Genetically
 Manipulated 


 

 
 
 Food


 News

18 February 2000

Table of Contents

GMOs in animal feed must be labelled - EU
Genetic Tinkering For Bigger Catch (Salmon)
Is Science Outpacing Regulators?
Info re Organically vs Conventionally Grown Food
Germany says suspends approval of GM maize
Secrecy will not resolve controversy.
The American Farm Bureau (AFB)letter to FRITO-LAY
questions on stealth viruses, O157:H7
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - How accurate is it?
US-NLP: Hagelin to Turn Reform Party into GE Referendum
Seeds offered growers a miracle, but may be just another liability
US farmers desert GM crops
No Cover for GM Pollution, Farmers Told
German health minister bans cultivation of genetically modified corn
U.S. wheat growers eye GMO challenges
Food Safety And Organic Products - Dispelling The Myths
Shiga Toxin and Sex in Bacteria
Rutgers study re: minerals in crops
E coli with shiga toxin
viruses in gene therapy
EPA forced to shut its website!

Top NextFront Page

Date: 16 Feb 2000 09:25:57 U
From: wytze geno@zap.a2000.nl

===================================================
From List: Biotech Activists biotech_activists@iatp.org
Date Posted: 02/16/2000 Posted by:
mritchie@iatp.org

==================================================

GMOs in animal feed must be labelled - EU

Publisert: 27.01.2000 07:00

The European Parliament Agriculture Committee is calling for clear labelling of genetically modified additives in animal feedingstuffs. It believes that this is the only way of ensuring that end users can avoid consuming food containing GMO components or food produced on the basis of GMOs.

A report by Friedrich-Wilhelm Graefe zu Baringdorf, the German Green Committee Chair, which the committee adopted unanimously on Tuesday, amends a proposed directive on additives in animal feed to ensure that GMO additives are identified, are only licensed for sale if they are safe for human health and the environment, and are subject to environmental impact assessments.

Given the high level of public concern over food safety and "high-tech" feed additives such as GMOs, antibiotics and growth promoters, the committee is demanding codecision, instead of simple consultation, for this proposal.

The committee supports the basic aim of the Commission's original proposal, which is to harmonise procedures for replacing marketing authorisations of these "high-tech" additives. It is tabling a couple of amendments to tighten up the provisions and ensure that all firms are treated equally during the re-evaluation period for authorisations. The report goes to the full House in Strasbourg in February.

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


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Date: 16 Feb 2000 10:19:48 U
From: "Nancy Allen" nallen@acadia.net

Genetic Tinkering For Bigger Catch (Salmon)

CBS News' Wyatt Andrews, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Altering Genes Resulted In Larger Fish Canadian Farm Seeks FDA Approval

Salmon born on the same day, the bigger ones were genetically altered

(CBS) Now there's a new gene-altered first: fish genetically altered to grow bigger and more rapidly. Its developers hope to soon take this out of the lab and into the food chain to consumers' dinner table.

CBS News' Wyatt Andrews reports for Eye on America on a gene-food controversy on a whole new scale.

Elliot Entis' Canadian-based fish farm, A/F Protein, may be the first to get Food and Drug Administration approval to market a transgenic animal - an animal genetically composed of two different fish.

He shows off his mixed-species technology: salmon genetically altered - with a gene spliced with another fish species - so that they grow twice as fast.

"We have simply changed one gene in the salmon," Entis boasts.

And if Entis has his way, you'll be eating this gene-altered salmon and trout sometime within the next two to three years.

"Basically we've taken a snippet of DNA from another edible fish, either a winter flounder or a commonly found fish called an ocean pout, and we've matched that snippet to the salmon's growth hormone," Entis explains.

And growth means money. Entis says his fish can reach market size in 18 months, instead of three years, with the same taste and nutrition as their farm-raised kin.

"We are, I have to say, 100 percent certain that this is safe," Entis says.

"We know exactly what the gene which we have inserted of that genetic instruction expresses or produces in the salmon. We know and can prove that it only produces salmon growth hormone," Entis adds.

There is no law against mixed-species animals, but A/F Protein will have to prove these fish are safe to the FDA.

And there is one major environmental concern. What happens when these big voracious salmon escape from the farm - and there is no doubt they will - and then begin to breed with salmon in the wild?

"The risk is genetic pollution," says Rebecca Goldburg, a senior scientist at Environmental Defense. "If you muck up the gene pool of wild salmon by introducing the genes of farm salmon, you can make the wild salmon population less able to survive and reproduce in the future."

Entis responds that wild Atlantic salmon are in danger already. He argues that without this technology, there will be no way to meet consumer demand.

"We can produce more protein more cheaply for more people than would otherwise be the case," Entis argues.

So now, quietly, farmers are crossing the line from cross-bred animals to mixed-species animals and arguing that this kind of low-level mutation is what it will take to feed the world.

Read Andrews' report on the controversy over regulation of genetically altered fish.

© Copyright 2000, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved.


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Date: 16 Feb 2000 10:19:48 U
From: "Nancy Allen" nallen@acadia.net

Is Science Outpacing Regulators?

FDA has Opted to Treat Gene-Altered Fish as Drug. No Long-Term Safety Test has been required

CBS, Washington

By combining species, larger fish can be raised. But are they safe? (CBS) Gene-altered fish could soon land on your dinner table. As Wyatt Andrews continues his report on a new breed of fish for Eye on America, he asks, Who decides whether they're safe, and how can they know?

Trout and salmon have been genetically combined with other fish species so they grow twice as fast. The fish have been raised as food and would be marketed as food, but the Food and Drug Administration has classified them as drugs.

A/F Protein, which developed the fish, has been told to test the fish as if it were a chemical. "We effectively have to prove that our product is going to be as safe as if it were a drug," says Elliot Entis of A/F Protein.

These fish are seen as drugs, in part, because there's no law that regulates transgenic animals. The technology is ahead of Congress. So when mixed species fish became a reality, the FDA gave the job to its animal drug division, the Center for Veterinary Medicine.

"They are not treating them as a food. They are treating them as a drug, and that's a big mistake," says Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety, a public interest group. Under drug regulation there won't be any long-term human safety study, he says. The fish won't even be tested on lab rats, he adds.

"The drug process is a closed process; it's not open to the public. It takes a much shorter time to go through because they are not doing the kind of tests they should be doing," he adds.

The FDA disputes that. An official told CBS News under drug testing, A/F Protein must prove gene-altered fish are biochemically the same as normal fish and are chemically safe to eat.

Entis says that the notion he's being let off easy.

"We have to know exactly what the gene produces on a molecular basis," says Entis. "We have to know where in the fish that gene is located. We to prove that the animal itself remains healthy throughout its life cycle. This is a costly, time-consuming procedure."

The company understands, though, this is not all about science.

There's a consumer backlash against gene-altered crops, partly because the government never required long-term human studies. And those were plants. To sell the first gene-altered animal, the company's biggest fight may be for the public trust.

Review Andrews' prior report on how and why A/F Protein is developing genetically altered fish.

© Copyright 2000, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved.


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Date: 16 Feb 2000 11:48:09 U
From: wytze geno@zap.a2000.nl

Someone on another list asked for data concerning organic vs. conventional foods.

This came as an answer.

--------------
Russ Bulluck
Visiting Post-Doctoral Scholar, Department of Plant Pathology
1 Shields Ave, UC-Davis, Davis, CA 95616
lrbulluck@ucdavis.edu

Info re Organically vs Conventionally Grown Food

Russ Bulluck wrote:

There are (and will be) some research articles on the _soil_ microbiological differences between organically and conventionally grown produce. As far as I know (although I've not researched the "above ground" literature too much) little has been published about microbial differences between conventional and organic produce.

Produce is not a sterile environment, and microbes can survive (and many can thrive) on the surface of plants. Those that do survive (and thrive) are not typically pathogenic to humans (in fact the "deadly" E. coli can barely survive 10 days in water, and 60 days in soil). The only type of bacteria that can remain dangerous over a long period of time are those which can form endospores (resistant structures).

Bacillus cereus is one such organism, and is often found in sprouts (but still only accounts for an estimated 27000 of the estimated 76 million case of food related illnesses each year). By far, in the united states, viral food related illness is most important, followed by contaminated meats, with produce (organic or conventional) causing relatively few illnesses each year.

Having said that. . . The claims to which you make reference are just that, claims. No research has shown that organic produce is more likely to cause illness than conventional produce. These claims are mainly attributed to Dennis Avery, who twisted some information from Paul Mead (of the CDC).

I've looked at the research, and I think I know how Avery came to his "conclusions" in such a round-about way (He is a helluva spin doctor). I think I found that 92% of all food-related illness was caused by contaminated meats and meat products (hot dogs, sausages, milk, eggs, etc.), while the remaining eight percent was related to produce (both organic and conventional). However, Eight times more conventional produce is sold than organic produce. So, Logically (to Dennis Avery), organic produce is eight times more likely to contain dangerous bacterial contamination than conventionally grown produce.

If you've made it this far, reading my diatribe on organic vs. conventional produce and bacteria, then you'll likely be interested to know that I've got several references on the subject of food-borne illnesses and differences in soil microbial populations (including my PhD dissertation). If interested in a rather exhaustive list of references, you could e-mail me.

Russ

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

The soil population is so complex that it manifestly cannot be dealt with as a whole with any detail by any one person, and at the same time it plays so important a part in the soil economy that it must be studied.

--Sir E. John Russell
The Micro-organisms of the Soil, 1923

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

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Date: 16 Feb 2000 14:50:47 U
From: wytze geno@zap.a2000.nl

===================================================
From List: Biotech Activists biotech_activists@iatp.org
Date Posted: 02/16/2000
Posted by: mritchie@iatp.org
===================================================

Germany says suspends approval of GM maize

Wednesday February 16, 10:19 am Eastern Time

BERLIN, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The German government suspended its approval of sales of genetically modified (GM) maize until a federal agency had decided on the matter on Friday, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

Health Minister Andrea Fischer said she had told Germany's main health and safety agency, the Robert Koch institute, not to issue a licence to the Swiss life sciences firm Novartis to sell genetically modified maize in Germany. The health risks of genetically modified maize have not been conclusively Fischer said.

The government office responsible for plant and species classification will rule on the maize in question, known as BT maize, on Friday.

BT maize has been altered in a laboratory to resist corn-borer insects and tolerate herbicide. It relies on a gene that causes it to express a toxin, known as BT, that kills corn-borer insects. Corn-borers cause billions of dollars in crop damage in the northern hemisphere.

In 1996 Austria banned another modified strain of maize produced by Novartis.

Producers of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, argue the technology offers agriculture advantages such as heightened resistance to plant disease and yield increases that could help to solve the world's future food problems.

Opponents say not enough is known about their impact on health and the environment to justify their widespread use.

Wide public mistrust and lobbying against the technology in Europe has led to a virtual shutdown of European Union approvals of new GMOs and few supermarket and restaurant chains stock genetically altered products.

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


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Date: 16 Feb 2000 15:48:50 U
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk

Source: The Press (Sorry folks but I can't find out what country this is from. Looks like a Commonwealth one, maybe NZ). Any ideas? Looks like everone everywhere are having the same problems, how about them all saying, "hold on lets just say NO".

Date: 16 Feb 2000 15:55:17 U
From: Robert Mann robt_m@talk.co.nz
Subject: Re: B-GE: Secrecy will not resolve controversy.

The Press is the daily rag of Christchurch, NZ. (It is commonly called 'the Christchurch Press'.) They are about to print an article or so about my views on GE.

R

Secrecy will not resolve controversy.

Feb 16, 2000, © 1999, NewsReal, Inc.

Sir

Our previous government's "independent" council to assess genetic engineering biotechnology (IBAC) is eyed with suspicion. Council members include one known critic – an ethicist from Otago – and no biologist critic. Most council members are involved in GE research or publicly support GE.

IBAC lacks the virtues of a Royal Commission, having no requirement for public disclosure of what they receive nor for public questioning. Such secrecy will not resolve controversy.

Nor will spin doctors reassuring the public of GE safety testing and future wonders dissuade the public wish for the scrutiny of a Royal Commission. Shipley Elastoplasts, hiding the formidable problems of this technology, will not do nor work.

There is a stubborn inability to recognise the ever-growing organic export market, which would be ruined by pushing unwanted GE. I see parallels to the nuclear issue – reassurances of future benefits when the price could be disaster.

ROBERT ANDERSON Member Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics February 8, 2000


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Date: 16 Feb 2000 16:15:14 U
From: GMOStuff@aol.com

The American Farm Bureau (AFB) letter to FRITO-LAY

As we previously announced, Frito-Lay has asked their growers to not sell them any more genetically engineered crops. The biotech industry has responded by trying to get scientists, farm organizations and others to pressure Frito-Lay to change their mind. Most recently the American Farm Bureau has sent them a letter asking Frito-Lay to reconsider their position.

Posted below is a e-mail that was sent out by Laurel Hopwood, Biotech Task Force Chair of the Sierra Club, asking people to contact Frito-Lay to ask them to maintain their new policy.

Below the Sierra Club e-mail is a copy of the American Farm Bureau letter sent to Frito-Lay. (Note: I found this posted on one of the news lists but could not find it posted on the American Farm Bureau web site. We assume it is the text of the actual letter, but we have not been able to verify this fact.)

You are encouraged to e-mail, mail, or call Frito-Lay thanking them for their new policy and that they not be influenced by the special interests supporting the biotech industry.

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."

**************************************************************
THIS IS FROM THE SIERRA CLUB Biotech Task Force Chair, Laurel Hopwood

The American Farm Bureau contacted Frito-Lay. Amongst the usual propaganda, the AFB letter stated they are "troubled by the recent announcement that you have decided to suspend purchases of corn produced through biotechnology. We are concerned that your decision will send waves of uncertainty through the food industry that could slow, or possibly stop, advances in this technology. We hope you will reconsider your decision."

Some people have been emailing me responses they are hearing from Frito. Frito is feeling the heat and said they are very glad to be contacted by consumers who are supporting their decision. It's very important that we keep the pressure up on our end.

We don't know at this point whether all of the farmers who supply Fritos are going GE-free; but we do know they are taking a big step in the right direction.

Yesterday, Sierra Club sent out a press release to major media outlets, commending Frito-Lay. The American Corn Growers Association=E2=80=99s support of Frito's decision was included in the press release. One of the goals of this action is consumer education, that this is happening in the first place. Targeting Fritos is a prudent angle, because Fritos is a household name (although not mine; my family eats organically). Once the consumer knows what's happening, they'll be more incensed. Whenever I've given testimony, I've heard (time and time again) the producers say they will give the consumers what they want.

This is not an end-all to transgenic agriculture, but it may contribute to the downfall. Of course our end goal is for all farmers to raise crops organically and for family farmers to supply regional needs. *But right now, campaign-wise, it's important to focus on this one step.* Hopefully the end of this mess will be for consumers to continue to push the organic market, just as they have been doing, until we finally have a sustainable food system for consumers and farmers alike.

Laurel Hopwood
Biotech Task Force Chair, Sierra Club
laurel.hopwood@sierraclub.org

CONTACTING FRITO-LAY:
email: consumer.affairs@fritolay.com
call 1-800-352-4477, and ask for operator 100
or write them at Frito-Lay, P.O. Box 660634, Dallas, TX,75266-0634

Tell them that you don't believe that genetically engineered food is safe for consumer or environmental health and you commend the direction they are taking. And that it would be a big disappointment if they cave in and reverse their decision.

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

Date: 16 Feb 2000 17:42:36 U From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk Subject: Human Genome Sciences Receives Patent

http://quote.bloomberg.com/fgcgi.cgi?s=ddbf1a2ace57120e496c102931....

Those good old monopolies can't fail to pay big dividends, or can they? Big gains straight afterwards, but don't hold too long, this is one hot brick I can tell you. Who says that biotech investors are breadheads and nothing else. No stickieness, (loyalty), here folks. Jim Mc Nulty

Human Genome Sciences Receives Patent

On AIDS Virus Entry Point

ROCKVILLE, Md., Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ – Human Genome Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: HGSI) announced today that it was issued a U.S. patent on a human gene that produces what is believed to be the critical entry point for the AIDS virus. The gene, known as the CCR5 receptor gene, gives rise in human cells to a protein that functions as a receptor or docking site for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000216/HSW003 )

Scientists learned some years ago that people who lack a functional CCR5 receptor gene are resistant to infection with HIV. The discovery suggested that drugs that interfere with the receptor might be effective treatment for AIDs and triggered a global race to identify suitable compounds. HGS has provided several of its partners with licenses for the use of the CCR5

receptor gene in drug discovery. For example, on February 8, 2000, HGS concluded an agreement with Praecis Pharmaceuticals under which Praecis will seek to develop therapies for AIDS by employing the CCR5 receptor gene.

The CCR5 receptor is found on the surfaces of cells. It is a member of a broad family of human genes whose protein products, known as G-protein coupled receptors, are targets for drugs. Examples include the histamine H-1 receptor, targeted by the well known drug Claritin for treatment of allergies; the stomach H-2 receptor, targeted by Zantac, Tagamet and Pepcid for acid indigestion and ulcers; and the cerebrovascular 5-HT1 receptor, targeted by Imitrex for treatment of migraine headaches.

HGS scientists have discovered more than 66 novel members of this class of receptors. Together with partners, HGS has filed patents describing their importance and medical use. Of these applications, a total of 13 patents have been issued.

William A. Haseltine, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Human Genome Sciences and one of the founders for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) commented, "The discovery of the CCR5 receptor gene is

another example of the power of the genomics approach to drug discovery. It was one of many genes that we found very early in our discovery program. Experiments confirmed that the CCR5 receptor played a key role in the biology of the immune system and as an AIDS virus receptor."

HGS has filed similar patent applications that describe the medical uses of more than 7,500 human genes discovered through HGS' genomic technologies. Patents describing more than 2,750 of these genes have been published. HGS currently holds 112 patents describing human genes issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. "This is an extremely important target and is ideal for antibody based

inhibition strategies. It fits well with HGS programs in antibody and protein drugs," said Craig A. Rosen, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Research and Development. "At the same time, this receptor is an ideal target for small molecule drug development by our partners and provides a completely different line of attack from that afforded by nucleoside analogues and protease inhibitors."

The patent, titled "Polynucleotides Encoding Human G-Protein Chemokine Receptor HDGNR10," and issued as U.S. Patent No. 6,025,154, covers the DNA molecules which encode CCR5 and vectors and host cells containing CCR5. All of the research which led to the invention covered by this patent was carried out at HGS, which retains the rights to use this invention.

Human Genome Sciences is a company with the mission to develop products to predict, prevent, detect, treat and cure disease based on its leadership in the discovery and understanding of human and microbial genes.

HGS and Human Genome Sciences are registered trademarks of Human Genome

Sciences, Inc. For additional information on Human Genome Sciences, Inc., visit the company's web site at www.hgsi.com . Copies of HGS press releases are also available by fax 24 hours a day at no charge by calling 800-758-5804, ext. 121115.

Any statements released by Human Genome Sciences, Inc. that are forward-looking are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties which may affect the company's business prospects and performance. These include economic, competitive, governmental, technological and other factors discussed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K.

SOURCE Human Genome Sciences, Inc. -0- 02/16/2000 /CONTACT: Kate de Santis, Director, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations of Human Genome Sciences, 301-309-8504/ /Company News On-Call: http://www.prnewswire.com/comp/121115.html or fax, 800-758-5804, ext. 121115/ /Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000216/HSW003

AP PhotoExpress Network: PRN1

PressLink Online: 800-888-6195

PRN Photo Desk, 888-776-6555 or 201-369-3467/ /Web site: http://www.hgsi.com (HGSI)

Biotech gains on HIV patent

Shares of biotech company Human Genome Sciences (HGSI) climbed 21% after it said it won a patent involving a potential treatment for AIDS. The pharmaceutical research company said it won a U.S. patent for the human gene that produces a protein that functions as a receptor for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Drugs that interfere with the receptor could be an effective treatment for AIDS. Shares jumped 33.25 to $188.


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Date: 16 Feb 2000 20:07:53 U
From: "Jon Campbell" jon@cqs.com

questions on stealth viruses, O157:H7

Hi, folks,

On stealth viruses:

Joe Cummins' and Wytze's notes of several days ago were very disturbing indeed. It appears that there is a possibility that stealth viruses, some with bacterial genes, might have been created as a result of experiments in genetic engineering.

This, combined with the recent death of a gene trial patient due to a viral infection - raises a curious and important question: does anyone know which viruses are being used as gene promoters for the human gene therapy trials?

(You will recall that viruses are used as gene promoters in genetic engineering because normally the genetic mechanism of the cell will pay little or no attention to a "foreign" gene sequence. Viruses have the unique capability to promote their own expression - normally to take over the host cell and turn it into a virus factory. Thus it is extremely reckless to use viral strains as gene promoters.)

On O157:H7 (the virulent, mutant e. coli). Does anyone know the symptoms of acute human or cattle poisoning with rBGH? Have their been any cases? The reason I ask is that I have a suspicion that O157:H7 might actually be the engineered e. coli that manufactures rBGH or other bioengineered animal drugs, or possibly a biological contaminant of that strain. If that is the case, then one might surmise that the odd, rapid worldwide spread of O157:H7 might have been due to biologically contaminated batches of rBGH or another drug.

O157:H7, which is now endemic in many dairy and steer herds, causes Hepatic Uremic Syndrome, which can cause fatal poisoning of the liver. The mechanism of toxicity, the nature of the toxin and why this e. coli might be producing this toxin seems never to be discussed.

Thanks
Jon

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

Date: 16 Feb 2000 20:37:42 U
From: "Jon Campbell" jon@cqs.com
Subject: Re: questions on stealth viruses, O157:H7

Hi, folks,

I did a bit of research on O157:H7. I was wrong about the target organ - HUS stands for Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, and it destroys the kidneys, not the liver. Apparently the e. coli mutation is from gene recombination from Shigella bacteria - it is the Shigella toxin that does the damage. No one knows how e. coli derived genes from Shigella, or how the mutant e. coli got around the world.

Jon


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Date: 16 Feb 2000 20:43:37 U
From: Robert Mann robt_m@talk.co.nz

BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - How accurate is it?

February, 2000
WTO Member countries are increasingly sceptical that any substantial work on trade talks will take place until after the US presidential elections in November 2000. Reflecting this growing consensus, New Zealand minister of agriculture Bruce Ross said that substantive talks are not likely to get underway until summer 2001. "It is likely that this year the negotiations that get underway will, to some extent, be shadow boxing and setting out people's positions in agriculture," Mr. Ross told the New Zealand parliament on 10 February.

I have wondered exactly what is this 'BRIDGES Trade News', and now I wonder more.

The NZ Minister of Agriculture is Mr Jim Sutton. I do know of a Bruce Ross, but he has never been in politics so far as I know: he was the vice-chancellor of Lincoln, one of our two 'aggie' universities, and briefly got interested in organics when an impressive organics confab was mounted at Lincoln. Ross could not "tell" the NZ parliament anything directly, but may have been an author of some report tabled there.

One might think such a slip unimportant - and so, with luck, will it be. But it does call in question the anonymous journalism that produces this somewhat mysterious BRIDGES Trade News.

R

---------------------
Robt Mann, consultant ecologist
P O Box 28878 Remuera, Auckland 1005, New Zealand (9) 524 2949


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Date: 16 Feb 2000 21:19:54 U
From: RickVed@bellsouth.net

US-NLP: Hagelin to Turn Reform Party into GE Referendum

Natural Law Party presidential candidate Dr. John Hagelin is New York tonight persuading the Reform Party leaders to form a coalition between the Natural Law Party, the Reform Party, and the Green Party to break the back of the Republican-Democrat duopoly.

He then intends to turn the March 7 Reform Party primary into a referendum on genetic engineering.

The Natural Law Party has printed millions of flyers decrying the governmentis collusion with the GM industry, and busloads of students and volunteers are coming to Fairfield, Iowa to listen and then pick up the flyers to distribute them on their campuses.

He will speak to members of the Reform Party in New Jersey on Thursday. The primary will be held in Fairfield, Iowa, birthplace of the Natural Law Party.

The GE flyer is actually a four-page beautifully colored tabloid, which you can see on Dr. Hagelinis website at www.hagelin.org. Go to the upper left and click. The cost for each tabloid is one and half cents each.

The Natural Law Party brings with it many things that the Reform party needs. NLP will be on the ballot in all 50 states and with 2,000 candidates on the ballot. Just yesterday, NLP also reached the threshold for federally matching funds, so it brings more money for the coalition. Every $250 in donations will be matched by the federal government. The limit per person is $1,000. The fastest way to contribute is on the website at www.hagelin.org on the last page.

There are many reasons for us to expect success. Dr. Hagelin recently took 70 percent of the votes in a straw poll in Illinois against 8 other candidates. The Natural Law Party is the fastest-growing third party in history. This coalition is intended to electrify the disgruntled 115 million voters who did not participate in the last election. NLP has quadrupled in numbers in every election. If it only doubles in this election, it is expected to win at least 200 seats in government.

The website also has a list of cities where Dr. Hagelin will be touring.

NLP also has a broad foundation in its platform for preventive government on all levels. See the platform at http://www.natural-law.org/.

All across the country, Dr. Hagelin has seen a massive energy shift in the consciousness of the population, seeking the change that is necessary to transform our government. This coalition is our opportunity to educate the public and bring about the changes we need.


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Date: 17 Feb 2000 03:56:41 U
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk

Seeds offered growers a miracle, but may be just another liability

By Julian Borger, The Guardian, GM food: special report, Thursday February 17, 2000
http://www.newsunlimited.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,137581,....

When the time came to buy this year's seeds, Wade Louthan had to choose between conventional and GM crops. It was not an easy decision, but he knew whichever he picked, the result would be depressingly predictable - he would not make any money.

As the ranks of ecologists and GM industry lobbyists prepare to do battle once more this year, the US farmer is again caught in between, and finding it increasingly hard to survive. He or she must either buy ordinary seed and pay the added costs of herbicide and insecticide; or go the GM route, and face the possibility that - come harvest time - no one will want to buy the crop.

Mr Louthan decided that when the snow melts he will plant 330 acres of corn and 220 acres of soybeans, entirely with conventional seeds. And the signs are that many US farmers, especially corn-growers, have made the same decision.

But the dilemma facing American farmers is a painful one, without easy answers. With crop prices at an all-time low, the choice is usually between two routes to penury.

"What is better? GM, or all the chemicals I have to spray on my land with conventional crops?" Mr Louthan asked. It was not a rhetorical question. He really did not know the answer. He stood in his yard, wiping engine oil from his gloves, and weighed up the pros and cons.

Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybeans and corn do not require repeated spraying of herbicides to control weeds. They can be sprayed just once when the crop is above knee-high.

Similarly the company's BT corn is genetically engineered to secrete its own insecticide to kill off the corn bore parasite endemic in the region. The new seeds cost a few dollars more a bushel, but represent a huge saving in chemicals and labour.

Mr Louthan's choice was in part, he said, an ecological decision. "You've not just got to worry about what the corn will do to you. You've got to worry about what it will do to everything else, when it crosses with this and crosses with that."

But ultimately, Mr Louthan's choice came down to this: would he be able to sell his crop? Even if he did, grain prices are at a record low, given the current North American glut in production, exacerbated by increased yields from GM crops.

Mr Louthan's dilemma is repeated around the country. In South Dakota, Dennis Mitchell said that when spring came, he would sow half his fields with BT corn, down from 85% last year.

"About half of my corn goes to feed [livestock] and if I have to sell the rest for human consumption, then I thought ... if I'm not sure of what the consumer wants, I better be on the safe side," Mr Mitchell said.

In Nebraska, Gale Lush is growing far more BT corn than he initially wanted to because he was unable to find any good conventional alternatives on the local seed market, which is dominated by an oligopoly of big agri-industrial companies.

The big distributors running the vast grain silos say they will buy his modified corn after harvest, but Mr Lush is nervous. He is go ing to watch farm prices very carefully. "If the news keeps getting worse, I'll have to use some substandard [conventional] hybrid at the last minute," he said.

This apparent trend away from GM corn is not necessarily mirrored in soybean production, nor is it evenly distributed around the country. Among the arable farmers spread out on the hills between Virginia and West Virginia, Mr Louthan is in something of a minority.

His neighbour, Richard Burns, is planting GM soybeans. He recognises that conventional beans might eventually fetch a premium of up to 30 cents, but he has a different take on "the bottom line".

He said: "Last year, the GMO (GM organism) beans we raised were the best beans we ever raised. They were the cleanest beans - with no weeds. With non-GMOs you have to spray the ground before you plant and, with most farmers, the less chemicals they use, the better they feel about it."

Mr Burns and Mr Louthan are pursuing different strategies, but both agree neither will emerge a winner, given the low crop prices. For many farmers, the GM revolution appeared to offer salvation when it first dawned. Now it offers, at best, a chance of survival. At worst, it is just another liability.


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Date: 17 Feb 2000 04:00:31 U
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk

US farmers desert GM crops

GM food: special report

By Julian Borger in Leesburg, Virginia
The Guardian, Thursday February 17, 2000
http://www.newsunlimited.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,137582,....

Embattled bio-tech industry dealt severe blow as survey in Midwest heartland reveals planting of modified seeds is in decline

The first firm evidence has emerged that the bio-tech food revolution is in retreat in its heartland - the vast cornfields of the American Midwest where the overwhelming bulk of the world's genetically engineered crops are grown.

US farmers have just finished buying seed for the coming growing season, and early studies suggest that a significant proportion are abandoning GM.

A market survey reveals that US farmers plan to plant 16% less genetically modified (GM) corn than they did last year.

The nationwide survey by the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) lends support to claims to be published today by the Worldwatch environmental group that the global acreage of all GM crops (mainly corn and soybeans) could fall by up to 25% compared with last year.

Though sales of GM soybeans appear to be holding at last year's levels - more than half the total soybean crop - the rapid fall-off in demand for GM corn seeds represents a severe blow to the GM industry at its American core. The mass defection from GM seed will hit an industry already beset with consumer scepticism abroad, and falling stock prices on Wall Street.

Most US market analysts questioned this week doubted that the GM slump would be as pronounced as Worldwatch - a Washington-based environmental watchdog - is suggesting. Even though no clear scientific evidence has so far surfaced proving GM crops are harmful, farmers are increasingly uncertain whether they will be able to sell their bio-tech harvest to a world concerned about its long-term health and ecological impact.

"The doubts are spreading like wildfire," Gary Goldberg, ACGA's chief executive officer, said. "Farmers don't know if they're going to have a market next week."

Producers' concerns were deepened this month when Frito-Lay, a giant producer of corn snacks and other convenience foods, told its suppliers that it would not be buying GM corn this year. Seagram, one of the world's largest distillers, made a similar announcement within a few days. The European Union imposed a two-year moratorium on new GM im ports last summer and in January an international "biosafety protocol" meeting in Montreal agreed that all exports of GM food products should be labelled.

In a statement to be issued today Brian Halweil, a Worldwatch researcher, said: "If more American manufacturers hop on the bandwagon, the drop in demand would be devastating for transgenic (GM) growers and seed producers."

US growers are already feeling the pinch. Steve Mattis, an Illinois farmer and seed dealer, told the Guardian yesterday that while his customers were still buying soybean seed in about the same quantities as last season, demand for GM corn seed was down by 75%.

"There will be very, very little corn being planted around here," Mr Mattis said. "The corn elevators [the wholesale markets] are highly recommending that we don't plant it."

The Midwest slump has come despite a determined attempt by big GM producers such as Monsanto to shore up their share of the market. Monsanto representatives have appeared on television commercials to insist that the elevator operators will buy the harvested crop this autumn.

Monsanto GM brands such as BT corn (genetically modified to produce its own insecticide) and Roundup Ready (engineered to survive Monsanto's all-purpose weedkiller) are being offered at discount prices in Illinois, according to Mr Mattis.

Dean Urmstron, a representative of the seed industry lobby in Washington, said it was too early in the season to judge the market accurately and argued that the soybean market appeared to be "ahead of last year".

But Mr Goldberg said he was confident the ACGA survey was an accurate portrayal of the market. It surveyed 582 farmers and initial results suggested that 35% have concerns about planting GM crops. Of them, 82% questioned their marketability.

At his 600-acre farm in western Virginia, Wade Louthan said he had decided not to plant any GM corn this year, and to stop growing Roundup Ready soybeans.

"Not this year," the 37-year-old Virginian said. "You boys [in Europe] have got us scared."

Interviews with farmers across the country suggested that while many felt the European consumer response to GM foods was not entirely rational, there was growing resentment at what are seen as heavy-handed marketing techniques of the GM companies.

Mr Mattis said: "I've been a seed dealer for Monsanto for 18 years and this is the year we are going to have to part ways. They've forgotten that they have to serve farmers. I don't think they care who we've got to grow for. They're just concerned with making a fast buck."


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Date: 17 Feb 2000 05:06:27 U
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk

No Cover for GM Pollution, Farmers Told

By PA news reporters
http://194.200.85.10/sources/154/621/4004784/000217a.htm

The UK's leading farm insurance company, NFU Mutual, will not offer farmers cover against pollution from genetically-modified crops, Friends of the Earth said today.

The group claimed the disclosure was expected to be of major concern to farmers with neighbours growing GM farmscale trial crops. The issue is to be raised in the Commons today by Labour MP Alan Simpson.

But NFU Mutual spokesman Tim Price said no company was offering insurance to cover this sort of event. has a standard exclusion clause for any form of gradual pollution and the sort of pollution that would occur from GM would fall under that exclusion. .

FoE has obtained a copy of a letter from the National Farmers Union to a farmer in Lincolnshire, which states that the loss of GM-free status, the potential loss of crops through cross pollination and the loss of farmland through GM pollution, is something the NFUM cannot offer insurance against.

FoE said it had frequently raised concerns about this issue and urged the Government to move quickly to ensure that the biotechnology industry was strictly liable for any harm caused by GM crops.

Mr Simpson's Bill, which is being supported by FoE, places liability for harm caused to the environment and human health on the companies releasing or selling the GM crops or food.

It also requires the companies to ensure they have adequate insurance cover and to create a compensation fund. We have internationally agreed crop separation distances and the Government's top independent advisers, ACRE, have concluded that the risk of pollination beyond this is minuscule. Crops can only pollinate closely-related species and over time and distance, pollen becomes less active. Possible pollen transfer is something the Government has looked closely at and will continue to do that. Independent scientific advisers have assured the Government that the growing of GM crops in the forthcoming farm scale trials will not damage the The Friends of the Earth statement is extremely misleading. Cross-pollination is a non insurable risk whether the crop is genetically-modified


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Date: 17 Feb 2000 11:12:53 U
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk

German health minister bans cultivation of genetically modified corn

February 17, 2000
http://www.individual.com/servlet/BuildIssue?mode=topics&content_....

BERLIN (AP) – Health Minister Andrea Fischer ordered a ban Wednesday on cultivation of genetically modified corn in Germany, saying the plants contain a substance that could affect the effectiveness of antibiotics in humans.

Novartis, a Swiss-based drugs and biotechnology company, received permission three years agoto plant the altered corn on test fields in Germany, and had applied for permission to sell it to farmers for general use.

But some government experts had raised doubts about the safety of the crop, arguing that the insecticide it produces through genetic modification could have unintended environmental consequences.

Health experts also raised doubts about the altered corn because it was made resistant against the antibiotic Ampicillin to differentiate it from normal corn. Some fear that could over the long term reduce the effectiveness of the drug on humans.

Fischer said the decision to ban cultivation for now was reached in consultation with the Environment and Agriculture ministries, and would remain in effect until the European Union reaches a final decision on the use of genetically modified crops.


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Date: 17 Feb 2000 11:21:50 U
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk

U.S. wheat growers eye GMO challenges

By Carey Gillam, Reuters Story - February 16, 2000 19:03
http://www.marketwatch.newsalert.com/bin/story?StoryId=CokOU0b8Zt....

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Feb 16 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat growers face an expensive uphill journey as they follow in the controversial footsteps of soybean and corn farmers toward producing and marketing genetically enhanced crops, grain industry players said on Wednesday.

Wheat is a genetically complex plant and thus has lagged biotech advancements seen in corn, soybeans, cotton and rice, according to wheat breeders. But within three to five years, biotech wheat will be introduced to the market as agricultural companies race to bring an herbicide-tolerant offering to the market, wheat experts said at a forum on genetically modified organisms at the U.S. Wheat Quality Council annual meeting in Kansas City.

"RoundUp Ready wheat is probably going to be the first one to hit the market," said Monsanto Co. agricultural consultant John Richardson, referring to wheat designed to withstand Monsanto's RoundUp herbicide. "In 2003 it will come out in Canada and in the U.S. spring wheat. Winter wheat will be further behind."

With research advancing in genetically modified wheat, the industry must start to address issues of legal liability, identity preservation expenses, international approval and consumer acceptance at home and abroad, agricultural experts said.

"There are some exciting things coming in wheat, but we must understand the impact this is going to have," Richardson said. "It is going to take a lot of work. It is important that we get started now."

Raging controversies in Europe and elsewhere over the safety and environmental impact of biotech crops have hurt the U.S. soybean industry, and to a lesser extent the corn industry, the experts said.

On Wednesday, the German government suspended approval of sales of genetically modified corn, citing possible health risks, until a federal agency decides the matter on Friday.

"We have lost markets," said Christopher Novak, an American Soybean Association spokesman.

Novak said that because the wheat industry depends on exports, it should consider itself an ally of soybean growers on this issue. He blamed a "politicized process," particularly in Europe, for hampering exports of genetically enhanced crops.

John Bloomer, wheat biotech manager for Anglo-Swedish firm AstraZeneca , acknowledged that progress was slow in gaining European acceptance of GMO products, but said he was optimistic that was changing.

AstraZeneca recently had success introducing a biotech tomato puree in Europe and is currently focusing on development of fungal control wheat varieties for European farmers, he said. Last May, AstraZeneca struck an alliance with seed company AgriPro to develop genetically enhanced wheat in North America, he said.

Bloomer said numerous recent food scares, a distrust of the government regulatory system and a general unease with large corporations were factors in the European Union's reluctance to embrace GMO crops. He said the U.S. wheat industry could overcome many of these hurdles by starting early to educate consumers about the benefits of biotech wheat.

"Gaining trust takes time, so you've got to start early and prepare the way," Bloomer said. "We have the opportunity and the time to do it right in wheat, but it will need cooperation in the whole wheat food chain."

But overcoming the multiple issues associated with biotech crops will require a lot of collaboration and consultation among all players in the wheat industry, said Kansas State University Dean of Agriculture Marc Johnson.

"These aren't things that we need to fear, they're issues that we need to address," Johnson said.


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Date: 17 Feb 2000 11:30:13 U
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk

Food Safety And Organic Products - Dispelling The Myths

Soil Association News Release
http://194.200.85.10/sources/157/624/4004792/000217c.htm

Sections:
E-Coli
Pesticide residues
Nutritional benefits
The developing world
The bigger picture

In response to the handful of recent negative stories about organic food and farming placed in the press by a small number of pro-gm lobbyists, the Soil Association has produced the following information sheet to examine these assertions.

E-Coli

Background : E.coli 0157:H7 first emerged in 1986. It is thought that E. Coli developed as a direct result of intensive farming practices, such as the use of dried poultry manure in livestock diets (as a protein source), the use of in-feed antibiotics (as growth promoters) and the close confinement of farm animals in factory farming conditions.

The first myth is that 'there is a greater risk of contamination in organic foods because organic farmers use composts'. Organic farming standards are based on sound science and best farming practice. This makes Organic farming less likely to be a source of E.coli contamination for a number of reasons. Firstly, pathogen levels in organic livestock are lower due to high animal welfare standards and the prohibition of a reliance on antibiotics . Secondly, standards require that any manure brought in to the farm must be composted - a process that kills harmful bacteria.

Finally, well managed soils (the basis of organic farming) are a hive of biological activity which outcompetes any pathogens that may come into contact with the soil.

In any case statistics from the US Centre for Disease Control show that a vast majority of food borne disease is associated with cross contamination and handling later in the distribution chain and in the home, rather than on the farm.

(Background Information - 90 million tonnes of farm manures were applied to UK farmland in 1999, Use by the organic sector accounted for less than 1% of this total.)

Pesticide residues

The second myth is that in conventional farming 'the total amount of pesticide residues that a person will consume in a year is equivalent in carcinogenic toxicity to one cup of coffee'. In reality there is growing evidence that pesticide residues are a cause for health concern. Many of the most harmful and persistent agricultural pesticides (OCs & OPs) are derived from nerve agents created by the defence industry - they directly and harmfully affect the human nervous system. Studies have recently linked the pesticide lindane to breast cancer. These toxic chemicals also affect farmers health, and a report from the Institute of Occupational Medicine in 1999 indicated that 20% of sheep farmers suffered long term health damage from Organo Phosphate (OP) exposure.

Yields The third myth is that 'a wide scale switch to organic farming will necessitate the cultivation of additional previously unfarmed land to compensate for low yields'. Over the last decade conventional farming has caused such over production of food that between 10-20% of UK crop land has been left fallow (setaside) at the taxpayers' expense in order to reduce food mountains.

Although some yields in organic farming systems are lower, research conducted by Professor Jules Pretty of Essex University concluded that yields from organic systems with high management and labour input can match those of high input farming without damaging the environment.

Nutritional benefits

The fourth myth is that there have been 'various studies comparing organically produced and conventional food that show that there is no difference in the nutritional benefits'. It is clear that there is an urgent need for more research to be done to explore the nutritional benefits of organically produced food.

However some recent work has shown significant differences. For example research from the University of Copenhagen indicate that compounds called secondary metabolites which are known to fight cancers, are more common in food produced without artificial fertilizers.

Another study from Rutgers University, New York, comparing organically grown and conventionally grown food found that many essential trace elements were at a very low level in the conventional produce whereas they were several times higher in their organically grown counterparts.

The developing world

The final myth is that 'the developing world needs industrial farming technology to feed their growing populations'. Farmers groups, charities and experts throughout the developing world, believe that organic farming is a far more appropriate method of production for developing countries. This is because it does not rely on the capital hungry and debt inducing dependency on expensive chemicals and focuses more on domestic food requirements rather than exports.

The bigger picture

Our farming community is currently facing the worst economic crisis since the 1930's caused by over production and a succession of food scares (all of which are related to over intensive farming).

The one ray of hope in this otherwise bleak landscape is organic farming, based on a production system avoiding the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides and based on crop rotations, sound husbandry and good management to promote health in crops and livestock (and ultimately people).

Organic farming has the support of the overwhelming majority of the consuming public and more than 170 MPs are now so convinced of the ability of organic farming to protect the environment and improve public health that they have signed the Organic Food and Farming Targets Bill, committing the government to set a target of 30% of farmland in England and Wales to be organic by 2010.


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Date: 17 Feb 2000 12:00:40 U
From: "j.e. cummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

Shiga Toxin and Sex in Bacteria

By Prof. Joe Cummins, e-mail: jcummins@julian.uwo.ca, February 17, 2000

On Feb. 16 Jon Campell wrote about E. coli 0157:H7 and it toxin (shiga toxin) that originated from Shigella bacteria. He suggests No one knows how E. coli derived genes from Shigella , or how the mutant E. coli got around the world Actually how the toxin gene got from Shigella bacteria to E coli bacteria is very well known. Bacteria have very rich sex lives and exchange genes by chromosome transfer during copulation, plasmid transfer during copulation or virus transduction of genes. The shiga toxin is mainly transferred by plasmid (like antibiotic resistance) or by virus transduction.

Mob genes allow plasmid sex transfers between distant genera and virus may also infect bacteria of different genera. Worldwide transfer is rapid in meat products, living animals or humans who create sewage or touch objects or food. People travel a great deal.

Antibiotic treatment of sick people infected with E coli 0157:H7 has been question because it has been found that antibiotic treatment may activate the virus born shiga gene and produce enough toxin to kill the patient. The reference below deals with that issue: Quinolone Antibiotics Induce Shiga Toxin-Encoding Bacteriophages, Toxin Production, and Death in Mice . [Record Supplied By Publisher]

J Infect Dis 2000 Feb;181(2):664-670 (ISSN: 0022-1899)

Zhang X [Find other articles with this Author]

Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Tupper Research Institute, New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA. Dacheson@Lifespan.org.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) cause significant disease; treatment is supportive and antibiotic use is controversial. Ciprofloxacin but not fosfomycin causes Shiga toxin-encoding bacteriophage induction and enhanced Shiga toxin (Stx) production from E. coli O157:H7 in vitro. The potential clinical relevance of this was examined in mice colonized with E. coli O157:H7 and given either ciprofloxacin or fosfomycin. Both antibiotics caused a reduction in fecal STEC. However, animals treated with ciprofloxacin had a marked increase in free fecal Stx, associated with death in two-thirds of the mice, whereas fosfomycin did not. Experiments that used a kanamycin-marked Stx2 prophage demonstrated that ciprofloxacin, but not fosfomycin, caused enhanced intraintestinal transfer of Stx2 prophage from one E. coli to another. These observations suggest that treatment of human STEC infection with bacteriophage-inducing antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones, may have significant adverse clinical consequences and that fluoroquinolone antibiotics may enhance the movement of virulence factors in vivo.


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Date: 17 Feb 2000 12:52:04
From: jill davies nox2228@montana.com

The following is some info posted on the library link of the Rutgers University site. Perhaps this is not the best study to use in the chemical vs organic argument?

Rutgers study re: minerals in crops

Bear, Firman E, Stephen J. Toth and Arthur L. Prince. "Variation in Mineral Composition of Vegetables." Proceedings of the Soil Science Society of America, 13:380-384, 1948.

The purpose of the study was to compare the mineral composition of vegetables from regions of the United States. Samples of cabbage, lettuce, snapbeans, spinach, and tomatoes were obtained from commercial fields and analyzed for mineral composition.

The authors report variations in mineral composition and use of fertilizers within these regions. This study is often misrepresented as evidence supporting the position that organically grown foods are superior in minerals and trace elements to those grown conventionally. In fact, the study did not compare synthetic fertilizer practice to organic.

Professor Joseph Heckman of the Rutgers Plant Science Department has prepared a packet of materials discussing the study including "disclaimers" about its relevance to organic farming. If you would like to receive the packet, contact:

Professor Joseph Heckman
Dept. of Plant Science Rutgers University,
Foran Hall, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
heckman@aesop.rutgers.edu    732-932-9711 Ext. 119


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 17 Feb 2000 15:49:16 U
From: "j.e. cummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

E coli with shiga toxin

By Prof. Joe Cummins, e-mail: jcummins@julian.uwo.ca, 17 February 2000

What does it take to kill E. coli 0157:H7

Recently well healed crazies have begun to claim that organic agriculture is hazardous because composted manure contains shiga toxin containing E coli 0157:H7. Shiga toxin destroys the kidney. Studies on constructed wetlands have been done to follow the fate of toxic E coli and Salmonella. The studies are posted on the net: http://www.ag.auburn.edu/aaes/information/highlights/spring98/eco....

Results from the study: Decline of E. coli 0157:H7 and S. typhimurium in Waste Water

Time to achieve 1 and 8 long reductions E. coli 0157:H7 S. typhimurium

1 log* days 8 log** days 1 log days 8 log days
Primary lagoon 2.45 19.6 1.85 14.8
Secondary lagoon 1.94 15.5 1.81 14.5
Detention pond 2.28 18.2 1.94 15.5
Recycle pond 2.44 19.5 2.25 18.0

* Days required for bacterial count to decline 1 log or 90%.
** Days for count to decline from 1 million bacteria/ml to 1/100 ml.

These results indicate that, to eliminate both pathogens, the wastewater should be stored in lagoons and/or treated in the wetlands for a combined period of 20 days. Any combination of treatment schemes that results in a total of 20 days of treatment would be satisfactory to eliminate both bacteria, e.g. primary lagoon eight days, secondary lagoon five days, detention pond two days, and recycle pond five days.

There is a considerable margin of safety that the treated water from the liquid swine manure treatment system will be safe from E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella. Therefore the lagoon/wetland-treated wastewater can be recycled and used for cleaning livestock facilities or the water can be applied to land without the risk of spreading enteric infection to animals or humans.

Wastewater treatment is considerably slower at destroying toxic bacteria than is composting. In organic agriculture manure is composted for from several months to one or more years. The basis for the claim that composted manure contains toxic bacteria is outlandish.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 17 Feb 2000 12:53:56 U
From: "j.e. cummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

viruses in gene therapy

By Prof. Joe Cummins, e-mail: jcummins@julian.uwo.ca, 17 February 2000

On 16 Feb. Jon Campbell enquired about viruses used in human gene therapy and noted the recent death of a gene trial patient due to a viral infection.

First, I am not aware of a trial patient having died from viral infection from a disarmed viral vector. There has been a great deal of publicity around one then it was learned over a hundred gene therapy trial patients from multi-organ failure due to allergic response to the virus vectors used in the trials.

The scandal was in inappropriate patient inducement to the trial and failure to report the deaths to regulators. Gene therapy programs at a number of universities including Pennsylvania and Harvardhave been shut down. The $billions spent on gene therapy over a decade have not resulted in cures but killed or injured patients. Failure to report death or injury of people also reflects on the consequence of GM crops and suggests that government agencies should not be allowed to both promote and regulate genetic engineering.

Disarmed viruses (with no replication ability) have been needed because they can efficiently deliver genes to human cells and tissues in the living body. Their tendency to create immune rejection has meant that gene therapy can only be used a relatively short time before organ failure begins. The disarmed viruses are first and mainly adeno virus but moloney mouse leukemia virus has been used, herpes, pappiloma even lenti (HIV) virus have been developed for gene therapy.

The tendency of viral components to cause powerful allergic responses has mainly been ignored in crop GM. With crop GM we have not been allowed the respect of inducement to the experiment, whether appropriate or not.


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Date: 17 Feb 2000 21:16:02 U
From: "Jon Campbell" jon@cqs.com

EPA forced to shut its website!

Well, folks,

We all wondered when the chemical and biotech industry would begin trying to stop public access to information about the industries polluting our environment. It has begun. Today the EPA's website and public archive - the most extensive publicly available library of environmental information in the world - was shut down, including their email server. The Republican representative from Virginia was able to order it shut down on the very flimsy excuse that the "security" of "non-public" EPA information was in jeopardy.

Please take some time to call the EPA and Rep Bliley's office (numbers below) asap to demand that this critical information be put online and that its removal from the Internet is illegal. Also call Admistrator Carol Browner at phone 202-260-4700 (email access to anyone in EPA has been shut off).

Access to copies of some of the EPA's databases is still available at Michael Meuser's mapcruzin website at www.mapcruzin.com and the extensive Right-To-Know network www.rtk.net, as well as some smaller websites containing particular EPA documents. But the amount of information on these sites pales in comparison to the EPA public archive made public on their website until now. We must make sure this archive does not remain offline.

Thanks for your time
Jon Campbell

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
From: "Rick Blum" blumr@ombwatch.org
To: "Community Toxics Watch" ctw@lyris.ombwatch.org
Date sent: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 11:46:45 -0500
Subject: [ctw] Under Pressure, EPA Shuts Down Web Site

Under pressure from Representative Thomas J. Bliley (R-VA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shut down its entire web site (www.epa.gov), cutting the public off from vast environmental resources and information. Representative Bliley asserts that EPA has not provided adequate computer security to protect the agency's information.

It is outrageous that government would deny citizens access to their government. Our understanding is that this shut down also affects EPA employees' access to e-mail.

To protest this denial of public access, contact Margaret Schneider, Acting Deputy Administrator and head of EPA's Office of Environmental Information at (202) 260-4724 and Rep. Bliley at (202) 225-2815.

We'll get back to you with more information as we hear it. ------------------------------------------------------
Rick Blum P: (202) 234-8494
OMB Watch (CFC #0889) F: (202) 234-8584
1742 Connecticut Ave NW Em: blumr@ombwatch.org
Washington, DC 20009-1171
Web: http://ombwatch.org    Community Toxics Watch
Community Toxics Watch Right-To-Know Network: http://www.rtk.net

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