Genetically
 Manipulated 


 

 
 
 Food


 News

29 September 2000

Table of Contents

"Slinging Manure at Organic Farming – GMO propaganda"
"Cultivating the Truth About Organics"
Announcing ISIS News No 6. (Invaluable info – Please circulate)
Transmission of BSE by blood transfusion in sheep
Hagelin on food safety and GMOs
Chicken genes in apples, flounder genes in strawberries
bigotry among GM advocates
Public Unease on GMOs well founded, says expert
Shocking lack of knowledge
a note from John Fagan
Amazon geneticist 'killed hundreds'
Discussion: "Soy Alert".
Report Warns on Human Gene Trials
"The Maestros of GM Propaganda an International Trio"
Should USDA certify GM testing?
Nature points out that GM is careless in US and Canada
New Book on GE (BioDemocracy News Special)

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Date: 14 Sep 2000 22:49:46 +0100
From: "jcummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

"Slinging Manure at Organic Farming – GMO propaganda"

16 September 2000

Prof. Joe Cummins
Professor Emeritus of Genetics
University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario
Telephone 519 681 5477    e-mail: jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

Genetically modified (GM) crops (mainly corn, soybeans, canola and potatoes) are being grown extensively in Canada and the United States, but elsewhere in the world such crops have not had much success. Many countries have demanded that the crops be labeled in the marketplace and many people do not believe that GM crops are tested adequately to protect the environment and human safety.

Approval of such crops for human consumption of GM crops is based on the principle of substantial equivalence, a belief that genetic modification ( adding genes from bacteria, virus, animals or other plant species to the fundamental genetic makeup of crops) does not change the nutritional properties of the crop. Export of GM crops from Canada and the United States has been greatly hindered by fear of the crops in other countries.

Many GM crops pollute the crops on nearby farms by wind spread pollen and the genetically polluted seeds or crops are not easily sold in many countries. The governments of Canada and the United States have ignored the public opinion of their citizens who have consistently shown that people wish that GM crops were labeled in the marketplace, similarly to the labeling of organic foods. Unfortunately the bureaucrats who dominate both countries prefer to promote the aims of the large chemical companies that control production of GM crops. Frankly, those bureaucrats seem to view the consumers as if they were hogs to be slopped with whatever the companies wish.

The GM industry has recognized the growth of organic farming and the public preference for it. Even though the companies control the bureaucrats they seem unable to control the public. For the past two years the GM industry has promoted particularly vicious propaganda about organic farming practices. Prof. Alan McHugen of Saskatchewan recently published the following comment "According to Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute the highly respected US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta noted 2471 cases, including 250 deaths, of infection by the unpleasant E. coli strain O157:H7 in 1996 alone.These bacteria live in manure. Manure is used as a fertilizer in organic farming systems. Organic foods were implicated in about a third of the confirmed O157:H7 cases despite the fact that organic food constitutes only about 1% of food consumed in the US."

Alan McHughen, Pandora's Picnic Basket, p. 233. March 23, 1999 The professor headed the human health effects discussion at the 1999 Edinburgh conference on safety of GM foods and a large meeting this spring in Sakatoon. He is a member of the United States National Research Council Panel on safety of GM foods (the other panel members are even more extreme on support for GM crops). Dennis Avery is a journalist who works for the Brookings Institute supported by large chemical companies.

Karen Charman (Organic Consumers Association web site at www.purefood.org) "Avery claims that "people who eat organic and 'natural' foods are eight times as likely as the rest of the population to be attacked by a deadly new strain of E. coli bacteria (0157:H7)." This happens, he says, because organic food is grown in animal manure, and animal manure is a known carrier of this nasty microbe. He claims his data comes from Dr. Paul Mead, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the federal agency that tracks outbreaks of foodborne illness".

The CDC fielded so many media queries on the subject, on January 14, 1999, it took the unusual step of issuing a press release stating: "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not conducted any study that compares or quantitates the specific risk for infection withE. coli 0157:H7 and eating either conventionally grown or organic/natural." Now Avery (and McHugen) say they interpreted the CDC data even though the reports did not find illness associated with organic food.

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 .


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Date: 14 Sep 2000 22:49:46 +0100
From: "jcummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

"Cultivating the Truth About Organics"

By Brian Halweil, The San Francisco Chronicle AUGUST 21, 2000,

I WATCHED IN DISBELIEF as John Stossel, co-anchor of ABC's "20/20,"delivered a half-hearted apology August 11 for falsifying evidence in a report that claimed organic produce is potentially more dangerous than food raised using toxic agrochemicals, antibiotics, added hormones, genetically engineered seeds and massive animal-feeding factories.

In his apology, Stossel did admit that some tests he relied on to support his conclusion had never been conducted. But he shrugged that off as a minor oversight, maintaining that because organic farmers favor manure and other natural fertilizers over synthetic chemicals, organic produce carries a greater risk of E. coli infection and "could kill you."

"What wasn't mentioned is that most of the manure spread on land in the United States is, in fact, used by conventional farmers. The difference is that organic farmers are the only ones required to farm in a way that might minimize the risk of E. coli or other food-borne illness.

Organic certification standards require that all raw manure is applied to the fields or orchards at least 60 days, and sometimes as many as 120 days, before the produce is harvested – a period that allows for ecological processes that eliminate harmful icrobes. (The pathogens become food for other soil organisms or degrade from exposure to the elements).

Conventional growers, in contrast, can spray on raw, uncomposted manure (even on fruits and veggies that are but days from being harvested), in addition to human sewage sludge and slurry from industrial animal farms all practices that are explicitly forbidden under organic regulations."

The warning is clear, in spite of clear evidence showing that organic agriculture is not poisonous the corporate news media and chemical corporations continue to spread lies about organic agriculture. As individuals we must demand that the "news" media deal with those who fabricate the news. We must also demand that those we elect do not try to control and regulate organic agriculture based on the lies of the corporate interests.


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Date: 15 Sep 2000 06:42:26 +0100
From: RBBAX@aol.com
Originated from: Biotech Activists biotech_activists@iatp.org
Posted: 09/15/2000 By i-sis@dircon.co.uk

Invaluable info – Please circulate

Announcing ISIS News No 6. (Invaluable info – Please circulate)

ISIS New #6, September 2000
Now posted on ISIS website: http://www.i-sis.org

From the Editor

This is a bumper issue with many hot topics that are inextricably linked in the current scientific debate on genetic engineering:

Though not directly concerned with genetic engineering, our star feature is an article by Harash Narang, a brilliant, independent scientist who lost his job in the BSE crisis that he could well have prevented. It illustrates the corporatization and repression of science and scientists that are having drastic effects on public health and democracy, as well as on the ethical practice of science.

Among the new postings on ISIS website is a compilation of scientific advice given by scientists of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which went unheeded, and remained unknown to the public until the biointegrity lawsuit brought by civil society forced the FDA to release the secret memos.

Due to the uncertainties of funding and other reasons, this may be the last ISIS News, though we sincerely and desperately hope not. We also hope you can take up our collective struggle for socially and ecologically accountable science to serve a just, equitable and compassionate world.

Give ISIS News to all your friends. Copy and distribute as widely as possible. And don't forget to publicize our World Scientists' Statement and Open Letter. Get your fellow-scientists to sign on and be counted.

Website: http://www.i-sis.org


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Date: 15 Sep 2000 19:24:04 +0100
From: "jcummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

Transmission of BSE by blood transfusion in sheep

F Houston, J D Foster, Angela Chong, N Hunter, C J Bostock
Lancet 2000; 356: 999 – 1000

We have shown that it is possible to transmit bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to a sheep by transfusion with whole blood taken from another sheep during the symptom-free phase of an experimental BSE infection. BSE and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in human beings are caused by the same infectious agent, and the sheep-BSE experimental model has a similar pathogenesis to that of human vCJD.

Although UK blood transfusions are leucodepleted – a possible protective measure against any risk from blood transmission – this report suggests that blood donated by symptom-free vCJD-infected human beings may represent a risk of spread of vCJD infection among the human population of the UK.


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Date: 16 Sep 2000 00:54:06 +0100
From: "Jan M.J. Storms" jan.m.j.@storms.org

Hagelin on food safety and GMOs

John Hagelin, Ph.D., US Third Party Coalition Candidate: http://www.hagelin.org/brochure/what.html

Safeguarding our food supply: "Current agricultural practices erode and degrade our precious topsoil. These practices require large-scale use of of chemical pesticides and fertilizers that pollute our groundwater and are unhealthy for consumers and farmers. In contrast, I support sustainable, organic agricultural practices proven to produce healthy, high-quality food without hazardous chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These practices will preserve our environment and our agricultural economy for future generations."

Moratorium on genetically engineered food: "Given the far-reaching ecological and health risks posed by genetic engineering, I would support a moratorium on the commercialization of genetically engineered foods and their release into the environment until the safety of such organisms can be firmly established. In addition, to protect the public's right to know, I would enforce mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods."


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Date: 17 Sep 2000 06:33:05 +0100
From: marcus@myrealbox.com

Chicken genes in apples, flounder genes in strawberries

Hi Rick

Here's some info on the GM strawberries :

http://dragon.zoo.utoronto.ca/~jlm-gmf/T0101B/ci2.htm

I haven't heard the one about chicken genes in apples, but someone else may be able to help on that.

The other key message to vegetarians (I'm a strict vegetarian) is that the two main modifications used in plants at the present time are both designed to kill!

  1. The Bt toxin gene allows the GM maize to kill the corn borer. This is an animal. Would vegetarians want to know that animals had been killed in the production of their food? You might also like to discuss the case of the Monarch butterfly being killed by GM maize pollen.

  2. The herbicide resistant (RoundUp resistant) gene in GM soy/GM maize allows the herbicide RoundUp to kill all plants around the GM crop field, except for the crop. This means no that other plants or animals can live around the field. I've seen a field of GM RoundUp maize. It looks like an ecological desert, having nothing in the field except the GM corn! Would vegetarians want to know that GM crops have been produced in a way which kills all other plants and leads to the destruction of animal habitats?
For more info about what's wrong with GM food, please see my page http://www.gmfoodnews.com/gmwrong.html

Hope this helps!

regards
Marcus Williamson http://www.gmfoodnews.com


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Date: 21 Sep 2000 08:44:19 +0100
From: "jcummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

bigotry among GM advocates

September 21, 2000

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

"Raw bigotry among pro-GM academics"

Yesterday the Ag Bio View discussion group included a support of the Cryl 9 GM corn in Taco Bell products even though the product was approved for animal but not human use. The support mainly consisted an attack on the character, spiritual beliefs and moral values of the founder of the Genetic ID company that detected the Cryl 9 product in products sold for human consumption. Not surprisingly, the article failed to mention (actually concealed) the fact that Prof. John Fagan was an outstanding chemistry student at the University of Washington (I taught biology and genetics at that University at that time and was awe struck by his ability).

He later was an outstanding graduate student at Cornell and a leading cancer researcher at The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. His religion and personal philosophy should not be an issue, indeed, the Ag Bio View report was simply hate literature.

Recently, I rebuffed a Professor from a major US university for using demeaning racial slurs that effected my family. Such slurs may become the best answer that GM advocates have to evidence that their experiments are dangerous.

Finally, Prof. Trewavas ,of Edinburgh, recently proposed that the US Congress should investigate those who oppose GM foods. Unfortunately, an investigation of that type is likely to engage in smears and focus on religion and race. Sadly, the academic society seems to made up, for the most part, of greedy, self serving bigots.


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Date: 22 Sep 2000 06:34:12 +0100
From: RBBAX@aol.com
Originated from: ngin@icsenglish.com
Via:: owner-food@foe.co.uk

Interesting article. Please circulate to campaign groups and national and local newspapers and health magazines.

Thanks.

Ron
------------------

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

all replies/unsubscriptions: ngin@icsenglish.com - ---

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_64558.html

Public Unease on GMOs well founded, says expert

A scientist says that public unease about genetically-modified organisms and their use in agriculture is based on sound and well founded instinct.

Dr Ulrich Loening, retired director of the Centre for Human Ecology, in Edinburgh, says it must be accepted that, historically, human farming techniques have played a major part in reducing biodiversity.

Giving evidence at the Transport and Environment Committee at the Scottish Parliament, Dr Loening says important areas of the GM debate have not been given sufficient attention.

"Given that the arguments are set in the context of feeding the world next century, many areas of biology and ecology that are relevant have been neglected," he said.

"Beneath the hype and concern for safety, there may lie an intuitive and profound understanding that agricultural development is heading in the wrong direction. History suggests concerns such as these often prove to be right – instincts are often sound.

"In general, public perception has always been ahead of science and then the science comes along to confirm their view."

But Dr Loening says he would have no qualms about eating GM foods such as potatoes, adding: "I don't think GM crops pose a threat to the human population."

Earlier, Kevin Dunion of Friends of the Earth Scotland, told the committee he believed there was a need for greater transparency in the Scottish Executive's handling of the GM issue.

===========  Quote:  ===========

"Of all the technologies now in use, genetic engineering is especially dangerous because of the threat of unexpected, harmful side effects that cannot be reversed or corrected, but will afflict all future generations. The side effects caused by genetic manipulations are not just long-term. They are permanent".

- Dr J. Fagan. Award-winning molecular biologist, and author of Genetic Engineering: The Dangers.


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Date: 22 Sep 2000 11:34:27 +0100
From: geno@zap.a2000.nl

Shocking lack of knowledge

The research institue Plant Research International in Wageningen sees big gaps in the scientific basis of ag-biotech. In the report, Crops of Uncertain Nature, commissioned by Greenpeace, and also in a study earlier this year, the authors sum up a whole list of uncertainties and lack of knowledge in the genetic manipulation of plants.

According to the Institue, that by the way does mush biotechresearch for industry, only fragmentary knowledge exists on the changes that GE induces in plants.

Often it is unclear where a new gene ends up in the plantgenome and whether it ends up there as a whole or in bits and pieces. This results in the possibility that a toxic or allergenic protein is being formed, or other fysiological changes occur.

The report raises comparable doubts on other points.

The lack of knowledge on the last mentioned point becomes extremely clear from an earlier report from the same institute, called "Effects of large scale application of HR crops".

It becomes clear that the effects of glyfosate and glufosinate on foodwebs in soils is largely unknown and unclear.

  1. It is not known whether the breakdown of modified plantmanterial is influenced.

  2. Glyfosate can be excreted by plantroots. The effect of this on rizospheremicroflora, among which Nitrogen-fixaters, pathogenics and antagonists, is not known.

  3. Effects of glufosinate-ammonium on soilfauna are almost completely unknown.

  4. Effects on foodchains/foodwebs in terrestric systems are not known (are known for aquatic systems) For example, can grazers of micro-organisms like nematods and protozoe, undergo damage by the herbicide?

  5. Most often the effect of a single dose of glyfosate is investigated. Research into effects of multiple applications has only sporadically been done. Is recovery more difficult after multiple applications?

  6. It is not known which effects the metabolites (e.g. AMPA, MPAA- 3 and MPAA-2) have on soilorganisms and -processes.

  7. It is hardly known which effects the non-herbicide components in a formulation have on soilorganisms. Much research has only focused at the "active" ingredient and not into the "inert" ingredients. These can have other additional effetcs or synergism may appear with the active ingredients.

The report: "Effects of largescale application of HR crops" Is written by . L.A.P. Lotz et al. (feb. 2000) It can be ordered at: post@plant.wag-ur.nl I do not know if they have an english version but will post a summary to the list.

wytze


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Date: 23 Sep 2000 13:00:11 +0100
From: "jcummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

a note from John Fagan

John Fagan and his company Genetic ID were attacked by GM advocates for finding Bt approved only for animal feed being used in corn products destined for people. He noted below that his finding had been confirmed independently.

From a note from John:"Today Kraft announced that they have had another lab analyze their products, and have found the presence of "varieties of corn that they did not intend to allow to be present in their product" (loose quote), and that they will now recall the offending lots of product.

This clearly confirms our findings.

So much for character attacks."


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Date: 24 Sep 2000 10:38:59 +0100
From: marcus@myrealbox.com

Amazon geneticist 'killed hundreds'

By Environment correspondent Alex Kirby
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/americas/newsid_938000/938....

Sections:
"Natural Selection"
Dying 'were refused help'
Experiments

"Natural Selection"

A US geneticist who died earlier this year has been accused of deliberately infecting thousands of Yanomami Indians with measles, killing hundreds of them.

The geneticist, James Neel, worked in the Yanomami homeland in Brazil and Venezuela in the mid-1960s.

A book to be published on 1 October says Neel vaccinated the Yanomami as an experiment to test the effects of natural selection on primitive societies.

And it says his work was funded by the US Atomic Energy Commission, which wanted to research the consequences for communities of the mass deaths caused by a nuclear war.

The book, Darkness in El Dorado, has been written by Patrick Tierney, a journalist.

The London Guardian newspaper says Professor Terry Turner of Cornell University, who has read the proofs, has told the American Anthropological Association (AAA)that the book reveals a "nightmarish story –a real anthropological heart of darkness".

The AAA says it is "extremely concerned about these allegations. The AAA has been acutely aware of the harm suffered by the Yanomami at the hands of gold miners and timber interests, who have brought disease and pollution.

"Until there is a full and impartial review and discussion of the issues raised in the book, it would be unfair to express a judgement about the specific allegations against individuals that are contained in it."

The AAA is planning an open forum during its annual meeting for its members to discuss the book.

Dying 'were refused help'

The book says Neel used a virulent measles vaccine to spark off an epidemic which killed at least hundreds and probably thousands of the Yanomami.

It says he ordered his researchers to refuse help to those who were sick and dying, insisting that they were present only to observe and record what was happening.

Professor Turner says in his letter to the AAA that Neel used a vaccine called Edmonson B, which produced symptoms virtually indistinguishable from those of measles.

He did so without telling the Venezuelan Government that he was planning a vaccination campaign, as he was legally required to do.

Professor Turner says there is evidence that the vaccine either caused or, at the least, greatly exacerbated the epidemic.

He says Neel believed that "primitive" societies like the Yanomami were genetically isolated, and that this enabled males possessing dominant "leadership" genes to breed more often, leading in theory to a continual upgrading of the society's genetic stock.

He also believed that in modern societies "superior leadership genes would be swamped by mass genetic mediocrity.

Experiments

But apart from apparently wanting to test his own theories on the unwitting Yanomami, Neel was also closely involved in the work of the Atomic Energy Commission.

He researched the effects of radiation on humans, and led the team that investigated the effects of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs on survivors and their children.

Professor Turner says Neel's group had been involved in experiments in the US which included injecting people with plutonium without their knowledge.

He says Tierney's book will put the entire discipline of anthropology on trial.

Although Neel himself is dead, many of his associates from the experiment are still alive.

There are thought to be about 21,000 Yanomami in the Amazon rainforests, who face grave threats to their survival.

They are sometimes involved in direct clashes with miners and other groups intent on exploiting their lands, which are supposed to enjoy legal protection.

But environmental damage is making it harder for them to fish and hunt in their traditional ways.

And malaria, spread by mosquitoes which breed in stagnant pools left by the mining operations, is now estimated to be killing about 13% of the Yanomami every year.


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Date: 24 Sep 2000 17:38:38 +0100
From: "Jon Campbell" jon@cqs.com

Discussion: "Soy Alert".

Sections:
Con Soy Alert(Jon Campbell)
Pro Soy Alert(Ron Baxter)
Scientists versus the soya industry.
Is soya bad for you?
I'm vegetarian and eat loads of tofu and soya milk. Should I stop?
I'm intolerant to cow's milk, so should I drink soya milk instead?
Can soya affect your thyroid?
I'm pregnant. Should I avoid soya?
Can soya help with prostate cancer?
Is there any kind of soya product I can safely eat?
Can I avoid soya?
Refernces and Articles on the dangers of soya
Con Soy Alert (Jon Campbell)
From: RBBAX@aol.com
From: geno@zap.a2000.nl

Con (Jon Campbell)

A couple of weeks ago, there was a posting (I believe by NLP Wessex) about the "dangers" of soy, with a URL of a very long (19-page) article published at Nexus Magazine ( http://www.nexusmagazine.com/soydangers.html ). I read the article very carefully, and began becoming alarmed at the possibility that a food I was relying on for much of my protein could be bad for me.

But I found a few contradictions and broad generalizations which made me just a little suspicious of the research citations. As I looked more carefully, a clear pattern of distortion, obfuscation, and use of partial information emerged.

For instance, one citation blamed maternal "vegetarianism" for a very specific horrible birth defect of the male sexual organs, when a correlation has already been made between this defect and the chlorinated dioxins and PCBs in dairy products; no one asked specifically what KIND of vegetarian diet these mothers had.

Another citation blamed Attention Deficit Disorder on ingestion of soy formula. Again, the correlation between ADD and the dioxins and PCBs crossing the placenta and in mothers' milk was shown in the famous Jacobson study of pregnant and nursing mothers who ingested fish from the Great Lakes. Most people who read this article would not know the dioxin/PCB connection to those afflictions, so would not know to be suspicious of the citations.

Then I got to the end of the article, and found the following:

*****************************************************
Sally Fallon is the author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (1999, 2nd edition, New Trends Publishing, tel +1 877 707 1776 or +1 219 268 2601) and President of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Washington, DC (www.WestonAPrice.org).

Mary G. Enig, PhD, is the author of Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol (2000, Bethesda Press, www.BethesdaPress.com), is President of the Maryland Nutritionists Association and Vice President of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Washington, DC.

The authors wish to thank Mike Fitzpatrick, PhD, and Valerie and Richard James for their help in preparing this article.
****************************************************************

Note the VERY suspicious title of Ms. Fallon's book. Politically correct? Diet Dictocrats?

Note that the authors are the President and VP of a so-called "foundation".

Going to their "foundation" website, I then found that Mike Fitzpatrick and Valerie and Richard James, who "helped" with the article, are listed as being on the "Honorary Board" of this "foundation".

Other articles found on the website range from "Why Butter is Better" (never mind the dioxins), "Broth is Beautiful" (never mind the TSEs), "What's Wrong With Politically Correct Nutrition" (full of fallacious arguments and straw men), "Feeding Babies" (says expectant mothers should be sure to eat lots of meat broths, liver, eggs, and cod liver oil), "Vitamin A Vagary" (says 50% of us can't convert beta carotene into Vitamin A, so we better start eating fish oil right away). The list goes on and on.

This appears to be PR masquerading as "science writing". I don't who they work for and I haven't done any research yet to find out who is funding this so-called "foundation" but I wouldn't be surprised to find the dairy council or the cattlemen's association among them.

It is important that we counter and question this sort of junk "science". Please send mail to anyone who might have received notice of this piece of "research" that it is questionable at best.

Regards
Jon Campbell

Pro (Ron Baxter)

Hi Jon,

It was actually me who posted that e-mail on the dangers of soya, and I suggested that people might like to search the web for further info on the health risks – of which there is a lot – including the Nexus Magazine website that you mentioned.

As you may recall, I also enclosed an article from The Observer, entitled: "Soya alert over cancer and brain damage link", which was about FDA scientists warning of the health risks of soya.

The case against both GM and non-GM soya is mounting, and I realise that this may be difficult for some people to accept – especially for those with interests in the wholefood and soya sectors.

...I was a great fan of soya myself until recently, but I dont see any point in taking risks with it now. Even if half the charges being made against soya are true, then taking it off the market would seem a logical safety precaution in view of the fact that babies and children may be most at risk (see references).

Enclosed are more links and references on the dangers of soya (check them out), plus an eye-opening article that appeared in the Guardian recently.

Best wishes,

Ron Baxter, Lancs., UK


Scientists versus the soya industry.

Jane Phillimore addresses some of the concerns raised by new research

http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4055716....

By Jane Phillimore, Observer, Sunday August 27, 2000

quotes:

"....if you've been seduced by the message that soya is the healthy 21st-century superfood, read on...."

'The industry has know for years that soya contains many toxins. At first they told the public that the toxins were removed by processing. Then they claimed that these substances were beneficial.' Sounds like there's a big battle ahead.

Twelve years ago, I visited an alternative health practitioner with some non-specific health symptoms. I'd hardly sat down before he told me that my diet needed radical attention – I had to cut out all dairy, wheat, alcohol and caffeine, and substitute protein in the form of soya milk and tofu instead. Nowadays this kind of advice is routine, but at the time, it seemed glamorously radical: I had to trek to Clapham's one health-food shop to stock up on soya milk because Sainsbury's certainly didn't have their own brand (as they do now) and veggie/soya sausages were just a glint in Linda McCartney's eye.

In the event, I lost a stack of weight and felt immensely rejuvenated. So much so that, four months later, I started eating normally again. Just as well, because it has now been found that soya – far from having the magical, health-giving properties that the alternative medicine brigade endlessly bangs on about – can actually be bad for you. Its reputation as an anti-cancer, cholesterol-lowering, osteoporosis-fighting, low-fat all round good egg of a product is based on bad science and superlative marketing by the powerful soya industry.

Worldwide, the evidence is starting to stack up against soya. In this country, MAFF is so worried about the possible health problems of phytoestrogens in soya that they are funding a rolling programme of 19 separate research projects, due to end in 2002. Preliminary findings by Professor John Ashby of AstraZeneca Central Toxicology Laboratory in Macclesfield, for example, confirm that soya infant formula (currently the sole food of 6,500 British babies) has an oestrogenic effect on rats. According to public health minister Yvette Cooper, no new advice will be given on soya until the independent COT (Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment) has reviewed the programme's findings.

This could take several years. Meanwhile, if you've been seduced by the message that soya is the healthy 21st-century superfood, read on...

Is soya bad for you?

It contains high quantities of various toxic chemicals, which cannot be fully destroyed even by the long cooking process. These are: phytates, which block the body's uptake of minerals; enzyme inhibitors, which hinder protein digestion; and haemaggluttin, which causes red blood cells to clump together and inhibits oxygen take-up and growth. Most controversially of all, soya contains high levels of the phytoestrogens (also known as isoflavones) genistein and daidzein, which mimic and sometimes block the hormone oestrogen.

Surely, the Japanese eat huge quantities of soya, and as a result have low rates of breast, uterus, colon and prostate cancers?

That's the big myth on which the idea of 'healthy' soya is built. In fact, the Japanese don't eat that much soya: a 1998 study showed that a Japanese man typically eats about 8g (2 tsp) a day, nothing like the 220g (8oz) that a Westerner could put away by eating a big chunk of tofu and two glasses of soya milk. Secondly, although Japanese people may have lower rates of reproductive cancers, this is thought to be due to other dietary and lifestyle factors: they eat less fatty meat, more fish and vegetables and fewer tinned or processed foods than in a typical Western diet. Thirdly, Asians have much higher rates of thyroid and digestive cancers, including cancer of the stomach, pancreas, liver and oesophagus.

I'm vegetarian and eat loads of tofu and soya milk. Should I stop?

Soya has become vegetarians' meat and milk, the major source of protein in their diet. But eating soya actually puts vegetarians at severe risk of mineral deficiencies, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and especially zinc. According to Dr Mike Fitzpatrick, a New Zealand biochemist who runs a soya information website (see below), this is because soya contains high levels of phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of essential minerals in the digestive tract. To reduce the effects of a high-phytate diet, you need to eat, as the Japanese do, lots of meat or fish with tiny bits of soya.

I'm intolerant to cow's milk, so should I drink soya milk instead?

Soya has become the fashionable option for people 'intolerant' to dairy products. It's little known that soya is the second most common allergen. Only 1 per cent of the population is truly allergic to cows' milk and, of those, two-thirds will also be intolerant to soya milk. In addition, soya milk is high in aluminium. That's because the soya protein isolate it's made from is acid-washed in aluminium tanks. No wonder it tastes bad.

Can soya affect your thyroid?

It's been known for years that phytoestrogens in soya depress thyroid function. In Japan, 1991 research showed that 30g of soya a day results in a huge increase in thyroid-stimulating hormone. This can cause goitre, hypothyroidism, and auto-immune thyroid disease.

I'm pregnant. Should I avoid soya?

Probably, and especially if you're vegetarian. A new study of babies born to vegetarian mothers showed that baby boys had a five-fold risk of hypospadias, a birth defect of the penis. The researchers suggest this was due to greater exposure to phytoestrogen rich-foods, especially soya. Inappropriate hormone levels such as that caused by a high intake of soya during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can also cause damage to the foetus's developing brain.

But surely I can feed my baby soya formula? It must be safe: it's available in every supermarket and chemist.

Soya-fed babies are taking part in 'a large, uncontrolled and basically unmonitored human infant experiment', said Daniel Sheehan, director of the FDA's National Center for Toxicological Research, in 1998. A newborn baby's sole food is the milk it drinks: a soya-fed baby receives the equivalent of five birth control pills' worth of oestrogen every day, according to Mike Fitzpatrick. These babies' isoflavone levels were found to be from 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than in non-soya fed infants.

As a result of this phytoestrogen overload, soya-fed babies have a two-fold risk of developing thyroid abnormalities including goitre and auto-immune thyroiditis. Boys risk retarded physical maturation, while girls risk early puberty (1 per cent of girls now show signs of puberty, such as breast development or pubic hair, before the age of three) and fertility. Researchers have also suggested that diabetes, changes in the central nervous system, extreme emotional behaviour, asthma, immune system problems, pituitary insufficiency and IBS may be caused by high phytoestrogen intake in early life. Last year, compounds in soya were also implicated in the development of infantile leukaemia. Current government advice is that breast is best and that soya formula should not be given to infants unless on the advice of a health professional.

Can soya help with prostate cancer?

Ex-junk bond trader Michael Milken certainly thinks so. He consumes 40g of soya protein every day with that hope in mind. The science is less conclusive – a recent study on Japanese-Americans living in Hawaii showed that men who had eaten two or more servings of tofu a week during mid-life not only had 'accelerated brain ageing', and more than twice the incidence of Alzheimer's and dementia, but also looked five years older than those men who didn't.

My mother died of breast cancer and I've been advised by both mainstream and complementary medical sources that increasing my soya intake may offer me protection against the disease. Is this true?

The evidence is highly inconclusive. In The Breast Cancer Protection Diet , published last year, Dr Bob Arnot states that eating between 35g and 60g of soya protein daily protects against breast cancer by raising intake of the oestrogen-blocker genistein. But this ignores contrary evidence. In 1996, research showed that women eating soya had an increased incidence of epithelial hyperplasia, a condition that presages malignancy. In 1997, genistein in the diet was also found to stimulate human breast cells to enter the cell cycle. As a result, the researchers advised women not to eat soya products to prevent breast cancer.

But surely soya prevents osteoporosis, the bone thinning that particularly affects post-menopausal women?

No. In fact, soya blocks calcium and causes a deficiency of vitamin D, both of which are needed for strong bones, say American nutritionists and soya debunkers Sally Fallon and Mary G Enig.

Is there any kind of soya product I can safely eat?

Yes. Fermented soya products, such as soy sauce, tempeh and miso. The long fermentation process counteracts the effects of natural toxins in soya.

Can I avoid soya?

It's hard. You can stop eating the obvious candidates such as soya milk and tofu, but soya is also to be found in breakfast cereals, ice cream, convenience food such as hamburgers, fish fingers and lasagne, and all manner of baked goods from cakes and biscuits to tortillas and bread. If that's your mission in life, read labels carefully, and eat organic processed foods wherever possible.

Finally, the pro-soya lobby always says that, in the US, a quarter of the population has been fed infant soya formula for 30 to 40 years, with no adverse health problems. So why should I worry?

Scientists are only just beginning to research and understand the harmful long-term effects that eating large quantities of soya can have on the human body. As Fallon and Enig write: 'The industry has know for years that soya contains many toxins. At first they told the public that the toxins were removed by processing. Then they claimed that these substances were beneficial.' Sounds like there's a big battle ahead.

— For further information, contact http://www.soyonlineservice.co.nz , a detailed information resource on soya run by biochemist Dr Mike Fitzpatrick. Sally Fallon and Mary G Enig's excellent article 'Tragedy and Hype: The Third Soy Symposium' is on http://www.nexusmagazine.com . 'The Trouble With Tofu: Soya and the Brain' by John D MacArthur is on http://www.brain.com

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

Refernces and Articles on the dangers of soya

  1. Fallon, S. W. and Enig, M. G., "Soy products for dairy products? Not so fast", Health Freedom News, September 1995, pp. 12-20; published by National Health Federation, PO Box 688, Monrovia CA 91016, USA, phone (818) 357 2181, fax (818) 303 0642.

  2. Coward, L., et al., "Genisfein, daidzen and their betaglycoside conjugates: Antitumor isoflavones in soybean food from American and Asian diets", J. Agric Food Chem. 1993:41, pp. 1961-1967.

  3. Katz, S. H., "Food and biocultural evolution: A model for the investigation of modern nutritional problems", Nutritional Anthropology, Alan R Liss, Inc, NY, USA, 1987, p. 50.

  4. Hattersley, J.G., "High-dose vitamin B 12 for the elderly", for submission to Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients for publication.

  5. Scheer, J. F., Health Freedom News, March 1991, p. 7.

  6. Racks, J. J., et al., "The USDA trypsin inhibitor study; I. Background, objectives and procedural details", Qual. Plant Foods Hum. Nutr. 1958:35, pp. 232-240.

  7. Fallon and Enig, op cit.

  8. Lonnerdal, B. et al., "The effect of individual components of soy formula and cows' milk formula on zinc bioavailability", Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1984:40, pp. 1064-l070.

  9. Palmer, G., The Politics of Breastfeeding, Pandora Press, London, UK, 1993, p. 310.

  10. Ely, J. T. A., "Potential break-through on mercury problems", Well Mind Assoc. Bulletin, June 1993.

  11. Ganse, R., "Doctors still sleuthing cause of food allergies", Sch. Foodserv. J. 1986:40, pp. 38-39.

  12. Alarcon, P. et al., "Clinical trial of home available, mixed diets versus a lactose-free soy-protein formula for the dietary management of acute childhood diarrhea", J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. 1991:12, pp. 224-232.

  13. Dukakis, E. S. et al., "Evaluating the nutritional quality of infant formula", Nutr. Res. 1989:9, pp. 93-104.

  14. Phytate reduction of zinc absorption has been demonstrated in numerous studies; results are summarised in Leviton, R., Tofu, Tempeh, Miso and Other Soyfoods: The Food of the Future&emdash; How to Enjoy its Spectacular Health Benefits, Keats Pub., New Canaan, CT, USA, 1982, pp 14-l5.

    1. Mellanby, E., "Experimental rickets: The effect of cereals and their interaction with other factors of diet and environment in producing rickets", Med. Res. Council 1925:93, pp. 2-65.
    2. Wills, M. R. et al., "Phytic acid and nutritional rickets in immigrants", Lancet, 8 April 1972, pp. 771-773.

    1. Van Rensburg, et al., "Nutritional status of African populations predisposed to esophageal cancer", Nutr. Cancer 1983:4, pp. 206-216.
    2. Moser, P. B. et al., "Copper iron, zinc and selenium dietary intake and status of Nepalese lactating women and their breast-fed infants", Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1988:47, pp. 729-734.
    3. Harland, B. F. et al., "Nutritional status and phytate; zinc and phytate X calcium: Zinc dietary molar ratios of lacto-ovo vegetarian Trappist monks: 10 years later", J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 1988:88, pp. 1562-1566.

  15. El Tiney, A. H., "Proximate composition and mineral and phytate contents of legumes grown in Sudan", J. Food Composition Analysis 1989:2, pp. 67-78.

  16. Ologhobo, A. D. et al., "Distribution of phosphorus and phytate in some Nigerian varieties of legumes and some effects of processing", J. Food Science 1984:49, pp. 199-201.

    1. Smith, A. K., Soybeans: Chemistry and Technology, Avi Pub., Westport, CT, USA, 1972, p. 183.
    2. Jenkins, M. Y. et al., "Nutritional assessment of twelve protein foods/ingredients", Nutr. Res. 1989:9, pp. 83-92.

  17. Wallace, G. M., "Studies on the processing and properties of soy milk", J. Sci. Fd. Agric. 1971:22, pp. 526-535.

  18. Berk, Z., "Technology of production of edible flours and protein products from soybeans", FAO Agr. Serv. Bulletin 1992:97, Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, p. 85.

  19. Webster's New World Dictionary, Simon & Schuster, NY, Second College ed., 1982.

  20. Annand, J. C., "Hypothesis: Heated milk protein and thrombosis", J. Atherosclerosis Res. 1967:7, pp. 797-801.

  21. Carper, J. "High vitamin C levels boost production of good cholesterol", Seattle Post Intelligencer, 10 August 1994.

  22. Price, W. A., Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Keats Pub., New Canaan, CT, USA, 1945.

  23. Pariza, M. W., "Newly recognized anti-carcinogenic fatty acid identification and quantification in natural and processed cheeses", J. Ag. Food Chem. 1989:37, pp. 75-81.

  24. Taylor, C. B. et al., "Spontaneously occurring angiotoxic derivatives of cholesterol, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1979:32, pp. 40-57.

  25. Hattersley, J. G., "Acquired atherosclerosis: Theories of causation, novel therapies", J. Orth. Med. 1991:6, pp. 83-98.

  26. Hattersley, J. G., "Vitamin B6: The overlooked key to preventing heart attacks", J. Applied Nutrition 1995:47, pp. 24-31.

  27. Hattersley, J. G., "The importance of vitamin C and vitamin B6 in prevention and reversal of acquired atherosclerosis", J. Orth. Med. (in press).

  28. "Microwave tragedy", PPNF Nutr. J. 1994:18(1&2), pp. 1-5.

Con (Jon Campbell)

Ron,

You have just re-posted the original article. It is REALLY important that we not take this article at face value, although I can certainly understand if people are worried about it. Soy monoculture is certainly an economic problem, and it may be a health problem as well. But going back to eating dioxin-contaminated meat, eggs, and milk and PCB and mercury-laced fish is certainly NOT the answer.

As Richard Leakey so clearly points out in his recent book (I believe called the Sixth Extinction) there is evidence that early humans were totally vegetarian, and our predecessors (and parallel species) certainly were and are. We do not have the intestines designed to process meat; by the time it is out the other end it is fetid (from John Robbins' books). Cows milk was designed for calves, not for humans.

Soy may not be the answer, but meat-eating aint the answer.

Jon


From: RBBAX@aol.com

Subject: Re: Soya Alert (Reply 2)

Dear Jon,

Correction, I didn't re-post the original article on soya as you claim. I posted the Guardian article, plus references on the dangers of soya that I obtained from Nexus magazine's website. (I enclose these references again for anyone who is interested).

Furthermore, I never suggested we should be "going back to eating dioxin-contaminated meat, eggs, and PCB and mercury-laced fish", nor did I suggest that meat-eating is the answer – there are numerous sources of protein available other than just animals, birds, fish and soya beans.

Anyway, I reckon we've debated this topic enough for now, and that we should focus on our goal of getting GM foods banned. (Including GM soya of course)

Cheers,

Ron Baxter


From: geno@zap.a2000.nl

Subject: Re: Soya Alert (Reply 2)

It took the Chinese hundreds of years before they found how soy needs to be processed in order to make it real medicinal product. See: http://www.crisscross.com/users/mitoku/jj.html

regards
wytze

PS. I would like to add commercial fruitjuices to the list of NOT- recommended foods. A consumerTV programme revealed lately that sugarlevel and acidity in fruitjuices are as high as in soft- drinks. Very detrimental to the protectionlayer of the teeth.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 26 Sep 2000 07:20:36 +0100
From: RBBAX@aol.com
From: nlpwessex@bigfoot.com (NLP Wessex)
Via: owner-food@foe.co.uk

Report Warns on Human Gene Trials

Sections:
By nlpwessex@bigfoot.com (NLP Wessex)
Report Warns on Human Gene Trials

By nlpwessex@bigfoot.com (NLP Wessex)

"....experiments have produced animals born with major birth defects, gross physical distortions and fatal abnormalities".

This is what the genetic engineering industry likes to claim is a very 'precise' technology. The same goes on in the plant breeding side of genetic engineering too:

"In a recent survey of at least thirty companies developing transgenic plants for use in agriculture, all companies observed some transgene instability (Finnegan, et al., 1994). Many research laboratories have also reported difficulties in obtaining sufficiently high expression of certain transgenes or in stabilising transgene expression of an introduced gene. In a recent study in our laboratory, one hundred Brassica napus transgenic lines were produced and half of them displayed unstable or unusual transgene behaviour (Jones, et al., 1995)." John Innes Centre, 1998. For more on this, see: www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/compliance.htm

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


Report Warns on Human Gene Trials

By Paul Recer, AP Science Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) via NewsEdge Corporation, September 19, 2000

Attempting to change genes and create future generations of perfect, healthy human beings is dangerous, irresponsible and should not be permitted now, a panel of experts says in a report.

A committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in a report issued Monday, called for the creation of a public committee to monitor and oversee the increasingly sophisticated research into genetic modification.

Much of the current research is concentrating on modifying the genes to correct health problems in living humans. This is called somatic gene modification and involves changing the genes in existing mature cells.

But, the committee said, there is animal research in which there is an alteration of genes that affect future generations. This is called or IGM. designer or babies born with genes modified to make them, and future generations taller, more athletic, more beautiful or more intelligent. IGM could also be used to remove from a family lineage the genes that cause inherited diseases.

Dr. Theodore Friedmann of the University of California, San Diego, said that

He said experiments have produced animals born with major birth defects, gross physical distortions and fatal abnormalities. The same thing, he said, could happen in humans if the current IGM technology was applied.

Friedmann said reports of gene manipulation and cloning experiments tend to concentrate on the successes. But behind each triumph there can be scores of animals that were born with terrible and usually lethal genetic problems. This, the committee said, shows that the IGM research is not now safe to use on humans. In animal experiments, this technology has been highly inefficient and not There are major technical barriers to using this technology in humans.'


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 27 Sep 2000 10:57:57 +0100
From: "jcummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

"The Maestros of GM Propaganda an International Trio"

Prof. Joe Cummins, jcummins@julian.uwo.ca, September 27, 2000

Yesterday's revelation that Dennis Avery had been nominated to be a member at large of the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) section on Agriculture Food and Renewable Resources shows that the multinational chemical industry who dominate production and control of genetically modified (GM) crops has great influence with the "science" establishment in the United States. Even though Avery's claims about the deadly hazards of organic foods have been roundly refuted he is being promoted as a scientific authority even though his scientific credentials are invisible.

Prof. Alan McHugen of Saskatchewan recently published the following comment "According to Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute the highly respected US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta noted 2471 cases, including 250 deaths, of infection by the unpleasant E. coli strain O157:H7 in 1996 alone. These bacteria live in manure. Manure is used as a fertilizer in organic farming systems. Organic foods were implicated in about a third of the confirmed O157:H7 cases despite the fact that organic food constitutes only about 1% of food consumed in the US."

Alan McHughen, Pandora's Picnic Basket, p. 233. March 23, 1999 The professor headed the human health effects discussion at the 1999 Edinburgh conference on safety of GM foods and a large meeting this spring in Saskatoon. He is a member of the United States National Research Council Panel on safety of GM foods. As nearly everyone knows CDC have indicated that they have not undertaken studies on organic foods. The deaths from toxic E coli have not been linked to organic foods and organic certification does not allow use of untreated manure on produce.

This spring I was present at a debate and "public forum" set up by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and a "science" journalist from CBC. Prof. McHugen was a panelist. Even though most of the public comments were strongly opposed to unlabelled GM foods the broadcast aired was edited to leave the impression that few opponents of GM foods exist. In Canada news media have limited their reports to government and multinational corporation views for the most part.

Today Ron Baxter included the efforts of GM advocated led by Sir John Krebs to limit and control the discussion of GM foods in British news media. Pompous officials shamelessly describe Sir John a "neutral" regarding GM foods and pretend to ignore his advocacy of GM foods. Sir John is Director, Food Standards Agency.

It seems Avery, McHugen and Krebs may be the maestros of GM propaganda. The rigid and unquestioning promotion of GM crops has already resulted in the careless spread of unapproved seeds and foods in Europe and North America. The GM propagandists try to isolate the "scientific" community from the population at large. They seem to believe that such practice will provide insurance against damage from careless and unreasoning promotion of GM crops.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 27 Sep 2000 13:16:07 +0100
From: "jcummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

Should USDA certify GM testing?

Today Ron Baxter sent an article indicating that USDA had initiated a laboratory to certify GM test laboratories.

"As a result, the Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) is completing work on a facility known as the Biotechnology Reference Laboratory in Kansas City, Mo. GIPSA Deputy Administrator David Shipman told Feedstuffs that work on the facility is expected to be completed in late October.

Preliminary work to evaluate the performance of laboratories and commercial tests will begin at the GIPSA facility by the end of the year, said Shipman. Seed companies are providing GIPSA with genetic information and reference material in support of the laboratory. "Support from the seed companies is essential to ensure the success of the laboratory," he said."

We should think twice before applauding a GM test certification system run by USDA. USDA through APHIS is responsible for approving GM crops yet has clear financial relationships with companies like Delta and Pine. USDA actually acts as a company profiting from GM crops and the weakness of APHIS approval is evident to anyone reading their reviews.

A truly independent agency is needed to avoid the predictable squalor from being a USDA consort.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 27 Sep 2000 17:32:07 +0100
From: "jcummins" jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

Some concern expreesed that GM in US and Canada is careless 28 September 2000

Nature points out that GM is careless in US and Canada

What hopes for GM food?

Nature 407, 431 (2000) © Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

The industry based on genetic modification of plants has suffered new setbacks. Europe's public is at the least sceptical, but still potentially accepting, of GM crops, provided progress in technology, regulation and communication is maintained.

It has been a grim year for consumer confidence, not least in genetically modified (GM) foods. The discovery in the United States this week that millions of taco shells need to be recalled owing to contamination by potentially allergenic Aventis corn follows on the heels of the episode in May when the Canadian exporter Advanta Seeds accidentally sent GM oilseed-rape seeds to Sweden and the United Kingdom. Couple that to the fact that the international media-tailored campaigns of crop destruction by Greenpeace and others find ready sympathy with much of the public, and GM proponents might contemplate throwing in the towel.

The bizarre but unanimous verdict by a British jury last week that such destruction can be lawful, reportedly influenced by a visible sympathy of the jury with Peter Melchett and his Greenpeace co-defendants, sets the seal on such a pessimistic perspective (see page 438 ). Is there hope for those who, like Nature, adopt an open-minded attitude to the scientific assessment of this technology but also anticipate many benefits from its judicious application?

Uncertainties about the cause of the Advanta contamination are delaying the outcome of a review by the UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the crop-separation distances required to achieve acceptably low levels of cross-pollination. But there is no indication that the tens to hundreds of metres recommended for the government's farm-scale trials reflect an underestimation of cross-pollination levels.

These trials, the targets of Greenpeace's action, are intended to test the hypothesis that the introduction of maize, sugar beet and oilseed rape, modified for herbicide resistance, will not significantly affect biodiversity. Although it is arguable that they are an excuse for the government to delay the commercial introduction of GM crops, there is no doubt that they could play a leading role in addressing relevant ecological questions. Most positively, they may point to ways in which GM crops could encourage biodiversity.

But for anti-GM fundamentalists such as some of those in Greenpeace, and for many with vested interests in organic farming, such knowledge is irrelevant. Tying their beliefs to misleading sound bites about potential risks, constantly exploiting fears and misunderstandings about DNA in food, and in the absence as yet of clear benefits from the technology, they have successfully captured much public sympathy.

But that sympathy can quickly evaporate, especially when the public recognizes the manipulation of information – by industry or anti-technology campaigners – for what it is, as has happened in consensus conferences. More potential benefits of GM crops can be expected to emerge, and one can reasonably expect that problems revealed by the science will, as with any technology, lead to appropriate regulation. In short, public confidence can grow, given a chance.

In the meantime, far better public presentation of the state of the science and stricter regulatory precautions are required in Europe. In Britain, the centre of so much debate, the transparency of advice, contrary to general belief, is good (see, for example, http://www.environment.detr.gov.uk ), as is the willingness of scientists to talk at public meetings. But much of that is ignored in the midst of media heat. The fledgling Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission should try to ensure that, as happened during the BSE crisis, advisory bodies respond rapidly to media debates with informed comment and information.

The thresholds of acceptability of some presence of GM product in organic produce need to be pursued as a priority. It is here that the technical and social issues underlying the inherent conflict between organic farming and other types of agriculture can be resolved with a compromise acceptable to most. This will in turn introduce an additional element of rationality when considering the real and apparent risks posed by GM crops.

And Europe's industry needs to speak rather than, as happens too often, remain silent – and to be less careless than their US and Canadian colleagues in controlling the standards of their products.

Nature © Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2000 Registered No. 785998 England.


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Date: 28 Sep 2000 07:06:07 +0100
From: RBBAX@aol.com

New Book on GE (BioDemocracy News Special)

BioDemocracy News Special: Announcing Our New Book Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers by: Ronnie Cummins (co-author Ben Lilliston) BioDemocracy News is a publication of the Organic Consumers Association http://www.purefood.org


Since we sent you the last issue of BioDemocracy News in mid-September, the Frankenfoods controversy has intensified in the United States. On Sept. 18, the national coalition, the Genetically Engineered Food Alert of which the Organic Consumers Association is an active member, issued a press release revealing that an illegal, and likely allergenic, variety of genetically engineered corn –old by the biotech giant Aventis and planted on 300,000 acres across the US –ad been detected in lab tests in Kraft Taco Bell corn shells. The Kraft Taco Bell scandal generated significant media coverage on national TV and in the press, serving once again to underline the fact that we are all human guinea pigs in a vast genetic experiment. In the next issue of BioDemocracy News we'll try to put the Taco Bell controversy in its broader context, as well as report on other recent trends in the global food fight.

But today we want to tell you about our new book, Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers (published by Marlowe and Company, New York). Although the book is already starting to show up in bookstores across the country, we'd like for each of you, our 35,000 subscribers to BioDemocracy News, to take a minute –ight now if you can –o go to our website and click on the cover of our new book, and then order a copy for $12.95 plus postage. Better yet, order several copies so that you can give them away to your friends. And if you're really fired up, make sure that your local natural food store or co-op, and your local bookstores and libraries, are carrying and prominently displaying the book. Beyond this, please make sure that your local media are aware of the book, and that they either write a review or call us up for an interview.

Ben Lilliston and I wrote this book over the past year to help raise the level of public debate over genetically engineered foods and crops and to give practical advice on how people can join the Frankenfoods Fight and reduce their everyday exposure to genetically engineered food ingredients. If you enjoy reading BioDemocracy News and find the information useful, you'll definitely like our new book. So please buy it, read it, and tell your friends and local booksellers about it. We need to make this book a best seller in order to fuel the fires of dissent and rebellion throughout North America, the heartland of agbiotech. We've launched a speaking tour to publicize the book and build up the nationwide activist network of the Organic Consumers Association. Look for us to be speaking in your area sometime over the next 12 months.

In order to help you decide to click on our web site and order the book, we've prevailed on some of our friends to read the book, Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers, and tell you what they think of it. Here's what they have to say:

"I breathed a sigh of relief as I picked up this book. Finally, there's a reliable source of information for consumers on the confusing subject of genetically engineered foods. In clear language, Cummins and Lilliston guide us to greater knowledge and greater hopefulness. If you only read one book on GE foods, this should be the one."

-Peggy O'Mara, Editor and Publisher, Mothering Magazine

"Cummins and Lilliston are clear, accurate and compelling. If you want to understand the dangers of genetically engineered food, this is the book you need. And if you want to make safe food choices for your family, this is the book you should buy."

-Cheryl Long, Senior Editor of Organic Gardening Magazine

....

Organic Consumers Association
6101 Cliff Estate Rd, Little Marais, MN 55614
1/218-4164    http://www.purefood.org     info@organicconsumers.org