By Lyle Stewart, Montreal Gazette, Sunday 2 April 2000
It is worth quoting extensively.
Hard to Review Data
Produced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, its cover features a soft, crayon-drawn rendition of a wholesome-looking picnic: a tossed salad, bowl of fruit, glass of milk and a solid plate of char-broiled steak, string beans, baked spuds and ruby-red tomatoes. It recalls the colourful, government-produced charts that used to adorn my mother's refrigerator, detailing the four food groups with their recommended servings. Just good, politically neutral information.
This pamphlet, studded with several useful food-safety tips, appears to be along those lines. That it is, until one reads the section titled "How are new food products approved?"
"Over the years, scientists have been involved in developing new food technologies that could lead to improved food products," reads the pamphlet, without mentioning that these scientists work for some of the worst polluters on the planet, including Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical.
"These foods go through a rigorous and thorough review process before they can be introduced into the marketplace. The way the government of Canada assesses and regulates these goods is based on scientific principles that have been developed through consultations with experts around the world."
"Before any product derived from biotechnology can be marketed in Canada, the government of Canada requires that it undergo thorough laboratory and field testing. This includes testing in controlled, small-scale field trials to generate some of the data needed for health- and environmental-safety assessments. In every step of the way, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency conducts environmental-safety assessments for plants derived through biotechnology."
This all sounds great. If only it were true. In fact, according to Ann Clark, associate professor at the University of Guelph and an expert in crop production and physiology, the CFIA doesn't do any actual research into food safety at all. Reached in Wooster, Ohio, where she is on sabbatical, Clark calls the pamphlet "very carefully worded. The phrase that they 'conduct assessments' is probably true, but it's not research."
Research into the safety of genetically modified foods - when it is done at all - is provided by biotech corporations themselves, the parameters and methods of which vary widely, says Clark. In January, Clark published an analysis, titled "Food safety of GM crops in Canada: toxicity and allerginicity," that showed the CFIA has completely dropped the ball on studying the safety of GM foods.
"In sum," she wrote, "70 per cent of the currently available GM crops, including all of the canola and cotton crops approved for commerce in Canada, have not been subjected to any actual lab or animal-toxicity testing, either as refined oils for direct human consumption or indirectly as feedstuffs for livestock.
"Food-safety assessment is largely an assumptions-based process. Most or all of the conclusions of food safety for individual GM crops are based on inferences and assumptions, rather than actual testing. Evidence is needed to substantiate and validate these assumptions."
Clark's analysis was conducted using data supplied on the Health Canada Web site. Actually reviewing the data supplied by industry is next to impossible, she notes. "The ministry neither encourages nor allows independent review of industry research," Clark explains. "It makes it very difficult for independent researchers like myself to review their data, so Canadians are obliged to entirely depend on the CFIA."
The CFIA is part of the federal Agriculture Department, which, Clark notes, labours under two incompatible goals: it is responsible for both regulation and promotion of the industry.
Says Clark, "I find that an unacceptable combination."
It's obvious the promotional role of the ministry now holds the upper hand. In addition to this food-safety pamphlet, the CFIA has contracted out for two advertising supplements, to appear this spring, in the consumer magazines Canadian Living and Coup de Pouce. The supplements will ostensibly contain "balanced, factual" information on GM foods.
As 200 Health Canada scientists warned in a letter to minister Allan Rock last fall, the government lacks the manpower to ensure food safety in Canada. The reliance on industry to police itself, meanwhile, is a disaster waiting to happen.
Spinners to the bone, the Liberals would rather spend taxpayers' millions on PR efforts to lull us into complacency rather than on actual flesh-and-blood scientists who could ensure GM foods are safe.
In response to growing fears the government isn't acting in the public interest, the Liberals turn to pollsters to probe Canadian attitudes (on that, more next week) while blithely assuring us that every food product on supermarket shelves has been properly tested. Don't believe the hype.
- Lyle Stewart is a Montreal writer. His E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Apr. 1 2000, Ottawa Citizen/CP, A8
An Environics poll released Friday was cited as saying that most Canadians say they would prefer to buy non-genetically modified foods, even if they were slightly more expensive. The story notes that the poll was conducted for the Council of Canadians, which is holding information pickets with other activist groups at Loblaw's stores in 35 communities across Canada Saturday. Among the poll's findings:
Jennifer Story, a health protection campaigner with the Council of The results of this poll show there's a growing consumer revolt brewing against genetically engineered foods. As the country's biggest grocery chain, Loblaw's has an obligation to protect consumers by removing foods that have not been proven safe or, at least, to only carry foods that are clearly labelled as containing genetically
St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
A flurry of bills has shown up in legislatures this year, taking stands on everything from "Terminator" seed technology to labeling of gene-altered foods. But the response has been swift from biotechnology companies like Monsanto, who vigorously oppose such measures.
When Dan Morhaim introduced his bill in the Maryland Legislature this year to ban "Terminator" seed technology, a group of biotechnology representatives and lobbyists visited his Annapolis office.
Morhaim was surprised when a woman from Monsanto introduced herself, because he knew that the St. Louis-based biotechnology leader had disavowed the Terminator technology last fall.
"They said that there was no reason to do this bill and that it could give biotech an undeserved black eye," Morhaim, a Democrat and a physician, recalled of the meeting in early February.
Monsanto officials insist that they have not retreated from a promise in October never to develop the Terminator, which renders seeds sterile to force farmers to buy new seed each spring. Monsanto canceled plans to acquire the company that co-owns the technology.
"A bill can change," said Monsanto spokesman Dan Verakis, explaining the reason for the visit. "They went in and provided themselves as a source of information and to answer questions on biotechnology."
Monsanto and its allies in the industry are paying more such visits in response to a spate of bills related to genetic engineering introduced this year in legislatures from coast to coast and as far away as Hawaii. None have surfaced as yet in Missouri or Illinois.
More than two dozen bills related to biotechnology were filed in legislatures this year in at least 13 states; last year just a few were filed.
The flurry reflects a burgeoning debate over genetic engineering that has moved from Europe to Washington and now is reaching into states. So far, American consumers have expressed few of the concerns voiced in Europe about the safety and the wisdom of genetically modified food. Even so, legislators say they are beginning to hear from their constituents, so they are responding with legislation.
Most of the proposals this spring come from critics of biotechnology and focus on labeling products and giving the public more information. Some are from supporters, too.
In the California state assembly, a pro-biotech bill aims at the vandals who have been destroying fields of modified crops. It prescribes that anyone caught must pay twice the value of what they destroyed. In Hawaii, resolutions applaud the benefits from genetic engineering to that state's papaya industry.
Until this year, few legislatures had entertained biotechnology proposals, pro or con. That is one reason that most sponsors expect an outcome similar to the fate of Morhaim's proposed Terminator ban in Maryland.
When it came up in front of the House Environmental Matters Committee last month, the gathering of opponents was impressive. Monsanto didn't show that day, but its main rival, Swiss-based Novartis, did. Among others: Delta and Pine Land, the Mississippi company with a patent on the Terminator; the Farm Bureau; and lobbyists for a high-tech consortium. "It drew quite a crowd," observed Morhaim after the bill was voted down. "When they're coming from so far away and sending in high- powered f olks like they did, you have to think you're on the right track."
Seeds of change The bills suggest that farmers are worrying about more than the seeds' capacity to sprout. In Iowa, a bill headed nowhere attacked companies' practice of charging "technology fees" on top of the price of modified seeds.
Dierks wanted to spur a debate on a genetic engineering matter that neither the government nor companies cares to talk much about: liability. Dierks, reflecting fears of some farmers in his state, worries about who will be blamed if wind-blown pollen from genetically modified corn "contaminates" the produce of organic growers or crops of neighboring farmers.
With two pieces of legislation this year, Dierks tried to make sure th at seed companies and not farmers were liable if problems occur in Nebraska.
Rick Leonard, his assistant, described the industry's reaction when the bill came up for a hearing in February. "Every man and his dog showed up to testify. The response was overwhelming condemnation," he said. Dierks decided not to call a vote.
Support for labeling Michigan Rep. Laura Baird insists that she's not anti-technology and she's mindful that Michigan State University, in her East Lansing- area district, might soon win a federal designation as a regional research center for biotechnology.
Nonetheless, Baird is among state legislators pushing to require labeling on the packaging of food with genetically modified ingredients. Similar legislation is pending in Congress. "I think the technology needs to go forward. But as the parent of a child, I think we need to know what's in our food," she said.
Baird, a Democrat, doesn't expect her bill even to get a hearing, let alone pass. So she's looking to the federal government for help. "Frankly, this is a subject that is too complicated for the average legislature to get its arms around," she said. "It needs big thinkers."
In California, state Sen. Tom Hayden believes he's done the thinking needed to prepare for a pivotal committee hearing next week on his labeling legislation. Hayden, a Democrat from Santa Monica, has been known for espousing liberal causes since his days with Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s.
One of Hayden's bills would require labeling on any modified whole food or on processed food containing at least 1 percent modified ingredients. Another approach, similar to a proposal that languished in West Virginia, sets up a task force to determine whether schools should be serving food with modified ingredients.
In New York, state Rep. John McEneny introduced a bill recently that goes much further: It calls for a five-year freeze on planting genetically modified crops. "I don't think it is a good idea to go willy-nilly planting all these seeds without knowing what the results are going to be," he said.
The interview is with Canada's certified internet news service, Epress, and can be viewed live at http://www.epress.ca
choose the live button at the website. (RealPlayer software, which is free, is needed to view the interview)
Following the live broadcast, the interview will posted on the same website, and it can be watched using RealPlayer software.
April 3, 2000
TORONTO, March 31 /CNW/ via NewsEdge Corporation -
The Ontario Soybean Growers (OSG) is calling for Monsanto Canada to rectify the inequities in seed pricing that are disadvantaging Ontario's soybean growers. The OSG is concerned about the significant differences between Roundup Ready seed prices and business practices between Ontario and Argentina. A recent report from the United States General Accounting Office revealed that farmers in Argentina pay the equivalent of $13.50 for a bag of Roundup Ready soybean seeds. Roundup Ready soybean seed can cost over $30.00 a bag here in Ontario.
One of the reasons for higher Roundup Ready soybean prices in Ontario is that Monsanto charges a technology fee of $8.75 on a 25kg bag on top of the price of the seed. Ontario farmers are also prohibited from saving and replanting Roundup Ready soybean seeds. In Argentina, farmers are not charged a technology fee, and they are able to save and replant seeds.
For Immediate Release, April 1, 2000
Toronto – Greenpeace Canada’s Executive Director Peter Tabuns today called on consumers to stop buying Kellogg products as the environmental organization launched a consumer-based campaign targetting the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by the cereal giant.
Tabuns told a rally at a downtown supermarket, "Kellogg marketing targets children with its use of friendly icons like Tony the Tiger. The truth is, the company is selling products which may risk the health of its consumers, including children. It's irresponsible, and it should stop."
Tabuns said, "Consumers are going to send Kellogg a message until the company assures us that its products are GMO-free, we're not buying Kellogg products."
By Tom Abate,
San Francisco Chronicle,
April 3, 2000
William C. Wardlaw III, grandson of one of the first investors in Coke stock, has, according to this story, added his voice to the chorus of protesters who want U.S. firms to quit using genetically engineered ingredients, or to at least label their products if they do by co-sponsoring a shareholder resolution asking the company to stop using genetic foods so long as questions remain about the environmental and health effects of the new technology.
The story says that shareholder protest resolutions are generally floated by investors with tiny holdings, but Wardlaw controls 2,020,682 shares, worth roughly $98 million.
Wardlaw's protest is similar to six other resolutions that religious groups, acting through New York's Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, have filed with McDonald's, General Mills, PepsiCo, Quaker Oats, Sara Lee and Procter & Gamble.
By Scott Kilman, Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2000, Dow Jones
More coverage of the advertising campaign being launched by the crop-biotechnology industry in the U.S., wounded by a backlash in Europe.
The world's seven biggest life-sciences companies, including DuPont Co., Monsanto Co. and Dow Chemical Co., are contributing $50 million for the first year of the campaign, which is called "good ideas are growing."
The campaign, which is slated to run at least three years, includes print and television advertisements as well as a Web site.
Failing to understand
Let the information flow
A Rand report notes:
Arming the troops with information
Biotech industry needs netwarriors
As RAND says:
RAND also notes:
As a result, a three- to five-year advertising and communications campaign which the biotech industry is launching in April 2000 "to promote genetically modified foods as safe and not harmful to the environment" (source: O'Dwyer's PR Daily, Mar. 27/00) will fail. The only winner will be BSMG Worldwide which has been awarded the $50-million project which will include advertising, an internet site, brochures, and toll-free phone line.
To understand why this $50-million campaign will be ineffective it's necessary to understand how and why anti-biotech activist have been so successful. The massive demonstrations and the extensive media attention which anti-biotech activists brought to the recent World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle illustrate the power and resourcefulness of the activists. The power of the activists is captured in the concepts of "netwars" and "netwarriors" which RAND, the U.S. military think tank, coined in the1990s. These concepts are a product of the information age of which the internet is a vital part.
The information revolution is leading to the rise of network forms of organization, whereby small, previously isolated groups can communicate, link up, and conduct coordinated joint actions as never before. This, in turn, is leading to a new mode of conflict ? "netwar" ? in which the protagonists depend on using network forms of organization, doctrine, strategy, and technology. Many actors across the spectrum of conflict ? from terrorists, guerrillas, and criminals who pose security threats to social activists who do not ? are developing netwars designs and capabilities. Central to the idea of netwars is the extensive and often almost instantaneous exchange of information among groups and individuals. Leading up to Seattle, there was dense communication among anti-biotech activists and other non-governmental organizations. For example, in the three months leading up to Seattle, a single list server operated by anti-biotech activists distributed approximately 2,000 messages to like-minded groups and individuals around the world. That intensity of communications continues. In February 2000, that same list server sent out approximately 650 messages.
That's about 22 messages a day.
The volume of messages is important for two reasons. First, the shear number of messages reinforces the significance and magnitude of the cause in activists' minds. Second, it ensures that activists working at the local, national and international levels have a constant source of new ammunition which they can use in their own anti-biotech battles.
It's also essential to appreciate the speed and international nature of list servers, such as the one mentioned here, and other forms of internet communications. For example, ePublic Relations is located in Guelph, Ontario, a small Canadian city. One of the daily newspapers which is distributed here is the Kitchener-Waterloo Record. It's common for an anti-biotech article to appear in the Record only to reappear on an anti-biotech list server within 24 hours and be available to activists in Great Britain, Japan, India, or Australia. This also means that a scientific paper which is released in Japan and has an anti-biotech perspective is available to activists in Guelph, Canada, within seconds.
Through this dense and rapid exchange of information, anti-biotech activists are able to keep their troops armed and ready to fight at all levels from a presentation to a municipal council to confronting international groups such as the World Trade Organization. Where and when these battles will take place and who will take part is often difficult if not impossible to predict. Yet, where ever they occur these confrontations will appear in the media and have an impact on public and political perceptions of biotechnology and genetically modified foods. This why the $50-million pro-genetically-modified-food campaign will fail.
A centralized command-and-control campaign, such as the one which the biotech industry is funding, is incapable of matching the information-rich and diffuse nature of anti-biotech netwarriors. Also, a centralized communications strategy lacks the widespread grassroots support and commitment which has made the anti-genetically-modified-food forces in Europe so effective. That grassroots involvement is now becoming part of the North American battlefield.
What should the biotech industry do to thwart the advances of its adversaries? The answer is astonishingly simple. The biotech industry should change its strategy. Instead of relying on a centralized, command-and-control approach with its hierarchical structure, the industry should learn from the successes of its enemies and become netwarriors.
Today, those who want to defend against netwar will, increasingly, have to adopt weapons, strategies, and organizational designs like those of their adversaries. This does not mean mirroring the adversary, but rather learning to draw on the same design principles that he has already learned about the rise of network forms in the information age. These principles depend to some extent upon technological breakthroughs, but mainly on a willingness to innovate organizationally.
That's the bottom line for the biotech industry. It must innovate. It must look beyond advertising, brochures, an internet site, and a toll-free phone line. It must understand, appreciate and accept the concepts of netwars and netwarriors. It must become a netwarrior.
ISB News Report, April 2000
A recent commentary published in the journal Nature has challenged the validity of "substantial equivalence," the concept used to structure much of the regulatory policy governing the development and release of genetically modified food crops(1). The authors, Millstone et al., claim that the principle of substantial equivalence (SE), and the legislation based upon it, is vague and unscientific, permitting genetically modified (GM) crop plants to be released without being sufficiently tested for safety.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes.
By Charles H. Featherstone,Bridge News, April 6, 2000
Washington Apr 5 A group of protesters led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, gathered in front of the National Academy of Sciences Wednesday to contest a report on genetically modified crops that they claimed "leans overwhelmingly toward a pro-biotech position."
Protesters said several of the authors of the report have received funding from companies such as Novartis and Monsanto.
"This report is tainted," Kucinich said. These researchers should be able to comment after the publication of the report, but not write it, the Congressman said.
FULL STORY: http://cbc.ca/cgi-bin/templates/view.cgi?/news/2000/04/07/gmfooda....
Statement by Steven M. Druker, JD, executive director of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, coordinator of the lawsuit against the FDA to obtain mandatory safety testing and labeling of GE foods, and an attorney on the case (in collaboration with the legal department of the Center for Food Safety).
Overview: Uncovering FDA's Misbehavior Through Litigation
FDA's Admitted Agenda to Promote the Biotech Industry
FDA Scientists Protested the Attempt to Equate Bioengineering with Conventional Breeding
Misrepresenting the Facts in Order to Approve the Foods
Violating Federal Law
In May 1998, the Alliance for Bio-Integrity led an unprecedented coalition of public interest groups, scientists, and religious leaders in filing a landmark lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to obtain mandatory safety testing and labeling of all genetically engineered (GE) foods. In an unprecedented step, nine eminent life scientists joined as plaintiffs in order to emphasize the degree to which they think FDA policy is scientifically unsound and morally irresponsible.
Now, the FDA's own files confirm how well founded their concerns are. The FDA was required to deliver copies of these files totaling over 44,000 pages to the plaintiffs' attorneys. (Key documents from these files are in a numbered list at www.biointegrity.org Numbers following quotations below refer to the corresponding document's place on this list. Also on our website are fuller discussions of FDA misbehavior.)
The FDA's records reveal it declared GE foods to be safe in the face of broad disagreement from its own experts all the while claiming an overwhelming scientific consensus supported its stance. Besides contradicting the FDA's claim that its policy is science-based, this evidence shows the agency violated the U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in allowing genetically engineered foods to be marketed without first being proven safe, on the premise that they are generally recognized as safe by experts.
The FDA acknowledges it has been operating under a government policy "to foster" the U.S. biotechnology industry. ("Genetically Engineered Foods," FDA Consumer, Jan.-Feb. 1993, p.14) This policy was initiated by the Reagan/Bush administration and has continued through Clinton/Gore. Further, when in 1991 the FDA created a new position of Deputy Commissioner for Policy to supervise the formulation of its policy on GE foods, it appointed Michael Taylor, a Washington, D.C. lawyer who had been representing Monsanto and other members of the biotech industry on regulatory issues.
During Mr. Taylor's tenure as Deputy Commissioner, warnings from FDA scientists were persistently overridden and drafts of the policy statement increasingly contradicted their assertions about the hazards of bioengineering. (Subsequently, Mr. Taylor was hired by Monsanto as Vice-President for Public Policy.) Moreover, when Vice-President Dan Quayle introduced FDA's final policy in 1992, he referred to it as "regulatory relief" for the industry.
The White House directive to foster biotechnology advocates the premise that GE foods are essentially the same as others. However, the agency's attempts to bend its policy to conform to this premise met with strong resistance from its own scientists. Numerous agency experts protested that the proposed policy was ignoring the recognized potential for bioengineering to produce unexpected and unpredictable toxins, carcinogens and allergens hazards not ordinarily involved with conventional breeding.
For instance, Dr. Louis Pribyl of the FDA Microbiology Group wrote, "There is a profound difference between the types of unexpected effects from traditional breeding and genetic engineering ..." He added that some aspects of gene splicing "...may be more hazardous." (4) Dr. E.J. Matthews of the FDA's Toxicology Group warned that GE plants could contain unexpected toxins that could "...be uniquely different chemicals that are usually expressed in unrelated plants." (2) Citing the potential for such unintended dangers, the Director of FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) called for GE products to be demonstrated safe prior to marketing. He stated: "... CVM believes that animal feeds derived from genetically modified plants present unique animal and food safety concerns." (10) He explained that residues of unexpected substances could make meat and milk products harmful to humans.
The numerous in-house critiques are summed up by Dr. Linda Kahl, who protested the agency was "... trying to fit a square peg into a round hole . . . [by] trying to force an ultimate conclusion that there is no difference between foods modified by genetic engineering and foods modified by traditional breeding practices." She declared: "The processes of genetic engineering and traditional breeding are different, and according to the technical experts in the agency, they lead to different risks." (1)
Moreover, Dr. James Maryanski, FDA's Biotechnology Coordinator, acknowledged in a letter to a Canadian official that there is no consensus about the safety of genetically engineered foods in the scientific community at large (8); and FDA scientists advised they should undergo special testing.
Nonetheless, so strong was the FDA's motivation to promote the biotech industry that it not only disregarded the warnings of its own scientists about the unique risks of gene-spliced foods, it covered them up and claimed that no such input had been received. Its official policy asserts: "The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way...." Thus, although agency experts advised that GE foods should be subjected to special testing, the bureaucrats in charge of the policy proclaimed these foods require no testing at all.
Further, the FDA misrepresents the tests that have been done. For instance, although not required to do so, the developer of the "Flavr Savr" tomato, the first GE whole food brought to market, voluntarily put it through feeding studies and asked the FDA to review the data. FDA scientists noted a pattern of stomach lesions that raised a safety issue and repeatedly requested more testing. None was performed. Consequently, FDA experts concluded "... the data fall short of 'a demonstration of safety'..." (15) and said "... unresolved questions still remain." (16) Yet, the FDA not only approved the tomato, it claimed that all relevant safety issues had been satisfactorily resolved - and that because the Flavr Savr did so well, it would be unnecessary for any subsequent GE food to go through the same rigorous testing. To date, there is no reliable evidence showing that any has successfully met the standard the Flavr Savr failed to meet.
Moreover, the government consistently distorts the fact that in 1989 a GE food killed dozens of Americans and permanently crippled over 1,500 others. That product (a supplement of the amino acid L-Tryptophan) contained at least one unusual toxin never found in conventionally produced batches. Many experts think the bioengineering process was the most likely cause of the toxicity, and the FDA's biotech coordinator admits it cannot be ruled out. (FDA Administrative Record 22923) But in public statements, FDA officials have hidden the fact the fatal product was bioengineered and instead blamed risks of health supplements; and other government spokespersons persistently claim that no GE food has ever harmed a consumer.
Besides violating basic canons of ethics, the FDA's behavior flagrantly violates the U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which mandates that new food additives be demonstrated safe through testing before they are marketed. While the FDA admits that bioengineered organisms fall under this provision, it claims they are exempt from testing because they are "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS), even though it knows they are not recognized as safe even by its own scientists, let alone by a consensus in the scientific community.
Further, the statute prescribes that additives like those in GE foods can only be recognized as safe on the basis of tests that have established their harmlessness. But no such tests exist for GE foods. So, although the GRAS exemption was intended to permit the sale of substances whose safety has already been demonstrated through testing, the FDA is using it to circumvent testing and to approve novel substances based largely on conjecture conjecture that is dubious in the eyes of its own and many other experts.
Consequently, every genetically engineered food in the U.S. is on the market illegally and should be recalled for rigorous safety testing. The FDA has deliberately unleashed a host of potentially harmful foods onto American dinner tables in blatant violation of U.S. law. 2
Preserving the Safety of Our Food, the Health of Our Environment, and the Harmony of Our Relationship with Nature
406 West Depot Avenue, Fairfield, Iowa 52556 (515) 472-5554 http://www.biointegrity.org email@example.com
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes.
Thanks to Laurel Hopwood firstname.lastname@example.org for posting this:
Journal of Applied Nutrition 1993; 45:35-39.
According to the report below these GM 'virus resistant' papaya in Hawaii have a short shelf life and have not produced the disease resistance claimed. They go mushy and are selling in the market for one third of the price of traditional papaya.
The Chair of the local Agriculture Board is now pressing for a move back to non-GM papaya.
Hawaii Tribune-Herald, April 7, 2000, Front Page:
"Agriculture board chair Nakatani said market economics have forced the papaya industry to rethink its much-vaunted genetically-engineered plant strains.
The japanese market, looked to as a source of 40 percent of potential sales, has slammed the door on transgenic fruit, Nakatani said. 'This presents an impetus... to get the [nongenetically-engineered] Kapoho Solo variety back to its place of prominence in the Puna district,' Nakatani said.
Meanwhile, growers said they're getting a far better price here for old varieties.
Kapoho Solo cells for 60 cents a pound, while the genetically-altered Rainbow papayas fetch a paltry 20 cents per pound, they said. Durkan said Rainbow papayas have a brief shelf life before turning mushy, and they tend to be oversized, making them more expensive to ship.
To top things off, the Rainbow variety, a hybrid, is showing signs od being less disease-resistant than advertised, Durkan said. 'It's under considerable virus pressure,' Durkan said.
More than 250 farmers statewide are growing Rainbow and SunUp transgenic varieties, whose seeds were released in mid-1998 as the first genetically-engineered fruit sold in the U.S. Developed over two decades, the seeds wre engineered to resist the ringspot virus. The virus reduced the Big Island's yearly papaya production from a peak of 72 million pounds in 1989 to 28 million pounds in 1999.
Big Island papaya farmers produce 96% of Hawaii's papayas."
By Bill Rosato
LONDON, April 5 (Reuters) - The Church of England should not allow new tenants to carry out genetically modified crop trials on its land, the church's Ethical Advisory Group said on Wednesday. "Until further research has been conducted into the ecological risks, new agricultural leases should contain a clause excluding the planting of GM crops on church land," the EAG said in a statement.
Here is a fabulous letter written to the Prime Minister of Canada in response to a booklet the government is distributing, which promotes genetically engineered food.
April 2, 2000
Dear Jean Chretien,
Recently I received a publication entitled "Food Safety and You" in the mail. I am appalled at the information that your government distributed on pages 8-9 publication regarding Biotechnology. That you equate making bread and cheese with yeast and bacteria, to splicing genes together from different organisms makes absolutely no sense! Using a bacteria cell or a yeast cell to cause a chemical reaction to produce a fermented food is not "moving a gene from one organism to another" (to quote your food information guide).
Do you realize just how serious it is to blindly put new technologies on to the market? On one hand you are trying to figure out how to reduce health care costs while the other hand is promoting a questionable industry that could lead to some of the most devastating health problems ever created! One thing I have never understood in this country is why technology is considered innocent until proven guilty. Why do corporations not have to prove with third party, long tern studies that a technology is harmless and beneficial to humans, animals and the environment before it is released? (Less we forget DDT and PCB.) There is a simple answer to my question. Money. Collectively the three top biotech companies hold a comparable financial power to the average country and the Canadian Government is in bed with them.
You are not dealing with a completely ignorant public on this issue and knowledge of the Canadian Government's cover up about the truth of GMO's is growing. We know what is happening in Europe and other countries. Please do not continue to insult our intelligence with such publications as "Food Safety and You".
By the way, just how much did this publication cost us to produce and distribute?
I am very unhappy about genetically-modified foods being created or sold, in this country for the following reasons:
I ask that you personally look into this matter and get back to me with some real answers! Please do not send me a standard form letter informing me that everything is OK and that there are officials that are "looking" in to this.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes.
Ottawa Citizen, April 10, 2000 Page A1
Industry Canada pays dues to a lobby group that works to influence federal government policy on biotechnology and genetically modified organisms, according to documents obtained through the Access to Information Act.
Despite attempts to scale back its involvement with BIOTECanada, Industry Canada continued last year to buy membership in the Ottawa-based lobby group that serves as an advocate for biotech companies.
Intra-departmental memos, obtained by Ottawa researcher Ken Rubin show Industry Canada renewed its membership in December after BIOTECanada agreed to slash annual dues from $6,500 to $1,000 to accommodate the cash-strapped pleas of Dr. George Michaliszyn, director of the Bio-industries Branch of Industry Canada.
However, some of the documents revealed concern within Industry Canada over whether it is proper for Industry Canada to be a member of a group that has as one of its principal purposes influencing the decisions of government departments, especially Industry, Agriculture and Health.
Industry Canada's continued involvement with BIOTECanada breaks with an emerging trend in federal policy of dissociating government departments from groups trying to influence their decisions. Most recently, citing potential conflicts of interest, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Department of Natural Resources last year withdrew from membership in a group lobbying on behalf of the nuclear industry. BIOTECanada provides a unified industry voice and focuses resources to: says a BIOTECanada publicity document.
BIOTECanada, which has received contracts from Industry Canada, says in is involved in many initiatives ... including
Joyce Groote, president of BIOTECanada, is registered on behalf of the group's 115 members to lobby 16 government institutions, including Industry Canada, the Privy Council Office, Health Canada, Environment Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).
In similar memos two years in a row, Industry Canada assistant deputy minister John Banigan defended his department's membership, saying: Industry Canada benefits from in-depth knowledge of the Canadian biotechnology industry through BIOTECanada's senior industry directors, accumulated strategic intelligence, access to the association library and other information on industry which is easily available at no extra cost. A show of support, through continued membership and partnership, is
However, documents show the department did more than show its support through membership. Over the past 15 months, Industry Canada has issued to BIOTECanada at least four separate research contracts worth at least $117,000.
Two of the contracts were to study the positive or negative effects of research and development tax credits on biotechnology companies. Another computer problems in the a survey of
In its lobbyist activity disclosures required under federal law, BIOTECanada also acknowledges receiving $150,000 from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and $34,000 from the International Development Research Centre.
By Krista Foss, The Globe and Mail, Tuesday, April 11, 2000
Ten thousand Atlantic salmon sitting in tanks at a PEI research facility are getting closer to becoming North America's, and perhaps the world's, first genetically modified fish to hit supermarket shelves.
Experts at St. John's-based Aqua Bounty Farms Inc. confirmed yesterday that they are applying to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval of their transgenic fish, which grow to market size (about 3 to 4 kilograms) in about two-thirds the time of regular, farmed Atlantic salmon.
The company still faces some serious regulatory hurdles, including proving that their salmon, which opponents are already calling Frankenfish, are safe to eat and won't contaminate wild populations.
Environmentalists warned today that genetically modified fish which can grow 10 times faster than normal could taint the gene pool and upset the delicate balance of nature.
Full Story: http://www.enn.com/news/wire-stories/2000/04/04112000/reu_gmfish_....
By Valerie Elliott, Countryside Editor,
April 12 2000 The Times
A FOURTH farmer has pulled out of GM crop trials after protests from local people.
Richard Thompson, a dairy and arable farmer from Lincolnshire, said last night that he had abandoned plans for a trial of GM sugar beet on land he owns at Tittleshall, Norfolk, after protests from villagers. He said his decision followed a village public meeting last week when the mood was overwhelmingly anti-trials.
By David Brough, Reuters Company News - April 13, 2000 05:32
ROME, April 13 (Reuters) - A senior official of the U.N.'s world food body has acknowledged "potential risks" from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to human health and the environment and advised risk assessment on a case by case basis.
"We do acknowledge that there are potential risks, either for the human health or for the environment," Hartwig de Haen, an Assistant Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, told Reuters.
"We therefore advocate risk assessment, case by case," he said.
Monsanto claims to "protect" farmers!
By Daniel Girard Toronto Star Western Canada Bureau, Toronto Star April 15, 2000
Monsanto Co. alleges farmer unlawfully used its genetically modified canola seed
BRUNO, Sask. - A man with a quarter-century in elected office and a pickup truck with a vanity licence plate bearing his name is hardly afraid of being the centre of attention.
But even for Percy Schmeiser the notoriety from his fight with an American multinational over canola seed has become a bit overwhelming.
"I'm supposed to be semi-retired," he says. "I'd rather be fishing."
Instead, Schmeiser, 69, who has farmed near this town of 700 people for more than 40 years, is in hot water with Monsanto Co., the biochemical giant. It alleges he violated its patent by using the company's genetically modified canola seed in his fields without permission.
Monsanto and its Canadian subsidiary launched a lawsuit against Schmeiser two years ago. Attempts at mediation have failed. The trial is set to begin June 5 in Saskatoon.
Monsanto wants Schmeiser to admit breaking the rules and to pay the same $15-per-acre (about $37 per hectare) fee it charges 20,000 farmers across Western Canada for using its patented canola seed with a herbicide-tolerant gene. It's also seeking an unspecified sum for the infringement as a deterrent to others.
But rather than settle with Monsanto, as have about 50 other farmers across the Prairies facing the same accusations, Schmeiser is fighting back.
The seeds must have simply blown on to some of his 560 hectares from neighbours' fields and trucks taking crops for processing, Schmeiser says. He first noticed it in 1997, he says, when he was spraying herbicide on what he thought were weeds around the edges of his fields. They survived and spread.
It turns out the plants were Monsanto's genetically altered canola. Schmeiser has launched a counter lawsuit, seeking $10 million from Monsanto for contaminating his farm and the environment, defamation and trespassing to get crop samples.
"I didn't want to be a hero or a saint but felt that what was happening was wrong," says Schmeiser, who decided to fight Monsanto after talking it over with Louise, his wife of 48 years. "We felt our freedoms were being challenged and we had to take a stand."
That stand has raised Schmeiser to a public profile he never imagined. There have been the obvious comparisons with David and Goliath. But there are also global implications for the business of genetically modified foods and family farmers' rights in an increasingly corporate industry.
Schmeiser's fight has captured media attention from around the world, particularly Europe, where the debate over genetically modified organisms is most intense. Reporters from Dutch TV and newspapers in Britain and France are the latest visitors to Bruno, 75 kilometres east of Saskatoon.
"Sometimes I wake up asking myself what I've got myself into, but I've never doubted it was the right thing to do, "says Schmeiser, who was mayor of Bruno in the 1960s and '70s and a two-term Liberal member of the Saskatchewan legislature.
"But I'm also not stupid," says the father of five and grandfather of 13. "I know who I'm up against and I know they've got deep pockets."
St. Louis-based Monsanto is perhaps best known as a maker of PCBs and the Vietnam War herbicide Agent Orange. It has 30,000 employees around the world and rang up profits of $575 million (U.S.) on sales of $9.1 billion (U.S.) last year.
Richard Wolfson, PhD
Consumer Right to Know Campaign, for Mandatory Labelling and Long-term Testing of all Genetically Engineered Foods,
500 Wilbrod Street Ottawa, ON Canada K1N 6N2
tel. 613-565-8517 fax. 613-565-1596 email: email@example.com
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