Genetically
 Manipulated 


 

 
 
 Food


 News

20 June 99

Table of Contents

US Environmental Organizations Called on Clinton to Ban GE Corn
Embryo Work Raises Specter of Human Harvesting
U.K. Ag Min: Biocrops May Provoke Next EU/US Trade Spat
Daily Bread Could Become Our Daily Poison
Dr. Pusztai: No Evidence For 'safe' GM Food
Official data reveals GM crop risks
Letter to Canadian Parliament
Genetically modified crops face trade test
Government's GM policy in disarray
U.S. Ruling Aids Opponent of Patents for Life Forms
US Summit: 500,000 Petition for Mandatory Labelling
Group lobbies for labeling genetically altered foods
Petition to Congress seeks labels on transgenic foods
Scientist Wins Whistle-blower Award over BGH
American DNA Testing Firm Chosen by British Retail Consortium
More Internet Links
GM Trials Warning
UK: Hazlewood pledges to clear out GM foods
GM food 'threatens the planet'
World's top sweetener is made with GM bacteria
Leaders reject GM policing

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Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 14:57:47 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-15

US Environmental Organizations Called on Clinton to Ban GE Corn

By Agence France Presse via NewsEdge Corporation
WASHINGTON, June 14 (AFP) - June 15, 1999

US environmental organizations called on President Bill Clinton Monday to ban genetically modified Bt corn in the wake of a report saying the crop may kill a certain type of butterfly.

The groups asked the president in a letter to deny the renewal of licenses for all Bt crops, to require the labeling of all Bt foods and to stop pressuring nations that are reluctant to accept genetically modified foods.

"Monsanto and other companies have been experimenting with these monster crops all across the country with little regard for the consequences," said Brent Blackwelder, president of Friends of the Earth, one of the groups planning a demonstration here Thursday against genetically modified foods.

Environmentalists are basing their complaint on a study by researchers at Cornell University saying genetically altered corn could be lethal to monarch butterflies.


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Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 14:57:47 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-15

Embryo Work Raises Specter of Human Harvesting

By Rick Weiss -Washington, Post Staff Writer -Monday, June 14, 1999; Page A1

A team of American researchers has quietly begun trying to create the world's first batches of cloned human embryos, and another team has resumed its controversial cloning of embryos that are part human and part cow, according to scientists involved in the work.

The privately funded work is part of a new surge of human embryo research aimed at developing novel treatments for diseases - but which some scientists believe could be inadvertently paving the way to the first births of cloned babies.

The work is also a vivid reminder that while Congress, the National Institutes of Health and a presidentially appointed bioethics commission debate the finer points of whether federal dollars should be spent on certain types of human embryo research, the private sector is rapidly moving forward to capitalize on the potentially lucrative field.

The two companies that have started the programs to grow their own embryos, Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif., and Advanced Cell Therapeutics (ACT) of Worcester, Mass., are not trying to make full-grown human clones or human-cow hybrids. Rather, the goal is to use the newly cloned embryos as sources of embryonic stem cells, a recently discovered kind of cell that is thought to have the potential to treat a host of chronic ailments, including diabetes and Parkinson's disease.

Nonetheless, the two programs are the first openly concerted efforts to create human embryos by cloning. They also appear to be the first instances of scientists creating human embryos explicitly for the purpose of harvesting medically useful cells - a practice that President Clinton banned among federally funded researchers 4 years ago but that remains legal in the private sector.

Adding to the contentious nature of the work is the widely held suspicion that the new experiments will inevitably, and perhaps very quickly, help others overcome the remaining technical hurdles to cloning human beings. After all, once someone perfects the art of making healthy cloned human embryos as a source of stem cells, all that would be needed to make the world's first human clone would be to place one of those embryos in a woman's womb so she could give birth to the resulting child.

That uncomfortable link between stem cell research and human cloning is raising difficult questions about how to draw legal and ethical distinctions between cloning young human embryos - essentially balls of a few hundred cells - for medical research, and cloning human beings as a reproductive alternative.

For those who believe that life begins around the time of conception, and that even very young embryos deserve special respect and protection, the cultivation of embryos to harvest their cells is beyond the ethical pale, said George Annas, a bioethicist and professor of health law at Boston University.

"They can make the argument that really what they're doing is just culturing stem cells," Annas said. "It's an argument, but it won't fly with a lot of people."

But for those who believe, as many scientists do, that an embryo does not become a person until it is at least 14 days old, when the first evidence of a nervous system appears, experimentation on five- to 10-day-old human embryos for stem cells is a worthy endeavor.


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Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 16:08:24 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-17

U.K. Ag Min: Biocrops May Provoke Next EU/US Trade Spat

From U.K. Agricult. Mininistry

LONDON (Dow Jones)--U.S. opposition to European Union rules requiring the labeling of genetically-modified foods could provoke the next trade dispute between the two trading blocs, U.K. agriculture minister, Jeff Rooker said in a report Tuesday.

Rooker, giving evidence to a House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee on genetically modified organisms, was asked whether he envisaged the World Trade Organization mediating a dispute over U.S. sales of the controversial new technology into European markets. I hope it does not but the fact remains that the European position is that this food is going to be labeled. The Americans do not take this view," Rooker said. "They do not even want animal feedstuffs labeled because we are going down the road of labeling animal feedstuffs."

The E.U.'s policy to label products containing genetically-modified ingredients was taken to provide consumer choice, Rooker said.


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Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 16:08:24 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-17

Daily Bread Could Become Our Daily Poison

By Joe Barber-starkey
Times Colonist (Victoria) , June 15, 1999 Final Voices A14

For thousands of years since the first nomadic hunter-gatherers settled down to cultivate the wild plants and grasses, the cycle of grain farming has been the same. Land was cultivated, irrigation was developed, grain seeds were sown and harvested, and a portion of the crop was stored for next year's sowing.

Occasionally the seed did not survive, due to drought, floods, hail, insect plague, or was lost in storage due to rodents, fire, mildew. Then came the time of decision – whether to try and preserve the remainder for seed, or eat it to prevent starvation. Sometimes other areas had surplus harvest which they would sell – biblical history records the journey of Joseph's brothers to buy grain in Egypt. But that is now all changing since the development of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), and their being monopolized and patented by giant chemical multinationals such as Monsanto and Dow Chemical.

GMO is accomplished by splicing a DNA code gene from one type of living organism to another. As an example, Monsanto added a gene to wheat that made the crop resistant to their powerful herbicide Roundup, and thus could sell the modified seed (grown with the help of Monsanto chemical fertilizer) as a package with their herbicide, which was used to destroy all other vegetation – including many wild grasses, the original seed source of centuries ago.

The farmers purchasing the package deal were initially required to sign a contract not to use the modified harvest for seed, or to sell it to others. However, this is now unnecessary due to the addition of another gene to the which renders the seed sterile, thus requiring farmers to buy the modified seed each year and add to Monsanto's profits.


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Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 16:08:24 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-17

Here is a letter to the editor written by Dr. Arpad Pusztai, the scientist in Scotland who was removed from his job after he reported that GE potatoes had harmed animals:

Dr. Pusztai: No Evidence For 'safe' GM Food

Letter to the Editor from Arpad Pusztai
The Daily Telegraph (london) June 14, 1999

SIR

Your leading article on genetically modified food (June 10), though admirable in many respects, made a number of statements that cannot stand up to objective scrutiny. For some time, I and many of my scientific colleagues have been trying to put over to the public and the scientific community that, despite all assurances by politicians, no rigorous tests of GM food have been carried out on animals or humans. Indeed, the total sum of such papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals to date amounts to only one.

When one reads in your leading article that, ". . . research involving GM crops was being conducted as long ago as the early 1980s by the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge. Since that time thousands of experiments have been undertaken without any indication of a threat to public health", it becomes clear that our message is not getting through.

The obvious question to ask is: if these experiments took place, why cannot we read the results? Why is it that some politicians, scientists and journalists can make comforting public statements about the thorough testing of GM food without first either publishing the results of such tests or at least referring to the publications that contain this evidence?

This is particularly striking as Sir Robert May, the Government's chief scientific adviser, has admitted that no GM food has ever been tested on human volunteers. Without published evidence, all assurances that GM food is no danger to public health is of less scientific value than our much- maligned data indicating some harmful effects of GM potatoes, published on the Internet by the Rowett Research Institute without our consent.

It is therefore difficult to understand your last two sentences that, "the scientific community has, in general, handled this [GM] issue with caution and responsibility. That is a matter of congratulation, not complaint". As a scientist, I have to say, with sadness, that the approach to public health taken by some politicians and scientists who uncritically advocate GM food strikes me as coming close to being cavalier rather than cautious or responsible.

Arpad Pusztai
Aberdeen


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Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 16:08:24 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-17

Official data reveals GM crop risks

By Paul Waugh, Political Correspondent, INDEPENDENT (London) June 16

THE GOVERNMENT will be forced into an embarrassing retreat on genetically modified crops today when its own research concludes that there is a "real risk" of contamination of other plants.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will publish a long-awaited report that will produce evidence of "transgenic pollution" from GM crops to neighbouring fields. The report, commissioned by Maff from the highly respected John Innes Centre, represents the most convincing research to date modified plants can cross-pollinate.

Organic farmers have complained bitterly that their crops are at risk of contamination from pollen carried by the wind or by bees.

Ministers will announce an overhaul of guidelines issued to the biotechnology industry on safe planting distances from GM crops.

The Government will have "no option" but to increase the distances, currently set at 200 metres, ministerial sources have told The Independent.


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Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 16:08:24 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-17

Here is a letter that we recently sent out to all the Members of Parliament in Canada. (The letter is almost identical to a letter that Mothers for Natural Law wrote.)

Letter to Canadian Parliament

CONSUMER RIGHT TO KNOW CAMPAIGN
for mandatory labelling and long-term testing of genetically engineered foods
_____________________________________________________
500 Wilbrod, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N2 o tel: 613-565-1838 o fax: 613-565-1596
e-mail: rwolfson@concentric.net http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic

June 10, 1999

Dear Member of Parliament:

Two weeks ago, Time, the New York Times, USA Today, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, the Toronto Star and most major media outlets across North America carried the news that monarch butterflies died unexpectedly from eating milkweed plants which had been dusted with the pollen of genetically engineered Bt corn. This finding is the most recent of many unwanted and unintentional side effects from genetically engineered foods.

In every corner of the world, at every level of society, scientists, clergy, physicians, farmers, government leaders and citizens are raising a warning against the introduction of genetically engineered organisms into our food chain. Yet here in Canada, our government insists this technology is safe.

If it's safe, why is the British Medical Association calling for a moratorium on commercial transgenic plantings? Why is the European food industry demanding segregation and labeling of genetically engineered products? Why is the Pope warning of ethical implications? Why is Austria fighting to be a biotech-free zone? And why are 1,300 schools in the United Kingdom banning these foods from their cafeterias? Do they know something about genetic engineering that we don't? Are they paying attention to something we are ignoring? And if so, why?

In less than three years, more than 25% of our corn and 35% of our soybeans have been genetically engineered. Already at least 60% of the foods in our grocery stores contain some genetically engineered component. Within 5-10 years the biotech industry intends to genetically engineer all of our food.

Why are we in such a rush? Forty years ago DDT was thought to be a safe and promising addition to agriculture. Thalidomide was given to pregnant women by their doctors. Nuclear power was touted as the cleanest energy source on earth. Marketed prematurely, each of these technological innovations brought unforeseen, unwanted and tragic side effects - which could have been so easily avoided through long-term safety testing.

Well, we're doing it again. Genetically engineered foods are being rushed into the market without proper long-term testing. But the problems that could ensue from the genetic manipulation of our food make even 10,000 years of radioactive waste seem insignificant. Haven't we learned anything from our mistakes?

Canada is a country where social values matter. Although we embrace progress and new technologies, we also value looking after our fellow citizens. But in this case, the glamour of new discoveries is overshadowing our sound judgment and our need for caution. And biotechnology is so powerful that caution is absolutely called for.

The Government has an obligation to look out for the safety and health interests of its citizens and to know when industry is merely trying to make profits at the expense of the population. Canadian citizens are waking up to this issue now that it is becoming front page news and we should expect that the Government would act on our behalf. For consumers to have to take the initiative shows that the Government is failing in its obligation.

The Consumer Right to Know Campaign believes that the genetic engineering of our food supply demands the serious and immediate attention of all government officials. We urge you to safeguard the future for all Canadians.

Yours truly,
Donna Hiscott
Campaign Co-ordinator

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


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Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 16:37:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-17

Genetically modified crops face trade test

By ELLEN BECK, UPI Science News, Wed, Jun 16, 1999

WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) – A trade war is brewing between the United States and Britain over the health risks of eating genetically modified crops.

Experts in Britain want a moratorium on such foods until the United States regulates the companies producing the altered foods and requires product labeling. Sir William Asscher, of the British Medical Association, which represents more than 80 percent of that country's physicians, says today the moratorium on commercial planting should be in place until safety concerns are resolved.

This week the issue got the attention of the U.S. Senate, which Tuesday passed a resolution urging President Clinton to address the issue of biotechnology exports during the upcoming G-8 Summit in Germany.

Researchers have been genetically altering crops for generations but Dr. Paul Billings, a medical geneticist with the Heart of Texas Health Care System, said the purpose has changed in the past five years, creating new, unknown health risks.

He said while researchers used to genetically change a plant to make it look or taste better, now gene alterations are "artificially grafted" onto plants to make it bug resistant, for example. "You introduce a big change and then look for the fallout. There's really inadequate safety monitoring," Billings tells UPI today. "There is substantial evidence that it is truly harmful."

The worry has led farmers, researchers and health officials in Britain, including Prince Charles, to call for a ban on genetically altered crops until the safety issues are settled and that is having an impact on U.S. imports.

Asscher said: "In the United States, it has gone farther and faster than it should have without governance. We do recognize that there are enormous trade implications, but you've got to separate trade from science and science has to take precedence here."

Billings said there has been little research done on the health implications of what he called "a change going on in the food supply." Some known examples include genetic altering that strips recombinant soybeans of their heart protecting mechanism and genes that when added to foods develop proteins that cause new allergies for unsuspecting consumers.

"When it comes to foodstuffs, the exposure is involuntary," Asscher said. In 1998, genetically altered seed varieties accounted for 38 percent of the U.S. soybean acreage. Much of the corn grown in the United States contains genetically added Bt, a natural pesticide, which in one recent study was shown to have killed or made sick all of the monarch butterflies that ate it.

It's estimated that 60 percent of all foods on U.S. grocery store shelves includes some genetically engineered organism.


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Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 16:37:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-17

Government's GM policy in disarray

By Paul Waugh and Michael McCarthy
INDEPENDENT (London) June 17

THE GOVERNMENT'S policy on genetically modified foods was left in disarray yesterday after its own research found that GM crops could pollute other plants.

A report commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food concluded it was impossible to guarantee that foods now sold as GM-free could remain completely uncontaminated. As revealed in The Independent yesterday, the research by the John Innes Centre in Norwich, Europe's leading GM research institute, states that contamination by either GM pollen or seed cannot be "entirely eliminated".

Both bees and the wind can carry pollen several miles, while seeds from modified oilseed rape could be accidentally dispersed during harvesting or transferred from machinery to non-GM fields, the report found. Crucially, its states that current "safe" planting distances, set at 200m for oilseed rape, should be increased if the organic farming industry is to maintain its "GM-free" certification.

It presents the Government with a simple but devastating implication: GM agriculture and organic food and farming cannot co-exist in Britain, and a choice will have to be made between them.


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Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 16:37:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-17

U.S. Ruling Aids Opponent of Patents for Life Forms

By Rick Weiss, Washington Post Staff Writer, 17 June 1999

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has turned down a scientist's controversial request for a patent on creatures that would be part animal and part human--bizarre life forms that no one has made before, but that might prove useful in medical experiments.

But unlike most patent office rejectees, the scientist, Stuart Newman, is celebrating. The New York Medical College biology professor never intended to make the animal-human hybrids. He applied for the patent to gain the legal standing to challenge U.S. patent policy, which allows patents on living entities.

The patent office ruled in part that Newman's invention is too human to be patentable. By doing so, it opened the door to a series of legal challenges available to all patent applicants--a path that could lead to the Supreme Court.

Newman hopes his appeals will force a judicial and congressional reassessment of the nation's 19-year-old policy of granting patents on life forms. That policy, based on a single court decision, has provided the foundation for today's $13 billion biotechnology industry.


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Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 16:37:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-17

(The following text was written by me. You can see the following Boston Globe article if you need a reference.)

US Summit: 500,000 Petition for Mandatory Labelling

By Richard Wolfson

On June 17, 1999 in Washington, DC, a National Summit of eminent scientists, doctors, public policy experts, leaders in industry, farmers, religious leaders, and consumer groups submitted to the US President, Congress, USDA, FDA, and EPA 500,000 petition signatures calling for the mandatory labelling of genetically engineered foods.

The room was packed with over 140 individuals , including representatives from the US Congress, the Senate, and various other government agencies. Several dozen national and international press covered the event, including Boston Globe, LA Times, Reuters, BBC, and Financial Times of London. The serious risks of genetically engineered foods were discussed in detail.

Dr. Gary Kaplan, Director of the North Shore University Hospital in New York, said inserting genes from other species into plants for human or animal consumption is dangerously unpredictable. Dr. Richard Strohman, Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley, said we are totally in the dark about knowing how to assess genetically engineered food. He said: "You don't even know what questions to ask because of the time it takes for some of these impacts of genetic modifications to show up."

Industry representatives said that the US industry was losing its European market because European consumers were not buying GE foods. Consumer and religious groups explained that their ethical rights were being violated and that GE foods should be labelled so that consumers can have a choice.


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Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 16:37:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-17

Group lobbies for labeling genetically altered foods

By Scott Allen, Boston Globe, 06/18/99

WASHINGTON - American consumers become unwitting guinea pigs in a poorly understood experiment every time they go food shopping, a diverse group of scientists, activists, and a British supermarket executive warned yesterday, because increasing amounts of corn, soy beans, and other crops are grown from genetically altered seeds.

The group, gathered for a forum called the National Summit on the Hazards of Genetically Engineered Foods, presented petitions with 500,000 signatures to Congress and the Food and Drug Administration calling on the government to require genetically modified foods to carry labels so that consumers will know if a tomato has been treated with fish genes or corn chips contain genes from bacteria.

Yesterday's demonstration was the first sign that a deep distrust of genetically altered foods that has swept Europe could catch on in the United State. Don't I have a right to know what's in the food I select for my children asked Laura Ticciati, executive director of the Iowa-based Mothers for Natural Law that headed the petition drive.

But FDA officials, as well as seed company and grocery industry executives, said labeling would only stigmatize the foods, without providing real information. They said the foods are just as nutritious and safe as crops grown from conventional agriculture techniques. said Lisa Katic, science and nutrition policy director at the Grocery Manufacturers of America. Federal researchers, she reviewed this for the past 20 years. ... They felt comfortable that it was one step further than the selective breeding that scientists have

Scientists at the conference, however, questioned how well anyone understands the long-term impact of genetically modified foods. They pointed to a new study showing that pollen from genetically modified corn kills monarch butterflies as proof that these crops have not been studied enough. You don't even know what questions to ask because of the time it takes said Richard Strohman, a retired molecular and cell biologist from the University of California at Berkeley and a frequent critic of genetic research.

Dr. Gary Kaplan, director of North Shore University Hospital in New York, said inserting genes from other species into plants for human or animal consumption is dangerously unpredictable. He said a diet supplement called tryptophan, produced by genetically engineered bacteria, killed 37 people in 1989, although the exact cause could not be determined.

Yet American farmers are unquestionably embracing genetically modified seeds, which have been commercially available for a few years. A quarter of the US corn crop, 35 percent of soy beans, and smaller percentages of everything from potatoes to sugar beets have been genetically modified to increase pest resistance, to improve yields, or to change taste.

Because regulators do not require that the foods be labeled, conventional and genetically altered crops are freely mixed, making it impossible to say definitively what consumer goods contain altered genes.

The American debate over the subject has been remarkably low key. Most politicians and the Clinton administration, back the industry's use of genetically altered seeds as the way of the future for agriculture, boosting agricultural output to match a growing population. Only one member of Congress, David Bonior of Michigan, sent a representative to yesterday's meeting at the Capitol Hilton Hotel.

Europeans, meanwhile, have been far more nervous about the trend,

The differences have fueled growing trade tensions between the United States and Europe as the European Union slows its approvals of genetically engineered products, virtually all of which are coming from American fields. Last month, 36 senators wrote a letter to Clinton warning of a if Europeans don't ease restrictions on genetically modified foods.

Steven Druker of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, which has sued the FDA to require labeling, believes that Americans would be just as nervous as the Europeans if they knew more about what was in their food. FDA officials have moved to dismiss Druker's lawsuit and promised to review the petitions, but yesterday, they referred reporters to their 1992 policy that no labeling would be required unless there is a reason, such as a potential for causing allergies or increasing antibiotic resistance in humans.


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Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 16:37:52 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-17

Petition to Congress seeks labels on transgenic foods

By Julie Vorman, Thursday June 17

WASHINGTON, June 17 (Reuters) - Nearly a half-million Americans urged Congress on Thursday to require labels on foods containing genetically-modified soybeans, corn and other ingredients, reflecting growing consumer unease around the world about transgenic crops.

A petition drive, coordinated by a little-known political party, is one of the first signs that U.S. consumer support for bioengineered crops may be wavering.

While activists in the European Union have lashed out for months against American shoppers have been relatively complacent about the swelling numbers of farm fields planted with genetically-modified (GM) corn, soybeans, tomatoes, potatoes and other crops.

U.S. farmers, agribusiness and the U.S. Agriculture Department have embraced biotechnology to reduce the amount of pesticides and chemicals used on fields, and to increase the size and quality of crops. This year, more than 60 million acres of the nation's fields will be planted with GM seeds.

A petition, signed by nearly 500,000 consumers, was delivered Thursday to House Minority Whip David Boniors, a Michigan Democrat, by leaders of the Natural Law Party.

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


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Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 06:35:36 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-19 - Good News

A scientist at Health Canada has won a whistle-blowing award for speaking out about a drug-approval process she called flawed. FULL STORY AT: http://newsworld.cbc.ca/cgi-bin/go.pl?1999/06/18/bgh990618

Scientist Wins Whistle-blower Award over BGH

CBC Newsworld Online, WebPosted Fri Jun 18 20:57:12 1999

OTTAWA - A scientist at Health Canada has won a whistle-blowing award for speaking out about a drug-approval process she called flawed.

Margaret Haydon is one of six scientists in the department's bureau of veterinary drugs who have gone public with their concerns.

Her testimony shocked senators who were examining the bovine growth hormone, and lead to the drug's rejection for use in Canada.

The British Columbia Freedom of Information and Privacy Association says Haydon has helped stimulate a national debate about the safety of our food.

A "delighted" Haydon said she was surprised after receiving the nomination and shocked when she won.

The shy and soft-spoken scientist was one of the first people to express concerns about the bovine growth hormone.

Haydon also told senators about managers who are ignoring her safety concerns and approving other growth hormones for livestock.

Health Canada rejects Haydon's allegations. Still, she insists her department isn't doing enough to ensure meat is safe for Canadians to eat.

"I was just doing my job as a public servant," Haydon told CBC News.

"And when I have concerns I feel that the information should be brought out and the public should know what's happening."

Health Canada has slapped her with a gag order, which she is fighting in federal court.


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Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 06:35:36 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-19 - Good News

American DNA Testing Firm Chosen by British Retail Consortium

Business Wire, Jun 15, 1999, 04:29 p.m

American DNA Testing Firm Chosen By Retail Consortium in Great Britain To Certify Foods as Not Genetically Modified

FAIRFIELD, Iowa – (BUSINESS WIRE) – June 15, 1999 – In Great Britain, where health and environmental concerns about genetically modified food are strong, a consortium of major retail food chains and their manufacturers has chosen Genetic ID, Inc., an American laboratory that detects genetic modification (GMO) in foods, to join Law Laboratories Ltd., a British consulting firm to the food industry, to operate CERT ID – a certification program to assure the supply of non-genetically modified foods.

As European resistance to GMO foods has increased, American exporters of crops and finished foods have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in export business. With CERT ID, American exporters will now have a standardized approach that will guarantee acceptance of their non-GMO products in Great Britain - and this acceptance is expected to rapidly expand to the European Union in general.

In Great Britain, retail stores have promised to eliminate GMOs from their "own brand" products (which account for 60% of the food sold) but consumers and the media have continually asked how they can know if GMO ingredients have actually been removed. Now CERT ID is designed to answer that question - by enforcing an agreed-upon set of standards backed by rigorous scientific tests, to verify the GMO status of foods from seed to retail shelf.

Dr. John Fagan, founder of Genetic ID, comments: "CERT ID ensures a consistent approach to an agreed standard based on molecular biology, ISO approved certification procedures, and objective tests. This CERT ID program allows accurate labeling of foods, thereby giving consumers a choice about the foods they eat."

It is not surprising that British retailers have come to America for a GMO testing lab. Dr. Fagan is a molecular biologist with 17 years experience doing DNA research for the NIH. His laboratory, Genetic ID, was the first in the world to provide DNA tests to detect GMO in foods, and it still maintains the leading reputation for scientific rigor. Genetic ID uses large sample sizes and its proprietary triple-check methodology to definitively detect every GMO crop on the market – even at such extremely low levels of contamination as 0.1% and .01%.

Law Laboratories (LawLabs), the British component of the CERT ID joint venture, is one of Britain's largest independent consultancies addressing the legality, safety and composition of food and consumer goods. LawLabs chief executive Neil Griffiths comments, "By verifying the segregation, traceability and Identity Preserved systems at every stage of supply, the CERT ID program will actively ensure that food remains non-GMO from crop to finished product."

Says Dr. Fagan, "CERT ID is a natural step for Genetic ID, and for the food industry. Retailers, manufacturers and farmers are realizing that the most important goal is to give to consumers what they want. The CERT ID seal will do just that, by insuring British customers of the foods that they demand."


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Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 06:35:36 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-19 - Good News

Thanks to : Bradford Duplisea brad@pei.sympatico.ca for posting the following website:

More Internet Links

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


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Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 11:48:56 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-20

next article posted by NATURAL LAW PARTY WESSEX nlpwessex@bigfoot.com

GM Trials Warning

By FN reporters, UK's Farming News 18 June 1999

GM TRIAL work is in danger of grinding to a halt in the UK as both biotech companies and those involved in the Government's own farm-scale evaluation programme find it increasingly difficult to persuade farmers to allow their land to be used for the controversial crops.

Fear of being exposed to costly legal damage claims from neighbouring farmers, as well as possible long-term environmental problems, are turning out to be as significant in the decision-making process as concern over direct action by anti-GM protesters.

Meanwhile, 'GM-free zones' are on the horizon.

One insurance expert admitted that with GM crops being such a grey area, farmers choosing to grow them were "virtually on their own".

Underwriting manager at the NFU Mutual, Sid Gibson, confirmed to FARMING NEWS that the principles surrounding GM crops were not clear-cut and the Mutual was trying to formulate its policy. "The big unknown is where there is a risk of cross-contamination," he said. "Farmers considering growing GM crops should get their legal advisers to look at the contract very carefully. Responsibility should he with the biotech company or institution carrying out the trials."


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Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 11:48:56 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-20

UK: Hazlewood pledges to clear out GM foods

By Dan Roberts , THE DAILY TELEGRAPH (LONDON) June 16, 1999,

HAZLEWOOD Foods, which supplies own-label chilled meals to supermarkets, yesterday promised to eliminate all genetically modified (GM) ingredients from its products by the end of this financial year.

Chief executive John Simons said the group had taken significant steps to reduce potential GM content, but admitted the move was largely for commercial, rather than ethical, reasons. This follows similar pledges by other large producers such as Marks & Spencer supplier Northern Foods who are responding to growing consumer fears about the long-term environmental and health impacts of genetic modification.


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Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 11:48:56 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-20

Thanks to Wainwright Churchill WChurchill@bigfoot.com for posting this;

GM food 'threatens the planet'

By Andy McSmith and Denis Staunton, Cologne and Antony Barnett
The Observer 20-6-99 , Sunday June 20, 1999

The world's most powerful leaders yesterday labelled genetically modified food, alongside Aids and the millennium bug, as one of the greatest threats facing the planet.

In a significant blow to Tony Blair and President Bill Clinton, both men were bounced into agreeing a new global inquiry into the safety of GM foods at the G8 summit in Cologne. Blair and the US President have been two of the strongest supporters of the GM industry.

Environmentalists welcomed the development as 'significant', but they warned that the public would not be 'duped by international committees interested in rubber-stamping products of biotechnology firms'.

Tony Juniper, the director of Friends of the Earth, said: 'It shows just how far the thinking in the US and British Governments is from those in other leading nations. If this G8 initiative is to have any credibility, there must now be a five-year freeze on all GM food used commercially.'

Monsanto, the US firm behind GM crops, also welcomed the move, saying it hoped it would speed up international approval of their products. Washington and Brussels are at loggerheads over GM technology, with the US threatening an all-out trade war if Europe tries to ban GM food.

Yesterday the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder - supporting an initiative of French President Jacques Chirac - used his position as head of the host nation to put GM foods on the agenda of the G8 summit. The matter was included under 'global threats' along with Aids and the millennium bug. This Franco-German alliance symbolises the growing opposition on the Continent to the new technology.

Two technical committees of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development will now begin to collate information from around the world to ensure that every country has access to the best research on the effects of genetic modification. Afterwards British officials defended the decision, saying that Britain also believes that 'food standards and food safety are vital to communities'.

Ministers argue they will not give permission for commercial release of such crops until the trial results show these are safe. But environmental campaigners still believe that potential risks to human health have not been properly evaluated and are concerned that GM seeds can cross-pollinate into the countryside, destroying wild habitats.

Opposition to genetically modified food is also beginning to grow in the US, where some 70 million acres of modified soya beans, tomatos, wheat and cotton are now grown across the country.

This unexpected setback at the G8 summit took some of the shine off a personal success for Tony Blair, who persuaded the other G8 leaders to agree measures to improve teacher training worldwide.

It was the first time that G8 had included education as a topic at any of their summits.

" Denis Staunton is Berlin Correspondent of The Irish Times


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Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 11:48:56 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-20

World's top sweetener is made with GM bacteria

Independent on Sunday 20/6/99 UK

The most widely used sweetener in the world, found in fizzy drinks and sweets, is being made using a secret genetic engineering process, which some scientists claim needs further testing for toxic side-effects.

The use of genetic engineering to make aspartame has stayed secret until now because there is no modified DNA in the finished product. Monsanto, the pioneering GM food giant, which makes aspartame, insists that it is completely safe. But some scientists fear that not enough is known about the process of making it. One of the two elements that make up the sweetener can be produced by genetically engineered bacteria, and scientists say that they cannot rule out toxic side-effects.


Top PreviousFront Page

Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 11:48:56 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN6-20

Leaders reject GM policing

By Ian Black in Cologne, GUARDIAN (London) Monday June 21, 1999

Leaders of the G7 industrial nations and Russia in Cologne failed to agree a French plan for a body to police world food standards, but compromised by setting up global scientific working groups to review genetic modification questions.

Tony Blair said at the end of yesterday's summit that he welcomed a decision to "evaluate evidence properly", saying people needed to know genetic modification issues were being carefully scrutinised.

"Given the controversy and debate over GM foods I think this is a worthwhile thing to do," he said. "The more people see what's happening around the world the better."

France's proposal for a world regulator did not win the support of the United States, where agrochemical conglomerates such as Monstanto and Novartis are based. But the summit directed the Organisation on Economic Cooperation and Development to "undertake a study of the implications of biotechnology and other aspects of food safety."

Lobbyists warn that the latest scientific developments are creating a future of dependency on GM crops before effective international safety measures can be put in place.

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


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

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