Genetically
 Manipulated 


 

 
 
 Food


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24 December 99

Table of Contents

Illegally Exported US GE Crops into Russia
Biodiversity Threatened
International GE Lawsuit
Terminator Terminated
Increased Pesticides Limits
Canadian Campaign Begins
Voluntary Labelling in Canada
The Fight for the Future of Food
US Justice Department Probes Monsanto's Gene-Licensing
Japan Food Firms Replacing GM Ingredients
Europe Feeds Local Debate; Some Retailers Purge Shelves Of Altered Foods
Letter Sent to Lands End UK
Corporate America faces GM onslaught
Top UK Retailer Says no to GM Animal Feed
Italy Suspends Seven GM Food Products
Monsanto pays GM price
UK Supermarkets Move Out of GM-fed Animal Products
Agribusiness fears dog Monsanto, Pharmacia
Rockefeller Foundation Chief knows what to do
CALIFORNIA: Foods Altered Genetically Face Labeling
EU proposes tighter controls on animal feed
Japan: Nisshin to end use of GM crops for home products
Japan: Kibun food to stop using GM ingredients in soymilk
Japan to bring in mandatory tests for GM foods
People Power Blow to GM Food
Washington Post: 6 Farmers in Class Action
UK: GE - illegal test sites
US Organic Standards are Being Revised by State
New Novartis Patents II

Top NextFront Page

Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 16:24:51 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-17 Jan.Alive Articles

Illegally Exported US GE Crops into Russia

Recent spot checks show that the U.S. has been illegally shipping genetically engineered corn to Russia. Several months ago, the Russian government issued legislation requiring permits based on ecological assessment before genetically engineered crops can be imported into the country. However, the US company shipped GE corn to Russia without such a permit. The environmental group Greenpeace also reported that Canada exported biotech potatoes to Ukraine, ignoring the domestic laws, which require prior environmental impact assessment.


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Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 16:24:51 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-17 Jan.Alive Articles

Biodiversity Threatened

With the increased dependence on genetically engineered crops, the world is rapidly losing genetic diversity in crops, and this could have catastrophic effects. According to John Tuxill, author of the WorldWatch genetic diversity study, "We are increasingly skilful at moving genes around, but only nature can create them. If a plant bearing a unique genetic trait disappears, there is no way to get it back." Dr. Loren Wiesner at the National Seed Storage Laboratory in Fort Collins, Colorado, said "We have no idea what insect, disease, or other problem we might be facing. If we don't have the genetic materials to combat these future concerns, we could be in some serious trouble."


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Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 16:24:51 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-17 Jan.Alive Articles

International GE Lawsuit

Activists and farmers from 30 countries have launched an international lawsuit against the world's biggest life science companies. The suit claims that biotech companies are unfairly exploiting genetic technology to gain control of global agricultural markets. According to professor Sebastian Pinheiro of the Federal University of Rio Grande in Brazil, "Transnational companies such as Monsanto and Dupont are not worried about world hunger or the quality of life of the rest of humanity. They want power, to dominate the politics of food and are merely driven by commercial interests. ... Genetically-modified crops represent an economic threat to agriculture and put humanity's survival at risk."


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Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 16:24:51 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-17 Jan.Alive Articles

Terminator Terminated

Following consumer outcry and pressure from the Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto announced that it would not commercialize the controversial "terminator" gene technology, which sterilizes seeds, thereby forcing farmers to buy new seeds each year. To the apparent surprise of Monsanto, Professor Gordon Conway, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation in New York and former vice-chancellor of Sussex University, argued that the possible adverse consequences for billions of developing world farmers outweighs any financial or social benefits from the technology.


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Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 16:24:51 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-17 Jan.Alive Articles

Increased Pesticides Limits

The UK government recently increased by 200 times the allowable levels of pesticide in soy destined for consumption. Malcolm Kane, retired head of food safety at Sainsbury's, warned that the increase in allowable pesticide residues was made solely to help the biotech industry. Biotech soy is genetically engineered to withstand higher doses of pesticide, which allows increased spraying of toxic chemicals.


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Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 16:24:51 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-17 Jan.Alive Articles

Canadian Campaign Begins

Canada's largest grocery chain, Loblaws, has been targeted by a national campaign spearheaded by Greenpeace, the Council of Canadians, and the Sierra Club. Consumers are being informed of the potential risks of genetically modified food, and are being encouraged to demand labelling. Canadians are being denied the same rights as consumers in Europe, where at least 10 international food companies have removed modified ingredients from products, but refuse to do the same in Canada.


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Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 16:24:51 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-17 Jan.Alive Articles

Voluntary Labelling in Canada

In response to mounting public concern about genetically engineered foods, the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors along with the Canadian General Standards Board are developing a voluntary system of labelling GE foods. Environmental and public advocacy groups, who call for mandatory labelling, recognize that allowing industry to voluntarily label GE foods is inadequate.


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Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 16:24:51 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-17 Jan.Alive Articles

The Fight for the Future of Food

If the government won't take responsibility for separating industry profit from safety, it's up to consumers!

By Richard Wolfson, PhD

Reprinted with permission from the Jan 2000 issue of Alive: Canadian Journal of Health and Nutrition, 7436 Fraser Park Drive, Burnaby, BC V5J 5B9

Sections:
Profit Before Safety
No Experience Necessary
Precautionary Principle
The Gene Giants
Codex Phonies
The New World War

Our federal government has abdicated its responsibility for protecting public health in favour of promoting profits for international chemical giants. This was the message from a "Food Safety and Public Health Forum" sponsored by the Canadian Health Coalition in Ottawa last October.

John Verrall, from the United Kingdom (UK) Food Ethics Council, pointed out that biotechnology allows the entire world's food supply to be controlled by a handful of biotech giants. This is dangerous. The agenda of industry is not to protect the public, but to produce profits. The mad cow disease crisis in Europe showed consumers they can't blindly trust government, which has become controlled by industry. Canada's tainted blood scandal, which affected 60,000 lives, was another deregulation catastrophe.

Profit Before Safety

John Harvey, editor of the UK's Organic Farming Journal, said the main cause of food poisoning in Europe is not isolated failures of fridges or hygiene lapses, but companies systematically sidelining safety to reduce expenses.

Another important safety problem is overuse of antibiotics in animals, which is a major cause of antibiotic-resistant diseases. Pharmaceutical companies make enormous money selling these drugs to farmers.

Jeffrey Jenkins, a legal expert in international food trades, said the World Trade Organization (WTO) is being used to force countries to accept imports from other countries, even against their will. The WTO fined the European Union $180 million for rejecting hormone-laden beef from USA. WTO said that there was insufficient evidence showing hormone-laden beef is unsafe, in spite of links to cancer.

No Experience Necessary

Michèle Brill-Edwards, MD, FRCPC, formerly senior physician responsible for regulating prescription drugs in Canada, described the erosion of safety standards in Canada. Health Canada personnel with expertise in food safety, who might impose safety restrictions on industry, were removed from the agency.

Also, Canada's Food and Drugs Act is being systematically dismantled and deregulated. The recently instituted Canadian Food Safety and Inspection Act, which transferred food safety to the Ministry of Agriculture, is a clear conflict of interest. The Ministry of Agriculture cannot properly protect the public because its role is to support industry, which views safety as "red tape."

Precautionary Principle

We are moving away from the precautionary principle, built into the Food and Drugs Act, which states that products need be proven safe before they are marketed. Under proposed new legislation (currently referred to as Bill C-80), products can be marketed unless there is explicit proof of harm. In this framework, products can be sold until there are sufficient "dead bodies."

According to researcher Ken Rubin, Bill C-80 will limit the ability of the Minister of Health to act to ensure our safety. The other Ministers, who are more concerned with industry and trade, will be able to prioritize corporate profit above human protection. Dr. Brill-Edwards said government should be ensuring we don't all become "road kill on the highway to corporate profit."

Daniel Dotto, representing Consumer Health Protection for the European Commission, referred to the string of food crises in Europe (like mad cow, Coca-Cola, dioxins in Belgian chicken), showing what happens when governments loosen control on food safety. When the officials who protect public health also promote industry, health disasters occur.

The Gene Giants

Michael Hansen, PhD, from the Consumer Policy Institute in New York, explained that the main use of biotechnology is not to benefit consumers, but to increase herbicide sales. In 1996, 23% of biotech crops (covering 2.8 million acres) were engineered to be herbicide resistant. By 1998, 71% of biotech crops (28 million hectares) were herbicide resistant. Herbicide-resistant crops allow more use of herbicides to kill weeds without killing the crops.

The biotech giants are also the major herbicide producers (Monsanto, Novartis, Dupont, etc.) They use biotechnology largely to promote sales of their own products. These corporations have also bought up the major seed companies, which gives them even greater control over our food supply.

Codex Phonies

The Honourable Eugene Whelan, recently retired Senator and former Minister of Agriculture, said Agriculture Canada has become increasingly run by individuals who are not experts in Agriculture and are controlled by industry.

Mr. Whelan, who attended recent meetings of Codex (the international food regulating body), described Codex as the "phoniest organization in the world." Codex representatives were not scientists. Most had no background in agriculture or food, and were heavily lobbied by industry. He describing how the USA manipulated the proceedings as the "dirtiest politics in the world."

He said great advances in seeds could be made through conventional breeding, without crossing genes between species. Mr. Whelan also felt strongly that consumer protection should be the priority, not corporate profit.

The New World War

Craig Boljkovac, of the World Wildlife Fund, called for more accountability in government and in Codex. At recent Codex meetings, Canadians delegates would not support the elimination of dangerous toxins (PCB's, dioxins, furans, etc.) from the environment and would not support labelling of genetically engineered foods. We need to make our representatives accountable to the public.

Dr. Brill-Edwards said that we are fighting a war. The previous generation fought WWII. We are fighting an even greater war-- to maintain our health and existence in the face of domination by huge shortsighted corporations, who are blinded to profit at the expense of the safety of the entire human race.

Canadians have made some headway in the battle. BGH has been stopped in Canada and at Codex because of consumer protest. GE foods are being labeled or stopped in Japan, the European Union, Brazil, and other countries. In spite of insurmountable odds, we can take on the gene giants and win. We need to do it. There is no one else.

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


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Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 10:21:33 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-18

Dear friends,

Thank you for your subscription over 1999. For those who would like to receive GE News for 2000, we ask you to renew your subscription. The subscription fee is $35/12 months. ($35 CDN in Canada, $35 USD elsewhere [US money order for those outside USA]) For those who cannot afford $35, they can send in whatever they can afford. Cheques/checks can be made out to "BanGEF" and sent to BanGEF, 500 Wilbrod Street, Ottawa, ON, K1N 6N2 Canada (attn: Richard Wolfson)

Thank you for your support. (If you have already subscribed for 2000, please ignore this notice or just let me know)

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and new year

Richard


US Justice Department Probes Monsanto's Gene-Licensing Pacts

By Jerry Guidera, Staff Reporter, Thursday, December 16, 1999

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The Justice Department is investigating the gene-technology licensing agreements of Monsanto Corp., looking for evidence of any effort to control the price of seeds the agribusiness giant sells to farmers.

According to people close to the matter, the investigation stems from the government's lengthy review of Monsanto's (MTC, news, msgs) proposed $1.8 billion buyout of Scott, Miss.-based cottonseed producer Delta & Pine Land Co. (DLP, news, msgs) and an ongoing review of the rapid consolidation of the seed-growing industry.


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Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 10:21:33 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-18

Japan Food Firms Replacing GM Ingredients

NIKKEI December 17, 1999, Dow Jones

TOKYO – The Nihon Keizai Shimbun was cited as reporting in its Saturday morning edition that food firms are increasingly substituting corn and soybeans with wheat and other grains to ensure their products are free of genetically modified ingredients. The stories adds that demand for non-GM ingredients and GM-free food is soaring and it is increasingly hard to secure supplies of GM-free corn and soybeans. Nisshin Flour Milling Co. (J.NSF or 2002) will in February switch from corn starch, soybean protein and soybean meal to wheat starch, wheat protein and other ingredients in such household food products as tempura batter, deep-fried chicken batter and cake mix. The new products will be available by the end of March. Kibun Food Chemifa Co. (4065) will by February stop using corn oil and isomeric sugar derived from corn in soy milk. "We are thinking of using rice bran or some other domestically produced ingredient that we can substitute without hurting flavor," said President Shinichiro Tashiro.


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Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 10:21:33 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-18

Europe Feeds Local Debate; Some Retailers Purge Shelves Of Altered Foods

By Rob Ferguson, Toronto Star Business Reporter, December 18, 1999

LONDON – Tow-truck driver Derek Stevenson isn't fussy, according to this story, about the food on his plate. Or how it gets there. Then there's Howard Koch, a dentist, who scrutinizes every bite. The story says that the two are on opposite sides of the debate over genetically modified foods - - that has consumed Britain for three years. It is an issue just coming into prominence in North America. And it is likely to change the way consumers and farmers think about meals. are household terms. Fields of GM crops have been burned in protests and the tabloid campaign. The result: Just about everyone has an opinion on the issue. The food industry maintains that genetic modification is safe, increases farm yields and keeps food prices down.

But British and continental European food retailers, caught in the middle, chose the better-safe-than-sorry route after February's call from the European Union for labelling of all GM foods and crops. Tesco PLC, Britain's biggest supermarket chain, announced in April that it is purging genetically modified products from its store shelves despite the company's belief in scientific assertions from the government and chemical companies that GM products are perfectly safe. Tesco has also formed an anti-GM task force with Greenpeace to get a better grasp of the issue and is asking other European food retailers to join.

Rival supermarket chain Sainsbury's has formed a similar consortium with Marks & Spencer and two other retailers, one French, the other Irish. In Canada, McCain Foods Ltd. announced last month it would not process genetically modified potatoes. We think genetically modified material is very good science, but, at the company chairman Harrison McCain said at the time.

Labelling is, the story says, not required in Canada or the United States, where GM foods are eaten daily, unnoticed by most people. The consumer backlash against GM foods began in 1996 after the introduction in 1994 of Calgene Inc.'s Flavr Savr tomato and gained momentum during the unrelated scare over Mad Cow Disease, which left a big question mark over food safety.

Then came the revelation in 1996 that GM soybeans were being introduced into all sorts of processed foods, from pre-packaged meals to chocolate People woke up to the fact that 60 per cent of processed foods contain genetically says Lindsay Keenan, who is leading the UK fight It was no labelling, no choice. That The angry reaction went beyond organic food buffs to the broader public and forced grocers into the fight, says Tesco communications manager Alan McLaughlin. Customers simply don't want it. This business is only successful if we

There's another bottom-line reason for expanding the crusade against GM We don't want anti-GM to become a niche market and have our customers pay higher prices. It's McLaughlin says. And it is about having the clout to wield against powerful North American food retailers, who have not joined the anti-GM movement, for supplies of non-GM soybeans, corn and We'll maybe be able to turn the tide on our sources McLaughlin explains.

The public concern over GM foods in Britain is so high that at least one pet-food maker has banned GM ingredients. But Greenpeace warns there is a bigger battle to be fought. That is getting GM ingredients out of the feed If you're taking it out of pet food but Keenan says.

North America is a difficult place to source GM-free crops and feeds, because the farmers and feed companies have been rapidly adopting the new technology.


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Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 10:21:33 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-18

Here is an excellent letter sent to Lands End UK

Letter Sent to Lands End UK

Lori Lease
UK Operations Director Lands' End Direct Merchants UK Ltd
Lands' End Way Oakham, Rutland
(Freephone 0800 220106. FreeFax 0800 222106) - (My addtion. Ron)

cc Jackie Friar

21 November 1999

RE : Genetically Modified cotton in Lands' End products

Dear Ms Lease

Thank you for your letter of 20 October 1999.

It is very unfortunate that Lands' End is using Genetically Modified cotton in the manufacture of its products. This is not simply a question of "market needs" as you suggest in your letter. Genetically Modified crops damage the environment in a number of ways :

Organic cotton does not exhibit these problems at all, whilst conventionally bred non-organic cotton has much less of an impact on the environment than these Genetically Modified varieties.

In 1996 I wrote to Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencers and Tesco requesting information about Genetic Modification of foods, and warning them of the possible consumer reaction against these products. In every case I received unsatisfactory responses. For two years they did nothing, until in February 1999, the media got hold of the issue, with the result that the supermarkets were subject to considerable expense in removing GM contamination from their products. I envisage the same issues will soon arise with GM contamination of other consumer products, including clothing. Please consider the experiences of your colleagues in the food industry and imagine the consequences of an anti-GM backlash against your products.

I urge Lands' End for the sake of the environment, and for the sake of its own future success, to cease the use of Genetically Modified cotton and instead to encourage the use of organic or conventionally bred cotton from environmentally-friendly producers. The issue of Genetic Modification is developing beyond the UK and Europe to the USA, and progressing from GM food to GM cotton and other GM products. Lands' End should prepare itself for customers rejecting the environmentally damaging products and should now choose suppliers who provide cotton from guaranteed non-Genetically Modified sources.

I look forward to hearing from you with your comments.

Yours sincerely

Marcus Williamson
http://www.connectotel.com/marcus

** 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: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 06:21:44 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-21

Corporate America faces GM onslaught

By Roger Cowe, The Guardian (Finance)., Monday December 20, 1999

Shareholders demand a ban

A concerted shareholder campaign against genetically modified (GM) foods is about to hit corporate America with a flood of resolutions at company meetings demanding a moratorium until proper testing has been done.

Shareholder groups have initially targeted 24 companies operating throughout the food chain, including household names such as Coca-Cola, Heinz, the US Safeway chain and McDonald's, as well as Monsanto, the life science group at the centre of the controversy because of its GM soya.

European groups are also under pressure, including Diageo, the Pillsbury and Burger King group.

Shareholders have submitted resolutions for these companies' annual meetings in the spring, demanding that they stop marketing or distributing GM products until long-term safety testing has ruled out harm to humans, animals, or the environment. Pending complete withdrawal, they demand labelling of food products so that consumers can avoid GM ingredients if they wish.

The campaign is being co-ordinated by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), an umbrella body for 275 religious and other groups which claims to control $100bn of shares in US companies. The ICCR has led a number of successful shareholder campaigns, including withdrawal from South Africa, action against tobacco products and pressure for companies to adopt environmental policies.

Ariane van Buren, ICCR's director of energy and environmental programmes, said opposition to GM foods was growing strongly in the US, fed by success in Europe.

"The action in Europe has been a very important precedent", she said. "This is going to grow and companies need to think it through."

She said an attempt to have the resolutions ruled out of order was a routine blocking tactic, but was unlikely to succeed because shareholders could demonstrate they had a right to know company policies in this area.

The campaign has cited decisions to exclude GM ingredients by Sainsbury and Tesco as well as the UK arms of fast food chains McDonald's, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

In a letter to chief executives of the targeted companies, the campaigners quote these examples and ask: "How does this company plan to respond to popular challenges to the production, use or sale of genetically modified food?"

They raise questions of health and safety, loss of control over seeds by farmers, consumers' right to know what is in their food, and fears about the long term ecological impact of genetic modifications. In a supporting statement to the resolution demanding a moratorium, the groups raise the financial risk to companies which persevere with GM products.

They say: "Our company should take a leadership position in delaying market adoption of genetically engineered crops and foods. Failure to do so could leave our company financially liable."

Ms van Buren said companies usually tried to reach agreement before the annual meeting with shareholders backing such resolutions.

But she believes that most US companies still do not understand the power of consumer resistance and will be unlikely to offer big enough concessions to satisfy shareholders.

"There's a good chance we are not going to get an offer which is significant enough. They have been caught off guard - even now. They are surprised at the shareholder reaction. I can't believe they are so naive."

The targeted companies include life science groups American Home Products, Dow Chemical and Du Pont, the food ingredients company Archer Daniels Midland, consumer products groups General Mills, PepsiCo, Philip Morris, Quaker Oats, and Sara Lee. European groups in the firing line in addition to Diageo include Hoechst, Novartis, Rhone Poulenc and Schering.


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Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 06:21:44 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-21

Full TESCO letter available on request
For more information:
Michael Khoo: 416-597-8408, cell:416-569-8408 For information in French: Nadine Bachand-cell: 514-898-3587
Johanne Fillion: 514-933-0021

Top UK Retailer Says no to GM Animal Feed

December 20th/99

Dramatic impact for Canadian Farmers and Retailers (Toronto/UK) Today, the largest food retailer in the UK, TESCO, announced a plan to stop using genetically modified (GM) animal feed. "This is crucial for the market since animal feed accounts for 80% of GM crop sales." said Greenpeace Canada genetic engineering campaigner Michael Khoo. Other retailers like Sainsbury, Marks & Spencer and Iceland foods are also phasing out GM animal feed. "This will have a dramatic impact on GM seed sales in Canada." said Khoo.

The announcement sheds doubt on Canadian retailers' claims that they cannot label GM food. "If TESCO can take GMOs out of animal feed, Loblaws can get them out of human food. At the very least, this separation of GMOs proves that labelling GM food is possible for Loblaws." added Khoo. In a letter sent to Cargill (the largest grain exporter in the US) & ADM, TESCO's Martin Cooke said "Removal of GM ingredients from animal feeds is achievable through a phased process and that this can and must be done without incurring extra cost for our customers." Grain handlers and food processors such as Cargill and ADM are responsible for the separation of GMOs from non-GMOs.

"It is clear to us that our customers are concerned about the use of GM crops for animal feed and that they would like us to take steps to remove them." Cooke continued. The process will begin in spring 2000 the letter said. "This puts the nail in the coffin for the argument that segregation and labelling are not possible." said Khoo


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Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 06:21:44 -0500
From: Richard WolfsonGEN12-21

Italy Suspends Seven GM Food Products

Reuters World Report, Friday, 17 Dezember 1999 20:37:00, © Copyright 1999 Reuters Ltd.

ROME, Dec 17 (Reuters) - The Italian government has temporarily suspended the use of seven genetically-modified food products, a Health Ministry statement said on Friday. "Following opinions from the Italian Health Institute and the Health Council, the Health Ministry will take a precautionary step, in conformity with EU regulations, to suspend temporarily the use of the substances," it said.

According to the opinion of the Health Council, made available to Reuters, the seven GM products are maize Bt11, maize Mon 810, rapeseed oil Gt73, rapeseed oil MS1 RS1, rapeseed oil RF2 MS1, maize Mon 809 and maize T25. The Health Ministry statement said the suspension followed complaints by environmental groups over allegedly irregular sales procedure, but the ministry gave no details and did not say how long the suspension could last.

The Health Council said it was not possible to guarantee that genetic alteration of foods was safe.


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Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 06:21:44 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-21

Monsanto pays GM price

By Jane Martinson in New York, GUARDIAN (London)Tuesday, December 21, 1999

Controversial foods division to be spun off as pharmaceuticals groups merge

Monsanto, the US biotechnology company, bowed to consumer and shareholder pressure yesterday and announced it would spin off its controversial agricultural chemical business as part of a merger with Pharmacia & Upjohn, the drugs company.

But such is the deep concern over the genetically modified foods business that the intention to keep a controlling stake in the division saw shares in both Monsanto and Pharmacia fall more than 10% following the announcement.

The all-share merger, which offered no premium to either group's latest share price, underlines how a technology promoted by Monsanto as a revolutionary way of revitalising the struggling agricultural industry had become an albatross for the group. Tim Ghriskey, senior fund manager for Dreyfus Corporation, said yesterday: "The shares are still tainted by the agri-chemical side. Everybody was hoping it would not be part of the deal."

As part of the merger, the new group plans to spin off up to 20% of the GM business. Analysts believe the sell-off will value the GM division at not much more than one year's sales, less than $4bn (#2.5bn), because of continuing doubts about its future. Fred Hassan, chief executive of P&U, sought to ease fears about the remaining 80% stake by saying that GM foods were "based on very solid science".

However, he admitted that an "education" campaign was needed to overcome the "PR problem" associated with the industry. Genetically modifying products were "actually... good for the environment". Mr Hassan will become chief executive of the combined group following the merger.

Robert Shapiro, Monsanto's chief executive, will become non-executive chairman of the merged group for 18 months. In a presentation to analysts yesterday, the two men sought to focus on the benefits to be realised. The deal is expected to create the world's eleventh-largest drugs company with a market value of more than $50bn and sales of about $17bn.

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


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Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 20:04:27 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-24

Immediate release: Monday 20th December 1999
Contact:
John Sauven 07712 299 484
Blake Lee-Harwood 0171 865 8256 07801 212969 (m)

UK Supermarkets Move Out of GM-fed Animal Products

UK's largest retailer, Tesco, pulling out in 2000

A new survey of British supermarkets [1] by Greenpeace has revealed that major food retailers are rushing to source meat, eggs and dairy products from non-GM fed animals to counter widespread customer concern. Tesco, the largest food retailer in the UK with an annual food turnover of £13,678 million, has already written to major international animal feed suppliers, Cargill and Archer Daniel Midlands, informing them of their intention to obtain the "complete elimination of GM ingredients from animal feed." [2].

Although imports of GM soya and maize into Europe have fallen due to widespread customer resistance, huge quantities of GM crops are still shipped in to feed animals. In 1998, 6.5 million metric tonnes of US soya was imported into the EU - the vast majority destined for animal feed. The decision by major food retailers to insist on animal products from non-GM sources will have a major impact on agriculture in the USA, Canada and Argentina (the major GM-crop growing countries) whilst bringing good news to GM-free farmers in Brazil and Europe.

John Sauven, Campaign Director at Greenpeace, said: "British supermarkets are racing to rid themselves of the last vestiges of GM contamination as a result of direct consumer pressure. GM animal feed has become a key target in the battle against genetic contamination in Europe. Farmers in the USA and Canada should switch to non-GM crops before their multi-billion dollar international market evaporates."

The supermarket chain Iceland has stated that the ban on genetically modified ingredients in the feed given to its whole range of fresh and frozen poultry will take effect from February, 2000. Iceland is second to Tesco in poultry sales. Iceland predicts its switch to non-GM animal feed will ensure non-GM supplies across Europe. The Sainsbury's supermarket chain said "it was inevitable that we should turn our attention to the presence of GM constituents in animal feedstuffs."

John Sauven continued: "The sudden rush by UK food retailers to abandon GM animal feed is a decisive blow to the biotechnology industry and the multinationals who seek to shove GM products down the throats of Europeans. This Christmas may be the last that we have to put up with GM-fed turkey on the menu and will bring good news for farmers around the world who are GM-free."

The Greenpeace survey was based on correspondence and telephone calls with all of the UK's major food retailers during October, November and December 1999. Full results are available from Greenpeace along with copies of all correspondence.


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Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 20:04:27 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-24

Agribusiness fears dog Monsanto, Pharmacia

By Mariam Isa, STOCKHOLM, Dec 21 (Reuters), December 22, 1999

Shares in merger partners Monsanto Co and Pharmacia & Upjohn fell further on Tuesday and are likely to be blighted for many months to come by worries over the future of Monsanto's embattled agrochemicals unit, analysts said on Thursday.


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Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 20:04:27 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-24

Rockefeller Foundation Chief knows what to do

BIOTECH BACKER TRIES TO BRING FOES TOGETHER, DEFINE ISSUES OF MODIFIED FOOD; DEBATE HAS EXCLUDED POOR, FOUNDATION CHIEF SAYS; $ 3 MILLION WILL FINANCE EFFORT

by Bill Lambrecht; Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 19, 1999

For a big-time backer of biotechnology, Gordon Conway's approach sometimes seems curious. Conway, president of the $ 3.5 billion Rockefeller Foundation, will lecture industry leaders on what he regards as their shortcomings and then irritate them by issuing a press release.

He raised a few eyebrows again last week when he won approval from his board of directors to spend $ 3 million to promote a global discussion of issues surrounding genetically modified food. Chunks of that money already have a home: $ 200,000 to the Hastings Center in New York to look at ethical issues in the debate; $ 150,000 to the Colorado-based Meridian Institute to bring together people with different views for "constructive engagement."

Another $ 150,000 grant reinforces Conway's reputation for independent thinking: It will go to the Consumer Federation of America, whose support of mandatory labeling of genetic foods runs counter to the staunch opposition to labeling by the food industry and biotechnology companies. More advocacy groups are lining up for Rockefeller money next year, and agribusiness interests might not like who gets it. Conway doesn't care.

As he sees it, the debate over biotechnology has gone astray in several ways, one of them by excluding the poor people of the world and scientists in developing countries. In the public's mind, he says, monumental issues about food and science are reduced to a "Monsanto vs. Greenpeace" debate. "The problem at the moment is that this debate lurches from one extreme to another," he said. "The dominant voices are the multinational companies on one hand and the northern environmentalists on the other.

"We are very keen on a range of dialogues which bring everybody together to discuss the various issues. What we want is a coming together for a defining of what the problems are, and then an effort to work through these problems."


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Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 20:04:27 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-24

CALIFORNIA: Foods Altered Genetically Face Labeling

By Mitchel Benson, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Tue, Dec 21, 1999

SACRAMENTO – Two Senate Democrats here don't want to wait for the federal government to decide whether consumers should be warned when they buy genetically modified foods. They want California to act now. In the days following last week's U.S. Food and Drug Administration hearing in Oakland on the question, Sen. Tom Hayden of Los Angeles already has drafted, and Sen. Byron Sher of Stanford says he's seriously considering, legislation to require labeling of such foods. Sen. Hayden's proposal, to be introduced in January, goes further, requiring the labeling of genetically engineered seeds, in addition to modified raw and processed foods.


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Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 20:04:27 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-24

EU proposes tighter controls on animal feed

BRUSSELS, Dec 21 (Reuters)

The European Commission on Tuesday proposed new laws on what chemicals are allowed in animal feed, part of a new approach to tighten controls in the wake of Belgium's dioxin crisis. In revising EU rules on permitted substances in animal feed, the Commission said it had included feed additives, a ban on diluting highly contaminated feed materials and had closed loopholes in existing legislation. "This is an important step in the legislative work programme established after the dioxin crisis earlier this year," EU food safety commisisoner David Byrne said in a statement. "This proposal will enhance the safety of the feed production chain."


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Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 20:04:27 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-24

Japan: Nisshin to end use of GM crops for home products

JAPAN: December 21, 1999, TOKYO - Reuters

Nisshin Flour Milling Co Ltd , Japan's largest flour miller, said yesterday it will stop using ingredients produced from genetically modified (GM) corn and soybeans in its flour products for home use by the end of next February.

The company plans to use wheat starch as an alternative for corn starch and replace soybean protein with wheat protein due to consumer concerns about the safety of bioengineered food products, a company spokesman said.

"We have decided to use wheat-based ingredients because we found it difficult to secure a sufficient volume of ingredients made from non-GM corn and soybeans," he said.

The company uses a total of 2,000 tonnes of corn starch, soybean protein and soy powders annually in its flour products for home use, the spokesman said. Nisshin is also talking to its corporate clients about the possible elimination of GM ingredients from its business-use flour products, he said.


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Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 20:04:27 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-24

Japan: Kibun food to stop using GM ingredients in soymilk

JAPAN: December 21, 1999 Reuters TOKYO

Kibun Food Chemifa Co Ltd , Japan's largest soybean milk maker, said yesterday it will stop using ingredients derived from genetically-modified (GM) corn in its soybean milk products by March next year.

The company plans to use rice bran oil as an substitute for corn oil and replace high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) with sugar, in an attempt to wipe out consumer doubts about the safety of foods containing GMOs, a Kibun official said. As for soybeans, all the crops Kibun uses to make soymilk are imports from China that are grown from non-GM seed varieties, the official said.

"We have decided to eliminate all the GM ingredients from soymilk products, which have marked double-digit growth for the past several years due to its image as a healthy drink," he said.

Kibun is using about 600 tonnes of HFCS and 300 tonnes of corn oil in its soymilk products for the current business year to March 31, 2000, he said.

Kibun accounts for about a 50 percent share in Japan's soymilk market worth some 17 billion yen this year, he said.


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Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 20:04:27 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-24

Japan to bring in mandatory tests for GM foods

by DAVID BARTRUFF, Nature, December 23, 1999, volume 402, page 846
http://www.nature.com/server-java/Propub/nature/402846A0.frameset

Keeping it 'natural': The Japanese public are growing hostile towards GM food. [TOKYO] Japan's Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) announced last week that tests on the potential health risks of genetically modified (GM) foods will be mandatory from April 2001. Such tests are currently carried out on a voluntary basis. The ministry also announced that foods considered 'safe' would be labelled.


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Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 20:04:27 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson GEN12-24

People Power Blow to GM Food

By John Ingham And Lucy Johnston, the Express (UK), Fri, 24 Dec 1999

THE biotech revolution is in danger of failure in the face of consumer power, one of the world's top investment banks has warned.

In a new body blow to the beleaguered industry, Credit Suisse First Boston says the commercial development of genetically modified organisms is suffering from "negative momentum". It says food manufacturers are running scared of GM crops, and that key questions about the technology may not be answered for several years.

Analysts warn in a series of briefings that the issue is out of control for big business and government. "If anyone is in control it appears to be environment and consumer groups."

The Express has been leading the campaign for public choice over GM foods and tighter controls on GM crops since summer 1998.

We have called for all food to be clearly labelled and for delays on commercial planting until independent research has proved they are safe for the environment.

Credit Suisse compares GM technology with nuclear power. It says both are scientifically sound but warns: "No one is building new nuclear plants today."

After surveying consumer reaction, it says: "The march of progress with GM crops no longer appears inevitable to us."

The bank's analysis will cause fresh alarm among investors who have already seen the share values of some biotech firms fall.

In the past year shoppers in Britain and Europe have overwhelmingly rejected GM food. Even US consumers are now beginning to rebel amid fears about the long-term consequences.

The reports are all the more damaging because Credit Suisse's clients have included some of the world's top biotech firms. They follow similar warnings by the influential Deutsche Bank earlier this year.

Friends of the Earth claimed last night that the City was turning its back on biotech firms.

Spokesman Adrian Bebb said: "Time is running out for the biotech industry. "One of the world's biggest financial advisers appears to have little faith in it."

The newly announced merger between biotech giant Monsanto and a Swedish firm is seen as further evidence that the GM revolution is running out of steam. In the past 14 months Monsanto shares have nearly halved in value.

** 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: 16 Dec 1999 08:01:55 U
From: Colleen Robison crobison@mnsinc.com

Washington Post: 6 Farmers in Class Action

Hi, Sorry I didn't get this out yesterday.
C.
==============

Lawsuit Questions the Company's Testing of Genetically Modified Seeds

By John Schwartz, Washington Post Staff Writer, Wednesday, December 15, 1999; Page E01

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-12/15/189l-121599-idx.html


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Date: 16 Dec 1999 14:31:59 U
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk
From: Adrian Bebb adrianb@foe.co.uk (by way of GEN lists genetics@gn.apc.org)

UK: GE - illegal test sites

Sections:
FoE writes letters to GE farmers
Notes To Editors:
Site number Location

FoE writes letters to GE farmers

Embargoed: 00:01 hours, Wednesday 15 December 1999 page1 of 2 DIG THEM UP! GM FARMERS URGED TO REMOVE  ILLEGAL CROPS

Friends of the Earth has written to 20 farmers in England and Scotland informing them that genetically modified winter oilseed they are growing  at 24 sites  - including three farm scale trials - are not covered by a legal consent, and should therefore be dug up [1]. A list (attached) showing the locations of the illegal sites is published by FOE for the first time today.

The letters follow a recent court order from the High Court confirming that Government permission allowing the crops to be planted was illegal.

The order, resulting from a successful legal challenge by FOE, was not contested by the Government [2].

In the letter farmers are told that "FOE...believes that these GM winter

rape crops should not be in the ground and should not remain there. We respectfully urge you, as strongly as we can, to consider destroying them." The letter also suggests "that you might think it appropriate to seek your own legal advice rather than taking advice directly from AgrEvo or the Government, who have their own interests to protect". FOE has also written to Environment Minister Michael Meacher asking him to order the crops' destruction [3].

Liana Stupples, Campaigns Director at Friends of the Earth, said: "The High Court has confirmed that permission to plant these winter GM oilseed rape crops was unlawful. To allow them to stay in the ground would simply bring the law into disrepute. Our letter to these farmers notifies them of the situation and urges them to consider destroying these crops. Public confidence in GM crops is already at an all time low -- allowing these crops to continue to grow will only let it sink even lower.

"The Government must also act to end this farcical situation. How many more times will it allow the law to be bent to suit the biotech industry?"

Friends of the Earth is still discussing further legal steps with its lawyers.ENDS

Notes To Editors:

[1] Twenty four sites of winter oilseed rape have been planted under release consent 98/R19/18 extending from Hampshire to Aberdeenshire. These include three farm scale trials, 11 National List Trials (for Seed Listing) and 10 AgrEvo research and development sites.

[2] In August this year Friends of the Earth went to court asking for a Judicial Review of the Government's decision to vary a GMO release consent issued to the biotech company AgrEvo. The following month (September 17) the Government and AgrEvo conceded that the variation was unlawful and agreed not to contest FOE's case in cofurt.

On 24 November the High Court formally ruled that the consent for the variation to AgrEvo's original consent was "unlawful" and "in contravention" of EU regulations and ordered it to be quashed[4].

This is the third time that the Government has been found to be acting illegally over GM crops following a court challenge involving Friends of the Earth.

In July 1998, Court of Appeal ruled the Government had been operating the Seed Regulations illegally.  As a result, GM seeds were able to avoid two years of seed testing thus accelerating their commercial approval.

In March 1999, the Provisional Seed Certification Scheme,  which enabled

GM seeds to be fast tracked onto the market by up to two years, was conceded to be unlawful by the Government following an application for Judicial Review by FOE, Norman Baker MP. Alan Simpson MP and John Randall MP.

[3] In its letter to Michael Meacher, FOE urges Mr Meacher to exercise his powers to order the three farm scale trials and other sites (see attached map) to be destroyed "as soon as possible" because planting had

gone ahead "cynically", and in the full knowledge that the decision to vary the consent would be challenged in court. The variation allowed for

a four fold increase in the area under GM oilseed and extended it to cover winter as well as spring oilseed. The absence of a legal consent means that legal conditions which applied to the consent are no longer valid.

Site number Location

  1. RD1 ADAS Bridgets, Martyr Worthy, Winchester, Hants SO12 1AR
  2. RD2 ADAS Gleadthorpe, Medan Vale, Mansfield, Notts NG20 9PF
  3. RD3 Summer House Farm, New Road, Melbourn, Royston, Herts, SG8 6DL
  4. RD4 SAC, Boghall Farm, Biggar Road, Hillend, Edinburgh, EH10 7DX
  5. RD5 SAC, Tillycorthie, Udney, Aberdeenshire, AB41 6SD
  6. RD6 Hall Farm, Stoke Ash, Nr Eye, Suffolk, IP23 7ET
  7. RD7 Chishill Orchard Farm, Heydon Road, Great Chishill, Royston, Herts, SG8 8SS
  8. RD8 Wood Farm, Dodds Lane, Picots End, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP2 6JJ
  9. RD9 Hutton Fields, Hutton Magna, North Yorks, DL11 7HG
  10. RD10 Home Farm, Screveton, Nr Bingham, Notts, NG13 8JN
  11. VS1 NIAB, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 0LE
  12. VS2 NIAB Martyr Worthy, Winchester, Hants, SO21 1AR
  13. VS4 SAC, Tillycorthie, Udny, Aberdeenshire, AB41 6SD
  14. VS5 Tilekiln Farm, Albury, Bishops Stortford, Herts, SG11 2HP
  15. VS6 Laverton Meadows, Stanton, Nr Broadway, Glos
  16. VS7 Dalby Farms Ltd, Brigsley, Lincs, PE23 4PN
  17. VS8 Raynham Farms Co Ltd, The Estate Office, East Raynham, Fakenham, Norfolk, NR21 7EH
  18. VS9 Boghall Farm, Biggar Road, Hillend, Edinburgh, EH10 7DX
  19. VS10 New Farm, Newton Road, Whittlesford, Cambridge, CB2 4PF
  20. VS11 Estate Office, Svalof Weibull Ltd, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE17 2PQ
  21. VS12 Plant Breeding Station, Boothby Graffoe,Lincoln, LN5 0LF
  22. FS2 Home Farm, Spittle in the Street, Glentham, Lincs, LN8 2AX
  23. FS3 Wood Farm, Dodds Lane, Picots End, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP2 6JJ
  24. FS4 The Old Rectory, Croxby, Market Raisen, Lincs, LN7 6BW

----------------------------
Adrian Bebb
Food and Biotechnology Campaigner
Friends of the Earth

Tel 0113 242 8153    Fax 0113 242 8154

"GM organisms have become the albatross around the neck of farmers"

Gary Goldberg, American Corn Growers Asssociation.


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Date: 17 Dec 1999 11:00:10 U
From: jim@niall7.demon.co.uk

CONTACT: Washington State Department of Agriculture
Miles McEvoy, 360/902-1924 | or Linda Waring, 360/902-1815

US Organic Standards are Being Revised by State

OLYMPIA, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE) via NewsEdge Corporation

The state's Organic Food Program is proposing changes to the list of materials that are approved for use in organic crop production.

The proposal also addresses roadside vegetation management, genetic engineering, and standards for the use of seeds and transplants in organic farming. The state Department of Agriculture will hear public comments on the proposal at 11 a.m. Jan. 5 in Room 259 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St., Olympia. Written comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. Jan. 5.

"Washington's Organic Food Program is widely recognized for the quality of its standards and certification process," said Miles McEvoy, manager of the Organic Food Program at Department of Agriculture. "The proposed changes will continue our state's leadership and enhance acceptance of Washington's organic products in domestic and international markets."

Proposed changes include:

The Organic Crop Production Standards are being revised for a number of reasons. First, they will clarify standards regarding genetic engineering, transplants, seeds, sprouts, and transitional requirements. Second, they will align Washington's organic standards with national and international organic standards. Third, the proposed amendments will enhance organic integrity through the requirements for notification and non-chemical vegetation management. Fourth, the list of approved and prohibited materials will be clarified and updated to national organic standards.

The state Department of Agriculture's Organic Advisory Board has worked with Organic Food Program staff to develop the proposed amendments. Proposed changes are based on the United States Department of Agriculture's National Organic Standards Board Recommendations and the Organic Trade Association's American Organic Standards.

For a copy of the proposed rules, call Miles McEvoy at 360/902-1924. Send written comments to: Washington State Department of Agriculture, Organic Food Program, PO Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560. Comments may be sent by FAX (360) 902-2087 or e-mail mmcevoy@agr.wa.gov. Information on the Organic Food Program is available on the Internet at www.wa.gov/agr/fsah/organic/ofp.htm. The hearing is wheelchair accessible. For materials in Braille or other formats, call 360/902-1976 or TDD 360/902-1996. <Business Wire, 12-16-99, 06:03 Eastern>


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Date: 17 Dec 1999 11:57:51 U
From: wytze geno@zap.a2000.nl

New Novartis Patents II

The "invention" by Novartis apllies to transgenic plants with insecticdal properties. Toxins expressed by such transgenic plants include for example:

See also the following patents: EP374753, WO9307278, WO9534656, EP427529, EP451878

The "invention" can be used on:

The reduction rate is 40-50% at least which can be increased by adding other compounds (see previous message).

The application gives a whole list of biological examples, which I did not yet go through. The whole application is about 110 pages. It also lists the different nematodes and insects it works upon but also tables with a lot of other targets, like fungi, viruses etc.

To me the "invention" is 0,1-99% proof that transgenic Bt plants are not so effective and have caused resistance already, in particular 95-99%.

wytze


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.