Genetically
 Manipulated 


 

 
 
 Food


 News

17 April 99

Table of Contents

2 Corn Firms to Follow EU Decision
Complicating Canola
Authority Calls for Informed Debate on GM Foods
rBGH: Pandora Body - Top Spin.
New Zealand Government to Set up New Agency
US Corn Growers Hit By Processor Bans On Gene-Altered Types
CFS News: Quote of the Month:
More bad News for Monsanto and Gene Giants
CFS News: Global Days of Action
World Scientists' Statement: Calling for a Moratorium on GM
World Scientists' Statement: Supplementary Information

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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 14:30:04 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-15

2 Corn Firms to Follow EU Decision

Chicago Sun-Times; 04/14/99 BUSINESS

Two of the world's largest corn processors announced this week they will reject any genetically modified corn that is not accepted in European markets.

A.E. Staley Mfg. Co. sent a letter to local grain elevators Monday to inform operators of its partial ban on genetic crops. Archer Daniels Midland Co. followed suit on Tuesday with a formal statement, the Decatur Herald & Review reported today.

The corn, approved by the Department of Agriculture, has been shunned by farmers, environmentalists and consumer groups in Europe who say it hasn't been proven safe.

The announcements from the Decatur-based firms came one week after the European Parliament overwhelmingly voted to recommend an end to the sale of genetically altered corn in the 15-nation European Union. ADM - which produces everything from soybean oil to high-fructose corn syrup to cocoa powder - said its ban was based on that decision.


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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 14:30:04 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-15

Complicating Canola

The Southland Times (New Zealand) April 13, 1999 Pg. 6

HEAVEN help us if the commercial growing of genetically engineered canola in New Zealand leads to the unintended result of noxious plants developing genetic protection from herbicides. We must be wary of the risk.


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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 14:30:04 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-15

The next few articles are reposted from
genetics genetics@gn.apc.org

Authority Calls for Informed Debate on GM Foods

By KEVIN O'SULLIVAN, Environmental and Food Science Correspondent
The Irish Times, April 14, 1999, Pg. 3

Consumers are confused and concerned about genetically modified organisms, particularly as they apply to foods, because of "lack of clear, neutral information on the issue", according to Dr Patrick Wall of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

With the many vested groups on both sides of the argument, consumers are in the middle where misinformation abounds," the FSAI chief executive told members of the Irish Food Writers' Guild yesterday.


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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 14:30:04 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-15

rBGH: Pandora Body - Top Spin.

The Independent (London) April 14, 1999, Pg. 4

The GM food innovator Monsanto showed its customary fingertip control of the media when its PR flacks heard of a story perceived as dangerous.

The corporation manufactures a genetically engineered milk hormone called rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone). Farmers inject rBGH into cattle every two weeks to increase milk production.

But activists have expressed concern that rBGH may increase the risk of cancer among consumers. Two Tampa-based journalists taped a segment reporting this. Monsanto pitched its side of the story - and management at WTVT, the local Fox station, made the duo rewrite the story 83 times.

That's right, 83. The Murdoch-owned WTVT then offered Steve Wilson and Jane Akre some pounds 100,000 to quit, on condition that both reporters remain silent about the incident. They refused - and the matter is now heading to court.

Fascinating fact: later this year the EU moratorium on the use of rBGH is up for review.


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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 14:30:04 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-15

New Zealand Government to Set up New Agency

WELLINGTON (April 14)

XINHUA - If the labeling of genetically modified food becomes law in New Zealand the Government is likely to set up a new agency under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) to enforce it. According to the Evening Post, the agency may be called the Food Assurance Authority and it will become, from July 1, the sole agency to focus on food safety.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jenny Shipley has said consumers have a right to know what is in the food they are eating. She says the challenge is to find a workable system that gives consumers faith in the food they eat without adding to its price.


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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 14:30:04 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-15

US Corn Growers Hit By Processor Bans On Gene-Altered Types

By Robin K. Taylor, 04/14

CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--U.S. corn growers face difficult planting decisions after two major corn-processing companies announced this week that they will no longer accept genetically altered corn varieties that aren't approved by the European Union.

Decatur, Ill.-based A.E. Staley Manufacturing Co. and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) each announced this week that they will only accept corn varieties approved by the European Union.

Staley and ADM represent nearly half of the U.S. corn-processing market. The companies won't be accepting the Roundup Ready corn variety produced by Monsanto Corp. (MTC), which is used for its resistance to the Roundup herbicide. There are also some Bt corn varieties that aren't currently accepted by the E.U.

** 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: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 14:46:28 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-16 CFS News #18
From: Ronnie Cummins alliance@MR.Net
Subject: CFS News #18 (formerly Food Bytes) April 16, 1999
Sender: owner-pure-food-action@MR.Net

Campaign for Food Safety News
CFS News #18
(formerly Food Bytes)
April 16, 1999
News & Analysis on
Genetic Engineering, Factory Farming, and Organics
By:
Ronnie Cummins & Ben Lilliston

Campaign for Food Safety http://www.purefood.org
Affiliated with the Center for Food Safety http://www.icta.org and
the Organic Consumers Association http://www.organicconsumers.org


The Campaign for Food Safety is happy to announce our formal affiliation with the Center for Food Safety in Washington,D.C. Beginning with this issue we are changing the name of Food Bytes to CFS News (Campaign for Food Safety News).

ISSUE #18: Global Action Intensifies Against Monsanto & the Gene Giants (Information on Global Days of Action April 15-30 at end of this issue.)

CFS News: Quote of the Month:

"This is the beginning of the end of trying to force-feed consumers unwanted and unneeded genetically manipulated food."

Benedikt Haerlin,
Greenpeace International Press Release,
March 17, 1999


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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 14:46:28 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-16 CFS News #18

More bad News for Monsanto and Gene Giants

Monsanto and the Gene Giants suffered through another disastrous 45 days from March to mid-April. If the biotech industry thought that the worst of their public relations nightmares were over (see Food Bytes #12, 13, 15, & 17), they were wrong. By the ides of March, even the most stalwart promoters of Frankenfoods, the grain cartels and the Clinton administration, were showing signs of strain. Among the most notable developments:

  1. At an international meeting of entomologists (scientists who study insects) in Basel Switzerland in March, experts warned that genetically engineered (GE) Bt crops are exuding 10-20 times the amount of toxins contained in conventional (non-GE) Bt sprays, and are harming beneficial insects (such as ladybugs/ladybirds and lacewings) and soil microorganisms, and may likely be harming insect-eating bird populations.

    The scientists called for a moratorium on commercial planting of Bt crops. Worldwide in 1998 there were 19.3 million acres of Bt crops under cultivation (representing 28% of all GE crops), including 45% of the US cotton crop, 25% of the corn, and 3.5% of the potatoes. For further information on the Basel meeting contact fkoechlin@datacom.ch For info on the Center for Food Safety & Greenpeace lawsuit filed in the US Feb. 18 to remove Bt crops from the market see .

  2. Attorneys from the Center for Food Safety are contributing to a strategic, precedent-setting seed patenting lawsuit in US federal court. A small farm supply and seed dealer in Iowa, Marvin Redenius, is suing Pioneer Hi-Bred International (the largest seed company in the world, now being bought out by Dupont), claiming that agricultural seed and biotechnology patents issued by the US Patent Office since 1985 are illegal because the US Congress never intended that key food crops be patented.

    Traditionally the US Congress has held that seed companies have a right to use one another's seed for breeding purposes and that farmers have the right to save and replant seeds. According to the March 3 Wall Street Journal, "Biotech Industry Shivers at Threat to Seed Patents" the lawsuit has thrown Monsanto and the other biotech corporations into a panic. As the WSJ puts it the lawsuit "places at risk much of the billions of dollars in investments by companies such as Monsanto Co., Dupont Co., and Novartis." Stay tuned for further developments.

  3. British poll results announced March 11 in the Daily Record found that "nine out of 10 shoppers would switch supermarkets to avoid genetically modified (GM) food," and would be willing to travel "up to double the distance" to a supermarket which banned gene-foods.

    On the same day the Church of Scotland issued a five-year study in which they condemned the "unethical" practices of US and transnational biotech corporations. Donald Bruce, Church spokesperson, stated in the Aberdeen Press and Journal: "There is indignation from people that they are not being given a choice. It smacks of imperialism--but instead of a Boston Tea Party, this time we could have a Rotterdam Soya Bean Fest with soya and maize dumped into the North Sea."

  4. On March 11, leading scientists and activists from over a dozen nations (Europe, North America, Japan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, India) meeting at a "Biodevastation" conference in India vowed to "bring down" Monsanto and the other biotechnology transnationals and build a global mass movement for sustainable and organic agriculture.

    Ronnie Cummins summed up the battle that civil society faces at a well-attended press event in New Delhi: "We stand on the edge of a Biotech Century where a runaway technology wielded by Monsanto and other transnationals threaten food security and biodiversity in both the North and the South." The India "Biodevastation 2" conference was organized by Dr. Vandana Shiva, as a follow-up to last year's "Biodevastation 1" conference in St. Louis (see Food Bytes # 11).

    On May 19-20 in Seattle, Washington the Edmonds Institute will be sponsoring "Biodevastation 3," which will coincide with the annual convention across town of America's trade association of genetic engineering corporations, BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization). For further details on Biodevastation 3, contact Beth Burrows at beb@igc.apc.org.

  5. On March 11, the Consumers Union of Japan issued a report on increasing anti-GE food activities in Japan. The CUJ announced that 2300 of Japan's 3300 local government assemblies have now called on the Tokyo government to require mandatory labeling of GE foods. In addition two million Japanese consumers have signed a petition to the government on GE labeling. Despite mounting public concern, Tokyo has already approved the importation of 22 GE foods and six food additives.

    The CUJ and other citizen groups are especially alarmed about GE industry plans to grow gene-altered rice in Japan--where nine million tons are consumed annually. For more info contact nishoren@jca.ax.apc.org.

    On March 14, the Los Angeles Times ran a major story entitled "Japanese Choke on American Biofood," in which they noted increasing alarm by US authorities over growing Japanese opposition to $11 billion of unlabeled American food exports, much of it containing genetically engineered ingredients. The LAT story called attention to a 1997 government survey in which 80% of Japanese consumers expressed "reservations" about GE foods, with 92.5% supporting mandatory labeling.

  6. Another major GE food safety controversy erupted in the UK on March 12, when researchers at the York Nutritional Laboratory announced that soy food allergies among the British public unexpectedly rose 50% in 1998, coinciding with a large increase in imported foods from the US containing genetically engineered soybeans. Last year Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybeans constituted 32% of the US soybean crop.

    Scientists have warned for years that foreign proteins, most of which have never been consumed by humans, gene-spliced into common foods could set off an epidemic of food allergies. In the US, eight percent of children, and two percent of adults already suffer from food allergies--with symptoms ranging from mild unpleasantness to sudden death.

    British biotech expert Dr. Mae-Won Ho of the Open University has warned that Monsanto's RRS soybeans could pose serious food allergy problems. As Ho stated in a legal affidavit last August, Monsanto's RRS soybeans: "contain genes from a virus, a soil bacterium and from a petunia (plant), none of which have been in our food before... The soil bacterium, Agrobacterium sp. (CP4EPSPS)... is unlike any other protein that humans have eaten. And there is no reliable method for predicting its allergenic potential. Allergic reactions typically occur only some time after the subject is sensitized by initial exposure to the allergen."

  7. The newspaper, the Independent, reported on March 14 that the UK government had entered into secret negotiations with biotech companies for a voluntary three-year ban on growing GE crops in Britain. The Independent noted that the Tony Blair government was wary of forcing Monsanto and the other biotech companies into an involuntary ban for fear of trade reprisals by the US.

    And on March 17, the giant Sainsbury's supermarket chain in the UK announced that they were joining forces with six other leading EU grocery chains--Marks and Spencer (UK); Carrefour (France); Effelunga (Italy); Migros (Switzerland); Delhaize (Belgium), and Superquinn (Ireland)--to form a consortium to buy non-GE foods and food ingredients. This move, characterized by the EU business association Eurocommerce as "very significant," comes in response to increasing consumer demands for a ban on GE foods. Other major chains and food and beverage producers in the EU (Asda, Iceland, and Waitrose in the UK; Unilever in Germany; 90% of all supermarkets in Austria; Carlsberg beer in Denmark; among many others) have already announced bans on GE products.

  8. The UK New Scientist stated in its 2/29 issue that increasing demands for certified GE-free soya, corn, and rapeseed (canola) oil are bringing world market prices down in most cases to within 6-10% of the price of conventional (co-mingled) grains and oils. This in turn has alarmed American grain exporters and agribusiness representatives, who have begun to warn US farmers that "intense opposition" to GE foods in the EU and Japan threatens the US export market and may soon lead to requirements for crop segregation, GE residue testing, and labeling.

    At the National Grain and Feed Association convention in San Francisco on March 20, according to Reuters, farmers were warned that despite pressure from the US government on the EU, Japan, and other nations for open markets and no GE labeling, opposition to GE crops around the world was increasing. (See the CFS web site for more information).

  9. In a related development, grain export giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) announced in early March a program for segregation and extensive marketing of GE-free "identity preserved" soybeans. ADM emphasized that their new GE-free soybean program was in response to global "customer demand."

    In this context of increasing public controversy and market volatility, German biotech company AgrEvo announced in mid-March that they were postponing commercial planting of GE Liberty Link soybeans in the USA because of the lack of "import clearances" or approvals in overseas markets. The American Soybean Association said they approved of AgrEvo's precautionary move, voicing concern about the loss of $4.5 billion in US annual soy exports. Up until now the US has been able to export shipments of unlabeled, non-segregated soybeans worth $2.5 billion to the EU every year, as well as $1billion to Japan.

  10. The heavily indentured US scientific establishment--personified in this case by the National Academy of Sciences--announced in March that it would set up an "expert panel" to evaluate cuurent EPA regulations on GE crops (such as Bt crops) containing their own pesticides.

    After publishing the proposed list of scientists who would make up this NAS "expert panel" (almost all of whom are rabid supporters of genetic engineering), the NAS came under heavy fire from public interest groups such as the Consumers Union, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Greenpeace, the Pesticide Action Network, RAFI, and the Campaign for Food Safety.

    In response the NAS has made overtures to a well-known biotech critic, Dr. Rebecca Goldburg, to be added to the panel. Of course this token gesture is not enough. Until the proposed expert panelists publicly reveal their ties to the biotech industry, and the panel is reconstituted with at least 90% of scientists being truly "objective," the NAS advisory panel will continue to be criticized for what it is, a "scientific greenwash" of a dangerous and currently out-of-control technology.

  11. On March 15 leading French non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including Greenpeace and Ecoropa, called for the French government to follow the lead of the UK and Denmark and impose a national ban on the planting of all GE crops. Etienne Vernet of Ecoropa told Reuters that the French public demand "a moratorium on all types of genetically modified food for three to five years." In response to growing public pressure, the French government recently implemented a ban on growing transgenic beets and rapeseed.

    Other EU nations with partial or comprehensive bans on growing or importing GE crops include Austria, Greece, and Luxembourg. GE crops are also banned in Norway. On April 1, the Greece government announced a ban on planting GE crops and vowed to join with other EU nations to prevent further approvals of GE foods.

    EU authorities have rejected all new applications for GE products since April 1998, much to the chagrin of the US government and biotech transnationals. Four biotech applications are currently deadlocked--a Monsanto corn, a Zeneca tomato, and two Monsanto Bt cotton applications. On March 22, a leading Spanish farmers organization, COAG, with 200,000 members, called for a complete moratorium on GE foods and crops

  12. South Korean students and environmentalists occupied and blockaded a government-funded biotech greenhouse on March 12. Hanging a large banner and chaining themselves to the entrance, activists told the Korean press that they wanted an immediate ban on the cultivation or importation of GE foods and crops. Before being arrested by police, a demonstrator told the media: "We're here today to let the government and those researchers involved know how the public feels about their incompetence, arrogance, and lack of responsibility."

    Since December 1998--facing mounting public pressure--the South Korean government has begun developing national regulations for mandatory labeling of GE foods and crops. On March 25 the Malaysian government directed an advisory committee to come up with a draft for national biosafety legislation within three months. For further info on anti-biotech and safe food activism in the Asia and Pacific region see the Pesticide Action Network's web site .

  13. On March 16, Brazil's main commercial newspaper, Gazeta Mercantil, reported that Monsanto had withdrawn its patent applications for five varieties of Roundup Ready soybeans. Although Monsanto said its withdrawal was merely for "technical" reasons, Gazeta Mercantil pointed out that Monsanto is losing the biotech debate in Brazil.

    Among recent reverses for Monsanto: a statement by SBPC, the national association of scientists, as well as Brazilian consumer protection agencies, opposing RRS; a ban on growing RRS soybeans in the large soya-growing state of Rio Grande do Sul; and the decision of the enforcement agency of the Environment Ministry, IBAMA, to join Greenpeace and the NGO IDEC in a court battle to ban RRS soybeans.

    Meanwhile Brazil continues to export increasing quantities of GE-free soybeans to the EU, in effect taking market share away from the US. With 160 million people, Brazil represents the most strategic market for GE production and consumption in Latin America. In a related development, informed sources have told CFS News that the government of Chile--stung by criticisms that it sided with the US in the recent sabotage of a Biosafety Protocol treaty in Colombia--has begun deliberations to develop a set of mandatory labeling regulations for GE foods.

  14. On March 21 an official scientific advisory panel in the EU recommended a continuation of Europe's ban on Monsanto's controversial recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH or rBST), a GE hormone injected into 5% of dairy cows in the US to force them to give more milk. The panel warned that the milk from cows injected with rBGH contains up to 4-5 times the levels of a potent chemical hormone messenger called IGF-1, which has been linked to increased human risks for prostate, breast, and colon cancer.

    The US is the only country in the industrialized world to have approved rBGH, despite widespread consumer opposition and continuing charges of conflict of interest in the FDA. For information on the Center for Food Safety legal petition to have rBGH banned in the US see On a related note award-winning US TV journalists Steve Wilson and Jane Akre's lawsuit against Fox TV (who fired them last year after they produced a hard-hitting series on rBGH for Fox TV) begins on May 10 in Tampa, Florida. See http://www.foxbghsuit.com

  15. The Wisconsin State Journal revealed on March 24 that a Wisconsin-based organic food manufacturer, Prima Terra, had located the source of "genetic pollution" in a shipment of 80.000 bags of organic corn chips which were destroyed in Holland earlier this year after "testing positive" for traces of GE corn.

    According to Prima Terra, one of its suppliers, an organic corn farmer in Texas, was the victim of genetic drift, after GE corn pollen blew onto the farm's certified organic corn fields from a neighboring farm. Genetically altered corn pollen can travel for miles in the wind and integrate its DNA into the genome of conventional plants.

  16. According to 3/30 posting on the internet by ASEED, the EU youth activist network, Hungarian authorities have at least temporarily denied permission for Monsanto, AgrEvo, and Novartis to conduct field tests of GE corn and sugar beets. Anti-GE public awareness and activism are slowly but steadily increasing in Hungary and Eastern Europe. For further information contact ASEED aseedeur@antenna.nl

  17. The English folk band "Seize The Day" have released a new song on the internet called "Food 'n' Health 'n' Hope," a scathing satirical attack on Monsanto. To hear the song, copy it, and distribute it, copyright free, tune your internet browser to .

  18. In late-March Amazon tribal leaders, wearing shell necklaces and bird feathers, carried out a protest at the US Patent Office in Washington, D.C., demanding a revocation of a "bio-pirated" patent granted to US scientists for a traditional medicine and hallucinogenic plant called Ayahuasca. According to a March 31 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch by Bill Lambrecht, universities and biotech companies such as Monsanto are finding it harder and harder to "bioprospect" in indigenous areas due to increasing opposition by Native groups.

  19. In a major, perhaps precedent-setting victory for the anti-GE movement in Britain, UK prosecutors on March 29 dropped all charges against two defendants, Jacklyn Sheedy and Liz Snook, who were on trial for destroying a test plot of AgrEvo's GE corn last year. The AgrEvo test site threatened to contaminate a field of organic corn planted nearby. According to informed sources, the prosecution and the British government feared that if the two campaigners were put on trial they would likely have been found innocent by the jury, thereby setting a "dangerous" precedent for those contemplating future direct action.

    Sheedy and Snook faced up to ten years in prison for "conspiracy to commit criminal damage." And in a related development, an Irish judge on April 1 granted probation to six of seven activists accused of destroying a test plot of Monsanto's GE sugar beets last June in County Wexford. Meanwhile in early April a 1700 square meter test plot of GE rapeseed was sprayed with pesticides and destroyed by activists in Giessen, Germany. This was the fourth time since 1997 that this particular test site had been destroyed.

  20. Portugal's Burger King restaurants announced a ban on GE foods on April 7. A number of major UK fast-food chains (McDonald's, Burger King, and Kentucky Fried Chicken) made similar announcements in February. Informed sources have told CFS News that even McDonald's USA has the jitters over GE--with McD's franchise owners in Wisconsin and Minnesota telling potato processors and their growers not to deliver Monsanto's Bt potatoes to them.

    Farmers also report that Monsanto's miracle Bt potatoes aren't doing that well in the fields, with Minnesota potato growers complaining the mutant Bt spuds won't germinate until the temperature hits 50 degrees Fahrenheit, as opposed to 40 degrees for conventional varieties.

  21. On April 8 biotech and anti-organic propagandist Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute (see Food Bytes #16) got a pie in the face as he was delivering a lecture on biotechnology at Grinnell College in Iowa. According to a press release, the Central Iowa Anarchist (CIA) cell of the Biotic Baking Brigade carried out "Operation Avery's Savory" as a "response to Avery's shameless and flagrant support of biotechnology and industrial factory farming." A week earlier in Somerset, England, Novartis PR man Steve Smith was hit by a custard pie at a meeting on GE foods. As Smith rushed to the toilet to gain his composure, he was creamed by yet another custard pie.

  22. The US mass media are finally starting to wake up to the controversy over genetically engineered foods and crops. Beginning last Oct. 25, when the New York Times Sunday Magazine ran a major feature story, "Playing God in the Garden," critical of Monsanto and ag biotech, the American news blackout appears to have lifted--at least partially.

    In recent months objective, and even a few hard-hitting investigative articles, have started to appear in the NYT; the Washington Post (a series by Rick Weiss); the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, headquarters for Monsanto (an excellent series of articles by Bill Lambrecht); the Los Angeles Times; Harpers magazine; the Christian Science Monitor; Penthouse magazine; E magazine; and other magazines and papers. Even national TV networks, especially CNN and ABC News (November 9 and December 15, 1998) have started to begin to address the issue. In addition the progressive media--the Nation, Mother Jones, the Progressive, the Progressive Populist, Earth Island Journal, Multinational Monitor, among others--and community radio stations have recently begun to publish and broadcast articles on the GE controversy.

    In Canada ag biotech media coverage has been more widespread than the US, partly as a result of the major national debate over rBGH. With increased media coverage in North America there is now a steadily increasing awareness on the part of the general public, as well as a number of hopeful signs that a new grassroots mass movement--anti-GE, anti-industrial agriculture, pro-organic, pro-sustainable--is starting to develop.

  23. Global Days of Action Against Monsanto and Genetic Engineering April 15-30. For the fourth year in a row we at the Campaign for Food Safety are serving as an international clearinghouse for the Global Days of Action (GDA). In 1996-98 the GDA have helped to stimulate coordinated global protests and actions, generate significant media coverage, and strengthen global solidarity and campaign capacity.

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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 14:46:28 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN4-16 CFS News #18

CFS News: Global Days of Action

This year of course nearly every day has now become a Global Day of Action, at least in places like Western Europe and India. GDA 1999 will try to place a major focus on the Monsanto corporation. To spearhead the growing global opposition to Monsanto, genetic engineering, and industrial agriculture, we at CFS -- along with our NGO allies -- recently have coordinated a series of US and international conference calls as well as international activist meetings in Cuernavaca, Mexico and New Delhi, India. So far we know of planned GDA (and Earth Day Week) activities scheduled for the following countries and local areas:

USA: A variety of teach-ins, street theater, and leafletting/petitioning activities are scheduled, especially around the week of Earth Day April 22. Over 125 natural food stores in 75 cities and towns are participating in a petition drive in support of the Center for Food Safety lawsuit (filed May 27, 1998--see Food Bytes #9) to have all GE foods and crops taken off the market, as well as to head off industry and government attempts to eliminate mandatory labeling requirements for irradiated foods. For CFS petition materials contact our Duluth, Minnesota office at safefood@cp.duluth.mn.us A partial list of other USA GDA/Earth Day actions includes:

A partial list of other nations and contacts for GDA 1999 include the following:

Please email us other events & activities taking place during GDA April 15-30. And finally let us resolve to make every day a Global Day of Action Against Genetic Engineering and Industrial Agriculture.

End of CFS News #18 (Campaign for Food Safety News) April 16, 1999 (formerly called Food Bytes)


Ronnie Cummins, Director
Campaign for Food Safety/Organic Consumers Association
860 Hwy 61 Little Marais, Minnesota 55614
Telephone: 218-226-4164    Fax: 218-226-4157    email: alliance@mr.net    URL: http://www.purefood.org

Affiliated with the Center for Food Safety (Washington, D.C.) http://www.icta.org
and the Organic Consumers Association http://www.organicconsumers.org

To Subscribe to the free electronic newsletter, CFS NEWS (formerly called Food Bytes), send an email to: majordomo@mr.net with the simple message in the body of the text: subscribe pure-food-action

To subscribe to the free electronic newsletter, Organic View, send an email to: organicview@organicconsumers.org with the simple message in the body of the text: subscribe

** 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: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 10:08:44 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson World Scientists' Statement: Calling for a Moratorium on GM

Posted by: MichaelP papadop@peak.org http://www.twnside.org.sg/souths/twn/bio.htm

Third World Network / TWN update: [Last Modified: 7. Apr 1999 6:36:15 GMT] http://www.twnside.org.sg/souths/twn/title/world-cn.htm

World Scientists' Statement: Calling for a Moratorium on GM

Calling for a Moratorium on GM Crops and Ban on Patents

We the undersigned scientists call upon our Governments to:

Impose an immediate moratorium on further environmental releases of transgenic crops, food and animal-feed products for at least 5 years.

Ban patents on living organisms, cell lines and genes.

Support a comprehensive, independent public enquiry into the future of agriculture and food security for all, taking account of the full range of scientific findings as well as socioeconomic and ethical implications.

1. We are extremely concerned over the continued release and commercialization of transgenic crops, food and animal-feed products in the face of growing scientific evidence of hazards to biodiversitv, food safety, human and animal health, while neither the need nor the benefits of genetic engineering agriculture are yet proven.

1.1 New scientific evidence have convinced us of the need for an immediate moratorium on releases.

1.1.1. Herbicide resistant transgenes have spread to wild relatives by cross-pollination in both oilseed rape and sugar beet,1 creating many species of potential superweeds. One study shows that transgenes may be up to 30 times more likely to escape than the plant's own genes2

1.1.2. Bt-toxins engineered into a wide range of transgenic plants already released into the environment may build up in the soil and have devastating impacts on pollinators and other beneficial insects3

1.1.3. Serious doubts over the safety of transgenic foods are raised by new revelations on the results of animal feeding experiments. Potatoes engineered with snowdrop lectin fed to rats caused highly significant reduction in weight of many organs, impairment of immunological responsiveness and signs suggestive of viral infection.4

1.1.4. Research from the Netherlands show that antibiotic resistant marker genes from genetically engineered bacteria can be transferred horizontally to indigenous bacteria at a substantial frequency of 10-7 in an artificial gut5

1.1.5. Researchers in the US found widespread horizontal transfer of a yeast genetic parasite to the mitochondrial genome of higher plants6, raising serious concerns over the uncontrollable horizontal spread of transgenes and marker genes from transgenic plants released into the environment.

2. The patenting of living organisms, cell lines and genes under the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights agreement are sanctioning acts of piracy of intellectual and genetic resources from Third World nations7, and at the same time, increasing corporate monopoly on food production and distribution. Small farmers all over the world are being marginalized, threatening long term food security for all8.

3. The Governments of industrialized nations, by voting for patents on organisms, cell lines and genes, including human genes, are in danger of allowing corporations unrestricted exploitation of their citizens and natural resources through the treaties being negotiated in the WTO and other fora Environmental standards, food safety standards and even basic human rights will be sacrificed to corporate financial imperatives9.

4. Governmental advisory committees lack sufficient representation from independent scientists not linked to the industry. The result is that an untried, inadequately researched technology has been rushed prematurely to the market, while existing scientific evidence of hazards are being downplayed, ignored, and even suppressed10, and little independent research on risks are being carried out.

5. The technology is driven by an outmoded, genetic determinist science that supposes organisms are determined simply by constant, unchanging genes that can be arbitrarily manipulated to serve our needs; whereas scientific findings accumulated over the past twenty years have invalidated every assumption of genetic determinism11. The new genetics is compelling us to an ecological, holistic perspective, especially where genes are concerned. The genes are not constant and unchanging, but fluid and dynamic, responding to the physiology of the organism and the external environment, and require a stable, balanced ecology to maintain stability.

Endnotes:

1. Brookes, M. (1998). Running wild, New Scientist 31 October; Snow, A. and Jorgensen, R. (1998). Costs of transgenic glufosinate resistance introgressed from Brassica napus into weedly Brassica rapa. Abstract, Ecologicil Society of America, Baltimore, Aug. 6, 1998.

2. Bergelson, J., Purrington, c.B. and Wichmann, G. (1998). Promiscuity in transgenic plants. Nature 395, 25.

3. Crecchio, C. and Stotzky, G. (1998). Insecticidal activity and biodegradation of the toxin from B acillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki bound to humic, acids from soil, "Soil Biology and Biochemistry 30", 463-70, and references therein.

4. Leake, C. and Fraser, L. (1999). Scientist in Frankenstein food alert is proved right. UK Mail on Sunday, 31 Jan.; Goodwin, B.C. (1999). Report on SOAEFD Flexible Fund Project RO818, Jan. 23, 1999.

5. MacKenzie, D. (1999). Gut reaction. New Scientist 30 Jan., p.4.

6. Cho, Y., Qui, Y.L., Kuhlman, P. and Palmer, J.D. (1998). Explosive invasion of plant mitochondria by a group I intron. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 95, 14244-9.

7. See Shiva, V. (1998). Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge, Green Books, London; also Latin American Declaration on Transgenic Organisms, Quito, 22 Jan. 1999.

8. The Corner House (1998), Food? Health? Hope? Genetic Engineering and World Hunger, Briefing 10.

9. See Mander, J. and Goldsmith, E. eds. (1996). The Case against the Global Economy and for a Turn toward the Local, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco.

10. See note 4.

11. See Ho, M. W. (1998, 1999). Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare? The Brave New World of Bad Science and Big Business, Gateways Books and Third World Network, Bath and Penang.


Top PreviousFront Page

Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 10:08:44 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson World Scientists' Statement: Calling for a Moratorium on GM

World Scientists' Statement: Supplementary Information

Supplementary Information on the Hazards of Genetic Engineering Biotechnology

1. Genetic engineering is a new departure from conventional breeding and introduces significant differences.

1.1. Conventional breeding involves crossing related species, and plants with the desired characteristics are selected from among the progeny for reproducing, and the selection is repeated over many generations. Genetic engineering bypasses reproduction altogether. It transfers genes horizontally from one individual to another (as opposed to vertically, from parent to offspring), often making use of infectious agents as vectors or carriers of genes so that genes can be transferred between distant species that would never interbreed in nature. For example, human genes are transferred into pig, sheep, fish and bacteria. Toad genes are transferred into tomatoes. Completely new, exotic genes, are being introduced into food crops.

1.2. Natural infectious agents exist which can transfer genes horizontally between individuals. These are viruses and other pieces of parasitic genetic material, called plasmids and transposons, which are able to get into cells and then make use of the cell's resources to multiply many copies of themselves or to jump into (as well as out of ) the cell's genome. While the natural agents are limited by species barriers, genetic engineers make artificial vectors by combining parts of the most infectious natural agents, and design them to overcome species barriers, so the same vector may now transfer, say, human genes, which are spliced into the vector, into the cells of all other mammals, or cells of plants. Once inside the cell, the artificial vector carrying the foreign gene(s) can then insert into the cell's genome, and give rise to a genetically engineered organism.

1.3. Typically, foreign genes are introduced with strong genetic signals - called promoters or enhancers, most often from viruses - to boost the expression of the genes to well above the normal level that most of the cell's own genes are expressed. Such viral promoters are used even in cases of so-called "vectorless" transfers, where gene expression "cassettes" are introduced by injection, biolistic bombardment and other physical means. 1 There will also be selectable "marker genes" introduced along with the gene(s) of interest, so that those cells that have successfully integrated the foreign genes into their genome can be selected. The most commonly used marker genes are antibiotic resistant genes, which enable the cells to be selected with antibiotics. These marker genes often remain in the genetically engineered organisms.

2. Genetic engineering introduces new dangers and problems to health and biodiversity.

There are four main sources of hazards and problems: those due to the new genes and gene products introduced; unintended effects inherent to the technology; interactions between foreign genes and host genes; and those arising from the spread of the introduced genes by ordinary cross-pollination as well as by horizontal gene transfer.

3. Hazards may come from new genes and gene products.

New genes and gene products are introduced into our food, often from bacteria and viruses and other non-food species that we have never eaten before, and certainly not in the quantities produced in the genetically engineered crops, where they are typically expressed at high levels. The long term impacts of these genes and gene products on human health will be impossible to predict, particularly as the products are not segregated and there is no post-market monitoring.

3.1. Bt-toxins may have major impacts on biodiversity.

There is evidence that one class of gene products most commonly introduced, the bt-toxins, from the soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, targetted against insect pests, are harmful to beneficial species such as bees. 2 That is because they are introduced in a truncated, preactivated, non-selective form. Harmful effects can even go up the food-chain. Lacewings fed on pests that have eaten genetically engineered bt-maize took longer to develop and were two to three times more likely to die. 3 Purified bt-toxins, similar to ones found in some lines of transgenic bt-crops, do not disappear when added to soil but instead become rapidly bound to clay and humic acid soil particles. The bound bt-toxins, unlike free toxins, are not degraded by soil microbes, nor do they lose their capacity to kill soil insects. 4 Unlike suspensions of the bacteria which have been used as sprays by organic farmers, in which the toxins are inactivated by uv light, the engineered toxins are released directly into the soil, thereby escaping degradation.The buildup of bt-toxins in the soil will have devastating impacts on pollinators and other beneficial insects. At the same time, it will accelerate the evolution of bt-resistance among pest, rendering the toxin ineffective as a pesticide. Bt-resistance is already a major problem only years after the first release, and scientists are recommending 20 to 40% of non-transgenic crop to be simultaneously planted as "refugia" to slow down the evolution of resistance. 5

3.2. Transgenic snow-drop lectin is harmful to beneficial insects.

Yet another transgenic plant has been shown to harm beneficial insects up the food-chain. Ladybirds fed on aphids that have eaten transgenic potato with snow-drop lectin lived half as long, laid 38% fewer eggs that were 4 times more likely to be unfertilized and 3 times less likely to hatch. 6 This transgenic potato has now been revealed to be highly toxic to rats (see below), and is most probably harmful to small mammals in the wild.

3.3 Hazards arise from transgenic plants engineered to be resistant to broad-spectrum herbicides.

By far the major category of transgenic plants are engineered to be resistant to broad-spectrum herbicides such as glyphosate.

3.3.1. The toxicity of glyphosate is well-documented. 7 Acute toxicity of some glyphosate products include eye and skin irritation, cardiac depression and vomiting. In California, glyphosate is found to be the third most commonly-reported cause of pesticide-related illness among agricultural workers. The toxicities are often associated with supposedly inert solvents and detergents in some formulations which greatly increase the harmful effects of glyphosate. These synergistic interactions are now widely recognized. 8 Chronic toxicity of glyphosate include testicular cancer, reduced sperm counts and other negative reproductive impacts in rats. 9 There are also indications that at least some glyphosate formulations cause mutations in genes. 10

3.3.2. Broad-spectrum herbicides will have major impacts on biodiversity. 11 They kill all other plants indiscriminately. This will destroy wild plants as well as insects, birds, mammals and other animals that depend on the plants for food and shelter. In addition, Roundup (Monsanto's formulation of glyphosate) can be highly toxic to fish. Glyphosate also harms earthworms and many beneficial mycorrhizal fungi and other microorganisms that are involved in nutrient recycling in the soil. It is so generally toxic that researchers are even investigating its potential as an antimicrobial. 12

3.3.3. Herbicide resistant transgenic plants may lead to increased use of herbicides, contrary to what is being claimed. The transgenic plants themselves are already turning up as volunteer plants after the harvest, and have to be controlled by additional sprays of other herbicides. 13 The use of glyphosate with genetically engineered resistant plants will encourage the evolution of glyphosate resistance in weeds and other species, even without cross-pollination. A ryegrass highly resistant to glyphosate has already been found in Australia. 14 Resistance evolves extremely rapidly because all cells have the capability of mutating their genes at high rates to resistance if they are exposed continuously to sub-lethal levels of toxic substances including herbicides, pesticides and antibiotics. This is inherent to the "fluidity" of genes and genomes that has been documented within the past 20 years. 15 It will render resistant plants useless after several generations, as the herbicide is widely applied. At the same time, resistant weeds and pathogens may become increasingly abundant. Additional herbicides will then have to be used to control the resistant weeds.

3.3.4 Herbicide resistant transgenic crops are incompatible with sustainable agriculture. Many studies within the past 10 to 15 years have shown that sustainable organic agriculture can improve yields and regenerate agricultural land degraded by the intensive agriculture of the green revolution. 16 Sustainable organic agriculture depends on maintaining natural soil fertility as well as on mixed cropping and crop rotation. This has been reversing the destructive effects of intensive agriculture that have led to falling productivity since that 1980s. Glyphosate resistant plants requires application of glyphosate which not only kills other species of plants but harms mycorrhizal fungi symbiotically associated with the roots of plants, which are now found to be crucial for maintaining both species diversity and productivity of ecosystems. 17 The depletion of mycorrhizal fungi in intensive agriculture could therefore decrease both plant biodiversity and ecosystem productivity, while increasing ecosystem instability. "The present reduction in biodiversity on Earth and its potential threat to ecosystem stability and sustainability can only be reversed or stopped if whole ecosystems, including ecosystem components other than plants are protected and conserved." 18

4. Problems due to unintended effects inherent to the technology.

Genetic engineering organisms is hit or miss, and not at all precise, contrary to misleading accounts intended for the public, as it depends on the random insertion of the artificial vector carrying the foreign genes into the genome. This random insertion is well-known to have many unexpected and unintended effects including cancer, in the case of mammalian cells. 19 Furthermore, the effects can spread very far into the host genome from the site of insertion. 20

4.1. This is attested to by the high failure rates in making transgenic animals, and gross deformities among the "successes", 21 which are unacceptable in terms of animal welfare.

4.2. There have also been many failures among crops that have been commercialized and widely planted. 22 The Flavr Savr tomato was a commercial disaster and has disappeared. Monsanto's bt-cotton failed to perform in the field in both US and Australia in 1996, and suffered excessive damages from bt-resistant pests. Monsanto's 1997 Roundup resistant cotton crops fared no better. The cotton balls drop off when sprayed with Roundup and farmers in seven states in the US have sought compensation for losses. The transgenic "Innovator" herbicide tolerant canola failed to perform consistently in Canada. This has led the Saskachewan Canola Growers Association to call for an official seed vigor test.

4.3. There is widespread instability of transgenic lines, they generally do not breed true. 23 One of the main problems is gene silencing - cellular processes that prevent foreign genes from being expressed. 24 The instability of transgenic lines are inherent to the hit or miss technology, untried technology 25 which may ruin our agricultural base and severely compromise world food security.

5. Unexpected and unintended effects will also arise from interactions between foreign genes and genes of the host organism.

No gene functions in isolation. Among the unintended effects relevant to food safety are new toxins and allergens, or changes in concentrations of existing toxins and allergens.

5.1. In 1989, a genetically engineered batch of tryptophan killed 37 and made 1500 ill, some seriously to this day, the suspected culprit was a trace contaminant which may have arisen from the genetic engineering. 26

5.2. A Brazil nut allergen was identified in soya bean genetically engineered with a brazil nut gene. 27

5.3. Soya beans are known to have at least 16 proteins that can cause allergic reactions, which differ for different ethnic groups. A major allergen, trypsin-inhibitor which also has antinutritional effects, was found to be 26.7% higher in Monsanto's transgenic soya beans approved for market on the basis of "substantial equivalence", 28 and hence safe for human consumption. 29 The same transgenic soya reduced growth rate of male rats and increased milk fat in cows. 30 It is also suspected that the transgenic soya may have higher levels of phytoestrogens linked to reproductive abnormalities in mice, rats and ewes as well as humans. 31 Women with oestrogen-induced breast cancer, pregnant women and children may be particularly susceptible to phytoestrogens. 32

5.4. Serious doubts have been raised over the safety of transgenic foods by recent revelations on the results of animal feeding experiments. Potatoes engineered with snowdrop lectin fed to rats caused highly significant reduction in both dry and wet weights of many essential organs: intestine, liver, spleen, thymus, pancreas and brain. In addition, it resulted in impairment of immunological responsiveness and signs suggestive of viral infection. 33 The two transgenic lines were substantially different from each other and from the unengineered (unmodified) parent with respect to potato-lectin content, protease inhibitor, gross composition and amino acid content, yet the official audit concludes that they were "substantially equivalent".

6. Hazards arise from the uncontrollable spread of transgenes and antibiotic resistance marker genes.

Genetic pollution, as opposed to chemical pollution cannot be recalled. Genes, once released, have the potential to multiply and recombine out of control.

6.1. Transgenes and marker genes have spread to wild relatives by cross-pollination, creating superweeds.

This has occurred in oilseed rape 34 and sugar beet, 35 creating potential superweeds. Spread of genes by cross-pollination is to be expected, whether the plants are transgenic or not. However, a recent report suggests that transgenes may be up to 30 times more likely to escape than the plant's own genes. 36 This raises the question as to whether other mechanisms for the spread of the transgenes (and marker genes) are present in transgenic plants, the most obvious being horizontal gene transfer to unrelated species.

6.2. Transgenes and marker genes may also spread by horizontal gene transfer.

The same cellular mechanisms that enable the artificial vector carrying the foreign genes to insert into the genome can also mobilize the vector to jump out again to reinsert at another site or to infect other cells. For example, the enzyme, integrase, which catalyzes the integration of viral DNA into the host genome, also functions as a disintegrase catalyzing the reverse reaction. These integrases belong to a superfamily of similar enzymes present in all genomes from viruses and bacteria to higher organisms. 37

6.2.1 Secondary horizontal tranfer of transgenes and antibiotic resistant marker genes from genetically engineered crop plants into soil bacteria and fungi have been documented in the laboratory. 38 Despite the misleading title in one of the publications, 39 a high "optimal" gene transfer frequency of 6.2 x 10-2 was found in the laboratory, from which the authors "calculated" a frequency of 2.0 x 10-17 under extrapolated "natural conditions". The natural conditions, are of course, largely unknown.

6.2.2 Plants engineered with genes from viruses to resist virus attack actually showed increased propensity to generate new, often super-infectious viruses by horizontal gene transfer and recombination with infecting viruses. 40

6.2.3 A genetic parasite belonging to yeast, a group I intron, was found to have jumped into many unrelated species of higher plants recently. 41 Until 1995, this parasite was thought to be largely confined to yeast and only one genus of higher plants out of the 25 surveyed had the parasite. But in a new survey of species from 335 genera of higher plants, 48 were found to have the parasite. These 48 genera were in five different families: Asterids, Rosids, Monocots, Piperales, and Magnoliales. Sequence analyses indicate that the same group I intron is present in all the higher plants and that almost all of them represent independent horizontal gene transfer events. The researchers themselves raise serious concerns about releasing transgenic crops into the environment, given that horizontal gene transfer is now found to be so widespread.

6.2.4. Thus, genetically engineered crops, many of which still carry antibiotic resistant marker genes may spread these genes to pathogenic bacteria in the environment, as there is now evidence that DNA released from dead and live cells are not readily broken down, but are rapidly adsorbed onto clay, sand and humic acid particles where they retain the ability to infect (transform) other organisms. They may also contribute to generating new viral pathogens. This is particularly relevant in the light of the current world health crisis in drug and antibiotic resistant infectious diseases, and evidence indicating that horizontal gene transfer has been responsible for spreading drug and antibiotic resistance genes as well as creating new pathogens. 42

6.2.5. There is also evidence that DNA is not broken down rapidly in the gut as previously supposed. Thus, transgenes and antibiotic resistance marker genes may spread to bacteria in the gut. 43 New research from the Netherlands show that antibiotic resistant marker genes from genetically engineered bacteria can be transferred to indigenous bacteria at a substantial frequency of 10-7 in an artificial gut. 44

6.2.6. Viral DNA fed to mice has been found to resist digestion in the gut. Large fragments passed into the bloodstream and into white blood cells, spleen and liver cells. In some instances, the viral DNA may integrate into the mouse cell genome. 45 Viral DNA is now known to be more infectious than the intact virus, which has a protein coat wrapped around the DNA. For example, intact human polyoma virus injected into rabbits had no effect, whereas, injection of the naked viral DNA gave a full-blown infection. 46 Many kinds of artificially constructed vectors are found to infect mammalian cells. 47 Thus, the foreign DNA introduced by artificial vectors into genetically engineered plants and animals may constitute a health hazard by itself. As mentioned above, integration of foreign DNA into cells are well-known to have many adverse effects including cancer.

7. Existing scientific evidence indicates that genetic engineering agriculture is an dangerous diversion.

Genetic engineering agriculture not only obstructs the implementation of real solutions to the problems of food security for all, but also poses unprecedented risks to health and biodiversity. Far from feeding the world, it will intensify corporate control on food production and distribution which created poverty and hunger in the first place. It will also reinforce existing social structures and intensive agricultural practices that have led to widespread environmental destruction and falling yields since the 1980s. 48

Endnotes:

1. See Reiss, M.J. and Straughan, R. (1996). Improving Nature? The Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

2. See Ho, M.W., Meyer, H. and Cummins, J. (1998). The biotechnology bubble. The Ecologist 28(3), 146-153, and references therein.

3. Hilbeck, A., Baumgartner, M., Fried, P.M. and Bigler, F. (1997). Effects of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis-corn-fed prey on mortality and development time of immature Chrysoperla carnea (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). Environmental Entomology

4. Crecchio, C. and Stotzky, G. (1998). Insecticidal activity and biodegradation of the toxin from Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki bound to humic acids from soil," Soil Biology and Biochemistry 30, 463-70, and references therein.

5. See Union of Concerned Scientists Newsletter Fall-Winter, 31 Jan. 1999; also, Griffiths, M. (1998). Nature fights back as technology tries to outsmart it. Farming News, October 23, 1998.

6. Birch, A.N.E., Geoghegan, I.I., Majerus, M.E.N., Hackett, C. and Allen, J. (1997). Interaction between plant resistance genes, pest aphid-population and beneficial aphid predators. Soft Fruit and Pernial Crops. October, 68-79.

7. Cox, C. (1995). Glyphosate, Part 2: Human exposure and ecological effects. Journal of Pesticide Reform 15 (4).

8. Howard, V. (1998). Synergistic effects of chemical mixtures. Can we rely on traditional toxicology: The Ecologist 27(4) 193-5.

9. FAO/WHO (1986) Pesticide residues in food. Evaluations Part I and Part II, Rome 29.09 - 8. 10, 1985; Ohnesorge, F.K. (1994). Toxikologische Aspekte. In Nutzpflanzen mit k|nstlicher Herbizidresistenz: Verbessert sich die R|ckstandssituation? Verfahren zurTechnikfolgenabschatzung des Anbaus von Kulturpflanzen mit gentechnisch erzeugter Herbizidresistenz. van den Daele W. P|hler A, Sukopp H (Hrsg.) WZB Berlin.

10. Kale, P.G., Petty, B.T. Jr., Walker, S., Ford, J.B., Dehkordi, N., Tarasia, S., Tasie, B.O., Kale, R. and Sohni, Y.R. (1995). Mutagenicity testing of nine herbicides and pesticides currently used in agriculture. Environ Mol Mutagen 25, 148-53

11. See Greenpeace Report, 1998, and references therein.

12. Roberts, F., Roberts, C.W., Johson, J.J., Kyle, D.E., Drell, T., Coggins, J.R., Coombs, G.H., Milhous, W.K., Tzipori, S., Ferguson, D.J.P., Chakrabarti, D. and McLeod, R. (1998). Evidence for the shikimate pathway in apicomplexan parasites. Nature 393, 801-5.

13. See "Disappointing Biotech Crops" .

14. New Scientist, 6 July, 1996.

15. See Dover, G.A. and Flavell, R.B. (1982). Genome Evolution, Academic Press; also Ho, M.W. 1998, 1999. Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare? The Brave New World of Bad Science and Big Busness, Gateways Books and Third World Network, Bath and Penang.

16. See Pretty, J. (1995). Regenerating Agriculture: Policies and Practice for Sustainability and Self-Reliance, Earthscan, London; also Ho (1998,1999), note 11.

17. van der Heijden, M.G.A., Klironomos, J.N., Ursic, M., Moutoglis, P., Streitwolf-Engel, R., Boller, T., Wiemken, A. and Sanders I.R. (1998). Mycorrhizal fungal diversity determines plant variability and productiviy. Nature 396, 69-72.

18. van der Heijden, et al, 1998, p.71. (note 14).

19. Walden, R., Hayashi, H. and Schell, J. (1991). T-DNA as a gene tag. The Plant Journal 1, 281-288; Wahl, G.M., de Saint Vincent, B.R. & DeRose, M.L. (1984). Effect of chromosomal position on amplification of transfected genes in animal cells. Nature 307: 516-520; see also entries in Kendrew, J., ed. (1995). The Encyclopedia of Molecular Biology, Blackwell Science, Oxford; See also note 1.

20. Recently reviewed by Doerfler, W., Schubbert, R., Heller, H., Kdmmer, C., Hilger-Eversheim, D., Knoblauch, M. and Remus, R. (1997). Integration of foreign DNA and its consequences in mammalian systems. Tibtech 15, 297-301.

21. See Ho et al, 1998 (note 2) and references therein.

22. See Ho et al, 1998 (note 2) and references therein.

23. See Ho, M.W. and Steinbrecher, R. (1998). Fatal Flaws in Food Safety Assessment: Critique of The Joint FAO/WHO Biotechnology and Food Safety Report, Environmental and Nutritional Interactions 2, 51-84; and references therein.

24. Finnegan H. & McELroy (1994). Transgene inactivation plants fight back! Bio/Techology 12: 883-888.

25. See Ho et al, 1998 (note 2).

26. Mayeno, A.N. and Gleich, G.J. (1994). Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome and tryptophan production: a cautionary tale. Tibtech 12, 346-352.

27. Nordlee, J.A., Taylor, S.L., Townsend, JA., Thomas, L.A. & Bush, R.K. (1996). Identification of a brazil-nut allergen in transgenic soybeans. The New England Journal of Medicine March 14, 688-728.

28. Padgette, S.R., Taylor, N.B., Nida, D.L., Bailey, M.R., MacDonald, J., Holden, L.R., and Fuchs R.L. (1996). The composition of glyphosate-tolerant soybean seeds is equivalent to that of conventional soybeans. Journal of Nutrition 126, 702-16.

29. See Ho, M.W. and Steinbrecher, R. (1998). Fatal Flaws in Food Safety Assessment: Critique of The Joint FAO/WHO Biotechnology and Food Safety Report, Environmental and Nutritional Interactions 2, 51-84.

30. Hammond, B.G., Vicini, J.L. Hartnell, G.F., Naylor, M.W., Knight, C.D., Robinson, E.H., Fuchs, R.L. and Padgette, S.R. (1996). The feeding value of soybeans fed to rats, chickens, catfish and dairy cattle is not altered by genetic incorporation of glyphosate tolerance. Journal of Nutrition 1126(3) 717-26.

31. See Oekoinstitut Freiburg: Reply to the Statement made by the Bundesministerium fur Gesundheit (Ministry of Health of the German Federal Republic) on 5 December 1996, in respect of the importation of genetically engineered glyphosate-tolerant soybeans from the company Monsanto, 1997.

32. Dibb, S. (1995). Swimming in a sea of oestrogens - chemical hormone disrupter. The Ecologist 25, 27-31.

33. Leake, C. and Fraser, L. (1999). Scientst in Frankenstein food alert is proved right. UK Mail on Sunday, 31 Jan.; Goodwin, B.C. (1999). Report on SOAEFD Flesible Fund Project RO818, Jan. 23, 1999.

34. See Ho, M.W. and Tappeser, B. (1997). Potential contributions of horizontal gene transfer to the transboundary movement of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. Proceedings of Workshop on Transboundary Movement of Living Modified Organisms resulting from Modern biotechnology: Issues and Opportunities for Policy-makers (K.J. Mulongoy, ed.), pp. 171-193, International Academy of the Environment, Geneva.

35. Brookes, M. (1998). Running wild, New Scientist 31 October.

36. Bergelson, J., Purrington,c.B. and Wichmann, G. (1998). Promiscuity in transgenic plants. Nature 395, 25.

37. Asante-Appiah E. and Skalka, A.M. (1997). Molecular mechanisms in retrovirus DNA integration. Antiviral Research 36, 139-56.

38. Hoffman, T., Golz, C. & Schieder, O. (1994). Foreign DNA sequences are received by a wild-type strain of Aspergillus niger after co-culture with transgenic higher plants. Current Genetics 27: 70-76; Schluter, K., Futterer, J. & Potrykus, I. (1995). Horizontal gene-transfer from a transgenic potato line to a bacterial pathogen (Erwinia-chrysanthem) occurs, if at all, at an extremely low-frequency. Bio/Techology 13: 1094-1098; Gebhard, F. and Smalla, K. (1998). Transformation of Acinetobacter sp. strain BD413 by transgenic sugar beet DNA. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 64, 1550-4.

39. Schlutter et al, 1995 (see note 38).

40. Vaden V.S. and Melcher, U. (1990). Recombination sites in cauliflower mosaic virus DNAs: implications for mechanisms of recombination. Virology 177, 717-26; Lommel, S.A. and Xiong, Z. (1991). Recombination of a functional red clover necrotic mosaic virus by recombination rescue of the cell-to-cell movement gene expressed in a transgenic plant. J. Cell Biochem. 15A, 151; Greene, A.E. and Allison, R.F. (1994). Recombination between viral RNA and transgenic plant transcripts. Science 263, 1423-5; Wintermantel, W.M. and Schoelz, J.E. (1996). Isolation of recombinant viruses between cauliflower mosaic virus and a viral gene in transgenic plants under conditions of moderate selection pressure. Virology 223, 156-64.

41. Cho, Y., Qiu, Y.-L., Kuhlman, P. and Palmer, J.D. (1998). Explosive invasion of plant mitochondria by a group I intron. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95, 14244-9; Gray, M.W. (1998). Mass migration of a group I intron: Promiscuity on a grand scale. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95, 14003-5.

42. See Ho, M.W., Traavik, T., Olsvik, R., Tappeser, B., Howard, V., von Weizsacker, C. and McGavin, G. (1998). Gene Technology and Gene Ecology of Infectious Diseases. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 10, 33-59.

43. See Ho et al, 1998 (note 42) and refs therein.

44. MacKenzie, D. (1999). Gut reaction. New Scientist 30 Jan., p.4.

45. Schubbert, R., Lettmann, C. & Doerfler, W. (1994). Ingested foreign (phage M13) DNA survives transiently in the gastrointestinal tract and enters the bloodstream of mice. Mol. Gen. Genet. 242: 495-504; Schubbert, R., Renz, D., Schmitz, B. and Doerfler, W. (1997). Foreign (M13) DNA ingested by mice reaches peripheral leukocytes, spleen and liver via the intestinal wall mucosa and can be covalently linked to mouse DNA. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94, 961-6.

46. See Traavik, T. (1995). Too Early May Be Too Late. Ecological Risks Associated with the Use of Naked DNA as a Biological Tool for Research, Production and Therapy (Norwegian), Report for the Directorate for Nature Research Tungasletta 2, 7005 Trondheim. English translation, 1999; Ho et al, 1998 (see note 41); also Ho, 1999 Chapter 10 (see note 17).

47. See Ho et al, 1998 (see note 42); also Ho, 1999 Chapter 10 (see note 11).

48. See Brown, L. R. (1998). Struggling to raise cropland productivity. In State of the World 1998 (L.R. Brown, C. Flavin and H. French, eds.) pp. 79-95, Worldwatch Institute Report, Earthscan Publications, London; Ho, 1999, (note 11), Chapter 9; GeneWatch (1998). Genetically Engineered Food: The Case for a Moratorium.

Scientists involved in the launch of the Statement:

  1. Prof. Arpad Pusztai, Biochemical Immunologist, formerly Rowett Institute, UK
  2. Dr. Susan Bardocz, Geneticist, Rowett Institute, UK
  3. Prof. Joe Cummins, Geneticist, University of Western Ontario, Canada
  4. Prof. Martha Crouch, Biologist, Indiana University, USA
  5. Prof. Terje Traavik, Virologist, University of Tromso, Norway
  6. Prof. Brian Goodwin, Biologist, Schumacher College, UK
  7. Prof. Martha R. Herbert, Pediatric Neurology, Massachusetts Gen. Hospital, USA
  8. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, Geneticist and Biophysicist, Open University, UK
  9. Dr. Vyvyan Howard, Toxipathologist, Liverpool University, UK
  10. Dr. Vandana Shiva, Research Institute for Science and Ecology, India
  11. Prof. Peter Saunders, Biomathematician, King's College, London, UK
  12. Dr. Christine von Weisaeker, Ecoropa, Germany
  13. Dr. Tewolde Egziabher, Agronomist, Environmental Protection Authority, Ethiopia
  14. Prof. Phil Bereano, Engineering, University of Washington, USA

Contact: Mae-Wan Ho/Angela Ryan,
Institute of Science in Society
Tel/Fax: 44-181-441-6480    E-mail: i-sis@Dircon.co.uk

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


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

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