SnowBall archive


GE - GMO News 03/01 PART 1

GMO News 03/01 
1) Monsanto may face UK censure for GM food ads 
2)  UK bioscience employment rising 20 pct/yr - survey 
4) Green MEP says greed has won out over food safety in GM  debate 
7) Monsanto criticised over modified food claims 
8) Environmentalists and GM debate 
9) Allergy to scientific facts is catching
10) Altered crops face tough tests
11) Baywatch ... on that 'Frankenstein' food  'We've done everything we can at
this stage' 12)  Monsanto pushes benefits of GM foods to the environment 

> 03/01 
1) Monsanto may face UK censure for GM food ads 
LONDON (Reuters) - 
U.S.  biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. could face censure for an advertising 
> campaign that critics claim misled the British public about the safety 
> of genetically modified food, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) 
> said Monday. The ASA confirmed it had prepared a draft report that 
> condemned the company for making "wrong, unproven, misleading and confusing"
> in a press campaign it ran last summer. The ads claimed that GM technology 
> had undergone "rigorous tests throughout Monsanto's 20-year biotech 
> history to ensure our food crops are as safe and nutritious as the standard 
> alternatives" and that GM foods were "grown in a more environmentally 
> sustainable way, less dependent on the earth's scarce mineral 
> resources." 
> In its report, still to go before its full council, the ASA said 
> that Monsanto had expressed its own opinion "as accepted fact" and that the 
> company had wrongly given the impression that genetically modified 
> potatoes and tomatoes had been tested and approved for sale in Britain. 
> Monsanto spokesman Dan Verakis said the company had expected a 
> controversial response to their campaign. 
> "It was designed to elevate discussion of biotech and refine the 
> science from some of the fiction surrounding it," he told Reuters. 
> ASA spokesman Steve Ballinger said the investigation into 30 
> complaints received from the public and pressure groups was already 
> "long and involved." 
> Verakis said that Monsanto would be responding to the ASA report 
> within seven days and that they believed they had evidence that GM 
> crops were more sustainable than non-GM. 
> "Of course we were expressing our opinions -- we were also 
> expressing those of our opponents," he said. The ads featured contact
> environmental pressure groups Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. 
> Monsanto was two weeks ago found guilty of breaching 
> environmental regulations at a test site for GM crops in eastern England
> 17,000 pounds ($27,200). 
> On the same day, the British government hinted that it might 
> insist on a further delay before giving farmers freedom to grow GM crops 
> commercially, following calls from politicians and the media for more
research into 
> their environmental effects. 
> ======#====== 
2)  UK bioscience employment rising 20 pct/yr - survey 
LONDON, Mar 1 (Reuters) 
> - Employment in Britain's biosciences industry has been rising at a 
> rate of 20 percent a year since 1995, the UK's Bioindustry Association
> said on Monday. In a report, the BIA said the industry now employed between 
> 35,000 and 40,000 people in more than 460 companies, with strongest 
> growth seen in the biopharmaceutical, agricultural and diagnostics sectors. 
> "The report highlights the growing importance of the bioscience sector to 
> the UK economy," BIA Chief Executive Dr John Sime said. "We have
developed a 
> lead in Europe in biotechnology which the UK must maintain to keep and 
> develop its competitive edge." 
> The survey found bioscience companies were centred on three main 
> areas --southeast England, including a cluster around Oxford, East Anglia, 
> including a grouping around Cambridge, and across central Scotland. 
> The report said between 15 and 20 percent of the companies in the 
> sector were involved in pharmaceutical research, with this sector 
> employing between 8,000 and 10,000 people in 1998. By employee number, the 
> sector has been growing by 40 percent a year since 1995, the BIA said. 
> The survey found drugs targeting the immune system accounted for 
> 33 percent of research, with oncology a further 25 percent. 
> Between ten and 18 new drugs are in Phase III trials -- the final 
> stage before seeking regulatory approval -- and could be on the market 
> between 2000 and 2003, the BIA said. 
> ======#====== 
> 03/01 1736 
By Jackie Storer, Parliamentary Staff, PA News
 Scientists who claimed to have regularly munched their way through
modified tomatoes have not breached environmental safety legislation,
Environment Minister 
> Michael Meacher said today. The group, from British biotechnology company 
> Zeneca Plant Science, were pictured in one national newspaper eating whole 
> tomatoes. The photograph and their claims they also ate the seeds 
> sparked fears GM tomatoes could have been digested by staff and germinated 
> through the sewage system. 
> The Government's health and safety inspectors sought "clarification 
> from Zeneca" following the reports that members of staff had "eaten whole 
> GM tomatoes as part of taste trials". 
> In a Commons written reply, Mr Meacher said: "If this had taken 
> place it  would have represented a possible breach of environmental safety 
> regulations. 
> "This is because tomatoes are a seed-bearing fruit and the 
> inadvertent dispersal of seeds from GM tomatoes could have given rise to
growth of 
> GM plants in the environment. 
> "The concern would have been that seeds would have dispersed 
> through the  sewage system, thereby breaching containment requirements." 
> But Mr Meacher stressed: "It has been found that there were major 
> inaccuracies in the reporting." 
> He declared: "In particular, it would appear that taste trials have 
> only  been undertaken using tomato tissues from which all seeds have been 
> removed. 
> "Therefore, there would not appear to have been any breach of 
> environmental safety legislation." 
> Mr Meacher said the photograph of Zeneca staff eating whole 
> tomatoes,  which appeared in one newspaper, "was posed for the cameras
> non-modified tomatoes".  :: In a further Commons written reply, Mr Meacher
reassured Labour  MP  Steve Webb that "no GM crops are currently grown of have
been grown 
> in the last three years" in his constituency of Northavon. 
> ends 
> ======#====== 
> The Irish Times March 1, 1999,  
4) Green MEP says greed has won out over food safety in GM  debate 
BODY: THE "vested interests of US trade" and 
> the biotechnology business have won out, Green MEP Ms Patricia 
> McKenna has claimed in the wake of failure to secure a world biosafety 
> protocol on genetically modified organisms ( GMOs) . The UN talks, which 
> broke up last week in Cartagena, Colombia, were aimed at establishing 
> international rules for the movement of GMOs, but a tiny number of 
> countries had scuttled the process, she said, "and the only reason 
> seems to  be financial greed". 
> The EU and most developing countries wanted guarantees to limit 
> the risks of cross-border movement of GMOs, particularly those 
> containing live organisms, Ms McKenna said. 
> "It is obvious that the US stand is to do with trade 
> disputes. EU requirements for putting GMOs on the market and 
> the required labelling of GM products (in Europe) have not 
> pleased the Americans. They are trying to force these products 
> onto European consumers so its biotechnology industry can 
> expand." Ms McKenna welcomed indications from Environment 
> Commissioner Ms Ritt Bjerregaard, that she plans to work for an 
> agreement without the US, if necessary. 
> What was known as the "Miami group" - all large grain- 
> exporting countries including Canada, Argentina, Uruguay and 
> Australia - had triggered the breakdown. "They wanted to exclude 
> from the protocol all commodity crops accounting for more than 
> 90 per cent of GMOs currently traded around the world. This is 
> a case of business winning out over safety and common sense." 
> The MEP joined Greenpeace in calling for governments to ban 
> imports of GM crops. 
> ======#====== 
> Birmingham Post March 1, 1999, Monday 
BYLINE: Cahal Milmo 
> A  pounds 1 million media campaign by genetically -modified foods 
> giant Monsanto has been criticised by the advertising watchdog as "wrong" 
> and  "misleading". The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld six 
> out of  13 complaints in a draft report into claims made last year by the 
> US-owned biotechnology company about the safety of genetically 
> -modified  crops. The document shows Monsanto is criticised for passing off
> opinion "as accepted fact" and suggesting that GM potatoes and 
> tomatoes have been approved for sale in Britain. 
> Campaigners against the so-called "Frankenstein foods" 
> welcomed the ruling, which has yet to be approved by the ASA's 
> governing council, as proof of their claims that Monsanto was 
> trying to distort debate on the issue. GeneWatch director Dr 
> Sue Mayer, one of eight groups to complain to the ASA along with 
> members of the public, said: "The advertisements were a 
> disgrace. "Although Monsanto claimed they were promoting a 
> public debate, they used the ads to mislead and confuse. It has 
> become impossible to trust Monsanto -they should apologise to 
> the public and their spin doctors should be sacked." Among 
> the groups to complain were the Green Party, the Soil 
> Association, the Countryside Restoration Trust and the Royal 
> Society for the Protection of Birds. The seven adverts, 
> which ran between June and September last year, began with a 
> full-page statement in national newspapers saying: "Food 
> technology is a matter of opinions - Monsanto believes you 
> should hear all of them." One of the adverts, drawn up by top 
> London agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty, had claimed that genetic 
> engineering of crops was "a step on" from traditional cross- 
> breeding techniques used by farmers. 
> But the ASA report found: "The authority took expert advice 
> and understood that academic opinion was divided on whether 
> cross-species gene transference to plants was an extension of 
> traditional cross-breeding. 
> "The authority concluded that opinion was divided and the 
> advertisers should in future express the claim only as their 
> opinion and not as accepted fact." Other claims that 
> genetically -modified potatoes and tomatoes had been tested and 
> certified for sale in Britain, and that safety testing had been 
> running for 20 years, were found to be "wrongly suggested" and 
> "misleading". A spokesman for the ASA underlined that the 
> conclusions of the report, which had been sent to the 
> complainants and Monsanto for comment, were preliminary and 
> could still be changed by its 12-strong ruling council. 

> ======#====== 
 Daily Record March 1, 1999, 
 A MEDIA campaign by Frankenstein food 
> giants Monsanto has been criticised by the advertising watch dog. They 
> upheld six out of 13 complaints describing the firm's claims about
> -modified foods as "wrong" and "misleading". The pounds 1million 
> campaign, which ran between June and September last year, began 
> with a full-page statement in newspapers saying: "Food technology is a 
> matter of opinions - Monsanto believes you should hear all of them". One of
> adverts had claimed that genetic engineering of crops was "a step 
> on" from traditional techniques used by farmers. 
> But in a draft report from the Advertising Standards 
> Authority, Monsanto are taken to task for passing off their 
> opinion "as accepted fact" and also suggesting that GM potatoes 
> and tomatoes have been approved for sale. Yesterday, Dr Sue 
> Mayer, director of GeneWatch, one of eight groups to complain to 
> the ASA, said: "Although Monsanto claimed they were promoting a 
> public debate, they used the ads to mislead and confuse. It has 
> become impossible to trust Monsanto." 

> ======#====== 
> Financial Times (London) March 1, 1999, 
7) Monsanto criticised over modified food claims 
> Monsanto, the US group embroiled in the furore over 
> genetically modified food, has been condemned for making inaccurate
> claims in a draft report by the Advertising Standards Authority. The
> was criticised for making "wrong, unproven, misleading and confusing" 
> claims in  its L1m advertising campaign. The draft report has still to go to
> ASA's  full council and could be amended, the authority said. 
> More than 30 complaints were filed by members of the public and 
> groups  including the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the
> Association.  The ASA criticised Monsanto for wrongly giving the impression
> genetically modified potatoes and tomatoes had been tested and 
> approved for  sale in Britain and for claiming the crops were more
> friendly than ordinary crops. Monsanto has seven days to challenge the 
> draft 
> before it is submitted to the full council. Charles Batchelor 

> ======#====== 
> Financial Times (London) March 1, 1999, Monday 

8) Environmentalists and GM debate 
> BODY: From Mr Charles Secrett. 
Sir, Your leading article "The perversion of science" on the genetically
modified food debate (February 20-21),  suggests that "organisations such
Friends of the Earth . . . have too  often  been contemptuous of facts and
dishonest in their use of scientific  findings". You provide no evidence
whatsoever to support this claim. 
 Our role in the GM food controversy has mainly been to publicise 
environmental  concerns about GM crops. These include the danger of
cross-pollination producing environmentally damaging mutations, the likelihood
that pesticide and weedkiller resistant crops may encourage use of more or
powerful sprays - damaging to biodiversity - and the risks of allowing large
multinational companies to gain further control over our food chain by
on key genes and restrictive contracts with farmers. For each of  these
arguments we have provided extensive evidence, which can be found on our
internet web site by anyone with sufficient energy to conduct some  research. 
 If your newspaper wishes to lecture other parts of the media about their
attitude to science, it would strengthen your case if your own attitude to
facts were a little less cavalier, and if your editorial writers had 
sufficient journalistic integrity to check their more damaging assertions
before they appear in print. 
> Charles Secrett, director, Friends of the Earth, 26-28 
> Underwood Street, London N1 
> ======#====== 
> Financial Times (London) March 1, 1999, Monday 

9) Allergy to scientific facts is catching
 From Mr Michael Kenward. Gerald Dorey ("Monsanto: it's 
> about environmentalism" , Letters, February 25) is spot on in his
> of the role of the environmentalists in fuelling the media's feeding 
> frenzy over genetically manipulated foods. However, he spoils his argument 
> by a blanket assertion of "the inability of the media to forgo a nice 
> horror story". This saga has been as much as anything an excellent case

> in how the press reports science. With the exception of the ever daft 
> tabloids and the congenitally green publications printed with vegetarian

> much of  the coverage was actually balanced and informed. Several 
> correspondents even  went so far as to explain how science works, and
that Dr
> Pusztai's techniques of information dissemination fell at the first hurdle. 
> Publication by press conference has never carried much weight. 
> Having defended my colleagues in science writing, I can 
> understand why the political and general reporters made a bit of 
> a dog's dinner of the story, but I am puzzled by the alacrity 
> with which several environmental correspondents unthinkingly 
> bought the greenwash, often reaching very different conclusions 
> from their science-writing colleagues. Perhaps they have spent 
> too much time with environmentalists and have caught their 
> allergy to scientific facts. Michael Kenward, Grange Cottage, 
> Staplefield, West Sussex, RH17 6EL 
> ======#====== 
> The Gazette (Montreal) March 01, 1999,

10) Altered crops face tough tests 
Farmers use a number of  technologies to try to control insect pests that feed
on their crops. 
> One  of the options is to use crops genetically engineered to contain the 
> Bt  toxin: namely, corn, cotton and potatoes. There are over 500 
> recognized sub- species of the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), each
producing a 
> toxin  highly specific to specific insects and in use for, in some cases, 
> over 30  years. However, when a potential risk is identified, an
> management scheme can be developed, one that maximizes the benefits of 
> a  particular technology while minimizing the risks. For example, the 
> Canadian Food Inspection Agency recently mandated that companies and 
> individual corn producers implement plans to manage the development of 
> resistance in the target pest, in this case by planting 20 per cent of 
> acreage in non-Bt corn. In fact, the Canadian approach was praised in 
> December by the Union of Concern Scientists, one of the plaintiffs in 
> the American lawsuit (Gazette, Feb. 19, ''Plants with pesticide feared: 
> U.S. group launches lawsuit to stop their proliferation''). 
> Genetically engineered crops must pass stringent government 
> standards, including nutritional, toxicological and 
> environmental assessments and effects on non-target species, 
> before they become commercially available. The agricultural 
> products of biotechnology are increasingly grown by North 
> American producers because they are safe, and in many cases 
> yield a good return on investment for farmers. 
> Douglas Powell 
> Department of Plant Agriculture 
> University of Guelph 
> Guelph, Ont. 

> ======#====== 
> Herald Express (Torquay) March 1, 1999 
SECTION: Agriculture:  Genetically Modified Food, Pg.13 
11) Baywatch ... on that 'Frankenstein' food  'We've done everything we can at
this stage' 
BYLINE: By Jeff Bolitho 
> BODY: 
ENVIRONMENTAL watchdogs in Torbay are keeping a close eye 
> on the  current controversy over genetically modified foods. Torbay Council 
> drew  up its own policy on GM foods last year, which urged suppliers not to 
> provide products with genetically modified ingredients. Council 
> leader  Ian Fenton said they were doing everything they could as an

> at  this stage. 
> He explained: "Our director of environment services (Paul 
> Lucas) presented a detailed report to the policy committee. 
> "At the end of our debate, councillors agreed the council 
> should encourage its suppliers, whenever possible, to provide 
> products that do not knowingly contain genetically modified 
> ingredients. 
> "We also agreed that this policy should be included in future 
> contract specifications. 
> "The council also asked our chief executive Tony Hodgkiss to 
> write to MPs and the Minister of State emphasising the council's 
> support for innovative progress, tempered with the benefit of a 
> cautionary approach. 
> "He also wrote to the Local Government Association, seeking 
> its support for the clear labelling of food which is free from 
> any form of genetic modification, and suggesting either a 
> three-year moratorium or further expansion of any genetically - 
> modified food programme, or until such period of time that 
> customer apprehension is dispelled." 
> He added: "In view of the way the controversy has developed 
> in recent weeks, I am very pleased that Torbay Council acted in 
> such a responsible way last summer. 
> " Environmental health officers will continue to monitor 
> national developments, but I am satisfied that we as a local 
> authority have done everything we can at this stage." 
> South Devon schools are among those on the alert over 
> 'Frankenstein' foods, with moves afoot by the LGA to remove all 
> GM products off the dinnertime menu. Association chiefs are 
> considering calling on local councils to remove GM foods for at 
> least five years. 
> But opinion remains divided between Torbay Council and their 
> Devon County Council colleagues. 
> Torbay environmental health chiefs have agreed with school 
> canteen contractors, Devon Direct Services, not to consciously 
> serve up any controversial GM foods. 
> A spokesman said: "We have an agreement that the contractors 
> will not knowingly use any food or ingredients that contain GM 
> contents." But colleagues in County Hall look likely to 
> continue with GM foods when the decision is taken at the April 
> education committee meeting. Spokesman Chris Smith commented: 
> "Anticipating any recommendation is very difficult but the whole 
> topic of GM foods has still to be reviewed further." 
> Overwhelmed by the whole debate was Torquay Boys Grammar School 
> chef, Keith Blampied. 
> He added: "The GM foods issue is so massive I don't know 
> where to begin. "We have a Schools Nutritional Action Group 
> at the school to help us understand things but we are still 
> awaiting a final decision from them." Mr Blampied explained that 
> no foods have been taken off his menu as yet. GRAPHIC: NO FOOD 
> off the menu yet but Torquay Grammar School chef Keith Blampied 
> is keeping an ear on the simmering debate. 

> ======#====== 
> The Irish Times March 1, 1999,  
12)  Monsanto pushes benefits of GM foods to the environment 
> KEVIN O'SULLIVAN, Environmental and Food Science Correspondent 
BODY:  Claims that genetically modified (GM) foods are of no benefit to
consumers do 
> not stand up to examination, according to the US biotech company Monsanto. 
> It has taken exception to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland's recent 
> comment 
> that GM foods currently on the market are of no direct benefit to 
> consumers. 
> Monsanto's business manager in Ireland, Dr Patrick O'Reilly, has 
> accused the 
> FSAI of a "locally-driven" condemnation of GM foods. It was true, he 
> said, 
> to say there were no GM crops being produced in Ireland of benefit to 
> consumers but the global picture indicated large volumes of GM crops 
> already 
> leading to less pesticide use and greater yields for farmers. This 
> was 
> translating into returns for consumers, he said. 
> At the very least, it was leading to a better environment. He said 
> that 
> within the Irish context, research to be published this week on 
> Monsanto's 
> GM Irish sugar beet trials last year would show that GM beet 
> (engineered to 
> withstand Monsanto's herbicide Round-Up) resulted in 40 per cent less 
> herbicide use compared to that used by Irish farmers growing 
> conventional 
> beet. The GM crop had also generated "a 10 per cent yield benefit". 
> The controversy surrounding GM foods reached new heights over the 
> past 
> month and pushed aside calm consideration of the many merits of the 
> technology, Monsanto has insisted. It should be noted, Dr O'Reilly 
> said, 
> that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been widely used in 
> the 
> food and drinks industry for some years without adverse effect. GMOs 
> were 
> used in the production of beer, bread-making, cheese-making and the 
> production of syrups and mayonnaises. The reality was that GM crops 
> and 
> plants had been developing using the same technology over 15 years, 
> while 
> food advancements were predicted to come in three main waves. The 
> first was 
> crops with agronomic benefit and already on the market. "Examples are 
> crops 
> with better disease resistance; resistance to insect pests and 
> tolerance to 
> herbicides, such as the sugar beet being tested in Ireland," Dr 
> O'Reilly 
> said. 
> These, he said, had to be put in the context of 40 per cent of the 
> world's food being lost due to pests and diseases despite advances in 
> crop 
> protection. Improved yields from GM crops in China since the early 
> 1990s had 
> translated into obvious consumer benefits. The second wave was 
> focusing on 
> improved nutritional and quality aspects. "Coming to the market will 
> be soya 
> bean varieties that produce lower cholesterol oil; potatoes with lower 
> fat 
> contents, longer-lasting fruits/vegetables and foods with improved 
> taste and 
> flavour." 
> Biotechnology provided the ability to create healthier, more 
> nutritious foods, but also to address specific needs in particular 
> parts of 
> the world. The third wave, which was some years away, was the concept 
> of 
> using plants as biofactories; to produce materials normally produced 
> in 
> chemical or pharmaceutical plants. Examples at an advanced research 
> stage 
> included edible vaccines that can be delivered in bananas or potatoes. 
> The GM food debate over the past few weeks was "reasonably 
> objective" in 
> Ireland compared to the UK, Dr O'Reilly said, though there was some 
> spill-over here with the fallout from the furore over controversial 
> research 
> by Dr Arpad Pusztai which suggested GM foods could impair mammalian 
> systems. 
> Monsanto has vigorously rejected any suggestion its products could 
> lead to 
> such effects. From his involvement in numerous media interviews, 
> particularly on local radio, it was clear that "people want both sides 
> of 
> the story". 

> ======#====== 
> The Mirror March 1, 1999, Monday
BYLINE: Karl  Brophy 
BODY: THE hysterical genetically modified food debate  rumbles on. 
> Typically, the Green Party - those wonderful eco spin doctors - are 
> orchestrating the scaremongering. The same group of people who 
> cooked up  the great Irish NATO conspiracy are now responsible for

> that a  humble spud will cause genetic holocaust. Thank goodness we have 
> people  like crusading MEP Patricia McKenna on our side. Never again will

> mothers of Ireland be denied the right to give their children rotten, 
> worm-riddled apples and breast feed their babies in the European
> TV cook Darina Allen doesn't quite want us to move back into 
> huts and live off beans and dirt-encrusted pratties. 
> Her cookery book business would be ruined for a start - 
> chips in Ballymaloe sauce doesn't exactly set the taste buds 
> turning somersaults. But Darina has waded into the 
> genetically modified (GM if you're trendy) argument with wooden 
> spoons blazing. 
> She wants GM foods banned so the unsuspecting public won't 
> catch some terrible disease which could turn them into 
> vegetables. 
> It could be worse - you could end up like Patricia McKenna. 
> If these food fascists - and the politicians in Dail Eireann for 
> that matter - were really concerned about our health they could 
> do better, more productive things with their unmodified energy. 
> THANKFULLY, Ireland as a country has not descended as far as 
> the United States into the looniness of political correctness. 
> Now there's a country where smoking in public is slightly 
> less frowned upon than molesting little children yet allows its 
> inhabitants to consume 18 acres of pizza per day. 
> It doesn't matter what kind of food you eat if you're 
> shovelling bucketloads of it down your throat. 
> Genetically modified or not, if you end up looking like 
> one of those blimps of American tourists who waddle along 
> Grafton Street in the summer you're not going to live very long 
> anyway. 
> Ireland is heading down the same road to coronary disaster 
> as America. A recent report showed we consume more calories 
> per day than any other European nation. 
> We are the heart attack blackspot of the EU. 
> The average Irish adult consumes 20 per cent more lard than 
> the British. A balanced diet for your average young Dubliner 
> has become 14 pints of Guinness followed by a doner kebab and 
> chips. 
> The hangover is cured with five pounds of rashers swimming 
> in lard, a soft fried egg and half a sliced pan covered in half- 
> a-pound of butter. It's a cop-out to blame society: every 
> individual has the choice of what to do, but the Irish eating 
> culture has become so Americanised that more food than ever is 
> being consumed. 
> Instead of eating a one-course meal at home Irish people are 
> regularly treating themselves to three- and four-course meals 
> washed down with wine in restaurants. 
> McDonald's, which has failed to dominate most European 
> cultures, can't open outlets here fast enough. 
> You don't even have to get out of your car to get a burger - let 
> drive-thru take the strain. 
> Heaven forbid we'd have to walk those 16 yards to the 
> counter. AS the great eating orgy continues, the Green Party 
> complains about genetically modified foods. 
> Yet instead of the government and crusading MEPs addressing 
> the nation's appalling eating habits they have decided that 
> genetically modified foods represent the real evil. 
> Funny, though, that it's been on our shelves for years and 
> never before caused a heart attack or posed a health hazard of 
> any kind. Health Minister Brian Cowen and Oireachtas 
> committees will be pressurised into examining the whole issue of 
> genetic foods. 
> Meetings will be called. People such as Patricia Mc- Kenna 
> and half-baked experts who carry out experiments on rats will 
> tell us how dangerous GMs are. Meanwhile, politicians will make 
> all the right noises in order to keep their Dail seats. 
> If they can still fit their big fat backsides into them, of 
> course. GRAPHIC: SPUD BASHING: Darina Allen, top, and MEP 
> Patricia McKenna, bottom, are fuelling the big GM debate