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Re: GUESS WHAT YOU'VE BEEN EATING (fwd)





---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 25 Dec 1998 12:06:45 -0800
From: Art Rosenblum <artr@juno.com>

Dear Michael,
	I read with interest your long post with above title, but wish it had a
more positive alternative. The world must be fed, though some say (with
good logic, perhaps) that we face a major die-off of some billions after
Y2K as even the remediated (not to mention uncorrected) systems will fail
to work together in practice. Putting major changes on line together all
at the same time will not work. 

	At the same time, of course, Monsanto and many other large org.s will
collapse. All that, however, is part of a likely but very negative
scenario.

	ON THE POSITIVE SIDE is a whole new approach to organic agriculture
which goes back to the real cause of insect problems. It is not lack of
pesticides. Nor do we have illness for lack of antibiotics in our diet.

	Bacteria and virus are here to keep the species healthy by eliminating
the unhealthy individuals so they don't procreate. Insects are here to
keep plants healthy by eating those that are sick !   Our research shows
that healthy plants have so much sugar in their sap that insects can't
eat them. The high sugar content causes fermentation in their bodies and
they die (but they die happy, I'm told). 

	So, what causes low sugar content ?  Mainly modern agriculture and land
clearing which eliminates birds and the demineralization of the soil due
to 10,000 years of farming, acid rain, etc. 

	There are safe, positive solutions to these problems which result in
vastly superior crops of organic food resistant to droughts, pests,
frost, etc. We have done a video on it and will be starting to use the
methods here in this community in the Spring. I did a video on the system
some years back and have additional information now. Let me know if you
want to publicize these positive alternatives to GM.

Peace and love, 
Art Rosenblum
Aquarian Research Foundation, 14724 184th NE, Arlington, WA 98223
(Research towards a positive future since 1969)
(360) 403-9593 or visit: www.ic.org/aq for latest info. and newsletters.


On Thu, 24 Dec 1998 14:52:20 -0800 (PST) MichaelP <papadop@PEAK.ORG>
writes:
>
>
>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Thu, 24 Dec 1998 17:40:42 +1100
>From: acfgenet@peg.apc.org (Bob Phelps)
>
>
>________________________________________________________________________
____
>
>         Published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
>                December 12 1998 under the headline
>
>                  GUESS WHAT YOU'VE BEEN EATING
>
>
>________________________________________________________________________
_____
>
>WHEN they asked Peter Corish to be a guinea pig for Australia's first
>genetically engineered crop, he jumped at the chance. "In the 
>glasshouse
>it worked brilliantly," says the cotton farmer from Goondiwindi on the
>NSW-Queensland border. "We thought it would be the answer to a lot of 
>our
>problems." 
>
>The cotton farmer's biggest bugbear is a caterpillar called 
>helicoverpa,
>the larva of a moth which, left to its own devices, can munch its way
>through an entire crop. The traditional solution has been a highly 
>toxic
>pesticide, sprayed from the air up to a dozen times during the growing
>season, with serious consequences for the environment, and claims of
>"cancer clusters" among nearby farming communities. 
>
>But six years ago a new species of cotton that was claimed to be 
>immune to
>the helicoverpa caterpillar, and any other pest, came out of the
>laboratory and into Australia's paddocks. It had been developed 
>jointly by
>the CSIRO and Monsanto, the giant US corporation. 
>
>Using what scientists call biolistics, a "gene gun" that fires 
>microscopic
>gold or tungsten cannonballs coated with genetic material into living
>cells, they had managed to create a cotton plant that manufactures
>bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a micro-organism deadly to insects which
>occurs naturally in the soil and is one of the very few pesticides 
>even
>organic farmers are allowed to use. 
>
>It is harmless to humans. But, in theory at least, if a helicoverpa
>caterpillar bites a chunk out of a leaf of this new cotton variety, it
>will curl up and drop dead. No more spraying, a cleaner environment,
>bigger profits for the farmers, a more competitive export industry for
>Australia, it sounded too good to be true. 
>
>And it was. In 1996 the Federal Government approved the commercial 
>release
>of the patented Ingard cotton, as it is called, the first and so far 
>the
>only genetically modified (GM) crop grown in Australia. Corish, the
>chairman of Cotton Australia, the organisation that represents the 
>1,500
>growers, watched eagerly for the results. 
>
>Like the curate's egg, they were good in parts. Growers were able to
>reduce their use of pesticides by up to 65per cent. But yields were 
>also
>down that first season, and Monsanto exploited its monopoly position,
>charging farmers $245 a hectare for a licence to grow Ingard, almost
>double what it charged US farmers. By the time the growers did their
>accounts, many complained that they had lost money with the new 
>miracle
>pest-proof cotton. 
>
>This year, the third season, only about 16per cent of the 500,000 
>hectares
>under cotton in Queensland and NSW have been sown to Ingard. This is
>partly because of the innate conservatism of farmers, and partly the
>caution of the Federal Government, which has imposed a ceiling of 
>20per
>cent until it better understands the consequences of letting loose a
>transgenic organism into the fragile Australian environment, which 
>most
>would feel has already suffered enough havoc from exotic species,
>introduced, admittedly, with the best of intentions. 
>
>But this huge experiment is not just a debate about a new crop, 
>farmers'
>incomes or even biological pollution, important as they may be. It is 
>a
>debate that touches all of us in the most intimate and fundamental 
>way,
>it's about who decides what we eat, about the safety and the security 
>of
>our food supply. 
>
>For two years now, oil crushed from the seeds of that transgenic 
>cotton
>has been sold for human consumption, and the residue fed to livestock. 
>The
>oil is used in fish-and-chip shops, and is blended to make products
>ranging from margarine to mayonnaise and cake-mix. And this is just 
>the
>beginning. 
>
>That oil is just one of a number of transgenic foods, from beer to 
>cheese
>to baby food, which, with no announcement, no approval from any 
>government
>organisation, no mandatory health or safety checks, and no labelling, 
>have
>been quietly infiltrating Australia's supermarkets. One food industry 
>guru
>estimates that up to 60per cent of the bottles, tins and packages on 
>the
>shelves may already contain genetically engineered food, and that most 
>of
>us will already have unknowingly eaten some. 
>
>On one side of the debate are the vested interests of the global 
>agri/food
>industry, which stands to make billions of dollars from its investment 
>in
>the new technology. They argue powerfully that the new crops represent 
>a
>second "green revolution", essential if we are to feed the billions of
>extra mouths arriving on the planet in coming decades; that the 
>products
>are safe; and that by increasing yields and eliminating the need for 
>weed-
>and insect-killing poisons they promise a cleaner, greener planet. 
>
>Ranged against them is a noisy coalition of environmental, consumer,
>health and religious groups who mistrust the speed and secrecy with 
>which
>the new foods have been foisted on us, who are concerned about their
>possible dangers to consumers, and who fear they may spawn 
>"Frankenstein"
>plants and insects, with catastrophic consequences for the 
>environment. 
>
>Prince Charles, heir to the British throne and a committed "greenie" 
>who
>converses with his vegetables, spoke for them with religious fervour
>earlier this year when he said: "Do we have the right to experiment 
>with
>and commercialise the building blocks of life? I personally have no 
>wish
>to eat anything produced by genetic manipulation, nor do I knowingly 
>offer
>this sort of produce to my family or guests." 
>
>The extraordinary thing is that, unlike in Europe, where consumer
>activists have blockaded ports, stormed the headquarters of food 
>companies
>and attacked genetically engineered crops in the field, Australians 
>have
>barely begun to discuss the most fundamental change to our diet since
>European settlement.  A GLANCE at the Internet Web page of the 
>Australian
>Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee, 20 scientists appointed by 
>the
>Government to decide which of these GM crops is safe to grow, and 
>under
>what conditions, gives an idea of the range of new plants scientists 
>are
>working on that may eventually finish up on our dinner plates. 
>
>Among 110 ongoing experiments are potatoes that don't go brown when 
>you
>knock them about, and which have an increased starch content so they 
>don't
>absorb as much oil when they are fried. Canola and sugar cane are 
>being
>developed with a built-in resistance to bugs and herbicides, and
>super-nutritious lupins have been "injected" with a sunflower gene 
>that is
>supposed to make sheep grow more wool when they eat them. 
>
>In Queensland Dr Jose Botella, in conjunction with Golden Circle Ltd, 
>is
>working on a gene he hopes will make whole fields of pineapples all 
>ripen
>at once so they can be harvested more cheaply. Other Australian
>scientists, supported by tens of millions of dollars' worth of 
>government
>grants and tax subsidies, are trying to engineer wheat that makes 
>better
>noodles, citrus with no seeds, peas that kill weevils. 
>
>Dr Thomas "TJ" Higgins, the scientist who heads the CSIRO's "gene 
>team",
>says there is a potential for the new plants to save Australian
>agriculture hundreds of millions of dollars a year. But he 
>acknowledges he
>is disappointed that only one of the new plants (the Ingard cotton) 
>that
>has come out of his laboratory at the foot of Canberra's Black 
>Mountain in
>the past 10 years has yet been commercially grown, and says Australia 
>"has
>been fairly slow to take up the new technology". 
>
>The reason? Political opposition (Labor went to the last Federal 
>election
>promising strict labelling for all GM food) and growing concerns about 
>the
>safety of the new technology among health, environment and consumer
>groups, which take their cue from Europe. 
>
>There, in a series of highly publicised incidents, Greenpeace 
>activists
>blocked the entry into port of three cargo ships carrying American GM 
>soya
>beans, destroyed crops and unrolled a large banner from the roof of
>Nestle's headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland, proclaiming, "Gene Food
>Force-Fed by Nestle". The British, in particular, have had their faith 
>in
>official reassurances shaken by the lies they were told about the
>scientific "impossibility" of "mad cow disease" being transmitted from
>beef to humans, more than a dozen people are now confirmed dead from 
>it. 
>
>The crusade has resulted in the European Union promulgating labelling 
>laws
>for genetically engineered foodstuffs, which the industry says are
>unworkably tough, and has led to a number of bans by high-profile
>companies. Unilever, Nestle and the chocolate company Kraft Jacobs 
>Suchard
>have all said they will not use GM products. 
>
>Some supermarkets in Denmark, Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands and 
>Germany
>have also banned genetically engineered food. In Britain, Malcolm 
>Walker,
>boss of the Iceland chain, which has 750 stores, declared: "I'm not
>frightened to say this isn't right and we won't do it. There is no
>practical reason why we should be genetically modifying anything. 
>Genetics
>is incredibly inexact. We are playing with fire [and] I think it's
>horrendous." 
>
>Not so in the United States, which pioneered genetic engineering, and
>where 48 different food products have already been approved and 
>hundreds
>more are on the drawing boards. Almost all, however, like the Ingard
>cotton, offer advantages to the seed corporation, the farmer, the
>distributor and the retailer, but nothing to the consumer. 
>
>Americans are already able to eat sterile radicchio, borer-resistant
>popcorn, virus-resistant pawpaw, potatoes deadly to their main pest, 
>the
>Colorado beetle, and six new varieties of tomato genetically altered 
>to
>"enhance fresh market value", whatever that might mean. 
>
>But Mitchell Hooke, executive director of the Australian Food Council,
>which represents the country's main food manufacturers, proselytises 
>about
>the next generation of designer fruit and vegetables: strawberries
>containing increased levels of ellagic acid, a "natural cancer- 
>fighting
>agent"; garlic with more allicin, said to reduce cholesterol levels; 
>fruit
>with extra vitamins C and E; and canola and soya bean oil with more
>stearate, to produce healthier margarine. 
>
>Growing in laboratories are even more weird and wonderful creations. 
>The
>Swedes have spliced a gene from a mustard plant into an aspen tree to 
>make
>it grow faster; the Americans are trying to engineer vaccines into 
>bananas
>which would immunise the consumer against tropical diseases; the 
>Chinese
>have "crossed" a flounder with a sugar beet to make it more resistant 
>to
>cold; mouse genes have been spliced into tobacco, and a chicken gene 
>into
>potatoes. Human genes have been added to salmon, trout and rice, 
>playing
>on our darkest dreads. 
>
>The first transgenic animals, 21 varieties of fish from abalone to 
>shrimp
>and rainbow trout, are already being bred in the US, including a
>supersalmon which has a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon spliced 
>into
>it. So concerned is British Columbia about the unguessable 
>consequences of
>these fish escaping into the wild that it has banned their farming in 
>sea
>pens. 
>
>In Adelaide, the small research company BresaGen provided a glimpse 
>two
>years ago of what may be the future when it spliced human genetic 
>material
>into a pig to try to produce an animal with less fat and more meat. 
>Amid
>huge controversy about overtones of cannibalism, the company was 
>forced to
>abandon the experiment, write off $12million in Commonwealth subsidies 
>and
>tax-deducted investment, and destroy the pigs. 
>
>"It was a huge frustration, and in the end we opted out," says the
>company's managing director, Dr John Smeaton. "We could never get a
>definitive answer out of the various regulatory authorities [on 
>whether
>the "new pork' could be sold for human consumption] and a few noisy 
>people
>stirred it up as an emotional issue."  HARD evidence about the effects 
>on
>human health of eating these revolutionary new foods is hard to come 
>by,
>particularly since, unlike a drug, there is no obligation anywhere to 
>test
>their safety on humans, and in some cases there are not even any 
>animal
>trials. "Obviously, if a whole load of bunnies die, it's not OK for
>humans," said an Australian food industry spokeswoman. 
>
>One concern is that antibiotic-resistant "marker genes" used in the
>genetic engineering process may somehow transfer into the human body.
>Hooke dismisses this as "about as likely as a supernova hitting the
>earth". 
>
>Another fear, for which there is already some scientific support, is 
>the
>risk of transferring an alien allergen into a previously safe 
>foodstuff. 
>The US Union of Concerned Scientists, a prestigious group that 
>includes a
>number of Nobel laureates, cites a study in which seven out of nine
>volunteers showed allergic reactions to a soya bean that had been
>"crossed"  with a brazil nut. 
>
>The most serious case of genetic engineering gone wrong reliably
>documented in medical literature involves, paradoxically, a 
>health-food
>supplement called L-tryptophan, a "naturally occurring" amino acid, 
>which
>was promoted in the 1980s as a treatment for insomnia and depression. 
>In
>1989 health authorities in Australia and around the world warned 
>people to
>stop taking it after it was linked to the deaths of 36 people and the
>crippling of another 1,500 by a completely new blood disease called 
>EMS. 
>
>Investigators discovered that the cases were caused by contaminants in 
>one
>particular batch of L-tryptophan which had been manufactured in Japan 
>by
>the Showa Denko corporation using a newly modified strain of 
>genetically
>engineered bacteria. The epidemic stopped when the product was taken 
>off
>the market, and the inevitable lawsuits ensued. 
>
>Evidence of the potential for the new genetically engineered plants to
>damage the delicately balanced biosphere on which we depend is even 
>more
>convincing. Attempts to "improve" the soil with GM bacteria have 
>backfired
>on several occasions, most catastrophically when a bacterium designed 
>with
>the highly desirable quality of "eating" residues of the toxic 
>weedicide
>2,4-D produced a by-product that killed all the essential natural 
>bacteria
>in the soil. 
>
>Most of the genetic modifications approved so far involve 
>"inoculating" 
>food plants with alien genes to make them either immune to insect 
>attack,
>or impervious to herbicides which would normally kill them. The danger
>here is that new breeds of poison-resistant insects will emerge, and 
>that
>the plants will cross-pollinate with native species to produce 
>unkillable
>"superweeds". 
>
>In Australia this would be particularly serious because we are among 
>the
>world's heaviest users of agricultural chemicals. The use of 
>glyphosate (a
>predict developed by Monsanto that it sells here as Roundup) has been
>widely promoted as an "environmentally friendly" alternative to 
>ploughing
>because it kills weeds without the loss of topsoil to erosion. 
>
>Few were surprised when, on a farm near Echuca in Victoria two years 
>ago,
>Professor Jim Pratley, an agronomist at Charles Sturt University,
>identified the world's first glyphosate- resistant weed, a type of
>rye-grass that is a serious pest to farmers. 
>
>Though Pratley denies that this was a "superweed", the precautions to
>eradicate it were like a scene from Outbreak. Monsanto and the NSW
>Agriculture Department flew experts in, the paddock was cordoned off 
>for
>three or four hectares around the patch of mutant grass, the barley 
>that
>was harvested nearby was not allowed off the property for fear it 
>might be
>contaminated with seeds of the rye-grass, the paddock was ploughed and 
>the
>weed eliminated, for now. 
>
>To guard against the emergence of Bt-tolerant "superbugs", cotton 
>farmers
>must set aside an area of "normal" crops to provide a refuge for 
>insects,
>and constantly collect eggs and larvae for laboratory study. 
>
>Although none has been detected yet, there is worrying evidence of
>another, unexpected, environmental hazard: genetically engineered 
>crops
>may be killing off the beneficial insects that are nature's way of
>controlling pests. A study in Scotland found that the lifespan of
>ladybirds, nature's best natural control of aphids, was cut in half, 
>and
>they laid fewer eggs, when they ate aphids which fed on genetically
>engineered potatoes. 
>
>It is bizarre in the extreme, say its critics, that something we are 
>told
>is safe to eat, oil from the seeds of Ingard cotton, is not approved 
>by
>any government agency as a foodstuff, but the plant is registered by 
>the
>National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary 
>Chemicals
>as a pesticide. Bon appetit.  THERE is one final concern about the new
>technology that has united farmers and green groups, and that is the 
>fear
>that powerful multinational corporations, most of them based in the 
>US,
>may come to control the food supply by patenting the fruits, 
>vegetables
>and even animals that mankind has freely used for thousands of years. 
>
>Since 1985, when US courts ruled that genetic material could be 
>patented,
>these corporations have been prospecting the world for plants and 
>animals
>they can "improve". This has been described by critics such as 
>Greenpeace
>as a modern-day colonial land grab, with the target not the soil but 
>the
>seeds that are the common heritage of mankind. 
>
>The agri/food industry has mounted a multimillion-dollar campaign to
>promote what it sees as the benefits of this new technology, 
>particularly
>to the developing world. Monsanto's publicity kit features grateful
>African farmers with bigger bunches of bananas, and growers in 
>Thailand
>beaming over virus-free pawpaws. 
>
>Suman Sahai, the New Delhi convener of Gene Campaign, an
>industry-supported lobby, dismisses ethical concerns over genetic
>engineering as a luxury only industrialised countries can afford, and 
>asks
>which would be more unethical, interfering with "God's work" or 
>allowing
>the hungry to die. 
>
>Mitchell Hooke declares that the world will need to increase its food
>supply 75per cent by 2025 if it is to feed an expected increase in
>population from 6billion to more than 8billion. He says that 
>encouraging
>higher-yielding, pest- and disease-resistant crops is the most 
>important
>thing governments can do to protect the environment. 
>
>Carol Renouf, a policy officer at the 160,000-member Australian 
>Consumers'
>Association who has spent two years studying the issue, believes, 
>however,
>that what is at stake is really control of the global food supply: 
>"Five
>or six multi nationals have invested billions in this technology over 
>the
>past 15 or 20 years and are pushing it for all it's worth ... 
>governments
>everywhere have been caught on the back foot." 
>
>Monsanto, now the world-dominating Microsoft of genetic engineering, 
>is a
>good case in point. Last year it completed its transition from 
>chemical
>company to "life sciences corporation", having invested more than
>$US2billion ($3.2billion) in genetic engineering, and having taken 
>over
>six other bio-tech companies in a breathless expansion that took its
>market capitalisation from $US6billion to $US35billion in five years. 
>
>With US patent rights to its blockbuster weedkiller glyphosate, one of 
>the
>biggest sellers in the world's $US8billion-a-year market for 
>agricultural
>chemicals, running out in 2000, it faced financial disaster. Its new
>business is seeds, altering and patenting the genetic code to the
>foodstuffs that have sustained mankind since agriculture began on the
>plains of the Fertile Crescent 10,000 years ago. 
>
>This worries horticulturalists such as Clive Blazey, who runs the 
>Diggers'
>Club seed business from a property on the Mornington Peninsula, south 
>of
>Melbourne. The club has 35,000 members, all committed to preserving
>biodiversity, conserving heritage varieties, and propagating "open
>pollinated" plants whose seed can be saved and grown. 
>
>Blazey is particularly concerned by Monsanto's recent acquisition of
>technology that will enable it to insert a "terminator gene" into 
>plants,
>rendering their seeds sterile. 
>
>"This new technology gives Monsanto, with support from the US 
>Government,
>its best chance of dominance of world agriculture," he thundered in a
>recent newsletter. "For Third World farmers it could be a new form of
>slavery ... for biodiversity it could be like the Holocaust. Instead 
>of
>thousands of varieties of locally adapted rice or wheat being planted
>worldwide, mass marketing would reduce the strains to a few only." 
>ALTHOUGH GM food products have been on supermarket shelves in 
>Australia
>for two years, the first six to be formally vetted for sale are not
>expected to be approved until later this month, 15 years after a 
>country
>such as Canada introduced regulations. An organisation called the
>Australia and New Zealand Food Authority, a body of scientists and
>bureaucrats with three food industry figures on its board, will decide
>what is safe for us to eat. 
>
>All six crops are owned by Monsanto, varieties of cotton and corn 
>which
>carry the Bt gene, and soya beans, corn, canola and cotton which are
>immune to glyphosate. They will (retrospectively) be allowed to be
>imported and sold, but none, under rules expected to be endorsed by 
>State
>and national health ministers meeting in Canberra next week, will be
>required to carry a label identifying them as genetically altered. 
>
>The ANZFA's program manager for food products, Dr Simon Brooke-Taylor,
>concedes: "We sat on the fence or crossed our legs for a while." 
>Critics
>such as Carol Renouf believe that the food industry, which opposes
>labelling, has been able to "capture" the regulator and dictate its 
>own
>terms. 
>
>Mitchell Hooke dismisses moves for labelling as "a clever campaign 
>that is
>trying to scare the shit out of people". He insists that there is no 
>need
>to label products such as Monsanto's soya or corn because they are 
>almost
>identical to the "natural" products, the esoteric doctrine of 
>"substantial
>equivalence" that will be the basis of the Australian legislation that
>comes into force in May. 
>
>The real reason, however, seems to stem from a fear that consumers 
>would
>distrust the new and unknown. The food industry is still smarting from 
>its
>failure to persuade people that irradiation was a safe method of
>prolonging the shelf life of fresh food, consumer groups overseas 
>forced
>governments to label such food, then refused to buy it. 
>
>Unless frantic last-minute lobbying efforts are successful, Renouf 
>says,
>only 1 or 2per cent of the genetically engineered foodstuffs sold in
>Australia would have to be labelled. Soya beans, corn, oils and so on
>would be out, and the only foods required to be labelled would be
>"substantially different" products such as Monsanto's renowned flop, 
>the
>Flavr Savr tomato, now back on the drawing board because consumers 
>didn't
>like the price, or the taste. 
>
>And that is even though a Federal Government-commissioned poll in 1995
>found that although 61per cent of Australians would be willing to try
>genetically modified food, 89per cent thought they had the right to 
>know
>what they were eating, they wanted all such food to be labelled.  IN 
>the
>absence of any regulations, other than the blanket provisions of the
>various State health acts requiring food offered for sale to be 
>wholesome,
>no-one, including the manufacturer, knows for sure the genetic status 
>of
>any grocery item. Even Hooke admits that "we wouldn't have a bloody 
>clue" 
>which products on sale now already contain GM food, and he says that 
>there
>is no scientific test that can distinguish between many products, such 
>as
>vegetable oils. 
>
>GM soya beans, for instance, which this year accounted for about 30per
>cent of the North American crop, appear to have first entered 
>Australia
>unannounced two years ago as raw ingredients for processing, and in
>manufactured products. Soya derivatives are used in an extraordinary 
>range
>of edibles, from bread to biscuits, cake-mix to cheese, cooking oil to
>chocolate topping. 
>
>Even baby food. Earlier this year, Bob Phelps, convener of the 
>Australian
>GeneEthics Network  an alliance of anti-genetic engineering groups 
>under
>the wing of the Australian Conservation Foundation, tested infant 
>formulas
>bought at random from a suburban supermarket in Melbourne. Of the 
>eight
>analysed, two were found to contain Monsanto's genetically modified 
>soya
>beans. 
>
>The reaction from Heinz, one of the two manufacturers, was mildly
>schizophrenic. On the one hand, insists the company's spokesman, 
>Glenda
>Orland: "We stand by the product. It is absolutely safe, otherwise we
>would not be feeding it to babies." 
>
>But on the other hand, the company has announced that, in Australia 
>and in
>Europe, but not in the US, where consumers appear to be less 
>concerned, it
>will no longer use GM food in any of its products. Heinz did not want 
>to
>offer consumers a choice through labelling, Orland said, because "the 
>fear
>is that if Mrs Jones from Blackburn reads that it is genetically 
>modified,
>she will just freak out and won't buy the product any more." 
>
>Other GM foods already on sale here, unannounced, include 
>cottonseed-oil
>products, beer and bread (which may be made with engineered enzymes) 
>and
>cheese. Choice magazine analysed 20 supermarket brands of "cheddar" 
>cheese
>two years ago and found that five had been made with genetically
>engineered rennet, a coagulating agent traditionally extracted from
>calves' stomachs. 
>
>Unlike Heinz, Sanitarium, which is proud of its reputation as a 
>"health
>food company", says it is impossible to sort out the "gene beans" it
>imports from the US from the old-fashioned kind, so its products may 
>or
>may not contain any. 
>
>And to add to the confusion, some manufacturers say that they won't 
>touch
>genetically engineered food with a barge pole. Gil Hassin, managing
>director of the Australian Natural Foods company, which has a
>$16million-a-year turnover, is one. Hassin believed his customers were 
>so
>concerned that he became the first manufacturer to use a "GM-free" 
>label
>on a product -- his top-of-the-line "So Natural" brand of soya milk, 
>which
>has become the fastest-growing in the country. 
>
>"There is absolutely no benefit nutritionally [in GM beans] and we are 
>not
>satisfied it has been properly tested on humans. We are being used as
>guinea pigs," he says. "Look at Thalidomide, they didn't know about 
>its
>dangers until they saw the second and third generation [of birth
>deformities]."    CONSUMERS who don't swallow the industry's 
>assurances
>that GM food is safe have two options. They can shop in "health food"
>stores, or buy produce that has been certified as "organic" or 
>"biodynamic"
>under the rules of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service 
>(AQIS).
>
>So far, Australia's supermarkets are lining up behind the food
>manufacturers and insisting there is no need for labelling. This is 
>unlike
>in Europe, where some chains have banned GM food and others insist on
>labelling, the famously consumer-conscious British chain Sainsburys, 
>for
>instance, labelled its "own brand" tomato paste and found to its 
>surprise
>that its customers actually preferred the genetically engineered paste 
>to
>the real thing.
>
>The arguments of the Australian food industry against giving consumers 
>this
>sort of choice will be familiar to those who remember its opposition 
>to the
>introduction of date-stamping, listing ingredients on labels, or any 
>other
>consumer safeguard: you can trust us to make sure your food is safe,
>labelling would just mislead the consumer, it would be impossible to
>police, some packages would not have enough room for the extra 
>wording.
>Seriously.
>
>None of this persuades Australia's booming health-food retailers, some 
>of
>them large chains, which are estimated to control 5per cent of the 
>national
>food market. All said they had banned genetically modified food from 
>their
>shelves. Paul Bryden, technical manager of the Nutritional Foods
>Association of Australia, went one further, his members, he said, 
>would not
>even stock shampoo and conditioner made with lecithin extracted from 
>"gene
>beans".
>
>As far as fresh food is concerned, if it's labelled "organic" it can't 
>be
>grown from genetically modified seed, and that's the law. While one
>government agency (the ANZFA) is insisting that there is really no
>difference between GM and non-GM food, another (the AQIS) is telling
>growers and retailers there really is.
>
>Judith Moore is executive officer of Biological Farmers of Australia, 
>the
>country's largest certification agency, which guarantees the produce 
>of
>many of the 2,000 growers in the organic food industry. She said: "The 
>view
>worldwide is that food should be organic and natural, and genetically
>manipulated product can never be considered that."
>
>She said that if growers did not abide by the six-year-old AQIS ban, 
>it
>would endanger a small but rapidly growing export industry in organic
>produce such as fresh fruit and vegetables for Singapore, orange 
>juice, and
>bulk grains grown without the use of agricultural chemicals.
>
>Nor are Sydney's grands chefs planning to experiment with gene 
>cuisine.
>Christine Manfield, of the highly regarded Paramount restaurant in 
>Potts
>Point, reflected the views of many when she said: "We try to use 
>organic
>produce wherever we can. We pay a premium to get away from all those 
>nasty
>elements which have insidiously snuck into the food chain, whether 
>it's
>genetic engineering or those horrible battery chickens full of 
>hormones and
>antibiotics."
>
>So where does this leave growers such as Peter Corish? He says 
>Monsanto has
>dropped its price a bit and he will persevere with his pioneering 
>cotton,
>though with a bit less enthusiasm.
>
>
>
>
>mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
>
>NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material 
>is
>distributed without profit to those who expressed a prior interest in
>receiving the included information for research and educational 
>purposes.
>
>
>mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
>
>Bob Phelps
>Director
>Australian GeneEthics Network
>c/- ACF 340 Gore Street, Fitzroy. 3065 Australia
>Tel: (03) 9416.2222 Fax: (03) 9416.0767 {Int Code (613)}
>email: acfgenet@peg.apc.org
>WWW: http://www.zero.com.au/agen
>
>
>
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>
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>
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>
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>
>

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