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3-Food: Family-run brewery serves up GM beer



*------------------------------------------------------------------------*
   "Faced with consumers wary of genetically-modified crops, biotechno-
    logy industry leaders in Europe have been seeking innovative ways
    to move discussion of biotech products out from the circle of
    scientists, politicians, and nongovernmental organizations and closer
    to the public. Together with Bioteknikcentrum, the Swedish branch of
    the European agricultural biotech industry association, the Monsanto
    team in Sweden worked with master brewer Kenth Persson to develop
    a beer containing biotech maize."
                                                        MONSANTO, 2004
*------------------------------------------------------------------------*



                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Family-run brewery serves up GM beer
SOURCE: CNN, USA
        http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/07/15/gm.foods/
DATE:   15 Jul 2005

------------------- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/ -------------------


Family-run brewery serves up GM beer

YSTAD, Sweden (CNN) -- The Kenth brewery in Ystad, Sweden, is anything
but a giant corporation.

But the small family-run brewery is the unlikely setting for one of the
latest attempts by the GM food lobby to persuade Europeans to change
their attitudes about scientifically altered food.

Kenth brews its beer using corn that has been genetically modified to
protect it against pests.

Master brewer Kenth Persson is aware that the use of GM ingredients is
not to everyone's taste and admits the brewery is taking a risk.

"But I think it's very interesting to be doing a new thing and that is
what brewers like me want to do," he said. "We cannot do things in the
same way as the big breweries like Carlsberg. We try to do things
differently."

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the first GM crop being planted
in the U.S.

The amount being cultivated in the U.S. and South America has increased
since then, but elsewhere the battle to convert the world to the benefits
of scientifically altered food has been far from smooth.

In Europe only Spain and Romania have fully embraced GM crops, producing
more than 50,000 hectares a year.

Ironically the corn used by Kenth is grown in Germany -- one of the
European countries most strongly opposed to GM foods.

Matthias Berninger, Germany's undersecretary for consumer affairs, told
CNN that ultimately the fate of GM produce would be decided by the consumer.

"The thing is since we have clear-cut labeling regulations in Europe GM
food is banned because our consumers don't want to eat it," he said.

"In a market driven economy the consumer should have the right to choose
whether he likes the technology or not and that is something some
multinational companies should bear in mind."

But Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant, whose company's name has become synonymous
with GM food, says there are signs that Europeans are slowly coming round
to the idea of modified food.

"For five years or six years, almost nothing happened in Europe, there
was a de facto moratorium where products weren't approved," said Grant.

"But Europe has redefined and redesigned the regulatory architecture and
the last year we saw the beginnings of products being approved. I
passionately hope we will see that pace picking up."

Rose Gray of London's renowned River Cafe believes the case for using GM
ingredients hasn't yet been made.

"I think if there is any application for GM food, it's for Third World
countries where they've got problems with growing," he said.

"I don't feel it applies to European countries. I mean we just need to be
better farmers and using traditional methods where you get proper flavors."

Her vaguely conciliatory tone is at odds with some of the stronger
criticism leveled at organizations like Monsanto.

Grant claims that the bad press his company receives is mostly due to
being first with new technology: "For any new technology there is always
controversy and there always some fear associated with it. I think that's
just the price of being first sometimes."

Opponents of GM food argue that simple supply and demand will determine
whether GM products survive.

In the bars of Sweden the push to persuade people to try Kenth's beer
continues. But as attitudes harden it could be that GM producers will
soon be drinking in the last chance saloon.

Food campaigner Morgan Spurlock told CNN the GM debate in the U.S. had
reached levels beyond whether people were pro or anti.

"The debate continues in America, but anytime people start to question it
the people start to say, 'Well you're against farmers, you're against
farming in America,'" Spurlock said.

"But it's not the farmer that this is going against. It's against the
giant corporations that have taken over the farming industry in America
and are starting to infiltrate other countries around the world."

CNN's Tom Hayes and Liz George contributed to this report.


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Touch n'Taste: the First Biotech Product in Restaurants and
        Supermarkets in Sweden
SOURCE: Monsanto, USA
        http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto/layout/our_pledge/
living_the_pledge/dialogue/default.asp
        file attached: dialogue.jpg
DATE:   2004

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Living the Pledge
Dialogue

We will listen carefully to diverse points of view and engage in
thoughtful dialogue to broaden our understanding of issues in order to
better address the needs and concerns of society and each other.

Touch n'Taste: the First Biotech Product in Restaurants and Supermarkets
in Sweden

Faced with consumers wary of genetically-modified crops, biotechnology
industry leaders in Europe have been seeking innovative ways to move
discussion of biotech products out from the circle of scientists,
politicians, and nongovernmental organizations and closer to the public.
Together with Bioteknikcentrum, the Swedish branch of the European
agricultural biotech industry association, the Monsanto team in Sweden
worked with master brewer Kenth Persson to develop a beer containing
biotech maize. The beer, Kenth, was introduced in early 2004 at Swedish
pubs, restaurants, and the state-owned liquor stores, Systembolaget.

The team's launch campaign, "Touch n' Taste," provided consumers with an
opportunity to touch, taste, and feel a real biotech product, so that
they could become more familiar with biotech products.

"I want people to be able to try this beer," said Persson, "because, as a
brewer, I'm excited about the environmental benefits of Bt maize."

Indeed, when people try Kenth beer and learn about the advantages of the
biotech maize used in it, they react enthusiastically.

By building public interest in the beer directly, the team hopes
retailers and politicians will realize that public openness to biotech
products in Europe is stronger than consumer polls have suggested.
Allowing labeled products such as Kenth on supermarket shelves gives
consumers the freedom to choose among all types of products.

The team's efforts led to a successful launch of Kenth in Sweden mainly
because of the excellent communication and transparency about how the
beer is produced. The team expects the beer to be introduced in the
United Kingdom in 2004.




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