Genetically
 Manipulated 


 

 
 
 Food


 News

12 February 99

Table of Contents

Meddling Minister revealed: Sainsbury's links to the 'Frankenstein food' industry
UK Food Fright
Minister in GM foods row
Seven environmentalists face charges today
Dr. H. J. Roberts reply to TIME Mag. "Web of Deceit" article, 2/8/99
Trial Difficulties - Novartis Seeds Admits Situation Worsening
Monsanto in Canada
Monsanto cancels bio-plastics venture
UK Poll result and over 94% against GM
UK Genetic Food Watch Campaign
UK Scientist in Frankenstein food alert is proved right
Improved Action Plan, Spanish World and GE Food
Won't the FDA ever learn?! (Still trying to coverup the aspartame issue)
2 more aricles from today's UK papers
Brussels is Foisting GE Foods on Europe Without Any Debate
Terrifying prospect of unregulated products in the food chain
Blank out labels, says U.S.
Environmentalists to show evidence of `lawful excuse' in crop sabotage case

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Date: 9 Feb 1999 18:36:51 -0600
From: devatalk@mcmail.com

Meddling Minister revealed: Sainsbury's links to the 'Frankenstein food' industry

by Paul Eastham, Deputy Political Editor
UK Daily Mail 9 Feb 99

NEW questions about the Governmentis policy on eFrankenstein foodsi were raised last night when it emerged that Lord Sainsbury retains control of his £500 million charitable trust that pumps millions into genetically modified crops. Despite insisting he has severed all links with the GM industry, the Science Minister still holds ultimate ehire and firei power at The Gatsby Foundation. Since 1990 alone, the foundation has injected £l8milllon into the study of genetically engineered organisms. A Daily Mail investigation has also established that the billionaire ex-chairman of Sainsbury's supermarket chain maintains a web of other links after placing close friends in charge of his other extensive investments in GM technology.

The dossier is the most conclusive evidence yet to back up accusations that the Minister - who was one of New Labouris biggest donors in opposition - is involved in a eblatant conflict of interesti by being in charge of decisions that could affect his own shares. Tony Blair has admitted that Lord Sainsbury has huge influence over GM policy.

Green campaigners and senior Tories demanded his removal, saying it was unacceptable that a Minister so deeply convinced of the virtues of GM food should be taking sensitive decisions about what appears on our plates.

Although Lord Sainsbury has not attended any meetings of Gatsby since becoming a Minister in July 1997, no longer takes part in its grant-making decisions and cannot benefit financially from the charityis donations, according to the foundation he still retains the crucial power to appoint and dismiss its trustees.

In another blow to his claim of impartiality, it emerged that Gatsby also finances a so-called epublic information servicei - a propaganda campaign that is vigorously promoting genetically modified food - called Biotechnology in Our Future.

The vast majority of the foundationis GM investment has gone into building the 100-employee Sainsbury Laboratory for Plant Molecular Pathology in Norwich, the pet project which Lord Sainsbury set up 12 years ago.

It leads the field in research into the genetics of plant disease resistance, receiving two-thirds of its funds from the Gatsby Foundation and the rest - £800,000 a year at the last count - from the Biotechnology, Biology Scientific Research Council.

Tories were furious at this revelation because Lord Sainsbury decides the level of Government funding for the BBSRC. Perhaps it is no surprise that the councilis £185million a year funding is set to rise by £23niillion a year over the next three years.

The laboratory has also set up a company called Plant Biosciences Ltd to market any commercial spin-offs of its genetic research.

The links go even further. Although Lord Sainsbury claims to have ended his formal connection to the foundation and his companies - he quit as Sainsbury's chairman when he became a Minister - his personal connections to Gatsby are close. His friend John Ashworth, the former director of the London School of Economics, now head of the British Library, is the principal adviser to the foundation as well as being a non-executive director of J Sainsbury plc.

The foundation also funds a string of other GM-linked organisations, such as the International Service for Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications America-center Other donors to this organisation include Monsanto, the controversial T1S corporation which is at the forefront of research into genetically modified food.

One of the trustees of the foundation is Judith Portrait, the Sainsbury familyis lawyer. Through her, Lord Sainsbury retains another link to the GM food industry. She is trustee of the entirely-separate eblind trusti which holds Lord Sainsbury's £l billion shareholding in the family supermarket empire, Through this body Lord Sainsbury owns shares in a company called Diatech which develops enatural science engineeringi and another called Innotech Investments Ltd.

Innotech owns biotechnology companies such as Floranove Ltd. a plant breeding company in Norfolk. The firm has also invested in Paradigm Genetics, an agricultural biotechnology company based in North Carolina.

Critics are furious that Lord Sainsbury continues to present himself as an impartial judge over GM foods. They point out that he once said:

If someone waved a magic wand and said I could be a Nobel Prize winner in plant genetics or a successful chairman of J Sainsbury, I would find it a very difficult choice.

As chairman, he made sure that genetically modified tomato paste went on Sainsburyis shelves. Yesterday Charles Secrett, chairman of Friends of the Earth said the latest revelations meant Lord Sainsbury should not be allowed to remain in a job where he could influence the profitability of his own investments. He added:

When Sainsbury comes out of government he is likely to be handed back his commercial interests in GM food. His laboratory will be at the forefront of the science partly thanks to money he indirectly approved through the BBSRC. And there is likely to be a culture of acceptance of GM food that as a Minister he is likely to have helped to foster eWe believe Lord Sainsbury is an honourable man, but from the outside this looks like the perfect business plan.

Following the Mailis revelations, Shadow Trade Secretary John Redwood last night submitted a series of Parliamentary questions to Ministers seeking more information about Government links to the gene Industry. He also wrote to Trade Secretary Stephen Dyers demanding Lord Sainsbury's removal as a Minister responsible for GM foods


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Date: 10 Feb 1999 00:47:28 -0600
From: MichaelP papadop@peak.org

UK Food Fright

By Sheila McKechnie, Guardian (London)Wednesday February 10, 1999

The more we know about how our meals are produced, the less reassured we are.

After more than a decade of food scares and scandals, is it surprising that we trust neither government nor industry? That we're suspicious of the genetic manipulation of food and we want the Government to act? That we want to know what is really going on and we want to make our own choices? We are deluding ourselves if we think that choice will solve all the problems. As the food chain grows ever longer we're increasingly dependent upon others to provide us with safe food.

As we browse the supermarket shelves, how can we be sure that the food is healthy and isn't contaminated? The more we know about how our food is produced, the less reassured we are likely to be. How many of us will feel comfortable about eating chicken after John Vidal's graphic description of life on the chicken line in Tuesday's Guardian?

We can't measure the amount of tin leaking into tinned tomatoes, or the amount of pesticides contaminating our fresh fruit and vegetables, or the presence of GMOs in many processed foods. Most of us can't make sense of the information which is supposed help us - on food labels. With words so weasel and so tiny, the average food label gives little away. So, increasingly, we have to trust industry and government and hope someone out there is looking out for us.

The rise in food poisoning and the growing evidence of long-term health damage from bad diet has convinced us that something, somewhere has gone seriously wrong. Despite this, the food industry has an unshakeable belief in whizz-bang techniques to conjure up the impossible - food that is safe and nutritious but also cheap enough to beat the global competition. We remain to be convinced that technical solutions are the answer. In fact, we're increasingly thinking that the opposite is true. While scientists are mucking about with our food, the evidence is that we want less, not more, technological input. This is what's driving demand for organic food and why it is currently outstripping supply.

Yes, we can take better care of ourselves by eating more fruit and vegetables and less salt, sugar and processed food - but can we be sure it's as safe as we think? We don't want to discover that fresh food isn't really fresh, or that carrots need to be peeled because they're contaminated with pesticides, or that apples have been waxed into cosmetic perfection. Equally we don't want to be wound up unnecessarily by every new scare and passing fad.

The gulf between industry and consumer is still very wide. The industry views the consumer as befuddled by the issues or gripped by romanticism about a previous golden age of food production. It talks about letting market forces rule, free from the nannying interference of big government, but has done nothing to prevent Monsanto turning the market-place upside down by introducing genetically modified soya into food despite wholesale opposition. This is nannying to be sure, corporate-style, force-feeding consumers with genetically modified foods many don't want. So the Government says it will create a Food Standards Agency to confront these many challenges. This is the first welcome step but the lessons of food scares suggest that it's going to take more than one well-meaning initiative to sort out all the problems. Industry and government will need to act in uncharacteristic ways - openly, and actively soliciting consumers' views. Only by inviting greater public involvement and taking decisions more openly will government and industry begin to restore consumers' confidence in food safety.


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Date: 10 Feb 1999 00:47:28 -0600
From: MichaelP papadop@peak.org

Minister in GM foods row

By Paul Waugh, Political Correspondent, INDEPENDENT February 10

LORD Sainsbury, the Trade and Industry Minister, came under renewed pressure from the Tories yesterday to clarify potential conflicts of interest between his business interests and government policy on genetically modified foods.

John Redwood, the Conservative spokesman on trade and industry, insisted last night that the supermarket millionaire should not be allowed to make any decisions on GM foods.

In a letter to Stephen Byers, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, he said that the Government needed to "take a cool hard look" at the scientific evidence to decide which of the products was safe for sale.

Lord Sainsbury's continuing interest as a shareholder in the Sainsbury supermarket chain gave the impression that he had made up his mind about the safety of GM foods, Mr Redwood claimed.

"I am very worried that leaving Lord Sainsbury in charge of the DTI end is bad for the food industry and bad for customers," he wrote.

"Will you now take the necessary action to ensure that a minister who has not made up his mind on these matters is put in charge of these issues at the DTI?"

Mr Redwood also asked Mr Byers to check whether Lord Sainsbury had maintained an interest in the Gatsby Trust, a charitable foundation that allegedly funds the promotion of GM products.

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **


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Date: 10 Feb 1999 02:20:40 -0600
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk (jim mcnulty)

Seven environmentalists face charges today

The Irish Times, Publication Date: February 09, 1999
© Copyright 1999 _____via IntellX_____

In the first Irish case of its kind, seven environmentalists are to appear in court today in Co Wexford on charges of causing criminal damage to a genetically modified crop.

The seven, who include the 84-year-old food writer and organic farmer John Seymour, are due to appear at New Ross District Court, Co Wexford.

They are alleged to have damaged a GM sugar beet trial on June 21st last at the farm of Mr Martin Foley of Arthurstown, New Ross.

He was growing the crop under licence from the Environmental Protection Agency for the US multinational [ Monsanto ] , the first company to introduce the controversial gene technology to Ireland.

The offences are alleged to have occurred after a public meeting on GM foods was held nearby at Duncannon. The meeting was addressed by the Green politicians Mr John Gormley TD and Ms Nuala Ahern MEP, and the Socialist Party TD, Mr Joe Higgins.

The three may be called to give evidence.

Several gardai and private security men were present at the site, but no arrests were made.


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Date: 10 Feb 1999 07:49:26 -0600
From: betty martini Mission-Possible-USA@Altavista.net
via: Sh0shanna@aol.com
via: Sunshine Sentinel Press sunpress@icanect.net

Dr. H. J. Roberts reply to TIME Mag. "Web of Deceit" article, 2/8/99

Reply Submitted By H.j. Roberts, M.d. To Time Magazine

I concur with Christine Gorman about the need for caution on "tall tales appearing on the Internet." As a corporate-neutral Board-certified internist with considerable experience and reasearch in the matter, however, I disagree with her assertion that serious reactions to products containing aspartame (NutraSweet-TM) represent a "health rumor" fabrication.

Indeed, her misinformation--coupled with obvious influence by corporate-sponsored researchers whose results in my opinion were frequently based on flawed protocols--constitutes a glaring disservice. A case in point is the trivialization of toxicity from the release of FREE methanol after ingesting aspartame products. reactions to these products. (The FDA has at least seven times more.)

My own data base consists of over 1,200 (!) persons with severe reactions to these products. (The FDA has at least seven times more.) Their problems included headache, dizziness, confusion, memory loss, epileptic seizures, depression, other psychiatric states, impaired vision, the aggravation of diabetes and its complications (or their simulation), various rashes, gastrointestinal symptoms (including bloody diarrhea), joint pain, and numerous other complaints.

Furthermore, I believe there are legitimate grounds for concern about aspartame products having a causative or aggravating effect in epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and even brain tumors!

I have detailed these issues pertaining to aspartame disease (the inclusive term I coined) in three books and more than a score of other publications. Some are cited above. It Remains My Professional Opinion That Aspartame Products Ought To Be Removed From The Market As An "imminent Public Health Threat."

Given the facts that (a) over half the population currently consumes this neurotoxin, and (b) it STILL has not been adequately evaluated by corporate-neutral investigators using REAL-WORLD products, I feel we are possibly being subjected to a widespread afflication that our regulatory agencies and elected officials simply refuse to acknowledge. (Any dubious reader who questions ten women about problems with aspartame products is likely to confirm this contention in short order.)

This is not a "scare tactic" by a "media terrorist." Rather, it reflects my sense of responsiblility as a concerned physician and citizen.

In view of your interest in reactions to products containing aspartame, a chemical sweetener, and their major public-health implications, we invite you to check our home pages at: http://www.icanect.net/sunpress.

H. J. ROBERTS, M.D., F.A.C.P.

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Date: 10 Feb 1999 08:20:39 -0600
From: Jon mail@icsenglish.com

Trial Difficulties - Novartis Seeds Admits Situation Worsening

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

***new page on website - details of all GMO releases in Norfolk after the big trial pull out (page will be further developed and updated)***

nginews bulletin 8:

More coverage of Norfolkis big GM trial pull out including articles in the two main farming papers, in one of which Novartis Seeds admits to difficulty in finding farmers and landowners whoill let their land for trials.

1. GENETlC FOOD IS CANNED: Big Issue February 8-14 1999
2. Norfolk farm halts GM trial: Farming News, February 5, 1999
3. GM is out on protest farm: Farmers Weekly, 5 February 1999
4. Eco-soundings: Guardian, February 3, 1999 [pretty inaccurate]
5. Crop trial cop out - how the GM trials are epolicedi (not!)

1. GENETlC FOOD IS CANNED: Big Issue February 8-14 1999

The future of genetically modified (GM) food in the UK has been cast into further doubt after Crown Point Farms in Norfolk pulled out of GM crops trials. A farm spokesman admitted "public disquiet,' had infuenced their decision. The farm topped the league for deliberate releases of GM organisms on private land and was set to continue trials for Monsanto until 2003.

2. Norfolk farm halts GM trial: Farming News, February 5, 1999

GENETICALLY modified sugar beet trials have been halted at one of the largest on farm trial sites in the country because of growing disquiet over the use of the technology. Crown Point Farms a Kirby Bedon in Norfolk, part of the Colman Estate, has let land to companies like Novartis to trial GM sugar beet over a number of years. But a spokesman for the estate said this has been discontinued.

An anti-GM pressure group targeted the farms last year staging a 'crop squat' and destroying trial plots.

3.GM is out on protest farm: Farmers Weekly, 5 February 1999

A NORFOLK farming estate which was the target for Britain s first protest squat against GM crop trials, has halted such testing on its land.

Crown Point Farms in Kirby Bedon has ended its relationship with Novartis Seeds and Monsanto because of the controversy about GM trials, their high profile media coverage and a direct action campaign by activists.

Novartis was licensed to continue GM trials on the estateuntil 2002 and Monsanto untiI 2003 but estate manager Roly Beazley said it had been decided to terminate the agreement. There is a huge public debate over GM crops and a lot of public disquiet.Crown Point Farms does not wish to be in the middle of all this " he said.

The crop squat at Kirby Bedon by 30 protesters last year ended after the estate went to court to obtain a possession order.

Novartis Seeds spokesman, Richard Powell, said it was becoming more difficult to rent land for GM trials because of the controversy surrounding them.

4. The Guardian Wednesday February 3 Eco-soundings, John Vidal

Sir Timothy Colman, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, is the Queen's representative in the county and, appropriately, one of its larger landowners. Last year he began testing GM crops for Novartis and was embarrassed by the occupation of his land by pesky objectors from Norfolk Genetic Information Network.Something has changed. At the weekend it became clear that Sir Timothy was renouncing GM crops on his Crown Point Farms and the trials had been terminated.

So did Norvartis or Sir Timothy end the contract? His land agent, Roly Beasley, speaks in code: "I don't know if it was all one way or the other." Right. So has Sir Timothy seen the light? "It's not for Crown Farms to see the light or not." Well, would Crown Farms allow other GM crops to be planted on their land? "If another company came to us [asking to grow GM crops] the answer is probably no." Ah.

5 Crop trial cop out - how the GM trials are epolicedi (not!)

At a time when seven Irish protesters, including an 80 year old food writer and organic farmer, are making court appearances in Co Wexford on charges of damaging a GM beet trial, and British cases are pending, we reproduce below an article from eGreen World' which if anything understates the problems associated with these trials.

Mid-December's HSE report shows a violation rate of 1 in 5 at sites actually monitored (many as youill see are simply not). Yet almost nothing is being done about it. Compare that to dragging 80-year-olds through the court and the draconian treatment of protesters and draw your own conclusions about state priorities. The Government has, however, finally been embarrassed into at least prosecuting Monsanto over one incident - court case due to be heard Feb. 17th, Lincolnshire. Michael Meacher has also recently named 3 companies involved in serious violations. The point remains, however, given the extraordinary violation rate, the lax regulation and the risible monitoring of these trials, how many cases could have but arenit being brought?

Government allows genetic pollution - eGreen Worldi for Winter 1998/9 Inspection shambles lets offenders escape prosecution

Evidence obtained by FoE revealed shambolic failures by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) resulting in genetic polluters escaping legal action. Official inspections of genetically modified crop test sites are inadequate, secretive and ineffective, and genetic pollution is almost certainly being illegally released - unmonitored - into the environment.

The HSE carries out inspections of GM trial sites on behalf of the Government.FoE revealed that:

The HSE refused to identify the sites or the companies involved, and said that records relating to previous alleged breaches are not available. So much for the assurances from the Government that the technology is being closely policed.

But then again, with 2 dozen police officers, several vans and a helicopter overhead at the first genetiX snowball action, perhaps we misunderstood what they meant by 'closely policed'.


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Date: 10 Feb 1999 13:19:09 -0600
From: joe cummins jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

Monsanto in Canada

On friday Feb.5 Jason Boehk provided a discussion of a Canadian case in which Monsanto Canada sued a Canadian farmer for growing genetically engineered seed that originated by cross pollination of a normal crop by wind or bees. A vice president Monsanto Canada was quoted " if Monsanto genes are carried by bees or the wind to your crops, you become a Monsanto licensee and you must pay Monsanto for the seeds you save for next year". Monsanto can say that because they have bought and paid for the Ministry of Agriculture Canada, they provide cash to the Ministry and the Ministry serves their wishes.

In a related case, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) admitted blowing up some buildings in an attempt to plant evidence and implicate some Alberta farmers who opposed pollution from natural gas wells on their land. The RCMP acknowledge that they serve the energy corporations and have the support in their criminal activity from the courts of the land.

Monsanto may employ a flock of mounties (RCMP) in their scarlet tunics and funny hats to smear pollen on their snouts and flit from flower to flower spreading Monsanto genes and making the company even richer than before!


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Date: 10 Feb 1999 16:07:15 -0600
From: Judy_Kew@greenbuilder.com (Judy Kew)

via: Margaret_Weston@capmac.org (Margaret Weston)
Posted by: mritchie@iatp.org

Monsanto cancels bio-plastics venture

By St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Monday, February 8, 1999
© Copyright 1999, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, All Rights

In a case that shows success in the lab doesn't guarantee success in the marketplace, Monsanto Co. has canceled the development of plastics from bacteria and plants.

The company has halted a biotechnology venture that was an intriguing fusion of environmentalism and business, using biotechnology -- instead of petroleum derivatives -- to create plastics.

"Acceptance lagged in key markets," said Diane Herndon, a company spokeswoman. "At this point, the marketing dynamics would have to change."

At a time when Monsanto is cutting some research following last fall's failed merger with American Home Products Corp., the plants-into-plastics and bacteria-into-plastics projects became casualties of cold, hard economics.

Monsanto had sold some bacteria-derived plastics used in credit cards and liners of paper cups. But given the low price of petroleum and the high cost of this alternative plastic, Monsanto stopped taking orders and conducting research at the end of last year.

"Over the past year, we have been looking for a strategic partner, but we couldn't find one," Herndon said. "We are talking to potential buyers for our technology."

Until then, the technology will remain on the shelf at Monsanto, where 45 of the 50 people who worked on the projects have been reassigned to other jobs.

Having sold or spun off traditional plastics businesses in recent years, Monsanto entered the non-traditional plastics business in April 1996 when it bought Biopol, a tiny firm owned by the British life science giant Zeneca Group.

Since 1990, Biopol had been creating polymers from a common bacterium found in soil and water. The company developed a fermentation process to make the bacterium produce more polymers.

Monsanto continued Biopol's fermentation work. It also worked on ways to insert genes from this bacterium into plants, such as wild mustard and canola. The goal: turn the plants into polymer-making "factories."

When Monsanto bought Biopol, it said this research had to reach certain goals within a few years for the company to continue its work. "If we don't meet them," an executive said 18 months ago, "we will terminate the project."

But the cost of making bacteria-based plastics through fermentation was about $4 a pound, or 10 times the cost of making plastics from petroleum products, Herndon said. And even though Monsanto had hoped the bioengineered plant factories could make plastics for 60 cents to 80 cents a pound, that prospect was "still five to seven years away," she said.

Mark Ritchie, President
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
2105 First Ave. South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404 USA
612-870-3400 (phone) 612-870-4846 (fax)

mritchie@iatp.org      http://www.iatp.org/iatp

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Date: 10 Feb 1999 18:46:06 -0600
From: devatalk@mcmail.com

UK Poll result and over 94% against GM

The telephone poll in the UK Daily Express resulted in 94% of respondents supporting a call for the Govt to ban GM foods. This information has been passed on to MP's in the European Parliament by the paper. And the Daily Mail is like a terrier at the throat (or is it neater to say like a dog with a bone???) of Science Minister Lord Sainsbury - surely he can't last much longer???


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Date: 10 Feb 1999 18:46:06 -0600
From: devatalk@mcmail.com

UK Genetic Food Watch Campaign

UK Daily Mail 10 Feb

The Mail forces Sainsbury's to label 'Frankenstein foods'

SAINSBURY's is to label hundreds of products containing eFrankenstein foodi derivatives in a major victory for Daily Mail readers. The countryis second biggest supermarket chain revealed the U-turn yesterday amid allegations that it had been emisleadingi shoppers.

Foreign biotech companies such as U.S. based Monsanto, the food industry and the Government have been accused of forcing genetically modifled (GM) food on to the nation. Consumers are angry that the products were introduced without any proper consultation or any study on their long-term effect on human health.

The situation has been made worse by the fact the labelling of GM foods is hopelessly flawed, leaving people who want to avoid them in the dark.

EU rules, enthusiastically adopted by the Government and the food industry, mean some products containing GM crops are already identified. But many more are not. Sainsbury's had refused to label products containing the derivatives of crops such as soya and maize which have been genetically modified.

It argued that, because the DNA of the GM crop did not exist in the derivatives - for example, lecithin and oil from soya and modified starch from maize - there was no need to label.

The chain also insisted the derivatives had been so highly processed that they were no different to those produced from natural crops.

Yesterday, however, Sainsbury's issued a statement saying: We have decided to label products which contain GM soya lecithin and GM soya oils, in addition to labelling products containing GM soya. The first labelled products will begin to appear on the shelf in the next couple of months. We will be informing customers about this with a new, updated leaflet.

Sainsbury's original policy put it out of step with rivals such as Tesco, which labels the derivatives. GM ingredients are used in huge range of products - approximately 60 per cent of supermarket foods - from curry ready-meals to chocolate puddings and steak pies.

If these are not labelled clearly it becomes impossible for wary families to avoid them. Now Sainsbury's, which con¬ tinues to refuse to label the derivatives of GM maize, will have to either reformulate its products or order new packaging for many own-label products.

The chain's statement added: Our policy is still to reduce the number of products that contain GM ingredients by sourcing non-GM ingredients or, where possible, by finding an alternative to soya, but where we are unable to do so we will label products clearly.

Sainsbury's has been at the forefront of the GM food debate, not least because a member of the family behind the supermarket empire, Sainsbury of Turville, is Labouris Science Minister.

The former billionaire chairman of J. Sainsbury is seen as a powerful advocate for GM foods in government. He has poured millions into GM crop research through the Gatsby Foundation, a charitable trust. The industry and the biotech firms behind the food revolution have been accused of supporting a deliberately confused labelling system. There are clear indications that consumers who want nothing to do with GM foods will boycott products which are clearly labelled.

A survey published today by market research analysts Mintel shows 78 per cent of the public want GM foods to be clearly labelled to allow them to choose whether to buy or not,

A Government study published yesterday by the Better Regulation Task Force found 53 per cent believe laws are needed to curb the spread of GM food.

The survey found that almost 31 per cent of Britons consider GM foods epose a seriousi risk to their families. Friends Of The Earth food campaigner Adrian Bebb said last night: eThis is a welcome retreat by Sainsbury's. It doesnit go far enough, but at least the stores are beginning to respond to public demands for fuller information.

The consumers' Association welcomed the move too but said it was only a small step to providing a clear labelling regime.

A spokesman added: The decision by Sainsbury's demonstrates that even supermarkets feel the current GM labelling rules donit go far enough. Tory trade and industry secretary John Redwood, who has been in the vanguard of calls for clearer government policy, said: eConsumers are concerned about what is in their food and labelling needs to be completely clear. We welcome the decision by Sainsbury's. It shows the campaign for better information is beginning to bite.


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Date: 11 Feb 1999 12:47:14 -0600
From: pmligotti@earthlink.net (Peter M. Ligotti)

UK Scientist in Frankenstein food alert is proved right

By Christopher Leake and Lorraine Fraser UK Mail On Sunday 31 Jan 1999

Accusations of cover-up after top pathologist backs the professor whose tests brought him humiliation

The professor who was publicly humiliated over claims that genetically modified Frankenstein food may be harmful has been proved right after all.

World expert Dr. Arpad Pusztai was stripped of his post and described as muddled by his superiors after he referred to experiments in which rats had been damaged when fed genetically-altered potatoes. But today "The Mail on Sunday" can reveal that rats did suffer shocking internal damage. And we can disclose that a leading pathologist who has re-examined their remains has confirmed Dr. Pusztai's findings.

This scientific bombshell is sure to rekindle controversy over the safety of genetically altered food. The revelations will also place a question mark over the future of Dr. Putzai's former boss, Professor Philip James, who ousted him from the research programme and is now being tipped as head of the Government's new Food Standards Agency due to be formed in April next year. Dr. Pusztai, 68, lost his job at the Government-funded Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen after he told TV's "World In Action" of his studies. The interview last August sparked a fierce debate on the potential dangers of genetically engineered food. Yet Dr. Pusztai was discredited for getting his facts badly confused by apparently referring to the wrong experiment. Professor James issued statements to the Press saying Dr. Pusztai would have to retire because he had got it wrong in suggesting the rats in question had been fed potatoes modified with genes from a bean when, in fact, these particular experiments had never been carried out.

The apparent mix-up - made amid the glare of TV publicity - cost Dr. Pusztai his reputation. But we can reveal that Dr. Pusztai had conducted other crucial experiments using potatoes altered by another gene - and these tests demonstrated a worst case scenario.

The tests were made on rats that were fed potato altered to carry a gene from snowdrops. This enabled the vegetable to make a chemical known as GNA lectin, which would protect it from insect and worm damage. The effect was devastating. Dr. Pusztai's results - contained in a report to Professor James and the Scottish Office - detail liver damage, even in rats fed cooked genetically modified potatoes for only ten days.

His findings-seen by The Mail on Sunday - reveal that in most animals, highly significant changes occurred in the weights of some or most of the rats vital organs and that immune system organs, like the spleen and thymus, were frequently affected. Dr. Putzai's revelations have been backed by an independent analysis by consultant pathologist Dr. Stanley Ewen, of Aberdeen University, who examined the preserved rats internal organs. Neither he nor Dr. Pusztai will discuss their findings, which are expected to be published. But a leading expert said: Dr. Ewen's results will cause an uproar. These were measurable changes in the rats fed modified potato - and we feel there has been a cover-up. There should be more openness in the whole business about public money and how it being used in this field.

The doctor's conclusions are a setback for the multibillion pound biotechnology industry, which is seeking licenses worldwide to grow high volume crops that resist herbicides. At the start of the experiment, it was thought that snowdrop lectin was unlikely to produce harmful effects, so it would have been considered for commercial development. But now the revelations have thrown GM foods research into disarray.

After Dr. Pusztai's TV outburst Professor James - the man behind Government proposals for a Food Standards Agency - ordered an audit of Dr Pusztai's work by four scientists. It concluded that existing data did not support the idea that the modified potatoes had any effect on growth organ development or immune function in the rats. But the question being asked last night was why the report from the four scientists auditing the work do not analyse data on the rats internal organs which might have established whether they had been damaged.

GM foods are already on supermarket shelves. An estimated 60 percent of processed foods on sale in the UK contain genetically modified soya grown in the US. Big business is pushing for licences to produce the crops in the UK, but at present only Government-approved test sites growing altered produce are permitted. And none of the crops are allowed to be sold to the public. A fortnight ago, the House of Lords Select Committee on European Communities - to which Professor James gave evidence - acknowledged there were potential risks to the environment but said GM crops had much to offer.

The committee said the regulatory regime in place to ensure the safety of products sold in the shops was thorough and proper. In oral evidence to the same committee last October, Professor James alluded to new data from Dr Pusztai - but he did not reveal its contents. Professor James said last night: I am desperate that dear old Arpad Pusztai maintains his scientific credibility. I was interested in the GNA (snowdrop) data and told everybody - with the agreement of Pusztai, Scottish Office, Ministries, you name it - that this was important stuff and under no circumstances must we just have snippets coming out.

He confirmed that the four scientists he had asked to audit Dr Pusztai's claims did not have the full details of all the tests available to them. They considered the data available only up to the date of the World In Action programme. Professor James said he hadn't disclosed Dr Pusztai's new data to the Lords committee in October because"I am desperate to protect him." There is a standard policy in the scientific world that when there is something particularly of public interest and you have got something that could be of enormous significance, you must make sure your data is not only sound and robust but withstands review by your scientific peers.

He said that if Dr Pusztai's analysis was correct and the full feeding studies were repeated and produced the same findings, it would be very important indeed.

Paul Tyler, the Liberal Democrats food spokesman, said the new evidence raised a query over Professor James's role as possible boss of the food agency. The EU is more likely to be an effective watchdog on this issue than anybody in Britain, because successive governments have rolled over and had their tummies tickled by some of the huge multi-national companies involved in the research. I've seen no evidence yet that there is anybody in Whitehall to question in an effective way this sort of development.

Every time we get information about genetically modified organisms we see more evidence for a complete moratorium on further development of the programme until a lot more research has been done by a totally independent organisation.

A Greenpeace spokesman said that as more research is done we'll keep finding big problems. We don't need to produce food this way ... so why are we taking these risks?

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Date: 11 Feb 1999 12:47:50 -0600
From: pmligotti@earthlink.net (Peter M. Ligotti)

Improved Action Plan, Spanish World and GE Food

Thanks to all your comments and suggestions we have made improvements and updates to the Invincible Global Action Plan. Thanks especially to Adrian Valls in Spain, who is translating the series into Spanish.

This is very important, because the Wall Street Journal reported two weeks ago that a Mexican billionaire, Alfonso Romo, has bought up a huge part of the global seed market. Alfonso Romo, in Monterrey Mexico, plans to genetically engineer the seeds of all vegetables that have not yet been genetically engineered. He now owns some 40% of the world's vegetable seeds. So Adrian's work to inform the Spanish world could not possibly be more urgent, timely, or critical than right now. Thanks again Adrian.

I am including this improved and updated version of the Invincilbe Global Action Plan so that, if we choose, we can easily and quickly eliminate GE food, perhaps even sooner that we have so far imagined. Perhaps we will not need the help of the Y2K computer bug to destroy the genetic engineering multi-nationals such as Monsanto.

Peter Michael Ligotti


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Date: 11 Feb 1999 14:22:47 -0600
From: betty martini Mission-Possible-USA@Altavista.net

Won't the FDA ever learn?! (Still trying to coverup the aspartame issue)

I spoke to the FDA a couple of days before they ran to CNN trying to again convince the public aspartame is safe, and told them to quit giving propaganda to the public. I explained we had their own FDA audit on www.dorway,com, the Bressler Report, showing all the tumors, seizures, etc., as well as the damn ing CDC investigation and protest of the National Soft Drink Aassociation, and their report of 92 symptoms from coma to death .

Dr. Harris said: "Well, I can't refute that."

Today a magazine in Canada called and said they spoke with the FDA about the 92 symptoms triggered by aspartame. The magazine was told by the FDA that the 92 symptom report was not theirs. I got it through Freedom of Information from the FDA - so I just faxed it to the magazine on THEIR STATIONERY ! Won't the FDA ever learn that in the end lies never work!

Betty Martini, Mission Possible International
770 242-2599

*****************************************************************************

  1. Take the 60-day No Aspartame Test and send us your case history. Mission Possible International 5950-H State Bridge Rd. #215 Duluth, GA 30097 USA
  2. Tell your doctor and all of your friends!
  3. Return Asparcidal food to the store. (anything with Monsanto's NutraSweet/Equal/Spoonful/Benevia/NatraTaste)

VISIT http://www.dorway.com Get links to over 30 sites on aspartame
VISIT http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame ..FAQs & Cases
VISIT http://www.notmilk.com Exposing Bovine Growth Hormone

Disability and Death are not acceptable costs of business!


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Date: 11 Feb 1999 15:35:46 -0600
From: devatalk@mcmail.com

2 more aricles from today's UK papers

The Daily Mail and the Daily Express are battling it out to see who can create the greatest fuss about GM food. They have always slung shots at each other over the years, but fortunately their current battle is working to our benefit!!! In the first article Food Safety Minister, Jeff Rooker, seems to be giving the impression of being anti_GM - don't be fooled!!!

It also mentions a vote to be taken in the EU Parliament to force biotech companies to take out liability insurance - could be interesting in light of the Swiss Insurance declaration of a few months ago that no insurance company would want to take on such a liability. At the end of the Mail aricle the subject of Lord Sainsbury is once again mentioned...


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 11 Feb 1999 15:35:46 -0600
From: devatalk@mcmail.com

Brussels is Foisting GE Foods on Europe Without Any Debate

Exclusive By Anthony Bevins And John Ingham UK Daily Mail Genetic Food Watch 11 Feb 99

BRUSSELS is foisting genetically-modified foods on Europe without any debate by member states, The Express can reveal today

Food Safety Minister Jeff Rooker last night hinted that the only way British consumers could fight the GM multinationals like Monsanto was by boycotting their produce in the shops.

He said that the non-segregation of genetically-modified crops, like soya, with non-GM produce was posing a major headache for the Government. The problem of crop separation in respect of America is a really serious problem for us, he said.

The Minister, speaking on Channel 4 News, then added the warning: I think at the end of the day, Monsanto and the others are going to have to wake up to the market forces of the European consumer who want a choice and demand segregation of these crops.

The scandalously undemocratic way in which GM foods are being injected into the European food chain is shown by two European Union votes scheduled for today Monsanto, one of the global driving forces behind the GM bandwagon, has applied for EU approval to market seeds from iinsect-protectedi and iherbicide toleranti cotton, which are to be used in cattle feed - with long-term implications for meat entering the human foot chain. Votes will be cast by fax with no meeting and without debate, Although Britain is to vote against, the Monsanto proposals are expected to be rubber-stamped by Brussels. British MPs and Ministers have no power to veto the acceleration in the new agricultural revolution because of sweeping legislative powers granted to the EU when the last Tory Government was in office.

One Commons source told The Express last night that the Government and Parliament had surrendered their right to stop the Brussels juggernaut The pass has been sold, he said.

But Euro-MPs are today set to back moves to make companies which sell or experiment with GM crops liable if they damage human health or the environment.

The long-term impact of so-called Frankenstein food is unknown, but consumer groups fear some GM crops could make people resistant to antibiotics. And environmentalists are worried that some herbicide-resistant crops could cross-fertilise with wild plants to create superweeds. Labour MEP David Bowe said last night: There is a wave of uncertainty in the country over GM food. He expects a majority of members to back the key points in his report to make sure Europe puts safety first if there are doubts over some products.

Mr Bowe believes most MEPs will support his proposal force biotech companies to take out insurance against possible civil action. The Commission is very hotly against civil liability, he said. But lie vowed: We are determined to get this through. In addition, Mr Bowe wants a ban on GM crops which contain genes resistant to antibiotics still used for medical or veterinary treatment.

British ministers will today vote against the Monsanto cotton applications on that basis. They are worried about the clinical importance of the introduction of antibiotics into the GM crops, which would then be passed into - cattle feed, the herd, its meat - and the human food chain


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 11 Feb 1999 15:35:46 -0600
From: devatalk@mcmail.com

Terrifying prospect of unregulated products in the food chain

Trade in genetic food is running wild, says expert

By DAVID HUGHES, Political Editor
UK Daily Mail Genetic Food Watch 11 Feb 99

UNREGULATED Frankenstein food products from the Far East may already be in Britainis food chain, the Daily Mail can reveal.

Described as terrifying by one leading expert, the development is prompting fears at the highest level that the world-wide trade in genetically modified (GM) foods is running out of control.

According to new research there now 45 countries producing GM material and field trials on modified crops taking place at up to 15,000 sites. China, South Korea and Japan are among the leading producers. Yet there is little or no regulation of GM products in the vast majority of producing countries. Last night GM food expert Peter Berry Ottaway said: eMany countries do not regard GM foods as an issue, they like the idea of novelty, and therefore there is no culture of regulation.

It has become impossible to keep track of these products and that is a terrifying development.

A guy who sells this stuff in Europe will buy it from a broker in the States who will be acting for a broker in Japan who has prabably bought it from China. I am not against the technology. But we have got to regulate it.

Mr Berry Ottaway gave graphic details of the explosion in unregulated GM production at a conference in London last month which was attended by a senior civil servant from the Ministry Of Agriculture. Yet two weeks later Tony Blair rejected calls for a moratorium on the commercial use of GM foods. Challenged in the Commons by William Hague, the Prime Minister insisted the Government was acting eon scientific evidencei. However yesterday it emerged that Ministers are drawing up plans for new controls on GM foods.

Labour Euro MP David Bowe, a leading campaigner in the European Parliament for tougher regulations on GM foodstuffs, said on the BBCis Today programme: I have had discussions with ministers about this. They are considering how they can take action quickly and properly

The scale of GM development was revealed at the European Conference on GM foods, hold at the Royal Society in London. The European Commission contributed to the discussion, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture.

Yesterday Mr Berry Ottaway, an expert on GM foods and author of several books on food and nutrition, said that field trials on GM crops were egrowing exponentiallyi and that between 12,000 and 15,000 had taken place in 45 countries on up to 100 crops. These include rice, cabbage, lettuce, oranges, melons, rye, beans, peas, and sugar cane. He said GM techniques are being applied to ealmost all organisms of commercial interesti such as bacteria and yeast.

Shadow Trade Secretary John Redwood demanded that Lord Sainsbury be removed from any decisions relating to GM food after yesterdayis Daily Mail report that the science minister retains control of the Gatsby Foundation, a charitable trust which pours millions into GM food research.


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Date: 11 Feb 1999 15:36:04 -0600
From: devatalk@mcmail.com

So the cowards who say the support the customers right to proper labels are hiding behind the Government. Why don't they get the message that GM labels are seen as the 'skull and crossbones' because people want to get away from it and see that the biotech firms just want to plunder the healthy future of the planet!!!

Paul Davis
Natural Law Party - UK

Blank out labels, says U.S.

By SEAN POULTER, UK Daily Mail 11 Feb 99

THE U.S. is trying to prevent GM food being labelled because it fears predujice against crops grown by its farmers. It intends to use a World Trade Organisation meeting in April to push through an outright labelling ban. The U.S. government claims that the labels will create a prejudice against its growers which it says amounts to an illegal barrier to trade.

If it is successful, even the current inadequate labelling rules which exist throughout the EU could be wiped out. Details were revealed yesterday by the Consumersi Association which urged the UK Governrnent and the EU to withsatnd the U.S. proposals.

It said U.S. biotech firms fear that the labels will be seen as the equivalent of the eskull and crossbonesi and cause sales of GM foods to plummet. The CAis director Sheila McKechnie urged families to use their buying power to force supermarkets and food manufacturers to ban GM foods. She pointed to the example of frozen food chain Iceland, which has already banned GM ingredients from its own-label products, while the giant Carrefour chain in France is to do the same. If Carrefour says it can do it, there is enormous pressure on supermarkets here to do it, she said. The first major chain that breaks ranks will have an enormous competitive advantage.

America is backed by Brazil, another potentially big producer of GM crops such as soya, in trying to do away with labelling.


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Date: 11 Feb 1999 15:55:22 -0600
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk (jim mcnulty)

Environmentalists to show evidence of `lawful excuse' in crop sabotage case

The Irish Times, Publication Date: February 10, 1999
© Copyright 1999, _____via IntellX_____

Seven environmentalists charged in the first Irish case of sabotaging a genetically modified crop will be producing evidence of "lawful excuse", their solicitor has told New Ross District Court.

When the case came before the court yesterday defending solicitor Mr David Bulbulia said it related to alleged sabotage of a GM sugar beet crop in Arthurstown, Co Wexford, last year and was a complex one, which warranted at least a two-day hearing.

Section 6 of the Criminal Damage Act provided a definition of damage "without lawful excuse", but he would be producing evidence of lawful excuse.

To make this case, he added, expert witnesses would be required.

Before the court were

The case related to damage totalling (pounds) 16,000 alleged to have been caused on June 21st last at the farm of Mr Martin Foley of Coleman, Arthurstown, who was conducting a GM sugar beet trial on behalf of the US multinational company [ Monsanto ] .

The seven were charged with damaging "without lawful excuse sugar beet belonging to Monsanto (Ireland) Limited, intending to damage such property or being reckless as to whether such property would be damaged" under the 1991 Criminal Damage Act.

They were also charged with forcible entry of a sugar beet trial site, the property of Monsanto Ireland, under the 1971 Prohibition of Forcible Entry and Occupation Act.

Inspector John Cassells, prosecuting, told the court that early yesterday the DPP had requested that two minor amendments be made to the charges.

The amended charges were read by Sgt Bartholomew Slattery, the effect of which was to delete the term "genetically modified" from the original charges.

Mr Bulbulia said he had no objection to the amendments.

He told Judge Donnchadh O Buachalla that based on documents in court he anticipated 10 prosecution witnesses would be called.

Judge O Buachalla set March 30th and 31st for the hearing, and instructed Mr Bulbulia to furnish any documentation he believed should be considered in advance of the hearing to the State.