FOEA Emerging tech Project

Semantically engineered crops

Big agrochemical companies such as Dow, Bayer and Monsanto are experimenting with a range of new genetic engineering (GE) techniques that they misleadingly refer to as ‘New Plant Breeding Techniques’. These are being used to introduce traits such as herbicide and pathogen resistance and changed nutritional properties into commercial crop varieties that will ultimately end up in our food. By arguing that these techniques are precise, just like...

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Is nano-silica safe? – who knows?

The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) has found that there is inadequate data to conclude that the use of nano-silica in cosmetics is safe. And yet nano-silica is still being used – not only in cosmetics – but also in our food! The committee reached this conclusion in a recent safety assessment of four different types of nano-silica used in cosmetics. It stated that “more evidence is needed to...

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The Catholic church confronts capitalism and technology

Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the environment – Laudato Si’ – is a powerful piece of doctrine coming from a church with a long and rather uninspiring history when it comes to both social justice and environmental care. Not only is the document a call for action on the environment and issues of social justice, it is also a lengthy and coherent indictment of neoliberalism and extreme capitalism. It recognises that the severe social and...

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APVMA still has head in the sand regarding nano agrichemicals

A new report released by our agricultural chemicals regulator the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) this week shows that they are still failing to address the risks posed by the use of nanomaterials in agrichemicals. The regulator still claims nanomaterials are not being used in agrichemicals in Australia despite clear evidence to the contrary. All the leading producers of agricultural chemicals, including BASF,...

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