Genetically
 Manipulated 


 

 
 
 Food


 News

16 September 99

Table of Contents

Two Mindsets, Two Visions of Sustainable Agriculture
Farmer pulls the plug on key GM crop trial
UK Biotech firm sinks amid GM crop worries
Japan: Jusco to start putting GM labels on food
Japan: Itochu to segregate non-GM food soybeans
Failed GM firm pays price of bad publicity
Strategic Diagnostics Offers Cheap Gene Crop Test
France: GM martyr ignites global protest
Storm over 1m GM grants to Minister's lab
Canadian small farm vs Monsanto re GE Canola
High-Tech Crop Fight Victimizes Farmers
Planned Lawsuit To Fuel Biotech Debate
GM Foods Group Gace Huge Lawsuit
GM FOOD: Antitrust case sows seeds of debate
Report: genetic corn planting may drop
Altered Food
US farmers in panic as consumers reject genetically - altered grain:
Nissin Switching from Genetically Altered Soybeans
It Isn't Easy Being Green
CANBERRA, Australia: Industry group to launch GM-free food labels
Genetic food fight heats up
FOX TV Case: Can two reporters take on Murdoch and win?
Transgenic' pollution a new concern
Worry over GM food grows in US
Leading European dog food maker eschews GM
Novartis to rethink its role in GM foods
GM Backlash Leaves US Farmers Wondering how to Sell Their Crops
URL: "Transgenic pollution a new concern"
Survey: Consumers Want Gene-Altered Food Labeled
U.S. Transgenic Corn Enters Russia Illegally
Monsanto Uses Canadian Taxpayer Money to Violate Foreign Laws

Top NextFront Page

Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999 12:25:01 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-11

Donella H. Meadows is an adjunct professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College and director of the Sustainability Institute, a think/do tank that promotes sustainable systems.

Two Mindsets, Two Visions of Sustainable Agriculture

By Donella H. Meadows

"I guess you must be in favor of pesticides," concluded a Monsanto public relations guy, after I objected to his company's genetically engineered potato.

"I guess it's OK with you if people starve," said a botanist I deeply respect, with whom I have carried out a fervent argument about genetic engineering.

Accusations like these astonish me. I'm an organic farmer; I'm not in favor of pesticides. I've spent decades working to end hunger; it is not OK with me that anyone starves. I believe that my two accusers and I are working toward exactly the same goal feeding everyone without wrecking the environment. We would all label that goal "sustainable agriculture." But we must be making radically different assumptions about what that goal looks like and how to get there from here.

The idea that if I oppose genetic engineering, I must favor pesticides, arises from an assumption that those are the only two choices. If they were, I would probably agree that it's better to fool with genomes than to spray poisons over the countryside. But I see other choices. Plant many kinds of crops and rotate them, instead of one or two crops year after year, which make a perfect breeding ground for pests. Build up ecosystems above ground and in the soil so natural enemies rise and fall with the pests, searching and destroying with a specificity and safety and elegance that neither chemicals nor engineering can match.

These are pest control methods based not on chemistry or genetics, but on ecology. They work. I know. I use them. I know dozens of organic farmers who use them. Small scale and large. Northeast, South, Midwest, West. Apples, lettuce, potatoes, strawberries, broccoli, rice, soybeans, wheat, corn.

The claim that we need genetic engineering to feed the hungry must be based on two assumptions: first that more food will actually go to hungry people, second that genetic engineering is the only way to raise more food. I assume, to the contrary, that more food will not help those who can't afford to buy or grow it, especially if it comes from expensive, patented, designer seed.

Furthermore, more food is not needed. We already grow enough to nourish everyone. If just one-third of the grain fed to animals went to humans instead, we would not have 24,000 deaths per day due to hunger. Or if 40 percent post-harvest loss rates in poor countries were reduced. Or if we shared the embarrassing crop surpluses of North America and Europe. Or if we created an economy where everyone had money to buy food or land to grow it which would solve a lot of other problems too.

Where, when or if more food is needed, there are ways to produce it that don't require biotech or chemicals. Folks with an industrial ag mindset

assume that organic agriculture would cut yields. Not only is there no evidence for that assumption, there are numerous studies to the contrary. One of the latest appeared in Nature last year; its summary opens like this: "In comparison with conventional, high-intensity agricultural methods, 'organic' alternatives can improve soil fertility and have fewer detrimental effects on the environment. These alternatives can also produce equivalent crop yields to conventional methods."

Imagine what yields could be if even one-tenth as much research effort were put into organic farming as has been put into chemicals or genetics.

When I show this evidence to proponents of high-tech farming, when I offer to take them to see organic farms, when I point out that hunger could be ended by sharing food or technologies that raise output without poisoning the earth or invading the genome, I don't think my argument even reaches their auditory nerves, much less their brains. That kind of extreme failure even to hear an argument, much less process it, alerts me that this is not a rational discussion. It is a worldview difference, a paradigm gap, a disagreement about morals and values and identities and fundamental assumptions about the way the world works.

I assume the world works by the laws of ecology and economics and human nature. Ecology says that monocultures breed pests; that chemicals upset soil ecosystems and kill off natural predators; that crops with pesticide in every cell will induce pest resistance; that animals and plants should be grown in close proximity so manure can go back to the soil; and that we haven't the slightest idea what the ecological or evolutionary consequences of genetic engineering will be.

Economics says you can never have a sustainable market if you produce something consumers fear and you hide critical information about how it was produced and what it contains. Because industrial agriculture has violated that law and lost the trust of consumers, the market for organic produce is growing in American and Europe by 20-30 percent per year, even with a price premium; it now totals over $9 billion.

Human nature says the more actual producers can own and shape and control land and inputs and seeds and knowledge, the more inventive, adaptive, and equitable agriculture will be.

Acceptance of those laws shapes my vision of sustainable agriculture. I picture healthy ecosystems and healthy human beings working together in thriving, close-knit communities. Farms are small, owner-operated, with what Wes

Jackson calls a "high eyes-to-acres ratio," which means they are well managed and high-yielding. Farmers make more use of knowledge and people than of chemicals and seeds they can't breed for themselves. Animals are raised on all farms; there are good reasons why ecosystems don't concentrate all the plants in one place and all the animals in another.

Food is grown everywhere, in cities, in suburbs. The distance from producer to consumer is short, there are fewer supermarkets, more farmers markets, less packaging, more freshness. The principle of one of my favorite organic farmers permeates the system: 'I'm not growing food, I'm growing health."

To those who do not believe such a vision is possible, I can only say, it exists, it's alive and well and growing, it's even more profitable than the industrial vision, the food tastes better, the work is more pleasurable. I live in this vision. I have friends all over the world who live in it. Come see.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999 12:25:01 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-11

Farmer pulls the plug on key GM crop trial

By David Derbyshire, DAILY MAIL (London), September 8, 1999

Neighbours' Fears Force Landowner To Think Again

A FARMER has abandoned a trial of genetically-modified crops, plunging the Government's testing programme into crisis. David Rose pulled out of plans to plant 25 acres of his land with GM oilseed rape after protests from nearby residents and farmers. His decision will be a huge blow to the Government, whose three remaining farm trials of 'Frankenstein food' crops have been delayed by legal action. Mr Rose was to grow the mutant crop at his farm on behalf of the German biotechnology company AgrEvo. But after opposition from neighbours the land at Screveton, near Nottingham, is being sown with conventional oilseed rape. Friends of the Earth, which has been granted leave to bring a judicial review of the GM trials, welcomed Mr Rose's decision. Its food campaigner Adrian Bebb said yesterday: 'This should be congratulated.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999 12:25:01 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-11

UK Biotech firm sinks amid GM crop worries

September 7, 1999

LONDON (Reuters) - A small British biotechnology company that dreamt of producing vaccines inside gene-spliced potatoes has put itself up for sale after scaring potential investors with its links to genetically modified food. Unlisted Cambridge-based Axis Genetics has invited bidders after it failed to raise 10 million pounds (US-dollars 16.07 million) via a book building process.

The company managed only 8.2 million pounds, which fell short of the minimum target that was set for the investors to keep their investment commitment.

It is the first case of a biotech company falling victim of the general backlash against genetic engineering in the UK. "It was not an issue with our current investors but when we went to look for new investors that did become a factor," Chief Executive Iain Cubitt told Reuters.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999 12:25:01 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-11

Japan: Jusco to start putting GM labels on food

Reuters September 8, 1999 TOKYO

Jusco Co Ltd said it will this month become the first major Japanese supermarket operator to label food products based on the genetic origin of the crops used. Jusco, which operates over 300 stores nationwide, has decided to start labelling genetically-modified (GM) food before the government's label requirements are implemented from 2001, because of requests from consumers, a company spokesman said. "It is the responsibility of a retail company to disclose information that consumers want to know," he said.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999 12:25:01 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-11

Japan: Itochu to segregate non-GM food soybeans

Reuters September 8, 1999 TOKYO

Japanese trading house Itochu Corp said yesterday it plans to import 150,000-200,000 tonnes of non-genetically modified (GM) food soybeans from the United States in the year beginning with this harvest, to secure supplies for food makers who want to avoid using GM crops. "Most of our customers say they want to use non-GM food soybeans," a Itochu spokesman said.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999 12:25:01 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-11

Failed GM firm pays price of bad publicity

by James Meikle, The Guardian (London) September 8,

The first significant biotech company to run out of money yesterday blamed its demise on bad publicity surrounding genetic engineering. Axis Genetics, which is using genetically modified plants for drug research, has begun insolvency proceedings having failed to raise sufficient funds to keep going. Its difficulties became public just weeks after Deutsche Bank advised big investors to sell shares in multinationals developing GM crops because of 'growing negative sentiment'.

** 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: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 21:03:54 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-12

Strategic Diagnostics Offers Cheap Gene Crop Test

CHICAGO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Strategic Diagnostics Inc. (Nasdaq:SDIX - news) has developed an inexpensive test to allow grain elevators to detect the presence of genetically altered soybeans as more buyers demand to know the genetic makeup of the crops they purchase. Dwight Denham, global business unit manager for Newark, Del.-based SDI, said in an interview. The GMO (genetically modified organism) issue is really heating up, and

A crop's genetic makeup has become increasingly important as overseas customers – especially those who buy grain for food and have concerns about the safety of GMO crops – call for genetically modified crops to be kept separate from traditional crops.

Last week, leading grain exporter and processor Archer Daniels Midland Co. formally warned its grain suppliers to keep GMO crops separate from conventional ones.

In March, European Union food labeling regulations became effective for foods derived from genetically modified seeds.

SDI provides biotechnology-based diagnostic tests for agricultural, industrial and water-treatment applications. Its soybean test allows grain merchandisers who purchase crops from farmers to determine whether the oilseeds have been genetically altered to resist the Roundup Ready herbicide manufactured by Monsanto Co.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 21:03:54 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-12

France: GM martyr ignites global protest

Mark Honigsbaum, Chief Reporter Sunday September 12, 1999 The Observer

A French farmer is acting as a lightning rod for growing anger

In France they have been burning effigies of Ronald McDonald in the street. In the United States, a group calling itself the California Croppers has been converting fields of genetically modified corn into makeshift football pitches.

Whether the protesters' target is mal-bouffe (bad food) or `toxic' pollen, the message to the biotechnology companies is the same: the movement against genetic modification nurtured in Britain is going global.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 21:03:54 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-12

Storm over 1m GM grants to Minister's lab

Antony Barnett, Public Affairs Editor
The Observer (UK) Sunday September 12, 1999

The Science Minister Lord Sainsbury was plunged into fresh controversy last night after it emerged that the government funding body he controls has given more than 1m to the Sainsbury Laboratory mto finance research into genetically modified food.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 21:03:54 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-12

Canadian small farm vs Monsanto re GE Canola

This is a site profiling and seeking support for Canadian farmer Percy Schmieser in his legal challenge with Monsanto over Genetically Altered Roundup Ready Canola.

http://fightfrankenfood.com


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 21:03:54 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-12

High-Tech Crop Fight Victimizes Farmers

By Rick Weiss, Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 12, 1999; Page A01

As the crucial fall harvest season approaches, many U.S. farmers and other agricultural workers are in a near panic because of escalating uncertainty over genetically engineered crops. Farmers planted millions of acres of the high-tech crops this year. But foreign buyers are rejecting them in droves, despite aggressive U.S. marketing efforts and assurances of their safety.

In the past month alone, Japan's two biggest breweries and a major Mexican corn tortilla maker said they would no longer use U.S. gene-altered corn in their products, adding to troubles caused by the European Union's previous large-scale rejection of such crops.

Even Iams Co., the Ohio-based pet food maker, recently told its grain suppliers it would no longer accept genetically engineered corn for use in its premium dog and cat chows unless the corn varieties were among the few approved by the European Union.

Twelve days ago those developments hit home for many farmers, when Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), the big Illinois-based buyer and exporter of farm commodities, made the ominous recommendation that U.S. farmers segregate their gene-altered and non-altered crops at harvest because of heightened demand for conventional varieties both domestically and abroad.

The announcement left many farmers feeling angry and betrayed.

"American farmers planted [gene-altered crops] in good faith, with the belief that the product is safe and that they would be rewarded for their efforts," the American Corn Growers Association said in a statement last week. "Instead they find themselves misled by multinational seed and chemical companies and other commodity associations who only encouraged them to plant increased acres of [these crops] without any warning to farmers of the dangers associated with planting a crop that didn't have consumer acceptance."

More than 40 genetically modified crops have been given the green light by U.S. regulators as safe to eat and environmentally friendly. And most farmers express satisfaction with the varieties. The crops contain genes from bacteria and viruses to make them resistant to insects and weed killers, promising farmers a better deal.

Agricultural biotechnology companies promoted the gene-altered varieties heavily during the past two years, and farmers planted them in record numbers this year. But a wave of consumer distrust that started in England two years ago has swept around the globe and in recent months has shown signs of taking hold in the United States – especially since the widely reported discovery this summer that pollen from corn engineered to produce an insecticide could kill Monarch butterflies.

The result has been an unexpected twist: Many farmers who did not plant the new varieties are resting easier than their progressive counterparts because much of the world is clamoring for their ordinary harvest. Some of these farmers are even being promised they'll be paid a premium for their old-fashioned corn and soybeans.

The reverse economics, in which farmers who paid premium prices for high-tech seeds are being shunned and may have to sell their harvest at a discount, is cultivating a high level of frustration.

"I've been in this business for 30 years and this indecision about genetically engineered seeds and what the future holds for farmers is the worst I've seen," said Chuck Simmons, president of Bio-Plant Research in Camp Point, Ill., a marketer of gene-altered soy and other seeds. "This is the Y2K of agriculture."

Until recently, the debate over gene-altered food had its impact almost entirely on Washington agencies and big-city corporate offices. Under pressure from foreign buyers, for example, Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman this summer called for an independent assessment of whether the U.S. biotech crop approval process is adequate. The National Academy of Sciences is preparing a report on the environmental implications of the new crops. And the American Medical Association said last week it would revisit and rewrite its nine-year-old unflinchingly positive policy statement on the safety of biotech foods.

This summer, however, the issue started to affect biotechnology companies directly. Sales abroad came to a near halt. And mimicking the protests that last year paralyzed biotech agriculture in Europe, U.S. activists started uprooting fields of gene-altered plants during midnight raids on company test plots in California, Maine and Minnesota. In the latest raid, protesters in Vermont planted placards with pictures of Monarch butterflies in a field of engineered corn they had ruined.

But it was the announcement from Archer Daniels Midland that really brought the debate home to the American farmer.

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


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 16:20:46 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-13

Planned Lawsuit To Fuel Biotech Debate

By Julie Vorman, REUTER's - Monday September 13

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. farm and environmental groups said Monday they would file a lawsuit seeking billions of dollars in damages from major agribusiness companies that have allegedly amassed too much control over genetically-modified (GM) seeds.

The planned antitrust lawsuit, to be filed in a federal court by December 1, would raise a fresh issue in the growing international debate over bio-engineered crops.

Consumer groups throughout Europe have demanded labels on U.S. food made with GM soybeans, corn and other crops.

U.S. growers, who eagerly embraced GM crops to improve yields and pest resistance, are beginning to worry about a consumer backlash to bio-engineered foods. And farmers in less-developed nations have complained that patents on GM seeds unfairly bar them from re-using seed the following season.

"We're moving from the GM food labeling issue to an even broader issue of GM seeds and concentration in world agriculture," Jeremy Rifkin, an environmental activist and head of the Washington-based Foundation on Economic Trends, said in a telephone interview from London.

The foundation and the National Family Farm Coalition are working with dozens of farm groups around the world to plan the U.S. lawsuit and similar ones in other countries.

The U.S. lawsuit will seek billions of dollars in damages from all major seed companies including Monsanto Co , DuPont Co, Zeneca Group, Novartis, as well as agribusiness giants Archer Daniels Midland and privately owned Cargill Inc., Rifkin said.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 16:20:46 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-13

GM Foods Group Gace Huge Lawsuit

By Jean Eaglesham, Legal Correspondent Financial Times

The world's biggest life science companies and grain processors will face a multi-billion dollar antitrust action to be launched in up to 30 countries later this year.

The unprecedented lawsuits will claim that companies such as Monsanto, DuPont and Novartis are exploiting bioengineering techniques to gain a stranglehold on agricultural markets.

The action is being brought jointly by the Foundation on Economic Trends, run by Washington-based biotech activist Jeremy Rifkin, and the US-based National Family Farm Coalition, together with individual farmers across Latin America, Asia, Europe and North America.

It will be the biggest antitrust suit ever brought, with the possible exception of that against Microsoft.

"It has literally global implications," said Michael Hausfeld of Cohen Milstein Hausfeld and Toll, one of the 20 US law firms that have agreed to take the cases on a "no-win no-fee" basis.

The move represents the first global challenge to controversial techniques for exploiting genetically modified crops commercially. Companies take out patents on GM seeds and then lease, rather than sell, them to farmers to be used for one season only. In the US, where GM crops are rapidly becoming the norm, farmers have been sued for replanting GM seeds. Companies have also developed "terminator" genes that cause GM crops to produce sterile seeds.

Concerns about the potential control this gives life science companies over food, particularly in the developing world, have been exacerbated by a bout of takeovers and mergers within the sector. Ten companies now own 30 per cent of the $23bn annual commercial seed trade, according to recent estimates, and five of those - Monsanto, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Aventis and DuPont - control virtually all GM crops.

"By the early part of the next century, less than a handful of corporations will possess control over the entire agricultural foundation for every society.

You can see the potential for market abuse and manipulation," said Mr Hausfeld.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 16:20:46 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-13

GM FOOD: Antitrust case sows seeds of debate

By Jean Eaglesham - Financial Times onday September 13 1999

The huge antitrust lawsuit against life science companies to be launched later this year will catapult the issue of genetically modified (GM) crops back into public debate.

"It's going to throw open the door to soul searching by governments about the future of agriculture," said Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Biotech Century and prime motivator of the lawsuit to challenge the controversial techniques for exploiting GM commercially.

"In a few years' time, no farmer in the world is ever going to own seeds again - if that's not a case for antitrust [litigation], I don't know what is," Mr Rifkin said.

The lawsuit should throw fresh light on competition policy in sectors where each company's market share is inextricably linked to its intellectual property. Unlike conventional markets, where goods are bought and sold, GM crops are patented, with seeds leased to farmers on an annual basis. These patent rights are fiercely protected. In the US, where GM crops are widely used, farmers have to give a legally binding undertaking they will not save and replant the seeds.

The life science companies are using bio-engineering skills to ensure these undertakings become self-policing. Delta and Pine Land Company, which is being acquired by Monsanto, and the US Department of Agriculture have received a landmark patent on "terminator" seeds which self-destruct so they cannot be replanted. Other companies are working on seeds that need a chemical trigger to grow.

Bio-engineering can also be used for cross-selling. Some GM crops can only be treated with the insecticide sold by the same company. Campaigners worry about the control this market structure gives the life science companies, particularly in poor countries where nine out of 10 people may depend on farming for survival. Traditionally, about 80 per cent of farmers in the developing world have saved and exchanged seeds. Will replacing this model with a system for leasing seeds leave such farmers vulnerable to exploitation?

"We feel that instead of improving lives, GM food and crops could strengthen the very market forces that leave the poor poorer and make the rich richer," said Andrew Simms of the charity Christian Aid and author of arecent report on GM crops.

"As companies like Monsanto buy into the major seed companies of countries like Brazil and India, real choice for farmers evaporates. They become locked into a system in which they have little or no choice over what to grow, with which chemicals, who to sell to and at what price," Mr Simms added.

Governments cannot rely on market forces to ensure farmers are not exploited by the life science companies, campaigners argue, since the market is consolidating rapidly and becoming dominated by a few multi- nationals. In the US, for example, one company - Delta and Pine Land - controls more than 70 per cent of the cotton seed market and four companies control 70 per cent of the seed corn market.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 16:20:46 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-13

Report: genetic corn planting may drop

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) – The amount of genetically engineered corn planted in the U.S. next year could be down by as much as 25 percent as farmers face growing rejection of so- called "Frankenfoods."

Gary Goldberg, CEO of the American Corn Growers Association, told the Washington Post his organization had earlier been expected that genetically engineered corn acreage planted next year would be 20 percent higher than this year, but farmers are now concerned that they are losing overseas markets for such crops, especially in Europe. "We now think there now may be a 20 to 25 percent reduction in (engineered) acres next year because of this uncertainty," Goldberg said in today's Post.


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Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 16:20:46 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-13

Altered Food

By PHILIP BRASHER

WASHINGTON (AP) – Already battered by low corn and soybean prices, farmers now fear the loss of overseas markets for the genetically altered crops that now make up a hefty percentage of U.S. production. Europeans were the first to balk at buying biotech crops, which wary Britons have dubbed "Frankenfoods." Now the baby-food makers Gerber and H.J. Heinz are turning them down, as are two Japanese brewers.

In Mexico, a major tortilla maker is avoiding altered corn. One U.S. processor has announced plans to pay a premium for conventional grain, while another company has told its suppliers to start separately storing conventional and biotech grain. Some growers and analysts fear the moves will lead to price cuts on biotech grain, if not this fall then next year, and a shortage of conventional seed next spring. "Farmers are in real despair right now," said Nebraska farmer Keith Dittrich, who grows 1,300 acres of soybean, most of them genetically modified.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 16:20:46 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-13

US farmers in panic as consumers reject genetically - altered grain:

Agence France Presse, WPost, Washington, Sept 12

US farmers and agricultural workers who have heavily planted genetically engineered grain are in a near panic as foreign and domestic buyers reject the crops in droves, the Washington Post reported Sunday. Despite an agressive US marketing blitz, Japan's two biggest breweries and a major Mexican corn tortilla maker said they would no longer use US- genetically altered grain in their products, faced with a wave of strong consumer mistrust, the daily said.

Ohio pet food maker Iams Company recently announced it would no longer use biograin for its premium dog and cat chows, unless the corn varieties were among the few approved by the European Union. Even US food mega-conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland is advising that US farmers separate their gene-altered grain from their conventional produce – a recommendation that is making the industry nervous.

"American farmers planted ( genetically altered crops) in good faith with the belief that the product is safe and that they would be rewarded for their efforts," the American Corn Growers Association said in a statement last week. "Instead they find themselves misled by multinational seed and chemical companies and other commodity associations who only encouraged them to plant increased acres of (the crops) without any warning to farmers of the dangers associated with planting a crop that didn't have consumer acceptance."


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 16:20:46 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-13

Nissin Switching from Genetically Altered Soybeans

Daily News, September 13, 1999

Nissin Food Products [2503] noted September 10 that it intends to stop using genetically engineered US-grown soybeans. In so doing, it is joining the likes of Kirin Brewery [2503] in shunning genetic technology out of respect for consumer fears, but it is the first instant noodle manufacturer to do so.


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Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 16:20:46 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-13

It Isn't Easy Being Green

The New York Times, September 12, 1999

Robert Shapiro, the C.E.O. of Monsanto, may fake concern for the environment in his efforts to overcome resistance in the E.U. – where not just Greenpeace but several national parliaments have blocked the importation of bioengineered foods and seeds (The Way We Live Now, Aug. 22). His environmentalist pose is especially absurd in light of the fact that Monsanto seems to believe that there are only two plant species ("my crop" and "weeds"). Chemical conglomerates are racing to carve out market share and increase farmer dependence on their product lines. Their goals are not environmental preservation but profit, profit, profit. These guys aren't being green; they're seeing green! Cecile Krejsa Seattle

** 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: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 15:36:22 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-14

CANBERRA, Australia: Industry group to launch GM-free food labels

(AP)

A new Australian consortium said Tuesday it will launch a label and certification process for foods which do not contain genetically modified products.

KPMG consultant Roger Hussey is organizing the move in conjunction with U.S.-based food testing company Genetic ID and food industry representatives. "Our idea was to get together a group of companies who had a strong interest in preserving the food chain," Hussey said. "We decided, with their agreement, to form the certified food consortium."

The group hopes to launch a certification and testing process, whereby members use an industry-backed mark of quality on their products, within the next two months. "It is like a badge of integrity," Hussey said. He refused to reveal the names of the 10 to 12 companies involved, but said they include retail, distribution, fresh food producers, processed food representatives and large-scale exporters. "The consortium will be an open consortium and will attempt to gain wide membership from right across the food industry," Hussey said. He said the group would consult farmers, consumer groups and other key players. "It is the launching pad for GM-free food in Australia, because without it you can't have GM-free food."


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Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 15:36:22 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-14

Genetic food fight heats up

Executive News Svc., BANGKOK, Sept 14, Agence France Presse

Commercial food giant Monsanto hit out Tuesday at non- governmental and traditional farming organisations over their reluctance to embrace genetically modified crops and other biotechnology advances. Monsanto Asia-Pacific research director Paul Teng warned of "dangerous anti-science elements emerging in Asia," at a crop development conference here.

Non-governmental groups have warned not enough research has been carried out into the environmental and health impact of genetically modified crops. Large foreign agriculture firms are at the forefront of genetically modified crop development and are reportedly pioneering seed that becomes sterile after its first growing season.

Critics have labelled it the "Terminator seed" and warned it will increase reliance on commercial agriculture firms and wipe out small farmers who use seed from one crop to plant another.

While there are testing provisions for food already in place in Australia, the availability of GM-tested products is minimal, Hussey said. Figures for the amount of genetically altered food sold in Australia were not immediately available.


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Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 15:36:22 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-14

FOX TV Case: Can two reporters take on Murdoch and win?

The Independent - London September 14, 1999

Media: Can two reporters take on Murdoch and win? Two sacked TV journalists are seeking revenge - and they want the world to know.

They seemed like a television dream team. She is a former CNN anchorwoman. He is a three-time Emmy-Award winner and, according to Penthouse magazine, "one of the most famous and feared journalists in America," owing to documentaries he made that blew the whistle on Chrysler's defective door latches and Ford's fire-hazard ignition switches.

But within a year of hiring Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, Rupert Murdoch's Fox 13 TV station in Tampa Bay sacked the wife-and-husband team. Why is not clear. But the reporters are now suing the network under Florida's Whistleblower Act, claiming they were fired for refusing to broadcast statements which they considered to be untrue about bovine growth hormone, which is manufactured by [ Monsanto ] , a major Fox advertiser.

Fox denies the allegations and is defending the action. It has twice asked for postponements of the trial, now due to begin 11 October. And the giant corporation recently added President Bill Clinton's personal legal counsel, David Kendall, to its team of a dozen defence lawyers on a case that promises to illuminate aspects of the startling concentration of ownership in the US media and the extent to which this could be skewing TV news coverage.

The story begins in June 1996. That's when Rupert Murdoch celebrated his acquisition of US citizenship with a shopping spree in which he added 13 major US stations to his Fox network. Fox, which is part of Murdoch's vast News Corp, then owned 22 US stations, reaching more than 50 per cent of American viewers.

One of his purchases was Tampa Bay's WTVT. The former [ CBS ] station was known for its in-depth news reporting and loyal middle-aged, upper-income audience. Akre and Wilson were hired to add some tiger to the tank of its news machine in what looked like an attempt to boost ratings before Fox imposed its formulaic regime of titillation and sensational if-it- bleeds-it-leads news coverage.

Akre and Wilson were quick to impress their new colleagues. Within weeks they unearthed a little-known fact: Florida's entire milk supply comes from cows that have been injected with BGH.

Synthetic BGH, sold under the brand-name Posilac, boosts the milk production of cows by up to 30 per cent. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993 and, according to Monsanto, one-third of US dairy herds are now injected with the product. But Posilac is banned in Canada, Britain and most European countries owing to suggestions from scientific researchers, contested by Monsanto, that it might be linked to cancer.

In a two-month investigation, which raised a range of concerns, she and Wilson found that Florida grocers had broken their pledge not to buy milk from hormone-injected herds. Akre had photographed cows being injected with Posilac at seven out of seven local dairies chosen at random.

The news managers at WTVT, now known as Fox 13, were sufficiently impressed to buy thousands of dollars of radio advertising in the run-up to the scheduled broadcast, on 24 February 1997. But at the last minute, Monsanto hired a lawyer to approach Roger Ailes, head of Fox News in New York stating that the programme was inaccurate and unsubstantiated. Within hours, the documentary was pulled "for further review".

The journalists' court documents say that they were "concerned about the threatening nature of the Monsanto letter, particularly the part which read `There is a lot at stake in what is going on in Florida, not only for Monsanto, but also for Fox News and its owner'."

As Britons know from the GM foods debate, Monsanto is a fierce litigant with deep pockets. Known to some as the "[ Microsoft ] of microbiology", it is the world's largest agrochemical, second-largest seed, and fourth- largest pharmaceutical firm.

Still the Tampa Bay station did not back down. According to the journalists' lawsuit, the general manager of Fox 13, a former investigative reporter, and the station's lawyers scrutinised the broadcast frame by frame and found that "nothing in the {Monsanto} letter raised any credible claim to the truthfulness, accuracy, or fairness of the {documentary} reports." The station then set a new date for broadcast, a week after the initial one.

But Monsanto's lawyers now sent Ailes, who served as director of media relations for Republican president George Bush, a second and more hostile letter, and the Tampa station pulled the BGH broadcast again, this time for good.

Soon afterwards, Fox fired Tampa Bay's general manager and news manager. And the new management offered Akre and Wilson more than $150,000 in exchange for their resignations and a promise not to publish details about Posilac or how the stories were handled by Fox.

The pair refused. And in the next six months their employer demanded that they rewrite their script 73 times. Furthermore, the journalists claim that the new managers threatened to fire them if they did not include information that they believed to be false: that milk from Posilac-injected cows is the same and as safe as milk from untreated cows.

Monsanto insisted that this statement be aired. But the journalists presented scientific evidence suggesting this was not true. Fox 13, however, having taken legal advice, eventually sided with Monsanto and when the journalists refused to back down, it suspended them for "insubordination", then terminated their contracts in December 1997. Six months later, the station hired a less experienced reporter to prepare another broadcast, one that contained the Monsanto statement.

"I'm not aware of any precedent to our case," Steve Wilson told The Independent. "It's no secret in journalism that stories are sometimes killed. What is so unusual and egregious about our case is that this is the first time I know of that a newspaper or broadcaster has opted not to kill a story but to mould the story into a shape that the potential litigant and advertiser would like."

David Boylan, the general manager at Fox 13, however, says that the dismissal of Wilson and Akre had "nothing to do" with the newscast about BGH or chill letters from Monsanto. Fox categorically denies that it ever asked for false information to be included and says that the reporters were not willing to be objective. Echoing court documents filed by Fox, Boylan says they are just two disgruntled former employees who were released for their "contentious, argumentative, ad hominem, and vituperative conduct and their refusal to abide by {Fox 13's} established policies and procedures."

Journalists who know Wilson agree that he can be difficult. Steve Cohen, Wilson's former news director at the CBS flagship station WCBS in New York from 1978-1982, says, "He was one of a generation of reporters who were shaped by the Watergate scandal: he cares about getting bad guys. Not a lot of senior television managers today share that concern. They care about targeting a particular demographic and that's all."

But why did Fox change its mind? Wilson suspects concern over advertising revenue. The documentary would have embarrassed Florida dairy farmers and supermarkets for allegedly breaking their public promises not to sell the hormone-injected milk.

In addition, Monsanto is a client of Actmedia, a major advertising company owned by Murdoch. And Fox stations everywhere sell commercial time to Monsanto for products such as Roundup, its hugely popular herbicide, and foods and drinks containing NutraSweet, the leading brand of aspartame artificial sweetener.

Whatever happens in court, Akre and Wilson seem to be winning the public relations war. Their website (www.foxbghsuit.com) has registered thousands of hits, major US magazines such as Penthouse and The Nation have covered their story, and the pair have been showered with awards for courage and journalistic integrity. And as the trial date approaches, executives at Fox might be regretting that they didn't simply allow the journalists' original documentary to be broadcast, and then perhaps forgotten.

© (Copyright 1999 Newspaper Publishing PLC) _____via IntellX_____


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 15:36:22 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-14

Transgenic' pollution a new concern

By Francesca Lyman, MSNBC Contributor

Sections:
A Big Bite
Lawsuit Against EPA
Organics At Risk
Other Questions
Conventional Fears
Bt Debate
Costs, Benefits

Sept. 14 - It has the ring of a sci-fi thriller – "transgenic" foods illegally traded on the international market, detected and rejected by border police – a kind of food version of "Bladerunner". Wasn't Rachel (Sean Young), hunted down by Rick (Harrison Ford) for being a replicant? Hardly science fiction, it's a real problem for some food producers who have found to their surprise that their products can be rejected for being contaminated by genetically modified organisms.

In an ad for Apache Tortilla chips, a slice of succulent red pepper grins out at you over a line of plump, yellow ears of sweet corn ? the promotion for an organic line of corn chips, available in "five delicious flavors ? yellow, blue corn, nacho, sesame, and red."

But far from being welcomed at their distribution point, the chips – made by Terra Prima, a certified organic producer in Hudson, Wisc. – were discovered by an independent tester to contain traces of genetically modified corn, and their Netherlands importer was notified.

A Big Bite

It was a devastating blow to Terra Prima, a small producer that prides itself on a superior product free of chemicals or other substances. The company chose to destroy 87,000 bags of their corn chips and essentially swallow $147,000 when they couldn't sell their product as organic – a big bite out of a company with only about $4 million in total sales, says Chuck Walker, its president.

Walker didn't blame the Texas organic farmer who sold them the corn, which was grown using rotational methods, minimal pesticides and no genetically modified, or GM, seed varieties. But he did blame the contamination on pollen from GM corn that was blown over from another farm and whose patented gene was the same one picked up in the test.

That apparent cross-pollination is what environmentalists and organic farmers are calling "transgenic" pollution.

Lawsuit Against EPA

Last February Terra Prima joined environmentalists and consumer groups in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, charging the EPA with registering genetically engineered crops without adequately considering their health and environmental impacts.

The lawsuit, filed by the Center for Food Safety, asked the EPA to withdraw all current registrations and deny future approvals of crops engineered with the Bt (Bacillus thuriengensis) insecticide – a natural bacterial toxin used for years as a spray by organic farmers who grow crops without using industrial pesticides.

It was this toxin that was detected on the Terra chips.

The lawsuit charges that the EPA did not properly assess three major environmental risks: the development of insects resistant to Bt, the transfer of Bt genes to other plants, and effects of Bt crops on beneficial, nontarget insects. Included among the more than 70 plaintiffs are Greenpeace, the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (with 650 member groups in 100 countries) and environmental organizations.

Organics At Risk

Walker says he'd like to see a moratorium on GM crops until farmers can be assured they won't cross-pollinate. "More than that," says Walker, "I'd like to see an open public dialog on the whole issue of genetically modified foods. Does the public even want the foods already being served to us, as well as others waiting in the back pantry?"

The issue is particularly poignant to organic farmers because once organic crops are pollinated with biotech genes, their crops can lose their organic status, which takes three years to accomplish, and cause them to suffer financially.

In Canada, for example, the National Farmers Union has said it wants Ottawa to make agricultural biotech firms liable for the "genetic pollution" of organic and traditional crops.

In the United States, organic farmers are equally militant. "Organic growers are very clear that they don't want contamination of their crops and will hold owners of these licenses responsible," says Robert Scowcraft of the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

Other Questions

But the Terra chip incident in winter 1999 continues to have other ripple effects on farming, food and environmental policy questions. What happens with genetic pollution from "transgenic" produce – when pollen from genetically engineered crops drifts to neighboring fields? Will crops modified for pest resistance pass those genes on to weedier species, making them harder to eradicate, lead to more virulent pests, and decimate other species in their path?

And a recent study published in the science journal Nature found that pollen from GM corn can kill monarch butterflies if they ingest it.

In the wake of the study, several environmental groups – including the Union of Concerned Scientists, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council – wrote to the EPA in August asking the agency to restrict the planting of Bt corn.

"Monarch butterflies are already under pressure as a result of changes in their overwintering habitats," they wrote. "Additional threats to monarch populations feeding on toxic corn pollen as they migrate through the Midwest are of serious concern."

Conventional Fears

The furor over GM products has also struck fear into conventional farmers who have invested in GM seed varieties and other technologies and who don't want to be hurt either.

Today, only three years after the first large-scale commercial harvest, genetically modified crops now cover more than 90 million acres, according to the latest estimates ? nearly a quarter of America's croplands.

But many countries, including Brazil, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union, have moratoria or restrictions in place against GM foods. As a result U.S. corn exports alone have dropped precipitously – and experts are estimating as much as $1 billion in export trade losses for this year's crops.

The international scene is forcing food shippers such as Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill to segregate their grain supplies.

"There's definitely concern about this," says Warren Pufahl, managing editor for Agrinews, an agriculture newsletter. Farmers are worried that "they've invested a lot of money in these seed varieties and that here's a good product they may not be able to use ? or maybe not as much."

Bt Debate

Most of the GM seeds on the market have been engineered to make crops more tolerant of pesticides or to carry their own pesticide.

In the case of Bt, Walker says that whereas Bt spray as used by organic farmers degrades easily in the soil, in Bt corn the pesticide is in the food and doesn't wash off.

"It does not degrade. It is at its full potency all the time," he adds. "We don't even know what the health effects of eating it are ? at what doses. What if you eat Bt potatoes, Bt tomatoes, and Bt corn together all the time ? what's the effect of that?"

Organic farmers are also concerned because use of Bt crops could create a class of insects resistant to it, rendering their most effective weapon and last line of defense ? Bt as a spray – useless.

Costs, Benefits

Seed companies like Monsanto, Novartis and Pioneer Hi-Bred International maintain that altering crops to contain the Bt will ultimately decrease the need for chemical pesticides and therefore benefit the environment.

However, the Biotechnology Industry Organization has reported that the introduction of Bt corn reduced insecticide use on only 2.5 percent of the total U.S. corn acreage in 1998.

And new studies from the Department of Agriculture show that engineering crops genetically does not necessarily guarantee pesticide reductions, and might do the opposite. Data for the Heartland region show that insecticides were reduced only minimally in 1997 for corn borers using Bt compared to non-Bt corn, and showed no difference in insecticide use for other corn pests.

Charles Benbrook, a biotechnology consultant for Consumers Union and former head of the National Research Council's board on agriculture, argues that "while Bt corn might work for a few years, those gains would be offset by big problems long term.

"The real problem," he believes, "is that saturating the soil with these novel organisms will shift the competitive balance in the soil and stimulate other pests moving in. And by taking away farmers' use of Bt as a spray, genetic engineers are robbing them of a most valuable tool."


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 15:36:22 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-14

Worry over GM food grows in US

By Michael Ellison, Guardian (London), Wednesday September 15, 1999

Americans are catching up with Europeans in their anxiety about genetically modified foods but still lag behind, according to a survey published yesterday.

The telephone poll of 1,017 people aged 18 and above shows that 37% are aware of genetically modified foods and that 40% believed more regulation was needed. The survey was conducted by Edelman PR, the world's biggest independent public relations company.

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


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 16:56:18 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-16

Leading European dog food maker eschews GM

France, September 16
http://WWW.PLANETARK.ORG/dailynewsstory.cfm?newsid=3681

PARIS - Europe's leading dry dog food producer, Royal Canin, vowed yesterday not to include genetically modified (GM) ingredients in any of its pet food lines.

The decision by the Paris-based firm comes after British pet food producer Pascoe's Group Plc launched the country's first wholly organic, non-GM dog food line last month.

It also comes amid a looming trade war as European consumers, concerned about the safety of foods derived from GM crops, reject genetically modified products many of which are imported from the United States.

"While we await authoritative scientific clarification, and while faithful to our values of respect for dogs and cats, Royal Canin wishes to guarantee the highest level of quality and security for its product range," the company said in a statement.

It said the policy, long implemented in its most nutritious pet food lines, would be applied to production at its three European plants. The company is also weighing extending it as soon as possible to its factories in Brazil, Argentina and the United States.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 16:56:18 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-16

Novartis to rethink its role in GM foods

David Teather and Julia Finch, Thursday September 16, 1999, Guardian 16/9/99

Agribusiness division's fate hangs in the balance.

Drugs firm Novartis last night said it was considering spinning off its ailing agribusiness division which includes the company's controversial research into genetically modified foods.

Novartis, which is the world's number two pharmaceuticals company and the biggest maker of crop protection products, is considering "a number of options" for the troubled agribusiness division including separating it from the main company or seeking an alliance.

The Swiss company's decision to rethink its involvement in GM foods comes just one month after Britain's AstraZeneca warned that it too might sell its agrichemicals business.

AstraZeneca is a high profile GM company which has already put genetically engineered products on British supermarket shelves. It has also been the target of high profile demonstrations by environmental campaigners.

At the same time Monsanto, the large US company has seen its share price fall from $62 (38) to $40 in the past 12 months ($37 dollars today).

Analysts increasingly believe the GM foods research has the potential to inflict serious damage on the lucrative global pharmaceuticals business and are keen to see the controversial division put at arms length.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 16:56:18 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-16

GM Backlash Leaves US Farmers Wondering how to Sell Their Crops

By Sally Lehrman, Nature 401, 107 (1999), September 9, 1999

American farmers have, according to this story, warmly embraced biotechnology, but resistance abroad and regulation at home are threatening to turn the affair sour.

The story says that as the consumer movement against genetically modified (GM) foods spreads across Europe, Japan and elsewhere, maize (corn) and soybean farmers preparing for harvest in the United States face a shrinking export market, together with growing demands from food processors that they separate GM from conventional grains.

The story notes that on 1 September, food-processing giant Archer Daniels Midland asked suppliers to segregate fields, grain bins and storage elevators.

Consolidated Grain and Barge, another major processor, said it would pay a premium for unmodified crops. And several US food companies, including Gerber, H. J. Heinz and Iams, a pet-food maker, have started to reject GM varieties.

Some maize and soybean farmers who planted GM seed are, the story adds, even talking about class-action lawsuits against seed and chemical companies for misrepresenting their products as benign.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 16:56:18 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-16

URL: "Transgenic pollution a new concern"

Here's a url for the article: "Transgenic pollution a new concern"

http://www.msnbc.com/news/309357.asp#BODY


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 16:56:18 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-16

Survey: Consumers Want Gene-Altered Food Labeled

Wisconsin State Journal, Sept 15, 1999

U.S. consumers want more labeling and stricter regulation of genetically modified food, according to a survey.

Almost 70 percent of survey respondents said the U.S. government should require companies to provide more extensive labeling of ingredients in gene-modified food, according to the survey conducted by StrategyOne, the research division of [ Edelman Public Relations Worldwide ] . In addition, 40 percent said the government should regulate agricultural biotechnology more closely.

The survey results show U.S. consumers are increasingly distrustful of gene-altered food, though more than half the country's soybean crop and more than a third of the U.S. corn crop will use the technology this year. In Europe, where food safety scares such as the 1996 outbreak of mad-cow disease in the United Kingdom have eroded public trust of food regulatory agencies, gene-modified food has faced strong opposition from environmental and consumer groups.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 16:56:18 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-16

U.S. Transgenic Corn Enters Russia Illegally

VIENNA, Austria, September 16, 1999 (ENS)

The United States is exporting genetically engineered corn to Russia in violation of newly passed Russian legislation, Greenpeace charged today in Vienna. Laboratory tests conducted for Greenpeace found that a U.S. corn shipment to Russia in August contained unauthorized genetically engineered (GE) corn from Novartis. Greenpeace activists dressed as a transgenic tomato and U.S. President Bill Clinton demonstrated today in front of the UN building where biosafety negotiations are underway.

The Greenpeace allegations are timed to attract attention from government representatives from around the world meeting here this week for informal negotiations on an international Biosafety Protocol. The treaty would control the transportation, handling, uses and release of genetically modified organisms.

The cargo carrier Blue Zenith arrived at St. Petersburg harbour August 16 carrying 42,000 tons of genetically engineered corn from the U.S., Greenpeace said today.Since the 1998 harvest, genetically engineered and conventional crops have not been separated, and all U.S. shipments are still likely to contain GE grain. Some of the GE corn grown in the U.S. has not been approved for import in Europe.

The Russian government issued legislation in July that requires permits based on ecological assessment before genetically engineered crops can be imported into the country.

In an interview with Greenpeace on Wednesday, the Russian Ministry of Health confirmed that Novartis did not apply for an import license for its GE corn.


Top PreviousFront Page

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 16:56:18 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN9-16

Monsanto Uses Canadian Taxpayer Money to Violate Foreign Laws

Canada Newswire, OTTAWA/VIENNA, September 17

Case highlights need for strong Biosafety Protocol

/CNW/ - Biotech giant [ Monsanto ] exported Canadian genetically engineered (GE) potatoes to Ukraine, ignoring the domestic laws which require environmental impact assessment, according to a Greenpeace report published today.

The case is a telling example of why the world needs strong international rules and regulations governing the trade of genetically engineered foods, said the international environmental organization.

News of the transgression comes as world governments meet in Vienna this week to negotiate a Biosafety Protocol which will hopefully establish strong regulatory regime governing genetically engineered organisms (GMO's).

"This case shows exactly why the world needs a strong Biosafety Protocol. Genetic engineering is a new technology with unknown risks," said the author of the report Iza Kruszewska. "It is unacceptable that a few multinational companies are exploiting the lack of regulation in some countries to export their risky and untested products."

Monsanto NewLeaf potatoes, developed in Prince Edward Island were exported to Ukraine in 1997 and 1998 with the help of Solanum-PEI. Solanum-PEI is a joint venture marketing and research company created by Monsanto and the government of PEI.


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

Our website, http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/geindex.html contains more information on genetic engineering as well as previous genetic engineering news items. Subscription fee to genetic engineering news is $35 (USD for those outside Canada) for 12 months, payable to "BanGEF" and mailed to the above address. Or see website for details.