GENTECH archive


Re: Bt pesticides, archive 2376

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Roush <>
To: Dorothy Bowes <>
Cc: <>
Date: Wednesday, 15 December 1999 16:57
Subject: Re: Bt pesticides, archive 2376

Dear Rick

We know foods are full of naturally occurring chemicals/toxins e.g. potato, tomato. Some foods are just within the bounds of being safe to eat...(clipped for brevity)

There are very few studies on the combination of naturally occurring substances in foods and added substances and herein lies a major problem with additives, agrochemical residues etc. It is highly likely that the naturally occurring phenolic compounds in food will enhance the activity of bacteria added by man....(clipped for brevity)

Dorothy: I am happy to wait for your reply, but surely this is at least as speculative and unsupported as anything of which the biotech industry is accused. What bacterial activity is man (and woman) adding?

Bacteria should have read something like genes from bacteria and encompass things like antibiotic resistance genes expressed in the plant, enzymes from baterial sources...

I object to anything being used on/in food that wasn't put there by nature.

Does that rule out beer and wine yeasts, and therefore beer and wine? What about wheat, to which genes from jointed grass and at least 5 other plant species have been introduced by crosses made by man and not nature?
Wheat is a common allergen already with our without anything introduced naturally or by man.  Wine beer and yeasts are already not tolerated - high in amines.

Adding Bt toxins, antibiotic marker genes, enzymes to confer chemical resistance etc to food is absolute madness in my view.

Should have read food crops

The food is not chemical resistant. Some varieties of the plants are. Cotton seed oil has no resistance to chemicals, antibiotics, or insects or DNA or protein. It is not GE.
Cotton seed oil is one that many chemically sensitive individuals already avoid as residues tend to accumulate in the oiliest parts of the plant.  They are also unlikely to go for cottonseed oil from GS crops

....Lets have a moratorium on GE crops and gene technology in the food supply until we are sure that there is no harm to humans and sustainability is assured. I don't think that is too much to ask.

During that moratorium, will you then either shut down the cotton industry in Australia (think twice; there are jobs and life styles of middle income rural people at stake) or answer those folks in places like Narrabri and Gunnedah that are concerned with their pesticide exposure, all rather than allow Bt cotton to be grown because the oil can be used in food? Will you prefer that atrazine is used to control weeds in canola rather than relatively less risky glyphosate? Even moratoria have risks; who bears the human and environmental cost?
The cotton industry is not my problem.  I didn't ask them to go into business.  Instead of gene technology money should have been invested on the development of organic systems that are more environmentally friendly.  Canola is also not an option for anyone with food chemical sensitivity.  What makes you think glyphosate is not a problem?  Many people suffer excruciatingly when it is used in their environment.  Who bears the cost now of inadequate risk assessments that have already caused health and environmental damage. Who even gathers data to find out how many people are already suffering becuase of existing one.. and it is obvious that no one will monitor reported problems arising from gene technology. 
Asking us to accept gene technology is too much.  Like a lot of people I don't want to take a chance on what I see as flimsy toxicology tests.



Richard T. Roush
Associate Professor and Director Phone +61 8 8303-6590
Centre for Weed Management Systems FAX +61 8 8303-7125
Waite Institute ;-_|\
University of Adelaide / \
Glen Osmond 5064 ( )
South Australia \_;-*_/
South Australia

"Weeds - Australia's most underestimated environmental threat"