Genetically Manipulated Food News

10 January 99

Table of Contents

Restaurants Press For A Ban On Genetic Crops.
Bgh Raises Concerns Over Health Protection
Tories Call For More Studies of GM Crops
GE Articles to look up on the Internet Website
Australia to Ship Largest Yet Cargo of Canola to ...
Dutch Hain Food Group Labeling GE-Free Foods
Low Yielding Biotech Cotton
EU Rejects Biotech Potato
Greece Banning GE Canola
Terminator Technology Condemned
Monsanto Sues Farmers
Printers Shred Monsanto Edition of Ecologist
UK Considering Moratorium
US FDA: Pass the Buck

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Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:22:16 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews dec/jan

Thanks to jim@niall7.demon.co.uk (jim mcnulty) for forwarding this:

Restaurants Press For A Ban On Genetic Crops.

by Paul Brown Enviroment Correspondent, The Guardian (UK), Wednesday December 30th 1998.

The country's most prestigious restaurants are calling for the Government to impose a five year ban on the use of genetically modified food while further tests are carried out.

Celebrated chefs such as Nico Ladenis, of Chez Nico at Ninety Park Lane, London, and Raymond Blanc of Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons,in Great Milton, Oxfordshire have joined a campaign calling for the ban.

Chez Nico, which has three Michelin stars and scores ten out of ten for cooking from the 1999 Good Food Guide, leads a list of the best restaurants, which regard genetically modified food with distaste.

Only 23 restaurants in Britain rate eight out of ten or more in the 1999 guide for "htheir quality of cooking". Nineteen of these back Friends of the Earth's campaign for a five year ban on genetically modified food, two failed to answer and only two said that they do not support a ban.

Among the 10 out of 10's is Altnaharrie Inn in Ullapool, Highland region,which can be approached only by boat across Loch Broom and where the chef Gunn Erickson cooks without mains electricity.

Shaun Hill, chef and proprietor at Merchant House in Ludlow, Shropshire, said: "Like many retauranteurs I am very concerned about the introduction of genetically modified food. There are too many question marks hanging over the new technology. I care about food quality, which is why I avoid using GM ingredients. It is about time the Government learned from the mistakes of the past and stopped messing about with our food."

The restaurants are asking for a five year ban because the results of field trials will not be known before then. The trials start this year to measure the spread of herbicide-resistant crops into the enviroment, for example to see whether they interbreed with weed species or 'normal' plants or reduce insect and bird populations.

Susan Fisher, of Fisher's Baslow Hall, in Baslow Derbyshire, said "We use only fresh meat and vegetables here. Our clients expect it, and rely on us to provide it. They are suspicious of genetically modified food. We do not know what it does to us or to future generations.

"We support the ban until there are a lot more tests to know what is safe. If these products are allowed, we want proper labelling, not in the small print at the back, but in big letters, so everyone knows exactly what they are gettinbg and can make a choice."

The Good Food Guide itself expresses concern in an editorial. "To introduce 'experimental' herbicide resistant crops without some soundly based assurance is madness, albeit perfectly legal madness. If BSE has taught us anything, it is surely to be cautious about tampering with natural processes, however well intentioned, however plausibly the benefits are packaged."

The Government intends the release of genetically modified crops for commercial use in 2000 - four years before the results of it's safety checks are known.

Adrian Bebb, of Friends of the Earth said: "By the time the Government has found out whether there are adverse effects it will be too late to do anything about it.

We are tampering with our food, creating extra risk, yet there is no demand or benefit, except for the multi-nationals that market the seed and herbicides to go with it".

Among restaurants which have banned genetically engineered food, but not in the 'Good Food Guide', are all the canteens and restaurants in the House of Commons. The Commons catering committee has backed a policy of banning, where possible, all GM food and ingredients.

A Mori survey this year found that 61 per cent of the public did not want genetically modified food and 77 per cent supported a ban on commercial growing of these crops.


Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:22:16 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews dec/jan

Bgh Raises Concerns Over Health Protection

This year was one of controversy for Health Canada's health protection branch, the agency responsible for ensuring the safety of food, drugs and medical devices in Canada.

FULL STORY:

http://newsworld.cbc.ca/cgi-bin/go.pl?1998/12/30/bgh981230


Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:22:16 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews dec/jan

Tories Call For More Studies of GM Crops

By Michael Hornsby, Agriculture Correspondent London TIMES January 1 1999

THE Tories yesterday called for a delay of at least three years on the commercial growing of genetically modified crops to allow time for more research into their safety.

Tim Yeo, the Shadow Agriculture Minister, said that widespread anxieties about such crops needed to be allayed if their potentially significant benefits for future food production were to be realised. Commercial planting should be postponed for at least the rest of this Parliament, Mr Yeo said, by which time a number of government-commissioned studies on the environmental impact of genetically modified crops would have been completed.


Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:22:16 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews dec/jan

GE Articles to look up on the Internet Website

Dr Beatrix Tappeser of the Institute for Applied Ecology in Freiburg, Germany, has kindly made available the following articles, which are now posted on the website "Genetic Engineering and Its Dangers" of Dr. Ron Epstein, Professor, Institute for World Religions, Berkeley, and Lecturer, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University

Website is: http://online.sfsu.edu/~rone/gedanger.htm

articles posted are:


Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:22:16 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews dec/jan

This next article is particularly relevant to Canadians, as much of Europe is no longer buying canola from Canada, because Canada's canola is largely genetically engineered.

Australia to Ship Largest Yet Cargo of Canola to ...

OTC 08.01.99 01:27

SYDNEY, Jan 08, 1999 (Asia Pulse via COMTEX) -- The New South Wales Grains Board said today it has sold the largest cargo of canola to ever leave to Australia. The 57,500 tonne shipment is valued at $A26 million ($US16.53 million) and will lead to a record shipping program for 1998 which is expected to total 350,000 to 400,000 tonnes, it said.

Graham Lawrence, managing director of the NSW Grains Board said the cargo is bound for oilseed crushing plants in Europe. "Europe has moved to become a major buyer this year because Australia is the only country to guarantee non genetic modified canola," he said. ASIA PULSE


Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:35:02 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews - Alive, Jan 98

Biotech News, by Richard Wolfson, PhD

Reprinted with permission from the GENews - Alive, Jan 98: Canadian Journal of Health and Nutrition, 7436 Fraser Park Drive, Burnaby, BC V5J 5B9

Dutch Hain Food Group Labeling GE-Free Foods

Hain food group is setting an industry-wide precedent by labeling some of its products as free of genetically-engineered organisms (GEOs). The products have a "Pure Food" label and are part of the company's message "Just Say No to GEOs."

"We feel the issues surrounding genetically engineered ingredients are as important as anything that has come down the pike in years," said Andrew Jacobson, president of Hain's Natural Food Division. "We feel that we should provide consumers with as much information as we can. We have had a tremendous amount of consumer letters and phone calls on GEOs and we would like to show consumers that we are listening."


Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:35:02 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews - Alive, Jan 98

Low Yielding Biotech Cotton

A study at the University of Arkansas, reported in the April 1998 Cotton Grower, found large reductions in yield from genetically engineered Bt cotton. Yields were on average 24 pounds per acre less for Bt cotton, compared to non-Bt varieties.


Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:35:02 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews - Alive, Jan 98

EU Rejects Biotech Potato

At a recent meeting in Brussels, the European Union rejected approval for planting a genetically engineered potato. The European Commission's Scientific Committee on Plants was concerned about the antibiotic resistance gene in the potato being transferred to bacteria and other species adding to the growing number of antibiotic resistant diseases. "Without an adequate risk assessment of the potential consequences of horizontal gene transfer from the genetically modified plants to humans, animals and the environment, the safety of the transgenic potato line cannot be fully assessed," the scientists said.


Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:35:02 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews - Alive, Jan 98

Greece Banning GE Canola

Greece has banned the import and marketing of a genetically-altered canola developed by AgrEvo, even though the European Union has approved its use. Greece also voted against plans to give EU-wide approval to a genetically modified maize developed by Pioneer.

According to the Greek environment ministry, "Our country voted against this product (maize) because of reservations about possible effects on the environment and on health."


Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:35:02 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews - Alive, Jan 98

Terminator Technology Condemned

The world's largest agricultural research organization, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, has recommended that its members ban the so-called "terminator gene," which makes plants produce only sterile seeds. Cotton, wheat, rice and soybeans are all being genetically engineered with the terminator gene to prevent farmers from saving harvested seeds for the next season.


Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:35:02 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews - Alive, Jan 98

Monsanto Sues Farmers

Monsanto recently took legal action against Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser of Bruno, Saskatchewan, who saved genetically engineered canola seeds for the following season. Under a technology licensing agreement, farmers are supposed to grow just one crop with the biotech seeds they buy. This policy protects biotech profit, but threatens farmers and the age-old practice of saving seeds from season to season.

According to a report in Canadian farm journal The Western Producer, Monsanto wants all Mr. Schmeiser's profits from the crops, as well as punitive damages. In Illinois, farmers have been fined by Monsanto up to $35,000 each for saving seeds.


Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:35:02 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews - Alive, Jan 98

Printers Shred Monsanto Edition of Ecologist

All 14,000 copies of the Sept/Oct 1998 issue of The Ecologist were destroyed by the printer, who was apparently afraid of possible legal action by Monsanto, the multinational giant.

The issue, entitled "The Monsanto Files: Can We Survive Genetic Engineering?", discusses Monsanto and various controversial issues, such as genetically engineered crops, herbicides, Agent Orange, recombinant bovine growth hormone, terminator technology, dioxins and PCBs, as well as the "revolving door" policy between Monsanto and government agencies. Copies of the issue can be ordered from The Ecologist, email sgc@mag-subs.demon.co.uk.


Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:35:02 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews - Alive, Jan 98

UK Considering Moratorium

The government in Britain is considering a three-year moratorium on the commercial planting of genetically engineered crops. This action followed mounting public concern about the possible health and environmental risks of genetically engineered crops. Industry opposes the proposal as too restrictive, while environmentalists say that three years is not long enough to evaluate the risks.


Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 21:35:02 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GENews - Alive, Jan 98

US FDA: Pass the Buck

The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a list of foods that are "generally recognized as safe." Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly reports that since 1992 FDA has allowed companies like Monsanto to decide for themselves whether their new genetically engineered foods should be added to this list and thus escape regulation. In other words, FDA regulation of genetically engineered foods is voluntary, not mandatory. "Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food," Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications, told the New York Times. "Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA's job."

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


Richard Wolfson, PhD
Consumer Right to Know Campaign, for Mandatory Labelling and Long-term Testing of all Genetically Engineered Foods,
500 Wilbrod Street Ottawa, ON Canada K1N 6N2
tel. 613-565-8517 fax. 613-565-1596 email: rwolfson@concentric.net

Our website, http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/geindex.html contains more information on genetic engineering as well as previous genetic engineering news items Subscription fee to genetic engineering news is $35 for 12 months See website for details.

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