Genetically
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14 May 99

Table of Contents

Clone Defects Point to Need for 2 Genetic Parents
Corn Refuge Spreads Dominant Bt Mutants
NZ: Domestic Organic Market Taking Off
Monsanto Now Wants To Control Water
Irradiation gaining acceptance
Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp: Issue #1 May 99
Water: Monsanto Moves In By 2008
Cotton: Monsanto Stake In $150 Million Cotton Deal In Zimbabwe Unclear
Rice: Preliminary Agreement For Rice Bran Stabilisation In India
Maize: Unauthorised Monsanto GE Maize Discovered in Conventional Maize Seed
Coffee: GE Coffee a Decade Away, Says Monsanto Specialty Crops Division
Terminator Technology: Monsanto Vows to Delay Commercialisation
Terminator 1998's Most Under-reported News
BST: New Zealand: Action Pledged if rBST is Approved
EU Insistence on Hormone-treated Beef Implicates Monsanto BST
Forestry: Monsanto Enters $60 Million GE Forestry Deal
Finance: Making Ends Meet
Market Targeting - Joint Venture
DNA Detection Technology Agreement
Monsanto Admits Cross-pollination and Herbicide and Insecticide Resistance
Canada: Monsanto Warns European Concerns Could Transfer To Canada
Monsanto Investigators Accused Of Trespassing
Thailand Monsanto Launches Micro-credit Partnership Targeting Thai Rice Farmers
New Zealand Monsanto Ranked Worst Transnational Corporation In New Zealand
Monsanto Files Seven Crop Applications for Sale in Australasia
EU Cancels GE Canola Order
UK: Genetix Snowball Win Full Trial and Reduced Injunction

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Date: 10 May 1999 07:29:13 -0500
From: Colleen Robison-Spencer crobison@mnsinc.com

Clone Defects Point to Need for 2 Genetic Parents

By Rick Weiss, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, May 10, 1999; Page A1

Picture

Netty and Ditto, born at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, were made by splitting two embryos in half and are not genetically identical. (Oregon Regional Primate Research) [Note: Picture from the website, not in the newspaper edition.]

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Tanja Dominko focuses her microscope on a glistening monkey egg recently retrieved from a female Rhesus's ripened ovary.

Nudging a high-tech joystick, she directs a hair-thin glass needle toward the silvery orb -- touching, dimpling and then gently piercing its outer coat.

"We're in," says Dominko, as she injects a tiny payload of monkey DNA to replace the egg's own genes, already removed. She backs the needle out of the egg, leaving the new genes in their yolky home to direct the growth of a monkey that will be biologically identical to the one that donated the DNA.

Dominko is part of a team at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center n the only facility in the United States, and perhaps the world, trying to clone a monkey. If the researchers succeed, they will have produced the first genetic replicas of these close human relatives for medical research.

But if today's efforts go as others have, this newly formed cell will become two cells, then four, then perhaps eight, and then die.

Cloning, it turns out, is a serious health risk -- usually resulting in death for the clones themselves and sometimes even killing mothers pregnant with those clones. Moreover, as cloners expand their efforts to a growing variety of animals, including cows, goats, sheep and mice, it's becoming clear that the problem is not simply one of beginner's bad luck.

"There are a hell of a lot of fetal and neonatal deaths along the way," said Gerald Schatten, who heads the lab that Dominko works in. "There are placental abnormalities, abnormal swelling, three to four times the normal rate of umbilical cord problems, severe immunological deficiencies."

The problems offer a sobering perspective on how much remains unknown about how to make animals from a single parent. And they are forcing scientists to focus on one of the deepest questions in reproductive biology: Why is it that most animals need DNA from both a male and a female to create viable offspring?

At Beaverton, no cloned embryos have survived long enough to even count as a pregnancy. (Two "cloned" monkeys, Netty and Ditto, born here in 1997, were actually made by splitting two embryos in half and are not genetically identical to each other.)

In other large mammals such as sheep and cows, researchers are finding that about half of all clones that develop into fetuses harbor serious abnormalities, including peculiar defects in the heart, lungs and other organs -- many of them fatal before birth. Others have succumbed weeks or months after birth, dying suddenly and mysteriously after a seemingly healthy start.

The cause of these abnormalities and deaths remains a mystery, but there is growing evidence that at least some are linked to a disruption of a genetic mechanism known as "imprinting," which is nature's way of ensuring that every baby has two parents.

Imprinting was discovered about a decade ago but still is only vaguely understood. It works on the molecular level inside sperm and eggs, labeling certain genes with genetic "tags" that say, in essence, "this gene's from Mom" or "this gene's from Dad." The tags function as tiny molecular switches, deciding whether Mom's genes or Dad's genes will be active in various parts of a developing embryo.

For a newly fertilized egg to develop into a normal embryo, the proper combination of mother genes and father genes, "on" genes and "off" genes, must be present. "In short, you need information from both parents," said Judith Hall, chief of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia and an expert in imprinting.

Researchers remain uncertain about how or why the imprinting system evolved, but some suspect it is a way for parents to work out their competing interests on a molecular level. For example, a father has a strong interest in having his child grow as large as possible during gestation, to best ensure its survival after birth and the perpetuation of his genes. Accordingly, the imprinting pattern in sperm turns on genes that foster growth of a large placenta, to grab more nutrients from the mother.

The mother also has an interest in the child's survival, but her interest is tempered by the fact that an overly large placenta and fetus will rob her of crucial nutrients she needs. Thus key genes in the egg are imprinted to suppress placental growth. Ultimately, normal embryo development depends on the proper balance of these two parental forces.

Interestingly, many of the abnormalities that scientists are finding in cloned animals mimic those that have been seen in experiments in which imprinting has been disrupted -- problems that reflect an imbalance of power between the two parents. That makes sense, Hall said, because in a clone "you've got an embryo with only one parent."

In one recent study of 13 calves cloned by James Robl and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, for example, four fetuses aborted in the last trimester, one died at birth and two others died soon after. In most of those animals the lungs and other organs were grossly abnormal, including some whose hearts were enlarged and had very thin walls.

Most noticeable, the placentas were oversized and filled with excess fluid. They resembled the placentas Robl found in a previous batch of cloned calves, some of which had as much as 50 gallons of excess fluid stored within them.

An imprinted gene involved in placenta development could be at the center of all those problems, said Jonathan Hill, a researcher at Texas A&M University who studied the calves.

"It's very much at the hypothesis stage," Hill said. But if an imprinting problem caused the placenta to develop badly, as imprinting imbalances are known to do, that could in turn cause severe blood pressure problems in the developing fetus, he said. And abnormal blood pressure is a known cause of enlarged, thin-walled hearts and other abnormalities seen in the calves.

Like Hill, many scientists are coming to believe that imprinting will be a major hurdle to overcome if cloning is ever to become commercially practical. But imprinting problems probably do not account for all the problems in cloning. Autopsies on three of Robl's cows that succumbed mysteriously while pregnant with clones revealed livers that were filled with fat, suggesting that some kind of metabolic abnormality was induced by the clones they were carrying.

In another study of cloned animals, reported in last week's issue of the medical journal The Lancet, researchers in France describe a cloned calf that was apparently healthy at birth but then suffered a sudden decline in immune system cells after its seventh week of life. Within a few days, the calf was dead.

An autopsy found that the animal had an underdeveloped thymus gland -- an organ that helps the immune system mature. The researchers immediately recognized the syndrome: They'd seen a similarly shrunken thymus in a previously cloned calf -- one that died from a small infection that spread rapidly despite immediate treatment with antibiotics.

Some of the abnormalities seen in clones have also been seen in non-cloned animals that were created by standard in vitro fertilization techniques. That suggests to some researchers that at least some of the problems in clones may be caused by damage to embryos in the laboratory, and not by cloning itself. Some suspect, for instance, that the nutrients they feed to the embryos in the lab may lack a key ingredient, or that the electrical shock that starts a cloned embryo dividing in a dish may sometimes cause genetic damage.

Whatever is causing the problems, cloners say, there is still hope that the difficulties can be overcome. After all, several cloned animals -- including Dolly the sheep -- appear perfectly normal. That suggests that, if imprinting is the problem, at least some adult cells still bear the right combination of mom and pop imprints to support normal embryo growth. Perhaps Dolly and other healthy clones were grown from cells that just happened to have that right pattern. If so, perhaps scientists can learn how to identify those clonable cells.

If nutritional deficiencies or electrical damage turn out to be the culprit, then better laboratory techniques may help. Already, some researchers are turning to methods that do not require an electrical shock to get a clone growing.

Answers to these questions may be years away, though. So meanwhile, Schatten, Dominko and their colleagues push ahead, trying this and that, figuring they will at least learn some basic biology in the process. Their goal, they emphasize, is not to learn how to clone humans, but to produce an invaluable tool for testing AIDS vaccines and new drugs and studying human illnesses.

In fact, if there is one conviction that has grown out of the team's observations on cloning, it is that it is far too dangerous to consider cloning people.

You don't have to know why cloned animals so often die of bizarre abnormalities to know that the same thing would happen to people, said Schatten. "Whatever is happening to these animals," he said, "is relevant to humans."

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company


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Date: 10 May 1999 09:17:52 -0500
From: NinaLynn@aol.com

Corn Refuge Spreads Dominant Bt Mutants

Joe,

Thank you so much for this post. As a non-geneticist, it strikes me that this idea -- that BT resistance in insects is ~ a priori ~ recessive -- comes from the discredited theory that evolution happens as a result of random mutation, where the fittest in this lottery survive and the losers die off. Presumably, these random mutations are all recessive.

On the contrary, Mae-Wan Ho cites many studies demonstrating that genetic material responds to a changed environment, and that in fact the entire population of organisms creates alterations in the genome that are needed for survival. A familiar example is the development of antibiotic resistance in our own bodies. All of our cells change to be resistant to the antibiotic, and the change doesn't reverse itself once it happens. If this is true, then of course, resistance can easily be a dominant characteristic.

The whole biotechnology initiative looks to be based on an outmoded concept of the genome. See Mae-Wan Ho's work for substantiation.

Nina

In a message dated 5/6/1999 9:22:41 PM Eastern Daylight Time, jcummins@julian.uwo.ca writes:

May 6, 1999
Prof. Joe Cummins    e-mail: jcummins@julian.uwo.ca

New study shows that the refuge strategy for Bt resistance hastens spread of insects resistant to corn borer!

Millions of acres of corn bearing genes for Bt toxins that poisons corn borer insects have been planted in the United States and Canada. This year Canada implemented requirements and the US recommends planting blocks of corn without the Bt resistant corn to provide a irefugei where wild type corn borer insects will thrive. The theory is that mutations will take place in the insects making them tolerant of the Bt toxin. It is assumed that all resistance will be recessive so that when the mutant mates with the conveniently available wild borers the off-springs will all be sensitive to toxin and die when feeding on the genetically engineered Bt corn.

However, if some dominant Bt mutants appear among the Bt tolerant insects those mutants will spread their genes by mating in the refuge and their off-springs will thrive on the genetically engineered Bt corn. The appearance of dominant borer mutants would create a disastrously rapid spread of borer resistant mutants because the refuge would provide a rich breeding ground for the resistant mutants (dominant mutants appearing in fields with out a refuge would have a long search for borers to mate with).

This weeks Science (May 7,1999:965-967) Inheritance of resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis toxin (Dipel ES) in the European Corn Borer Haung,F.,Buschman,L.,Higgins,R. and McGaugen,W. report shows that dominant mutants conferring resistance to Bt toxin can be recovered from Corn Borers exposed to the toxin. Such mutants would spread like wildfire through corn fields with refuge plots because over half the off-springs of mating between mutant and wild type insects would be resistant to Bt toxin. The refuge would provide a rich breeding ground for spread of the dominant mutants.

The reported finding of dominant Corn Borer mutants should be enough to call a moratorium on the use of Bt corn. Furthermore, the required use of the dangerous refuge concept has often been promoted as a concession to environmental critics of genetic engineering. Even though those first promoting refuge were rabid biotechnology advocates the approach was taken up by environmental critics who seem unaware of the potential disaster associated with the appearance of dominant Bt mutants. My repeated warning about the potential danger fell on deaf ears.

Bureaucrats such as those in Biotechnology Canada are highly paid but not strong in genetics or for that matter in most substantial scientific matters. They are very slow to act to reverse a poor policy and quick to place blame when policy fails. My expectation is that if the dominant mutants spread rapidly promoted by refuge the bureaucrats will place blame on environmental critics and use that blame to promote even more destructive biotechnology. I hope that some others will recognize that dominant Bt mutants spell disaster and urge moratorium on the spread Bt crops until the problem of resistance can be dealt with in a scientific way, on recognizing the reality of dominant mutations.


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Date: 10 May 1999 20:43:47 -0500
From: Sprinkraft@aol.com

NZ: Domestic Organic Market Taking Off

by Tracy Miles, Organic Pathways
http://www.organicpathways.co.nz/business/story2.html

Sections:
New Zealand domestic market
Export Led
Links

New Zealand domestic market

The New Zealand domestic market for organic food has now reached critical mass, said Otago University researcher Dr Hugh Campbell. "Organic suppliers have a fairly good future at the moment," Dr Campbell said.

A number of critical mass thresholds have been passed in the last two or three years, he said. Reaching critical mass gives growers the confidence to fully commit themselves to organic production, whereas they may have limited the size of their operation for economic reasons in the past.

Supply has always been a problem on the domestic market, as has demand. Organic production is also relatively inelastic. A shortage in onions one year is not corrected until the following yearis crop is harvested. "There is a lot more organic produce coming on next year because of the food scares happening at the moment."

The spectre of genetically modified food has resulted in the first moment at which New Zealand consumers en masse have had to confront the fact that their food was not clean and green, he said.

Other food scares, such as bovine growth hormones, antibiotics in meat, pest residues and mad cow disease have all combined with GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) to increase the visibility of organic food. After a television documentary on chicken farming, retailers reported a notable rise i Research indicates that even when fears settle down, people will continue to buy organic food, Dr Campbell said. The more they know, the less people want to buy food they think will harm them, and the average consumer appears to becoming more educated.

Export Led

The domestic market has also grown on the back of the export market which has taken off in recent years, as growers find other crops to grow alongside their export crops and as fruit or vegetables failing export standards for visual appeal, for instance, end up on New Zealand shelves, much of it As well, exporting growers have found a new security to experiment. Exporting success has also raised the profile of organic food among conventional consumers, with the involvement of homespun companies like Watties (now part of Heinz) giving it an air of normalcy. The local market is also being Elite Food

Ironically, the way a market dies is by becoming mainstream and being replaced by another elite product, Dr Campbell said. Most consumers of organic food eat it because it is special or unusual. However, niche products, if well managed, can maintain their market share. Dr Campbell said consumers

Links

"Organic Farming in New Zealand: An evaluation of the current and future prospects including an assessment of research needs" by Caroline Saunders, Jon Manhire, Hugh Campbell, and John Fairweather is a 1997 report commissioned by MAF. The aims of the study included determining the potential for Opinions expressed by contributors to this website do not necessarily reflect the views of Organic Pathways.

Site design by Garnet Publishing & Electric Sheep Web Co. Copyright © 1999.

Samira Wohlfart
Organic Products Exporters Group Inc. (OPEG)
PO Box 8640, Christchurch, New Zealand
Ph: +64 3 348-0979    Fax: +64 3 348-1867
Email: wohlfart@chch.agnz.co.nz    Website: http://www.organicsnewzealand.org.nz


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Date: 11 May 1999 11:10:02 -0500
From: "Campbell, Jon" Campbell@Rational.Com

This (the following article) is quite ironic, if not sadistic.

Of all the chemical companies, Monsanto is the company probably most responsible for the pollution of the world's water supplies.

  1. Monsanto was the sole manufacturer and/or licensor (in the case of non-US manufacture) of PCBs used for electrical transformers, electronic capacitors, and synthetic ("long-life") pump and hydraulic oil. More than 3 billion pounds of it were manufactured; it is estimated that about 1 percent of it has been released to the environment. The rest is waiting in electrical transformers and electronic equipment.

    To date, there is no serious program in any country to recapture it or prevent its likely release. Half-hearted efforts to clean up major PCB contamination disasters, such as in Pittsfield, MA, are hampered by electrical industry pressure. Incredibly resilient to biological breakdown, PCBs travel in gaseous form thousands of miles, enshrouding the globe, and contaminate every square millimeter of the earth. It bio-accumulates in insects, fish, and especially their predators. It is thought to be the primary reason for the precipitous decline in sperm count worldwide (50% in 30 years. Do the arithmetic and figure out what happens in 2030...), and the reason that some species of whales cannot increase their numbers despite protection from hunting.

  2. Monsanto was a major, huge manufacturer of similar chloro-aromatics, such as deadly, dioxin-contaminated pentachlorophenol (wood preservative) and, for a time, Agent Orange and, I am told, DDT as well.

How convenient and altruistic of the company to now provide us with non-contaminated clean water...

Jon

--------------------- Original Message ------------------------
From: T4shea@aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 1999 10:12 AM

(The writer, Vandana Shiva, is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, New Delhi.)

Monsanto Now Wants To Control Water

By Vandana Shiva , THE HINDU, Saturday, May 01, 1999

OVER THE past few years, Monsanto, a chemical firm, has positioned itself as an agricultural company through control over seed - the first link in the food chain. Monsanto now wants to control water, the very basis of life. In 1996, Monsanto bought the biotechnology assets of Agracetus, a subsidiary of W. R. Grace, for $150 million and Calgene, a California-based plant biotechnology company for $340 million.

In 1997, Monsanto acquired Holden seeds, the Brazilian seed company, Sementes Agrocerus and Asgrow. In 1998, it purchased Cargill's seed operations for $1.4 billion and bought Delta and Pine land for $1.82 billion and Dekalb for $2.3 billion. In India, Monsanto has bought MAHYCO, Maharashtra Hybrid Company, EID Parry and Rallis. Mr. Jack Kennedy of Monsanto has said, "we propose to penetrate the Indian agricultural sector in a big way. MAHYCO is a good vehicle."

According to Mr. Robert Farley of Monsanto, "what you are seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies, it's really a consolidation of the entire food chain. Since water is as central to food production as seed is, and without water life is not possible, Monsanto is now trying to establish its control over water. During 1999, Monsanto plans to launch a new water business, starting with India and Mexico since both these countries are facing water shortages."

Monsanto is seeing a new business opportunity because of the emerging water crisis and the funding available to make this vital resource available to people. As it states in its strategy paper, "first, we believe that discontinuities (either major policy changes or major trendline breaks in resource quality or quantity) are likely, particularly in the area of water and we will be well-positioned via these businesses to profit even more significantly when these discontinuities occur.

Second, we are exploring the potential of non-conventional financing (NGOs, World Bank, USDA, etc.) that may lower our investment or provide local country business-building resources." Thus, the crisis of pollution and depletion of water resources is viewed by Monsanto as a business opportunity. For Monsanto, "sustainable development" means the conversion of an ecological crisis into a market of scarce resources. "The business logic of sustainable development is that population growth and economic development will apply increasing pressure on natural resource markets.

These pressures and the world's desire to prevent the consequences of these pressures, if unabated, will create vast economic opportunity - when we look at the world through the lens of sustainability, we are in a position to see current and foresee impending-resource market trends and imbalances that create market needs. We have further focussed this lens on the resource market of water and land. These are the markets that are most relevant to us as a life sciences company committed to delivering food, health and hope to the world, and there are markets in which there are predictable ustainability challenges and therefore opportunities to create business value.

"Monsanto plans to earn revenues of $420 million and a net income of $63 million by 2008 from its water business in India and Mexico. By 2010, about 2.5 billion people in the world are projected to lack access to safe drinking water. At least 30 per cent of the population in China, India, Mexico and the U.S. is expected to face severe water stress. By 2025, the supply of water in India will be 700 cubic km per year, while the demand is expected to rise to 1,050 units.Control over this scarce and vital resource will, of course, be a source of guaranteed profits. As John Bastin of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development has said, "Water is the last infrastructure frontier for private investors."

Monsanto estimates that providing safe water is a several billion dollar market. It is growing at 25 to 30 per cent in rural communities and is estimated to rise to $300 million by 2000 in India and Mexico. This is the amount currently spent by NGOs for water evelopment projects and local government water supply schemes and Monsanto hopes to tap these public finances for providing water to rural communities and convert water supply into a market. The Indian Government spent over $1.2 billion between 1992 and 1997 for various water projects, while the World Bank spent $900 million.

Monsanto would like to divert this public money from public supply of water to establishing the company's water monopoly. Since in rural areas the poor cannot pay, in Monsanto's view capturing a piece of the value created for this segment will require the creation of a non-traditional mechanism targeted at building relationships with local government and NGOs as well as through mechanisms such as microcredit.Monsanto also plans to penetrate the Indian market for safe water by establishing a joint venture with Eureka Forbes/Tata, which controls 70 per cent of the UV Technologies. To enter the water business, Monsanto has acquired an equity stake in Water Health International (WHI) with an option to buy the rest of the business.

The joint venture with Tata/Eureka Forbes is supposed to provide market access and fabricate, distribute, service water systems; Monsanto will leverage their brand equity in the Indian market. The joint venture route has been chosen so that "Monsanto can achieve management control over local operations but not have legal consequences due to local issues." Another new business that Monsanto is starting in 1999 in Asia is aquaculture. It will build on the foundation of Monsanto's agricultural biotechnology and capabilities for fish feedand fish breeding.

By 2008, Monsanto expects to earn revenues of $1.6 billion and a net income of $266 million from its aquaculture business. While Monsanto's entry into aquaculture is through its sustainable development activity, industrial aquaculture has been established to be highly non-sustainable. The Supreme Court has banned industrial shrimp farming because of its catastrophic consequences. However, the Government, under pressure from the aquaculture industry, is attempting to change the laws to undo the court order. At the same time, attempts are being made by the World Bank to privatise water resources and establish trade in water rights. These trends will suit Monsanto well in establishing its water and aquaculture businesses.

The Bank has already offered to help. As the Monsanto strategy paper states:

"We are particularly enthusiastic about the potential of partnering with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank to joint venture projects in developing markets. The IFC is eager to work with Monsanto to commercialise sustainability opportunities and would bring both investment capital and on-the-ground capabilities to our efforts."

Monsanto's water and aquaculture businesses, like its seed business, aimed at controlling the vital resources necessary for survival, converting them into a market and using public finances to underwrite the investments. A more efficient conversion of public goods into private profit would be difficult to find. Water is, however, too basic for life and survival and the right to it is the right to life.

Privatisation and commodification of water are a threat to the right to life. India has had major movements to conserve and share water. The pani panchayat and the water conservation movement in Maharashtra and the Tarun Bharat Sangh in Alwar have regenerated and equitably shared water as a commons property. This is the only way everyone will have the right to water and nobody will have the right to abuse and overuse water. Water is a commons and must be managed as a commons. It cannot be controlled and sold by a life sciences corporation that peddles in death.

FALLS BROOK CENTRE
125 South Knowlesville Road, Knowlesville, New Brunswick, Canada E7L 1B1
Tel: 506 375 8143    Fax: 506 375 4221
email: fbcja@web.net    http://www.web.net/~fbcja


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Date: 11 May 1999 12:34:03 -0500
From: vrc@tiac.net

Irradiation gaining acceptance

By Bonnie Pfister, Express-News Business Writer, Saturday, May 8,1999
http://www.expressnews.com:80/pantheon/salife-ent/consumer/0901kds5.shtml

As an attorney for victims of food poisoning, Bill Marler is a busy man.

Robert McLeroy/Staff-Marler has represented plaintiffs of the 1993 Jack-in-the-Box E. coli bacteria outbreak that killed four people, as well as the 1996 Odwalla juice contamination. He currently has nearly 100 cases of foodborne illnesses in the works.

"Unfortunately, business is good," said the Seattle-based attorney.

Marler made news in March when he called for irradiation of fresh fruits and vegetables to eliminate contaminants that can sicken most adults and kill those with weak immune systems, as well as children and elderly people.

Although legally permissible, irradiation is little used because of consumer skepticism.

That could be changing.

Besides the food scares that make up Marler's caseload, incidents such as last summer's poisoning of 300 consumers of raw Galveston Bay oysters and the 1997 outbreak of hepatitis. A linked to frozen Mexican strawberries have raised consumer awareness. Diners finally may be ready to accept food that, like the Incredible Hulk, has been belted by gamma rays -- if it means it will be safer to eat.

"It's not the magic bullet, but it is a tool that can be used,"said Dr. Tom Sidwa with the Texas Department of Health's bureau of food and drug safety. The department last year gave its approval to the process for fighting foodborne bacteria.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have approved irradiation for poultry, and recently finished accepting comments on how to irradiate meat. Several Nebraska meat-packers say they will begin test-marketing irradiated ground beef next year.

Food irradiation involves passing low levels of radiation over food to kill potentially deadly food pathogens such as E. coli, salmonella and Listeria. The process was developed by U.S. government scientists after World War II, and long has been used to decontaminate medical equipment.

"Irradiation is the only technology available where you can reduce the risk of foodborne infection in a raw product (without cooking it)," Sidwa said.

The process does not make food radioactive, Sidwa said. Rather it is akin to what happens when you get a dental X-ray, or pass your pocketbook through a metal detector. Radiation has passed through it, but the object treated is not radioactive.

Still, the public was wary of irradiation when the process was put forth a decade ago. In the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion that sent a wave of radiation across Russia and Europe, few Americans were excited about the technology.

Federal law requires that any irradiated product bear a circular symbol with a plant in the center and the words "treated with/by irradiation."

Margaret Wittenberg, vice president of government and public affairs of Austin-based Whole Foods market, remembers consumers being "flabbergasted" by the notion of irradiation back then.

"Our customers really try to find out about their food. How it's treated, grown, prepared and manufactured is very important to them. Most of them want to minimize anything that's too overly hightech."

Wittenberg said she also feared that widespread irradiation use would give slaughterhouses and other food processors a license to be sloppy. Why take safety precautions in food preparation, if you can just nuke them away later?

Wittenberg praised the FDA's Hazardous Analysis and Critical Control Point system for raising the bar significantly at food-processing plants. The two-year-old process defines a series of checks and balances at every stage in which food could be contaminated.

"But it hasn't even been given a chance to work. We think it's better to start at the core than take a Band-Aid approach" such as irradiation, she said.

There's also concern about the use and transportation of radioactive materials involved in the process.

Still, some advocates say the FDA's approval of meat irradiation -- combined with the memory of deaths by food contamination -- could make this a ripe time for the technology.

"Irradiation (in the public perception) may finally start to turn the corner," said Brian Sansoni, spokesman for the Grocery Manufacturers of America, a trade association.

"It's a shame it takes these isolated incidents to highlight an effective tool which should have been in use by now," he said.

Most grocers do not carry irradiated goods, in response to customer apprehension about the process.

But optimism about changing public attitudes is growing, and could meld with economic development aims to bring food irradiation to reality.

Two companies have eyed the redeveloping Kelly AFB as a possible location for a food irradiation facility.

Officials with California-based SteriGenics, which operates medical equipment irradiators in El Paso, visited San Antonio in January, said Bill Daugherty, a transportation consultant involved in efforts to redevelop Kelly AFB into an inland port.

Start-up San Antonio Food Technologies Inc. is seeking investors to build a food irradiation facility in the Alamo City.

And Palo Alto Community College plans to develop a curriculum teaching the procedure at the college's agribusiness institute, said Tony Hinojosa. As a member of the school's advisory committee and a specialist in international agriculture with Texas A&M University, Hinojosa said it could be a useful job skill in the future.

"Kelly would be a great place for (an irradiation plant)," Hinojosa said.

These developments come as H-E-B Grocery Co. also looks to bring a new agribusiness to San Antonio. The grocer is trying to set up an export pre-processing station here for produce it trucks to Mexico.

At a meeting last month of the Free Trade Alliance's Mexico Group, agricultural law attorney Craig Stokes called for San Antonio business people to consider the wisdom of building an irradiation facility here. If the Alamo City doesn't do it, some other logistics and international trade rival with its eye south of the border might, he said.

"Given the capital cost, investors could only justify building a handful of plants," Stokes said. If one such plant is built elsewhere in Texas, it would be unlikely any investor would take a chance on a second such facility.

"San Antonio could miss a huge opportunity."


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl

Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp: Issue #1 May 99

The M O N S A N T O M O N I T O R

Rounding Up Monsanto&Co.
NEWS ROUNDUP

"Because Real Food,
Good Health and Hope
Cannot be Genetically Engineered"

Issue #1 May 99

CONTENTS
______________________________________________

PRODUCTS AND MARKETS
Water, Cotton, Rice, Maize, Coffee, Terminator Technology, rBST, Forestry

FINANCE
Monsanto making ends meet
Market targeting - Joint venture
DNA detection technology agreement
Rice Bran sterilization

ENVIRONMENT*HEALTH*SAFETY
Monsanto admits cross-pollination

COUNTRY NEWS
CANADA
Monsanto warns European concerns could transfer to Canada
Monsanto investigators accused of trespassing
THAILAND
Monsanto launches micro-credit partnership
NEW ZEALAND
Monsanto ranked amongst worst transnational corporations
Monsanto files 7 crop applications for sale in Australasia
EU
EU cancels canola order
UK
GenetiX Snowball win full trial and reduced injunction


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Water: Monsanto Moves In By 2008

Source: Vandana Shiva, The Hindu, May 1 1999

Monsanto expects revenues of $420 million and a net income of $63 million from its new commercial activity area: water. According to the company's Robert Farley, the move into the water business forms part of the company's strategy to consolidate through the entire food chain: "Since water is as central to food production as seed is, and without water life is not possible, Monsanto is now trying to establish its control over water."

To enter the water business, Monsanto has acquired an equity stake in Water Health International (WHI), with an option to buy the rest of the business. In a joint venture with Tata/Eureka Forbes, Monsanto is targeting market access to fabricate, distribute and service water systems. The company has opted for a joint venture strategy in order "to achieve management control over local operations but not have legal consequences due to local issues." The private sector arm of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has apparently stated its interest in Monsanto's activities.

By 2010, around 2.5 billion people worldwide are expected to lack access to safe drinking water, while at least 30% of the populations of China, Mexico and India are expected to face severe water stress.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Cotton: Monsanto Stake In $150 Million Cotton Deal In Zimbabwe Unclear

Source: Zimbabwe Independent, via Africa News Service

April 23: The Zimbabwe Government refused to endorse the proposed 51% Monsanto share of a $150 million GE cotton seed venture. The Government was advised by the Zimbabwe Cotton Company (Cottco, of which the government owns 25%) to reject the proposal for the controlling share of the new venture, New Donje Seed Company. Apparently, the government had hoped for a Cottco, Commercial Cotton Growers Association and Staple Trust control in the venture. In what seems to be an about- face, however, Cottco now seems poised to accept the share structure that would give Monsanto the upperhand.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Rice: Preliminary Agreement For Rice Bran Stabilisation In India

Source: RiceX Company Press Release, May 4 1999

Monsanto and RiceX have signed an agreement for a preliminary joint venture to determine the feasibility of commercialising rice bran stabilisation technology in India. The commercial programme would convert rice bran currently used for low-grade animal feed into a series of 'value-added food products for human consumption'.

Commented Charles F. Hough, Business Development Head of Monsanto's Nutrition and Consumer Sector: " We are keenly interested in expanding our activities in India. The RiceX technology could be a vehicle for the Monsanto Company to contribute significantly to the nutritional well-bring of the people of India".


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Maize: Unauthorised Monsanto GE Maize Discovered in Conventional Maize Seed

Source: Friends of the Earth Europe, Press Release May 4 1999

May 4: Friends of the Earth Germany announced that Pioneer Maize seed sold in Germany under the brand name Benicia was contaminated with GE maize seed not authorised for cultivation in the EU. Preliminary tests on three sacks of Pioneer's Benicia confirmed the presence of two varieties of Monsanto GE maize: Mon 810, approved in spring 1998 for cultivation, and Mon 809, which is not authorised for cultivation or import in the EU. The 809 variety includes insect and RoundUp herbicide resistance traits. A Novartis GE maize variety ("Bt 11") which is not authorised for cultivation in the EU was also discovered through the testing.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Coffee: GE Coffee a Decade Away, Says Monsanto Specialty Crops Division

Source: Reuters, May 2 1999

At a four-day Specialty Coffee Association of America AGM, Monsanto's James Zarndt stated that the company's interest in 'naturally' decaffeinated and insect resistant coffees are a decade away from approval, as a result of public uncertainty about genetic engineering. The company's commercial team leader of the specialty crops group noted that while there has been little research into genetically engineered coffee, the company was looking into possibilities. There are not at field trial stage yet, he claimed.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Terminator Technology: Monsanto Vows to Delay Commercialisation

Source: Washington Post, April 23 1999,and
http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto/terminator/default.htm,

April 19: Monsanto realizes its new policy statement on the Terminator, announcing that it will not commercialise Terminator gene protection "Until a thorough, independent examination of gene protection systems has been conducted and all points of view considered". The company has declared that the review of the Terminator should include environmental, economic and social considerations. It is not yet clear who will undertake the review. A UN Biodiversity Convention panel is currently conducting studies on the technology.

Monsanto has been consulting the World Bank, the refugee and disaster aid umbrella organisation, InterAction, the National Biodiversity Council of Mexico, Professor Swaminathan of India among others. The company has not stated any intent to withdraw the patent applications for the Terminator it has filed in 87 countries.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Terminator 1998's Most Under-reported News

Source: http://www.rafi.org

April 28: The Rural Advancement Foundation International was awarded California- based Project Underground prize for their article on the Terminator Technology and its impact on farmers and global food security. The award recognised the issue as 1998's most under-reported news story. RAFI discovered and launched the campaign against the Terminator in March 1998. Since then, they have identified a further 12 such technologies in the development pipeline.

Over 10 000 emails from 71 countries have been sent to the US Department of Agriculture and other US policy-makers calling for the abandonment of all 87 patent claims internationally.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

BST: New Zealand: Action Pledged if rBST is Approved

Source: Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific Press Release, May 1999.

Monsanto's application for market admission of rBST to the New Zealand market is currently being reviewed by the Animal Welfare Committee. Their report will be considered by the Animal Remedies Board June 4 1999. There is widespread concern that US pressure on NZ policy regarding the labelling of GE products could be applied to the government decision on the rBST admission. Already a number of environmental coalitions throughout Asia have addressed their concerns to the New Zealand government.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

EU Insistence on Hormone-treated Beef Implicates Monsanto BST

The European Union ban on US beef imports which begins June 15 1999 will introduce a further wall to the market for Monsanto's bovine growth hormone, itself the subject of a ban. The EU ban on Monsanto's Posilac (Bovine Growth Hormone), which is to be extended after expiry of the 1994 imposed ban in July of this year, does not cover the importation of beef and dairy products from cattle treated with the Monsanto product. The EU ban on so-called 'hormone-enhanced beef" will however extend to Posilac- treated cattle products.

On March 12, the EU Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare reported that rBST increased mastitis, foot problems and injection site reactions in treated dairy cows. The report of the Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures released March 15-16 identifies human health risks, including an increased relative risk of breast and prostate cancer, gut- associated cancers and the possibility of allergic reactions as a result of potential changes in milk protein composition. The EU ban on US beef has been a long-standing cause of strain on US/EU trade relations, and was the subject of a WTO Dispute initiated by the US.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Forestry: Monsanto Enters $60 Million GE Forestry Deal

Source: Joint Venture Company Press Release, April 6 1999;
The Bowditch Group Electronic AgBiotech Newsletter 170 April 6 1999

April 6: Monsanto and three major paper companies said they intend to spend $60 million over five years to form a joint venture involving the application of genetic engineering to industrial forestry. The companies, Fletcher Challenge Forests, International Paper, Monsanto Company and Westvaco Corp. said the joint venture will produce and market tree seedlings, focusing on the majority of those now planted by the forest industry. Among the genetic improvements aimed at by the joint venture are higher growth rates to allow more wood to be grown on less land and improved fiber quality to increase efficiency in paper.

The companies also said they intend to contract with Genesis Research and Development Corp. Ltd., an Auckland, New Zealand, GE research company, to provide forestry genomics research, which is the study of genes to identify desirable traits. Details of that transaction were not disclosed. A spokeswoman for Monsanto said the joint venture is expected to become commercial around 2005 to 2007. Monsanto plans for its RoundUp Ready Forestry products to be ready beyond 2002.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Finance: Making Ends Meet

Source: St. Louis Dispatch, May 4 1999

Monsanto announced it will sell off more assets to free up a total of $2 billion to maintain its independence. November 1998, one month after the collapse of merger discussions with American Home Products, the company announced a 60-day timetable to asset sales of $1 billion. No new timetable has been set.

Monsanto has apparently cut 1, 700 jobs in moves unrelated to the business divestments. It has not yet stated how many more jobs will be cut with further divestments. The sale of its lawn and garden division brought $300 million. The specialty chemicals unit is expected to bring $125 million. The Wellbridge health and fitness business brought under $15 million. Still up for sale: Stoneville Pedigree Seed Co. (cotton seed company) and Alginates - expected going price for the two: $400 million. The company has issued stock, debt and a hybrid security, raising more than $4.2 billion.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Market Targeting - Joint Venture

Source: Bowditch Group Electronic AgBiotech Newsletter 171, 9 April 1999

Molecular Applications Group (MAG) and Monsanto Company announced an agreement under which MAG will apply their proprietary technology to support Monsanto scientists in identifying, selecting, and prioritizing targets for agricultural and pharmaceutical applications. The project will utilize MAG's methods for associating target genes with genes that perform similar functions even when there is minimal sequence similarity. Monsanto will be the first company to receive access to this technology.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

DNA Detection Technology Agreement

Source: The Bowditch Group Electronic AgBiotech Newsletter April 15

Strategic Diagnostics Inc. announced it has entered into diagnostic test development and licensing agreements with Monsanto Company. In collaboration with Monsanto, SDI is developing test kits designed specifically for detecting the presence of genetically modified traits in crops that may have been used as food ingredients. (see also http://www.genetic-id.com)

Under the agreements, Monsanto is licensing the use of their proprietary technology to SDI for the manufacture and sale of these test kits to food processors, their suppliers and regulatory bodies responsible for overseeing the labeling of these products. SDI recently introduced the Soya Test Kit to detect the presence of Monsanto's Roundup Ready(R) herbicide-tolerant trait in soya food ingredients.

The development of a Maize Test Kit, which will detect Monsanto's YieldGard(R) insect-protected trait in corn- based food ingredients is underway. The latter test will be part of a multi-trait test kit that will detect all the Genetically Modified traits that have been approved in the European Union.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Monsanto Admits Cross-pollination and Herbicide and Insecticide Resistance

Source: Independent on Sunday, April 25 1999

April 25: The company's director of biotechnology communications admitted to the UK's Independent on Sunday that 'resistance' can develop. Monsanto has apparently stated its intent not to plant certain genetically modified crops where there are wild relatives. The UK government's wildlife advisor, English Nature, criticised the company for inconsistency in the light of its application for commercial cultivation of GM sugarbeet, that does have wild relatives there.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Canada: Monsanto Warns European Concerns Could Transfer To Canada

Source: Resource News International April 14 1999

Monsanto Canada Inc. President Ray Mowling warned the Canada Grains Council that public opposition in Europe threatens to contaminate Canadian perceptions of genetically engineered crops. Mowling listed as culprits unscientific media reports and personalised media attacks on the genetic engineering industry. He emphasised that confirmation of improved dietary benefits and safety by trusted sources such as academics, the government and health professionals is key to public acceptance.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Monsanto Investigators Accused Of Trespassing

Source: Washington Post, May 2 1999

May 2: Monsanto has been accused of trespassing in order to obtain samples of harvested seeds from Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser, currently contesting the company's charge that he illegally grew, harvested and planted RoundUp Ready Canola, in contravention of the property rights covering the variety. Monsanto allegedly hired private investigators to collect DNA samples from Schmeiser's fields in 1997. It also apparently surreptitiously obtained seeds from the local seed mill, where Schmeiser has his seeds cleaned. Monsanto questions whether the investigators actually crossed Schmeiser's property line, and claims that the evidence was not used to get its court order for the more extensive field trials conducted in 1998.

Schmeiser claims that wild pollination brought the Monsanto crops into his fields. The company claims that a total of 900 acres of Ready RoundUp Canola were planted in 1998, much more than could be expected by wind-born contamination.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Thailand Monsanto Launches Micro-credit Partnership Targeting Thai Rice Farmers

Source: Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific.
http://www.poptel.org.uk/panap

Monsanto, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Population and Community Development Association (PDA) and the Thai Department of Agriculture have launched a micro-credit scheme targeting NorthEast Thai rice farmers to adopt new cultivation technologies. The project, "Innovative Partnerships for Agricultural Changes in Technology" (INPACT) has come under fierce criticism from the Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific and Bothai, who fear that the programme will be used to introduce Monsanto's agrichemicals, and genetically engineered rice varieties, currently at the development phase.

Since the two organisations publicly denounced the scheme, the Philippines-based IRRI (whose gene-bank holds nearly all Asian rice cultures) has tried to distance itself, claiming that its involvement with Monsanto is indirect. Meanwhile, PDA (headed by a former Thai Minister of Industry) has apparently changed staff working on the project to avoid information leaks. There are rumours that Monsanto may pull out of the project given the rising level of public concern since the news was divulged.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

New Zealand Monsanto Ranked Worst Transnational Corporation In New Zealand

Source: Corso Press Release April 27 1999

April 27: In an award ceremony organised by Corso, GATT Watchdog and the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, Monsanto was singled out for its attempt to dominate global food production and its responsibility for the development of a number of genetically-engineered products that pose incalculable risk to the ecosystem and the food supply. Among the judges included the President of the New Zealand Trade Union Federation, Mayor of Dunedin City, the Director of the Maori Legal Service.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

Monsanto Files Seven Crop Applications for Sale in Australasia

Source: Reuters, Sydney. April 30 1999

Meeting the April 30 deadline of the Australia New Zealand Food Authority, Monsanto has filed seven applications for four different GE crops: disease and insect resistant potatoes, insect and herbicide resistance corn, herbicide resistant cotton and herbicide resistant sugarbeet. The deadline was set by the authorities for interim approval to genetically engineered crops, after which time, their sale could become illegal. By the end of March, Monsanto ReadyRoundup soya and Ingard cottonseed oil had received approval. Meanwhile Novartis has applied for approval of two GE maize varieties, and AgrEvo herbicide-resistant canola and maize.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

EU Cancels GE Canola Order

Source: The Evening Post (NZ) April 14 1999

The European Union has cancelled an order for GE canola that Monsanto was planning to produce in New Zealand for Zeneca Canada, that is allegedly struggling to meet the worldwide demand. The EU took its business to Australia in a move to ensure a GE-free canola supply, which the Canadian market can no longer guarantee. Monsanto intends to go ahead with the application for what will be the first commercial GE crop cultivation in New Zealand. It also plans commercial cultivation of a pesticide- resistant brassica variety destined for greenfeed for stock. Monsanto spokesman, Murray Willocks, confirmed that company's application for a 200 per cent increase in RoundUp herbicide residues in New Zealand.


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Date: 12 May 1999 05:38:17 -0500
From: biotech@aseed.antenna.nl
Subject: Monsanto Monitor News RoundUp, Issue #1 May 99

UK: Genetix Snowball Win Full Trial and Reduced Injunction

Source: Genetix Snowball, One World Centre
6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS UK. Tel: +44-161-834 0295.

April 20: After a two-day High Court hearing, Monsanto lost its application for permanent injunctions against six defendants from the Genetix Snowball that uprooted a Monsanto GM field trial in July 1998. Monsanto had sought an injunction that would extend to all recipients of the Genetix Snowball handbook, arguing that any reader is a potential 'conspirator'. The terms of the injunction forbid trespass on Monsanto premises, interference with Monsanto test field and attempting or conspiring with others to that end. The injunction further sought to place responsibility with any Snowball action taken by readers on the original five. The company also lost its application for a summary judgement. Monsanto had petitioned for a summary judgement on the basis that there was no conceivable justification for the five women to uproot its field trial. Monsanto was refused leave to appeal the decision. A full trial is expected within the next months.