Genetically
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29 May 99

Table of Contents

Non-sugar Sweetener Stevia
UK Government to Change Law to Speed up Commercial Development of GM Crops
Lawsuits Follow Introduction of Hybrid Seeds
Aspartame: Red Herring?
Who's Job is it to Prove Causality?
Indian Farmers Take the War to Europe and U.S.
Aspartame: Achilles' Heel of the GE Industry -- Stevia
Deep Inside the "Rational" Thinking of the GE Industry
The Latest GE Industry Propaganda on Labelling
GM report: Crops 'being modified to benefit rich'
'Moral imperative' for GM food to combat world hunger

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Date: 27 May 1999 09:32:54 -0500
From: ruby@io.com

Non-sugar Sweetener Stevia

Stevia (a non-sugar sweetener) is available in health food stores and it even has a web site: http://www.stevia.com

"The sweet secret of Stevia lies in a complex molecule called Stevioside which is a glycoside composed of glucose, sophorose and steviol. It is this complex molecule and a number of other related compounds that account for Stevia Reubaudiana's extraordinary sweetness. The Stevia herb in its natural form is approximately 10 to 15 times sweeter than common table sugar. Extracts of Stevia in the form of Steviosides can range anywhere from 100 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar. And best of all, Stevia does not affect blood sugar metabolism according to most experts. Some studies even report that Stevia reduces plasma glucose levels in normal adults."


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Date: 27 May 1999 10:21:45 -0500
From: Jon mail@icsenglish.com

Friends of the Earth press release May 26th 1999 For Immediate Release.

UK Government to Change Law to Speed up Commercial Development of GM Crops

The Government is to change the law to speed up the commercial development of genetically modified (GM) crops. The news comes in a consultation paper from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) dated 21st May 1999 (copies available from FOE). Friends of the Earth attacked last Friday's Government statement on GM policy as paving the way for icreeping commercialisationi.

The MAFF move follows a Government climb-down in March, when Friends of the Earth and MPs from all three major Parties [1] sued MAFF over an attempt to extend a non- statutory seed certification scheme to cover GM crops. The scheme would have cut about two years off the timescale for bringing GM crops to the marketplace. Advised by their lawyers that the Government would lose the High Court case, MAFF promised FOE not to extend the non-statutory scheme. But it now plans to change various seed regulations to create a new scheme with exactly the same result.

Before seeds can be marketed, their variety must have been entered on the National List and the seeds themselves must be certified. (For GM seeds, a GMO marketing consent must also be obtained.) To obtain National Listing, a plant variety must be shown to be distinct, stable, uniform and to have value for cultivation and use. To be certified, a seed lot must meet various tests including purity and freedom from disease.

The statutory certification process takes place after the National Listing process has been completed. It should typically take about two to three years. But since 1975 MAFF has allowed a non-statutory certification process to take place before National Listing. This allows seed development and testing in advance, and means that statutory certification can usually be completed immediately after National Listing [2]. MAFF wanted to extend this scheme to cover GM as well as orthodox crops, but retreated after FOE's legal challenge.

MAFF now plans a inew statutory schemei which iwould not differ greatly from current procedures. The proposed statutory arrangements would continue to allow breeders to bulk up supplies of new varieties in advance of National Listingi. The new statutory scheme would cover both GM and non GM crops.

Commenting, FOE Food Campaigner Pete Riley said:

Here is the gritty reality behind last week's bodged Government spin-job. In March, we caught MAFF trying to speed up the commercial development of GM crops by dodging round the existing law on seed certification. MAFF put their hands up and fled in disorder. But rather than give up, they have simply decided to try to bring in new laws to achieve the same result. This shows clearly that Government policy on GM crops allows for creeping commercialisation. The Government's claim to neutrality in the GM food debate gets more ridiculous by the day. We will be studying these new plans minutely to see if they are as unlawful as the previous arrangements.

NOTES

[1] The three MPs who have joined FOE in its court action are: Norman Baker (Lib Dem, Lewes), John Randall (Con, Uxbridge) and Alan Simpson (Lab, Nottingham South)

[2] Seeds are certified for marketing on a statutory 'generational ladder', needing certification at each rung of the ladder. For example, the generational ladder for seeds of oilseed rape is: Breeder's Seed [which produces] Pre-Basic Seed [which produces] Basic Seed [which produces] Certified Seed. Only Certified Seed is intended for human and animal consumption, and it is only when this stage is reached that sufficient quantities of seed for full commercialisation will have been built up - MAFF calls this process bulking up.

Progressing up the generational ladder takes perhaps two to three years. The non-statutory scheme defeated by FOE and the new statutory scheme now planned by MAFF allow provisional certification for every stage up to the production of Certified Seed, before National Listing is completed. Statutory certification as Certified Seed can therefore be granted immediately after Listing and crops can be grown for market at once.


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Date: 27 May 1999 11:33:45 -0500
From: Judy_Kew@greenbuilder.com (Judy Kew)

This is about patent suits between GE companies, and it will hurt farmers. Hence, one more straw is being added to the camel's back.

Conclusion of article:

Prudential's McMillin sees the legal costs being passed on to farmers.

"At the end of the day, the farmer will be the one paying the lawyers because the cost of these lawsuits will result in more expensive products," he said.


Lawsuits Follow Introduction of Hybrid Seeds

By Mark Ritchie, President, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Des Moines Register; 05/23/99

Johnston, Ia. -The widespread planting of genetically altered seeds in the past two years has produced a huge crop of lawsuits as companies fight to protect their research dollars and high-tech inventions.

John McMillin, a seed industry analyst for Prudential Securities in New York, said so many lawsuits are being filed, he has had a hard time keeping up with them all.

"It's going to take 10 years to work all of these lawsuits through the courts," he said.

Traditional pollination methods in the field have become old- fashioned as years of expensive genetic research moved seed production into the laboratory.

By examining plants on the microscopic level, identifying each tiny gene's function and manipulating plants' genetic information, companies are changing the crops farmers eventually produce.

Corn that once would have fallen victim to pests or poor soil now grows strong in the field. Soybeans produce new oils that are low in saturated fat and have a longer shelf life. Crop yields continue to climb.

Despite controversy over the new technology, including a European ban on imports of several varieties of genetically modified corn, the new products have been popular with farmers looking for a leg up on bugs, weeds and the weather.

Farmers' hunger for new products and willingness to pay a premium for them have companies scrambling to meet demand and ensure a return on research that can run into the millions of dollars.

With the dozens of new hybrid seeds being introduced each year come patents, which block anyone other than the owner from making, using or selling the invention for 20 years, and protection from the Plant Variety and Protection Act.

Herbert Jervis, chief intellectual property counsel at Pioneer Hi- Bred International Inc. in Johnston, a suburb of Des Moines, said complications are routine in the early stages of a new technology when there are limited ways of achieving developments.

"When that happens, that's when you see lawsuits," Jervis said. "It's not unique to agriculture, by the way. It happens in lots of industries as they go through maturing cycles."

Lawsuits filed over the use of genetics have involved the biggest names in the seed industry: Pioneer, St. Louis-based Monsanto Co., Illinois-based Dekalb Genetics Corp. and Minneapolis-based Cargill Inc.

However, there have been resolutions in several big cases, including one in March when Monsanto and longtime rival Zeneca Group of Britain dropped lawsuits against each other after making a pact over competing herbicides.

David Snively, assistant general counsel for Monsanto, said the company has initiated little legal action over the use of genetics but must ensure that its customers receive quality products.

"We certainly want to make sure that farmers, when they buy a bag of Monsanto's Roundup-ready soybeans, know what they're getting, that it's really the right genes and it's truly going to perform to their expectations because our name is on the bag," he said.

Slater-based Garst Seed Co., part of a European-based joint venture that is the fourth-largest seed company in the world, has so far avoided litigation over the use of genetics.

Garst president Col Seccombe said his company has worked hard to reach agreements with other companies and has even turned away from pursuing some claims because of the costs involved.

"If we're not certain, we'll try and negotiate with people to get clarity," he said. "With lawsuits where you're throwing around numbers of upwards of $100 million at a time, we're the fourth- largest seed company in the U.S., but we cannot afford to get into litigation of that size. This is not that profitable of a business."

Jervis said Pioneer also carefully charts its genetics development and works to reach agreements with other companies. But Pioneer also must protect its seed and its customers, he said.

"Although the farmers may not appreciate all the ins and outs of this, partly it's done for their protection because when we place a product on the market, we have potential liability under the patent rights of others for selling the product and the user may also have some problems," he said.

Snively said it likely will take years for many of the lawsuits to be resolved.

"It's that sort of litigation with an infant industry, where people are trying to sort out the rules and who's bumping into whom in the marketplace and what those rules should be," he said.

Prudential's McMillin sees the legal costs being passed on to farmers.

"At the end of the day, the farmer will be the one paying the lawyers because the cost of these lawsuits will result in more expensive products," he said.

(Copyright 1999)

Mark Ritchie, President
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
2105 First Ave. South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404 USA
612-870-3400 (phone)     612-870-4846 (fax)
mritchie@iatp.org     http://www.iatp.org

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From: "Biotech Activists" biotech_activists@iatp.org
To: Judy_Kew@greenbuilder.com
Subject: gmos and lawsuits
Date: Thu, 27 May 1999 05:56:09 -0500

------------------------------------
http://www.greenbuilder.com modem: 512.288.3903

Green Building Professionals Directory at http://www.greenbuilder.com/directory


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Date: 27 May 1999 13:02:32 -0500
From: Betty Martini Mission-Possible-USA@altavista.net

Aspartame: Red Herring?

At 01:03 AM 5/27/99 +0100, you wrote:

Can some confirm other than those who have already done so that Aspartame is GE. I always feel, pardon me Betty if I'm wrong, that her arguements are so enthusiastic in tone, that I am sceptical about the motive.

I am anxious that the Ban GE Movement does not get side tracked by a Red Herring, and suffer a humiliating defeat in an important public debate over this issue.

Sorry Betty, I think BLUFF.

Dear Chris:

You don't have to worry. Actually the man who makes the phenylalanine for aspartame emailed me and said the bacteria is genetically engineered. Also, you should read NutraPoison by Alex Constantine on www.dorway.com He told me to read Gene Wars, I think page 18.

However, when I went to get the book I didn't realize there were two of them, and I got the one by Rhodes and he said that was the wrong one. But I think there is more information on it too in this book when I can locate it. I just have to remember that the title is the same but its the one not by Rhodes.

Also, you could see the process on the Miwon web site, a manufacturer of aspartame. However, when I pointed it out they took it down. It didn't make any difference, I had already printed it out. No way to cover it up anymore.

As to motives, my only motive is to get this chemical poison off the market and stop the disaility and death. So that no one can say there is a motive, Mission Possible International is funded out of my husband's checkbook, his retirement funds. We don't sell anything and send out information to anyone who asks. You wouldn't believe what it is has cost all these years including all the time you can stay awake to take the case histories.

As you know, Dr. Roberts has declared Aspartame Disease to be a world epidemic. I can tell you, it is. The phone never stop ringing, the mail never stop coming, and there is no way to answer all the thousands of emails, you just keep at it. Thats why we have asked the world to help and Mission Possible operations are all over the US now and in many countries of the world. We are a worldwide volunteer force, so NOBODY is paid. Its just a humanitarian, hands around the world campaign.

I will say that more and more information keeps becoming available. Occasionally I put a case history on this list, especially like those who are in so much pain from this toxin they are ready to take thier life like Paula, the case I just listed. However, they come in day and night, not only to me, but on the support group lists and to operations the world over. I firmly believe this mass poisoning of the American public and now 100 countries of the world as Dr. Bowen told the FDA, is one of the greatest scandals in U.S. History. It has to be really serious for people to work warning the world without pay, at their expense and their time, when its a 24 hour epidemic. And I tell the Justice Department regularly that Monsanto should be indicted for genocide!

Regards,
Betty

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

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

  2. Tell your doctor and all of your friends!

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

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

Disability and Death are not acceptable costs of business!


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Date: 27 May 1999 13:39:32 -0500
From: pmligotti@earthlink.net (Peter M. Ligotti)

Who's Job is it to Prove Causality?

Aspartame's Bad Effects From GE Bacteria

May 27, 1999

I think it was Monsanto's job to try to figure out why Aspartame has so many ill effects BEFORE they decided to market it. Excuse me, but that's not my job. That Aspartame is made by GE bacteria is clearly reason enough for me personally to avoid it and for me to warn others. I don't have to be responsible for Monsanto's multiple screw-ups and/or to prove anything to David Wengraf or to anyone else.

Does David Wengraf believe that insulin should be stealthfully administered to healthy people without their knowledge or consent? Probably not. So why does he think it's ok to do this with Aspartame and/or GE food?

(GE food is given out stealthfully and unlabelled to the healthy masses, and the FDA in the U.S. hides the negative effects of Aspartame from the so-far healthy masses)

All I have to do is show the irresponsible behavior of the GE industry – that they have been marketing something dangerous; that they have been marketing something with unknowable and unpredictable long-term effects to human beings; that they have been working with the FDA in the U.S. to hide the multifarious negative side effects of Aspartame after those nasty effects emerged; that they plan to GE the entire food supply, etc. etc. etc.

People who need insulin do a personal cost/benefit risk assessment and then make their well-reasoned decision. But who needs GE food or Aspartame? (hint: NOBODY !) Who doesn't need it? (hint: EVERYONE !)

As I have said many times, people deserve long-term peer reviewed studies and a total long-term examination of all the risks before exposing them to GE food, insulin, Apartame, or any other controversial product. (simple truth)

The GE industry wants to obfuscate and confuse drugs, traditional crossbreeding and genetically engineered food (including Aspartame – for example by using the term "BIOTECHNOLOGY.") I personally guarantee that that overall strategy simply isn't going to work – In fact, I personally guarantee that it will fail miserably.

Thank you Mr. Wengraf for providing me with more evidence of that fact. (via your thinking and believing that you have created a good and powerful analogy here regarding insulin and Aspartame)

Peter Michael Ligotti

Labelling of course means that when bad effects are caused by Aspartame, we can convincingly show correlation and possibly causation, and therefore empirically demonstrate those bad health effects of Aspartame.

Fine. No complaints here.

Because Aspartame is so bad, we logically and theoretically therefore cannot fully trust any other GE products.

Why not? Is there any indication that the genetic modification caused these health problems, not some other aspect of aspartame. If memory serves, GM bacteria are used to produce human insulin. Should we ban this?

David Wengraf
MA Biotechnological Law and Ethics
Sheffield University, UK

dave@bedlam.syol.com     http://www.bedlam.syol.com


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Date: 27 May 1999 13:59:22 -0500
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk (jim mcnulty)

Indian Farmers Take the War to Europe and U.S.

Weather Inter Press Service Sports 24-MAY-99
Business Sci-Tech NEW DELHI, (May 24) IPS -

Out of place in the departure Showbiz terminal of the international airport, a group of peasant Lifestyle Indian farmers wait to board a cheap Aeroflot flight to alt begin a month long sojourn in Europe starting today. On Target Search "We are going to visit the offices of Monsanto and other big seed companies and ask them why they are destroying us," Help explains Omkar Singh, a mustard farmer from the neighboring Feedback state of Haryana and a member of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Log Out (BKU), a major northern Indian peasant's union.

Omkar is illiterate but speaks authoritatively of the [Image] dangers of transnationals elbowing their way into Indian agriculture which for all its supposed inefficiency feeds a [billion people cheaply and is the mainstay of the economy. Last year, Omkar was among thousands of mustard farmers who were ruined after the government banned the sale of mustard oil, northern India's staple cooking oil and ordered a million tonnes of the U.S.-based Monsanto's genetically engineered soyabean.

The government was forced to ban mustard oil because stocks were unaccountably adulterated to a point where hundreds of people fell seriously ill with dropsy and at least 50 of them died in the capital alone. So when Omkar heard about Inter-Continental Caravan-99 (ICC-99) which is organizing the month-long farmers' tour in the EU he readily clambered aboard. "This is the first time I am going to be away for so long from my farm, family and village." Omkar said he was looking forward to join 400 Indian farmers who are to participate in demonstrations in Cologne, Germany, when the next G-8 summit takes place in June. "ICC-99 will also demonstrate in front of the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, the European Commission in Brussels and the Organization of Economically Developed Countries (OECD) in Paris," said chief organizer Prof. Nanjundaswamy before departing for Europe.

Last November, Nanjundaswamy spearheaded a movement in Karnataka to "weed out" Monsanto after the Indian government clandestinely allowed the transnational to conduct trials of genetically engineered cotton at 40 locations across India. Nanjundaswamy, who leads the KRRS, the largest peasant movement in southern India, justified the "weeding" after accusing Monsanto of being behind the spectacular failure of cotton crops in southern Indian leading to mass suicides by ruined farmers. Apart from large farmers organizations like the KRRS and the BKU, participants in ICC-99 include the powerful National Forum of Fishworkers which opposes shrimp aquaculture, and mechanized trawling which are robbing them of their livelihoods.

Also represented are well-known people's movements such as the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Movement) which represents farmers and tribals displaced by the massive Narmada valley project in western India and women's groups such as the All-India Women Farmers Association (AIFWA). Said Swaraj Lamba, AIFWA president, "the new century will witness spectacular progress in genetic engineering and bio-technology but it is also certain that millions will continue to suffer from hunger and shortages of drinking water."

Lamba said the fight was not just against transnationals but the new culture of the "so-called knowledge-driven society" which sees no immorality in making nuclear weapons and to which India is desperately seeking entry. "What this nation (India) needs desperately is investments in education, health and agriculture and not in weapons of mass destruction," she said. But Lamba blames the West and its transnationals for setting the pace of an inhuman agenda, the logic of which, according to her, led to India going nuclear. "We denounce the nuclear tests carried out by India and Pakistan but also oppose the hypocrisy of western governments which encourage the monopoly of which, if shared, could benefit all of humanity," she said.

Nanjundaswamy said the aims of ICC-99 will certainly not be realized in the short term and therefore it will not waste too much time with politicians and transnationals but concentrate on "people-to-people contacts." In fact, the farmers are going to be supported in Europe by like-minded people's organizations and will live frugally, staying in churches, farms, sports stadia and auditoria. "We are used to hardship," said Onkar, drawing his thin blanket around his body.

Welcoming committees have been set up in several EU countries by peasant organizations such as the French Peasant Confederation, the Dutch Agricultural Association, EuroDusnie in Leiden, Leoncavallo in Milan, the Reithalle in Berne and women's organizations like Espace Femmes International. But ICC-99 is choosy about who it accepts help from. "We will not play into the hands of institutions that are eager to claim to have democratic consultations with civil society to pursue their own agenda," Nanjundaswamy said.

Nanjundaswamy termed as "outrageous" the social clause proposed to be incorporated into the WTO system which, he said would never protect fundamental labor rights but allow countries in the North to practice selective protectionism. "One reason we are going to Europe is because we wish to expose organizations in the North that claim to speak on behalf of the poor of the South just because we are not around to make our views felt." "We do not want western money or, technology or development models and we refuse to be used as political tools to ask the elites for reforms that we never demanded," he said.


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Date: 27 May 1999 14:07:57 -0500
From: "Campbell, Jon" Campbell@Rational.Com

Aspartame: Achilles' Heel of the GE Industry – Stevia

(posted to me from Betty Martini)

Dear Jon:

I don't believe the FDA who is so loyal to Monsanto wanted any competition for Monsanto's Nutrapoison so they embargoed it. However, we put a lot of pressure on the FDA and I even went to Newt Gingrich and told him it was the salvation of the diabetics because aspartame was killing them. Eventually it was approved because of this pressure but only as a dietary supplement because they didn't want it admitted that it was a sweetener. However, everyone knew Stevia is sweetener and people began getting off aspartame and diabetics heard about its good qualities.

The FDA couldn't stand it so they told the Stevita Company in Texas to destroy their oookbooks that said that Stevia was sweet. Dr. Julian Whitaker gave the FDA you know what. Last I heard we still had freedom of speech. I wrote an article about it and incorporated the actual letter from the FDA. It was published in the Townsend Letter For Doctors in January, l999.

Today you can get Stevia most everywhere. Larry Hagman (J.R.!) was outranged over what the FDA did. He had me put on the support page for DORway (www.dorway.com) his comments below his picture that he developed diabetes after a liver transplant, and that Stevia saved his life.

There is information on Stevia on www.dorway.com and holisticmed.com and a resource guide. Karen Davis has the Sunrider version which you can get in any country, Sunnydew, that taste just like sugar and you can carry around in your pocket. You don't have to mix a powder. Some countries still have trouble getting it, so if you're interested in this one which is very user friendly, you can contact Karen at THE-SEASON4HEALTH@worldnet.att.net

Regards,
Betty

At 02:49 PM 5/26/99 -0400, you wrote:

Stevia is apparently the safe non-sugar sweetener, grown in South America. It was apparently stopped from use in the US by FDA on behalf of Monsanto.

Jon

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

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

  2. Tell your doctor and all of your friends!

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

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

Disability and Death are not acceptable costs of business!


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 28 May 1999 12:05:02 -0500
From: pmligotti@earthlink.net (Peter M. Ligotti)

Here's a quick trip

Deep Inside the "Rational" Thinking of the GE Industry

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

– George Orwell

A Much More Accurate Portrayal of Henry I. Miller's "Rational Approach to Labeling Biotech-Derived Foods"

________________________________________________________________

GENETICALLY ENGINEERED PSEUDO-SCIENCE,
Volume 666, Number 45 Issue 698 of 29 May 1999, pp. 564 - 786

GENETIC ENGINEERING:

A Pseudo-Rational Approach to Labeling Biotech-Derived Foods

Commentary on the Genetic Engineering Industry and it's Pseudo-Science by Peter M. Ligotti

Scientists around the world are using recombinant DNA techniques to improve plants.

Notice how they put their main baseless presupposition right up front. They have not said anything at all, but here comes the conclusion that GE plants are improved. No reason, no explanation, no evidence, no short-term human studies, no long-term human studies, just the assumption, just the literally baseless presupposition that these plants are not only safe for humans and the environment, but that they are "improved." Ridiculous !!

Right from the get-go it's obvious that this is the baseless opinion of fraudulent, fake, pretend, flunky, "science," – when the conclusion they want is right up front, and all the rest of their play-pretend "pseudo-science" then follows. But it does not follow logically or otherwise. For example, let's see what's next.....

These transgenic plants can have enhanced resistance to pests, disease, drought, salinity, frost, and herbicides, as well as enhanced nutritional value, improved processing characteristics, and better taste.

More baseless theory and presuppositions especially with "enhanced nutritional value." Oh...by the way... excuse me Mr brilliant Scientist ... is this "food" ....ahh.... safe to eat?

OH YES.

How do you know?

WE THINK IT'S not only safe but.. SUBSTANTIALLY EQUIVILENT. We can assure you that it's safe. Just like we can assure you that it's improved. Our nutritional value is much better. We assure you. Yes we certainly do assure you. We know because we're real smart. The FDA and USDA says it's ok. We don't need any independent third party long-term human testing. We are scientists and we use big words. We can assure you we know everything. You do not want labelling. WE REPEAT. You do not want labelling. You might get the wrong idea like this food is somehow experimental, untested, or unproven. We don't want you thinking that. Definitely not. We do not need any long-term testing. We just need profitability, er...I mean our pure and holy ambition is to FEED THE WORLD after all with Round-up engorged mutated plants...er...I mean genetically enhanced products... er...I mean biotech enhanced products... And look how smart we are, we even have referrences at the end of our corporate propaganda !!
In 1998, they were cultivated on about 69.5 million acres (1).

Finally a statement that can be backed up. Yes these experimental crops have been planted on 69.5 million acres. This amounts to a criminal act based on the above baseless fantasy and their presupposition that these pesticide engorged crops are an improvement over Nature.

If this text is an example of a "rational" approach I shudder at what they might do next.

STOP COMPLAINING and eat your genetically engineered food !!

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring the safety and profitability of the Biotech Industry.... blah....blah....blah......

The author is at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA, and is an Adjunct Scholar, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC 20036, USA. E-mail: miller@hoover.stanford.edu

___________________________________________________
Ms. Renske van Staveren, Coordinator
International Forum on Food & Agriculture (IFA)
c/o Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)
2105 First Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN, USA 55404-2505
ph: 612-870-3423     fax: 612-870-4846
rvanstaveren@iatp.org     http://www.iffah.org
___________________________________________________
"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

– George Orwell


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Date: 28 May 1999 16:04:36 -0500
From: "Campbell, Jon" Campbell@Rational.Com
Subject: RE: B-GE: GE Industry Propaganda on Labelling

The press release says: "it is useful to review the rationale behind the FDA approach."

Indeed.

Jon

------------- Original Message --------------------
From: pmligotti@earthlink.net
Sent: Friday, May 28, 1999 4:13 PM
To: gentech@gen.free.de; Ban-GEF@lists.greenbuilder.com
Subject: B-GE: GE Industry Propaganda on Labelling

The Latest GE Industry Propaganda on Labelling

_________________________________________________________________

SCIENCE, Volume 284, Number 5419 Issue of 28 May 1999, pp. 1471 - 1472

GENETIC ENGINEERING:

A Rational Approach to Labeling Biotech-Derived Foods

Henry I. Miller

Sections:
Risk-Based Policy
To Label or Not to Label
Economics and Psychology of Labeling
References

Scientists around the world are using recombinant DNA techniques to improve plants. These transgenic plants can have enhanced resistance to pests, disease, drought, salinity, frost, and herbicides, as well as enhanced nutritional value, improved processing characteristics, and better taste. In 1998, they were cultivated on about 69.5 million acres (1).

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of the nation's food supply (except poultry and most meats). Most biotechnology-derived products are regulated under the agency's official policy on foods derived from new plant varieties (2), which applies irrespective of whether the plant arose by molecular or conventional methods. The policy elaborates a scientific and transparent (that is, clear and predictable) regulatory approach, mandating when consultations with the FDA are necessary, when labeling is required, and what information should be conveyed in labels. At a time when there are international debates regarding food labeling (see also related News story), it is useful to review the rationale behind the FDA approach.

GRAPHIC

Counterproductive labeling? The labeling on consumer products may actually increase public anxiety. CREDIT: MONSANTO

Risk-Based Policy

The FDA does not routinely subject foods from new plant varieties to premarket review or to extensive scientific safety tests, although there are exceptions. The agency has judged that the usual safety and quality control practices used by plant breeders, such as chemical and visual analyses and taste testing, are generally adequate for ensuring food safety.

Additional tests are performed, however, when suggested by the product's history of use, composition, or characteristics. If present, certain safety-related characteristics of new foods require greater scrutiny by the agency. These include the presence of a substance that is completely new to the food supply (and that therefore lacks a history of safe use) or of an allergen presented in an unusual or unexpected way (for example, a peanut protein transferred to a potato). New carbohydrates with unusual structural or functional groups, or oils that contain new or unusual fatty acids, may require premarket approval as food additives (2). Other characteristics of potential concern are changes in amounts of major dietary nutrients or increased concentrations of toxins normally found in foods. For example, potatoes are generally tested for the glycoalkaloid solanine – which has been linked to the birth defect spina bifida (3) – because toxic amounts of this natural toxicant have been detected in some new potato varieties.

This focus by the FDA on safety-related characteristics, rather than on the method by which the plant was genetically modified, reflects the scientific consensus that, as expressed in an analysis by the National Research Council, the same physical and biological laws govern the response of organisms modified by modern molecular and cellular methods and those produced by classical methods, and therefore, no conceptual distinction exists (4). Following this logic, the use of any particular genetic manipulation should not in itself determine the need for or the degree of governmental review. However, this is not universally followed by other U.S. and foreign regulatory agencies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency oversee the field testing and use of biotechnology under regulations that are triggered by the use of recombinant DNA techniques – in other words, regulation is focused on process rather than risk (5). This unscientific approach has elicited widespread condemnation from the scientific community (6).

The Guidance to Industry section in the FDA's 1992 policy statement instructs food producers who use novel plants to consider the characteristics of the host plant that is modified, the donor organism that contributes genetic information, and the genetic material and other substances introduced or modified. It also enumerates the safety-related characteristics for determining whether a substance intentionally introduced or altered by genetic modification will require premarket review and approval. The lengthy premarket review process requires submission of data to demonstrate safety.

In general, neither premarket review nor consultation with the FDA is required for introduced or modified proteins of known function if they are derived from food sources or are substantially the same as existing food substances, if they are not known to be toxic or to raise food safety concerns, and if they will not be a major constituent of the diet. Nevertheless, the FDA intends to follow the development of foods made with new biotechnology (7) via noncompulsory informal consultation procedures.

To Label or Not to Label

The question of whether foods derived from organisms containing recombinant DNA (biotech foods) should be specially labeled has received a great deal of attention (8). The FDA's approach to the labeling of foods, including those genetically engineered or otherwise novel, is that the label must be accurate and material. There are only two situations in which the FDA can require that a transgenic origin or ingredient be disclosed on the food label: (i) The FDA may mandate the disclosure of facts on a product label that relate to material consequences that can follow the consumption of a food (for example, certain beans that must be soaked and cooked before eating). (ii) The FDA can require that a label reveal facts necessary to correct or balance other representations made by the manufacturer or seller (9). Accordingly, labeling is required if a food derived from a new plant variety differs from its traditional counterpart such that the common or usual name no longer applies, or if a safety or usage issue exists to which consumers must be alerted (2). The policy statement also emphasizes that no premarket review or approval is required unless characteristics of the biotech food explicitly raise safety issues, and that – inasmuch as the genetic method used in the development of a new plant variety does not meet either of the two criteria for materiality – the FDA cannot require the labeling to include this information.

The policy has already been tested, in a way that constitutes a kind of positive control. Pioneer Hi-Bred International produced a recombinant soybean for animal feed that contained an allergenic protein transferred from Brazil nuts (10). Before release of the product, during consultation with the FDA, Pioneer Hi-Bred identified the allergen. Confronted with potential product liability and the costs of labeling all products derived from the new plant variety, the company abandoned plans to use the new soybeans in consumer products. No consumers were exposed to injury.

The FDA's approach is consistent with the scientific consensus that the risks associated with recombinant organisms, and with products derived from them, are fundamentally the same as for nonrecombinant products. Dozens of new plant varieties modified with traditional genetic techniques (such as hybridization and mutagenesis) enter the marketplace every year without premarket regulatory review or special labeling (11). Many are from wide crosses in which genes have been moved across natural breeding barriers, that is, from one species or genus to another. None of these plants exist in nature. Nonetheless, they have become an integral, familiar, and safe part of our diet – they include bread and durum wheat, corn, rice, oats, black currants, pumpkins, tomatoes, and potatoes (12).

The massive accumulation of sequencing data shows extensive genetic similarity between genomes of organisms that are only remotely related. For example, parts of the nucleic acid sequence of Escherichia coli are identical to that of organisms such as oilseed rape, amphibians, birds, grasses, and mammals – including humans (13). Such findings put in doubt the value of assigning genes to a particular species.

Economics and Psychology of Labeling

Special-interest groups have called for stringent labeling requirements, but these may not be in the best interest of consumers. Labeling can add significantly to production costs of foods, particularly those that are produced from pooled fresh fruits and vegetables. To maintain the accuracy of such labels, recombinant DNA-modified fruits and vegetables would have to be segregated through all phases of production (planting, harvesting, processing, and distribution), which would add costs and compromise economies of scale. These added production costs constitute, in effect, a special tax levied on producers who use a new technology. They reduce profits to plant breeders, farmers, food processors, grocers, and others in the distribution pathway, while also decreasing competition and increasing prices.

Furthermore, overregulation in the form of compulsory labeling could change the course of future research and development. In the United States and other countries, under current regulatory regimes for field testing that focus exclusively on organisms manipulated with recombinant DNA techniques, R&D has become limited primarily to a small number of commodity crops that are grown on a vast scale, at the expense of opportunities to improve important small-acreage crops (5). In 1998, the top four recombinant crops (soybean, corn, cotton, and oilseed rape) accounted for more than 99% of the global acreage (1) – innovation seldom targets the genetic improvement of environmentally threatened species such as trees, or of subsistence crops such as millet, cassava, and yams.

The language of the FDA's principal enabling statute – the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act – firmly supports (indeed, to a large extent, dictates) the FDA's policies toward biotech foods. These policies were upheld indirectly by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which found in a pivotal 1996 decision regarding another product of biotechnology that food labeling cannot be compelled just because some consumers wish to have the information. In overturning a Vermont law that required labeling of dairy products from cows treated with recombinant bovine somatotropin, the court found that such regulation merely to satisfy the public's right to know is a constitutional violation of commercial free speech. Were consumer interest alone sufficient, there is no end to the information that states could require manufacturers to disclose about their production methods, the court wrote (14).

Why is so much attention paid to the issue of labeling? The answer lies in the intentions and actions of ideological opponents of the new biotechnology. Labeling raises costs, which discourages producers and consumers and destroys markets for new products, so for those wishing to block the commercialization of biotech products, forcing an increase in costs is an effective strategy. Regulatory stringency is also an unmistakable signal to the public that there is something fundamentally different and worrisome about biotech foods.

Anti-biotechnology activists argue that we need regulation because consumers are apprehensive, and then, when consumers become apprehensive because the products are stringently regulated, these activists say we need more regulation to assuage consumers' concerns. A similar strategy was used by activists in the 1980s to increase consumer anxiety regarding irradiated foods. The psychological aspect of this general strategy was conveyed to the National Biotechnology Board by the head of a national consumer advocacy group: The consumer views the technologies that are most regulated to be the least safe ones. Heavy involvement by government, no matter how well intended, inevitably sends the wrong signals (15).

The FDA's policy toward labeling biotech food is in contrast to that in Europe and Asia, where regulators have permitted politics, public misapprehensions, the blandishments of anti-technology activists, and nescience to dictate policy. Perhaps the scientifically defensible and risk-based approach of the FDA in the United States can illustrate that sound public policy can safeguard public health and stimulate new technology.

References

  1. C. James, Global Review of Commercialized Transgenic Crops (ISAAA Briefs No. 8, ISAAA, Ithaca, NY, 1998).
  2. Excludes acreage in China.
  3. Federal Register, Statement of Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties 57, 22984 (29 May 1992).
  4. M. Chrispeels and D. Sadava, Plants, Genes, and Agriculture (Jones and Bartlett, Boston, 1994), p. 348.
  5. National Research Council, Field Testing Genetically Modified Organisms: Framework for Decisions (National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1989).
  6. H. I. Miller, Policy Controversy in Biotechnology: An Insider's View (Landes, Austin, TX, 1997), chapters 3 and 4.
  7. Appropriate Oversight for Plants with Inherited Traits for Resistance to Pests: A Report from 11 Professional Societies (Institute of Food Technologists, Chicago, 1996).
  8. Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties: Consultation Procedures (Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA, June 1996).
  9. T. Ayers, Science 281, 714 (1998) – N. Williams, ibid., p. 769.
  10. Compilation of Food and Drug Laws (Food and Drug Law Institute, Washington, DC, 1993), pp. 30-62.
  11. J. A. Nordler et al., N. Engl. J. Med. 334, 688 (1996).
  12. H. I. Miller, J. Am. Med. Assoc. 269, 910 (1993).
  13. R. M. Goodman, H. Hauptli, A. Crossway, V. C. Knauf, Science 236, 48 (1987).
  14. K. Takemoto, M Yano, Y. Akiyama, H. Mori, GenoBase 1.1 Escherichia coli, March 1994. International Dairy Foods Association v. Amestoy, 92 F. 3rd 67 (2nd Cir. 1996).
  15. Consumer Alert, before the National Biotechnology Policy Board, 20 September 1991, as quoted in National Biotechnology Policy Board Report (Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 1992), p. E-27.

The author is at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA, and is an Adjunct Scholar, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC 20036, USA. E-mail: miller@hoover.stanford.edu

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

Date: 28 May 1999 12:10:07 -0500
From: MichaelP papadop@peak.org

GM report: Crops 'being modified to benefit rich'

INDEPENDENT (London) May 28

Biotechnology companies were accused yesterday of lining their shareholders' pockets by producing genetically modified (GM) crops to benefit rich countries, rather than Third World nations where the technology could save lives.

A two-year investigation by a panel for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, an independent body, concluded that GM foods posed no heightened risk compared with normal food - but added that the "moral imperative" is "compelling" for making GM crops that would actually benefit consumers readily and economically available to developing countries that want them.

Professor Alan Ryan, warden of New College, Oxford, who chaired the panel for the council, said: "Commercial incentives won't be enough to encourage the development of crops that the Third World countries need or that their farmers can afford." Two-thirds of land sown with GM crops is in the United States, the panel noted.

However, the report was immediately criticised by Christian Aid, which two weeks ago released its own report, strongly critical of the promises of GM to the developing world. Andrew Simms, that report's author, said: "There's more than enough food to feed everybody in the world. Eight out of ten hungry children in poor countries live surrounded by food surplus."

But Professor Michael Lipton, of the Poverty Research Unit at the University of Sussex, retorted: "It would be cruel to deny people these products just because they wouldn't need them in cloud-cuckoo-land. The pace of land reform, given the political realities, will always be too slow."

Professor Lipton said that 240 million people went hungry or developed diseases leading to blindness and other debilitating conditions because they lacked nutritious food. "If you compare the area of GM rice, sorghum or millet planted - which is less than 5 per cent of the total - with the area of GM tobacco - which is 10 per cent of the total for that crop - then you see the problem. It is not particular wickedness of the part of these companies, it is their response to market forces," he said.

One panel member, Julie Hill of the environmental charity Green Alliance, backed its assertion that there is no need for a moratorium on the commercial planting of crops in the United Kingdom. She suggested that other environmental groups, which have by contrast called for global bans, were "unfair".

The nine-member panel, which included scientists, the restaurateur Prue Leith, and Ms Hill, sought to allay public fears, concluding that food with GM elements on sale in Britain was as safe as any other - although they did agree that labelling to allow consumer choice was useful in providing reassurance.

"When you drive a car, it's not entirely safe but you do it of your own free will," said Professor Ryan. "People shouldn't have risk dumped on them without their consent."

* Tony Blair accused the media of "extraordinary" reporting of the row over GM food. The Prime Minister told the Cabinet's weekly meeting that while positive scientific reports were barely reported, the media gave huge space to "anything which fed the hysteria", a Downing Street spokesman said.


Top PreviousFront Page

Date: 28 May 1999 12:10:07 -0500
From: MichaelP papadop@peak.org

'Moral imperative' for GM food to combat world hunger

GUARDIAN (London) Friday May 28, 1999

A team of independent government advisers yesterday declared a "compelling moral imperative" for research into new genetically modified crops to combat world hunger and poverty.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics a science watchdog composed of scientists, lawyers, philosophers and environmentalists said there were no grounds for a ban or moratorium on commercial plantings in Britain and new GM crops would be needed to fight hunger and poverty in the developing world.

In the next three decades, there could be another 3bn mouths to feed. But crop yields have ceased to keep pace with population growth, and land available for cultivation in Africa and Asia is dwindling.

The committee, after 18 months sifting through the issues, said consumers should have a choice about their food, measures were needed to evaluate any risks of future GM foods, and there should be government rules to guide the technology. Research should be conducted by and for the public, rather than by commercial interests.

The committee made 36 recommendations, including one for an advisory body to monitor GM foods, a proposition already accepted by the government.

The Nuffield working party included six professors, cookery writer Prue Leith, green alliance adviser Julie Hill, and Derek Osborn, European environment agency chairman.

"Nobody could say, of any of the members of the working party, that they would say this any way," said Nick Ross, the broadcaster who chaired the committee announcement. "None of them has, in any form, a vested interest."

Alan Ryan, warden of New College, Oxford, and a moral philosopher, said GM crops were not intrinsically morally suspect. The GM technology did not violate nature in any way, but the working party recognised that many people believed GM crops were unnatural, and they should be able to choose not to buy them. GM crops did not threaten the environment, any more than non-GM crops.

The panel felt the potential benefits of GM crops had been underplayed. Michael Lipton, of the poverty research unit at Sussex university, said 800m people were dangerously underfed. GM rice in China had raised hybrid yields by 25%; another GM variety incorporated resistance to a major fungus pest. The Rockefeller Foundation was testing rice enriched with vitamin A and 200m people in the developing world were seriously deficient in vitamin A.

The report came as Tony Blair told his cabinet he found it "extraordinary" that newspapers and television gave huge coverage to anything which fed anti-GM food hysteria, but ignored reports like yesterday's.

But Andrew Simms, of Christian Aid, said the council was "out of touch" and had misunderstood the problem of hunger. "There is more than enough food to feed everybody in the world."

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