25 May 99

Table of Contents

Germany: The UK spin
Australia, Europe Farmers want Diverse Gene Giants
GE Euphemisms and More-Accurate Alternative Power Words to Use: Controlling the Language
More GE Power Words to Use: Controlling the Language
US Federal Embryo Research Is Backed
Aspartame is Produced by GE Bacteria According to Leading Research Lab
Fraud: NOF (National Osteoporosis Foundation)
Transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae
NSF (National Science Friday) Scorecard: Giddings Outpoints Opposition in Radio Debate
New Non-GE soy powder, labeled as such

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Date: 22 May 1999 03:34:44 -0500
From: "Paul & Katrin" <>

Germany: The UK spin


Nestle are now under pressure in Germany following their announcement that they are withdrawing GM in the UK. In Germany they introduced a snack bar 'Butterfingers' as their main push on GM products and it was aimed at young people. So far it has been a flop and they are starting to remove it from shelves!!!! A spokesman has said 'We will react to what the consumers want. Butterfingers is our trial to test the market.' TEST OVER!!! 76% of youg people in Germany do not want GM food.

The largest frozen food company in Germany, Frosta, is following the lead of Iceland (UK company) and removing all GM ingrideants - they obviously saw the good increase in Iceland's profits!!!

And finally - once more well done to Friends of the Earth for uncovering the 'spin' behind yesterdays Government manouevors...

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Date: 22 May 1999 04:28:57 -0500
From: (jim mcnulty)

Australia, Europe Farmers want Diverse Gene Giants

By Michael Byrnes, Friday May 21, 5:08 am Eastern Time

LONGREACH, Australia, May 21 (Reuters) - Australian farm leaders and the head of Paris-based International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) have voiced concern about concentration of biotechnology ownership among a small number of world giants.

This concentration mean that farmers growing genetically modified crops could be held to ransom on the price of seed, farm leaders said at the annual council meeting of Australia's National Farmers Federation this week. We're watching very closely as to whether they (biotechnology companies) Xavier Martin, vice president of the New South Wales Farmers Association, told Reuters.

Australian farmers were now satisfied that biotechnology did not produce calves with 10 heads and three tails, he said.

But they were concerned at the direction some technology companies had taken with price premiums, he said. The jury is still out (on the biotechnology companies)...there's always a question mark on whether it's fair or he said.

Australian and European farm leaders broadly supported gene technology in food products at this week's annual conference. IFAP leader Gerard Doornbos predicted an explosion in the worldwide production of biotechnology foods in coming years.

But concern about the ownership of biotechnology by a small number of big corporations was growing, he said.

The NFF called on the Australian government to make its planned Gene Technology Office a statutory authority, to better regulate gene technology.

This reflected Australian farmers' concern over the potential for intellectual property to be owned from planting to the retail shelf, NFF president Ian Donges said.

The Australia farm sector has already had one confrontation with a multinational chemicals company.

In 1997 U.S. chemical giant Monsanto Co (NYSE:MTC - news) introduced to Australia genetically modified Ingard cottonseed, which produces a cotton plant which internally generates its own pesticide.

But Monsanto's price for Ingard cottonseed generated such serious rumblings among Australian growers that the U.S. company was forced to cut its price to A$185 a hectare from the initial price of A$210. said Peter Corish, chairman of the main cotton industry body Cotton Australia. Biotechnology was very important to the cotton industry's future and Australia should try to ensure that technology was kept in as wide a range of hands as possible, he said.

IFAP leader Doornbos sees biotechnology playing a major role in satisfying a projected doubling of worldwide food demand over the next 25 years. (But) if one multinational buys a lot of companies that have the latest developments in biotechnology...(it is) he said.

The picture was also increasingly clouded by consumer emotionalism, with the British press referring to genetically he said.

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Date: 22 May 1999 09:33:27 -0500
From: (Peter M. Ligotti)

GE Euphemisms and More-Accurate Alternative Power Words to Use: Controlling the Language

The genetic engineering industry has done everything possible to confuse people by using the words "Biotech" and "Biotechnology" to include any type of experimentation with plants and crops.

This rice strain (article below) looks to be produced by conventional hybridization, which uses reproduction -- hence Nature is involved. That's not direct invasive genetic engineering. Hence this rice is ok.

Monsanto, Novartis, etc. know very well that the terms "Biotechnology" and "Biotech" can mean production of any biological product: drugs, food additives, food created through genetic engineering, AND food created through ok crossbreeding and hybridization. So, in an on-going effort to define themselves in a positive yet vague light, and in order to hide what's really going on, (GE of the food supply) THEY ALMOST ALWAYS USE THESE WORDS. So it seems we should never use these words. Make them use our words. Look how successful the "terminator" seed term was. At first, that was a term only used by activists. In time, even Monsanto ended up using it !! So this is very, very realistic.

And congratulations on the success of the term "Frankenstein food." I am suggesting an extension of those two great successes.

So please don't play into the hands of Monsanto, Novartis and the rest of the GE industry. Please don't use their words of choice when you mean Genetic Engineering or Genetically Engineered food.

Peter Michael Ligotti
Please use these words:Please avoid these words:
Genetic Engineers
GE Industry
Genetic Engineering IndustryBiotech Industry
Chemical IndustryBiotech Companies
Genetic Engineering/Chemical IndustryBiotech Multi-nationals
Genetic Engineering CompaniesBiotechnology
Genetic Engineering Multi-nationalsBiotechnologists
Frankenstein Food IndustryBiotech food scientists
Frankenfood IndustryFood scientists
Genetic engineering
Genetic manipulation
Genetically engineered food
Genetically manipulated food
Genetically tampered food
Mutated food
Lab-mutated food
Lab-created food
Test-tube created food
Frankenstein food
Food Technicians
Genetic Corruption


Philippines Institute Develops Blight Resistant Rice

Asia Pulse Manila, May 17

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has developed a new rice strain which is resistant to bacterial blight (BB). Dr. Swapan K. Datta, plant biotechnologist, supervised the development of BB-resistant genetically -modified rice with funding support from the German government's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ). Through conventional breeding, the dominant gene for resistance to BB from the wild species, Oryza longistaminata, was transferred to the cultivated variety IR24.

This gene was designated as Xa-21 and the line with Xa-21 as IRBB21. The Xa-21 was isolated from IRBB21 and was used to transform elite cultivars (cultivated varieties).

The elite cultivar IR72 was genetically engineered with Xa-21 and a stable line was selected based on molecular analysis and inoculation tests conducted under transgenic greenhouse conditions.

Dr. Datta said "this transgenic line of IR72 has been evaluated under field conditions at Wuhan, People's Republic of China in collaboration with Dr. Qifa Zhang of the National Key Laboratory of Huazhong Agricultural University. Fourth generation plants were challenged with three races of Xanthomonas oryzae, pv. oryzae.

Transgenic IR72 plants containing Xa-21 showed multiple race resistance to BB pathogens under field conditions. This study, Dr. Datta added, demonstrates IRRI's commitment to working partnerships with NARS under the Asian Rice Biotechnology Network program supported by BMZ funding."

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Date: 23 May 1999 18:05:21 -0500
From: (Marcus Williamson)

More GE Power Words to Use: Controlling the Language

I came across another piece of "newspeak" on the Monsanto website at :

The phrase is "Gene protection", used as a euphemism for the "Terminator" technology being developed by Delta and Pine Land Company (soon to be part of Monsanto).

I would therefore suggest the following additions to the vocabularly list :
Please use these words:Please avoid these words:
TerminatorGene Protection / Gene Control

Marcus Williamson

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Date: 23 May 1999 05:47:11 -0500
From: Colleen Robison-Spencer

US Federal Embryo Research Is Backed

By Rick Weiss, Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 23, 1999; Page A1

A presidentially appointed ethics panel has decided to recommend that the federal government begin funding some research on human embryos, saying the moral cost of destroying embryos in research is outweighed by the social good that could come from the work.

Citing recent evidence that some human embryo cells have the potential to grow into replacement tissues to treat a wide variety of chronic diseases, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission has concluded that it is essentially unfair to millions of patients for Congress to continue its broad, four-year-old funding ban on human embryo research.

Instead, federal rules should be written that ensure an appropriate measure of protection and respect for human embryos, according to a draft version of the report and interviews with commissioners and others. Those rules would allow federally financed researchers to conduct studies on leftover embryos from fertility clinics if the embryos were no longer wanted by the parents who made them.

"These are very difficult judgments to make, but it's a balancing act," said Harold T. Shapiro, chairman of the bioethics commission and president of Princeton University. "We have moral obligations to the future health and welfare of people, and we need to balance these with, at the very least, the symbolic moral obligation we have to the embryo."

The recommendations go further than those recently proposed by the National Institutes of Health. Those call for federally funded research on laboratory-grown human embryo cells, but not on human embryos themselves.

The more conservative NIH recommendations already have drawn fire from some members of Congress. Observers said the bioethics commission's report is likely to escalate the long-standing political tussle over the moral status of embryos and the wrenching national debate over abortion.

"I have a sense that this is going to be one of the liveliest debates on the Senate and the House floors this session," said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who last fall held a hearing on stem-cell research.

Contentious as the issue is, there are signs that public opinion may be moving toward support of at least limited embryo research.

"Patients and their families faced with life-threatening and chronically disabling diseases want science to move as quickly as possible," said Daniel Perry, executive director of the Alliance for Aging Research and chief of a new coalition of patient groups advocating research on human embryonic stem cells, the embryo-derived cells that have generated so much recent excitement.

The new group, Patients' Coalition for Urgent Research, or CURe, includes more than two dozen national organizations, such as the American Cancer Society and the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. At an inaugural event last week, the group released poll results indicating that 74 percent of Americans support human embryonic stem-cell research.

"We're not naive and we know there's not going to be a cure tomorrow," Perry said. "But it's a good thing for federal funding to be there because it means the research will be done more quickly and it will be more accountable to the public."

The commission's report, due to be released next month, is the second federal ethics analysis in less than five years to conclude that certain kinds of research on human embryos warrant federal support. The previous one, by a panel convened by the NIH, was partially approved by President Clinton in 1994 but then rejected by Congress, which passed an appropriations rider blocking all such funding and has renewed that ban annually ever since.

The 17-member bioethics commission calls for a more limited range of embryo experiments than did the 1994 panel. It does not support the use of federal funds to create new human embryos just for research, for example n the single provision that Clinton rejected in 1994 n and it offers specific policy guidelines to keep studies within narrow scientific and ethical bounds.

But the biggest difference between 1994 and 1999, experts said, is that the benefits of embryo research are now far less theoretical. If the morality of human embryo research is pegged in part to the benefits that are likely to accrue to sick and dying people, as many ethicists, religious leaders and others believe, then the tipping point of acceptability appears to have been reached, the report concludes.

"This research is allied with a noble cause," the draft report states, "and any taint that might attach from the source of the stem cells diminishes in proportion to the potential good which the research may yield."

The commission's report is still undergoing revisions. But interviews with commissioners and others involved in its crafting indicate that a clear consensus exists for some basic recommendations.

For now, the report will say, federal funding should be made available only for research on embryos made by in vitro fertilization for infertile couples. A single cycle of IVF can result in the creation of a dozen or more embryos, of which three or four typically are transferred to the womb. The rest are frozen for later efforts. Under the report's recommendation, if any are left over when the couple stops trying to get pregnant, the couple could donate them for federal research (or have them destroyed or keep them frozen indefinitely).

Federally funded scientists would be allowed to ask parents for permission to conduct studies on their embryos only after the parents had independently decided to abandon them. And if any compensation were to be allowed, it would be very limited.

With protections such as these in place, the commission concludes, parents n and not the federal government n would be "morally responsible" for the embryos' demise.

Most commissioners also favor creation of a national oversight board that would be responsible for ensuring that only those embryo experiments deemed most worthy get federal support.

The commission concedes that it cannot settle the debate over embryos' intrinsic moral value. But for the purposes of making public policy, it seeks to find an ethical middle ground by balancing the potential harm to embryos against the potential benefits to patients.

The commission notes, for example, that even many conservatives support abortion under certain circumstances. "Conservatives who accept that killing a fetus is permissible where it is necessary to save the life of the mother should agree with liberals that it is also permissible to destroy embryos where it is necessary to save people."

The new analysis comes at a time of growing public clamor for full-bore pursuit of research into human embryonic and fetal stem cells n cell types discovered just last year that have the potential to grow into many kinds of tissues. Researchers envision cultivating the cells into replacement neurons for patients with Parkinson's disease, insulin-secreting cells for diabetics, and heart muscle cells for victims of heart attacks, among other uses.

But it wasn't only advances in science that led the commission to decide it is time to invite federal investment in embryo research, said Eric Meslin, the commission's executive director. Since the 1994 NIH report, Meslin said, people have been reconsidering their feelings about embryo research. A growing number seem to have found room within their personal belief systems to justify limited amounts of such research n including many religious leaders who testified to the commission.

"The community has been coming to the view that these sources of cells are ethically acceptable with a number of protections put in place," Meslin said.

Many also favor a federal presence in the stem-cell field so research priorities will be selected on the basis of what is best for the nation's health and welfare, instead of on the basis of maximum profitability for the companies now pursuing the technology with private money.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the professional organization that oversees fertility clinics, where most of the nation's uncounted thousands of spare embryos are stored in freezers, expressed support for the commission's conclusions.

"We would certainly welcome federal funding and oversight for research involving human embryos and human embryonic stem cells, and we would hope that Congress would act on the commission's recommendation," said Sean Tipton, a spokesman for the organization in Washington.

But others, including antiabortion activist John Cavanaugh-O'Keefe of the Laytonsville, Md.-based Eugenics Watch, vowed to fight the move. And congressional support is hardly assured. Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.), a co-author of the rider that has banned embryo research since 1995, said through a spokesman that he strongly opposes the commission's views.

"Any NIH action to initiate funding of such research would violate both the letter and spirit of the federal law banning federal support for research in which human embryos are harmed or destroyed," Dickey wrote in a recent letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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Date: 23 May 1999 19:25:40 -0500
From: Betty Martini

Aspartame is Produced by GE Bacteria According to Leading Research Lab

Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 20:05:06 -0500
From: Edward Bryant Holman <>

Here is, I believe, the smoking gun that shows that aspartame is indeed manufactured with genetically engineered bacteria. If you go to you can see that this company, Genetic-ID, Inc., is a leader in the field of genetic food analysis and that their testimony ought to be taken as a substantial proof in this matter. If one feels that this message, which Betty received form this company and passed on to me, is not sufficient proof, one could contact them directly and have this elaborated further. Also, for a fee, one could just take some packages of Equal and have them analyzed. Their lab detects the presence of GE bacteria in the manufacturing process of products.


Sender: (Unverified)
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 15:55:20 -0600
To: Betty Martini
From: John Fagan
Subject: Re: Fwd: [aspartame] Aspartame - GM?

Dear Betty,

Monsanto is correct in saying that the Phenylalanine (PhE.) molecules produced in the genetically engineered bacteria are not any different from the phenylalanine that is in fruit, or vegetables, or beef steak. The molecular structure is not changed. But it was produced in genetically engineered bacteria, as was the Tryptophan that killed people back in the late 80's. The risk comes not from the PhE. molecules, themselves, but from contaminants that may be present in the phe preparations made from genetically engineered bacteria, and that are not present in phe produced from non-engineered bacteria.

Showa Denko's tryptophan made people sick because the bacteria in which it was produced also produced another compound or compounds that were not produced in non-genetically engineered bacteria, and that carried through the procedure that Showa Denko used to purify their tryptophan. Thus these toxins were present in the final tryptophan preparations, and caused people to become very sick. In a similar way, unexpected toxins may be produced in the engineered bacteria that produce phenylalanine. No research results have been made public showing that such compounds are absent from the PhE. preparations.

It is not surprising that new compounds might be produced in the bacteria engineered to over-produce PhE or any other amino acid. To stimulate over-production, it is necessary to make very substantial changes to the metabolic pathways of the bacterium. Bacterial metabolism is highly complex. In changing one step for one, intended purpose, it is likely that other unintended effects will take place, resulting in increased levels of certain metabolic intermediates, and the production of completely new metabolic side products. Whether one of these may be present in the phe prepared from these bacteria, and whether such a contaminating compound will be toxic, or not is completely unknowable until empirical studies are done to test toxicity.

No such studies have been done (or at lease they have not been placed in the public domain). Until such evidence is provided, "genetically engineered" phenylalanine and the aspartame produced from it will remain suspect.


Check out our Aspartame Group's Website!!

Take aspartame products back and demand a refund!

Take our latest survey!


  1. Take the 60-day No Aspartame Test and send us your case history. Mission Possible International 5950-H State Bridge Rd. #215 Duluth, GA 30097 USA

  2. Tell your doctor and all of your friends!

  3. Return Asparcidal food to the store. (anything with Monsanto's NutraSweet / Equal / Spoonful / Benevia / NatraTaste)

VISIT Get links to over 30 sites on aspartame
VISIT ..FAQs & Cases
VISIT Exposing Bovine Growth Hormone

Disability and Death are not acceptable costs of business!

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Date: 23 May 1999 21:28:34 -0500
From: Betty Martini

The Anti-Dairy Coalition Weekly Newsletter
Please pass this message around!

Sunday - May 23, 1999
Osteoporosis Foundation

Fraud: NOF (National Osteoporosis Foundation)

Frankenstein Meets Dracula

Frankenstein Meets Dracula

Or: Who Are Those Masked Men?
RolePlayed by
DR. FRANKENSTEIN Played by the Dairy Industry
DRACULA Played by Bozell Worldwide, Inc.
THE MONSTER National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF)


Milk sales had been declining through the 60's and 70's. More and more negative stories were appearing in the press about milk and dairy products. In many markets, soft drink and bottled water products were outselling milk.


Hire the BEST marketing and public relations firm in the world to run a new advertising campaign:


Bozell Worldwide is the biggest and best of the public relations firms.

The immediate plan was to dominate WOMEN'S magazine ads. The target audience consisted of females between the ages of 24-49.


Bozell has invented a newer "cooler" image for milk. By their own words, they have created a "cultural icon."


The dairy industry has invested well over two billion dollars since 1986 by painting milkstaches on celebrities and buying the support of Congress and a succession of presidents.


This creature of darkness cares little for anything but sucking blood. Morals and ethics be damned. Public relations firms work in much the same way. Cigarettes are sold to children, and those creating the "Joe Camel" ads of this world are well rewarded. Of all public relations firms, Bozell is the best. They jump the highest when so commanded.

Bozell created the famous RUGRAT AD that invited mothers to give milk to children under the age of one, a no-no which will one day result in big- time litigation:



This week the ANTIDAIRY Coalition received a letter from Alice R., who asked:

"Who is the National Osteoporosis Foundation? I got unsolicited literature from them in the mail today. Both in brochure and website they stress (no surprise) consumption of dairy products as the primary dietary prevention of osteoporosis."

I decided to investigate and my first stop was their website.


This organization makes no secret of their desire for your support. In soliciting funds, they claim to have received a $2 million donation from a benefactor. I became curious and called the foundation.

I was told that their benefactor wished to remain anonymous. I asked if they were funded by the dairy industry and was told that they could not reveal that, but the corporate donations were less than 1% of all money raised.

I informed them that if they received federal funds, they would have to reveal the sources of other money and requested their brochure.


There on page 23 of the brochure was a photograph of the donor in question, Toni Stabile of the Madeline C. Stabile Foundation. Her picture and name were prominently displayed. That's no way to remain anonymous. I was lied to.



A chart on page 29 reveals that 33% of this organization's revenue came from CORPORATE sources. I had been told that only one percent was corporate.

While over $9 million dollars was raised, including nearly $800,000 in federally funded grants, only $145,000 was spent on actual research.

That's less than two pennies out of every dollar. Remember that when these folks come knocking at your door.


In 1986 the National Osteoporosis Foundation was formed. Who did the forming?

Who is behind this organization?


Page 25 includes a list of some of the organizational donors who


Included in that list is the Kelloggs Cereal Company of Battle Creek, Michigan. Makes sense to me.

Also on that list is one of the most powerful dairy organizations in America, Dairy Farmers, Inc. of Maitland, Florida.


There on the list, positioned between two pharmaceutical companies, is:


Bozell's main office is in New York. The MILK campaign originates from the Chicago office.


If I needed any more convincing that something was rotten in Denmark besides the cheese, I found a stench on page 38 that reeks of sour milk. There listed among the trustees is Robert Heaney, MD, University of Creighton.


If you were to call the dairy industry toll-free number (1-800-WHY-MILK) and leave your name and address, you'd be sent their brochure which contains "expert opinions." The National Fluid Milk Producers marketing brochure was "developed with the help of a variety of experts, including top chefs, registered dietitians, leading physicians and scientists." The back cover lists an impressive scientific advisory panel of doctors and nutritionists. One of those doctors is:

Robert P. Heaney, M.D.

The milk processors tell us that Robert P. Heaney, M.D., is in the select group of experts whose advice one should follow. Although Dr. Heaney must have, at one time, believed that milk provided the best form of dietary calcium, he no longer believes what the brochure represents. Heaney recently was asked whether milk is the best form of calcium, and replied, "That is not the case."

Dr. Heaney is also listed as a calcium expert and Professor of Medicine at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. This milk expert has accepted the evidence published in the June, 1995 issue of the American College of Nutrition. That paper reveals that people absorb only 25 percent of calcium in milk while absorbing 42 percent of the calcium in apple juice. One wonders if Heaney still is considered an "expert" by the dairy industry?


Heaney, Bozell, Dairy Farmers, Inc. Thirty-three percent corporate investment ... er, donations. What is the one and only agenda of this organization, formed to perform research to battle bone disease? Remember ... less than two percent of their funding went to actual research.


They want you to drink more milk and eat more cheese. Who do you imagine is really the power behind NOF?

The question shouldn't be GOT-a-NOF? (GOT ENOUGH?) It should be:


Robert Cohen
Executive Director, ANTIDAIRY Coalition


  1. Take the 60-day No Aspartame Test and send us your case history. Mission Possible International 5950-H State Bridge Rd. #215 Duluth, GA 30097 USA

  2. Tell your doctor and all of your friends!

  3. Return Asparcidal food to the store. (anything with Monsanto's NutraSweet / Equal / Spoonful / Benevia / NatraTaste)

VISIT Get links to over 30 sites on aspartame
VISIT ..FAQs & Cases
VISIT Exposing Bovine Growth Hormone

Disability and Death are not acceptable costs of business!

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 24 May 1999 02:36:59 -0500
From: (jim mcnulty)

Forwarded From: Dr "M. Antoniou"
Date: Sun, 23 May 1999 11:41:47 +0100

Transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae

Nature 399, 214 (1999) © Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 20 May 1999

Although plants transformed with genetic material from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are generally thought to have negligible impact on non-target organisms[1], Bt corn plants might represent a risk because most hybrids express the Bt toxin in pollen[2], and corn pollen is dispersed over at least 60 metres by wind[3]. Corn pollen is deposited on other plants near corn fields and can be ingested by the non-target organisms that consume these plants. In a laboratory assay we found that larvae of the monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, reared on milkweed leaves dusted with pollen from Bt corn, ate less, grew more slowly and suffered higher mortality than larvae reared on leaves dusted with untransformed corn pollen or on leaves without pollen.

Pollen for our assay was collected from N4640-Bt corn and an unrelated, untransformed hybrid, and was applied by gently tapping a spatula of pollen over milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) leaves that had been lightly misted with water. Pollen density was set to visually match densities on milkweed leaves collected from corn fields. Petioles of individual leaves were placed in water-filled tubes that were taped into plastic boxes. Five three-day-old monarch larvae from our captive colony were placed on each leaf, and each treatment was replicated five times. Milkweed leaf consumption, monarch larval survival and final larval weight were recorded over four days.

Larval survival (56%) after four days of feeding on leaves dusted with Bt pollen was significantly lower than survival either on leaves dusted with untransformed pollen or on control leaves with no pollen (both 100%, P=0.008) (Fig. 1a). Because there was no mortality on leaves dusted with untransformed pollen, all of the mortality on leaves dusted with Bt pollen seems to be due to the effects of the Bt toxin.

Figure 1 Survival and leaf consumption of second- to third-instar monarch larvae on each of three milkweed leaf treatments: leaves with no pollen (light blue), leaves treated with untransformed corn pollen (green) and leaves dusted with pollen from Bt corn (dark blue). Full legend

High resolution image and legend (57k)

There was a significant effect of corn pollen on monarch feeding behaviour (P=0.0001) (Fig. 1b). The mean cumulative proportion of leaves consumed per larva was significantly lower on leaves dusted with Bt pollen (0.57 0.14, P=0.001) and on leaves dusted with untransformed pollen (1.12 0.09, P=0.007) compared with consumption on control leaves without pollen (1.61 0.09). The reduced rates of larval feeding on pollen-dusted leaves might represent a gustatory response of this highly specific herbivore to the presence of a 'non-host' stimulus. However, such a putative feeding deterrence alone could not explain the nearly twofold decrease in consumption rate on leaves with Bt pollen compared with leaves with untransformed pollen (P=0.004).

The low consumption rates of larvae fed on leaves with Bt pollen led to slower growth rates: the average weight of larvae that survived to the end of the experiment on Bt-pollen leaves (0.16 0.03 g) was less than half the average final weight of larvae that fed on leaves with no pollen (0.38 0.02 g, P=0.0001).

These results have potentially profound implications for the conservation of monarch butterflies. Monarch larvae feed exclusively on milkweed leaves[4]; the common milkweed, A. syriaca, is the primary host plant of monarch butterflies in the northern United States and southern Canada[5]. Milkweed frequently occurs in and around the edges of corn fields, where it is fed on by monarch larvae[6]. Corn fields shed pollen for 8-10 days between late June and mid-August, which is during the time when monarch larvae are feeding[7]. Although the northern range of monarchs is vast, 50% of the summer monarch population is concentrated within the midwestern United States, a region referred to as the 'corn belt' because of the intensity of field corn production[8]. The large land area covered by corn in this region suggests that a substantial portion of available milkweeds may be within range of corn pollen deposition.

With the amount of Bt corn planted in the United States projected to increase markedly over the next few years[9], it is imperative that we gather the data necessary to evaluate the risks associated with this new agrotechnology and to compare these risks with those posed by pesticides and other pest-control tactics.

John E. Losey, Linda S. Rayor, Maureen E. Carter
Department of Entomology, Comstock Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA, e-mail:


  1. Ostlie, K. R., Hutchison, W. D. & Hellmich, R. L. Bt Corn and European Corn Borer (NCR publ. 602, Univ. of Minnesota, St Paul, 1997). (Links)

  2. Fearing, P. L., Brown, D., Vlachos, D., Meghji, M. & Privalle, L. Mol. Breed. 3, 169-176 (1997). (Links)

  3. Raynor, G. S., Ogden, E. C. & Hayes, J. V. Agron. J. 64, 420-427 (1972). (Links)

  4. Malcolm, S. B., Cockrell, B. J. & Brower, L. P. in Biology and Conservation of the Monarch Butterfly (eds Malcolm, S. B. & Zalucki, M. P.) 253-267 (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, 1993). (Links)

  5. Malcolm, S. B., Cockrell, B. J. & Brower, L. P. J. Chem. Ecol. 15, 819-853 (1989). (Links)

  6. Yenish, J. P., Fry, T. A., Durgan, B. R. & Wyse, D. L. Weed Sci. 45, 44-53 (1997). (Links)

  7. Brower, L. P. J. Exp. Biol. 199, 93-103 (1996). (Links)

  8. Wassenaar, L. I. & Hobson, K. A. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 95, 15436-15439 (1998). (Links)

  9. Andow, D. A. & Hutchison, W. D. in Now or Never: Serious New Plans to Save a Natural Pest Control (eds Mellon, M. & Rissler, J.) 19-65 (Union of Concerned Scientists, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1998). (Links)

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Date: 24 May 1999 19:16:41 -0500

NSF (National Science Friday) Scorecard: Giddings Outpoints Opposition in Radio Debate

From New York City on Friday Afternoon, 21 May 1999, National Public Radio carried National Science Friday's ( NSF) light – heavyweight match – up between opposing sides in the Genetic Engineering debate. Jane Rissler of the Union of Concerned Scientists and John Losey, a writer recently published in Nature magazine, dueled with Val Giddings, vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization and John McFarland of the National Corn Growers Association.

Ira Flato moderated. All the listeners who called to comment, from Idaho to Indianapolis, sided against genetic engineering, and added substantially to the multi – faceted subject under discussion.

Framing and fueling the radio debate on GE agriculture was Nature's recently released study on Monarch butterfly larvae mortality when consuming pollen from corn modified to carry toxins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis. Mr. Losey authored the Nature article. Generally the NSF the discussion focused on whether or not enough research had been conducted prior to the commercial release of genetically modified organisms in broad-acre agriculture, and what the new research indicates may occur in the field now that these man-made crops have been released into the biosphere. Nearly 100 million acres will be planted to genetically modified crops in 1999, now that Brazil has lifted its prohibitions.

From the outset it was apparent that Mr. Giddings, a former USDA biotechnology regulator, is indeed the Great White Hope of Novel Foods (so-named by the United Nations, and aptly considered a complete fiction by biotech's opponents, who argue that the new plants are not equivalent non-GE crops). However, Mr. Giddings ably proved himself a worthy corporate warrior, not to be taken lightly. If he looks as good as he talks this guy will be hell on TV. In the debate, Mr. Gidding's deftly utilized the Silver Bullet argument often and well to counter the stream of concerns posed chiefly by Dr. Rissler. The Silver Bullet strategy argues that biotechnology is the means to wean conventional agriculture from the use of poisonous synthetic production materials.

Biotechnology's adversaries will need to develop countermeasures in order to defend against the Silver Bullet, industry's most potent rationale for pushing the technology forward, and pushing it rapidly.

It would be wise to first identify that the Silver Bullet is not a scientific argument but a political one. If regulatory authorities were not handicapped by political considerations, the synthetic poisons that are endlessly studied, regulated and labeled – and known to be deleterious to the environment and humanity – would have been prohibited long before now. Prohibitions have been on – track since FIFRA, the often – amended 1947 Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, and after 53 years of political reconfiguration and stalling, the original concerns about environmental and human health have never been justly addressed. As a matter of fact, during the power-days of the regressive 104-105th Congresses, when Freedom to Farm swept a greedily stupefied rural electorate, the FDA's 1958 Delaney Clause, the one archaic – and precautionary – linchpin offering a semblance of sanity to mitigate the chemical soup we live in and breathe, was bartered away under the guise of a New and Improved methodology, under which we miraculously agreed that we knew all there was to know about synthetic chemistry's cancer risks.

Delaney's pertinent inquiry is now buried beneath a pile of false assumptions, "dogma posing as science" ( succinctly put by Dr. Joseph Cummins) and political ( monetary) pressures. Now we have many "reforms" swamping the system, from Delaney's replacement language in the Food Quality Protection Act, to all the chrome promises that the Agricultural Research Service offers from a script written by Monsanto.

The Silver Bullet is the Market's answer to a political hemorrhage long ignored: maybe the reason why breakfast cereal consumption is down is because milk consumption is down and people donit trust milk because it doesnit taste like it should because it is loaded with hormones and antibiotics and disease. And folks are as apt to say that in Milwaukee as they do in Madison.

According to Mr. Gidding's employers, the new GE technology will make the dangerous crop-protection chemistry obsolete. Dr. Rissler got in a good blow by reminding Mr.Gidding's that the companies he works for have claimed for 5 decades that these same materials were safe. So, for how long have they known these substances were dangerous? Does this give the EPA political permission to pull Methoxychlor's registration? Careful, Val.

Nonetheless, the Bullet was Mr. Giddings' greatest weapon, in which the arguments of the opponents of GE agriculture are turned against them: " I thought you folks were against the use of toxic materials?"

However, it must be pointed out that the genetically engineered crop which covers the greatest acreage has been modified to be immune to a synthetic herbicide. The Silver Bullet is merely Tin Foil. In the strict time constraints of the radio debate, Dr. Rissler and Mr. Losey were unable to parry this inconsistency adequately. Instead, Dr. Rissler depended on scientific considerations – or regulatory government's lack thereof – to counter what was really a political strategy. Politics, not regulation, sets the stage in this crisis, and science is subservient to the more compelling truths that have to be characterized by the immense amount of money involved. That money can be described, generally, by being mindful that the valuation is the largest economic sector in the world: agriculture.

Throughout the beginning of May, 1999, GE proponents, in a desperate reach, identified and attacked the organic food and farming community as one vested adversary. In Britain, Monsanto gave organic proponents a back-handed compliment by calling them a "lobby". Mr. Giddings landed a few good blows on Organic, particularly late in the National Science Friday debate. This strategy still has some value and plays well in Ag academia, among conventional agricultural producers, within the farming elites at the Farm Bureau, and obviously with the media, which can be described as a revenue absorbing Hydra whose arms are variously a national agricultural journal, a string of radio and TV stations, a big city newspaper here and there, all interwoven into the commercial fabric of a sub-economy which may even sponsor an agricultural trade or home and garden show. All brought to you by Weed-Be-Gone.

Industry is challenged by Organic because the non-synthetically-inclined farmers donit need or want the manufacturer's inputs , only listen in disbelief to the chemical advertising on the radio, and usually discredit much of what they see and hear on the TV or read in the papers.

The Silver Bullet crowd may complain that Organic is philosophically against them, as if some sort of competitive antagonism is implied, but Bt corn has done more to spur the sales of organic products than the 1988 Alar scandal ever could, at least in Europe. So organic farmers are the accidental beneficiaries of the biotech-blowout. Upping organic sales was a consequence not a motivation. The long-range Public Relations angle is somewhat dis-informative, with GE Life Sciences sounding like an official version of ruffian Organic. What Monsanto hasnit observed is that the smart consumer reads her labels, emails her congressman, and her cynical eye can spot a wolf in a poncho from about 200 yards out.

Mr. Giddings claimed, without citation or reference, that the only known example of Bt resistance in target pests had occurred on an organic farm. In the hurried blurble of the debate's closing minutes this was not refuted or questioned. The truth is that the claim is preposterous on its face, since organic farms are spread out amongst conventional farming neighbors, so the science of that statement alone is ridiculous. It also should be pointed out that Bt resistance has been discovered, and documented, in conventional farming systems in Hawaii in watercress production specifically and in New Jersey's vegetable production area, both in the 1980s.

Therefore, the scientific argument that having Bt continually expressed in crops will lead to more rapid pest resistance is sound, and such resistance is probable. Like FIFRA, resistance to pesticides is also a 53 year-old fact. Though Mr. Giddings backed up his assertions by citing the risk management research conducted by USDA and at the 1862 Land Grant universities, the basis for approval of the technology can be questioned, again, not only on the basis of the insidious monetary relationships that exist between field researchers and the corporate manufacturers that fund the facilities, but also by reiterating that the entire methodology used to prove the benign nature of toxic chemicals is a political facade: the desired conclusions, not the questions, are the basis for the inquiry.

" Here is some orange paint. Now paint these apples and make some orange juice."

Though it would be best, in a more perfect world, to eliminate politics from the investigation on genetically engineered agriculture, there never was a more forlorn hope than that. At least we should carve out some of the phonies as soon as possible. We took note on Friday that Dennis Avery has Svengalied the mainstream commodity producers with the false altruism of the Hudson Institute's Feed The World Campaign. Mr. Macfarland, of the Corn Growers, repeated the famine-mantra in the NSF discussion. The problem with the Ag hierarchy pleading for biotechnology on humanitarian grounds is that they are standing on a railcar headed for the ethanol plant while doing it. By the way, that new motor oil made out of soybeans is not going to be fit to fry fish in Sri Lanka, is it?

Besides, why get rid of politics when that may someday be the juice that jumpstarts this whole rotten mess into Agriculture's latter-day version of Watergate? Well, that would be fun, but the Hydra has many heads, and remember, the Hydra is in a hurry and politics can be even slower than regulation. Meanwhile, a few activists wonder when Audubon is going to weigh in on this one once they realize that declining bird populations may be a result of having so much toxic corn killing off the bug population. Another good question for them: What would result if by some unforeseen means, the Bt corn pollen should contaminate other sister-grass species by and by. Impossible, you say? Weive heard that before.

Steven Sprinkel
Fairfield, Iowa
22 May 1999

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Date: 25 May 1999 00:08:47 -0500
From: (Judy Kew)

New Non-GE soy powder, labeled as such

New soy powder touts its lack of GE Soy

An ad in a free health food magazine (called Great Life), May edition, says:

If you're concerned about genetically altered food (known in the food industry as a genetically modified organism, or GMO), you'll be happy to know Genisoy's new Ultra Soy powders are made with certified non-GMO soybeans. The soybeans are strictly monitored from the planting and harvesting stages through production. The delicious powder comes in natural, chocolate and vanilla flavors.

The label in the ad says "Non GMO Soybeans". I do not know if there are other ingredients in the container.

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