Genetically Manipulated Food News

8 January 99

Table of Contents

Links re British GE-Potato
U.S. Vets Seek Agent Orange Study
Q&A about Aromatic Amines
Bring the Great Debate Home
Monsanto expanding
Monsanto Should Halt Genetic Engineering
A Letter from Vandana Shiva, India
How to Shop to Avoid GE Foods

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-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Alternatieve Konsumenten Bond [SMTP:]
Gesendet am: Freitag, 18. Dezember 1998 12:04
Betreff: Dr pusztai

Links re British GE-Potato

Dear All,

The new Pusztai-Home-Page!!! We have to start some Campaigning.

Please check the commentary to the Pusztai Case on the internet

Some Press-release References The results are listed below.(May be they are of some help to you). I just got the Information that the german 'Bild der Wissenschaften' (no. 1; 1999) calls the Rowett-potato-story as the 'Flop of the year'. the journalist has really made a bad summary. We should make some editor-letters and go against this lousy magazine. Best wishes for 1999

Press-links to the Pusztai-case:

Press-releases collected by MONSANTO-UK:

Stellungnahme des Molekularbiologischen Zentrums der Bundesforschungsanstalt fur Ernahrung zu Presse- und Fernsehmeldungen zur gesundheitlichen Bedenklichkeit von gentechnisch modifizierten

Guardian (london) August 11, 1998: Brit.Minister rejects calls for genetic food ban - Immune system damage in tests, By Tim Radford, Science Editor

Experiment Fuels Genetically Modified Food Concerns 8-10-98 New research shows that genetically modified food can stunt the growth of rats and damage their immune system, prompting more concerns about the effect on humans.

De Recombinante Aardappel van het Rowett Instituut in de UK Hieronder staan de originele persberichten van het Rowett Instituut... PRESS RELEASE: Monday 10 August 1998 GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS The World in Action programme tonight includes an account of the preliminary findings of Dr Arpad Pusztai who works here at the Rowett Research Institute. (Enthalt - RRI-Erstpresseaussendung vom 10.8.98)

From: "Steve Wingate" Subject: IUFO: (Fwd) Food professor suspended after claims about genetics Date: 14 Aug 1998 14:47:28

Archiv 1998 Zurückliegende Meldungen 1998
- Genom von Chlamydia trachomatis analysiert
- Ein Virulenzfaktor von Mycobacterium tuberculosis ermittelt
- Eine erste Analyse des Genoms des humanpathogenen Bakteriums Chlamydia trachomatis wurde jetzt veröffentlicht.

Monday August 17, 1998 Scientist Suspended For Criticizing Genetically Modified Food Do not question science. A Scottish professor was suspended from an...

GENTECH archive. Irish Times potato spin.

Immune system damage in tests
By Tim Radford, Science Editor Guardian (London) Tuesday August 11, 1998

August 14 Electronic Telegraph story regarding the GM potatohas several links (branches) three of which I'm combining here.You will find the following from the research institute director --- Prof James stressed that it remains possible that Dr Pusztai will be proved right. He said: "But he was wrong about the details of his experiment, as portrayed to us, and it is because of that second point that I have decided that he ought to retire because he did mislead us and has admitted to that. From: MichaelP

Times (london) August 10 1998 BRITAIN Line Nigel Hawkes on new evidence about dangers of genetically modified food Gene potatoes damage rats' immune systems

Monsanto pleased ... GE scientist to retire.

GE scientist walks the plank

Scotsman on GE potato research

GE potatoes WEREN'T GE!!

Re: GE potatoes WEREN'T GE!!

Potato science

Potatoes debunked

GE Challenge to Brit. Government

In German: Britische Studie: Gen-Nahrung stellt Gefahr für...

In German: Institut bestreitet Warnung vor gentechnisch ...

In German: Gentech-kartoffel, part III

In German: Na wenigstens die TAZ schläft nicht ...... Gentech-kartoffel im Ratten-test, part II

In German: Kartoffeln (=potatoes)

In German: GVO Kartoffeln schädigen Immunsystem von Ratten

Poisonous Potatoes: A Case Study In Miscommunicating Science September, 1998

Friday, August 14, 1998, SCOTLAND
Potato doctor sacked

In French: Le Monde 15 aout 1998. par Morin Herve. Le transgenique, la pomme de terre et le souffle mediatique. La nouvelle a fait les titres de la presse. Last modified 23-Sep-98 - page size 5K

Trends, Glycosci.Glycotechnol.8:149-165 MINIREVIEW Biological Effects of Plant Lectins on the Gastrointestinal Tract: Metabolic Consequences and Applications - Pusztai, A.; and Bardocz, S.

In Swedish: Genmat kan ge tillvaxtskador Av Dan BirgersonSydsvenskan 11 augusti

In German: Schottischer Forscher zu voreilig tml>

In German: Unverzeihlich! Der Professor, die Ratten und die Genkartoffel. Von Helga Kebler
Nun ist also der Professor der Dumme. Die Kartoffeln, die er an Ratten verfütterte, sollen gar nicht gentechnisch verändert gewesen sein. Dr. Arpad Pusztai war bisher ein...

Agnet Aug. 14/98 by Douglas A Powell
Scientist in genetic food scare suspended Scientists step up tests...

Date: 5 Jan 1999 03:34:19 -0600
From: enu*beverlytang

U.S. Vets Seek Agent Orange Study

By Paul Alexander, Associated Press Writer

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) a U.S. veterans said Monday they are pushing legislation that would allocate $1.5 million for studies in Vietnam on the effects of the toxic defoliant Agent Orange. We're asking Congress to release funds from the National Institute of Health to bring in scientists to work with your scientists to get needed information to know how to deal Thomas H. Corey, vice president of the Vietnam Veterans of America, said to a group of Vietnamese veterans in Hanoi.

He said he hopes legislation will be introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives within a month.

If the funds are approved, for use over no more than two years, the VVA then will seek up to $50 million to deal with some of the problems that have been associated with exposure to Agent Orange and its highly toxic component, dioxin.

No one knows how many people suffer from the effects of Agent Orange, which was sprayed over wide swaths of jungle by U.S. planes during a 10-year period to strip away cover from North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops and their convoys.

On Monday, Corey and other American veterans visited the Vietnam Friendship Village outside Hanoi.

Funded by contributions from veterans groups from the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Japan and Vietnam, it is home to about 30 children and 20 Vietnamese veterans who suffer from ailments associated with Agent Orange.

One by one, Corey heard each veteran detail his medical problems and those suffered by his children. One man said three of his five children have died; the other two have birth defects. Many American soldiers have children with multiple birth defects from their parents' said Corey, who uses a wheelchair since being shot in Vietnam in 1968.

New Zealand Vietnam Veterans Association president Basil Nissen said he believed the VVA's effort was a positive step toward helping veterans affected by the defoliant. Nissen said today. For those with relatively severe problems, it is costing them a lot of

Almost 4000 New Zealanders served in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972.

Corey said he brought along information collected from American veterans on 600 missing Vietnamese soldiers. Cooperation on accounting for American servicemen listed as missing in action should continue, he said.

Date: 5 Jan 1999 08:46:25 -0600
From: Jaan Suurkula

Q&A about Aromatic Amines

At 22:48 1998-12-29 -0500, Mark Gold wrote:


Below my signature line is a short piece about aromatic amines (environmental pollutants) which have been shown to cause breast cancer in rats and are now found in human breast milk. .... I found a web page that mentions aromatic amines along with transgenic crops. I have difficulty understanding the text on the web page, so maybe someone can help me with a few questions. First, the web page is at: The text I am referring is in the *very last section* on the page.

1. Are they saying that aromatic amine levels increase in the plants they are talking about?

Yes, the (aromatic amine) tryptamine levels were increased in a specific strain of transgenic tobacco. This had a pesticidal effect by making pests sterile.

2. Would a similar increase be possible in other transgenic crops?

If it is desired, it might occur. But every gene insertion is unique, so it is impossible to say how proable it would be. But in this case, the tryptamine increase seems to have been accidental. As it seems to be a major cause for the pesticidal effect it was considered a possible new solution for controlling pests. Provided that this "unexpected metabolic effect" could be reproduced in other cases of gene insertion.

3. Are these the same type of risky aromatic amines referred to in the article below?

It is not specified in the article what Aromatic Amines (AAS) were found to be the cause of cancer. But AAS is a large class of chemicals and some are known carcinogens. Tryptamin is not as far as I know a carcinogen. I looked up the chemicals database Terratox, which I recommend, but it was down

Here is a quote about AAS from National Cancer Institute: "heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are the carcinogenic chemicals formed from the cooking of muscle meats such as beef, pork, fowl, and fish." (HCAs are aromatic amines).

4. If so, are the levels found in these crops (given that they may be ingested every day for life) significant?

No information available.

Finally: The article referred to a report in Chemical Research in Toxicology December 21, 1998 by David Josephy. I carefully looked through this issue (found at and there was definitely no such report in it. - Which is remarkable.

Jaan Suurkula MD
Chairman of PSRAST

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E-mail: Tel: +46-322622966 Fax: +46-322620944

Date: 5 Jan 1999 17:42:58 -0600

Maybe we are getting our message through!

T. Shea-Gateway Greens

Bring the Great Debate Home

Wednesday, December 30, 1998 Section: EDITORIAL
Copyright © 1999 Post Dispatch and Pulitzer Technologies Inc.


In four years, the acreage on American farms used for cultivating genetically engineered crops has soared from 0 to 50 million acres. American farmers and agribusinesses are experimenting with soybeans, corn, cotton, canola and potatoes genetically altered to resist insects or tolerate substantial doses of herbicides.

As Bill Lambrecht of the Post-Dispatch reported Sunday: "With soybeans in 75 percent of processed foods, most Americans have eaten altered food recently whether they know it or not."

Several international firms are developing and promoting this new technology. The leader of the pack is Monsanto. Given the launch of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis will remain at the epicenter of research, development and commercial adaptation of this technology. We are on the precipice of what has been dubbed the biotech century.

And yet there has been very little public debate in America. Practically every dimension of biotechnology and food supply merits discussion.

At the same time, the absence of clear labeling of food made from genetically altered crops makes it impossible for consumers to decide what to buy or not buy. Abroad, many countries worry about losing their cultural identity and customs as agribusiness dictates new routines. In France, the national government convened a random sample of 14 citizens to study and debate biotechnology for three days. One member called for a "great debate" and a new regime of rules before proceeding. Where should this great debate take place in the United States?

Everywhere. In classrooms and community centers. In churches and temples and synagogues. At Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis luncheons. At the Junior League and the soup kitchen. At the local diner and the country club. We need to clarify what we expect and what we need from science, agriculture and human beings making decisions in laboratories, fields, the corridors of commerce and the halls of government. Because we will live with the intended and unintended consequences of those decisions.

Date: 5 Jan 1999 17:54:06 -0600
From: (jim mcnulty)

Monsanto expanding

© Copyright 1998 _____via IntellX_____

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department approved Monsanto's $2.3 billion acquisition of DeKalb Genetics Corp. on Monday after Monsanto altered the deal to preserve competition of the biotechnology of corn.

In response to concerns raised by the department's antitrust division, Monsanto spun off its rights to a recently developed technology used to introduce new, desirable genetic traits into corn seed. Monsanto's claims on the technique, known as agrobacterium- mediated transformation technology, were transferred to the University of California at Berkeley.

Monsanto also signed binding agreements to license its Holden's corn germplasm -- a type of corn genetic material used to breed hybrid seed that farmers plant -- to seed companies for the purpose of introducing new genetic traits into corn.

Date: Thu, 31 Dec 1998 12:57:58 -0500
From: Nancy Oden

The following appeared in the today's (December 29, 1998) St. Louis Post-Dispatch as part of a debate. Both this editorial and the one supporting genetic engineering can be found at

Monsanto Should Halt Genetic Engineering

by Don Fitz

If Monsanto is in trouble, the St. Louis community takes note. No one likes she thought of a relative or friend losing a job.

When Monsanto announced in November that it would lay off 2,500 of 28,000 employees, many attributed it to merger problems with American Home Products. But the company's problems run deeper. The planned downsizing could symptomize a poor business strategy of focusing on genetic engineering. It may be time for Monsanto to explore a new direction.

The 1990s have seen an increasing demand for "organic" food grown without genetic engineering, irradiation, animal cannibalism or the use of sewage sludge. Greens would like to see Monsanto abandon its current practices and research organic agriculture.

Natural-farming research would develop the best techniques to grow a variety of crops in varied ecosystems. Organic farming principles assume food is grown as close to the consumer as possible. Growing food on mega-farms assumes large use of fuel and highways for cross-continental shipping - a process that is not organic. There is enormous potential for ongoing research on how locally diverse agricultural production can have the smallest effect on natural species.

This would be a 180-degree turn for Monsanto, which has gained the ire of environmentalists for creating virtually all PCBs in the U.S. (widely used in electronic products until their ban in 1976), for producing the infamous Agent Orange (linked to cancer and reproductive problems in Vietnam Vets), and for manufacturing pesticides (responsible for groundwater contamination). Monsanto is a"potentially responsible party" at 93 Superfund sites identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Monsanto recently sold off most of its chemical divisions, though it retains production of the herbicide Roundup. The St. Louis-based corporation now focuses its research on genetic engineering, which it claims will produce crops with higher yield, tolerance to drought, and protection against damage by pests.

But European farmers and environmentalists have joined forces against genetically altered crops. They claim that, in addition to exposing consumers to unknown food allergies, biotechnology practices could cause the evolution of "superweeds" or "superbugs" that would be resistant to chemical control and crowd out crops and native species. Farmers who do use its patented products find themselves labeled "seed pirates" if they replant them.

Monsanto's press reports claim that the company hired Pinkerton detectives to scrutinize 1,800 U.S. farmers. Farmers across the globehave protested loudly against the "terminator" technology - a seed that kills its own offspring while providing no increase in food production. Terminator technology was developed by Delta and PineLand, which Monsanto is acquiring. Critics charge that terminator seeds were developed to bloat corporate profits at the expense of 1.4 billion farmers in Asia, Africa and Latin America who depend on saved seed.

In October the Consultative Group on International AgriculturalResearch (CGIAR-the world's largest farm research network) announced that it would ban terminator technology from its crop breeding programs. The terminator rebuke comes at a time when governments are listening more attentively to criticisms from environmentalists.

Canada has not allowed introduction of the first genetically engineered product -- recombinant bovine growth hormone. Currently, Canada is examining reports from Consumers Union which suggest that, in order to receive the 1993 approval for bovine growth hormone from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Monsanto may have withheld data showing damaged thyroid and prostate tissue in rats given high dosesof the hormone.

Proponents of genetic engineering downplay the likelihood of"genetic pollution." But according to British press accounts, the British government expects to charge Monsanto saying that pollen from its Roundup-resistant canola test site in Lincolnshire spread to an adjoining non-genetically engineered canola plot. Many European consumers rejected genetically engineered products throughout 1997.

In response, Monsanto mounted a 1 million pound advertising campaign this past summer. But on Nov. 18, the London Guardian reported that an internal Monsanto memo leaked to Greenpeace documented that, for the first time, an absolute majority of British people reject genetically engineered foods. The proportion of consumers rating genetically engineered foods as "unacceptable" went from 35 percent in 1997 to 44 percent before the summer of 1998 to 51 percent after the Monsanto campaign.

Additionally, executives for major supermarkets were angered by what they perceived as Monsanto's high-handed tactics of mixing genetically engineered soya products with normal ones so consumers would have no choice.

The leaked British documents came on the heels of a Brazilian judge's blocking approval for planting Monsanto's genetically altered soybeans. Brazil has the world's second largest soybean crop and the opportunity to use genetically engineered varieties during its fall 1998 planting season was missed.

Thus, the failure of the merger with American Home Products was only one chapter in difficulties of a corporation which has spent billions in acquisition of seed and research companies.

Some may laugh "Absurd!" at the proposal that Monsanto turn to organic agriculture. But such a dramatic about-face may be exactly what Monsanto needs.

Don Fitz is director of the Gateway Green Foundation, which hosted theJuly 1998 "First Grassroots Gathering on Biodevastation: Genetic Engineering." He is a member of the Missouri Green Party and The Greens/Green Party USA.

Date: Wed, 06 Jan 1999 16:34:57 +0500
From: Vandana Shiva

A Letter from Vandana Shiva, India

Dear Friends, 4 Jan 1999

I wish you all a happy New Year and look forward to further strengthening our campaigns against Genetic Engineering and Patents on Life.

Tomorrow we are filing the legal challenge against Monsanto on its genetic engineering trials in India. Monsanto is also attempting to hijack the Indian National Science Congress, an important institution built through our Independence Movement. Over the next few days, we will be organising a national debate on the future of Indian science -- Will it serve the needs of Indian people or become an instrument for the profits of TNCs such as Monsanto? In the midst of the tremendous energies unleashed among citizens on issues related to the future of agriculture and food security, I have had some disturbing news.

A delegation of farmers from Karnataka, some still with KRRS and some who have left it, came to make a representation to me thinking that as in the past, I was involved in the exposure trip of KRRS farmer representatives to Europe in in May 1999. They had assumed that I was organising this with Third World Network (TWN) which has been the main collaboration through which the KRRS's international activity and exposure has been organised in the past. They wanted me to know that since most Indian farmers are buried under debt and thousands have committed suicide over the past year due to indebtedness, no farmer can afford to pay Rs. 35,000 for travel to Europe. Most of the so called 500 farmers who will be travelling to Europe as part of the "Caravan" are basically Bank officials, pesticides and seed agents and commission agents.

I informed the farmers' delegation that I have nothing to do with the organisation of the "Caravan" and also promised to communicate their message to my friends in Europe so that people in Europe could make their decisions about hosting the "Caravan" with full awareness of the background. Hence, I am communicating this message as part of this promise groups I work with.

Over the next few months, we will be intensifying the Indian Campaign against Genetic Engineering and will keep you updated.

Since we do feel that global solidarity between citizens is critical at this moment of human history and since real Indian farmers and peasants cannot travel overseas, we will work with the wide network of farmers organisations and citizen groups to organise a solidarity meeting in India. We will keep you informed about the dates of the solidarity meeting after our National Coordination Group meets in Hyderabad from 5 to 7 Jan 99.

With best wishes,

Vandana Shiva

Date: 8 Jan 1999 13:56:25 -0600
From: (Judy Kew)

How to Shop to Avoid GE Foods

For newcomers.
Please note that this list refers to the US. If anyone has any information to update this list, please post it so we can keep current. Thank you,
Judy - ----

A fairly updated list of what is still free of genetically engineered components is on, under "Brand Names." Note the write-up about vitamin supplements.

The Union of Concerned Scientists keeps a fairly updated chart on their website of what's approved for market and what is pending. I believe is linked with the UCS site. Please note that the Union of Concerned Scientists' chart does not list the marker genes, which are mostly antiobiotic resistance genes, and in the case of the Monsanto Bt potato, a wax moth insect gene. In this case it is hard to know that some of these GE foods are transgenic in the sense of containing cross-species genes, that is, above and beyond the virus and bacteria genes in every GE product.

To the list below, you can add

Please note that the list below is old and that, as of October 1997, there are multiple varieties of GE

, etc. (according to the UCS chart) -- all created for different purposes. Best to check the websites above to see them all. As of the Summer UCS chart popcorn, corn on the cob, and sweet corn have been added to the list.

But you will need to check to see the rest. In 1998 a conservative estimate of GE soy mixed with conventional soy was 38%, and the GE corn mixed with conventional corn was up to 31%.


How to Shop to Avoid Genetically Engineered Foods:


Avoid All

SOY: Genetically engineered and DNA-altered by Monsanto with bacteria, and capable of tolerating heavy doses of Monsanto's Roundup brand chemical pesticide (glyphosate).

CORN: Genetically engineered to tolerate great quantities of the chemical pesticide glufosinate, and genetically engineered with a virus and the DNA of the bacterium bacillus thuringiensis.

POTATOES: Genetically engineered with wax moth insect DNA; genetically engineered to produce its own internal pesticide with DNA of bacillus thuringiensis bacteria.

YELLOW CROOK NECK SQUASH: Gene-spliced with an two experimental viruses and arbitrary marker genes. Targetted for baby food.

CANOLA OIL: Genetically engineered and DNA-altered with California bay turnip and various viruses and bacterium in order to produce unusually high quantities of lauric acid.

COTTON SEED OIL: Genetically engineered and DNA-altered with Arabidopsis bacterium, and viruses to be able to withstand large applications of the chemical pesticide bromoxynil.

TOMATOES: Genetically engineered with bacteria-derived kanamycin resistance genes, Antisense backwards DNA, antibiotic marker genes, viruses. 5 GE tomatoes approved for market.

As of the beginning of 1997, the above products will have been genetically engineered and on the market as a percentage of the total conventional food supply. Since they are sold unlabeled in the conventional market, there is no way to tell specifically which tomatoes, potatoes, corn, etc. have been actually genetically engineered. Eat only organic food if possible. Even if you buy seeds to grow your own food, buy only organic seeds.




In all, well over 30,000 products!

AVOID rBGH MILK & DAIRY PRODUCTS (apologies to strict vegans): Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH), marketed through veterinarians and injected into dairy cows, causes increased milk production and horrible mastitis. These cows then require constant medical supervision and high doses of antibiotics. Their milk contains unusually high levels of viral pus. The cow's milk and dairy products made from this milk then also contains rBGH, bovine growth hormone. This hormone increases cancer risk in human beings.

EAT ONLY ORGANIC RENNETLESS CHEESE (apologies to strict vegans): Most (75%)non-organic cheeses are made with a genetically engineered rennet called chymosin.

AVOID DOUGH CONDITIONER: This is a code word for a combination of genetically engineered enzymes and other components, found in cheaper breads and baked goods.

OTHER GENETICALLY ENGINEERED ADDITIVES AND ENZYMES Avoid Amylase (used in making bread, flour, whole wheat flour, cereals, starch), Catalase (used in making soft drinks, egg whites, liquid whey) and Lactase.


Unless the restaurant management makes it clear in writing that they are committed to using only non-genetically engineered foods and products, avoid eating out as much as possible. Since genetically engineered foods are not labeled, they also have no idea which of their tomato, potato, corn, soy, canola, cotton oil, yellow-crook-neck squash products may be genetically engineered.



Certified organic tomatoes, potatoes, corn, soy, canola oil, cotton oil, and yellow-crook-neck squash are safe. Many other genetically engineered products will be coming to market in 1997 if the bio-tech industry has its way. By buying only organic foods of every type, you will protect yourself and your family from untested and mutated Frankenfoods. Almost everything that can be found in your conventional food market is also produced by the organic food industry. If you buy a few carefully chosen conventional foods, keep up-to-date on which few conventional are safe through the websites and mailing lists.

MEAT AND POULTRY (apologies to vegetarians): Most livestock are being fed genetically altered feed. The only safe beef and poultry will be those fed only organically grown grain. Avoid commercially produced seafood. Commercial pork has been genetically altered with DNA from human beings.

FAVOR DAIRY PRODUCT FROM COMPANIES THAT DO NOT USE (rBGH) BOVINE GROWTH HORMONE (apologies to strict vegans) Research and buy only from suppliers that promise on the package or in other writing that their products are rBGH-free. Be especially careful with butter. Buy only organic butter, because even otherwise good companies buy cheap rBGH milk to make butter, or they buy their butter (rBGH) from other companies.

CONSIDER STOCKING UP ON SAFE FOODS Frank Ford, in his book, "The Coming Food Crisis," says that events are pointing to a food crisis of unbelievable proportions. With genetic engineering of the food supply, only a relatively small part of the total food supply can be known to be safe. Since 95% of the food supply contains conventional corn or soy, the rules of supply and demand show that there could possibly be a shortage of safe food over the next several years. You may consider taking advice from Frank Ford's book. He advises stocking up on organic or safe conventional dry foods that are low in oil content--wheat, beans, lentils, grains, dried fruits. If possible, stock enough for yourself, your family, and if possible your friends to live comfortably for two or three years. Create local food co-ops so you can pool resources and make large bulk orders, saving everyone money.


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