Updates

Aug 222017
 
News Release: “Bleeding” veggie burger has “no basis for safety,” according to FDA

Documents show that makers of the “Impossible Burger” ignored FDA’s warnings about safety of burger’s key GMO ingredient Cross-posted from ETC Group.  August 8, 2017 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Creators of a fake-meat burger made with a high-profile genetically engineered ingredient may have landed their experimental industry in a sizzling food safety mess, casting doubt on a Silicon Valley foodtech investor bubble. As reported on in today’s New York Times, recently obtained documents from the U.S. [More]

Jun 042017
 
New "Biotech for Biofuels" compilation released

via Biofuelwatch: “Biotechnology for Biofuels” includes in-depth investigations of three biofuel companies – Algenol, Mascoma, and Solazyme/TerraVia, and will be updated with forthcoming reports on algal and ligno-cellulosic biofuels, followed by further materials. Policy-makers and industry leaders are pinning their hopes on biofuels and an entire bioeconomy where fuels, consumer goods, plastics, chemicals and materials currently derived from fossil biomass (oil, coal, natural gas) will instead be produced from living biomass (trees, crops, microbes). They [More]

May 092017
 
Biofuelwatch Responds to First Open Pond Testing of GMO algae

Cross-posted from Biofuelwatch.  In response to the University of California San Diego and Sapphire Energy’s publication of results from open pond testing of genetically engineered microalgae, Biofuelwatch warns that such tests are far more risky than most people realize, and should be cause for concern, not celebration. It is assumed, and these tests in fact confirmed, that GE microalgae will almost certainly escape into the wild from open air ponds. Once escaped, these single celled [More]

Apr 052017
 
Is “Food-Tech” the Future of Food?

by Dana Perls, senior food and technology campaigner with Friends of the Earth US. Cross-posted from   https://medium.com/@foe_us/is-food-tech-the-future-of-food-49bd414cfb8b  Today in San Francisco at the Future Food-Tech conference, multinational food and agrichemical corporations, Silicon Valley investors, PR companies, big ag astroturf groups, and biotech startups are gathering to map out the future of our food system — and attract investment into this sector. Companies ranging from PepsiCo to Cargill are in attendance and Vladimir Putin’s former PR Firm Ketchum [More]

Oct 032016
 
Genetically modifying a plant is far from harmless

by Eric Meunier (Inf’OGM) Several new techniques of genetic modification (also called NBT) are currently being discussed worldwide to decide whether to define products obtained from them as GMOs and to regulate them as such, or not. Following a parliamentary hearing in France [1] in April 2016, Inf’OGM tries to figure out some of the potential risks linked to the use of any technique of genetic modification on a plant cells culture. Techniques of genetic modification, [More]

Sep 092016
 
The Perils of Planned Extinctions

by Claire Hope Cummings (Project Syndicate) HONOLULU – A cynical move is underway to promote a new, powerful, and troubling technology known as “gene drives” for use in conservation. This is not just your everyday genetic modification, known as “GMO”; it is a radical new technology, which creates “mutagenic chain reactions” that can reshape living systems in unimaginable ways. Gene drives represent the next frontier of genetic engineering, synthetic biology, and gene editing. The technology [More]

Apr 222016
 
Synthetic biology: A continuing  challenge for the CBD

by Helena Paul and Silvia Ribeiro ([square brackets]) The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) pioneered the discussion on synthetic biology at the global level, with the vast majority of countries asking for the full application of precaution. Following the decisions taken at the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the Convention and the report and recommendations of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on Synthetic Biology in 2015, the [More]

Mar 152016
 
Biofuel or Biofraud? The Vast Taxpayer Cost of Failed Cellulosic and Algal Biofuels

by Almuth Ernsting (Independent Science News) Biofuels consumed today are usually ethanol made from the sugar in sugar cane (or sugar beet) or they may be made from starch in grains. In the US this is mostly corn starch. Alternatively, biodiesel may be made from plant oils such as soybean or canola oil. Cellulosic biofuels, on the other hand, are biofuels made from crop residues (e.g. corn stover), wood, or whole plants, especially grasses (e.g. [More]

Feb 262016
 
Not cheap and not plentiful: Hyped-up synthetic biology claims take another blow as malaria drug production plant shuts down

by Almuth Ernsting Synthetic biology is being heavily promoted and funded as a way to produce large quantities of cheap industrial products, including biofuels. But so far affordable, large-scale manufacture with synbio organisms has proven elusive. Synbio start-up companies that set out to produce high volumes of low-cost biofuels have switched to low volumes of expensive chemicals, cosmetics and food additives instead. Many are still struggling to stay afloat. Sanofi’s synthetic artemisinin, an anti-malaria drug, [More]