Genetically
 Manipulated 


 

 
 
 Food


 News

14 February 2000

Table of Contents

Plants: Tandem genes threaten biodiversity
Tandem constructs for superweed prevention
Quaker Oats Makes Deal with Swiss Firm to Produce Healthier-Food Line
Tandem Constructions
Senate GE Labeling Bill to be introduced!!
UK: 10000 pigs + 270 monkeys killed for xenotransplantation experiments
irradiation seeds and GE
The Economist: Farmer's Perspective
Japan heads for the laboratory in rice war
GE Food Claims: Benefits for Bone, Heart, Digestion
Russian scientists test first domestic GM potato
Fraud behind GM food safety claims SECRET PAPERS
Viteria? Stealth Viruses!
Family Farmers Warn: If Your Next Crop is GMO, It May Be Your Last
Farmers' Declaration on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture

Top NextFront Page

Date: 10 Feb 2000 09:27:39 U
From: wytze geno@zap.a2000.nl

Plants: Tandem genes threaten biodiversity

GENETNL wrote:

-------------------------- GENET-news ---------------------------

TITLE: Tandem constructs for superweed prevention
SOURCE: ISB News Report, by B. R. Shmaefsky
DATE: February 2000

----------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch ------------------

Dear GENET-news readers,

biosafety seems to become a popular word, we even can witness the creation of "biosafety-genes". Already the Terminator technique was annouced as something environmentalists should praise. Below copied story of the Tandem technique uses the same odd arguments. The spread of transgenes into wild relatives of GE crops should be stopped by the more or less lethal side-effects of the transgenes on wild plants.

These ideas have to be called insane by everybody who regards wild plants as part of biodiversity and not as something which has to prevented to grow on fields at any expense. When a certain portion of a population incorporates lethal or infertility transgenes year by year by outcrossing from GE crops this will certainly stop the further introgression of the transgenes into even more plants - simply because that portion becomes extinct! Such "Biosafety genes" will solve biosafety problems by wiping out wild plants that can be pollinated by GE crops.

Yours,

Hartmut Meyer


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 10 Feb 2000 09:27:39 U
From: wytze geno@zap.a2000.nl

GENET
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
Reinhaeuser Landstr. 51, D - 37083 Goettingen
Germany

phone: +49-551-7700027    fax: +49-551-7701672
email: genetnl@xs4all.be

Tandem constructs for superweed prevention

By Brian R. Shmaefsky, Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences,
Kingwood College    bshmaefs@nhmccd.edu

Jonathan Gressel, of the Weizman Institute of Sciences in Israel, is well aware of one nightmare no farmer wants to encounter; he knows the bane of treating a field containing weeds not controllable with any available herbicide. Gessel's most recent paper, "Tandem constructs: Preventing the rise of superweeds," published in Trends in Biotechnology, brings some hope to prevention of superweed evolution (1).

Gressel is a vocal proponent of plant biotechnology, yet much of his research assails a large biotechnology market –erbicide resistant crops. His argument, however, is not for limiting biotechnology, but instead for encouraging responsible biotechnology geared to make GMOs safe. Continuous herbicide use may lead to artificial selection of herbicide resistant weeds due to the reproductive advantage conferred on weeds possessing natural herbicide resistant genes. Studies show that many weed plants in the natural population contain these traits (2,3).

Encouragement of superweed evolution by artificial selection is not the only argument leveled against using herbicide resistant crops. Gressel also is concerned that, "Transgenic crops may interbreed with nearby weeds," an opinion based on studies going back to 1986 suggesting transgenic traits can be horizontally transferred to wild relatives of domesticated plants. Scottish researchers were alerted to horizontal gene transmission following several field trials conducted in 1996 showing that pollen from genetically engineered rape traveled over 2.5 kilometers and fertilized other rape plants. The rape plant used in the study was developed for herbicide resistance. Population genetics studies conducted recently on cultivated and wild beet plants indicate the potential for this transfer between genetically engineered plants and weed relatives (see "Gene Flow Between Cultivated and Wild Beet," ISB News Report, December 1999.)

Some groups use evidence of horizontal gene transfer as grounds to protest the continued cultivation of transgenic crops. They argue that wild plant populations are being "genetically polluted" with traits not normally found in the population, and that may harm wild populations by causing extinction of the species, development of pest resistant plants, loss of economically useful alleles, and emergence of wild weed populations resistant to standard chemical control methods.

Gressel criticizes GMO risk analyses that ignore the utility of GE technology designed to prevent gene transfer. He postulates that gene transfer could be prevented in part by using tandem constructs; that is, the piggybacking of genes that affect germination by altering seed dormancy, ripening, and dissemination with genes for the desired trait in the construct. Other strategies include adding traits that cause dwarfing, inhibit flower production, prevent maturation, or induce pollen sterility. For example, an antibolting trait would work well to prevent the transmission of genes in biennials such as cabbage. Gressel notes that tandem constructs can also be used for further development of crops carrying traits for insect resistance and enhanced nutritional value.

Gressel supports using tandem constructs for what he coins "Transgenic Mitigation" because they:

  1. are tightly linked and do not segregate separately;
  2. use traits that are harmless to crops but deleterious to typical weeds; and
  3. are disadvantageous to the successful reproduction of weeds within a population lacking the construct trait (1,3).

Gressel notes that many of the traits that are suitable as useful constructs are already mapped for numerous plants and can simply be attached to the desirable traits already engineered into crops.

Sources:

  1. Gressel J. 1999. Tandem constructs: Preventing the rise of superweeds. Trends in Biotechnology 17(9): 361-366.

  2. Gressel J. 1988. Multiple resistances to wheat selective herbicides: New challenges to molecular biology. Oxford Surveys of Plant Molecular and Cell Biology 5:195-203.

  3. Gressel J, Gardner S, and Mangel M. 1996. Prevention vs. remediation in resistance management. In Molecular Genetics and Ecology of Pesticide Resistance, ed. TM Brown. Washington, D.C.: American Chemical Society.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 10 Feb 2000 13:27:30 U
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk

Here come those neutracueticals there folks

Quaker Oats Makes Deal with Swiss Firm to Produce Healthier-Food Line

By Phat X. Chiem, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 10
http://cnniw.newsreal.com/cgi-bin/NewsService?osform_template=pag....

Hoping to create a powerhouse presence in the health-foods industry, Quaker Oats Co. and Swiss life science giant Novartis AG are forming a Chicago-based partnership aimed at developing grocery products with added health benefits, also known as so-called functional foods.

The new independent company may introduce such products as cholesterol-reducing cereals and healthy energy bars by combining Quaker's expertise in food innovation and manufacturing with Novartis' knowledge of nutrition science.

Called Altus Food Company LLC, the venture could grab a substantial chunk of the growing market for functional foods, which contribute at least $10 billion annually to the U.S. grocery industry.

"This is the first time that a leading global health care company has teamed up with an international food company to holistically go after the emerging functional food category," said Greg Shearson, a Quaker vice president who will become the new company's president and general manager.

Shearson would not say how much capital the companies intend to devote to the venture. The Altus team will employ between 20 and 30 workers, including employees from each partner.

Michael Valentino, president and chairman of Novartis Consumer Health Inc., the Summit, N.J.-based arm of the Swiss giant, estimated that Altus could generate "hundreds of millions of dollars" in sales within three to five years. The partners will split the capital expenditures in addition to any profits.

"We have a really strong tradition of nutrition science, and we felt that a marketing skills," Valentino said. Novartis, which recently spun off its agribusiness into a separate company, also develops gene-spliced seeds. Valentino said the Altus venture would "strive to use ingredients from natural sources" but he would not completely rule out the use of genetically altered foods to enhance nutritition.

The move by Quaker and Novartis follows a recent spate of activity by large food companies to acquire health-food brands. Last month, Northfield-based Kraft Foods Inc. bought nutrition bar maker [Balance Bar Co.] for $268 million, after earlier acquring soy foods maker Boca Burger. In October, [Kellogg Co.] snatched up [Worthington Foods Inc.], a leading maker of vegetarian burgers and other meatless products, for $307 million.

By forging their partnership, Quaker and Novartis avoid the expense of major acquisitions while creating synergies that could yield enormous benefits for both companies, said Prudential Securities John McMillin. Novartis already has a line of health foods in Europe called Aviva, and manufactures Ovaltine and Gerber Foods.

"Novartis probably has got technology they've invented in the lab and need to bring to the market," McMillin said. "Quaker's cereals and other products are a natural delivery system for it. And they don't have to spend $300 million like Kellogg did to buy Worthington Foods."

As food companies face maturing categories and price pressures from consolidating retailers, they've searched for new growth areas, said Edward Jones food analyst Patrick Schumann. With sales increasing at 15 percent each year, he said, the functional foods category is one area that large food and beverage companies cannot ignore.

---------------------------

To see more of the Chicago Tribune, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go

to http://www.chicago.tribune.com

© 2000, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. OAT, NVTSY, MO, K,

Publication date: Feb 10, 2000 © 1999, NewsReal, Inc.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 10 Feb 2000 15:44:13 U
From: "j.e. cummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

Tandem Constructions

Prof. Joe Cummins, e-mail: jcummins@julian.uwo.ca, February 10, 2000

Tandem construction for super weed prevention

Wytze recently circulated information about Jon Gressel's scheme to use tandem constructs for superweed construction.(source ISB News Report Feb 2000). On 10 Feb Hartmut Meyer suggested the scheme was insane , primarily because the scheme seemed to wipe out the wild plants pollinated by GM crops.

I generally agree with Hartmut Meyer and wish to point out that the scheme leaves a great deal to be desired from the standpoint of genetics. Jon Gressel and I were graduated students at the same time at the University of Wisconsin. Jon is a fine man and a productive scientist.

The tandem construct idea is to put genes for a desirable trait such as herbicide tolerance and a gene that prevents weed pollinated from reproducing. Having two genes tightly linked as on a plasmid inserted into a chromosome acts like a single super gene during recombination so they flow together through reproduction. An existing example of such a construction might be Bt corn that is both insect resistant and round-up ready.

An example might be to include a gene for pollen sterility in a line with an unlinked fertility restorer gene. Not only weeds but the neighbours crops would be sterilized (giving the licensed farmer a clear competitive advantage? Furthermore, Many desirable traits for impacting weeds are recessive in phenotype so the impact on weeds would be delayed as the weed population or neighbours crop would soon load with carriers. Such considerations bear full discussion.

Even though the tightly linked genes are not subject to frequent reciprocal recombination the issue of gene conversion should not be ignored. Gene conversion is active both at meiosis and during somatic cell growth. In a heterozygote one allele is capable of converting the other to its sequence. This phenomenon is the basis of the genetic engineering technique called chimeraplasty recently introduced into gene therapy and crop genetic modification. The point here is that gene conversion could span sequences in the tandem construct.

The Texas cytoplasm was a good example of a disastrous gene construct that originated from overly enthusiastic use of technology. That gene was introduced into most hybrid corn lines up to the late 1970s. It facilitated and economized production of hybrid corn lines and was present in most of them. Unfortunately, it also caused the corn lines to be sensitive to a particular fungus disease.

The summer of 1977 was wet and cold , ideal for fungi to grow, the entire US crop was nearly wiped out that year. That should have taught us a final lesson for the need for diversity, it did not! In conclusion , tandem constructions, like terminator genes will likely appeal to the cliques of biased authorities promoting GM crops. GM lunacy is difficult to circumvent, we should, perhaps strive for a binding convention that weeds can be weeded but not driven to extinction and that neighbours crops should not be weeded.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 10 Feb 2000 22:48:52 U
From: GMOStuff@aol.com

Senate GE Labeling Bill to be introduced!!

Dear Health Freedom Fighters,

Excellent news!! California U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer has agreed to introduce legislation to label genetically engineered foods in the U.S. Senate.

Below is a letter that Senator Boxer sent to other Senators this week letting them know of her plan to introduce the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act in the U.S. Senate after the Presidents day recess.

We will supply you with further information as it becomes available.

Craig Winters Executive Director
The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods

The Campaign
PO Box 55699, Seattle, WA 98155
Tel: 425-771-4049    Fax: 603-825-5841
E-mail: label@thecampaign.org    Web Site: http://www.thecampaign.org

Mission Statement: "To create a national grassroots consumer campaign for the purpose of lobbying Congress and the President to pass legislation that will require the labeling of genetically engineered foods in the United States."

**************************************************************

Americans have the right to know if their food is genetically engineered.

February 8, 2000

Dear Colleague:

When Congress returns from the Presidents Day recess, I plan to introduce the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act. I hope that you will cosponsor this important legislation to require that all foods containing or produced with genetically engineered material bear a neutral label indicating that fact.

Recent polls have demonstrated that Americans want to know if they are eating genetically engineered food. A January 1999 Time magazine poll revealed that 81% of respondents wanted genetically engineered food to be labeled. A January 2000 MSNBC poll showed identical results. The European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Japan already require genetically engineered food to be labeled.

Last year, 98.6 million acres in the U.S. were planted with genetically engineered crops. More than a third of the U.S. soybean crop, one-quarter of corn and a third of cotton were genetically engineered. While this represents a 23-fold increase in genetically engineered crop production from just four years ago, the health and environmental effects of genetically engineered food are not yet known.

Given the rapid expansion of this largely untested technology, we should provide consumers with the right to know whether they are eating genetically engineered food. Congress has already provided consumers similar rights by requiring the labeling of foods containing artificial colors and flavors, chemical preservatives and artificial sweeteners.

Labeling genetically engineered food would not be unprecedented for the U.S. In fact, as part of a recent 131-nation agreement to regulate trade in genetically engineered crops, the U.S. agreed to label its international shipments of seeds, grains and plants that may contain genetically engineered material. If we can provide this information to our trading partners, shouldn t we make similar information available to American consumers?

Please join me in providing American families with the right to decide whether or not to eat genetically engineered food. For more information, please contact Lisa Moore of my staff at 224-3553.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer, United States Senator


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 11 Feb 2000 04:18:57 U
From: wytze geno@zap.a2000.nl

GENET
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
Reinhaeuser Landstr. 51, D - 37083 Goettingen
Germany

phone: +49-551-7700027    fax: +49-551-7701672
email: genetnl@xs4all.be

UK: 10000 pigs + 270 monkeys killed for xenotransplantation experiments

GENETNL wrote:

-------------------------- GENET-news ---------------------------

TITLE: 10,000 pigs killed in transplant labs
SOURCE: Electronic Telegraph, issue 1720, UK
By Marie Woolf
DATE: February 9, 2000

----------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch ------------------

SCIENTISTS have killed around 270 monkeys and more than 10,000 pigs during research into animal-to-human transplants in the past four years, the Home Office disclosed yesterday. The revelation has outraged MPs who have called for an inquiry into the ethics of using animal organs for transplants into humans. Nearly 10,000 transgenic pigs, bred with human genes, have been killed in experiments to transplant animal hearts and kidneys into humans. Scientists have also killed around 270 monkeys in tests to find animal alternatives to human donors.

MPs and animal welfare groups say that the use of so many animals is questionable on ethical grounds. Animal welfare groups say that the use of 10,000 pigs far exceeds expectations and that ministers should focus on persuading more people to give organs.

Scientists have yet successfully to transplant a pig organ into a human. They are still trying to find ways of tackling the body's rejection of transgenic pig organs, and have encountered several types of rejection in tests, including "acute vascular rejection" and rejection involving white blood cells. The human genes in the pigs have helped overcome the first stage of rejection, which usually occurs within hours of a transplant. Primates which have received pigs' kidneys and hearts in experiments have yet to survive with the new organs.

Sarah Kite, of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, said: "We are clearly still years away from any clinical application of animal-to-human organ transplants. It is outrageous that such a large number of animals have died as a result of this technology. What the government should be doing is implementing an opt-out donor card rather than pursuing an ethically and scientifically dubious path."

The disclosure of the number of animals used was in a letter from Mike O'Brien, the Home Office minister, to Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, East Sussex. Mr Baker said: "The minister needs to give an urgent statement and unless there is compelling evidence that these experiments are worthwhile they should be stopped forthwith." The Government has allowed research into the use of pigs for transplants with human genes because of the shortage of human donors. The Government's watchdog on xenotransplantation has drawn up guidelines for people receiving animal organs. These will include a pledge never to have children and submit to life-long monitoring.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 11 Feb 2000 05:56:26 U
From: wytze geno@zap.a2000.nl
From List: Biotech Activists biotech_activists@iatp.org
Posted by: mritchie@iatp.org

Mark Ritchie, President
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
2105 First Ave. South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404 USA
612-870-3400 (phone)    612-870-4846 (fax)    cell phone 612-385-7921
mritchie@iatp.org    http://www.iatp.org

irradiation seeds and GE

From: "Prof.R.A.A. Oldeman" raao@bos.nl
To: gov@gov.state.hi.us Date: maandag 7 februari 2000 12:08
Subject: irradiation seeds

Mr. Governor -

Please allow me to cite you the following case. At our university, the Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands, seeds have been irradiated between the 1950's and the 1980's with the aim to provoke genetic mutation for selection of better crop plants. The facility has been closed and dismantled atround the end of the '70s for two reasons:

  1. no single improved seed was produced during 25 years;
  2. slight leaking of radioactivity proved to be impossible to prevent;
  3. there were no other beneficial effects.

As to the production of genetic modifications by non-radioactive means I hope I may draw your attention to the kind of risk you will be incurring. This is no risk of the kind of a car crash (one cleans the site, rapairs the damage and this crash will not repeat itself).

It is a risk of an epidemic kind, i.e. every artificially introduced gene can be transported by biological transport structures called transposons or plasmids to many other cells, mine and yours included. Bankers and finance people are not used to think in terms of epidemic risks, but perhaps Governors can?

I do hope that this information may be of use to you in what will certainly prove to be a key decision in your whole political career and your whole life.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Roelof A.A. Oldeman
full Professor of Silviculture & Forest Oecology
Wageningen University / project Hutan Lestari
Diedenweg 18, 6703 GW WAGENINGEN, The Netherlands

phone * 31 317 484425     fax * 31 317 444609    mail roelof.oldeman@hutles.spb.wau.nl

================================
How to Use this Mailing List

You received this e-mail as a result of your registration on the biotech_activists mailing list.

To unsubscribe, please send an email to listserv@iatp.org. In the body of the message type: unsubscribe biotech_activists

To post messages, send email to biotech_activists@iatp.org.

For a list of other commands and list options, please send email to listserv@iatp.org. In the body of the message type: help

For other questions email support@iatp.org


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 11 Feb 2000 11:51:49 U
From: Laurel Hopwood laurel.hopwood@sierraclub.org

The Economist: Farmer's Perspective

There's an article in The Economist, Jan15-21, 2000, called "GMOs: To plant or not to plant" pp30,31. (This is a very conservative journal.) Other than the usual industry line, it ends by saying

"the current generation of GM products will be driven off the farm, not because they are unsafe or ineffective, but because the costs of segregating them are too high."

Another quote (from the head of a corn growers' group):

"Farmers must grow what their customers demand. If not, we will lose even more than the $200 million in lost corn export sales in 1999. After all, the customer is always right, and if the customer wants non-GMOs, then it is the responsibility of the American farmer to provide that product. Farmers are caught in the middle of this dispute, yet the questions surrounding marketability, certification, segregation, cross-pollination, corporate concentration, labeling and liability have not been addressed. These unanswered questions add uncertainty to already uncertain times for agricultural producers. The Freedom to Farm legislation passed in 1996 stated that America's farmers should grow for the market. The market is clearly shouting that it wants non-GMO grains."

He also told me he thought the following info is VERY significant:
Seagram's made a decision to not accept genetically modified corn this fall, a decision based on what they think the market will be like in 4 yrs, when their products hit the shelves.

Laurel Hopwood


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 11 Feb 2000 17:24:24 U
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk

Japan heads for the laboratory in rice war

By Aya Takada, Reuters Story - February 10, 2000 23:12

Sections:
Bumper Crops
Government Takes Lead

TOKYO, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Rice is at the very heart of traditional Japanese culture. It appears at every meal, grows on scraps of land in metropolitan Tokyo and is vehemently protected in bitter trade talks with the United States.

Each year the emperor leads a planting ceremony that is symbolic of the importance of the grain in the lives of Japanese.

Now Japan wants to defend its staple crop by placing it at the forefront of a technological revolution.

The Agriculture Ministry plans to register its newest rice variety as Japan's very first domestically developed, genetically modified (GM) food as early as this year, officials said.

One aim is to defend Japan's staple from transnational corporate alliances which are using biotechnology in their race for control over Asia's rice market, they said.

The move could spark heated debate, since growing numbers of Japanese fear the new technology may be harmful.

"Farmers won't plant the GM seed, even though the ministry will promote its use, because consumers still have doubts about the safety of GM foods," said one Agriculture Ministry official.

"But we expect consumers will eventually see that they have misunderstood the technology and will not be afraid to eat GM foods," he added.

He said delay could spell disaster for Japan's farmers.

"We must have our own GM seeds and be ready to plant them. Otherwise, domestic farming could be totally controlled by foreign biotechnology giants," he said.

Bumper Crops

Genetically altered crops contain a gene from another organism to give plants resistance to a certain herbicide or the ability to produce their own toxin to kill pests.

Promoters say the new technology helps lift yields and lower production costs. Critics say not enough is known about the new crops' long-term effects on human health and the environment.

A consumer survey last November showed 83 percent of the 600 respondents unwilling to buy GM foods.

"Rice is what Japanese eat most frequently," said Setsuko Yasuda, secretary-general of the "No GMO" campaign, which links groups ranging from consumers to farmers and religious bodies.

"If the ministry introduces genetically modified rice, we will be treated like guinea pigs for testing the effects of GM foods on human health," Yasuda told Reuters.

Last month more than 130 countries tackled such concerns by reaching a landmark U.N.-sponsored agreement to regulate trade in GM organisms, establishing an international framework for countries to use when making decisions about GM crops.

The Agriculture Ministry's new rice variety resists the rice stripe virus which severely cuts into yields and is transmitted to the plants by insects.

The Agriculture Ministry plans to apply this year for Health Ministry approval for the new GM rice variety, a process that usually takes six to 12 months.

The Health Ministry has so far approved 29 GM varieties of seven crops –corn, soybeans, rapeseed, potatoes, cotton, sugar beet and tomatoes – as safe for human consumption.

All were developed by foreign companies. Some are already on the market. Labelling will not become compulsory until next year.

Government Takes Lead

In Japan the government undertakes development of new grain varieties and maintains tight control over the production and marketing of rice and other key grains.

However, the Agriculture Ministry plans to provide 1.1 billion yen ($10.3 million) to fund private sector research and development in the year starting April.

The ministry plans to raise its budget to 4.1 billion yen in 2000/01 from 2.7 billion the previous year to focus on rice genome analysis – the basis for development of GM crops.

There are no GM rice varieties in commercial production anywhere in the world. Industry officials predict the first company to produce GM rice commercially will be Franco-German life sciences group Aventis SA .

The company aims to begin commercial production as early as next year in the United States and South America.

The company plans to apply to Japan's Health Ministry in mid 2000 for approval of its herbicide-resistant rice varieties and expects imports of its GM rice to Japan could start by the end of next year, an Aventis spokeswoman said.

U.S.-based Monsanto Co , which is also developing herbicide-resistant GM rice, expects commercial production to start in the United States after 2002.

Neither plans commercial production in Japan at present due to uncertainty about the potential market for GM rice seeds.

Japanese farmers are cautious about using GM seeds because domestic food processors fear that slapping a GM label on their products will alienate consumers.

"Many consumers are saying no to GM foods. Even if farmers grow GM crops, they won't be able to find buyers in Japan," said an official of Japan's Farmers' Cooperatives Association.

A recent newspaper survey of 1,544 agricultural cooperatives nationwide showed 78.3 percent of them opposed the introduction of gene modification technology to domestic farming until the method won acceptance by consumers.

($1=106.80 yen)


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 11 Feb 2000 21:37:51 U
From: Marcus Williamson marcus_williamson@ibm.net

GE Food Claims: Benefits for Bone, Heart, Digestion

As a prime player in Genetically Modified seeds and related "biotechnology", Novartis should be suspected for everything they do! They have recently tried to introduce a brand of foods called "Aviva" which claim to have "Bone Benefits", "Heart Benefits" and "Digestive Benefits". For more info see :

http://www.avivafoods.co.uk

Unfortunately for Aviva, they have clearly not consulted a health-conscious public before producing these products. Several contain soya and maize and unspecified "vegetable oils" which may or may not be from Genetically Modified sources. Furthermore, one of the "Heart Benefits" range contains Aspartame! Heart rhythm irregularity is one of the known symptoms of Aspartame poisoning...

If anyone would like full lists of ingredients, please e-mail me.

regards
Marcus
http://www.connectotel.com/gmfood


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 12 Feb 2000 06:16:04 U
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk

Russian scientists test first domestic GM potato

By Oleg Kirsanov, Bridge News, February 11, 2000

Moscow – Russian scientists are holding tests on a genetically modified potato, the first Russian modified crop variety, an official with the Russian Academy of Sciences' Bioengineer Center said Thursday. She said the potato variety, which is resistant to the Colorado potato beetle, might start to be used in 2001 if the tests were successful.

....

"This is Russia's first patented genetically modified potato. There are 2 more varieties on which we are still working and we expect to patent them soon," Deputy Director of the center Irina Solovyova told Bridge News.

She said the potato was being tested by a special government commission which is entitled to include new varieties in the official seed register.

"If the tests are successful, the variety will be included to the register, which opens way for farmers to plant it," Solovyova said.

The resistance to the Colorado beetle is expected to increase potato yield sharply because about a half of Russian potato crops were damaged by the pest last year.

Solovyova said the center was also working on genetically modified sunflower, rice and wheat varieties, but added they were still in the initial stages of the development.

She said the scientists observed strict rules to prevent any damage to the environment or human health by the altered varieties. End {Russia tests first domestic genetically altered potato}

Bridge News, Tel: +70-95-925-5583


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 12 Feb 2000 06:35:19 U
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk

Fraud behind GM food safety claims SECRET PAPERS

Source: Daily Mail 11th Feb 2000 http://cnniw.newsreal.com/cgi-bin/NewsService?osform_template=pag....

SECRET PAPERS SHOW SCIENTISTS ARE AT ODDS OVER RISKS

THE release of 'Frankenstein foods' into the world's supermarkets was based on flawed experiments which failed to confirm their safety, official U.S. government papers have revealed.

Scientists on the American Food & Drug Administration could not agree that key tests involving feeding genetically modified tomatoes to rats proved they were harmless, it emerged yesterday.

Yet these tests were effectively used to give the green light for the release across the world, including Britain, of a whole range of GM foods, including soya and corn. The documents have emerged following the launch of a lawsuit in the U.S. by farmers and GM critics against Monsanto and other biotech companies and were presented to Environment Minister Michael Meacher at a private briefing this week.

Details were revealed yesterday at a news conference at the House of Commons, where a leading scientist called for a ban all GM foods on the market saying the technology was inherently dangerous.

Professor Terje Traavik, a Norwegian government adviser, claimed there were potential risks that could result in new disease-causing viruses, bacteria, mutations and even cancers.

Critics seized on the claims to demand an immediate ban on GM foods and the launch of proper tests to assess their impact on human health. U.S. lawyer Steven Druker, who is leading the action against Monsanto, accused the FDA of deliberate deception.

'The FDA's misrepresentations are not innocent, they are fraudulent, ' he said. 'The agency's behaviour is not only illegal and irresponsible, it is unconscionable.

The safety of the world's food supply is at stake.' He said the government documents proved that claims from the FDA that all GM foods had been well tested and all safety issues had been resolved were 'unequivocally false'.

Files handed over had revealed 'memorandum after memorandum from the FDA's technical experts warning about the potential risks of genetically engineered foods'. Biotech companies and the authorities in Britain and America insisted that human feeding trials were unnecessary because GM foods are 'substantially equivalent' to natural products.

But Mr Druker said the papers 'clearly state they cannot be presumed to be substantially equivalent to conventional foods and that they entail a unique set of risks'.

He added: 'It could lead to the generation of unintended and unpredicted toxins, cancer causing agents, allergens and other substances.' The FDA had approved GM tomatoes later sold as paste in the UK despite tests showing that rats fed on them had developed 'erosions' in their intestines, he said.

Professor Traavik said: 'The first generation of GM organisms are inherently unstable and unpredictable and carry a number of potential risks and hazards, both environmental and for health. The only way to escape the current miserable position is to ban the first generation of GM organisms.'

Adrian Bebb, of Friends of the Earth, said: 'It is quite clear the public has been kept in the dark about the safety of GM foods. People are being kept in the dark


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 13 Feb 2000 17:23:01 U
From: wytze geno@zap.a2000.nl

Viteria? Stealth Viruses!

With many thanks to joe cummins.

wytze

----- Original Message -----
From: "wytze" geno@zap.a2000.nl
To: jcummins@julian.uwo.ca
Sent: Saturday, February 12, 2000 10:53 AM
Subject: Viteria?

Hi Joe, One more question. I saw this quote in a mail but can not find the reference in the declaration. best regards
wytze

MICHELE LANDSBERG SUNDAY [TORONTO] STAR FEB.6 '00 PAGE A2

(SNIP) A statement last year by World Scientists – signed by 118 scientistsfrom 24 countries, including geneticists, agronomists and virologists – called for a 5-year moratorium on further releases of transgenic crops andfoods. Among the disturbing studies cited by this group was one in which ascientist at the Center for Complex Infectious Diseases in California claimed to have found a new virus associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. The virus had more than 50 bacterial genes, deriving from the very bacteria most often used in genetic engineering. The World Scientists wondered if this scary new hybrid virus or "viteria" might have been inadvertently created in the labs of the genetic engineers.

Exp Mol Pathol 1999 Apr;66(1):8-14 (ISSN: 0014-4800)

Martin WJ
Center for Complex Infectious Diseases, Rosemead, California 91770, USA.

Extensive sequencing of cloned DNA isolated from the culture of an African green monkey simian cytomegalovirus-derived stealth virus has identified multiple regions of highly significant homology to various bacterial genes. The apparent acquisition of bacterial sequences extends the potential role of stealth viruses as natural vectors in the transfer of genetic information.

The findings highlight the dynamic interface between viral and bacterial genomes and the potential of this interaction in the emergence and spread of novel pathogens. The term viteria is proposed for microorganisms that contain both eukaryotic-viral and prokaryotic-bacterial genetic sequences.

© Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Exp Mol Pathol 1999 Apr;66(1):3-7 (ISSN: 0014-4800)

Martin WJ
Center for Complex Infectious Diseases, Rosemead, California 91770, USA.

DNA extracted from cultures of a cytopathic virus isolated from a patient with chronic fatigue syndrome was cloned into pBluescript plasmid. The nucleotide sequences of the plasmid inserts were analyzed using the BlastN and BlastX programs of the National Center for Biotechnology Information. In confirmation of earlier studies, many of the sequences show partial homology to various regions within the genome of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV).

The matching regions were unevenly distributed throughout the HCMV genome. No matches were seen with either the UL55 or the UL83 genes, which provide the major antigenic targets for anti-HCMV cytotoxic T-cell-mediated immunity. This finding is consistent with the notion that certain viruses can avoid immune elimination by deleting genes required for effective antigenic recognition by the cellular immune system.

The term "stealth" has been applied to such viruses. Comparisons were also made between the sequences of the stealth virus and the limited sequence data available on cytomegaloviruses from rhesus monkeys and from African green monkeys. These comparisons unequivocally establish that the virus was derived from an African green monkey simian cytomegalovirus.

© Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

"j.e. cummins" wrote:

more stealth:

Exp Mol Pathol 1999 Apr;66(1):19-30 (ISSN: 0014-4800)

Martin WJ; Anderson D Center for Complex Infectious Diseases, Rosemead, California 91770, USA.

An infectious illness, attributed to atypically structured cytopathic "stealth" viruses, occurred in 1996 in the Mohave Valley region of the United States. A stealth virus-infected child from this region has developed a severe noninflammatory, vacuolating (spongiform) en cephalopathy.

The illness initially presented as a behavioral problem without overt neurological signs. Extensive investigations, including repeated magnetic resonance imaging, two brain biopsies, and stealth virus cultures, have helped define the disease process occurring in this child.

Significant clinical benefit with apparent retardation of disease progression occurred during a 6-week course of ganciclovir therapy. The potential contributing role of stealth virus infections in children presenting with behavioral problems needs to be addressed.

© Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 13 Feb 2000 18:28:40 U
From: wytze geno@zap.a2000.nl
Subject: Impact of Stealth Viruses

"j.e. cummins" wrote:

Hi Wytze,

One area where it would impact clearly and immediately would be in Pharm crops. Crops with human genes that we have included in the past for IgE, interleukin , etc. Such constructions could be huge factoriues for producing stealth viruses and would also likely cause plant to human virus transfer.

The main immediate emphasis seems to be the suggested link between stealth virus and gene cloning.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 13 Feb 2000 22:00:23 U
From: "Jon Campbell" jon@cqs.com

apologies if this is repeated; I didn't see it last November...

For Immediate Release: November 23, 1999

Family Farmers Warn: If Your Next Crop is GMO, It May Be Your Last

Contact: Missouri Rural Crisis Center at (573) 449-1336 Rhonda Perry, Bryce Oates

Ten-Point Declaration Against Genetically-Engineered Seed Cites Lack of Consumer Support and Potential Loss of Markets

Washington, DC-Family farm groups from across the country today warned that the use of genetically-altered seed could be the final blow to an already tenuous farm economy.

In a ten-point Farmers' Declaration on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture released today, family farm groups caution that farmers who plant genetically altered seed are risking their livelihoods on a product that consumers around the world are overwhelmingly rejecting.

The declaration was crafted during a first-ever Farmers' Summit on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture convened by Farm Aid on the eve of its annual concert in Virginia last September.

More than 30 farm groups, representing tens of thousands of farmers, signed the declaration, including the National Family Farm Coalition, American Corn Growers Association and Missouri Rural Crisis Center.

Farm groups expressed concern over genetically engineered (GE) crops in a number of areas including increased corporate concentration and lack of seed diversity, farmer liability, and loss of markets. MRCC's Rhonda Perry plants conventional corn and soybeans in Mid-Missouri. "For farmers, it definitely creates the potential for economic instability because it's unclear what markets are going to be available for GE crops in the year 2000. Combined with the real possibility of contamination of non-GE crops and the corporate attempt to transfer liability to producers, farmers need to take a hard look at who is really benefiting from this biotech firestorm."

Already many critical foreign markets have closed their doors to GMOs, limiting trade opportunities for farmers who are struggling against low prices and bad farm policy. Gary Goldberg, CEO of the American Corn Growers Association, urged all farmers to weigh the pros and cons of planting genetically engineered seed before deciding what crops to plant this coming spring.

"Export markets in Europe and Asia are saying 'no' to foods produced from genetically engineered crops. Farmers know that they have to respond to consumer demand if they are to survive. Right now, farmers may decide it is best for them to also say 'no' to GMO seed," said Goldberg.

The declaration also says that inadequate testing of genetically engineered crops could open the door to farmer liability from damage caused by genetic drift, increased weed and pest resistance and the destruction of beneficial insects.

"Consumers are questioning the safety and viability of GE crops. There hasn't been enough research on how these products will behave once they're released. If corporate agribusiness continues to flood the marketplace with these untested products, the companies should be held liable, not the farmers, for the damage caused by seeds approved without adequate assessment of risks to farmers, human health and the environment," said Bill Christison, president of both the National Family Farm Coalition and Missouri Rural Crisis Center.

Another key concern is that GE crops have not lived up to their promise of higher yields and lower production costs. Howard County, Missouri, farmer Mike Hustedde planted 500 acres of Roundup Ready Soybeans in 1999. "You won't see me planting anything genetically modified next year. It doesn't make economic sense to pay more for seed and technology fees, and still get lower yields than I did planting conventional crops. Farmers were sold a bill of goods on this one."

The farmers called on Monsanto, DuPont, Novartis and other biotechnology companies to promote the sale of traditional commercial varieties over genetically engineered seed to farmers for the coming crop year until an independent and comprehensive assessment of the social, environmental, health and market impacts of genetically engineered seed is available.

Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar said the summit conference and declaration mark a historic moment in the rising debate over genetic engineering in agriculture.

"Like the rest of us, family farmers are learning more every day about the potential for problems caused by genetically engineered seed. Their worries about these products should cause our country and the world to take a critical look at any proposed use of this untested new technology," said

Mugar.


Top PreviousFront Page

Date: 13 Feb 2000 22:00:23 U
From: "Jon Campbell" jon@cqs.com

HERE IS THE DECLARATION:

Farmers' Declaration on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture

Sections:
10 Points
What many farmers have found about genetic engineering:
Endorsers Of The Farmers' Declaration

10 Points

Genetic engineering in agriculture has significantly increased the economic uncertainty of family farmers throughout the U.S. and the world. American farmers have lost critical markets which are closed to genetically engineered products. Corporate control of the seed supply threatens farmers' independence.

The risk of genetic drift has made it difficult and expensive for farmers to market a pure product. Genetic engineering has created social and economic disruption that threatens traditional agricultural practices for farmers around the world. Farmers, who have maintained the consumer's trust by producing safe, reasonably priced and nutritious food, now fear losing that trust as a result of consumer rejection of genetically engineered foods.

Many scientists believe genetically engineered organisms have been released into the environment and the food supply without adequate testing. Farmers who have used this new technology may be facing massive liability from damage caused by genetic drift, increased weed and pest resistance, and the destruction of wildlife and beneficial insects.

Because of all the unknowns, we, as farmers, therefore:

  1. Demand a suspension of all further environmental releases and government approvals of genetically engineered seeds and agriculture products.

  2. Demand an immediate, independent and comprehensive assessment of the social, environmental, health and economic impacts of genetically engineered seeds and agricultural products.

  3. Demand a ban on the ownership of all forms of life including a ban on the patenting of seeds, plants, animals, genes and cell lines.

  4. Demand that agrarian people who have cultivated and nurtured crops for thousands of years retain control of natural resources and maintain the right to use or reuse any genetic resource.

  5. Demand that corporate agribusiness be held liable for any and all damages that result from the use of genetically engineered crops and livestock that were approved for use without an adequate assessment of the risks posed to farmers, human health and the environment.

  6. Demand that the corporations and institutions that have intervened in the genetic integrity of life bear the burden of proof that their actions will not harm human health, the environment or damage the social and economic health of rural communities. Those corporations must bear the cost of an independent review guided by the precautionary principle and conducted prior to the introduction of any new intervention.

  7. Demand that consumers in the U.S. and around the globe have the right to know whether their food is genetically engineered and have a right to access naturally produced food.

  8. Demand that farmers who reject genetic engineering should not bear the cost of establishing that their product is free of genetic engineering.

  9. Demand the protection of family farmers, farmworkers, consumers, and the environment by ending monopoly practices of corporate agribusiness through enforcement of all state and federal anti-trust, market concentration and corporate farming laws; by a renewed commitment to public interest agricultural research led by the land grant colleges; by an immediate shift of funding from genetic engineering to sustainable agriculture; and by expanding the availability of traditional varieties of crops and livestock.

  10. Demand an end to mandatory check off programs that use farmers' money to support and promote genetic engineering research and corporate control of agriculture.

What many farmers have found about genetic engineering:

Genetically engineered agricultural products were released on the market without a fair and open process to assess the risks on human health and the environment or the social and economic risks to farmers and rural communities.

Family farmers' livelihoods and independence will be further compromised by genetic engineering. Genetic engineering empowers corporate agribusiness to accelerate capital and chemical intensive agriculture at the expense of family farmers and rural communities around the world, increases corporate concentration in agriculture, and poses unknown risks to the safety and security of the food supply.

Genetic engineering disrupts traditional agricultural practices creating social upheaval in rural communities and threatening agrarian cultures throughout the world.

Consumers worldwide are rejecting genetically engineered foods, driving down farm prices. This will force significant numbers of family farmers out of business.

Family farmers have been unfairly forced to assume liability for genetically engineered products that were not adequately tested before being released into the environment and food supply.

The corporate ownership of genetic resources and the corporate use of genetic engineering in agriculture is not designed to solve the problems farmers face in agriculture such as increased weed resistance, growing staple crops on marginal land, or making traditionally bred crops available to farmers worldwide, but rather to enrich corporations.

Genetically engineered seeds increase costs to farmers, have failed to perform as promised by corporate agribusiness, and, in some cases, yields have been lower and crops engineered to be herbicide tolerant have required increased use of herbicides manufactured by the corporations that market the seeds.

The "terminator" gene, which renders corporate seeds sterile and was developed with USDA resources, is an unconscionable technology because it destroys life and destroys the right of farmers worldwide to save seeds, a basic step necessary to protect food security and biodiversity.

Endorsers Of The Farmers' Declaration On Genetic Engineering In Agriculture

  1. American Corn Growers Association
  2. California Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
  3. Dakota Resource Council (ND)
  4. Empire State Family Farm Alliance
  5. Family Farm Defenders (WI)
  6. Federation of Southern Cooperatives
  7. Illinois Stewardship Alliance
  8. Indiana Citizen Action Coalition
  9. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
  10. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
  11. Land Loss Prevention Project (NC)
  12. Land Stewardship Project (MN)
  13. Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
  14. Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance
  15. Minnesota COACT
  16. The Minnesota Project
  17. Missouri Rural Crisis Center
  18. National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
  19. National Catholic Rural Life Conference
  20. National Family Farm Coalition
  21. Northeast Organic Farming Association (VT)
  22. North American Farm Alliance (OH)
  23. Northern Plains Resource Council (MT)
  24. Organic Growers of Michigan
  25. Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI)
  26. Rural Coalition
  27. Rural Vermont
  28. Sustainable Cotton Project
  29. Western Colorado Congress
  30. Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
  31. Women, Food and Agriculture

For further information or to contact groups individually, please contact the National Family Farm Coalition at (202) 543-5675

Eleanor Heise
President, Canadian Organic Growers (COG)
Tamarak Organic Farm, RR 3, Shawville, Quebec J0X 2Y0
Phone 819-647-3487    e-mail eheise@cyberus.ca