more...
Piglets living in cruel and unhygienic conditions on a factory farm somewhere in the UK Photo: FarmsNotFactories.

Superbug-infected pigs get into Britain unchecked, contaminate food chain

Andrew Wasley / Bureau of Investigative Journalism

14th October 2016

Regulatory failures are allowing Danish pigs infected with lethal antibiotic-resistant bacteria into British farms, writes Andrew Wasley, with contaminated pork found in UK supermarkets, and three human infections recorded. The official response? Deny there's a problem, take no action, and hope for the best. Six people may have died from the bug in Denmark, but the UK is safe, surely? more...
Mark Lynas, Kevin Folta, Bill Gates ... the chair is yours to make the case for GMO crops. Or are you chicken? Photo: Hernán Piñera via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

GMO debate: why are Cornell biotech boosters 'chicken'?

Jonathan Latham

4th October 2016

The purported mission of the Cornell Alliance for Science is to explain the science underlying biotechnology and GMOs, writes Jonathan Latham. So with a debate on the issue taking place tomorrow, 5th October, on the Cornell campus, how come CAS can't find a single speaker prepared to defend their zealously pro-GM stance? more...
Fresh organic 'Heirloom' garlic from New Roots Farm in Newmarket NH, at the Portsmouth, NH farmer's market. Photo: ilovebutter via Flickr (CC BY).

Why the sustainable food movement is unstoppable: it's the philosophy!

Jonathan Latham, PhD

3rd October 2016

Members of the food movement share an infectious vision, writes Jonathan Latham - one which is constructive, convivial, classless, raceless, international, and embraces the whole world. Unled yet inspirational, it rests on a novel, harmonious philosophy that combines science, recognition of planetary boundaries, and the universal need for wholesome sustenance. more...
Weeds in farmers' crops - like these poppies in an oilseed rape field near Thirsk - may reduce profit margins - but they are hardly a 'serious danger to plant health'. Photo: James West via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

EFSA creates 'plant health' loophole for banned weedkillers

Oliver Tickell

8th September 2016

The EU's food and farming safety regulator is trying to create a 'back door' system to licence the use of herbicides that have been banned for their toxic impacts on people and wildlife - under a clearly inapplicable 'plant health' exemption. more...
Jerusalem artichoke harvest at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: Sandy lane Farm via Facebook.

Good nutrition begins in healthy soils

Patrick Holden

7th September 2016

There's no such thing as 'healthy food' if it's not produced by sustainable farming systems on living soils, Patrick Holden told the recent 'Food: The Forgotten Medicine' conference. But after 70 years of industrial farming, there's a huge job to be done to restore our depleted soils and the impoverished genetic diversity of our seeds and crops. more...
Suffolk farmland at dusk. Photo: Jimmy - S via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Dark days ahead for British agriculture? Or green shoots of a brighter future?

Keith Tyrell / PAN UK

25th August 2016

With Brexit the UK will have to chose between two visions of our farming future, writes Keith Tyrell. Will it be heavily subsidised corporate agribusiness that ravages both nature and small, high quality farmers. Or will we seize the chance to build a sustainable food and farming system that supports wildlife, landscape, family farms, organic production and diverse rural economies? more...
English badger. Photo: Kentish Plumber via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

England's £100m badger cull extensions condemned

The Ecologist

23rd August 2016

England is about to extend its badger cull policy to five new areas of the country, proving that only that science is a dead letter to May's conservative government as it was to Cameron's. While bovine TB infections in cattle rise in the existing cull areas, Wales has just achieved a cull-free 14% reduction. more...
How will the promoters of GMO golden rice ensure that malnourished children receive it in the first place? Will they also ensure they get the dietary fat they need to actually assimilate the carotene once they have eaten it? Photo of children playing in M

Millions spent, no one served: who is to blame for the failure of GMO Golden Rice?

Angelika Hilbeck & Hans Herren

15th August 2016

The real reason why 'golden rice' remains uncultivated after a 20 year effort is its poor agronomic performance, write Angelika Hilbeck & Hans Herren. But beyond that, the very idea of golden rice as a 'solution' to Vitamin A deficiency fails to recognise the real causes of malnutrition - poverty, hunger and poor diet. How will golden rice reach poor children in the first place? And will they ever get the rich, oily diet they need to assimilate its fat-soluble nutrients? more...
Most rice-eating peoples like their rice white - and will avoid yellow rice as the colour is an indicator of the deadly mould that causes beri-beri disease. Photo: rice and curry on banana leaf in Riau, Indonesia, by John Walker via Flickr (CC BY).

Beri-beri disease and resistance to GM 'Golden Rice'

Ted Greiner, PhD

13th July 2016

Rice-eating peoples are very particular about the rice their diets are based on, writes Ted Greiner. And they have a strong aversion to yellow grains, the tell-tale sign of the deadly mould that causes beri-beri disease. That alone makes GMO 'Golden Rice' a non starter; 107 Nobel Laureates had better start eating their words. more...
Whited Sepulchre of science? The Royal Society's imposing building overlooking St James's Park, London. Photo: Steve Slater via Flickr (CC BY).

Royal Society must end its partisan, unscientific support for GM crops and food

Steven Druker

13th July 2016

The Royal Society purports to provide unbiased information on scientific issues, writes Steven Druker. But its new guide on GMOs is grossly misleading - glossing over the many dangers inherent to the technology with bland, unsupported re-assurances. The Society must end its partisan promotion of GMOs or risk its reputation as Britain's premier scientific body. more...

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A flayed whole dog placed in a cooking pot with other ingredients to make the 'dog elixir' soup for South Korea's 'Boknal' festival. Photo: courtesy of Anneka Svenska.

Korea's disgusting dog-eating 'festival' must end

Anneka Svenska

11th July 2016

With the coming of summer, South Korea's 'Boknal' dog-eating festival is under way, writes Anneka Svenska. Known for the extreme cruelty deliberately inflicted on dogs to improve the taste of their meat, Boknal is a barbaric relic rooted in ignorance and pseudo-medical superstition whose time is well and truly up. more...
Spot the difference! Golden rice and ordinary rice. Photo: International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

Pro-GMO campaign exploits Nobel laureates in 'Golden Rice' Greenpeace attack

Claire Robinson

4th July 2016

Greenpeace is being attacked for 'crimes against humanity' by 100 Nobel laureates for blocking GMO 'golden' rice, reports Claire Robinson. But the low-yielding crop is years away from going on sale, and there is no proof of any nutritional benefit to the malnourished children it's meant to benefit. Could the distinguished prize-winners have fallen for slick pro-GMO PR and spin? more...
Commercial almond orchards in the US receive some 2.1 million pounds of glyphosate a year - hence the strips of bare earth beneath these trees near Vernalis, along 132 west of Modesto, CA. Photo: Tom Hilton via Flickr (CC BY).

Withdrawn: the EPA's memo on the increasing use of glyphosate on food crops

Carey Gillam / USRTK

10th May 2016

The EPA's release of an internal memorandum last month showing the increasing use of the cancer-linked weedkiller glyphosate looked like a welcome opening up of information to the public, writes Carey Gillam. But then it was suddenly withdrawn, along with other related documents - though not before she grabbed her copy and reviewed the scale and scope of glyphosate usage. more...
Cabbage white butterfly with deformed wings (pinned to an insect board) that was fed an experimental diet enriched with long chain omega-3 fatty acids, 48 hours after emergence. Photo: PLOS One.

Nutritionally-enhanced GM crops? Too bad about the deformed butterflies

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

18th April 2016

It looked like such a good idea: take the pressure off wild fish stocks by growing GM oilseeds that produce health-enhancing long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, writes Claire Robinson. But as a new study has established, those fish oils, novel in terrestrial ecosystems, cause wing deformities in cabbage white butterflies. Yet a third open field trial of these GM crops could soon be under way. more...
Chafer Sentry applying glyphosate to stubbles in North Yorkshire on a sunny December day. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

The beginning of the end for glyphosate?

Peter Melchett / Soil Association

15th April 2016

The European Parliament just voted to re-authorise glyphosate, writes Peter Melchett - but with significant restrictions on its use. So what does the vote mean for the world's biggest selling herbicide? And how come the UK's National Farmers' Union welcomed the decision as an unqualified victory? more...
Breakfast at McDonalds in Maddur, Karnataka, India. Photo: Harsha K R via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

India: obesity, malnutrition and the globalisation of bad food

Colin Todhunter

4th April 2016

India's food system, essentially clean just a generation ago, has been comprehensively contaminated with sugar, bad fats, synthetic additives, GMOs and pesticides under the country's neoliberal 'great leap forwards', writes Colin Todhunter. The result? a surge in obesity, diabetes and cancer incidence, but no let-up in the under-nutrition of those too poor to join in the over-consumption. more...
If we ate more of this, the world would be a cleaner and healthier place! Fruit vendor in Devaraj Market, Mysore, India. Photo: Christopher Fynn via Flickr (CC BY).

Going veggie could save slash emissions and prevent 8 million deaths a year

Marco Springmann

31st March 2016

Oxford researchers have quantified the benefits of the world becoming vegetarian, writes Marco Springmann. Their study shows that simple changes - like moving to diets low in meat and high in fruit and vegetables - could lead to significant reduction in mortality and health care costs, while cutting food sector greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds. more...
The Chancellor has done it for sugary drinks. Now, will he go on to do the same for even bigger issues - like the air pollution that's killing tens of thousands of British citizens a year? Photo: Roy Schreffler via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Chancellor is right to act on sugar. Next, air pollution!

Simon Bullock

17th March 2016

The Chancellor's 'sport not sugar' move to tax sugary drinks was extremely welcome, writes Simon Bullock. But we need a similar Treasury approach to protect people from other threats too. So how about tackling the air pollution that's killing tens of thousands of Britons a year? more...
Red chilis grown by a traditional small-scale farmer in Morocco. Photo: Ali JAFRI via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Resisting the corporate stranglehold on food and farming - is agroecology enough?

Colin Todhunter

4th March 2016

Agroecology is key to retaking control over food, farming and land from the 'monstrous machine' of agribusiness, biotech, big finance and 'free trade', writes Colin Todhunter, as it represents a truly viable alternative to agriculture for corporate profit. But such are the powers ranged against the world's small farmers that it must be supported by a broad-based, global people's movement. more...
Good for the environment, and good for you too: organic vegetable boxes ready to go at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: Sandy Lane Farm via Facebook.

Organic food is well worth paying for - for your health as well as nature

Peter Melchett / Soil Association

4th March 2016

The way food is produced has a profound impact on its nutritional profile, according to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Not only is organic farming better for animal welfare, the environment and wildlife, writes Peter Melchett, but organic meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables all have tangible health benefits for the people who eat them. more...
Chafer Sentry applying glyphosate to stubbles in North Yorkshire on a sunny December day. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

Another 15 years? EU set to relicense glyphosate

Arthur Neslen / Guardian Environment

25th February 2016

The European Commission is poised to renew the licence for glyphosate - the herbicide last year deemed ‘probably carcinogenic' by the WHO - for another 15 years. The decision follows from EFSA's contrary finding, based on secret, non peer-reviewed, industry-funded studies. more...
These red bananas are naturally red and high in beta carotene. So why the need to develop a patented GM banana that does the same job? Photo: Choo Yut Shing via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Gates Foundation: stop 'biopirated' GMO banana feeding trials

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers

17th February 2016

The Gates Foundation has received a 57,000 strong petition denouncing its support for a 'biopirated' GM banana program in Africa, and calling on it to suspend a feeding trial on US students, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers. The banana threatens both the health of the students, say campaigners, and the future of African agriculture. more...
Banana plantation in Cienaga, Magdalena, Colombia. Photo: J. Stephen Conn via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Disease may wipe out the world's bananas - unless we adopt agroecological solutions

Angelina Sanderson Bellamy, Cardiff University

7th February 2016

Bananas are at the sharp end of industrial agriculture's chemical war on pests and pathogens, writes Angelina Sanderson Bellamy. But even 60 pesticide sprays a year isn't enough to keep the diseases at bay. It's time to seek new solutions with little or no use of chemicals, working with nature, growing diverse crops on the same land - and breaking the dominance of the banana multinationals. more...

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