Genetically
 Manipulated 


 

 
 
 Food


 News

15 September 2000

Table of Contents

Biotech forced removal of non-GM Seed
Alternatives to Oil: Renewable Energy could become more important
BIOWATCH: Organic food market growth in UK.(40% per annum)
BST milk: very useful published works.
Will New Zealand go GM free? - new Organic versus GM study
FAO report supports Organic
"Genetically-Modified" US Food Aid Suspect.
Precautionary Policies and Biotechnology in Africa.
The institutions of precaution
Africa Still Not as Excited as GM Companies Claim
Labeling Busines: how to avoid it
The Parable of the four Beggars
"Drug-company influence on medical education in USA" (and UK??)
Saskatchewan: Latest on our man Percy
Spin detector: new organisation called "NovaTero"
New GMO varieties From Novartis
Prion disease - dormant but deadly
Ireland: Ploughing GM crops has risks, - McKenna
Health improvements through avoiding soya (Both conventional and GM soya)

Top NextFront Page
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 12:46:13 +0200
From: "taynton" taynton@cdrive.co.za

Biotech forced removal of non-GM Seed

From Natural Law Party Wessex
nlpwessex@bigfoot.com     http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex

Sections:
Cropchoice News

There's only one really effective way in the long term to ensure that consumers have to eat GMOs and that's to make sure that farmers can't buy normal seed any more by making it unavailable to farmers. This process is already well underway in the US (see Crop Choice item below) as predicted by NLPWessex nearly two years ago:

"In these circumstances the temptation for biotechnology companies to start buying traditional seed houses (which is already happening at an alarming rate) in order to phase out existing non-modified varieties irrespective of their merits is a major worry. It is not in the biotechnology companies’ interests for farmers to continue having access to competitive non-GM seed." (The Emperor's Transgenic Clothes - Are GMO lemmings in the US leading all of us over the biotechnology cliff? See: http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/gmlemmings.htm )

When are our farmers going to realise what is going on and join forces with the general public to stop this? If farmers across Europe are willing to take direct action to blockade oil-refineries then action in the seed area is an easy step. The present oil crisis and OPEC's command over global energy supplies is as nothing compared to the coming power of the Biotech industry and its control over global food supplies.

"Farmers will be given just enough to keep them interested in growing the crops, but no more. And GM companies and food processors, will say very clearly how they want the growers to grow the crops." Friedrich Vogel, head of BASF's crop protection business (Farmers Weekly 6 November 1998).

"Novartis, the Swiss company that owns NK Seeds, announced 22 new corn and soybean varieties today. In another few weeks your mailbox will be stuffed with flyers about them. One disturbing aspect for producers may be choice: only a quarter of the varieties are conventional. Most are YieldGard, Liberty Link, or Roundup Ready, all traits Novartis licensed from other big biotech seed companies like Monsanto and Aventis." (Cropchoice, 9 September 2000).

NATURAL LAW PARTY WESSEX nlpwessex@bigfoot.com www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex

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

New GMOs From Novartis

9/11/00, Cropchoice News http://www.cropchoice.com

Thisyear's crop isn't even harvested yet; but the big seed companies are already asking for your 2001 seed (and tech fee) dollars. Novartis, the Swiss company that owns NK Seeds, announced 22 new corn and soybean varieties today.

In another few weeks your mailbox will be stuffed with flyers about them. One disturbing aspect for producers may be choice: only a quarter of the varieties are conventional. Most are YieldGard, Liberty Link, or Roundup Ready, all traits Novartis licensed from other big biotech seed companies like Monsanto and Aventis. Many are also "stacked" types that contain more than one genetic modification.

Novartis sells American farmers GMO seed; but it will not buy its own products. Last month the company announced that it has banned GMOs from the foods it makes.

The company knows farmers are upset about the mixed message. Alluding in part to biotech, Novartis corn seed manager Marc Hennen suggests farmers act like Novartis on biotech - go both ways. Hennen says "Just as a financial manager encourages investors to spread risk across a variety of stocks, we encourage farmers to take a portfolio approach to their seed selections."

But farmers might not be too happy about filling their "portfolio" with GMOs whose market is uncertain. Groups like the American Corn Growers Association find evidence that the market for GMOs won't quickly improve. Just last week, the Italian Prime Minster personally decided to tighten that county's seed laws against biotech seed, specifically including Novartis Bt corn.

More than half (5 of 9) new hybrid corn offerings are GMO (all are stacked YieldGard and LibertyLink), and a whopping 11 of 13 soybeans are biotech, mainly Roundup Ready.

While the super-sized companies squeeze their customers into biotech through a reduced offering of new conventional seeds, others see an opportunity. Several smaller seed producers that aren't too restrained by agreements with the biotech giants, like Fielder's Choice and NC+ Organics, are upping their non-GMO offerings for next year.

2001 will also see a dramatic expansion in the number of certified non-GMO varieties available, which may offer options to farmers who don't see what they want in Novartis and other big company's catalogs. [Stay tuned to Cropchoice for more news on biotech and non-biotech seed for 2001.]

Source: Novartis, Europe Agri


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 12:46:13 +0200
From: "taynton" taynton@cdrive.co.za

"Paying more for oil means increases in the price of almost everything that drives the rich economies."

That means also food prices!

Alternatives to Oil: Renewable Energy could become more important

by BBC News Online's Environment Correspondent Alex Kirby
BBC Online:, Friday, 8 September, 2000, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/business/newsid_916000/916492.st....

Sections:
The Age of Coal
Nuclear puzzle
Renewable fuels
Conservation

The industrialised world stands aghast at the prospect of rising oil prices.

Paying more for oil means increases in the price of almost everything that drives the rich economies.

The possibility that oil prices could continue to rise appals the Northern countries, who see no other way to fuel their growth.

But they have little room for manoeuvre, because they cannot determine the prices. In the grip of a crisis, it is hard to argue that there may be a silver lining.

But the benefit of the present oil price hikes could be to focus attention on the possibility of a world far less dependent on oil.

Environmental groups have for years been arguing that we shall all have to live radically different lives when the oil reserves are finally exhausted.

The truth is that they probably never will be. Oil will simply become too expensive to compete with other fuels.

Amory Lovins, of the Rocky Mountain Institute, is fond of reminding audiences: "The stone age didn't end because the stone ran out, and the oil age will be just the same."

The Age of Coal

Before oil's supremacy, coal was king.

It was the bedrock of the industrial revolution in Europe and North America, and it still has a role to play.

There are enormous reserves of coal available, but it does give off large quantities of the gases which are causing climate change, especially carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2).

Technology can help, up to a point, with improvements like fluidised bed technology, which burns coal much more efficiently and results in much less pollution.

But it seems highly unlikely that coal will ever recover its once-dominant position.

Nuclear puzzle

Some people still pin their hopes on nuclear power, which makes far less of a contribution to global warming (though it is not entirely neutral).

But in half a century the world's nuclear industry has had at least three serious accidents. Windscale (UK, 1957), Three Mile Island (US, 1979) and Chernobyl (USSR, 1986) are names etched into the global memory, synonyms for horrific brushes with catastrophe.

Many people therefore reject new nuclear plants in the belief that more accidents are inevitable.

And apart from that, the industry still shows no sign of being able to get rid of its waste in safety.

Renewable fuels

A third category of fuel comes under the heading of renewables.

Some are tried and tested, like hydro-electric power, and many countries, for instance Norway, are already exploiting them to the full.

Wind and wave power have promise, as does biomass - crops like willow which grow quickly and are increasingly being used for fuel.

Solar power is coming on by leaps and bounds. There are already photo-voltaic cells which will provide power on a cloudy British winter's day, or even by moonlight.

They are expensive, but a lot cheaper than similar cells were a few years ago.

For vehicles, many motor manufacturers believe the future lies in fuel cells, which will power cars as effectively as now, but without relying on oil.

They foresee a change from an oil-based economy to one based on hydrogen.

Conservation

And there is what its supporters are fond of calling "the fifth fuel" - energy conservation.

Most of us still waste fuel on a prodigious scale, and the savings we could make by greater efficiency, and by just switching off, are immense.

The environment minister of an eastern European country told me in the early 1990s: "In the Soviet days, we did have thermostats in our homes and factories. When we got too hot, we just opened the windows."

Rising oil prices are the perfect excuse for second thoughts.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 13:26:16 +0200
From: "taynton" taynton@cdrive.co.za

BIOWATCH: Organic food market growth in UK.(40% per annum)

Once derided as a fad, now flavour of the month

By Adam Lusher, Sunday Telegraph(London) September 10, 2000, Section: Pg. 05

WHEN the Prince of Wales started converting the Highgrove estate to an organic farming system in 1986, he faced widespread derision. It was, the critics decided, just another example of the Prince's eccentricity. Organic food, they said, was only for lentil-eaters. This year, the Prince's Duchy Originals organic food range is expecting sales of more than pounds 8 million, and hundreds of conventional farmers will visit Highgrove to explore how to go organic. According to a Tesco spokesman: "The year 2000 will be remembered as the year organic became mainstream."

An estimated one in four people now regularly eats organic food. Sales in Britain have grown by 40 per cent a year since 1995, helped by a succession of food scares. They are expected to reach pounds 546 million this year, and more than pounds 1 billion by 2002. Some surveys suggest that customers pay an average of 70 per cent more for organic produce than for non- organic. Sir John Krebs, the chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said this month: "They're not getting value for money if they think they're buying food with extra nutritional quality or extra safety."

But despite his comments, many people are convinced that organic farming, by eschewing artificial pesticides and fertilisers, produces safer, more environmentally friendly and nutritious food. The main supermarkets now face a demand for organic produce that far outstrips domestic supply - part of the reason why Tesco is to give Newcastle University about pounds 500,000 to research organic techniques. The rival chain Iceland is to switch its entire own-brand frozen vegetable range to organic.

The company claims to have bought up nearly 40 per cent of the world's organic vegetable supplies to cope with the growing demand. The chain has also invested pounds 1 million in the National Trust to enable tenant farmers to use more environmentally friendly farming methods. Malcolm Walker, the chairman, said: "Ethically and morally we are happy to be fighting for better food." He added: "Commercially it makes sense as well."

Sainsbury's is believed to sell the most organic produce, with sales of pounds 3.2 million a week. It stocks 650 organic lines, and is working with farmers in Grenada and St Lucia to develop a market for organic exotic fruits.

Tesco adheres to the maxim that the customer is always right. "Customers want organic, they want lots of it and it's our job to make sure they get it," the spokesman said yesterday.


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 17:52:30 +0200
From: BIOWATCH: "taynton" taynton@cdrive.co.za

Bst Milk.

You may like to follow up on these published works in this press release below. You may also like to browse http://www.notmilk.com it takes years to download.(shocking stuff)

The following could very well be the key to curing cancer in America.

BST milk: very useful published works.

Dairy Education Board 4 October, 1999

Press Release
Contact: Ann Mcanany at (201) 871-5871 (USA)

Sections:
BACKGROUND
CONCLUSION
TIMELINE

BACKGROUND

For five years (1990-1995), the most-written about controversy in the history of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was the approval process for a hormone that was injected into cows to produce more milk.

CONCLUSION

FDA regulators concluded that genetically engineered milk was safe to drink because hormones in milk could not survive human digestion. The publication of a new peer-reviewed scientific journal article will have people responding to the 'GOT MILK' question by asking: "GOT CANCER?"

TIMELINE

1979
Twenty years ago, scientists discovered the most powerful growth hormone in the human body, naming it insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF- I).
1989
Ten years ago, scientists learned that IGF-I was an identical match in the cow's body and the human body.
1994
Five years ago, FDA encountered the biggest controversy in their history by approving the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone known as BGH (aka BST). When that hormone is injected into cows, levels of IGF-I in milk increase by about 80%.
1998
Two years ago, IGF-I was called the key factor in the growth and proliferation of prostate cancer (Science - January, 1998) and breast cancer (The Lancet - May, 1998).
1999
One year ago, IGF-I was identified as the key factor in the growth of lung cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute - January, 1999).
TODAY
This week, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (Page 1231) said this about IGF-I levels in people who drink milk:

"Serum IGF-I levels (blood levels) increased significantly in the milk group . . . an increase of about 10% above baseline – but was unchanged in the control group."

This blockbuster scientific finding contradicts every major conclusion made by FDA scientists, and sends a chilling warning to ice cream eaters. GO MILK? GOT POWERFUL HORMONES!

Robert Cohen is the director of the Dairy Education Board and is available for interviews.

CONTACT: ANN MCANANY AT (201) 871-5871 (USA)

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P O Box 665, Linkhills, 3652, KwaZulu-Natal, Republic of South Africa; tel: 031-763 2634, Cell 083 662 0411, e-mail: taynton@cdrive.co.za
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Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 13:44:59 +0200
From: BIOWATCH: "taynton" taynton@cdrive.co.za

Thanks to NGIN for this remarkable research result. It seems the more the scientific establishment makes conspicuously deliberate attempts to attack organic produce the more people - including farmers - want it.

What does this tell us about the standing of scientists in society today especially when it comes to matters of food? (see Time magazine article for their extraordinary ability to regularly get it wrong in this area: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/articles/0,3266,27937,00.html ).

NATURAL LAW PARTY WESSEX
nlpwessex@bigfoot.com
http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex

Will New Zealand go GM free? - new Organic versus GM study

New Research Shows New Zealand Farmers Clearly Favour Organic Over GM

By Dr Hugh Campbell, Otago University.
Ph: 03-4798749,   Fax: 03-4799095   Email: hugh.campbell@otago.ac.nz

Press Release: 11 September 2000

Recent research conducted by the Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit at Lincoln University has revealed a strong lack of support for GM technologies among primary producers. Many more farmers and growers showed an inclination towards organic production rather than GM. The researchers – Andrew Cook (Lincoln), John Fairweather (Lincoln) and Hugh Campbell (Otago University) – analysed the intentions of 656 farmers and growers across all the major agricultural and horticultural sectors about whether they would adopt GM technologies or organic production.

The survey measured strength of farmer intentions to use new technologies in the next ten years. The results showed that only 21% of growers had a positive intention to use GM technologies, while 44% had a negative intention. Conversely, 37% had a positive intention towards organic production, while 19% had a negative intention. In a more direct question, 49% of farmers and growers thought that New Zealand should try to become GM-free, while 32% disagreed with such a strategy.

Dr Hugh Campbell (Otago University) commented that while the results may surprise some people, the survey involved a lot of respondents and deployed sophisticated methods to enable an accurate understanding of farmer and grower intentions to be understood. Further, the results are in line with other recent surveys on farmer and grower opinions on GM and organics. One recent Australian survey showed that 26% of Australian primary producers were supportive of using GM technologies, while a recent survey in New Zealand by Affco suggested that 15% of growers supported GM technologies.

The same Affco study suggested that 70% of farmers and growers supported organics. Dr Campbell suggested that this result was overly influenced by the use of an ‘either/or’ option in the survey method, but the Lincoln University findings were not incompatible with this figure. ‘We have provided a more accurate finding for the true level of support for organics (37%) and GM (21%) among farmers and the results are still very surprising. There is clearly strong latent support for organic production, and the level of farmer antipathy to organics evident a few years ago appears to have dramatically decreased’. ‘In contrast, the GM fad among farm industry leaders and agricultural scientists is not catching on with the grassroots industry. Farmers are basically sceptical about the prospects for GM technologies’. Contacts

For Comment:


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 13:44:59 +0200
From: BIOWATCH: "taynton" taynton@cdrive.co.za

Many thanks to wytze for alerting us to this

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

FAO report supports Organic

While GM proponents continue to smear organic farming, a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report in July of this year concluded that organic practices can actually reduce e-coli infection that causes food poisoning (the exact opposite of GM proponent claims) and also reduce the levels of contaminants in foods. The Food and Agriculture Organisation is the largest autonomous agency within the United Nations.

The full FAO report is available for download as a Word document from: http://www.fao.org/organicag/frame2-e.htm

Here are some excerpts:

Twenty Second Fao Regional Conference For Europe
Porto, Portugal, 24-28 July 2000
Agenda Item 10.1
Food Safety And Quality As Affected By Organic Farming

[on - E. Coli contamination]

  1. The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) identifies the main source for human infection with E. coli as meat contaminated during slaughter. Virulent strains of E. coli, such as E. coli 0157:H7, develop in the digestive tract of cattle, which is mainly fed with starchy grain as research at Cornell University has demonstrated . Cows mainly fed with hay generate less than 1 % of the E. coli found in the faeces of grain-fed animals. It is one of the most important goals of organic farming to keep the nutrient cycles closed. Therefore, ruminants like cattle and sheep are fed with diets with a high proportion of grass, silage and hay. It can be concluded that organic farming potentially reduces the risk of E. coli infection.

    F. Other Aspects of Organic Food Quality

  2. The understanding of food quality has been expanded beyond mere definition by chemical content, technical characteristics for processing and storage, appearance and taste. Particularly in organic agriculture, but not exclusively so, other considerations like ethical values and production principles (environmental impact such as energy efficiency, non-pollution, animal welfare, aim for sustainability and social impact) are gaining weight as integral product values.

    In this context, organic agriculture's contribution to cleaner drinking water, e.g. in Lithuania's Karst regions, UK's environmentally sensitive areas and Germany's water protection areas, and to higher weed, insect and bird diversity or general environmental quality are positive values that are appreciated by consumers. Quality issues are receiving increasingly more attention in the public debate, particularly in the Nordic countries and Estonia .

  3. Organic farming enhances genetic biodiversity including organisms living in the soil, wild life, wild flora and cultivated crops. Organic agriculture practices recover indigenous crop varieties and regenerate landraces with distinct quality characteristics such as the Genovese mountain potato in Italy (Quarantina bianca and Cannellina nera). ....

    52. The "organic" label is not a health claim, it is a process claim. Nevertheless, in view of the reduced use of chemically synthesised inputs in organic farming, many studies have been carried out to investigate safety and quality implications of the production system.

    It has been demonstrated that organically produced foods have lower levels of pesticide and veterinary drug residues and, in many cases, lower nitrate contents. Animal feeding practices followed in organic livestock production, also lead to a reduction in contamination of food products of animal origin. In addition, the "organic" label provides assurance to consumers that no food ingredient has been subject to irradiation and that GMOs have been excluded. ....

  4. Considering the potential environmental benefit of organic production, its suitability for the integrative role of agriculture in rural development and its aptness to current farming input and production levels in many CEE and CIS countries, organic agriculture should be considered as a development vehicle in the sub-region. The FAO Committee on Agriculture agreed in 1999 that properly managed organic farming contributes to sustainable agriculture and therefore organic agriculture has a legitimate place within sustainable agriculture programmes.

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P O Box 665, Linkhills, 3652, KwaZulu-Natal, Republic of South Africa;
tel: 031-763 2634, Cell 083 662 0411, e-mail: taynton@cdrive.co.za
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Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 06:47:01 EDT
From: RBBAX@aol.com

Please circulate

"Genetically-Modified" US Food Aid Suspect.

Text of report by Burundi news agency Net Press on 5th September 2000

Bujumbura, 5th September: The director of the Africa regional office of the international organization for consumers has addressed a letter to the US president informing the latter of his concern about the dispatching by two American companies, Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill For Humanitarian Aid For Africa, of genetically-modified maize which will have negative effects on environment. Also the maize is not labelled, he added.

He also said the products constituted a danger for the heath of the consumers. He therefore asked the US president to carry out an investigation on the export to Africa of that genetically-modified maize.

In the same vein, the Association of Burundi Consumers [Abuco] has just addressed a letter to the US ambassador to Burundi informing him of similar fears.

Abuco asked the envoy to convey these concerns to President Clinton, all the more so because the maize had probably been sent to Burundi following the "socio-political" crisis and because "that aid" was therefore destined to Burundians.

Abuco said "consumers should not be deprived of the right for information and choice, particularly on a product whose harmlessness to consumers' health has not yet been proved and whose negative effects on environment are obvious".

Abuco chairman Mr Nestor Bikorimana told Net Press that it was suspicious that some products were not labelled. Indeed how come products are labelled when they are sent elsewhere, which is not the case for "these aid packages" for Africa?

The Abuco is asking Mr Bill Clinton to launch an investigation to enlighten "the countries to where the aid is sent, and to ensure that all food aid to Africa are clearly labelled to allow the consumer to enjoy his right for information and choice".

Source: Net Press news agency, Bujumbura, in French 1834 gmt 05 Sep 00. BBC Worldwide Monitoring/ © BBC 2000.

Gill Lacroix
Biotechnology Coordinator, Friends of the Earth Europe

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

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men"

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Philip L. Bereano, Professor
Department of Technical Communication
College of Engineering, Box 352195, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash. 98195
phone: (206) 543-9037     fax: (206) 543-8858

The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.

"Americans recognize fewer than 10 plant species, but over 1,000 corporate logos."

Adbusters Magazine


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 17:43:31 +0200
From: BIOWATCH: ekogaia ekogaia@iafrica.com

<<<<<<SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION UPDATE>>>>>>
<<<<<< http://www.cid.harvard.edu/cidtech/>;>>>>>>

BIOTECHNOLOGY VIEWPOINTS http://www.cid.harvard.edu/cidbiotech/comments

Precautionary Policies and Biotechnology in Africa.

By John Mugabe, Ph.D.
http://www.cid.harvard.edu/cidbiotech/comments/comments99.htm

The growing international debate on safety of genetically modified products of modern biotechnology and the adoption of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety are likely sources of increasing uncertainty in technology and food import policies of many African countries. Confronted with a strong international lobby against genetically modified (GM) foods and with scanty scientific knowledge and information on these foods, these countries are unsure about investing in modern biotechnology, importing grain or accepting relief food from countries such as Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Australia and the US.

In Kenya, for example, there is a growing debate on whether the government should be receiving genetically modified corn from the USA and Canada to feed the more than 5 million people who are already starving as a result of severe drought and growing food insecurity. While some environmentalists oppose food relief from the USA and Canada, they have not offered alternative sources of food for the hungry.

In the meantime, many African countries are also faced with new policy challenges arising from the pressure to apply the precautionary principle in decision-making. Many of these countries have formulated and adopted biosafety regulations that they are seeking to implement. The regulations—as in the case of Cameroon, Egypt, Uganda and Zambia—contain explicit reference to the precautionary principle. However, the extent to which the principle is translated in specific policies needs to be carefully assessed. What is even more urgent is to determine how the precautionary principle can be applied in situations of famine and food insecurity.

The decision by Kenya to accept GM corn from the USA and Canada was not based on any risk assessment exercise. As one senior government official remarked, "the government and Kenyans did not have time and the necessary scientific capacity to undertake risk assessment. Our confidence was established in the fact that if Americans are eating it, it should be safe our starving people."

Faced with food crises and absence of verifiable information on harm from the consumption of GM foods, few African countries will reject GM foods. Effective application of the precautionary principle in decision-making is likely to be realized as the countries’ range of technological options widens and their level of economic and food security grows.

In Kenya and Zimbabwe GM crops are still in experimental field trial while in South Africa they are ready for commercialization. In granting permits to release GMOs regulators in the countries have relied on results of scientific risks assessments conducted by applicants—institutions seeking to release and/or test GMOs.

For example, the South African Committee for Genetic Experimentation relied largely on the South African Sugar Association Experimentation Station (SASEX) to provide scientific information on risks associated with the development and release of pest-resistant (Bt.) sugarcane. In the absence of such information it is difficult to apply the precautionary principle. However, decision-makers or regulators should have the ability to verify the scientific information given to them by applicants.

The problem of how to regulate the development, importation, and release of GMOs in the face of scientific uncertainty cannot be effectively addressed by the mere integration of the precautionary principle in national biosafety measures. Countries can only effectively apply or invoke the precautionary principle as their scientific knowledge and information on GMOs grows. In other words, as their knowledge and information grow they are also able to determine the nature and level of scientific uncertainty. Those that do not invest in scientific inquiry are likely to misuse the precautionary principle to unduly control or restrain technological change. Implementation of precautionary policies should therefore focus on promoting scientific research and technological learning.

Effective and equitable biotechnology risk assessment should also be guided by a clear view of short-term benefits that Africa is likely to derive from the technology. The continent is confronted with problems that cannot wait for future technological solutions. In this regard, the application of the precautionary principle should take into account technological opportunities to address immediate and serious malnutrition and human health problems.

This is not to suggest that Africa should sacrifice its long-term sustainable development aspirations on the altar of quick technological fixes. To the contrary, precaution should be integrated into scientific experimentation and technological learning. Policy-makers that are guided by mere appeals to scientific uncertainty will become unwitting advocates of environmental authoritarianism. For more details, please see Mugabe, J. et. al. 2000. Global Biotechnology Risk Management: A Profile of Policies, Practices and Institutions. UNEP and ACTS. (Forthcoming).

John Mugabe, Ph.D.
Executive Director, African Centre for Technology Studies
Nairobi, Kenya


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 17:43:31 +0200
From: BIOWATCH: ekogaia ekogaia@iafrica.com

The institutions of precaution

By Konrad Von Moltke, Ph.D.
http://www.cid.harvard.edu/cidbiotech/comments/comments74.htm

Recent research on the effectiveness of international regimes has highlighted the importance of "institutions," as distinguished from "organizations." Whereas organizations are legal entities with offices, employees and budgets, institutions are the building blocks of society, the "rules of the game." In this sense, property is an institution, as is participation or scientific research, or monitoring and assessment. International regimes comprise institutions, which are designed to work together to achieve the goals of the regime in a legitimate manner. Policy principles, whether "non-discrimination," "equity," the "polluter pays principle," "cost internalization" or "precaution" require institutions to operationalize them.

The international debate about the precautionary principle has thus far largely ignored the institutional dimension. Nevertheless it is crucial. There can be no argument about the need to base environmental policy on scientific research (the call for "sound science" is, however, nothing but a red herring). It is well established that there is much uncertainty about many scientific findings, particularly when they concern phenomena outside a laboratory, or when they involve interpreting laboratory findings to assess hazards and risks in the natural environment. Consequently the scientific basis of all of modern environmental policy involves some degree of uncertainty, and the governance procedures to deal with this uncertainty are essentially the institutions of precaution. Rather than arguing about the precautionary principle, we should be seeking to better understand the institutions through which governments move from science to policy. In doing so, we would be entering a discussion on how they implement the precautionary principle.

One of the dilemmas of comparing policy practices is the manner in which specific measures interact with the general political and administrative culture of a jurisdiction. In U.S. terms: the Clean Air Act is comprehensible only against a background of the Administrative Procedures Act and constitutional doctrine on federalism and the separation of powers. Frequently the impact of the general framework is so important that to achieve comparable results government agencies in different countries need to act in ways that are actually difficult to compare. For example, the expectation of administrative negotiation and judicial review can lead U.S. government agencies to publish proposals in the Federal Register that are little more than an opening negotiating position. German authorities, on the other hand, generally do their negotiating before they publish proposals and frequently expect them to be enacted largely unchanged. Comparing the proposals suggests that the U.S. authorities are more ambitious than their German counterparts, even though the ultimate outcome may be quite the opposite.

The situation is particularly complex in relation to the exercise of precautionary approaches to environmental policy. It is necessary to take into account not only the nature of the respective policy process but also differences in the organization of scientific research, which in turn impact on the nature of information that becomes available to public authorities. These differences are much more dramatic than is generally recognized. The sources of research funding, the organization of research, the relationship of research to teaching, and the relationship of researchers to public policy are all different from one country to another.

An institutional analysis of precautionary approaches needs to take all of these factors into account. This ranges from the institutions of scientific research—accreditation, peer review, promotion, competitive funding, governmental research agencies for example—proceeding to the institutions of science assessment—advisory bodies, advocacy research, policy research, peer review, for example—to the institutions of policy making—bureaucratic procedure, coordination, collective political responsibility, judicial review, for example.

The result of such an approach is likely to be the recognition that the precautionary principle—or the precautionary approach—is used in all countries that are actively engaged in developing the environmental policy agenda. It will not, however, change the fact that differences in the institutional structure can lead to different answers to identical questions. The idea that "like" questions should receive "like" answers in all jurisdictions is difficult to defend. The political problem is how to accommodate such differences while still maintaining open markets.

Konrad Von Moltke, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, International Institute for Sustainable Development
Winnipeg, Canada

"All policymakers must be vigilant to the possibility of research data being manipulated by corporate bodies and of scientific colleagues being seduced by the material charms of industry. Trust is no defence against an aggressively deceptive corporate sector,"

THE LANCET, April 2000

"When a butterfly flaps its wings in Africa, it can cause a hurricane in New York."


Top PreviousNextFront Page
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2000 05:51:48 EDT
From: RBBAX@aol.com

Cropchoice Opinion (Africa).

"... the current situation will .. build resentment, and that's not good for American agriculture".

Africa Still Not as Excited as GM Companies Claim

Cropchoice Opinion http://www.cropchoice.com

(13 September - Cropchoice Opinion) – We think the "Africans hungry for GMOs" story that the big seed and agrochemical companies love so much is getting a little overworked ... as well as discredited.

Africa's most pressing problems really don't have much to do with biotech in agriculture. But biotech backers think that sending American farmers their version of the news about GMOs in Africa will make you feel good. Use Africa's pain to gain some public relations points with customers in the US.

In the interest of balance, a few days ago Cropchoice reprinted an article from Kenya that was very critical of biotech. No sooner had we done that than the biotech industry responded with yet another editorial from an African in elite circles, this time a Nigerian official, saying he likes GMOs.

The reality is that objections to GMOs in Africa are strong. Many don't want GMOs for cultural or religious reasons. Others think it's a "solution" being forced on them that doesn't address the problems.

Many Africans don't want GMOs, even as food aid. Of course hungry people should eat Bt corn, GMO or not. They'd be insane not to. But how long can American agriculture go on alienating potential customers? How long can we make developing countries, who are getting more and more of the biotech crops that nobody else will buy, feel like second class citizens? They know where it comes from, they know its GMO, it doesn't have a label and, given a choice, they'd rather not eat it.

This kind of food aid will keep people healthy. And if people are hungry that's the right thing to do. But the current situation will also build resentment, and that's not good for American agriculture.

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men".

(Martin Luther King, Jr.)


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Date: 10 Sep 2000 10:30:27 +0100
From: "jcummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

Labeling Busines: how to avoid it

I do not recollect that anyone has posted the article below or discussed its content. Interestingly, the "economic"experts piously proclaim that labeling GM foods interfere with public acceptance of the products. That conclusion is certainly neither rocket science nor the human genome but it shouts out that big business and government conspire against the public to spread questionable products using questionable procedures.The main advantage of not labeling , avoiding responsibility for injury and avoiding rapid response to injury are not discussed by the economic authorities.

Article Abstract

Agribusiness
Volume 15, Issue 2, 1999. Pages: 149-162
Online ISSN: 1520-6297 Print ISSN: 0742-4477

Published Online: 27 Apr 1999

Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Article

Methodologies for ex ante projections of adoption rates for agbiotech products: Lessons learned from rBST

W. Lesser, John Bernard, Kaafee Billah Department of Agricultural, Resource, and Managerial Economics, Cornell

University, Ithaca, NY 14853

Abstract

Pre- and post-release adoption studies for rBST are evaluated for insights into improving ex ante projection methodologies. The conclusion is drawn that user surveys can provide reasonable projections, but the following factors require consideration. The sigmoid curve fits the data well, but the standard experiential learning justification needs reconsideration. Attitudinal variables can enhance the discrimination among users and nonusers, but useful attitudinal questions are not well developed at this point.

Rents are a major determinant of use, but projecting rents and shares a priori is a difficult task. Management requirements are a significant factor in use, so that proxies for management quality need improvement. And finally, anti-biotech attitudes can be most effective if products are labeled so that labeling becomes a key element in forecasting use. [EconLit cites: Q160, Q130] © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

References are available in the Enhanced Abstract


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 11 Sep 2000 07:38:47 +0100
From: "jcummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

parable of the beggars cross posted with permssion of Klaus Wiegand

The Parable of the four Beggars

Four beggars are begging on the mall in san jose.

The first one wrote "beg" on his broken steel cup and he received ten bucks after one day.

The second one wrote "beg.com" on his cup and after one day he received hundreds of thousand dollars. someone even wanted to take him to nasdaq.

The third one wrote "ebeg" on his cup. Both IBM and HP sent vice-presidents to talk to him about a strategic alliance and offered him free hardware and professional consulting, while Larry Ellison claimed on CNBC that ebeg uses 95% oracle technology, and i2 announced begtradematrix a b2b industry portal to offer supply chain integration with the beggar. Cisco and Nortel simultanously announced that virtually all ebeg traffic runs over their equipment.

The fourth one wrote "ag-biotech" on his cup and immediately was surrounded by patent lawyers offering him to take him to nasdaq. in which they succeeded. the first market day the price for a share grew from 12 3/8$ to 284 1/8$ and at the end of the day total investments had reached the net value of General Motors and IBM together. In an ad-hoc advertisement a "biotech" spokesperson said, the company is planning it's first payment of dividend in about 13 years and thus 5 years ahead of competitors.

Al Gore was seen to interrupt his presidental campaign for a photo session with the ex-beggar for the largest TV companies (with bush and his staff arriving just five minutes later). afterwards Gore held a speech on the "old values of american entrepreneur-spirit perfectly being shown by the example of this new company" being aired by most tv stations at prime time.

He also plans to nominate the ex-beggar as chair of the "national committee on ethical questions in biotechnology". The German and the French chancellors both sent congratulation telegrams talking of a well-thought and wise decision. Seconds after Gore's was heard saying "old values" the call-center of online- broker schwab was flooded with buying orders of "beg.ag-genetech" and the price for their shares rose another 145%. Rumours are out among nasdaq brokers, that beg.ag-genetech is already involved in internal talks with Microsoft about a merger of interest (meaning a take-over of ms for similar company philosophies: high-flying announcements soon followed by tries to appeace consumer anger and sending out bug-fixes of bug-fixes, followed by an investigation of the department of justice for market domination). Well-informed governmental sources told the "times" on inquiry, that the ex-beggar had been offered positions as director in the USDA and the NASULGC and additionally was nominated for the nobel prize by ARS.

Klaus


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Date: 11 Sep 2000 14:44:38 +0100
From: RBBAX@aol.com

"Drug-company influence on medical education in USA" (and UK??)

The Lancet, Vol 356, No. 9232, p. 781, Sept. 2, 2000

It begins on the first day of medical school and lasts through to retirement, and it is the only reliable "cradle to grave" benefit that doctors can truly count on any more. Even in this era of medical-ledger watching world wide, there is little evidence to expect it will ever end. In fact, it may even be growing. It starts slowly and insidiously, like an addiction, and can end up influencing the very nature of medical decision-making and practice. It first appears harmless enough: a textbook here, a penlight there, and progresses to stethoscopes and black bags, until eventually come nights "on the town" at academic conventions and all-expenses paid "educational symposia" in lovely locales.

Attempts to influence the judgment of doctors by commercial interests serving the medical-industrial complex are nothing if not thorough. Unfortunately, they seem to work. Studies have shown that prescribing patterns are influenced by advertising and other marketing activities. If this were not the case, why would industry spend hundreds of millions of dollars on promotion? Advertising sustains industry, and no industry, not even the medical one, can avoid its reach. So it is not the fact of marketing that is in question here. It is the form in which it comes. Surely, no one would mistake a pen with a corporate logo as anything but promotion. Nor would anyone suggest that a stuffed animal with a brand-named drug stitched to its fur is of great medical value. But when the line between medical education and advertising or marketing is blurred, there is a problem.

A recent study completed by the US watchdog Public Citizen documents the relation between medical education activities, the pharmaceutical industry, and medical education services suppliers (MESS), which are private businesses that provide medical education. The study stems from survey data published in the December, 1999, issue of Medical Marketing & Media, an industry periodical. MM&M surveyed 123 MESS about their 1998 and 1999 operations. 80 returned questionnaires. In summary, the data suggest that supplying medical education can, in this form, be a very lucrative exercise, whose most consistent client is the pharmaceutical industry.

Of the 43 companies that answered questions on finances, total revenue amounted to $643 million in 1999 alone, a 19% increase from 1998. Extrapolating this to the entire industry, Public Citizen predicts that the MESS industry is worth at least $1 billion annually. An astounding $115 million was billed by MESS to their clients on grand rounds alone; $114 million on symposia, $64 million on advisory boards, and another $60 million on publications. 68% (85%) of MESSs provided data on their client mix. On average 76% of respondents' clients were drug manufacturers. 26% of the MESS reported that at least 90% of their clients were pharmaceutical companies.

It cannot be said that the quality of any of these educational activities was compromised by the ultimate patronage of the pharmaceutical industry. Indeed, 43% of the 80 MESS respondents reported being accredited by the Accreditation Council of Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and an additional 5% said their accreditation was pending. Of course, that also means that over half of the MESS surveyed do not have ACCME accreditation. While one cannot be certain that lack of accreditation necessarily connotes poor educational quality, it does at least suggest the possibility that industry may be able in these situations to exert even greater influence over what material is presented and what is left out.

What is of most concern here is the fact that so much continuing medical education comes through the filter of industry. To ensure the integrity, and the appearance of integrity, of the process of learning in medicine, physicians should do more to pay for CME themselves, just as many other professionals have to do.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 11 Sep 2000 15:20:38 +0100
From: Robert Mann robt_m@talk.co.nz

Saskatchewan: Latest on our man Percy

Saskatchewan farmer accused of illegally planting GM crops

Any week now, Percy Schmeiser expects to hear whether he'll be ordered to pay about $400,000 in technology fees, penalties and legal costs to Monsanto.

http://www.enn.com/news/wire-stories/2000/09/09112000/krt_gmcrops....

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


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 11 Sep 2000 19:19:57 +0100
From: marcus@myrealbox.com

Spin detector: new organisation called "NovaTero"

Here's a link to a new organisation called "NovaTero" (A Brave "New World"?!), yet another "not for profit" foundation which is trying to spin GM on the world :

"The NovaTero Foundation is a charitable not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide innovative scientific solutions to meet priorty agricultural and medical needs in the Developing World through the latest techiques of biochemistry and molecular biology"

See here for more info, including the unsurprising revelation that one of the NovaTero directors, Paul Zorner, is "Chief Scientist, Global Biotechnology and Bioprocessing Platform" for Dow Chemical Company :

http://www.novatero.org/board.htm

For more companies and individuals involved in GM spin, see http://www.gmfoodnews.com/gmspin.html

regards
Marcus http://www.gmfoodnews.com

Organic food boom predicted http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/business/newsid_920000/920849.st....


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Date: 12 Sep 2000 15:07:27 +0100
From: geno@zap.a2000.nl
From: Biotech Activists biotech_activists@iatp.org
Posted: 09/12/2000 By briant@goddard.edu

On 12 Sep 2000, at 14:38, Biotech Activists wrote:

New GMO varieties From Novartis

Subject: Cropchoice Article #169, Farm News from Cropchoice, 9/11/00, http://www.cropchoice.com

This year's crop isn't even harvested yet; but the big seed companies are already asking for your 2001 seed (and tech fee) dollars. Novartis, the Swiss company that owns NK Seeds, announced 22 new corn and soybean varieties today.

In another few weeks your mailbox will be stuffed with flyers about them. One disturbing aspect for producers may be choice: only a quarter of the varieties are conventional. Most are YieldGard, Liberty Link, or Roundup Ready, all traits Novartis licensed from other big biotech seed companies like Monsanto and Aventis. Many are also "stacked" types that contain more than one genetic modification.

Novartis sells American farmers GMO seed; but it will not buy its own products. Last month the company announced that it has banned GMOs from the foods it makes.

The company knows farmers are upset about the mixed message. Alluding in part to biotech, Novartis corn seed manager Marc Hennen suggests farmers act like Novartis on biotech - go both ways. Hennen says "Just as a financial manager encourages investors to spread risk across a variety of stocks, we encourage farmers to take a portfolio approach to their seed selections."

But farmers might not be too happy about filling their "portfolio" with GMOs whose market is uncertain. Groups like the American Corn Growers Association find evidence that the market for GMOs won't quickly improve. Just last week, the Italian Prime Minster personally decided to tighten that county's seed laws against biotech seed, specifically including Novartis Bt corn.

More than half (5 of 9) new hybrid corn offerings are GMO (all are stacked YieldGard and LibertyLink), and a whopping 11 of 13 soybeans are biotech, mainly Roundup Ready.

While the super-sized companies squeeze their customers into biotech through a reduced offering of new conventional seeds, others see an opportunity. Several smaller seed producers that aren't too restrained by agreements with the biotech giants, like Fielder's Choice and NC+ Organics, are upping their non-GMO offerings for next year.

2001 will also see a dramatic expansion in the number of certified non-GMO varieties available, which may offer options to farmers who don't see what they want in Novartis and other big company's catalogs. [Stay tuned to Cropchoice for more news on biotech and non-biotech seed for 2001.]

Source: Novartis, Europe Agri

-------------------------------------------
This story sent to you from Cropchoice.com by user request. Visit http://www.cropchoice.com for more information. May be reproduced freely for non-commercial purposes and with appropriate credit.


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Date: 13 Sep 2000 04:19:37 +0100
From: MichaelP papadop@peak.org

Jennifer Cooke is the author of Cannibals, Cows & the CJD Catastrophe, which won last year's Eureka Science Book Prize.

Prion disease - dormant but deadly

By Jennifer Cooke, Morning Herald (Sydney)Date: 09/09/2000
http://www.smh.com.au/news/0009/09/text/review5.html

Animal experiments have revealed a silent carrier role for a deadly prion disease in mice which may point to dire consequences for humans. Jennifer Cooke reports.

Dr Andrew Hill realised the implications immediately. A flurry of calls from the animal house to the lab where he worked in London early last year warned of eight mice with signs of prion disease. It had been assumed for years that this could not happen.

But not only did these results show new evidence for a "sub-clinical" or undetectable form of disease in mice; they lent credence to theories that mad cow disease could be carried silently by apparently healthy cows and that humans incubating the mad cow-related new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) may infect surgical and dental patients through contaminated instruments.

All prion disease experiments are lengthy and these important findings, published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, capped years of lab work.

More than four years ago, Hill and colleagues at the Medical Research Council Prion Unit in London, headed by Professor John Collinge, began an experiment in which 20 normal mice were injected with the mulched-up brains of hamsters who had died from one strain of the prion disease called scrapie.

There are more than 20 known strains of scrapie, which is endemic in British sheep flocks. Scrapie is believed to have given rise to the epidemic of mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) that began around 1985 and has since spread to Europe.

More than 20 years ago researchers had noted that mice lived a full life with no apparent disease despite being injected with hamster scrapie. The assumption had been that this strain could not be passed on to mice.

But Hill and his colleagues took that old experiment a step further and injected the liquefied brain matter of these apparently healthy mice, into another bunch of healthy mice and hamsters - just to confirm that there was no disease present.

It was supposed to be a simple control experiment but, to the shock of everyone involved, the mice and hamsters started staggering around their cages five months afterwards, indicating that prion disease had taken hold and spongy holes had begun destroying their brains. What's more, the mice had produced their own lethal prions, which were different from the hamster prions injected into the original 20 mice.

The control experiment had evolved into a major finding itself. It proved that those original 20 mice had been silent carriers of the disease and were able to pass it on.

A new-generation test in which proteins are examined to identify the molecular signature of different prion diseases also confirmed the presence of high levels of prions in the brains of those mice.

If the same were found to be true of cattle, then many cows in Britain, and other European countries where it has surfaced may be silent carriers of the related BSE.

Diseased cattle may then freely enter the human food chain and escalate what is fast becoming a mini-epidemic of the human equivalent, vCJD.

Test findings published in 1998 showed that vCJD had an identical molecular signature to BSE - as close to absolute proof as is likely, experts say, that BSE caused the disease in humans.

Species including poultry, pigs and sheep were also exposed to BSE in Britain from the cannibalistic feeding practices of the 1980s when dead sheep and cows were ground down into cakes of meat and bonemeal protein supplements. Speculation now surrounds whether those species might also be capable of harbouring symptom-free prion disease.

The most worrying implication of all is that transmission could occur from silent animal carriers to humans and then to other humans.

No test is sensitive enough yet to detect rogue prions in a person who has no symptoms of vCJD (or any other type of CJD).

If the mice experiments prove in future to be applicable to cows, and thus humans, as BSE has already shown, then anyone who has been exposed to prions from mad cows has the potential to be a silent carrier. Include in this group British migrants (fed on baby food or at British schools, in particular), returned expatriates, and possibly even tourists who indulged in the English passion for pies, hamburgers, sausages or beef products that included brain and spinal cord material - the most infectious parts.

And if that were the case, the potential would in turn loom large for transmission between humans via CJD-contaminated surgical instruments and tissue donations - routes via which another type of CJD has already killed neurosurgical patients and recipients of corneas and pituitary-derived human growth hormone.

The infectious agent that causes CJD cannot be removed by hospital-standard sterilisation or cleaning techniques, although infectiousness can be reduced.

So far, no transmission has occurred through organ donations. And blood and plasma derivatives are not believed to be implicated in the transmission of any type of CJD. However, the fear with vCJD, which can be detected in tonsil and appendix tissue, is that it might behave differently (having sprung from animals) and pose more of a threat.

Tighter restrictions on blood transfusions and wider use of disposable surgical instruments are among the anti-vCJD measures introduced over the past two years in Britain alone, to reduce the risk of spread between humans.

Earlier this year the United States, Canada, Austria and New Zealand also banned blood donations from anyone who lived in Britain for longer than six months between 1980 and 1996. Canada last week applied the same ban to those who had lived in France.

Australia has followed suit on the grounds of the small, theoretical risk of CJD transmission via blood and fears of diminishing an already small pool of vital donors.

Only this year, nine neurosurgery patients at the Royal Melbourne Hospital were potentially exposed to CJD when instruments used on a patient later found to be suffering from CJD were reused. CJD was not initially suspected in the patient so the normal procedure of quarantining the instruments for later destruction, if CJD was confirmed, was not followed.

Just last month, to head off a similar occurrence with vCJD in Britain, the Department of Health announced that surgical instruments used in tonsil, appendix and brain operations are to be destroyed after one use in a move likely to cost millions of pounds.

At the pathology department of the University of Melbourne researcher Andy Hill, has been dogged by calls from the British media over the past week concerned at what his work might mean.

"The bottom line," he says of the implications of the mice experiment that sparked it all, "is that healthy cattle may harbour infectivity and never show any signs of BSE. It is entirely possible that, in the same way, humans might be harbouring the disease at this sub-clinical level. As we don't know how many people may be incubating the disease - which may be longer than the normal lifespan - then there are possible implications for medical and surgical procedures."

In the five years since its discovery in two British teenagers, vCJD has been reported in 79 people in Britain, two in France and one in Ireland. Alarmingly, 36 of those were reported in only the past year.

Despite the introduction of a series of controls dating from 1989, including a ban on the most infective cattle offals entering food, a bar on cattle over 30 months old being used for food, and an end to feeding cow and sheep remains to other meat-producing livestock, they were not policed effectively and the BSE epidemic was not contained quickly.

A devastating report on the British Government's inadequate role in guarding public health is expected from The BSE Inquiry, a two-year-old probe into the handling of the BSE epidemic up to 1996. It is due within weeks - about the time of the next meeting of the Spongiform EncephalopathyAdvisory Committee (SEAC) at which scientists may yet decide to re-examine controls against vCJD.

The British Government, which denied for a decade until 1996 that British beef was anything but perfectly safe to eat, has spent the past week confidently asserting that existing measures are more than adequate to guard against the possibility of silent BSE cases.

Hill's old boss, Professor John Collinge, also an SEAC member, is not in total agreement.

"My own view is that probably the 30-month rule and the offal ban would still protect us from [BSE] but I am not sure," he said.

"This data shakes me up a bit."

*** NOTICE: 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 the included information for research and educational purposes. Feel free to distribute widely but PLEASE acknowledge the source. ***


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Date: 13 Sep 2000 13:13:16 +0100
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk

Ireland: Ploughing GM crops has risks, - McKenna

By Olivia Kelly 4th Sep 2000, Irish Times
http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2000/0904/hom16.htm

Genetically modified crops being tested in the Republic are being disposed of by potentially hazardous methods, the Green MEP, Ms Patricia McKenna, has claimed.

She said the method of disposal used by biotech company Monsanto in their GM sugar beet trials at various sites heightened the risk of contaminating conventional crops.

GM sugar beet used in four field trials by Monsanto last year was chopped up with a rota-tiller and ploughed back into the soil at the end of the year's test growth. This, Ms McKenna said, is "potentially unsafe", though the trials and disposal of the plants were approved by the Environment Protection Agency.

The EPA has said the fields were monitored regularly to ensure that regrowth did not occur. Ms McKenna maintained, however, this method was totally unsatisfactory as it did not guarantee that GM contamination of nearby crops would not occur in the long term.

"The risks of contamination from GM crops to non-GM crops have not been

fully evaluated," Ms McKenna said. "It is essential that the safest method be employed to dispose of plants which are field tested."

The safest method of destroying these crops was incineration, she said, which prevents any traces of the test crop from reentering the food chain. "The mechanisms of gene transfer have not been fully understood. There is a very strong chance, as the soil contains that primary constituents of the food chain, that over time contamination of adjacent crops could happen."

The EPA has said that the disposal method of re-ploughing is also used when plants are "bolting" or about to produce seed. This, Ms McKenna said, was an even more obvious threat which seriously increased the risks of contamination of nearby crops.

She said she was, "quite astounded" that EPA scientists had approved "such an untested method of disposal". The EPA has indicated that all tests were closely monitored and had EU approval.

Dr Jim Burke, a scientist who has carried out work on GM beet at Teagasc Research Centre at Oak Park in Co Carlow, said any trials carried out by Teagasc were done in accordance with EU directives. "These stipulate that all tested plants are ploughed back into the site and this is done under supervision of the EPA."

The same regulations and guidelines were used as in all other EU countries, he said. However, Ms McKenna maintained this was insufficient. "The EU regulations leave room for certain derogations and stricter rules can be applied, as some other EU member-states have done."

Ms McKenna said she would be raising the issue with the European Commission and urged the EPA and the Minister for Environment, Mr Dempsey, to insist on incineration.


Top PreviousFront Page

Date: 13 Sep 2000 16:26:23 +0100
From: RBBAX@aol.com
From: RowanTilly@gn.apc.org (Rowan Tilly)

Please circulate widely - and print copies for family and friends if possible

Health improvements through avoiding soya (Both conventional and GM soya)

Dear All,

As you may recall, I've posted quite a few articles on the potential health risks of soya over the past few months.

Enclosed is a message I received recently from Rowan Tilly, a long-term campaigner from the UK, who's health improved greatly when she decided to cut out soya completely from her diet. Admittedly, in this case the original problem may have been an allergy to soya, who can say? But sufficient doubt now exist over the safety of soya (both GM and conventional), that it may well be advisable to reduce or avoid soya, especially in the diets of infants and children..

If you wish to check out the potential dangers of soya for yourself, there is plenty of well referenced material around, including papers from doctors and health professionals etc. For example you could try: www.nexusmagazine.com Also enclosed is a recent article from The Observer, entitled: "Soya alert over cancer and brain damage link".

So here is the message from Rowan. It can be verified by her on request.

Best wishes,

Ron Baxter

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

Subj: Re: GM
Date: 07/09/00 17:38:56 GMT Daylight Time
From: RowanTilly@gn.apc.org (Rowan Tilly)
To: RBBAX@aol.com (Ron Baxter)

RowanTilly@gn.apc.org. writes:

Hi Ron

..... by the way, thanks for having such a major impact on my health. I have had a problem with my bowels for 20 years and a week in hospital having tests showed nothing at all. After reading your messages about the dangers of soya I was prompted to experiment with cutting it out of my diet.

Well, amazing results - now I am enjoying perfect digestion for the 1st time in 20 years so I reckon I must be allergic to soya. Just one accidental splash of soya milk in my tea resulted in me having to get up in the night to visit the loo. So thanks very much for your part in returning me to good health.

Rowan
RowanTilly@gn.apc.org (Rowan Tilly)

=========
Useful links: from The Observer: Soya alert over cancer and brain damage link
Special report: what's wrong with our food?

http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,353660,00.ht....

The full soy story: http://www.nexusmagazine.com/soydangers.html