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Madge Digest #146 August 2016

Submitted by Development on Fri, 09/23/2016 - 16:15

1) Watch MADGE bake a birthday cake for our regulators, FSANZ, would you eat it?
2) Threat to bans on growing GM  and labelling.
3) MADGE out and about
4) GM canola planting falls in Australia 
5) GM Golden rice and Nobel Laureate's Red Faces
6) New GM soy causes neighbouring plants to die
7) Would you trust a scientific body that takes money from GM companies?
8) Farming our future - an inspiration


1) Watch MADGE bake a cake for our regulators, FSANZ's birthday

Birthday cake for FSANZ, our food regulator from Fran Murrell on Vimeo.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand is celebrating their 25th Birthday. If you want to let them know how the foods/ingredients/crops they approve affect your health please add your story to this facebook page .Or email us

Lawyers are holding seminars for the food industry telling them how to get around labelling requirements. If you are heartily sick of this deception you may want to buy direct from farmers or from trusted shops. See item 3 and 8 for ideas.

Deep Winter Agrarians Gathering 2016 from Fran Murrell on Vimeo.


2) Threats to bans on growing GM crops and labelling. 

If you disagree with this, you may like to put in a quick submission on their Inquiry into Regulation in Agriculture. It appears they forget people eat what farmers grow and many of us do not want to eat GM, pesticides and many other dubious substances. Even though our GM laws are so full of loopholes that almost nothing is labelled, their existence means they can be improved. Removing all ability to label is a huge backward step.

MADGE put in a submission to the Inquiry. We are appearing at their hearings next week. Perhaps you could come along too and/or register to present your own submission? It's very easy to do here. If we do not speak they will only hear from the big end of the food industry.

3) MADGE out and about.

Deep Winter Agrarians Gathering 2016 from Fran Murrell on Vimeo.

We attended the Deep Winter Agrarians Unconference in Gerringong where farmers doing innovative and ethical things gathered together. It was a really inspiring time. Why not support farmers in your local area?

Don Huber on the dangers of glyphosate (Roundup) from Fran Murrell on Vimeo.

Emeritus Professor Don Huber spoke in Victoria recently. His brief summary of the dangers of Roundup (glyphosate) shows we cannot continue to allow it to be sprayed on our food, streets or gardens. If you would like to help up with working to get rid of Roundup please email us

MADGE attended the recent Food Hubs Conference in Bendigo. One of the speakers as said food hubs are “Food chains with values”. There are masses of ways people are finding to link up farmers with eaters. Have a look at the Open Food Network site for a taste of what is going on.


4) GM canola planting falls in Australia

In WA, GM seed sales this year declined 12% from 2015 and 40% from 2014. GM canola seed sales have dropped by a third in Victoria. Yet Monsanto is claiming that more acreage than ever of GM canola is being grown, how can that be? Monsanto assumes this year farmers will use 2kg of GM seed to sow a hectare of land. But last year the rate was assumed to be 2.3kg/ha, and in 2014, 2.5kg/ha. They are assuming less seed is used per hectare and that allows them to claim more hectares of GM are being grown.

The GM ideology appears impervious to reality. In WA the Liberals and Nationals are trying to repeal the GM crop free areas act. This would mean that any GM crop could be grown, unlike now where special exemptions have to be made to grow GM.

Staying non-GM is sensible. Australian non-GM canola growers have earned an extra $375 million since 2007. Japan has said it will not buy US wheat until there is a validated test to check it is not GM. This is in response to the discovery of GM wheat growing in the US. No GM wheat has ever been commercialized but it has been found three times in the US over recent years. The WA Government, the Productivity Commission and the GM industry are keen to ignore this and press on with a failed technology. Meanwhile over 80% of WA farmers, and 98% of Australia's 134,000 farmers remain GM-free.

5) GM Golden Rice and Nobel Laureate's red faces

107 Nobel Laureates signed a letter attacking Greenpeace for opposing GM golden rice. It’s not Greenpeace’s fault this rice isn’t in farmers’ fields. GM golden rice is still in the experimental stage despite 24 years of research and millions of dollars spent. Meanwhile the Philippines has reduced Vitamin A deficiency by encouraging a varied diet, vitamin pills and food fortification. The Nobel Laureates’ letter was launched in Washington DC and it seems that it is yet another PR stunt organised by the GM industry. This is what brings science into disrepute.


6) New GM soy causes neighbouring plants to die

New GM crops in the US are designed to be sprayed with a mix of the weedkillers Dicamba and glyphosate. This GM ‘Xtend’ seed was allowed to be sold but the Dicamba to spray on them was not approved. Farmers who planted the GM soy then sprayed Dicamba onto the growing plants despite this being illegal. The Dicamba weedkiller drifted across neighbouring farmers’ fields, causing their crops to die.

GM crops have created a treadmill where spraying Roundup (glyphosate) creates weeds that have evolved so they no longer die when poisoned. The GM companies then make GM plants able to be sprayed with more, and more toxic, chemicals (Roundup+Dicamba and Roundup+2,4-D). The weeds will, of course, evolve again. Research suggests that within three years weeds will not be killed by Dicamba either. We end up with toxic chemicals on food, farm families sprayed with poison, superweeds flourishing and Monsanto making money from the failures of its technology. This is not a food system, it is a pesticide system.



7) Would you trust a scientific body that takes money from GM companies?

The US National Academy of Sciences recently released a report that was seen as showing that GM food is safe. 11 of the 19 experts listed in this report have conflicts of interest with the GM industry . The NAS itself receives millions of dollars from biotech companies.

Can their report be fair, despite received funding from industry? The beginning and end of the 400-page report are favourable to GM. The middle chapters are far more nuanced and describe risk, problems and limitations with the current studies. It has been described as saying "There’s a lot that we don’t know, which isn’t surprising, because no one is looking." However the industry and the mainstream media have interpreted the report as saying "Science confirms that GMOs are as safe as other foods".

The NAS has played down the studies showing toxicity and harm to animals. This is not science, it is politics in the service of industry. We deserve better.


8) Farming for the future.

We can heal our lives and planet by what and how we grow and eat our food. At the Deep Winter Agrarians Unconference I met this lovely couple who are looking 500 years into the future and planning their farm accordingly.

The Australian group Regrarians have made this wonderful film about the Polyfaces Farm that is restoring land to life.

It is being shown for free at the Fish Creek Hall,Fish Creek in  Victoria on Friday 26th August at 7pm with a discussion afterwards.


500 year farm from Fran Murrell on Vimeo.

“The idea that we could take beautiful food off the land and heal it at the same time, that’s a very hopeful lesson because it is bigger than food or farming.” - Michael Pollan

Happy Eating