Genetically
 Manipulated 


 

 
 
 Food


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4 April 99

Table of Contents

National Trust bans GM crops from 700 farms
Fox TV case: Judge Says NO to Fox Request for Summary Judgment
Ukraine: Taming of the garden's Jinn
Monsanto Legal Move Sparks (brit) Civil Rights Row
Cancer Threat From Glyphosate (pesticide)
Australia Cashes In on Demand for non-GE Canola
Humiliated Scientist Proved Right
Transgenic Crops More Likely to Cross-Pollinate
UK Restaurants and Food Writers Press for Ban on Biotech Foods
GE Bacterium kills plants
The Guardian (UK) Wins Complaint Ruling
Ecological Damage from Bt Toxins in Soil
Use of Altered Seed in Area Crops Rising
Worldwide conformity kills Kiwis' GM-free option
In Europe, Cuisine du Gene Gets a Vehement Thumbs Down
Shapiro Defends Monsanto Strategy At Meeting
Genetic Engineering and Third World Livelihoods
B-GE: Emergency planning to cope with GM bio-disasters
GE propaganda turned on its head
Conversations with God's Opinion of Genetic Engineering
Monsanto PR Strategy in the Netherlands

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Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 12:04:29 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-2 Happy Easter

posted by Paul Davis devatalk@mcmail.com

National Trust bans GM crops from 700 farms

By David Brown, Agriculture Editor, UK Daily Telegraph 1st April 1999

THE National Trust joined calls for a moratorium on the commercial production of genetically modified crops yesterday.

The trust said it was taking action to stop hundreds of its tenant farmers growing them. Farmers will need explicit permission to grow GM crops from now on, it said. The move affects more than 700 producers on 575,000 acres of National Trust land in England and Wales.

It follows decisions by a string of supermarkets to exclude GM ingredients from their own-label foods and an announcement on Monday by the Co-op, Britain's largest farmer, that it would not be taking part in "flawed" Government trials in which whole fields are given over to GM crops. In a statement, the trust called for a moratorium on GM crops that could pose a risk to wildlife and the environment, although it accepted the need for "small scale" trials to enable the risks to be assessed.

John Harvey, the trust's head of nature conservation, said: "The difficulty with GM crops is that we do not know the risks. A moratorium on the commercial growing of these crops is the only sensible way forward, to allow the risks to be scientifically assessed. It may take one year, it may take 10. There should be no commercial growing until the scientific judgment is made." The trust also said that it was removing all foods labelled as containing GM ingredients from sale in its 136 tearooms and restaurants and 127 shops, which sell a range of foods from jams to Christmas puddings.


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Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 12:04:29 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-2 Happy Easter

Here is some news from some hero journalists

Fox TV case: Judge Says NO to Fox Request for Summary Judgment

Landmark Trial is now Set to Begin May 10

From Steve Wilson or Jane Akre (727) 799-7559

TAMPA (April 2)-After predictions by Fox Television and its lawyers that the whistleblower case of two former WTVT reporters would never make it to trial, a Florida judge has cleared with the way for the landmark trial to begin May 10.

The suit, filed almost exactly a year ago (on April 2) by investigative reporters Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, alleges they were fired for refusing orders from WTVT news managers and Fox lawyers who directed them to lie and distort the facts about a dairy hormone they discovered in Florida's milk supply. The station has long said there is no basis for the charges by the journalists.

Attorney Patricia Anderson, representing Fox Television and it's network-owned Channel 13 argued in court, that the whistleblower claim filed by the journalists should be thrown out because it did not meet certain standards set by Florida law. She cited alleged technical deficiencies in the suit and claimed it should be dismissed for those reasons and because she claimed there were no real issues of fact for a jury to decide.

In his ruling, Circuit Court Judge Robert Bonanno said, "genuine issues of material fact remain on all the grounds raised by Defendant in their Motion "As such, this Court is prohibited from entered a summary judgment."

Attorney Thomas McGowan, Anderson's law partner who has also been working on the case, responded today, "I always defer to the wisdom of the courts."

In praising her own attorneys, Jane Akre said, "John Chamblee did a magnificent job documenting the legal basis for our claim. We are entirely confident that he and Steve Wenzel and Matt Fenton will do an equally superb job presenting the facts to the jury in a few weeks."

In a year since the case was filed, Wilson has personally taken the depositions of several WTVT and Fox employees. The defendant company and its lawyers have bitterly argued that his efforts were motivated by a desire to intimidate the witnesses and disrupt the station's operations.

The judge, and a special legal master assigned to hear pre-trial discovery disputes, has never agreed that Wilson has acted inappropriately in deposing top company officials including Fox News chief Roger Ailes and a host of others.

"So far, we've heard sworn testimony that our editors and Fox lawyers never found a single misreported fact in any of the 83 scripts we proposed to broadcast," Wilson said.

"The news director who hired us has testified once Fox took over, there was little support for the kind of aggressive reporting that sometimes steps on toes of big, powerful corporations like Monsanto," he continued. (That news director, Daniel Webster, was subsequently himself fired by Fox. He is now a news director for CBS in charge of their San Francisco station's news department.)

"And after launching a personal smear campaign and telling reporters we walked away from the story because we couldn't get our way, WTVT's news v-p Phil Metlin has admitted under oath we provided final scripts in accordance with his direction but he never even looked at them!" Wilson added.

Meanwhile, the defendant has taken only a handful of depositions and never followed through on its stated intention to depose more than 20 individuals outside Florida. With the trial set to start in just five weeks, they have deposed only the plaintiffs, a postal worker, and three Florida dairymen.

Wilson and Akre were hired to produce hard-hitting investigative reports, a mandate which changed once Fox formally closed on its purchase of the station in January 1998. Their first report, an expose on the widespread secret use of Bovine Growth Hormone in Florida, was set to begin February 24, 1997 but was derailed after the hormone maker hired an influential New York lawyer to pressure Fox.

The journalists say they were ultimately fired for refusing to report information they knew to be false and misleading and to slant the story in Monsanto's favor to avoid potential litigation and the loss of advertising revenue Fox and its associated companies receive.

When the Society of Professional Journalists recognized the reporters with an Award for Ethics, Fox responded by demanding that the award be rescinded on the grounds there was no basis for their claims. SPJ declined to do so, despite a letter-writing campaign which involved at least two WTVT employees and its vice president of News.

Wilson and Akre were also cited with the Joe Calloway Award for Civic Courage, awarded by a foundation supported by the family of consumer activist Ralph Nader.


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Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 21:35:10 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-8

English translation from An Ukrainian article from:

Ukraine: Taming of the garden's Jinn

"Golos Ukrayiny" ("The Voice of Ukraine")
No. 41 (2043) Friday March, 5 1999

A real war flared up in Ukraine. At the highest level. Sometimes even in the same ministry it is possible to hear inconsistent opinions on this point. The apple of discord has appeared to be a potato. But not an usual potato.

Two years ago, a batch of genetically modified potato resistant to Colorado bugs, was delivered to the country by the American company "Monsanto". The company had plans of Napoleon - to include kinds of the plant group called " New Leaf " into the State Register of plants, which are cultivated in Ukraine. It would give an opportunity to begin industrial production of an overseas wonder in the country, which traditionally occupies the first lines in consumption of " the second bread " per head. Therefore, having rolled up sleeves, the representatives of the company have started their job.

In the beginning the biotechnological potato sprouted on the test beds of the research farm of the Potato Growing Research Institute . And soon it has appeared also in fields of eight farms in five areas. It should be mentioned, that nothing unlawful has happened. Transgenetic cultivation moved along the fields of the country absolutely legally. It has been cast to us, when nobody even had the slightest idea about the registration of genetically modified plants in our country (temporary rules of registration has appeared only in August 1998).

That is why, when the inspections, which should check seed safety in the country, "have caught up" " a New Leaf" " in a field, de-jure the company felt itself confident: there were no forged documents, according to the current legislation the grades of potato were subjected to a three-year state test and had being cultured on the legal basis, not for the consumption, industrial use or selling, but merely for getting seeds.

To tell the truth, transgenetic potato took up residence in private market-gardens, which border upon test acres (can a true farmer resist to the temptation to take miraculous seeds for his own market- garden?). Individual farmers spread this potato around - the product that has not been investigated at all, is being offered by them as seeds for the price 1 grivna ($o.25)per potato in the market places .

The representatives of "Monsanto" justify themselves saying that problems that arose are merely problems of the lack of order in the country. And as an alternative they suggest to close eyes to the fact that the potato testing procedure in Ukraine is not finished, and to include grades of potato into the Register ahead of schedule, saying that " the New Leaf " has passed all possible tests in USA and Canada - is it reasonable to waste time, if the company has investigated everything?

As a reply to such action the representatives of the company have already promised in this season to sell sorted and marked potato 4 grivnas ($1)per kilo wholesale and 5 grivnas ($1.2)per kilo retail. And in addition, to create a network of the producers of sown material in our country to make Ukraine a stable exporter of generically modified potato seeds, and to add three million dollars till the end of the current year to one million dollars, which have been already "swallowed" by the tests carried on potato resistant to wreckers.

Such generosity and strong desire of "Monsanto" to save the Ukrainian fields from the hated bug can be explained. Abroad generically modified plants gradually give up the position. In case there will be a sudden break through of potato in our market and it happens smoothly, "Monsanto" can persuade "unreasonable" Europeans with extra arguments, saying that Ukrainians eat such potato - and nothing terrible happens. Disagreements on generically modified products take place in the countries of Europe, do not descend from pages of all European newspapers, particularly British: the cautious Englishmen have proclaimed the moratorium on commercial cultivation of the generically modified agricultural products. It will be valid until the country is convinced, that such plants not only are useful to the people, but also do not cause harm to the environment.

Britons are provident because they were already victims of not forecasted effects. Having the aim to get big profit, the farmers tried to use flour made of meat and bones of sheep having encephalitis. The scientists assured: the activator of illness cannot pass through inter-species barriers. But actually it has passed through the wall not only between the cows and sheep, but it also has not stopped before a barrier between the cows and Homo Sapiens, and "awarded" people with a new version of terrible illness damaging the brain. Besides, Britons had to kill practically all cattle and to incur unprecedented economic losses.

French people also rebelled. One year ago they have forbidden to grow the modified turnip in their country. The European Union has been considering the idea of more careful research of the generically modified products before they are offered in the market. In Europe the majority of people voted for three years moratorium on commercial use of the generically modified crops. These crops are often compared with a jinn that having been let out of a test-tube, cannot be drove back any more . The scientists emphasize: it not a crusade against science, it is an appeal to the temporary discontinuance of commercial use of generically modified crops, until science arrives to the final conclusion concerning their safety.

There are also many opponents of the American wonder in Ukraine. Those experts whose eyes have not been covered with dollars yet, foretell all possible troubles in case of full legalization of the "New Leaf " in fields of the country. For us, "marked" by Chernobyl, - they claim, - all this is absolutely undesirable. The majority of them warn: farmers will start to grow " the second bread " using seeds of "Monsanto" for selling, without waiting until it is registered. And the consumer will buy generically modified potato in the markets, knowing nothing about its origin.

The experiments on Genetic Engineering, as the manager of a department of the Research Vegetable-Growing and Market-Gardening Institute of the Ukrainian Academy of Agrarian Science, Victor Muravyev,- change biochemical structure of potato, and today science can not give the definite answer to the question how consumption of such potato and collateral products will effect on health of people. "Ukraine, having in 40 percents of global area of black earth, has all possibilities to provide itself with its own food products, natural and of high quality", - Vasily Shevchuk, the Minister of Environmental Security is sure in it.

For this reason the ministry cautiously concerns the Canadian program of the technical help, standing in the way of the distribution of the generically modified products in the country, particularly potato seeds of "Monsanto", capable to resist to the Colorado bug. There is a supposition that generically modified plants can cause virus diseases of other plants, animals and even of people. " In case of distribution of such potato, - Victor Masalay, the Head of the Ukrainian State Inspectorate, suggests his version of development of events,- it is possible that the Colorado bug will rush to eggplants and tomatoes. These plants, as well as potato, belong to Solanaceae and are much more costly. The choice of genetic modification of potato will bring about the necessity to use protective methods for eggplants and potato at such extent, that the human physiology would not be able to withstand such a burden of pesticides".

There would be only one way out - to consume generically modified tomatoes and eggplants. Besides the uncontrolled distribution of generically modified crops can result in gradual monopolization of the market with the new goods. But it is necessary? Absolutely not. By the way, the domestic sorts of potato, for example, potentially are not less fruitful, than " a New Leaf ". If one observes the technology, one will get both productivity and quality. "One should be very cautious regarding the products of Genetic Engineering, - Theodor Adamel, the member of the State Committee on Research of Sorts, the Scientific Secretary of the Plant-Growing and Products Treatment Department of Ukrainian Academy of Agrarian Science, has explained his position,- and first of all we must find out all probable consequences of its effects. In Canada such potato is grown on an island, so that it could not contact with the environment. Modified potato is used to produce starch used for the technical purpose.

Dmitry Melnichuk, the Rector of National Agrarian University, Doctor of Biological Science, said: " We aspire to participate in European Trading Market. Suppose the generically modified plants have penetrated to our fields. And tomorrow Europe will say: " For what do we need your agricultural products polluted by generically modified organisms?" Like that we block ourselves the way to the international trading markets. Maybe it is reasonable to lend an ear to these warnings?


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Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:56:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-9

Thanks to MichaelP papadop@peak.org for posting this

Monsanto Legal Move Sparks (brit) Civil Rights Row

By Charles Arthur and Arthur Neslen, INDEPENDENT (London) April 9

Prince Charles and Tony Blair could soon receive legal notices from the biotechnology giant Monsanto, which is seeking legal powers to identify people who have received a campaign handbook from the pressure group Genetix Snowball.

The company wants to be granted a court order allowing it to find out the names of the 650-odd recipients of the book on the grounds that by reading the book, a person could legally be described as a "conspirator", and so would be covered by an existing injunction made in July against the authors.

The Handbook for Action, published in December, provides a guide to identifying sites where genetically modified crops are being tested, and describes how to uproot the crops, which would disrupt the trials. In the past two years people claiming to act for Genetix Snowball have torn up dozens of GM trial sites around Britain.


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Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:56:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-9

I just received the full reference for the summary of a New Scientist article that I already sent out. The summary is by (by gmacpherson@farmline.com

The New Scientist article also contains a reference to Swedish work showing increased cancer cases linked to agrochemical exposure published in: Cancer, Vol:85, P: 1353

Cancer Threat From Glyphosate (pesticide)

The New Scientist article was by Fred Pearce and Debora Mackenzie.
New Scientist vol:162, no. 2180, 3rd April 1999, P:23,

It's raining pesticides

In Sweden says New Scientist researchers have linked pesticides to one of the most rapidly increasing cancers in the Western world, non-Hodgkins lymphoma - which has risen by 73% in the USA since 1973. This, says the journal, is probably caused by several commonly used crop sprays.

The Lund University Hospital has found that Swedish sufferers of the disease were 2.7 times more likely to have been exposed to the herbicide MCPA than healthy people. "MCPA, which is used on grain crops, is sold as Target by the Swiss firm Novartis," says the journal.

"The patients were also 2.3 times more likely to have had contact with glyphosate."

"Use of [glyphosate] sold as Round-Up by the US firm Monsanto, is expected to rocket with the introduction of crops such as Roundup-Ready soya beans that are genetically modified to resist glyphosate. The researchers suggest that the chemicals have suppressed the patients' immunity, allowing viruses such as Epstein-Barr to trigger cancer."


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Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:56:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-9

Biotech News, by Richard Wolfson, PhD

Reprinted with permission from the April 1999 issue of Alive: Canadian Journal of Health and Nutrition, 7436 Fraser Park Drive, Burnaby, BC V5J 5B9

Australia Cashes In on Demand for non-GE Canola

Because of the increasing demand for non-GE canola, Australia has sold its largest ever shipment of the crop. Australia is the only country to guarantee non-genetically modified canola. The 57,500 tonne shipment to Europe is valued at $16.53 million USD. Canada was a major canola supplier to Europe. But since Europe began refusing genetically engineered canola, Canadian canola exports to Europe have dropped to virtually nil.


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Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:56:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-9

Humiliated Scientist Proved Right

Last year, Dr Arpad Pusztai was stripped of his post as a research scientist at the Government-funded Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland. Dr. Pusztai was described as "muddled" by his superiors after he voiced his concerns in public about experiments in which rats had been damaged when fed genetically-altered potatoes.

However, recent re-examination of the data confirms Dr Pusztai's finding, that the rats did indeed suffer serious internal damage when fed the GE potatoes. Rats fed the potatoes for even 10 days showed damage to the liver, spleen, thymus and other vital organs. Scientists involved in the re-examination feel there was a cover-up.


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Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:56:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-9

Transgenic Crops More Likely to Cross-Pollinate

Researchers at the University of Chicago recently found that genetically engineered mustard plants were 20 times more likely than "equivalent" non-genetically engineered varieties to cross-pollinate with wild relatives. This finding, that the genetic engineering process can dramatically increase the ability to cross-pollinate, was especially disturbing because the transfer of herbicide resistance genes to wild relatives can produce super-weeds that are resistant to herbicides, and can therefore create ecological havoc.


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Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:56:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-9

UK Restaurants and Food Writers Press for Ban on Biotech Foods

Many of Britain's most prestigious restaurants and chefs are calling for a five year ban on genetically modified food while further safety tests are carried out. Nineteen of the 23 top-rated restaurants in Britain support the ban. At the same time, over 120 of Britain and Ireland's leading food writers have also challenged Prime Minister Tony Blair to put consumer's health and the environment before the interests of the agrochemical industry and ban genetically engineered food.


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Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:56:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-9

GE Bacterium kills plants

Recent research confirms reports that a bacteria genetically engineered to convert agricultural wastes to ethanol can have devastating effects if it is accidentally released in the environment. The GE bacterium, Klebsiella planticola (SDF 20), when present in the soil was found to kill wheat plants, while the non-engineered parent, Klebsiella planticola (SDF 15), did not.


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Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:56:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-9

The Guardian (UK) Wins Complaint Ruling

The Press Complaints Commission (UK) recently rejected complaints from the US biotech giant Monsanto, regarding a recent article critical of Monsanto.

The article discussed the growing opposition to genetically engineered foods in Britain. The Guardian's managing editor, Brian Whitaker, said: "The complaint was typical of the response whenever we write about Monsanto in the context of genetically-modified foods. We are well accustomed to vigorous lobbying from public relations companies, but Monsanto seems to put enormous resources into complaining every time we write about its activities."


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Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:56:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-9

Ecological Damage from Bt Toxins in Soil

Researchers at New York University found that Bt toxins genetically engineered into crops may accumulate in soil, which could cause long-term damage to insects. Bt toxins are genetically engineered into corn, potatoes, and other biotech crops to deter insect pests.

Bt toxins in naturally occuring Bt bacteria decay over time. However, this research shows that the Bt toxin engineered into plants may not degade, thereby maintaining their capacity to kill insects.

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


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Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:56:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-9

Thanks to Brad Duplisea for posting this:

Use of Altered Seed in Area Crops Rising

By John Miner, The London Free Press, Friday April 9, 1999, page A4

Opting for science over nature, Southwestern Ontario farmers are increasingly relying on seeds with built-in insecticides as they plant their spring crops.

One in three hectares of corn planted across Ontario will be from seeds that have had genes inserted from other plants or organisms to make them more resistant to bugs.

Farmers are also embracing genetically engineered soybeans in record numbers, say seed companies.

While many farmers see the scientific breakthroughs as major weapons in their arsenal against insects and weeds, critics call it Frankenstein food and warn it could expose consumers to major health hazards.

Knowing where the special corn ends up is a problem, since most of the Ontario crops -- called grain corn -- are used in products like soft drinks, baby food, chewing gum, instant coffee, margarine, potato chips, salad dressing, syrup and toothpaste.

While agricultural businesses maintain genetic tinkering is safe for consumers, environmental groups such as Greenpeace have raised concerns it could accidentally damage people's health and the environment.

London geneticist Joe Cummins, a critic of this biotechnology, said farmers should hesitate planting genetically engineered crops because many European and some Asian countries now refuse to buy them citing health concerns.

Concerns include fears engineered foods may trigger allergy problems and resistance to antibiotics.

"I think these are legitimate concerns," Cummins said.

Cummins is critical of Canada's lack of labeling requirements for products made of genetically engineered food. He said the dramatic shift by farmers to such crops will make it difficult for consumers to avoid them if they choose.

... Pioneer, which sells both genetically engineered corn and soybeans, forecasts as much as 400,000 hectares of the 1.2 million normally planted to corn in Canada will be from genetically engineered seed this season. Last year, it was only 240,000 hectares. ... Pioneer is also projecting the area planted with genetically engineered soybeans will climb to 156,000 hectares this year from 100,000 last season.


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Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:56:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-9

Worldwide conformity kills Kiwis' GM-free option

Sunday Star Times, NZ March 21, 1999 THE genetically modified food controversy is not just about what we eat. There are far larger dimensions to the debate, such as the lack of democratic decision-making, the claims of science to supremacy over other paradigms and the sovereignty of individuals and nations. Labelling is an issue, but an "after-the-horse-has-bolted" one. Why isn't being GM-free an option? When consulted, this is what Kiwis said they wanted.

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed for research and educational purposes only. **


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Date: 24 Apr 1999 13:05:41 -0500
From: Colleen Robison-Spencer crobison@mnsinc.com

This article is on the bottom of the front page [below the Nato meeting happenings] with a color picture of two Scottish protestors. The continuation pages have headlines "Europeans Pass Up Engineered 'Frankenfoods', with photo of news headlines, and "A European Aversion to Gene-Altered Food." No one could miss this one-- including the 3,000 journalists in Washington this weekend. Maybe the North Americans journalists will go back home, do some research and write.
Colleen

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In Europe, Cuisine du Gene Gets a Vehement Thumbs Down

By Rick Weiss, Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 24, 1999; Page A01
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

Biotech Food Protests Reflect Cultural Contrasts, Health Fears

BOGHALL FARM, Scotland: They gathered at the edge of a field here late one night, about 20 people wearing dark clothes and gardening gloves. The gently rolling, half-acre test plot that stretched before them was lush with thousands of experimental canola plants, genetically altered by a German biotechnology company.

When lookouts in three cars all gave the go-ahead via mobile phones, the shadowy figures illuminated battery-powered miner's lamps atop their heads, crept from behind the hawthorn hedgerows and began ripping every gene-altered plant from the earth. Hours later, exhausted and surrounded by wilting, uprooted vegetation, the dirt-covered protesters sped back to nearby Edinburgh.

"We were nervous for the next week," one participant said recently, speaking to a visitor at the now barren site on the condition of anonymity. If the group members are caught and convicted, they could spend a decade or longer in prison.

The Boghall raid was one of many "decontaminations" of gene-altered farm sites by protesters during the past year, many of them resulting in arrests. In England, Scotland and Ireland, at least three trials for such raids have come up in the past month alone.

The actions are part of a wave of protest circling the globe as the first fields of genetically modified crops take root outside the United States. Gene-altered crops have been grown and consumed in America since 1996 with hardly a murmur of debate, and the massive negative reaction in the British Isles and other countries is highlighting differences in the way Americans and others perceive science and the environment. The protests are also drawing attention to lingering scientific uncertainties about the risks of agricultural biotechnology.

The controversy is over crops that have been endowed with genes from bacteria and other organisms, mostly to make them resistant to insects and chemical weedkillers. In Britain and other European countries, where such crops are still restricted to small experimental plots, polls indicate that two-thirds of consumers believe the plants pose a threat to the environment or to human health.

Recent public protests and a flurry of newspaper articles with headlines about "Frankenfoods" and "Mutant Crops" have put European government and industry officials on the defensive. More than two dozen influential consumer organizations in Britain called last month for a five-year moratorium on commercial plantings of gene-altered crops there. Top chefs have called for segregation and labeling of engineered ingredients so they can keep the stuff out of their gourmet dishes.

The protests appear to be working. Last month, several major fast food outlets and supermarket chains in England -- including Burger King, McDonald's and Sainsbury's (the large grocery chain owned by the family of England's science minister, Lord Sainsbury) -- promised to eliminate genetically modified foods and ingredients from their product lines.

Those moves are alarming farmers and distributors in the United States, the leading producer of gene-altered foods, where regulatory agencies have deemed gene-modified crops "substantially equivalent" to traditional crops and where consumers -- knowingly or not -- consume large quantities of engineered food every day.

Last year, nearly 40 percent of the U.S. soybean crop was genetically engineered. And while Americans may think they don't eat much soy, it's present in an estimated 60 percent of all processed foods, including breads, baby food, salad dressings and ice cream. Similarly, 45 percent of U.S. cotton -- including that grown for cottonseed oil -- was genetically modified last year, as was 25 percent of the nation's corn.

In the industry's view, these crops are at least as safe as traditionally bred crops.

"We're talking about tens of thousands of field trials and millions of people who have ingested these foods safely," said Carl Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in Washington. "And before people ingested the foods, we're talking about agencies highly respected by American citizens -- the FDA, the EPA, the Department of Agriculture -- all signing off on the safety of these plants."

According to Feldbaum and other advocates, gene-modified crops are desperately needed if the world's growing population is to be fed in coming decades. Some experts have even suggested that engineered crops are the only way to achieve the environmental Holy Grail of "sustainable agriculture," because in theory, at least, they can reduce the need for chemical insecticides, herbicides and erosion-promoting tilling.

Moreover, scientists promise they will soon be adding genes that are not only useful to the farmer but also valuable to the consumer, such as genes that make foods more nutritious or tasty.

But even the best arguments by scientists and government agencies have not convinced Europeans.

Philip S. Angell, director of corporate communications for Monsanto Co., the giant St. Louis-based agricultural company that is the major U.S. producer of gene-altered seeds, is one of many observers who blame Europe's rejection of biotechnology on a lack of public trust in food safety agencies there. In particular, he blames the still-simmering "mad cow disease" fiasco, in which British government officials insisted for years that there were no human health risks from the bovine disease -- only to have that assurance disproved.

"That wound still has not healed," Angell said. "You have this low burn level of anxiety about food safety, and in the midst of all this you have a product introduction of genetically engineered soybeans."

A series of public relations missteps by Monsanto probably added to the problem, company officials concede. According to a preliminary ruling by Britain's official Advertising Standards Authority last month, a $1.6 million Monsanto advertising campaign sought to deceive the public by expressing opinions as accepted fact and making scientific claims that were "wrong" and "misleading."

Another factor, said David Atkinson, vice principal for research at the Scottish Agricultural College in Edinburgh, is that Europeans are more attuned to what's happening in the countryside than Americans are. "Look," he said, pointing out the window of his second-story campus office. "Edinburgh is the fifth- or sixth-largest city in the United Kingdom, and we can look out the window and see countryside and see farming."

In England, industry sources said, Prince Charles's avid endorsements of organic food have not exactly been helpful. And in Germany, lingering discomfort over that country's painful legacy of eugenics may explain some of the opposition there to genetic engineering.

International politics, too, cannot be wholly discounted. Some U.S. lawmakers and corporate officials suspect that Europe's reluctance to embrace agricultural biotechnology is nothing more than thinly veiled protectionism, deserving of punishment by the World Trade Organization.

Many opponents of agricultural biotechnology agree that all these explanations contribute to their feelings. But most important, they argue, is that there is simply not enough known about the safety of these crops.

They cite studies indicating that plants engineered to make their own insecticides can accelerate the evolution of resistant insects and may ultimately render the few remaining organic insecticides ineffective. And they note that crops engineered to be tolerant of chemical weedkillers can lead to more widespread use of those chemicals, which could wipe out weedy homes for beneficial insects and harm the birds that feed on those insects.

Many ecologists are also concerned that the spread of new genes to weeds via windblown pollen could lead to the inadvertent creation of "superweeds" that don't die when sprayed with weedkillers.

Separately, some critics have raised the possibility that genetically modified foods may harm people's health. No adverse effects have been documented, they concede. But they note that scientists routinely insert into engineered plants "marker genes" that confer resistance to antibiotics such as ampicillin, which helps them identify the plants that have been altered. Studies suggest that bacteria in people's or animals' intestines may be able to pick up those genes from digested food and perhaps accelerate the evolution of antibiotic-resistant microbes.

Allergies are a potential problem, too, critics note. Two years ago, scientists tried to make soybeans more nutritious by inserting into them a Brazil nut gene. The inadvertent result: soybeans that triggered allergic reactions in people allergic to Brazil nuts. That product never made it to market -- a fact that supporters of the technology emphasize as evidence that the regulatory system is working. Nonetheless, some people fear that consumers with rare allergies may suffer life-threatening reactions to other foods harboring unlabeled foreign genes.

Only now is research starting to examine all these potential risks to see how likely they are in reality. Unfortunately, the picture remains unclear.

A new report sponsored by BIO, for example, concluded last month that agricultural biotechnology has increased crop yields, reduced farmers' use of pesticides and herbicides and reduced soil erosion in the United States.

By contrast, other researchers have concluded that in many areas of the United States, yields of gene-altered crops have been lower than those for conventional crops. And in Canada, genes conferring resistance to weedkillers have clearly jumped from engineered canola plants to surrounding weeds, making those weeds invulnerable to some herbicides.

Given that uncertainty, developers of engineered crops are bracing for further protests in the upcoming growing season. More than a month ago in South Korea, police arrested students and environmental activists who occupied a greenhouse where scientists were developing gene-altered varieties of Chinese cabbage, tobacco, cayenne and other crops. And last month in Auckland, New Zealand, protesters destroyed a test plot of potatoes that reportedly had been genetically enhanced with a gene taken from an African clawed toad.

In an effort to settle the scientific questions for good, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last month that it would create a panel of experts to look at agricultural biotechnology. And the National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) Institute of Medicine also began examining the issue earlier this month, with the goal of releasing a report in six months.

But an end to the debate is not likely any time soon. Critics already have accused the NAS committee of being "stacked" in favor of industry, and an international coalition of nearly 20 environmental and consumer groups petitioned the NAS on April 5 to include on the panel some scientists or others who have been critical of agricultural biotechnology.

Whatever the final makeup of the NAS and USDA panels, many experts suspect that the groups will conclude that the risks of engineered crops, though real, are manageable with proper oversight. Studies have already suggested, for example, that by planting "buffer zones" of non-engineered crops around gene-altered plants, the risk of creating insecticide-resistant bugs or superweeds can be reduced.

If that's the conclusion, these experts say, then regulatory agencies such as the FDA and the EPA -- and farmers themselves -- may be the key to determining whether gene-altered plants help or harm the world.


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Date: 24 Apr 1999 16:36:46 -0500
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk (jim mcnulty)

Get the part about the guy who challenged Shapiro, ABOUT GMO'S AND BST DURING THE AGM. I'd loved to have been there. We should have had a thousand there.

Shapiro Defends Monsanto Strategy At Meeting

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 24, 1999
© Copyright 1999, _____via IntellX_____

[ Monsanto Co. ] Chairman Robert B. Shapiro offered a spirited defense of his strategy Friday, saying that he saw no reason to divest Monsanto's drug subsidiary or put the whole company up for sale.

"It would be a terrible mistake to consider divesting it today," Shapiro said of the [ G.D. Searle & Co. ] pharmaceutical division, as he answered shareholders' questions at the company's annual meeting in Creve Coeur.

Shapiro said he saw "delicious irony" in the sell-Searle sentiment of some analysts cited in a Wall Street Journal article Thursday.

"The very same people who were insisting that we sell Searle because it was such a poor performer years ago are now saying we should sell it because it is such a strong performer," Shapiro said.

Responding to another shareholder question based on another Wall Street Journal article, Shapiro said there was no link between the deaths of 10 people and Monsanto's new arthritis drug, Celebrex.

Speaking more sharply than the corporate response earlier this week, Shapiro said the article was "worse than anything I've seen in the National Enquirer."

Spokesmen for the company and the Food and Drug Administration said the information was based on raw data. The FDA continues to review the deaths to determine whether they were caused by, or coincidental to, the new drug.

When one shareholder asked why Shapiro didn't simply sell the whole company, Shapiro said, as he has in the past, that executives of many life sciences companies have been talking to each other for several years about different types of deals.

"We've explored a lot of possibilities over the years," said Shapiro, referring to the collapse last year of a merger plan with [ American Home Products Corp. ] "We are open to all reasonable possibilities."

Shapiro spent much of his time answering questions from stockholders who complained that the quarterly dividend was too low and directors' fees were too high.

At one point, his presentation was interrupted by an unidentified man who began yelling about the labeling of genetically engineered food. The man continued interrupting, as members of the audience angrily told him to sit down.

He ended the outburst by dumping a small bottle of milk on the floor - protesting a Monsanto drug that increases cows' milk production - and storming out of the auditorium.


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Date: 1 Apr 1999 10:06:59 -0600
From: Judy_Kew@greenbuilder.com (Judy Kew)
Via: "Biotech Activists" biotech_activists@iatp.org

Genetic Engineering and Third World Livelihoods

By Sonia Shah

Agricultural and environmental organizations are sounding the alarm about genetically engineered crops-the lack of labelling or wide-scale testing of these profit-motivated products pose a great unknown risk for consumer health, animals, and the environment. Western consumers may grapple with the health and moral implications of genetically engineered foods. But for Third World farmers, the implications are clear: these products are killing livelihoods, cultures, and economies.

For instance, 70% of the population of India are small farmers who subsist by collecting and harvesting seeds passed on from generation to generation. These seeds-the source of the world's biodiversity-are the heritage, legacy, and security for farming communities. Given the seed's central place in their economy and culture, many agricultural communities consider the seed to be sacred.

But chemical companies such as Monsanto-which brought the world Agent Orange and DDT-are aggressively seeking to disrupt this natural cycle of regeneration for small Third World farmers. By buying up local seed companies and by claiming to own (by patenting) native seeds, Monsanto, as the world's largest producer of agrochemicals and transgenic seeds, is attempting to pirate this age-old, self-sustaining method of farming and sustenance.

Small farmers must now buy the seeds they once harvested themselves from their own crops. Or they may buy genetically engineered seeds, such as Monsanto's wheat, corn, and soy which have been engineered to be resistant to the company's own broad-spectrum poison "Roundup." Monsanto sells both the poison and the transgenic seed together in the same package-the seed is useless without the poison. Monsanto propaganda asserts that genetic engineering will result in more sustainable farming, but in fact most transgenic crops are developed to be impervious to the continued use of herbicides. To more fully curtail farmers' ability to replant their own seeds, Monsanto is currently developing seeds with a "Terminator" gene, so that the seeds are sterile. This corporate strategy of forcing small Third World farmers to use dead or poison-dependant seeds, while profitable for Monsanto, pushes farmers into an ill-afforded corporate dependence and further contaminates their land.

Over much resistance, the Indian government allowed Monsanto to test its pest-resistant Bt cotton seeds in India. Last year, 95% of these seeds did not sprout for farmers in the state of Andhra Pradesh; hundreds of farmers commit suicide. In December 1998, Indian farmers' organizations-which have been organizing resistance to corporate agriculture at least since GATT negotiations started-launched a "Cremation Monsanto" campaign, uprooting Monsanto-engineered crops and setting the fields afire.

That very same month, President Clinton bestowed the nation's highest honor for technological achievement on the Monsanto scientists that developed Bt cotton. The U.S. exports 80% of the world's genetically engineered materials, and has successfully stymied any attempts to regulate this trade. The impacts on consumer health and the environment are disturbing unknowns; but for Third World farmers, the future is all too clear.

Sonia Shah is the editor of Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire, and an editor/publisher in the South End Press collective.

Sources

  1. Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge, by Vandana Shiva (South End Press, 1997).

  2. "North and South Face Off Over Genetic Engineering", InterPress Third World News Agency, 2/16/99

  3. Goldburg, R., et al, Biotechnology's Bitter Harvest: Herbicide Tolerant Crops and the Threat to Sustainable Agriculture, Council for Responsible Genetics, Cambridge, MA

  4. "AP Asks Monsanto to Stop Trials in Cotton Fields," Deccan Herald 12/4/98

  5. "Scientist suspects foul play, wants CBI to probe cotton suicides," Times of India, 1/18/99

  6. Prof. Nanjundaswamy, "Cremation Monsanto" the campaign, web posting

  7. "The 1998 National Medal of Technology," Scientific American, March 1999, p.47.

  8. "US Government Sued Over Genetic Crops", InterPress Third World News Agency, 2/18/99.

  9. See also "The Monsanto Machine," by Jeffrey St. Clair, In These Times, 3/7/99, p. 4, "Monsanto: Playing God" by Kirkpatrick Sale, The Nation, 3/8/99, p. 14, and "Vermont, the Pure-Food State," by Daniel Bellow, The Nation, 3/8/99, p. 19

Ms. Renske van Staveren, Coordinator
International Forum on Food & Agriculture (IFA)
c/o Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)
2105 First Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN, USA 55404-2505
ph: 612-870-3423    fax: 612-870-4846
rvanstaveren@iatp.org     http://www.iffah.org

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." - Dom Helder Camara

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Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 21:53:56 -0800 (PST)
From: MichaelP papadop@peak.org

We have to watch this, don't we, just in case they decide to avert actual GM disaster by using cruise missiles.

Seriously, though, what will happen to the European Commission if their most effective plans turn out to interfere with Washington's ideas about free trade ?

Cheers MichaelP

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

B-GE: Emergency planning to cope with GM bio-disasters

By Marie Woolf, Political Correspondent, INDEPENDENT (London ) April 4

EUROPEAN governments are drawing up contingency plans for a nuclear fallout-style emergency involving genetically modified organisms.

A five-point Emergency Response Plan has been formulated by the European Commission, designed to cope if genetically modified plants result in widespread illness or the death of wildlife.

The draft directive, set to be adopted by ministers across Europe, includes plans to "decontaminate" affected areas and destroy plants and animals exposed to GMOs. The plan is designed to prevent a human health disaster and stop genetically modified plants breeding wildly with native species

The proposed five-point plans are similar to those used in the case of accidental nuclear leaks and will be a requirement of any new application to release genetically modified organisms once the law comes into force.

So a company wishing to plant GM seeds in Britain will have to present a detailed strategy for coping with a disaster. This must include:

  1. Methods and procedures for controlling the GMOs in case of unexpected spread;

  2. Methods for decontamination of the areas affected, e.g. eradication of the GMOs;

  3. Methods for disposal or sanitation of plants, animals, soils, etc. that were exposed during or after the spread;

  4. Methods for the isolation of the area affected by the spread;

  5. Plans for protecting human health and the environment in case of the occurrence of an undesirable effect.

"The case for the need for these crops has not been thought out, but governments are already gearing up for emergency decontamination operations," said Tony Juniper, campaigns and policy director of Friends of the Earth. "This is redolent of a 1960s nuclear civil defence plan."

The new directive will amend the current EU law on genetically modified crops. The proposed changes, which have Government backing, will be discussed by European environment ministers in June, but could take years to implement.

"Ministers are clearly fore-seeing major problems with GMOs, or they wouldn't be considering these action plans," said Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat environment spokes-man. "With large farm-scale trials in , contingency plans were "a matter of urgency", he said.


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Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 01:31:36 -0500
From: "Jon Campbell" jon@cqs.com

GE propaganda turned on its head

Hi, folks,

The following is an excerpt from a Delta & Pine Land propaganda piece on the wonders of Terminator, aka Technology Protection System (TPS):

"Biosafety produced by TPS prevents the remote possibility of transgene movement. There has been some concern that biotech-derived genes might cross to wild relatives. This slight possibility should be prevented by TPS activated plants, as even the pollen, if it happens to pollinate flowers of a wild, related species, will render the seed produced non-viable."

Now read the paragraph again. They are telling us that it will render wild related species sterile. That is exactly one of our main arguments against terminator: it sterilizes non-target species.

Because of the time lag between pollination and germination (or non-germination due to sterility), nature cannot cope with sterilizing pollen and sterile seeds in the wild. Massive pollination by wind and insects could cause massive and sudden loss of habitat; mutation of the original gene could cause widescale cycles of sterility and eco-collapse.

Cheers
Jon

*** 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: 3 Apr 1999 21:14:58 -0600
From: Judy_Kew@greenbuilder.com (Judy Kew)

Conversations with God's Opinion of Genetic Engineering

Conversations with God Book 3, P. 277

"And if you don't kill yourselves with your nuclear madness, you'll destroy your world with your environmental suicide. You are dismantling your home planet's ecosystem and you continue to say that you're not."

"As if that weren't enough, you're tinkering with the biochemistry of life itself. Cloning and genetically engineering, and not doing so with sufficient care to have this be a boon to your species, but threatening instead to make it the greatest disaster of all time. If you are not careful, you will make the nuclear and environmental threats look like child's play."

"By developing medicines to do the work that your bodies were intended to do, you've created viruses so resistant to attack that they stand poised to knock out your entire species."

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Date: 3 Apr 1999 01:24:36 -0600
From: Judy_Kew@greenbuilder.com (Judy Kew)
Via: groundup@aseed.antenna.nl

M O N S A N T O   M O N I T O R
Issue #1 March 1999

Part 1: Public Relations

LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE

The current PR advisor and former staff member of Friends of the Earth Netherlands is also co- ordinator of Monsanto's PR campaign to sell genetically engineered soya to the Dutch public. The strategy? NOT going around telling how good genetic engineering is for people and the world.
Michiel Bussink

This article was first featured in Milieudefensie, the magazine of Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Vol. 28, no. 3). After publication, Milieudefensie ended its co- operation with Schuttelaar & Partners, in order to avoid any appearance of abuse of information by Schuttelaar & Partners.

Monsanto PR Strategy in the Netherlands

By Michiel Bussink: e-mail: sesam@antenna.nl _______________________________________________

Sections:
Monsanto opts for 'invisible' PR strategy in NL
'Productboard' becomes Front Organisation
Science as a PR Tool
Selective Dialogue

Monsanto opts for 'invisible' PR strategy in NL

To ensure the smooth introduction of its genetically engineered soya, Monsanto hired PR companies worldwide. In the Netherlands, they opted for Schuttelaar & Partners (a consultancy specialising in 'societal communication'), partly because of its in-depth knowledge of the environmental movement. A good move.

The Dutch are eating genetically engineered soya on a massive scale - processed into chocolate biscuits, crackers, peanut butter, fishfingers, ice cream, margarine, and frozen pizzas. And since it's an ingredient of cattle feed, they are consuming the GE soya in their glasses of milk and slices of cheese. Few Dutch people know of Monsanto. Fewer worry about the dangers and risks associated with Monsanto soya. It's a very different situation to the UK and Germany, where the agrochemical company is increasingly concerned about its public image.

Schuttelaar & Partners' director, Marcel Schuttelaar, specialises in 'insight into the societal forcefield', a perspective he gained from his former experience as staff member of Friends of the Earth Netherlands, the Consumers Union, and his role as advisor to numerous companies, (semi) public institutions, and other organisations. At least this is what can be read on the company Internet site.

"The import of US transgenic soya to Europe is a good example of an issue that needs to be managed", states a 1997 public report by Piet Schenkelaars, then employee of Schuttelaar & Partners. "Identify groups that are working on the issue, analyse their interests, positions, and evaluate their weak and strong sides. Seek support from other parties, take opponents seriously, and supply the right information to the right people at the right time." Monsanto itself was kept out of sight at the time of arrival of the soya. A clever move by Schuttelaar, says Brigitte Langner of the Dutch Alternative Consumers Union (AKB).

'Productboard' becomes Front Organisation

According to Langner, the Margarine, Fats and Oils Productboard, of which the large Dutch food- processing industries are members, was instrumentalised by Monsanto. Or in the words of the consultants, they were "identified as the spokes-organisation". Back in 1995, one year before the Monsanto soya was to enter Europe, Monsanto massage-techniques were deployed extensively in the Netherlands.

On Monsanto's initiative, the Productboard organised, a 'fact finding mission' to the US, with participants from the Ministries of Health, Economic Affairs, and Agriculture, and the Consumentenbond (the mainstream, and largest consumers union in the Netherlands). In the US, visits, amongst other things, were paid to soya-growing farmers, to Monsanto and the US Department of Agriculture. The objective of the mission, according to Schenkelaars, was to create a 'group process and involvement'. Schenkelaar's report talks of 'communication lines' between the participants and Monsanto, and a 'common position on the product'. Mission accomplished.

All participants, including the Ministry of Health, ultimately pronounced the genetically engineered soya safe. Another important outcome of the mission for Monsanto, according to Schenkelaars, was the split that ensued between the Consumentenbond on the one hand, and environmental organisations on the other. The Consumentenbond 'tolerated' the introduction of the soya, and demanding labelling, while the environmental movement maintained its rejection of the crop. The 'Consumer and Biotechnology', an NGO affiliated to the Consumentenbond, meanwhile emphasised that it always had remained 'neutral' on the Monsanto soya.

Science as a PR Tool

To recruit science as a partner in the communication strategy, as well as to counter predicted criticism from environmental organisations, Schuttelaar had the Centre for Agriculture and Environment (CML) do a study on transgenic soya. Drawing partly on Monsanto data, the CML concluded that there were no short- term, unacceptable risks for environment or health but that there were too many uncertainties to draw conclusions for the longer- term perspective. One half year before the soya entered the market, S&P presented the CML report at a media workshop.

According to the consultant's report: "The idea was to have a discussion on Roundup-resistant soybeans in the media far in advance of the first imports, so that when the first imports would arrive, journalists would already have reported about the issue and would, at the time that environmental organisations would initiate protest campaigns, have lost some appetite in the issue and not be solely dependent of information from environmental organisations".

Media reports in the wake of the workshop were largely positive to Monsanto soya. According to Piet Schenkelaars, "this was partly because Lucas Reijnders - - the eminence grise of environmental science in the Netherlands - was the only expert present from the environmental movement, and many of the media thought 'There he goes again'. The resistance did not seem to be broadly shared by the environmental movement. This was important for Monsanto."

Selective Dialogue

That has been Monsanto and Schuttelaars' strategy for the past two years, according to Marie-Jeanne Schiffelers, until recently with Greenpeace Netherlands. In the UK, Monsanto made a fundamental mistake in this respect, launching a million-pound advertising campaign that lauded biotechnology as a blessing for people and the world. For the Netherlands, Monsanto and Schuttelaar deemed this unwise.

"The public would not buy it anyway", says Piet Schenkelaar, ex-staffmember of Schuttelaar, when asked. He was to call me again a few hours later to correct himself: they had never even considered an advertising campaign in the Netherlands. Schuttelaar & Partners did, however, publish a booklet called "Tumult around Transgenes", which the Productboard now uses as information briefing for journalists.

"Very annoying - it's not information, but good PR. It lies by omitting truths", says Brigite Langner of the Alternative Consumer Union. Schuttelaar sees it differently. "The booklet was not commissioned by Monsanto, although they did contribute financially to its production. It is a sincere attempt to further the debate on biotech." At the beginning of February, the Food Centre (a government-financed information centre, which is seen as independent) and Consumer & Biotechnology started an information campaign "Knowing More about Safe Eating".

The aim of thus campaign, which formed part of the European Union Food Safety campaign, "is to make biotech more normal, so that it is no longer seen as something strange or creepy" says Els van Gurp of the Food Centre. Schuttelaar also works for the Food Centre. The Centre refuses to comment on the involvement of Monsanto's PR office for an "objective" biotech campaign. Miriam van Gool from Greenpeace, however, states "This is precisely the misleading manner in which information on genetic engineering is being spread in the Netherlands".

Scuttelaar: "The question as to whether you like [genetic engineering] or not is not so relevant. Modified crops cannot be stopped." As for the reproach that because of his agency, Monsanto stayed out of the picture and there was little turmoil around the introduction of the Ready RoundUp soya in the Netherlands, he is too modest to accept all the credit. "Other parties were also active".

He denies that consultancy contacts with environmental groups means that astute PR strategies can be made for genetic engineering. "We link parties, bring open and transparent communication and have demanded labelling at an early stage". Finally the question to Milieudefensie about any possible inconsistencies in campaigning against genetic engineering and for organic farming while working with Monsanto's PR agency. Mariete van Schaik, head of Milieudefensie, says she was surprised when she learned about it. "We have a good impression of his agency. If it turns out that he's a double agent, we'll stop the collaboration".

_____________________________________________________
Rounding Up Monsanto
A SEED Europe, P.O. Box 92066, 1090 AB Amsterdam, The Netherlands
tel: +31-20-468 2616    fax: +31-20-468 2275    email: groundup@aseed.antenna.nl

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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

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