Genetically
 Manipulated 


 

 
 
 Food


 News

24 May 2000

Table of Contents

Canadian Health Food Association supports GM-free labelling
Inquiry into Welsh-grown GM crops
MPs demand destruction of GM rape crop
Europe Again in Food Flap
Mysterious tumours deal blow to cloning research
Australia: Tasmania must have a Choice on GMOs
Officials fail to check source of GM pollution
Austin City Council Approves GE Food Resolution
Herbicide drift
Ottawa Resists GM Food Label Lobby
Canadian seeds spark European farm furor
US Senators Blast Agreement with Novartis
Activists Create Alternative News Source For Farmers
Transgenic Rice: A Blind Approach
Terminator is Back
Biotech Crops Deserted: 16% less
No Insurance
Safety Sacrificed
Germany Refuses GE Maize
Tony Blair Admits Hazards
International (legal) Uproar
Vocal GM protests loom in Italy
2 arrested for trying to label altered food
Anti-GM Protest Shuts Britain's Agriculture Ministry
British Farmer Digs Up Canadian-Imported Rapeseed
Canadian Food Information Council: Wolf In Sheep's Clothing
Canada faces loss of grain markets over modified food:
GMOs Must Go
20 Environmentalists Closed Down Britain's Ministry Of Agriculture
GM Secrecy 'made Seed Error Worse'
GE Gene Transfer in Gut of Bees
Unilever stops with GE foods in EU
Press release from the Swedish Board of Agriculture 24 May 2000
Sweden orders farmers to dig up contaminated oil seed rape.

Top NextFront Page
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 11:36:17 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-20

Canadian Health Food Association supports GM-free labelling

Source: Canada Newswire, 2000-05-18

Canadian Health Food Association refuses to comply with grocers' sticker requirement

MARKHAM, ON, May 18 /CNW/ - Consumers who truly want to know what is in the foods they are buying will need to shop at their local health food store. Canadian health food stores are refusing to cover up references to genetically modified-free (GM-free) products on their shelves.

This is in response to the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors new requirement for its members that labels indicating a product is free of genetically-modified ingredients must have a sticker covering that information.

"Canadians have a right to know what is in, or not in, the foods they buy," said Donna Herringer, President, Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA). "We refuse to hide information from our customers by applying stickers over GM-free labels."

The Canadian Health Food Association is lobbying for mandatory labelling of all genetically modified foods.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 11:36:17 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-20

Inquiry into Welsh-grown GM crops

18 May, 2000, 08:03 GMT 09:03 UK
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/wales/newsid_752000/752770.st....

GM seeds grown accidentally by hundreds of farmers Assembly Agriculture Secretary Christine Gwyther has asked officials to investigate the possibility that GM oilseed rape may have already been sold and grown in Wales.

Her call comes as the government comes under pressure to trace and destroy genetically-modified (GM) crops which have been grown accidentally by hundreds of British farmers over the past two years.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 11:36:17 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-20

MPs demand destruction of GM rape crop

By Paul Waugh, Political Correspondent, INDEPENDENT (London) 19 May 2000

Labour MPs combined with the Opposition yesterday to demand a tightening of genetically modified crop controls in respone to the revelation that GM seeds had been mistakenly planted across the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture admitted on Wednesday that, over the past two years, 34,000 acres of countryside had been planted with GM oilseed rape.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 11:36:17 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-20

Europe Again in Food Flap

Washington Post
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31328-2000May18.html

LONDON, May 18 Yet another food scare swept Europe this week after a seed company said it had accidentally included some genetically modified seeds in bags sold to farmers in Britain, France, Germany and Sweden over the past two years.

The number of seeds involved was minute –ess than 1 percent of one variety of oilseed plant –ut the political implications were enormous. Environmental groups said the mistake heightened the need for a complete ban on genetic hybrids, even those used for scientific trials.

Opposition parties in the British Parliament today charged the government of a "major stitch-up"-- that is, a coverup--because the agriculture minister knew about the seeds a month ago but didn't reveal the problem.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 11:36:17 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-20

Mysterious tumours deal blow to cloning research

By Lois Rogers, The Ottawa Citizen May 14, 2000
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/national/000514/4100015.html
(Reprinted from The Sunday Times)

Cloned mice are mysteriously developing tumours and obesity in an unexpected setback to the development of the new technology.

The observation has provided fresh evidence that "reprogramming" cells to grow into perfect replica individuals can produce unforeseen consequences.

Other cloned animals have shown excessive growth patterns in the womb, meaning they are too big to be born, or have died soon after birth.

There have also been reports of heart disease and abnormal liver and lung development in cloned animals worldwide.

Data from the University of Hawaii, where the first mouse was cloned more than two years ago, indicate that the onset of obesity in adulthood is linked to events in the earliest moments of embryonic life.

More than 200 cloned mice have now been created. In some strains all the identical mice have become large, while in others some have developed obesity while their cloned siblings have remained a normal size.

"All we know is that the process of cloning produces an animal that grows normally, but becomes a lot larger," said Randall Sakai, a geneticist from the University of Cincinnati drafted to help solve the puzzle. "We are trying to find out if any of the brain neuro-chemicals have been modified in the cloning process."

Details will be published shortly. Tony Perry, a scientist at Rockefeller University in New York who works with Teruhiko Wakayama, the mouse-cloning pioneer, said: "We are still working out whether clones are normal or, if abnormal, in what way."

Dr. Perry said the growing evidence of problems in clones was a warning of the risks of using them as potential donors for organs such as hearts, livers and kidneys for human transplant, or as a source of brain cells to transplant into human sufferers of degenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease.

Last week Cumulina, the first mouse to be produced from an adult cell, died of old age. However, it was revealed that she had earlier undergone surgery to remove skin tumours. A number of other clones are believed to be similarly affected.

Other work by French researchers last year produced evidence that a cow cloned from ear cells had lethal blood and heart defects. The right chamber of one clone's heart was abnormal, and red and white blood cell numbers inexplicably plummeted after birth. The clone died from severe anemia after 51 days.

Scientists at Kinki University in Japan cloned eight cows two years ago. Four died soon after birth from infections, but all had appeared normal.

Harry Griffin, assistant director of the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh which produced Dolly the cloned sheep, said cloning from adult cells may transfer mutations the genetic defects which occur with age from one generation to the next.

"All the research groups that cloned animals in the first wave have gone out of their way to emphasize that this technology is new and unsafe," he said.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 11:36:17 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-20

TASMANIAN GOVERNMENT MEDIA RELEASE

By David Llewellyn, MHA
Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment
Thursday, 11 May 2000

Australia: Tasmania must have a Choice on GMOs

The State Government is insisting the Federal Government provide an opt out clause in Federal GMO legislation to allow Tasmania the choice to be GE free.

Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment, David Llewellyn, said Tasmania was proceeding cautiously on the issue of GMO crops and its decision on the future of GMO’s would based on the best interests of Tasmania.

"This is a very important issue for Tasmania and we regard [it] as seriously as the salmon issue," said Mr Llewellyn.

"Tasmania’s future is dependent on its image as a clean, green disease-free producer, and we must have the right to decide this issue, not be dictated to by the Federal Government."

Mr Llewellyn said until the Tasmanian Food Industry Council had thoroughly investigated the arguments for and against genetically modified foods, the State Government was not in a position to finalise its GMO policy.

"However, if it is found that it is in Tasmania’s best interests to ban GMO crops in Tasmania, that is what we’ll do.

"If the Federal Government continues to insist on its one-size-fits-all policy, refusing Tasmania an opt out clause in its GMO legislation, we will take similar action as was necessary to keep diseased salmon out of the state.

"We would obviously prefer to work cooperatively with the Federal Government, but we’re not going to be bullied.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 11:36:17 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-20

GM food: special report

Officials fail to check source of GM pollution

By James Meikle Saturday May 20, 2000, The Guardian

No goverment officials have yet been to Canada to investigate the contamination of British crops by genetically modified material, more than a month after they were alerted to the mistake.

Contamination of conventional plant seed with rogue GM pollen from plants grown at least half a mile away on the prairies is being blamed by the international company Advanta as the probable cause of the mistake that has led to the planting of thousands of acres of tainted oil-seed rape in the last two springs.

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.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000 15:55:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-21

For immediate release:

Contacts:

Austin City Council Approves GE Food Resolution

May 18, 2000

The Austin City council unanimously approved a resolution today, May 18, supporting federal legislation for labeling and food safety testing of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Polls show that 90% of Americans want GE food labeled and tested. Austin is the second city in the nation, after Boston to pass a resolution on this issue. The city's environmental board recommended the resolution on April 5, 2000.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000 15:55:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-21

Here is a report of the damage caused when herbicides that are being used on herbicide-tolerant crops drift onto non-herbicide tolerant crops, and destroy those crops .

Herbicide drift

Mississippi State University Extension Service
May 5, 2000

agronomy notes [extract]

Corn

Dr. Erick Larson

Herbicide drift - A tremendous number of off-target herbicide drift problems on corn have occurred this spring. Corn planted during the warm, dry conditions of early March emerged quickly, and unfortunately, thousands of acres were destroyed by careless burn-down herbicide applications. Corn injury from herbicide application was often documented more than one mile away from the target field.

Do not apply any herbicides during conditions conducive to off-target drift. Extreme caution is required when susceptible crops are downwind. Increasing acreage of herbicide-tolerant crops may also raise potential for corn injury from herbicide drift during May as well.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000 15:55:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-21

Ottawa Resists GM Food Label Lobby

By Barry Wilson, Ottawa bureau, Western Producer May 11, 2000
http://www.producer.com/articles/20000511/news/20000511news08.htm....

Columnist Wilson writes that the Canadian federal government held its ground last week against increasing political pressure to immediately require labeling of all foods containing genetically modified material. Through more than seven hours of House of Commons debate, government speakers were cited as insisting their cautious approach is the best bet for consumers.

Wilson says that the Bloc Québecois, supported by New Democrat MPs and at least one Liberal, insist consumers have a right to know whether their food contains GM material.

The government insists such labeling is only useful if it announces something that can be measured and scientifically proven. It is supporting a study into voluntary labeling and insists that in the meantime, all food is inspected for health and safety before it can be marketed.

Agriculture minister Lyle Vanclief was quoted as saying during the debate that, "The government is committed to exploring how labeling can best serve the public. The government is not opposed to labeling, but it has to be credible, meaningful and enforceable. ... If we are going to be fair to the consumer, all those criteria have to be met."

Late in the week, BQ MP Helene Alarie was cited as saying her pursuit of mandatory labeling means that for now, new GM products should not be approved, adding, "It is a call in favor of the precautionary principle or a moratorium on GMOs until there is transparency in the process, the public understands it and labeling is made mandatory so as to let people decide what they want to eat."

But, says Wilson, when Alarie continued and pointed to new European Union labeling requirements and said this will cost Canadian farmers export opportunities, the government counter-attacked. Canadian Wheat Board minister Ralph Goodale was cited as saying the EU labeling requirements look better on paper than they do in practice, adding that it has "the appearance of effectiveness but in fact at the root of it, the Europeans do not have the capacity to make their system meaningful, credible and enforceable. Therefore, their approach is largely a mirage."

Bloc on offensive The BQ pursued the issue throughout last week, first with an all-day debate, then a second debate Friday and with daily queries during Question Period. Canadian Alliance agriculture critic Howard Hilstrom said a better option would be to allow companies to voluntarily label products GMO free.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000 15:55:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-21

Canadian seeds spark European farm furor

By Alan Freeman, European Bureau
The Globe and Mail, Friday, May 19, 2000

London – Revelations that farmers in Britain, Germany, France and Sweden have inadvertently been growing genetically modified canola imported from Canada caused an uproar across Europe yesterday – where so-called GM crops are banned from general use.

Dominique Voynet, France's Environment Minister, called for the destruction of the crop, something also being considered by Sweden's government.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000 15:55:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-21

US Senators Blast Agreement with Novartis

by Will Evans, Contributing Writer, The Daily Californian, May 16, 2000, p. 1
http://www.dailycal.org/article.asp?id=2605=news

Alliance With Novartis Comes Under Attack At Hearing

SACRAMENTO State senators grilled university officials yesterday at a special hearing concerning their "unprecedented alliance" with a biotechnology corporation.

State Sen. Tom Hayden, a Democrat from Los Angeles, called the hearing due to concern that a $25 million agreement put UC Berkeley "in bed" with Novartis, a giant corporation responsible for genetically engineered foods many consider to be a danger to the environment and the health of consumers. "Is genetic engineering so valuable that Californians wish to loose natural foods and agriculture?" he said.

"Is anybody studying the adverse effects?" Hayden said a public university is one of the only institutions that can independently research the negative effects of genetically engineered crops, but this may be compromised by UC Berkeley's College of Natural Resources' alliance with the Swiss company.

"There is a significant difference between industryfunded and nonindustry funded research into cancercausing agents," he said. "It scares the hell out of me."


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000 15:55:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-21

Activists Create Alternative News Source For Farmers

AgBiotech Reporter, May 16, 2000
http://www.bioreporter.com

A coalition of trade and activist groups has banded together to form CropChoice, which intends to act as an information source for American farmers about genetically modified crops alternatives, management options, and profitability. As stated on its website http://www.cropchoice.com, its focus is on disseminating news that big companies may not want farmers to hear.

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.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 12:12:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-23

Reprinted with permission from the June 2000 issue of Alive: Canadian Journal of Health and Nutrition

Biotech News

by Richard Wolfson, PhD

Transgenic Rice: A Blind Approach

A transgenic rice with high levels of beta-carotene (a precurser to Vitamin A) is being promoted for reducing blindness from Vitamin A deficiency.

he biotech rice is still in development. Yet, it is already being used by industry as a "Trojan horse" to push genetically engineered (GE) crops, while ignoring safer alternatives.

Extensive production of Vitamin A-enriched rice implies more water-intensive agriculture, since high-yielding rice varieties are highly water demanding. This would lead to depletion of ground water or intensive irrigation from large dams, and associated environmental problems. Also, widespread cultivation of Vitamin A rice would reduce biodiversity (monoculture), creating unknown ecological damage, in addition to the unpredictable effects of genetic engineering on health and the environment.

There are many alternative sources for Vitamin A and beta-carotene, such as green leafy vegetables, which require less water. Further, since those who exhibit vitamin A deficiency generally suffer from malnutrition, enhancing food and nutritional security by increasing the diversity of crops and diets of poor people (who suffer the highest rates of deficiency) is a more safe, effective, and practical means for overcoming nutritional deficiencies.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 12:12:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-23 Alive June 2000

Terminator is Back

According to reports from the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), biotech companies are continuing to develop terminator technology, despite announcements in 1999 that the technology was on hold. Genetically engineered terminator genes, when inserted into crops, makes the crops unable to produce seeds that sprout. This forces farmers to buy new seeds every season, and sabotages the age-old farming practice of saving seeds from one season to the next. Consumer groups are banding together to oppose the technology, as the united front against genetic engineering gains momentum worldwide.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 12:12:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-23 Alive June 2000

Biotech Crops Deserted: 16% less

Studies of American farmers who have just finished buying seed for the coming growing season,show that the farmers plan to plant 16% less genetically modified corn compared to last year. Other studies forecast that the global acreage of all biotech crops (mainly corn and soybeans) could fall by up to 25% compared to last year.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 12:12:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-23 Alive June 2000

No Insurance

The United Kingdon's eading farm insurance company, NFU Mutual, will not offer farmers coverage against pollution from GE crops. The potentially damaging effects when genetically engineered crops cross-pollinate with non-GE crops in neighbouring fields is a major concern.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 12:12:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-23 Alive June 2000

Safety Sacrificed

In 1975, leading genetic researchers at the Asilomar Conference in California warned of health and environmental risks of genetic engineering. Twenty-five years later, these scientists gathered again at Asilomar and warned that safety is being sacrificed due to pressure from industry to rapidly commercialize products produced through genetic technology.

"Morality has been soiled," says Dr. Donald S. Fredrickson, former director of the National Institutes of Health (USA). "Entrepreneurs are repressing any information that suggests an unfavorable outcome as 'proprietary'. We need a re-awakening – a moral re-evaluation." Recently, a young man died from experimental gene therapy after researchers ignored previous research indicating the therapy was not safe.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 12:12:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-23 Alive June 2000

Germany Refuses GE Maize

The German government suspended marketing of GE maize until further research is done. "The health risks of genetically modified maize have not been conclusively examined," says German Health Minister Andrea Fischer


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 12:12:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-23 Alive June 2000

Tony Blair Admits Hazards

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, previously a staunch supporter of biotechnology, recently admitted that genetically modified foods pose health and environmental risks. "There's no doubt that there is potential for harm," says Blair, "both in terms of human safety and in the diversity of our environment, from GM [GE] foods and crops."


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 12:12:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-23 Alive June 2000

International (legal) Uproar

Public interest attorney Steven Druker sent shockwaves through the international press when he spoke at the meeting of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Edinburgh ealier this year.

Druker described a massive cover-up by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA approved genetically engineered foods against the recommendations of its own scientists, who were concerned about safety. Druker is spearheading the lawsuit against the FDA, claiming the agency illegally approved biotech foods and risked the health of Americans.

For further information on biotechnology and its hazards, see the website: http://www.concentric.net/~Rwolfson/home.html


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 12:12:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-23

Thanks to jim jim@niall7.demon.co.uk for posting the following article

Vocal GM protests loom in Italy

by Francesca Nocheti, May 23, 2000
http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,36492,00.html

The debate surrounding GM orgarganisms is warming up in Italy as Tebio, the exhibition and conference on biotechnology that will be held in Geneoa starting Wednesday, approaches, Mobilitebio, the national movement against genetic manipualation, intends to emmulate the Seattle WTO protests.

As a start a group of protestors surrounded the head quarters of Novartis Italy, Orrigio on Saturday and blocked the entrance to the plant with a banner. The slogan on the banner read: When you have cut down the last tree and polluted the last river, eliminated the last living being, you'll realise that you can't eat money.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 12:12:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-23

2 arrested for trying to label altered food

by CATHERINE SOLYOM, The Gazette (Montreal) Tue 23 May 2000 p. A5

Two protesters armed with warning stickers were arrested inside a themselves.

The Provigo on Park Ave. near Sherbrooke St. closed its doors after police alerted it to the demonstration but the two protesters were already inside. One was charged with refusing to leave, the other with vandalism.

About 40 protesters said they were forced to take action because the government won't. They question the safety of 43 genetically modified organisms approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that are increasingly present in all kinds of food, from tomatoes to breakfast cereals. The government has not done enough tests on these products to prove that said Pascal Gomes, 28. And once they're in the environment, it's virtually impossible to get rid

In the absence of safety checks, protesters demanded mandatory labeling on all products that contain GMOs. Canada is not the only one grappling with this issue. Two weeks ago, the United Nations body that sets international standards for trade in food failed to reach an agreement on how to label GMOs, referring the issue back to a committee headed by Canada for study.

In the meantime, protesters vowed to label products themselves. They continued their campaign outside the store, approaching shoppers with grocery bags to show them which products most likely contained GMOs.

Rene Fournier, 28, offered up his groceries for inspection; most were promptly labeled. Fournier was a little skeptical that so many had GMOs, Should we wait until products are proven harmful before we stop selling them? That's the I don't think anybody really said Scott Rattee, 27. If you listen to everything, you're said one shopper who was waiting for the store to reopen.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 12:12:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-23

Anti-GM Protest Shuts Britain's Agriculture Ministry

Tuesday May 23 10:54 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - About 20 environmentalists closed down Britain's Ministry of Agriculture Tuesday with a protest against the planting of genetically modified (GM) oil seed that sparked fury in Europe last week.

The activists chained themselves together with bicycle locks in the lobby of the ministry's London headquarters, demanding the destruction of 600 GM oilseed crops and compensation to farmers unwittingly sold the seeds by Advanta.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 12:12:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-23

British Farmer Digs Up Canadian-Imported Rapeseed

Tuesday May 23 11:08 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - At least one British farmer is digging up his crop of oilseed rape which may contain genetically modified material seed after last week's news that seed imported from Canada may contain GMOs, environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth said Tuesday. A farmer affected by the Advanta Seeds GM contamination incident has decided to dig up his crop. Friends of the Earth has learned that the farm the group said in a statement.

The part of eastern England involved is one of Britain's biggest grain and oilseeds production areas. Friends the government has a duty to see that all contaminated crops are removed from the ground at once, and that farmers are properly compensated for any losses they suffer.

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.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 06:43:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-24

Canadian Food Information Council: Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

from a press release, May 23, 2000

OTTAWA – The Canadian Food Information Council (CFIC) is hiding the fact that it is sponsored by major food corporations, charges the Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a health-advocacy organization with offices in Washington and Ottawa. According to CSPI executive director CFIC issues statements that support food-industry positions but do not disclose that it is funded by Monsanto, Coca-Cola,


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 06:43:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-24

Canada faces loss of grain markets over modified food:

By Pauline Tam, The Ottawa Citizen Sat 20 May 2000 p. A8

European Union bans altered crops

Canada stands to lose key export markets for grain if it does not devise a reliable system to separate genetically modified crops from conventionally bred varieties, and verify their purity.

The warning from environmentalists grew more intense this week following revelations that genetically modified canola from Canada was accidentally mixed with conventional stock, and illegally planted in four European countries. I think we're reaching a point in the marketplace where it's becoming genetically modified crops from conventional varieties, said Mark Winfield, research director of the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, a Toronto-based think tank.

Similar calls have come from within the country's grain industry. Last fall, the Canadian Wheat Board made it clear it is time for the agricultural sector to start looking at ways to segregate genetically modified crops to satisfy the demands of export markets.

Mr. Winfield said the most logical international forum to negotiate a segregation and verification system is the United Nations-sponsored Biosafety Protocol. However, the global treaty regulating the trade and handling of genetically modified organisms is not yet in place and the lengthy process of ratifying the agreement has just begun.

While genetically modified crops are approved for commercial planting in Canada and the United States, they are not allowed in the European Union, where public opinion against genetic engineering is strong.

European authorities are still studying the impact of gene-altered crops on the environment, and have expressed fears that once planted, such crops will spread their genetically engineered traits uncontrollably.

But despite the prohibition, genetically modified canola found its way onto hundreds of farms in Britain, Sweden, Germany and France, raising questions about the purity of the seed sold by the Canadian supplier that admitted to the mistake.

Advanta Seeds Canada Inc. of Winnipeg acknowledged it has no way of guaranteeing that wind and bees don't spread genetically engineered traits to crops of conventional canola.

Yesterday, the British government and farmers began exploring the possibility of taking legal action against Advanta Seeds over the genetically modified seed. Officials with the British Agriculture Department and the National Farmers Union said their investigations of the legal implications of the sale of the banned seed were at a preliminary stage.

The Swedish and French governments, meanwhile, have proposed destroying the infected crops.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 06:43:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-24

GMOs Must Go

The Globe and Mail, May 22, 2000, A12

Ghazala Faruqui writes in amazement that there are people in Canada who are calling the European reaction to the genetically modified canola seeds (Canola Operation Could Leave Canada Over Europe's Uproar – May 19). Faruqui s son has a severe allergy to canola oil that has developed only after we moved to Canada in 1996. Before then any canola oil he consumed came from non-GM canola seeds.

Hugh Daubeny of Vancouver writes that nearly every day there are pronouncements about negative, or potentially negative, aspects of genetically modified (GM) crops and the products derived from them. Is it not time that GM crops be banned completely from commerce? Testing must continue; it must be done over a long period of time, under every conceivable condition, and in isolation. To date, not all of these conditions have been met on a consistent basis. Testing must consider the environment, human and animal consumption, and social and economic impacts. Only after all of this, can there be any confidence on pronouncements, whether they be negative or positive.


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Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 06:43:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-24

20 Environmentalists Closed Down Britain's Ministry Of Agriculture

May 23, 2000, Reuters/PA News

LONDON According to these stories, about 20 environmentalists closed down Britain's Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday with a protest against the planting of genetically modified (GM) oil seed that sparked fury in Europe last week.

The stories say that the activists chained themselves together with bicycle locks in the lobby of the ministry's London headquarters, demanding the destruction of 600 GM oilseed crops and compensation to farmers unwittingly sold the seeds by Advanta.

The protesters accuse the British government and Advanta of "deliberately and knowingly allowing the release of GM oilseed to continue" after word of the accidental sowing became known.

Lucy Michaels, one of the activists, was quoted as saying, "This contamination is all too convenient to the government and the GM industry. The socalled 'accident' seems to be a plot to force parliament, farmers and the public to accept GM crops and foods and a reduction in GMfree standards."

Last night, Tory shadow agriculture minister Tim Yeo was cited as writing to the minister demanding to know why a range of key environmental advisers had not been told of the release for four weeks after it occurred. UK Agriculture Minister Nick Brown was cited as telling the Commons on May 18 that the Government had known of the problem since April 17, but had delayed making the facts public while it consulted advisers.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 06:43:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-24

GM Secrecy 'made Seed Error Worse'

by Valerie Elliott, Countryside Editor, The British Times May 22, 2000
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/news/pages/tim/2000/05/22/timconcon0100....

Baroness Young of Old Scone, the chairman of English Nature, was cited as saying that an effective early warning system must be put in place to avoid a repeat of the rogue genetically modified seed fiasco. The story says that Young was among leading environmental advisers to the Government who were not informed that 22,000 acres last year and 10,000 this year had been planted with GM-contaminated spring oilseed rape imported from Canada.

She said that if the rogue seed error had been made public on April 17, when the Government first knew, it might have halted the planting of some spring crops. Many farmers had delayed their spring planting because of wet weather. She said that she was "very surprised" that English Nature had not been consulted on such an important issue when this was precisely its role.


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Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 06:43:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-24

GE Gene Transfer in Gut of Bees

Report of Gene Transfer from G-E Rapeseed to Bacteria and Fungi in the Gut of Bees

by Dr. Beatrix Tappeser, Institute for Applied Ecology
Postfach 6226, D-79038 Freiburg, Germany
Phone: (49)761-45295-39    Fax:(49)761-475437    email: tappeser@oeko.de

The German Television ZDF reported on Sunday May 21 that a German researcher found a gene transfer from genetically engineered rapeseed to bacteria and fungi in the gut of honey bees. Prof. Hans-Hinrich Kaatz from the Institut für Bienenkunde (Institute for bee research) at the University of Jena experimented during the last three years with honey bees on an experimental field with transgenic rapeseed in Saxony, Germany.

The field trial was performed by AgrEvo, the rapeseed was engineered to resist the herbicide glufosinate (Liberty, Basta). Prof. Kaatz built nets in the field with the transgenic rapeseed and let the bees fly freely within the net. At the beehives, he installed pollen traps in order to sample the pollen loads from the bees´ hindlegs when entering the hive.

This pollen was fed to young honey bees in the laboratory. (Pollen is the natural diet of young bees which need a high protein diet). Then Prof.Kaatz took the intestine out of the young bees and spread the contents on growth medium to grow the microorganisms.

He probed the microorganisms for the pat-gene, the gene that conferes resistance to glufosinate. In some bacteria and also in a yeast hefound the pat-gene. This indicates that the gene from the genetically engineered rapeseed was transferred in the bee´s gut to the microbes.

(Summary written by Greenpeace Germany)

Dr. Beatrix Tappeser Institute for Applied Ecology Postfach 6226, D-79038 Freiburg Phone: (49)761-45295-39 or 0 Fax:(49)761-475437 email: tappeser@oeko.de


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 06:43:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-24

Unilever stops with GE foods in EU

Volkskrant, The Netherlands, 24-5-2000 p2

Amsterdam- Foodcompany Unilever switches to non-GE ingredients for its European factories. The new suppliers are being selected between now and 2002.

In the choice to go for GE free ingredients the emotions from consumers have played a decisive role, says H. Jongeneelen, head of the technical department of Unilevers fooddivision.

Especially in the UK, Germany, Austria and Scandinavia there are many objections to food based on GE ingredients. In England, Unilever already produced with GE free ingredients.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 06:43:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-24

Thanks to Martin Frid of the Sweden Consumer Coalition for final news on the Government's decision:

Norfolk Genetic Information Network
http://members.tripod.com/~ngin

Press release from the Swedish Board of Agriculture 24 May 2000

The Swedish Board of Agriculture has decided that the crops with genetically modified oil seed rape shall be destroyed.

The Swedish Board of Agriculture today came to a decision on an injunction to the farmers that this year has sown seed from the lots of the oil seed rape variety Hyola 38, that has an impurity of Roundup resistant rape seed.

The decision means that the crops must be destroyed by 7 July at the latest, unless a possible consent for a deliberate release has been given by the Board of Agriculture before that date.

The Swedish Board of Agriculture bases its decision on Chapter 13 section 12 in The Environmental Code (SFS 1998:808), which states that a consent shall be obtained for the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or the placing on the market of products containing or consisting of such organisms. According to the opinion of the Board of Agriculture, this means that even if the release was unintentional when the oil seed rape was sown, the grower is obliged to destroy the crop before the seeds have matured.

The Board of Agriculture has opened for a possibility for farmers that for some reason don't want to destroy the crop, to apply for a consent. Consents may possibly be given to trials. With this opening, the Board of Agriculture takes into consideration the points that were given by the consultative body, the Gene Technology Advisory Board in their statement.

The decision means that the farmer is allowed to keep the oil seed rape crop until flowering. The reason behind the chosen time, is that this genetically modified oil seed rape is male sterile, and therefore only produces insignificant quantities of pollen. In this way, the farmer can get the area payment and keep his planned crop rotation. To wait with the destruction of the crop until flowering also means reduced risks for leakage of nutrients from the fields.

More information is available at the website of the Swedish Board of Agriculture, http://www.sjv.se

Contacts

  • Ingbritt Irhammar, General Director, tel. +4670 595 93 50
  • Carl Johan Lidén, Head of the Department for Crop Production and Environment, tel +4636 15 50 30, +4670 543 78 11
  • Gabriella Cahlin, Head of the Crop Production Division, tel +4636 15 56 83
  • Anna-Clara Sjöström, Crop Production Division (cultivation, legislation) tel +4636 15 51 58, +4670532 51 79
  • Jennie Brundin, Crop Production Division (cultivation, legislation) tel +4636 15 56 87, +4670 54378 13
  • Göran Öster, Legal Affairs Division (legislation) tel +4636 15 59 94
    Top PreviousFront Page
    Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 06:43:39 -0400 (EDT)
    From: Richard Wolfson rwolfson@concentric.net GEN5-24

    Greenpeace Press Release

    Greenpeace reveals new outbreak of GM contamination - up to 975,000 hectares of maize crop affected across Europe.

    Sweden orders farmers to dig up contaminated oil seed rape.

    Issued: 24 May, 2000.

    Information leaked to Greenpeace today shows that yet more UK crops have been contaminated with GM seeds. In response, Greenpeace calls on the government to identify, contain and destroy all GM contaminated crops and seeds immediately.

    According to information passed to Greenpeace, on Monday 22 May 2000 and Tuesday 23 May 2000, the European Seed Association (ESA) sent faxed copies of a letter about GM contamination to a variety of public bodies including the European Commission, EU Governments and MEPs on the Agriculture and Environment Committees of the European Parliament. This letter was received by Baroness Hayman at MAFF on Monday 22 May.

    In this letter there is a two-line reference to a problem with the European maize crop.

    Greenpeace understands that for the maize seed planted this year, between 5% and 15% of the European crop is contaminated with GMOs affecting a total crop area of up to 975,000 hectares across the EU.

    There was also a lesser degree of contamination of the 1999 planting of maize in Europe and illegal GMO's entered the food chain as a result.

    UK and European Commission officials (in DGXXIV Consumer protection) have been meeting with the seed industry to try to establish voluntary rules that would allow up to 1% of any batch of seeds to be GM contaminated. At present European rules allow zero contamination of GM seeds. By changing these rules widespread commercial growing of GM would be given official blessing through this gaping loophole in contravention of clear government promises to the contrary.

    Greenpeace campaigner Charlie Kronick said "This is a monumental breach of public trust. In the face of a major GM outbreak that will affect farmers, consumers and the environment - The government have turned for support to very GM industry that caused the problem. They handed them what they have always wanted: permission to pollute.. "

    "The government should immediately stop plotting with industry about how to allow contamination and instead act to eliminate the pollution".

    Greenpeace is calling on the UK government to treat this contamination as they would treat an outbreak.

    1. Take immediate action to identify contaminated seeds and crops

    2. Control and destroy any contaminated seeds or crops.

    3. Arrange compensation for affected farmers and merchants.

    4. Stop all further seed imports from GM contaminated countries until they are verified GM-free.

    5. Dump the proposed voluntary code by the seed industry in favour of a tough legal set of measures to ensure absolute elimination of GM contamination.

    Charlie Kronick " The necessary government course of action has been made very clear by the public reaction - pull up the crops, pay up to the farmers and tell the GM industry to shut up! It is now very clear that these sort of accidents will keep happening with GM crops. The government should press for a world-wide ban on GM crops before they become totally uncontrollable."

    Also today The Swedish board of agriculture decided that the crops with genetically modified oil seed rape contamination shall be destroyed. The UK government must now follow their lead and take similar decisive action for both the contaminated rape and the maize.

    -- ENDS --

    Editor's Notes:

    This news comes a day before governments including the UK are due to sign the international Cartegena Biosafety protocol in Nairobi Kenya. This international treaty aims to controls the illegal movement of GM crops and seeds around the globe.

    For more information call the Press Office on 0207 865 8255.

    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.


    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: rwolfson@concentric.net

    Our website, http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/geindex.html contains more information on genetic engineering as well as previous genetic engineering news items. Subscription fee to genetic engineering news is $35 (USD for those outside Canada) for 12 months, payable to "BanGEF" and mailed to the above address. Or see website for details.