Genetically Manipulated Food News

Thursday, 30. April 1998

Table of Contents

The Case Against Genetic Engineering
Steve Wilson: rBGH and the Fox TV Case
USDA Organic Decision Delayed
Monsanto Asks USDA to Delay Decision On Organic Crops
Irish EPA grants more GE field trials
Japan develops Cloned Eucalyptus Trees for Paper Production
EU to approve new gene maize/rapeseed on Wednesday
Concern Abounds About Growth of Genetically Engineered Foods
New, Improved Organic: Pleasures Of The Table
New Poll: 81% of Brits against Cloning Animals
Farm Aid: USDA's Organic Food Rules 'Assault on Family Farms'
New gene crops win official EU backing
Disappointing Biotech Crops
Questions and Answers about Milk and rBGH
Firm reveals cross-species transplant studies
Should we "fix" nature's genetic mistakes?
Plans to Reform EU Gene Law Draw Heavy Criticism
USDA Urged To Scrap Organic Rules
List of GM free soya suppliersUSA, Canada, Netherlands, UK

Thanks to Dr. John Fagan for forwarding the following quotes from Dr. George Wald

The Case Against Genetic Engineering

by Georege Walt,
in The Recombinatnt DNA Debate,
Jackson and Stich, eds. P. 127-128.
(Reprinted from The Sciences, Sept./Oct. 1976 issue)

"Recombinant DNA technology [genetic engineering] faces our society with problems unprecedented not only in the history of science, but of life on the Earth. It places in human hands the capacity to redesign living organisms, the products of some three billion years of evolution."

"Such intervention must not be confused with previous intrusions upon the natural order of living organisms; animal and plant breeding, for example; or the artificial induction of mutations, as with X-rays. All such earlier procedures worked within single or closely related species. The nub of the new technology is to move genes back and forth, not only across species lines, but across any boundaries that now divide living organisms. The results will be essentially new organisms, self-perpetuating and hence permanent. Once created, they cannot be recalled."

"Up to now, living organisms have evolved very slowly, and new forms have had plenty of time to settle in. Now whole proteins will be transposed overnight into wholly new associations, with consequences no one can foretell, either for the host organism, or their neighbors."

"It is all too big and is happening too fast. So this, the central problem, remains almost unconsidered. It presents probably the largest ethical problem that science has ever had to face. Our morality up to now has been to ho ahead without restriction to learn all that we can about nature. Restructuring nature was not part of the bargain. For going ahead in this direction may be not only unwise, but dangerous. Potentially, it could breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics."


Here is a message from Steve Wilson, who, along with his wife Jane Akre, are are launching a lawsuit against Fox TV. They are investigative reporters who were fired for refusing to alter their documentary on BGH:

Steve Wilson: rBGH and the Fox TV Case

by Steve Wilson http://www.foxBGHsuit.com

My wife, Jane Akre (pronoucned A'-cree), and I are investigative reporters recently fired by Fox Television for refusing to broadcast what we knew to be lies and distorted information about rBGH (Bovine Growth Hormone). As you know, this substance--legal in the U-S, banned in Europe and elsewhere--has found its way into much of America's milk supply, despite unresolved human health concerns.

Our four-part series was ready to go on the air when former Republican operative and now Fox News chief Roger Ailes was pressured by a high-powered NY attorney hired by Monsanto, which makes the hormone.

In wake of this pressure, our story was essentially re-written by Fox lawyers looking for what was clearly a more industry-friendly tone. To achieve that, important information was left out of the broadcasts and other details distorted to slant the piece.

First, we were threatened with firing with 48 hours if we would not go along and broadcast the new version. When we documented its falsity and slant, the threat to fire us turned into offers of large cash settlements for both of us (approaching $200,000)...for this we simply had to broadcast the story the way Fox insisted, then forever keep quiet about BGH and how the story was handled.

When we declined what the station manager now says "could in no way be considered hush money", we were forced to write and re-write again and again (more than 73 times) the scripts which never did make it on the air.

We were ultimately fired "for no cause" during a window in our contract, although Fox officials have since admitted the "cause" was standing up for the truth.

On April 2, 1998 we filed suit against Fox and are telling the BGH story to anyone and everyone we can get to listed. You can read all about this--documents, scripts, memos, all of it--at our web site: http://www.foxBGHsuit.com

As our case progresses, we appreciate the chance to read new information about this topic here on your list. In the meantime, if anyone knows of any opportunity which would give us the chance to talk about what is in our milk these days, or if you just have a comment, please do not hesistate to write us: wilson@foxBGHsuit.com akre@foxBGHsuit.com

.....................

You can also refer to our previous email on this, which is at the website: http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/GENews4-13rBGH.html


USDA Organic Decision Delayed

clips from Reuters article follows (See website http://www.agriculture.com/agpoll/index.shtml for full article) Friday April 17, 8:05 pm Eastern Time Monsanto joins debate on organic foods

Monsanto joins debate on organic foods

By Julie Vorman

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) - After tens of thousands of angry consumer letters to the U.S. Agriculture Department over standards for organic food labels, Monsanto Corp. urged the department to defer any decision on bioengineered plants.

The USDA's proposal to create national standards for organic food labels has emerged as the most controversial food issue ever tackled by the department, pitting U.S. agribusinesses against organic farmers and consumers.

To date, a staggering 100,000 comment letters have been posted or e-mailed to the USDA on its plan. Nearly two weeks still remain before the USDA ends the mandated comment period and most major companies and agri-business groups have yet to make their views public.

Most oppose the proposal to allow organic food labels to include bioengineered material, leading some industry experts to fear the USDA might be paralyzed into taking no action at all.

Monsanto, the St. Louis-based giant seed and biotechnology company, told USDA it should go ahead with its organic food standards but defer the biotech issue for three years.


Here is another article on the same topic:

Monsanto Asks USDA to Delay Decision On Organic Crops

By REKHA BALU, Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
April 17,1998

Monsanto Co., in a move likely to please consumer groups, is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to delay for at least three years a decision on whether genetically engineered crops could qualify as organic.

In a letter to the department, the St. Louis company noted that both the use of biotechnology in agriculture and the production of organic food are still evolving. It added that after such a delay, "a better, more informed decision can be made as to whether and how to make plants improved through biotechnology eligible for organic certification."

Many consumer and organic-farming advocates contend that organic means that the crop and the growing conditions should be naturally occurring, and thus genetically altered crops shouldn't be considered organic.

Others, such as Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. and the American Seed Trade Association are submitting comments in favor of including genetically altered products in the organic standards.

Because it is an industry leader, Monsanto's position could slow some of the momentum others have gathered in their attempt to get the government to broaden the definition of organic. While Monsanto's letter still supports the idea that organic farming could be compatible with biotechnology, the biotech leader wants to avoid a fight with consumer groups.


PRESS RELEASE FROM GENETIC CONCERN (IRELAND) genconc@cyberia.ie

Irish EPA grants more GE field trials

Thu, 23 Apr 1998

Genetic Concern today expressed its grave disappointment and frustration at the EPA decision to grant U.S. Multinational, Monsanto licenses to plant five more field trials of genetically engineered sugar beet in Buttevant and Shanagarry (Cork), Dunshaughlin and Kells (Meath) and New Ross (Wexford).

The sugar beet is spliced with genes from viruses, bacteria and other plants to make it resistant to Monsanto's herbicide RoundUp. In normal use, RoundUp kills all growing plants, but the controversial genetic process has altered enzyme pathways to enable genetech sugar beet to survive.


Japan develops Cloned Eucalyptus Trees for Paper Production

Japan's largest paper manufacturer on a sales basis, announced on April 15 that it had developed cloned seedlings of one variety of eucalyptus tree, which is a promising raw material for use in producing paper. The company also announced that it had planted the seedlings and confirmed their growth. Last year in November, the company planted 1,000 seedlings on the forested grounds of its subsidiary company in Chile, raising them all until they reached a height of between one and 1.5 meters.

The method of cloning and planting the seedlings is expected to produce more paper production material faster than conventional methods when they are harvested in ten years. Eucalyptus is a fast growing tree and many varieties are used in the production of paper. Based on the success of the program thus far, the company is planning in the future to expand the area in which it plants the cloned seedlings in Chile. Ref: Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, 04/16/98, p.22


EU to approve new gene maize/rapeseed on Wednesday

BRUSSELS, April 20, 1998

(Reuters) - The European Union is expected on Wednesday to approve the marketing of four new strains of genetically modified maize and rapeseed throughout the 15-nation bloc, a European Commission official said on Monday.

The products concerned are maize strains produced by U.S. biotechnology giant Monsanto, Swiss drugs firm Novartis, German crop protection group AgrEvo, and an oilseed rape variety produced by AgrEvo.


Concern Abounds About Growth of Genetically Engineered Foods

April 21, 1998

Male Health Weekly Plus via NewsEdge Corporation : Scientists urgently warn that genetically engineered food could have serious long-term health and environmental consequences and may worsen chances of food security in the developing world.

Dr. Michael Antoniou, a senior lecturer in molecular pathology in London, England, explained that normally gene function is extremely tightly controlled so that the right proteins are made in the correct place within the organism, at the right time and in the appropriate quantity.

"This ensures an integrated and balanced functioning of all the tens of thousands of structures and processes that make up the body of any complex organism, whether plant or animal. One will not normally find liver functions in the brain or leaf specific proteins in the fruit and vice versa."

He also points out that natural cross-breeding can only take place between very closely related species while genetic engineering allows the transfer of single or multiple genes between totally unrelated organisms "circumventing natural species barriers."


New, Improved Organic: Pleasures Of The Table

by Pam Frier
VICTORIA TIMES COLONIST (Victoria, BC, Canada)
Apr. 19, 1998, p. B4

New, improved organic: It will make you SICK More scary news on the food front, I'm afraid. This time it's blight, but not your ordinary garden-variety kind of blight. This one's particularly insidious. And apparently unstoppable. It's also government sanctioned and poised to gobble up the entire organic food industry in the United States.

I call it blight but that's just me. In some circles it's referred to fondly as the USDA, or the United States Department of Agriculture. My rather jaundiced perspective is the result of an article by George Monbiot in the March 22nd issue of the Guardian Weekly in which he outlines the USDA's new national standard for organic farming. These are guidelines which will effectively outlaw genuine organic production and make a mockery of both free choice and healthy eating. From there, according to Monbiot, it's only a matter of time before the effects of American policy are felt world wide.

The USDA is proposing to allow fruits and vegetables to be labelled "organic" that have been *genetically*manipulated, treated with additives, irradiated and Monbiot's words "raised on contaminated sewage sludge" and the treachery doesn't stop there. "Organic" livestock, according to the proposed new criteria, can be housed in batteries, injected with biotics, and fed with the offal of other animals.

In other words, he says, genuine organic foodstuffs may soon be virtually indistinguishable from the ersatz and potentially toxic byproducts of science.

We've brought this on ourselves of course. We've enjoyed having a choice and we've exercised it. Our love affair with real food is not just catching on, it's growing at the astonishing rate of 20 to 30 per cent a year. Needless to say, all this doesn't sit too well with the agri-bully in his corner office watching the bandwagon pass him by. He's out of the loop. He can't afford to operate in the small-scale, labor-intensive environment in which organic production flourishes. It's far too much work for too small a return so the only way to deal with this pesky business is to destroy it. Change the rules so they work for you. Silence any protest. And get governments on side to help you do it.

So far, the U.S. has managed this strategy brilliantly, albeit with an often clumsy and heavy hand. Fourteen states have enacted "food disparagement" laws to prevent people from saying mean things about any food they consider suspect. Just ask Oprah. She faced down a court challenge brought by a syndicate of monster cattle ranchers who maintained she had an attitude problem with beef. She did. She upheld her right to say so. And lo and behold, she won!

So there's hope, you say. And besides, surely all that is needed to ensure consumers the choice that is rightfully theirs is to simply re-label the real thing. If "organic" is to be relaunched as a concept as vacuous as "farm fresh" and "home made" all the genuine organic growers need to do is call their product something else. Like "Extra Virgin Organic." Or "Organic Classic." That would do it.

I'm afraid not. Once again, the USDA got there first. It has proposed laws prohibiting the setting of standards higher than those established by themselves. Farmers will, in other words, be forbidden by law from producing and selling good food. Monbiot's words again. Unminced. And terrifying.

But the truly unsettling aspect of all this is that the rest of the world will have little choice but to swallow whatever policy the U.S. serves up, no matter how distasteful it may be. As Monbiot so carefully argues - and he writes from a British perspective - any trading partner of the United States who has the temerity to stand up and say "No! We will not buy any food that does not meet the standards we have set for ourselves" will be summarily dealt with. The U.S. would immediately take the case to the World Trade Organization. The WTO would refer it to Codex Alimentarius, the food standards body dominated, according to Monbiot, by the scientist puppets of stakeholder corporations.

Protesting nations would be threatened with punitive sanctions and forced to dismantle any trading standards that present "unfair" barriers to U.S. producers. Opposition, no matter how heart-felt and wide spread, would collapse with barely a whimper. And what the U.S. agribusiness deems suitable for our tables will become the new world standard. I remember my son saying to me many years ago, before "organic" became the lifestyle mantra of choice.

"You should buy organic," he said. "You should support the small grower who's working, against all odds, to compete with the big guys, and grow good food."

It's worth it, he said, when you think about what's at stake. He's right. But the stakes are even higher now. It's no longer simply a matter of good food vs. bad food. What's at stake is our right to choose between the two.

But - hey! Why should I be fretting about all this anyway? Surely we can count on our feisty defenders of the faith in Ottawa to back us on this one. It may be a while before we can get their attention, though. They're pretty busy these days, delivering salmon to Alaska. Pam Freir is a food enthusiast living on Galiano Island. She welcomes comments. Her e-mail address is pfreir@npsnet.com [Entered Greenbase April 20, 1998 ]


New Poll: 81% of Brits against Cloning Animals

By John Ezard. Guardian Article. Friday April 24 1998.

A recently born healthy lamb became one of the most contentious and frowned-on creatures in human or animal history yesterday.

The lamb, which has been named Bonnie, is the first offspring of Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep. As her birth ten days ago was disclosed in Edinburgh, a poll suggests that 81% of adults are opposed to cloning animals.

This result led animal welfare charities to call for a ban on animal cloning on the grounds that the potential for animal suffering and exploitation through the technique was too great.

The Roislin Intitute, where the lamb was born, said the ability of clones to produce healthy offspring was important to "commercialization" of the nuclear transfer technique which produced Dolly.

The technique is expected to lead to genetically manipulated sheep and other creatures being used to generate herds or flocksss by a chain of ordinary breeding. [.......]

Joyce D'Silva, director of the charity 'Compassion in World Farming, which produced yesterday's NOP Poll with the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection said: "Our poll shows that people don't want to see the cloning technology, with all it's potential for sufferring and expliotation,used on animals. We urge the Government to halt these experiments."

Cloning procedures often involved surgical procedures to harvest eggs and the killing of the surrogate motheranimal, animal welfare groups said.

A number of cloned animals had developed malformed internal organs. There were fears that any herd of cloned animals used in agriculture would be vulnerable to disease because of the reduced gene pool from which they were drawn.


Farm Aid: USDA's Organic Food Rules 'Assault on Family Farms'

Pop singers Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp Urge Feds Back to Drawing Board to Craft 'Farm Friendly' Regulations

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's proposed organic food rules drew criticism today from the founders of Farm Aid. Farm Aid leaders called on the USDA to abandon the draft rules and start over with a new ear toward hearing and understanding the real needs of organic farmers and the concerns of consumers.

In letters to Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp concluded, "The only solution is a complete re-write of this rule to preserve the production of organic food and the small farmers who grow it."

Nelson said the rules, as they stand today, defeat the purpose of attaching the "organic" label to these specially grown foods.

"There should be no place in organics for accepting synthetic medicines, non-organic feed, feeding rendered animals to herbivorous livestock and permitting animal confinement facilities," Nelson wrote.

Nelson, Young and Mellencamp were extremely critical of USDA proposals to allow foods treated with radiation or created through genetic tinkering to be classified as organic. Young said it was particularly outrageous that foods fertilized with toxic sewage sludge would be certified organic under the USDA plan.

"The proposed rule is an assault on organic family farms, a crucial part of American agriculture that deserves to be supported and encouraged, not destroyed," Young wrote.


New gene crops win official EU backing

By David Evans, BRUSSELS, April 22 (Reuters)

The European Commission gave its official blessing to four new genetically modified crop strains on Wednesday, paving the way for them to be grown and marketed throughout the European Union (EU). "They have been approved officially today," Commission spokesman Peter Jorgensen told Reuters. [....]

Two of the new varieties -- Monsanto Mon810 maize and Novartis Bt-11 maize -- have been engineered to resist the European corn borer pest by the addition of a gene which causes the plant to produce a protein which kills the insect.

Austria and Luxembourg have imposed domestic bans, in defiance of EU law, on another of the Bt-gene-carrying strain of GMO maize developed by Novartis.

Officials have voiced concerns that the Bt-gene could not only kill other benign insects, but may lead to the corn borer developing a resistance to the toxin. An EU scientific advisory committee failed last week to agree whether it should order the domestic bans to be repealed.

The other new crops --- AgrEvo T25 maize and AgrEvo glufosinate ammonium tolerant rape -- are immune to glufosinate, the active ingredient in herbicides, allowing farmers to spray fields without harming their crop.


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Disappointing Biotech Crops

April 24, 1998

One of the selling points for many genetically engineered crops has been that farmers will need fewer inputs and therefore have higher returns per acre. However, two recently released studies indicate that this may not necessarily be the case.

Researchers at the University of Arkansas recently found that net income from land planted with Bt cotton was less than land planted with conventional cotton by an average of $25 per acre in 1997, based on observations in three Arkansas counties. (Bt cotton is genetically engineered to produce its own pest-killing toxin. Currently, Monsanto dominates the engineered-cotton market). To carry out the study, researchers compared fields planted with Bt cotton to similar fields within the same farms that were planted with conventional cotton.

Previously, researchers had found that Bt cotton performed well in Arkansas in 1996, and economic studies from the Delta and Southeastern states showed a substantial increase in net income per acre planted with Bt cotton that year. However, at least in Arkansas, 1997 did not appear to be as profitable. In the University of Arkansas study, Bt cotton showed less profit per acre than non-Bt cotton in four of seven observations, and on the average yielded 24 pounds per acre less than non-Bt cotton.

According to the study, net income of Bt cotton was highly variable, ranging from $168.18 per acre less than non-Bt cotton to $127.33 per acre more. Causes of this variation and the overall lower profits of Bt cotton were attributed to technology fees added to the cost of genetically engineered seed, yield differences, costs of plant growth regulators and the need to harvest fields twice.

According to one researcher, "The worst scenario for the Bollgard variety (Monsanto's Bt cotton) occurred in one of the Jefferson county fields, where the non-Bt out yielded the Bollgard by 168 pounds per acre resulting in a $104.16 per-acre decrease in gross returns. In addition the Bollgard cotton required more plant growth regulator and had to be picked twice, while the non-Bt cotton was picked once."

A second study released by American Cyanamid, a U.S. multi-national agrochemical company and one of Monsanto's main competitors, found that farmers could experience yield losses up to $43 per acre when planting Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybeans. Roundup Ready soybeans are genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate (Monsanto's Roundup).

The findings were based on a series of field trials conducted for American Cyanamid in 1997 by growers across U.S. soybean-growing regions. The difference in yield was found when growers planted Roundup Ready soybeans and applied Roundup Ultra herbicide once, rather than using a residual control herbicide or planting "superior" varieties of soybeans.

Monsanto maintains that there is no loss of yield with Roundup Ready soybeans. The company claims that for the past couple of years, they have found a two bushel per acre average increase. However, Doug Dorsey, Monsanto's U.S. Roundup Ready soybean manager, conceded that some growers are seeing reduced yields on some of their Roundup Ready fields. He says that this is due to two major factors: farmers are often using Roundup Ready beans to clean up "especially weedy acreage," and "ideal" Roundup Ready soybean varieties are not yet available in all areas of the country.

While all farmers may not be profiting from use of genetically engineered plants, Monsanto's sales continue to increase. In 1997, Monsanto's agricultural product sales grew to over US$3 billion, with sales of Roundup growing by more than 20%. Much of the increase in Roundup sales was in Latin America, the U.S., Australia and parts of Asia, and the company is anticipating further increases as a result of the introduction of other glyphosate-tolerant crops. In 1997, Roundup Ready soybeans were planted on nine million acres in the U.S., with 18 to 20 million acres to be planted in 1998. In Argentina, 3.5 million acres were due to be planted in 1997-98, compared with 250,000 acres the previous year.

Roundup Ready cotton was planted on approximately 800,000 acres in the U.S. last year, along with 60,000 acres of dual-trait cotton (cotton plants engineered to be resistant to glyphosate and also express the Bt gene). For 1997, Monsanto predicts that plantings of Roundup Ready cotton will rise to 7.5 million acres and dual-trait cotton to one million acres. Bollgard (Monsanto's Bt cotton) was planted on 2.4 million acres in the U.S. in 1997, which may increase to as much as 5.5 million acres this year.

Monsanto also has a new logo witch it says reflects its new focus as a "life sciences" company: Monsanto -- Food, Health, Hope.

Sources: Cotton Grower, April 1998. American Cyanamid press release, 3/24/98. Seed & Crop Digest, November 1997. Agrow: World Crop Protection News, January 30, 1998. Contact: PANNA.


Recently I received some critical comments and questions from some agriculture/biotech representatives regarding a posted that I forwarded about rBGH (genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone, also abbreviated rBST, a GE hormone injected into cows to increase their milk production), IGF-1 (a biochemical produced in the milk of these cows) and cancer.

As these questions are common, I thought you might like to see them, along with corresponding replies. Thanks to Mark Gold mgold@tiac.net for these replies:

Questions and Answers about Milk and rBGH

QUESTION 1:

Recently there has been an article titled "MILK, RBGH AND CANCER" taken from the "natural-law.ca" website that has been circulating....

This article appears to be nothing short of extremely biased "sensationalism" and has a GLARING OMISSION in it, either through ignorance or deliberate omission! It makes the claim that BST treated cows have higher levels of IGF-1 in their milk, which is most likely correct, although there is some scientific debate about this.

ANSWER 1:

There is little debate that IGF-1 increases, the only question is by how much. Dr. Epstein discusses this issue in some detail in International Journal of Health Services, Volume 26, Number 1, pages 173-185, 1996. Here's a quote from the article:

" In an early report relating IGF-1 milk levels to natural BGH isolated from bovine pituitaries, administration of the hormone increased IGF-1 levels in goat's milk from a mean pretreatment level of 16 ng/ml to 25 ng/ml within four days (11). Normal cow's milk collected just after parturition contained high IGF-1 levels, about 150 ng/ml, which rapidly fell to about 25 ng/ml within one week and then declined to only 1 to 5 ng/ml by 200 days, when levels of IGF-1 induced by rBGH ranged from 6 to 20 ng/ml, up to a 20-fold increase (12).

In a subsequent short-term study on 35-47 weeks post-partum cows, a sixfold increase in iGF-1 milk levels was reported as early as 7 days following rBGH treatments (13). Of particular interest was the finding that "a significant proportion [19 percent] of the total IGF-1 was present in the [protein] free unbound form" (13), and was thus probably more bioactive or potent than the protein-bound form (14). Forthermore, pasteurization increases milk IGF-1 levels by some 70 percent, presumably by disrupting protein binding (15). The significant of these findings is emphasized by recent evidence that free IGF-1 levels in human serum are as low as 0.38 percent (16). ....

More recently, Lilly Industries, in its application for marketing authorization to the European Community Committee for Veterinary Medicinal Products, has admitted that rBGH milk may contain more than a 10-fold increase in IGF-1 concentrations (19)."

Milk is mixed together from hundreds or thousands of different cows and put into tanks. Each cow has fluctuating milk IGF-1 levels, but the tank would logically contain a fairly stable average. If each cow increases its milk IGF-1 levels by 2 to 20 times, the average will level of IGF-1 in the tank will increase by 2 to 20 times.

QUESTION 2:

The article then takes this one step further and claims that the higher IGF-1 ingested when humans drink this milk can cause cancer. Unfortunately, they DO NOT MENTION that IGF-1 does not pass intact through the gut wall into the blood stream. IGF-1 is a 70 amino acid polypeptide with a MW of about 7,500. Ingested polypeptides are digested by enzymes and absorbed into the blood stream primarily as individual amino acids.

ANSWER 2:

This is an old argument that Monsanto tried to use and has since been shown to be inaccurate. They claimed that IGF-1 *in milk* was destroyed by the digestive system.

It is now believed that IGF-1 passes through the digestive system partly because it is protected by the casein. Please see The Lancet, Volume 344, pages 197-198, July 16, 1994. It is well known that certain proteins pass through the digestive system and cause allergic or other reactions.

The fact that the IGF-1 passes through the digestive system and may be absorbed into the system is a significant concern since exceptionally low concentrations have effects on cancer.

QUESTION 3:

Interestingly, this article fails to mention that human mother's milk has considerably higher levels of IGF-1 than milk from BST treated cows. The structure of IGF-1 is identical in both species. Therefore, using the "logic" espoused in this article one would have to conclude that human mothers who nurse their babies cause them to have cancer!

ANSWER 3:

This is a misunderstanding about IGF-1. IGF-1 speeds the growth of cancer, but is not known to cause cancer "from scratch". However, over the course of several decades a large number of people develop tumors which will grow very slowly and not be diagnosed for decades. For many of these people, they will die of other causes long before the tumors because a significant issue.

However, adding IGF-1 would be expected to speed this tumor growth process considerably. For example, a person may get a diagnosis of colon cancer when they are 40 years old after years of drinking rBGH-produced milk, when this person might not have the tumor detected before death without the milk. In that sense, it "causes" cancer. But what it really does is increase the growth of existing tumors that might otherwise go undetected during one's lifetime.

Babies are undergoing enormous growth and need the hormones and other substances in mother's milk. Babies usually do not have cancer growing in them at that young age, so the IGF-1 is not a significant factor.

This all gets back to the fact that long-term human studies should have been conducted by independent organizations long before Monsanto put this stuff on the market. Since this was not done, the population of North America has, once again, become guinea pigs for another extremely dangerous Monsanto experiment.

One other thought.... It is my understanding that as we age, cancerous cells develop occasionally, but are handled by the immune system before they begin growing (dividing) out of control. In the case of a weakened immune system (perhaps after years of unhealthy living) combined with increased levels of free IGF-1 in the plasma may lead to cases where the cancer grows out of control when the weakened immune system might have otherwise successfully stopped it.


Thanks to MichaelP papadop@peak.org for posting the following article:

Firm reveals cross-species transplant studies

By Patricia Reaney, Reuters Tuesday April 28 1:08 PM EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - A leading British transplant technology firm Tuesday announced a plan to test the safety of transplanting animal organs to humans.

Imutran, a British subsidiary of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, said if the research went ahead as planned, it could lead to the first transplant of a genetically altered pig's kidney and heart into humans.

But the company's chief operating officer, Dr. Corinne Savill, stressed that safety concerns, particularly transmission of pig viruses to humans, would be the top priority in assessing the value of the technology.

"If we find any evidence of transmission of pig viruses we will re-evaluate our approach," she told a press briefing.

Xenotransplantation -- the use of organs, tissues or cells from a different species -- was thought to be the ideal solution to the increasing demand for replacement organs and the dwindling number of donors.

But then scientists discovered that two types of pig viruses were capable of infecting human cells.

The viruses, called porcine endogenous retroviruses, cause no symptoms in pigs. But scientists do not know if they can be transferred to humans during transplants or if they can mutate and cause disease.

The finding sparked fears that cross-species transplants could lead to a new pathogen like the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS, and provoked calls for a moratorium.

An international group, Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine, launched a campaign in London earlier this year to ban xenotransplantion, saying it could lead to an epidemic that could kill billions of people.


Should we "fix" nature's genetic mistakes?

By Christopher Joyce, a science editor for National Public Radio
USA Today April 25-26, 1998

Scientists are learning how to repair genes that cause disease. But the same process could alter a child's hair color, height or even intelligence.

Scientists are contemplating a radical new step in medicine: changing the genes that determine the destiny of our children, our children's children -- and perhaps even the human race.

The procedure, "germ-line gene therapy," allows doctors to alter the genes in a woman's egg, a man's sperm, or an embryo that is just a few days old. The immediate goal is to eliminate inherited diseases such as Tay Sachs, hemophilia or cystic fibrosis; hundreds of thousands of Americans carry faulty genes that don't affect them, but can pass the diseases on to their children.

No one has yet tried germ-line gene therapy. It is prohibited in the United States and several other countries, and so controversial that scientists have only recently begun openly discussing it. To essentially prune off parts of the genetic tree "really gets at who we are as humans," says Gregory Stock, a biologist at the University of California at Los Angeles. "But the argument for exploring this is so compelling I don't believe we have a choice."

In the nucleus of every cell, 23 pairs of chromosomes carry DNA, the genetic material that determines human traits.

Since 1990, physicians have tried to fix broken or missing genes in people with inherited diseases by using something called somatic cell gene therapy. But getting the engineered genes to the right place, such as the blood cells or liver, and then making them work is very difficult. "It's likely to be much easier with germ-line therapy," says Stock. That's because geneticists may soon be able to correct a genetic flaw in the sperm, egg or embryo -- in essence, knock out a bad gene before it can cause trouble.

Geneticists recently have learned how to construct handmade genes that can be precisely targeted to replace broken genes, then switched on at will. Michael Blaese, of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Md., predicts in-vitro pregnancies will be the first candidates for germ-line therapy, because a change made to the single fertilized egg would be replicated in all the cells of the growing embryo. "

We should talk about [the procedure] now before someone does it," Blaese says. Altering the germ line could pose unknown risks. A mistake could introduce a harmful mutation that could be passed on to generations of people. And because some "bad" genes also serve a useful purpose -- for example, the gene that can cause sickle cell anemia also is associated with resistance to malaria -- eliminating such genes could have serious consequences.

Critics worry that as scientists locate more genes, rich parents would "design" their children to be taller or smarter than everyone else. But the ability to wipe out terrible diseases from the human gene pool, or perhaps even delay aging, could be too tempting to pass up, say geneticists. "Imagine you will have a child," says Stock, "and you were told by your doctor you could add a gene that would extend its life expectancy by 10 years. Would you opt for it?" We may have to answer that kind of question within our own lifetimes.


Plans to Reform EU Gene Law Draw Heavy Criticism

BRUSSELS, April 30, 1998 Reuters [WS] via NewsEdge Corporation : Plans to reform European Union procedures for authorising genetically-engineered crops were attacked from all sides on Wednesday, with industry calling them too strict and the European Parliament saying they did not go far enough.

Austria, which has banned an insect-resistant gene maize produced by Swiss biotech firm Novartis in defiance of an EU decision to approve it, went even further than the EU parliament and launched an outright attack on gene crops.

Last November the European Commission proposed changes to the law to make it clearer and more efficient and, at the same time, restore public confidence in the safety of genetically-altered crops and foodstuffs made from them. The Commission's reforms, which need the support of EU governments and Euro-MPs to become law, will oblige all EU states to follow standard risk assessment procedures and consult consumers and scientists more widely before approving genetically-modified (GMO) crops. The plans will also ensure potentially risky products are monitored continuously once they have been approved and all products reassessed after seven years.


USDA Urged To Scrap Organic Rules

By CURT ANDERSON AP Farm Writer APRIL 30, 19:23 EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pro-organic groups urged the Agriculture Department to scrap its proposed rules on organic foods, which generated more than 150,000 overwhelmingly negative comments from across the nation.

Thursday marked the end of the public's chance to comment on the rules. Major reasons that opposition arose were that the department left open the possibilities that organic food could be sold even if genetically engineered, irradiated to kill bacteria or grown with sewage sludge as fertilizer.

"This is by far the worst beating that any federal agency has taken on a proposed rule," said Roger Blobaum, a Washington agricultural consultant who has worked for years on organic food questions.


List of GM free soya suppliers

Below is a list I recently received of sources of non-GM crops in the US, Canada, Netherlands and the UK

USA
Canada
The Netherlands
United Kingdom

USA

List Of Companies In USA Producing Organically Grown Soybeans

International dialling code: 001 (Most are organic, so automatically GE free)
Agro-Consulting and Trading
Suite 2037, 1717 North Bayshore Drive, Miami FL 33132
Tel:305/371.79.50 Fax: 305/371.79.50
American Health and Nutrition
508 Waymarket Drive, Ann Arbor MI 48103
Tel: 313/994.74.00 Fax: 313/994.41.20
Arrowhead Mills Inc
110 S. Lawton, PO Box 2059, Hereford TX 79045
Tel: 806/364.07.30 Fax: 806/364.82.42
Behm Seed Company
11730 30th Avenue, Atwater MN 56209
Tel: 320/974.30.03 Fax: 320/974.36.18
Blue Horizon
851 Burlway Road, Burlingame, CA 94010
Tel: 415/340.80.74
Clarkson Grain Co
Box 80320, East South St, Cerro Gordo IL 61818
Tel: 217/763.28.61 Fax: 217/763/21.11
Dae Han Inc
737 SE Alder Street, PO Box 14242, Portland OR 97214-2251
Tel: 503/233.86.38 Fax: 503/233.86.38
Dennis Strayer & Associates
302 Beverly Boulevard, Hudson, Iowa 50643
Tel: 319/988.41.87 Fax: 319/988.39.22
Eden Foods Inc
701 Tecumseh Road, Clinton MI 49236
Tel: 517/456.74.24 Fax: 517/456.70.25
Ener-G Foods
5960 1 St Avenue South, PO Box 84487, Seattle WA 98124
Tel: 206/767.66.60 Fax: 206/764.33.98
Extra-Pro Feeds
Rt. 1, Box 454, Dent, MN 56528
Tel: 218/346.52.00 Fax: 218/342.30.22
Farmsoy Company
96C The FarmSummertown TN 38483
Tel: 615/964.74.11
Joan Harriman
1621 Heather Ridge, Glendale CA 91207
Tel: 818/240.17.94 Fax: 818/507.52.10
Lee Seed Company
RR 1, PO Box 14, Inwood IA 51250
Tel: 712/753.44.03Fax: 712/553.45.43
Living Farms
187 4th Street, PO Box 1127, Tracy MN 56175
Tel: 507/629.44.31 Fax: 507/629.42.53
Logan Farms
RD 2, Fort Plain NY 13339
Tel: 518/993.22.79 Fax: 518/993.47.47
Lone Pine Enterprises
Box 416, Carlisle AR 72024
Tel: 501/552.32.17
MBS Inc
225 West 1st Street, PO Box 128, Story City IA 50248
Tel: 515/733.52.74 Fax: 515/733.47.88
Mercantile Food Company
PO Box 55, Philmont NY 12565-0826
Tel: 518/672.01.90 Fax: 518/672.01.98
Minn-Kota AG Products
Box 175BreckenridgeMN 56520
Tel: 218/643.61.30Fax: 218/643.85.42
Natural Choice Foods, Inc.
Route 1, Box 454Dent, MN 56528
Tel: 218/346.52.00 Fax: 218/346.90.51
Natural Products
798 Highway 6, Grinnell, IA, 50112
Tel: 515/236.08.52 Fax: 515/236.48.35
Nichii Company of America
21 Mycal Drive, Jefferson IA 50129
Tel: 515/386.21.00 Fax: 515/386.32.87
North Country Seed
P O Box 548,102 Main Street, Ormsby, MN 56162
Tel: 517/736.20.04 Fax: 517/736.84.05
Omega Nutrition USA
6505 Aldrich Road, Bellingham WA 98226
Tel: 360/384.12.38 Fax: 360/384.07.00
P.A.T.M Company
175 Coolidge, Swan IA 50252
Tel: 515/848.37.60 Fax: 515/848.37.60
Pacific Soybean & Grain
Suite 300, One Sutter Street, San Francisco CA 94104
Tel: 415/433.08.67 Fax: 415/433.94.94
Pattison Brothers
701 King Street, PO Box 670, FayetteIA 52142
Tel: 319/425.33.65 Fax: 319/425.45.66
Pioneer Hi Bred Intl
7100 Northwest 62nd Avenue, Johnston IA 50131
Tel: 515/254.27.37 Fax: 515/254.27.44
Pro-Seed
236 Sugar Street, P O Box 55, Blissfield, Michigan 49228
Tel: 517/486.35.20 Fax: 517/486.26.31
Prosource Inc
601 Third Avenue West, PO Box 1058 Alexandria MN 56308
Tel: 612/763.24.70 Fax: 612/763.79.96
Schulz Seed Co.
P O Box 211, Delterich IL 62424
Tel: 217/925.52.12 Fax: 217/925.52.10
Seymour Organic Foods
205 S Main Street, PO Box 190 SeymourIL 61875
Tel: 217/687.48.10 Fax: 312/687.48.30
Shuster Certified Seeds
1833 Route 89, Seneca Falls NY 13148
Tel: 315/568.93.37 Fax: 315/568.29.78
Sinner Bros
PO Box 549, Casselton, ND 58012
Tel: 701/347.49.00 Fax: 701/347.44.62
SK Food International
PO Box 1236, Wahpeton ND 58075
Tel: 701/642.39.29 Fax: 701/642.41.02
SNO Pac Foods
21 S Pine Street, Caledonia MN 55921
Tel: 507/724.52.81 Fax: 507/724.52.85
Specialty Export Products
105 East Main, P O Box 153, Greenfield, TN 38230
Tel: 901/235.21.24 Fax: 901/235.21.43
Strayer Seed Farms
109 N. Main Street, Clarksville, IA 50619
Tel: 319/988.41.87 Fax: 319/988.39.22
v.r.b. Enterprises
1411 Tasso Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Tel: 650/325.19.91 Fax: 415/327.99.27
Welter's Premium Popcorn
1226 120th Street, RRI Box 93, Ottosen, IA 50570
Tel: 515/379.14.63

Canada

GM FREE SOYA - CANADA International dialling code: 001 [they do not know if any of the soya below is organic also]
Manna International
128 March St., Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario P6A 223
Tel: 705/946.26.62 Fax: 705/256.65.40
Ontario Soybean Growers' Marketing Board
(Contact: Kim Cooper - Marketing Co-ordinator)
Box 1199, 180 Riverview Drive, Chatham, Ontario, N7M 5L8
Tel: 519 532 7730 Fax: 519 352 8983
Semences Gripon
166 Grande Ligne, St-Urbain (Quebec) JOS1YO
Tel: 514/427.38.31 Fax: 514/427.20.67
W. G. Thompson & Sons Ltd
122 George Street, Box 250, Blenheim, Ontario NOP 1AO
Tel: 519/676.54.11 Fax: 519/676.31.85
Wilbur-Ellis Company of Canada Ltd
Tel: 519/944.81.88 Fax; 519/944.45.90

Netherlands

GM FREE SOYA - NETHERLANDS
Semences Prograin Inc.
Larive Zeist Tel: 313/069.33.221, (514/469.57.44) Fax: 313/069.32.908, (514/469.45.47)

United Kingdom

GM FREE SOYA - UNITED KINGDOM

Soya International Ltd
Unit 4, Guinness Road, Trafford Park, Manchester M17 1SD
Tel: 0161 872 0549, Fax: 0161 872 6776, E-mail: soyaint@aol.com

This list has been provided in good faith but no guarantees can be given that every company listed can supply non-GM soya on demand. It is up to those who wish to purchase such material to make enquiries before placing an order.