17 November 99

Table of Contents

Consortium Calls for Suspension of Release of All Genetically Engineered Organisms
The Pacific Declaration
Go-ahead for ulcer drug clones
Marks & Spencer cashes in on the GM free revolution
Japan approves new GMOs amid consumer criticism
Monsanto: The winds of change
Towards a sustainable, healthy and prosperous future
GM additives
Pig To Human Transplants
Label Frankenfoods, Bloc Demands
South Korea: "Mutant" Food on Menu of WTO Critics
MU Tests Find Comparable Yields Between Bt, Non-bt Corn Hybrids
Farmers in Crossfire of Fight over Labeling Genetically Altered Food
Monsanto's modified soya beans are cracking up in the heat

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Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 21:06:09 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN11-16

Contact:Marc Lappé, Director, CETOS
Phone:707 884-1700 or 707- 884 -1846

For Immediate Release: October 12 at 10:00 AM

Consortium Calls for Suspension of Release of All Genetically Engineered Organisms

Washington, D.C.: Citing major deficiencies in the government's regulatory system, a coalition of environmentalists and scientists issued a document today calling for the suspension of all further releases of genetically engineered organisms. The Pacific Declaration was first drafted at a national meeting on July 26-28, 1999 at the Commonweal Conference Center in Bolinas, California. The Declaration cites the failure of governmental agencies to review the long-term prospects for environmental and human harm stemming from genetically engineered organisms.

It states in part " those altering the genetic integrity of natural species bear the burden of proving their interventions will not jeopardize fundamental human values which include respect for life and protecting ecosystems." In light of revelations that unlabeled grocery shelf items contain new, genetically modified ingredients, the signatories demand an effective regulatory system to assure the public's access to safe food.

The 42 co-signers also ask that practitioners of genetic engineering be held liable for any adverse consequences of their work, and call for greater attention to the equitable distribution of the benefits and risks of the products of genetic engineering. Among the groups endorsing the Declaration are the

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Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 21:06:09 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN11-16

The Pacific Declaration

Contact:Marc Lappé, Director, CETOS
Phone:707 884-1700 or 707- 884 -1846

We the undersigned, in recognition of the fundamental importance of our planet's natural genetic heritage and diversity, and in acknowledgment of the power of genetic engineering to transform this heritage, believe that the proponents and practitioners of genetic technologies must adhere to the principles of prudence, transparency and accountability.

We also aver that respect for life, ensuring a habitable planet, and protecting ecosystems are universally recognized and fundamental human values. For this reason, those altering the genetic integrity of natural species bear the burden of proving their interventions will not jeopardize these values.

We also believe in democracy. In democratic societies, any decision to deploy powerful new technologies must be made with full public participation and accountability. To date, our government, international agencies, public universities and biotechnology corporations have neglected these objectives. Therefore we declare:

  1. Environmental safety and public health require the systematic study of any transgenically modified living organism over multiple generations before allowing its environmental release or marketing;

  2. All proposed products derived from genetic engineering must be shown to contribute to the general welfare of consumers, farmers and society without compromising the viability of traditional agricultural practices, including organic farming;

  3. Farmers and agrarian peoples generally who have cultivated, nurtured and developed crops have the right to control their crop materials;

  4. Such control includes the right to cultivate indigenous or conventional species using traditional methods, and freely to use or re-use any genetic seed stock;

  5. People should have access to all relevant data concerning the potential effect of genetically modified organisms on the health of present or future generations;

  6. People have the right to accept or decline any food product for personal, religious or philosophical reasons;

  7. In the absence of compelling evidence showing the equivalence and safety of genetically engineered compared to conventional foods, all food products derived from genetic technologies must be accurately labeled;

  8. The medical injunction to "do no harm" requires adequate and sufficient pre- and post-market testing and surveillance of genetically engineered products;

  9. The present lack of such testing contravenes this injunction and thereby jeopardizes universal access to safe food, potentially putting at risk present and future vulnerable populations including pregnant women and young children; and

  10. Because the fundamental discoveries of genetic engineering were developed through public funding, justice requires that any and all risks, costs and benefits of the products of genetic engineering be equitably distributed in society.
  • Until we have guarantees and assurances that the above stated requirements and objectives are no longer compromised by government and industry practices; and
  • Until our government has created a comprehensive and effective regulatory system for all products of genetic engineering; and
  • Until such fundamental and constitutionally guaranteed protections of life and liberty, as well as protection of the health of the environment, food security and consumer right to know are vouchsafed;

    We call upon our governmental representatives to suspend any further introduction of genetically engineered organisms and to hold the practitioners of genetic engineering, whether they be corporations, universities or governmental agencies fully liable for any adverse consequences of their work.



    1. Alliance for Bio-Integrity
      Steven M. Druker, President, Fairfield, Iowa
    2. Campaign for Food Safety
      Ronnie Cummins, National Director, Little Marais, Minnesota
    3. Center for Environmental Health
      Michael Green, Oakland, CA
    4. Center for Ethics and Toxics
      Marc Lappé, Director and Britt Bailey, Senior Associate, Gualala, CA
    5. Center for Food Safety
      Joseph Mendelson, Legal Director, Washington, D.C.
    6. Commonweal
      Michael Lerner, President, Davis Baltz, Bolinas, CA
    7. The Constellation Fund
      Christina L. Desser, San Francisco, CA
    8. Consumer's Choice Council
      Chad Dobson, Director, Washington, DC
    9. Corporate Agribusiness Research Project
      A.V. Krebs, Director, Everett, WA
    10. Council for Responsible Genetics
      Martin Teitel, Executive Director, Ruth Hubbard, Doreen Stabinsky, Paul R. Billings, Cambridge, MA
    11. The Edmonds Institute
      Beth Burrows, President/Director, Edmonds, WA
    12. Environmental Health Fund
      Gary Cohen, Executive Director, Boston, MA
    13. Food and Farming Forum
      Claire Cummings, Director, Berkeley, CA
    14. Food First/The Institute for Food and Development Policy
      Peter M. Rosset, Executive Director, Oakland, CA
    15. Foundation on Economic Trends
      Jeremy Rifkin, President, Jon Akland, Research Director, Burlington, VT
    16. Friends of the Earth
      Larry Bohlen, Director, Health and Environment Programs, Washington, DC
    17. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
      Mark Ritchie, President, Renske van Staveren, Minneapolis, MN
    18. The Natural Law Party of the USA
      Kingsley Brooks, Chairman, Laura Ticciati, Executive Director, Mothers for Natural Law, Fairfield, Iowa
    19. Occidental Arts and Ecology Center
      Dave Henson, Executive Director, Occidental, CA
    20. Pesticide Action Network of North America
      Ellen Hickey, Director of Research and Communications, San Francisco, CA
    21. Pesticide Watch
      Gregg Small, Executive Director, San Francisco, CA
    22. Rural Advancement Foundation International, USA
      Michael Sligh, Director of Sustainable Agriculture, Chapel Hill, NC
    23. Rural Vermont
      Ellen H. Taggart, Executive Director, Montpelier, VT
    24. Washington Biotechnology Action Council
      Philip Bereano, Seattle, WA
    25. Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
      John Fawcett-Long, Coordinator, William Aal, Seattle, WA
    26. American Corn Growers Association
      Dan McGuire, Policy Chairman, Lincoln, NE,


    27. 4Abiquiu Organics
      Scott Markman, Abiquia, NM
    28. Alliance for Democracy of Indiana
      Stefanie Miller, Secretary, Indianapolis, IN
    29. Association of State Green Parties, U.S.A.
      Anna Goeke, Tom Sevigny, Betty Zisk, Co-Chairs [Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming]
    30. Breast Cancer Fund
      Andrea Martin, Founder and Executive Director, San Francisco, CA
    31. Calvary Church
      Douglass M. Bailey, Rector, William Shephard, Calvary Green Committee Chairman, Memphis, TN
    32. Center for Environmental Health
      Ann Melamed, Health Care, Without Harm Project Manager, Oakland, CA
    33. Community Health Advocates
      Michael Freund, San Francisco, CA
    34. Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund
      Tom Turner*, San Francisco, CA
    35. Environmental Health Coalition
      Joy Williams, San Diego, CA
    36. FarmFolk/CityFolk
      Herb Barbolet, Executive Director, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    37. Catholic Healthcare West
      Susan Vickers, San Francisco, CA
    38. Collective Heritage Institute
      Nina Simons, Public Policy and Legal Services Coordinator, Santa Fe, NM
    39. Earth Justice Ministries
      Reverend Sharon Delgado, Santa Cruz, CA
    40. Episcopal Diocese of California, Commission for the Environment
      The Reverend Sally Bingham, Chair, San Francisco, CA
    41. Green Party of St. Louis/Gateway Green Alliance
      Barbara Chicherio, Co-coordinator, St. Louis, MO
    42. The Humane Society of the United States
      Dr. Michael W. Fox, Senior Scholar, Bioethics, Washington, DC
    43. Indicators Program, Redefining Progress
      Mathis Wackernagel, Director, San Francisco, CA,
    44. Institute for World Religions
      Ron Epstein, Research Professor*, Berkeley, CA
    45. Mendocino Environmental Center
      Linda McClure, Coordinator, Ukiah, CA
    46. Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet
      Betsy Lydon, Program Director, New York, New York
    47. Natural Resources Defense Council
      Gina M. Solomon, Senior Scientist, San Francisco, CA
    48. Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Sustainable Agriculture
      Program Association, Jeff Rast Fairfield, ID
    49. Organic Consumers Association
      Ben Lilliston, Director, Little Marais, Minnesota
    50. Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters
      Sr. Lucy Regalado, President, Leadership Team Council Member, Huntington, Indiana
    51. Physicians for Social Responsibility
      Robert M. Gould, President, SF-Bay Area Chapter, San Francisco, CA
    52. Shalom Center
      Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Director, Philadelphia, PA
    53. Sierra Club
      Laurel Hopwood, Biotechnology Task Force Chair, San Francisco, CA
    54. Sisters, Adrian Dominican
      Margaret Weber, Adrian, MI
    55. Soul of Agriculture
      Stanislaus J. Dundon*, Coordinator, Davis California
    56. Sussex County Mission of the Episcopal Church & Delmarva Poultry Justice Alliance
      Reverend Jim Lewis, Bethany Beach, Delaware
    57. Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
      Stacie Clary, Director, Santa Cruz, CA
    58. Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison Greens
      John E. Peck, Madison, WI
    59. Natural Law Party of Canada
      Richard Wolfson, PhD, Director of Health Policy, Ottawa, ON Canada
    60. Women's Cancer Resource Center
      Diane Estrin, Executive Director, Catherine Porter, Public Policy and Legal Services Coordinator Berkeley, CA
    61. Texas Organic Growers Association
      Steven Sprinkel, administrative vice-president, Austin, Texas

    *organizational affiliation listed for the purpose of identification only

    ** 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: 16 Nov 1999 01:02:54 -0600
    From: (jim mcnulty)
    forwarded from:
    From: "Kristin Dawkins"
    by way of GRAIN - Henk Hobbelink

    URGENT SIGN-On Letter re/TRIPs

    Dear friends,

    We have just learned that the US and European Commission, in a behind-the-scenes "Green Room" consultation with the WTO Director General on Thursday evening, rejected the developing countries' proposals regarding TRIPs Article 27.3(b) on grounds that the WTO cannot be subordinated to other international agreements.

    (As you know the African Group and a number of Asian and Latin American countries, calling themselves the "Like Minded Group", have proposed that living organisms and their parts and the WHO list of essential drugs be excluded from patenting.)

    Therefore, we have drafted the following letter for your signature. To sign on, send your name, organization and country to before TUESDAY AFTERNOON, NOV 16, when we will send it to President Clinton and the others indicated.

    SIGN-ON LETTER TO BE SENT 16 NOVEMBER: Dear President Clinton,

    We the undersigned are horrified to learn that the United States delegation in Geneva has specifically rejected incorporating references to other relevant international agreements in the draft Ministerial Declaration being prepared for the Seattle meeting of the World Trade Organization.

    As we enter the 21st century, it is imperative that global coherence refer not only to coherence among the WTO, IMF and World Bank; equally if not more important for global food security, health and welfare is coherence among the WTO, other treaty bodies and the many United Nations agencies.

    In particular, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the World Health Organization have debated and concluded that aspects of the WTO's TRIPs Agreement could have a significant impact on the ability of nations to comply with their mandates to conserve, sustainably use and equitably share the benefits of biological diversity and to ensure adequate health care to the peoples of the world. If the WTO is to preserve its authority as an arbiter of international trade, it must recognize that other international laws and understandings must be respected. This recognition should be explicit.

    More specifically, we strenuously urge the U.S. delegation in Geneva and those who will be in Seattle to acknowledge the rights of nations to control their biological resources; to guarantee the a priori rights of local communities to use, save and exchange seeds; and to provide essential medicines at affordable prices. Thus, we respectfully request the U.S. soften its position regarding TRIPs to accept the developing countries' proposals to:

    1. amend Article 27.3(b) to expand the list of exceptions to patentability to include living organisms and their parts as well as the list of essential drugs published by the World Health Organization;

    2. operationalize Articles 7, 8 and 66.2 to ensure the transfer of technology on fair and mutually advantageous terms; and

    3. establish transitional arrangements that enable developing countries, especially the least-developed, to comply without jeopardizing their right to development and without counteracting their obligations under other international agreements, particularly the Convention on Biological Diversity.

    Thank you for your attention to these matters.


    CC (Carbon Copy to):


    Kristin Dawkins
    Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
    2105 First Avenue SouthMinneapolis, MN 55404 USA
    Central tel: (612) 870-0453Direct tel: (612) 870-3410
    Fax: (612) 870-4846
    URL: ;  and

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    Date: 16 Nov 1999 01:43:33 -0600
    From: (jim mcnulty)

    Go-ahead for ulcer drug clones

    The Guardian Nov 13th 99.

    Astra-Zeneca yesterday lost an important legal battle in it's continuing campaign to protect it's patent rights to,'Losec', the ulcer treatment that is the world's top selling drug.

    It failed to persuade a Frankfurt court to issue an injuction preventing a German company, Azupharm, from selling a generic version of omneprazole - the key ingredient in Losec.

    The Anglo-Swedish drugs maker is facing a series of challenges from generic rivals as patent protection for omniprazole starts to run out.

    In a number of countries Astra Zeneca has been granted 'supplementary protection certificates', which extend the life of the patents. But as yet in Germany Astra-Zeneca does not have a SPC, However it is applying for a certificate and is seeking to block generic companies selling their own versions in the meantime. In August the German courts granted Zeneca two injunctions preventing two other generic producers - Ratipharm and Merckle.

    The patents issue is a key one for Astra Zeneca . Losec's annual sales are about $5bn, but generic alternatives are a significant threat in that they sell for half the price of losec.

    The Anglo-Swedish drugs company is persuing a twin strategy, to defend it's position in the ulcer treatment market. As well as seeking legal protection through a series of injuctions and it's apllication for an SPC in Germany, the company is also planning an upgraded form of the product for launch in the next twelve months.

    Astra-Zeneca is sensative to the problem of patent expiry, which became the focus of attention during the run up to the Astra -Zeneca merger.

    Next month the company will hold special presentations to demonstrate the strength of their product pipeline.

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    Date: 16 Nov 1999 01:44:10 -0600
    From: (jim mcnulty)

    Marks & Spencer cashes in on the GM free revolution

    By Johnathan Hayter. The Sunday Mirror Nov 14th 99.

    Troubled Marks and Spencer announced today that that it is joining the GM free food revolution ... but at a price to customers

    The shopping giant which has recently been rocked by falling profits, said that it was the first retailer to promise that all of it's free range foods have been produced from animals fed on a GM free diet.

    It claimed the price rise on it's free range eggs, pork and poultry was due to the spiralling cost of producing the eco freindly goods.

    Suppliers of GM free foods such as meat and dairy products are forced to pass tough tests to make sure that their animal feeds do not contain GM ingredients.

    A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer said " We have assessed the feasability of whether there is enough non-GM Soya and maize to ensure all animal feed can be made from these sources".

    He added tyhat the store would not introduce a full range of GM free products for at least another two years.

    Rivals Sainsbury's Iceland, Somerfield and Asda have also said that they are trying to get rid of GM ingredients from animal feed.

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    Date: 16 Nov 1999 01:45:50 -0600
    From: (jim mcnulty)

    Japan approves new GMOs amid consumer criticism

    By Aya Takada, Monday November 15, 3:31 am Eastern Time

    TOKYO, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Japan on Monday approved seven new varieties of genetically modified (GM) crops as safe for human consumption, ignoring demands by a consumer lobby that it follow the European Union and slap a moratorium on the import of new GM strains.

    The ministry of health and welfare said it was following the recommendations of an 18-strong advisory committee of academics, consumer organisations, food standard agencies and medical associations.

    Tadao Terao, who heads a panel of experts set up by the committee, said all the new GM varieties met the ministry's food safety guidelines. We couldn't find any problem with the new varieties that could pose a Terao told a hearing of the

    But Masae Wada, a committee member who represents a Japanese consumer organisation, said she could not support the decision when the safety of bio-engineered food was being questioned worldwide. The EU has a (de facto) moratorium on allowing the import of new varieties of GM crops while it tries to draw up new approval procedures. In such a situation, why does the ministry have to Wada asked.

    The decision means that Japanese companies can now import and sell 29 GM varieties of seven crops – corn, soybeans, rapeseed, potatoes, cotton, tomatoes and sugar beet.

    Genetically modified crops contain a gene from another organism to give plants resistance to a certain herbicide or the ability to produce its own toxin to kill pests.

    Future varieties could improve the nutritional content of food or even help fight disease, seed companies say.

    Public Still Sceptical About GM Food

    Itaru Nishimoto, director general of the ministry's environmental health bureau, said the ministry acts based on scientific advice. But he acknowledged that consumers remain sceptical about the safety of GM food and said the ministry would like to work to allay public anxiety.

    To this end, the ministry has asked the advisory committee to examine whether to ban imports contaminated with GMOs that have not been authorised under the ministry's safety guidelines.

    A ministry official said the move was in response to criticism from a consumer group that lax government regulations have led to the use of unapproved GM ingredients in food products in Japan.

    Following are the seven new GM varieties approved by the health ministry on Monday:

    1. herbicide-resistant rapeseed developed by Canada's Rhone-Poulenc Agrochimie, a unit of French pharmaceutical company Rhone-Poulenc SA

    2. herbicide-resistant/insect protection cotton developed by Calgene Inc of the U.S., a unit of U.S. biotechnology company Monsanto Co (NYSE:MTC - news).

    3. herbicide-resistant sugar beet developed by Germany's Hoechst Schering AgrEvo GmbH, a joint venture between Hoechst AG (quote from Yahoo! UK & Ireland: HOEG.F) and Schering AG (quote from Yahoo! UK & Ireland: SCHG.F)

    4. two varieties of herbicide-resistant corn developed by Dekalb Genetics Corp of the U.S., a unit of Monsanto Co

    5. herbicide-resistant corn developed by Monsanto Co

    6. herbicide-resistant rapeseed developed by Plant Genetic Systems of Belgium, a unit of AgrEvo

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    Date: 16 Nov 1999 02:16:36 -0600

    Monsanto: The winds of change

    An excerpt from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    "....Monsanto has been staggered by the virulent reaction of European consumers, politicians and, ultimately, food company customers against genetically engineered foods.

    "Overseas protests, foreign food labelling laws and Europeans' vows to avoid bioengineered foods have worked their way back to the United States. American farmers, who have embraced biotech crops, now wonder how much cotton, soybeans, canola and corn they should buy for the next planting season.

    "Even if biotech crops help them cut costs of using chemicals to kill weeds and insects, they don't know if they can find adequate markets for these crops. Despite efforts by trade groups and companies to alleviate these fears, experts say many farmers will wait longer than usual to make seed-buying decisions this year....".

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    Date: 16 Nov 1999 10:51:29 -0600

    Towards a sustainable, healthy and prosperous future

    From the current issue of GM-Free Magazine (November/December 1999)

    Have Monsanto and the government suddenly turned nice? Within days of Monsanto CEO Bob Shapiro telling Greenpeace of his new commitment to listen to green groups, a message emerges from the office of departing Cabinet Enforcer Jack "Boot" Cunningham that peace talks with environmentalists are to be set up. And Cunningham's replacement is to be loveable Mo Mowlam, heroine of Ireland's beleaguered peace process.

    What's wrong with this warm and fuzzy picture? The fact that Monsanto and the government are speaking with one voice is spooky in itself, and betrays a coordinated strategy. But there are other, more worrying implications around this "peace" initiative. The move from confrontation to negotiation is welcome. But we should not be fooled by a mere change in spin strategy. It is a well-known tactic for bad-boy corporations first to ignore, ridicule and intimidate protestors. When these methods fail, the PR people are brought in to mastermind the "divide and conquer" strategy.

    The opposition is divided into groups defined by their degree of radicalness. The corporations then apply different methods to defuse each group. The so-called "idealists", the more moderate opposition who are motivated by a desire for a better world but balk at the notion of doing harm-even to the corporations they oppose-are to be "cultivated" with a caring, listening attitude. The "radicals" – who do not believe the current system is capable of reform and want fundamental change – cannot be cultivated and so must be isolated and condemned, for example, as "eco-terrorists" (see p22). The effect of this strategy is to make the idealists dissociate themselves from the radicals. The idealists, deprived of radical fire, keep up the dialogue but change nothing. The radicals, deprived of idealist harmony, are in prison or branded lunatics. The corporations, meanwhile, pursue business as usual.

    Thus far, the anti-GM movement has been remarkable for the unified stance of idealists and radicals, combining their particular gifts in pursuit of a common aim. Let's hold firm to that aim-to build a sustainable, healthy and prosperous future for everyone-and refuse to be sidetracked by attempts to divide and distract us.

    !!!! New issue of GM-FREE magazine out now !!!!!

    An independent bi-monthly magazine covering the latest international news on genetic engineering

    Enquiries: +44 (0)1695 50504 or email

    Khi Publications
    Beacon House
    Skelmersdale, Lancs WN8 6UR UK

    Articles in this issue:

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    Date: 16 Nov 1999 16:27:27 -0600
    From: Paul & Katrin Davis

    GM additives

    The UK Daily Mail today carried an article on food additives. One section started with the question:

    What sort of additives are likely to be GM?

    You name it - but they include
    Top PreviousNextFront Page

    Date: 16 Nov 1999 16:36:43 -0600
    From: joe cummins

    Pig To Human Transplants

    Below is a letter about the transplants at my university

    November 16, 1999
    Prof. Joe Cummins
    Telephone 519 681 5477

    The Editor
    The Gazette

    I am commenting on the article "Research furthers pig/human transplant goals" Nov. 16. The article was about the provincial grant to support genetically humanized pig to human organ transplants at the University.

    The article failed to mentioned that the humanized pigs were developed in Britain but transplants to humans were curtailed when it was found that contact between pig and human cells caused dangerous pig viruses to be released. Such viruses threaten the entire world.

    The article mentions that the pigs were housed in germ free environments ( the pigs have been housed in Guelph). However, when experiments such as transplanting pig organ to baboon were done they were not done at the very high security for dangerous viruses that seem necessary. The point is that the pig organs release dangerous virus on contacting human tissue.

    The Canadian government does not appear to have regulations dealing with xenotransplantation (animal to human). Certainly public input was not requested into consideration of regulations as is nearly always done.. The public should participate in decisions about dangerous experiments that threaten the entire human population. It may only appear that the members of parliament are mindless robots but citizens should find a way to effect decisions that effect all Canadian and the world as well.

    Prof. Joe Cummins , Emeritus


    Date: 16 Nov 1999 16:40:57 -0600
    From: joe cummins
    Subject: pig to human transplants

    Below is another letter on millions for humanized pigs:

    November 16, 1999
    Prof. Joe Cummins
    738 Wilkins Street
    London, Ontario N6C4Z9
    Telephone 519 681 5477

    The Editor
    The London Free Press
    e-mail :

    I am commenting on the articles "Ontario to pump millions into pig to human transplants" 15 Nov. and "Brain gain touted for city" 16 Nov. These articles reported on the millions of dollars being contributed by the Ontario government to the program to transplant organs from genetically humanized pigs to humans.

    The humanized pigs used in the experiments were developed in Britain and as in the United States the final experiments transplanting organs into humans has been delayed by the finding that pig cells in contact with human cells caused the pig cells to release virus that could be extremely dangerous to the world's humans.

    The extensive public debate over the safety of such experiments has largely been ignored while the schemes advocates have only addressed only the positive aspects of the procedure.

    The pig to baboon experiments that were done in London were only announced months after they were completed. The transplants should have been done in the one Laboratory in Canada that is equipped to handle highly dangerous virus. Human transplants should be done with great laboratory security to prevent release of virus to the world.

    The Canadian government has not invited public input into the regulations on pig to human transplants and their regulations, if any, have not been widely distributed. The public should participate in permitting in such dangerous ventures and the government owes the public that small respect.

    Prof. Joe Cummins

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    Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 21:07:54 -0500
    From: Richard Wolfson GEN11-17

    Label Frankenfoods, Bloc Demands

    November 12, 1999 CP MONTREAL

    The federal Canadian opposition, the Bloc Quebecois, was cited as saying today that genetically altered foods should be labelled as such and that a petition will fuel its campaign to pressure the government to amend the drug and food laws to include mandatory labelling of modified food. The story says that on Nov. 4, the Bloc put forward a such a bill in the Commons.

    Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe was cited as saying Friday that once labelling is mandatory, companies that produce genetically altered foods will have to invest in research to prove their products aren't harmful to people or agriculture.

    A debate over the safety of genetically altered foods is growing in Canada, since Europeans have started calling for controls over products. Bloc MP Helene Alarie was quoted as saying, "the first right of the consumer is to know what is in their shopping basket. Consumers have been kept in the dark."

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    Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 21:07:54 -0500
    From: Richard Wolfson GEN11-17

    South Korea: "Mutant" Food on Menu of WTO Critics

    By Ahn Mi-Young, Inter Press Service, November 12, 1999, Friday, SEOUL, Nov. 12

    Son Yoon-Hee no longer reaches for the bean paste cakes at the supermarket, although they are cheap and make a delicious soup to share with her husband and seven-year-old son.

    Consumers like Yoon-Hee, 35, were disturbed to learn that the soybeans used in the bean paste – or "tubu" – are likely made from genetically modified seeds.

    On Nov. 9, the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM), the nation's major state-funded consumer group with 60,000 members, collected dozens of the "tubu" brands, tested them and found that 82 percent were made from genetically-modified beans.

    The next day, "tubu" sales plummeted by 40 to 80 percent at some 630 tubu makers nationwide.

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    Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 21:07:54 -0500
    From: Richard Wolfson GEN11-17

    MU Tests Find Comparable Yields Between Bt, Non-bt Corn Hybrids

    Forrest Rose, Nov. 11 /99, University of Missouri

    COLUMBIA, Mo. – Bt, or non-Bt? That is the question. University of Missouri researchers sought the answer this year with greatly expanded variety tests of Bt and non-Bt corn hybrids at 15 different sites across the state. Their preliminary conclusions are that Bt hybrids yield comparably to non-Bt hybrids, but lack of pressure from the European corn borer made Bt hybrids less profitable in Missouri this year.

    Last year, MU Extension agronomist Harry Minor compared Bt and non-Bt corn at three Missouri sites. This year, he planted corn research plots at locations across the state. About one-third of the entries were Bt hybrids this year, compared to "just a sprinkling" last year. "It looks like yields from Bt and non-Bt hybrids are within about one bushel of each other, averaged over 15 sites where the pest was not artificially introduced," Minor said. "We found no yield drag or yield lag associated with the Bt hybrids."

    That doesn't mean it was more profitable to plant Bt corn, as about 30 percent of corn growers in the North Central region did this year. Because the number of European corn borers was so low, "there was no return on the technology fee," Minor said. The Bt hybrids cost between $9 and $9.50 per acre more than non-Bt corn. Non-Bt hybrids were more profitable "just because of lower seed costs."

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    Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 21:07:54 -0500
    From: Richard Wolfson GEN11-17

    Farmers in Crossfire of Fight over Labeling Genetically Altered Food

    By Rob Hotakainen; Staff Writer, Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)
    November 13, 1999, Saturday, Metro Edition

    If the federal government starts requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods, Rep. Gil Gutknecht said, it could be a disaster for U.S. agriculture because it would be harder to export farm goods.

    But the idea is gaining momentum on Capitol Hill, and farmers suddenly are finding themselves in the middle of a growing food fight.

    Amid warnings of a "genetic apocalypse," a coalition of more than 60 consumer and environmental groups Friday called for a worldwide moratorium on new genetically engineered foods and for a labeling program for foods already on the market in the United States.

    The groups joined 48 members of Congress, who this week signed a letter urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reverse its current no- label policy and to conduct more tests to assess possible health risks.

    "We can only guess how the food chain will be affected," said Laurel Hopwood, chair of the Sierra Club's biotechnology task force. "You can't find things by not looking for them."

    Top PreviousFront Page

    Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 21:07:54 -0500
    From: Richard Wolfson GEN11-17

    Thanks to wytze for posting the following article:

    Monsanto's modified soya beans are cracking up in the heat

    by Andy Coghlan, New Scientist, 20 November 1999

    Splitting headache

    IT SEEMS barely a week goes by without another piece of bad news for the agribiotech giant Monsanto. Now researchers in the US have found that hot climates don't agree with Monsanto's herbicide-resistant soya beans, causing stems to split open and crop losses of up to 40 per cent.

    This could be a serious blow to the St Louis-based company, which sees Brazil and other Latin American countries as major markets for its soya beans. "It has the potential to be quite a problem," says Bill Vencill of the University of Georgia in Athens.

    Vencill examined the effects of heat on the engineered soya beans after farmers in the southern state alerted him to unexpected crop losses. He realised that most severe losses occurred during Georgia's two hottest springs since the beans were launched in 1996. "In the years we saw the problems, the soils were reaching 40 to 50 °C," says Vencill.

    His team replicated these conditions in laboratory growth chambers, comparing the hardiness of the Monsanto plants with that of conventional strains of soya bean. In soils that reached only 25 °C during the day, the genetically modified Monsanto beans grew just as well as conventional beans. But in warmer soils, the Monsanto plants appeared stunted. And in soils reaching 45 °C, the differences were marked (see Figure). Vencill described the findings at a meeting of the British Crop Protection Council in Brighton this week.

    "We saw lower heights, yields and weights in the Monsanto beans," says Vencill. Worse still, stems of virtually all the Monsanto beans split open as the first leaves began to emerge compared with between 50 and 70 per cent of the other test plants. This same phenomenon had occurred on farms, but had been blamed on fungal disease. "Instead, we think the stem splits, and it exposes the plant to secondary infection," says Vencill.

    Vencill suspects that the phenomenon is the result of changes in plant physiology caused by the addition of genes making the beans resistant to glyphosate, the herbicide marketed as Roundup by Monsanto. Plants carrying these genetic alterations have been shown to produce up to 20 per cent more lignin, the tough, woody form of cellulose. "We think it might make the plants more brittle," says Vencill.

    Intriguingly, he found that plants resistant to a different herbicide, gluphosinate, were not affected by the heat, so he concludes the problem must be peculiar to glyphosate resistance. "It's not genetic modification per se that's causing the effects," he says.

    Vencill says that the bacterial enzyme that imparts resistance to glyphosate affects a major metabolic pathway in the plant, and has the side effect of sending lignin production "into overdrive". Gluphosinate resistance, by contrast, is achieved using a gene that simply enables plants to break down the herbicide.

    Monsanto says it can't comment in detail on Vencill's results "until we've seen a published and peer-reviewed article". But a spokesman suggests that farmers might avoid the problem by choosing a variety of engineered soya bean that is better suited to hot conditions.

    ** 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:

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