SnowBall archive


GE -3 from NLP

1  US giant food processor starts to move away from GM soya 
2  Ukraine is'nt a testing ground said ecology vice Minister
3  statement from British Sugar
4  Genetic Hazard Reassurance Fund 

 US giant food processor starts to move away from GM soya 

In a development welcomed by the Natural Law Party as a step in the right 
the Proteins Specialist Division of US giant miller and food processor 
Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) 
has announced a new 'Identity Preserved' 
(IP) programme for its soya protein products based on segregation of non-GM 
soya beans.
This initiative has been developed despite claims by GM soya 
seed developers, Monsanto, that such segregation is impossible.
The decision by ADM to segregate soya beans is particularly significant 
because of its close ties 
with the biotechnology industry. These include a joint venture agreement 
with genetic engineering behemoth, Novartis, to develop speciality corn 
hybrids for food and feed uses. A recent report by the University of 
Missouri identified the ADM/Novartis tie up as one of three 
established agri-business goliath "clusters". These clusters comprise 
alliances of 
producers and processors that are expected to dominate world food production 
in the 
With key players in the food sector such as ADM (which describes itself as 
"Supermarket to the World") now showing growing reluctance to lose valued 
consumer markets through the use of GM 
food ingredients, the future success of biotechnology companies in the 
agriculture sector is looking increasingly fragile.
ADM's decision is likely to be of considerable concern 
to investors in the agricultural biotechnology industry, and will send 
strong signals to farmers about the unfavourable economic consequences of 
growing GM crops. Global GM soya plantings are likely to go into reverse if 
this situation continues.
ADM say that their decision to provide a non-GM soya service is "in 
response to the customer demand to segregate Genetically Modified Soya", 
reflecting increasing rejection of GM food products on global markets.
ADM's IP program is based on the procurement of identity assured non-GM 
followed by maintaining identity throughout subsequent phases of handling 
and processing up to and including shipping. Strict documentation is 
maintained throughout and each soya protein lot is offered with a DNA 
certificate from a qualified laboratory.
Illinois based ADM is part of a consortium which recently applied to the US 
Food and Drug 
Administration for clearance to be given for soya to be labelled in a way 
which promotes claimed health benefits in relation to reduced heart disease 
as a result of soya's association with lower blood cholesterol levels.
However, there has been consumer concern about such labelling applying to 
otherwise unlabelled 
genetically modified soya whose overall impact on human health many regard 
as having been inadequately tested.
Archer Daniels Midland is engaged in procuring, transporting, storing, 
processing and merchandising agricultural commodities and products such as 
oilseeds, corn, wheat, cocoa beans, oats, barley and peanuts.
Within a network of over 205 domestic and internationally based plants, 
eleven cereal grains and oilseeds are processed into a multitude of products 
used for food, animal feed, beverage, nutraceutical, and industrial markets 
worldwide. ADM has sales offices, processing plants, and distribution 
facilities on six continents.
In Europe ADM has the only processing plant that produces the full range of 
soya protein products.
In 1997 ADMs global turnover was $16 billion.
Date: 10 March 1999 06:47 
Subject: Ukraine is'nt a testing ground said ecology vice Minister

>Yesterday, in the offical TV channel "INTER" of Ukraine, in the main news 
>broadcast, a press conference was showing a committe of biologists and the 
>Vice Minister of Ecology during a press conference. 
>The Ministry of Ecology wanted to bring the following point to the 
>population. It is necessary to limit the use of genetically modified 
>seeds in the crops of this year. The biologists said that it would need at 
>least 10 years of research to check the effect of this technology. The Vice 
>Minister said: "Something which has not been studied well cannot be used. 
>We are not a testing ground for non research products, plants and 
>substances. Tchernobyl and the general pollution was enough for us". 
>It was also mentioned that Western European countries have closed their 
>markets for gen food products and since the adequate control system has not 
>been developped yet in Ukraine to stop the penetration of non licenced 
>products, the Ministry of Ecology is warning everyone to be very careful 
>while purchasing agricultral products (potaoes, tomatoes, cauly flowers, 
>sugar beets, etc.)...
The March 1999 Edition of Chartered Surveyor Monthly (CSM) includes a letter
from British
Sugar confirming their position in relation to genetically modified sugar
beet which refers
to the policy statement posted on their web site (May 1998).  This is set
out below and confirms:

1) British Sugar have no plans to introduce genetically modified varieties
in the
forseeable future (assuming government approval is given to the growing of

2) British Sugar controls all sales of sugar beet seed  to British farmers
and is also the sole purchaser and processor of British sugar beet.

3) British Sugar monitors the growing of experimental GM sugar beet to
ensure that all such crops are destroyed.

In its March 1999 letter to CSM British Sugar further confirms that "any
decision to move to the purchase
and processing of GM beet would depend not only on the required legislative
but also a consensus of the parties concerned - in particular, customers."

As no such consensus currently exists, and given the monopoly position of
British Sugar, it is clear that in practical terms there is already a
moratorium in place in respect of the commercial growing of genetically
modified sugar beet in advance of any legal approval that may be issued in
due course.


21 May 1998

The UK sugar beet crop, from which sugar is extracted and sold in the retail
market under the Silver Spoon brand and to the food industry direct by
British Sugar, has not been the subject of any genetic modification beyond
the well established processes of selective plant breeding. Neither are
there any plans to introduce genetically modified varieties in the
foreseeable future.

British Sugar as the sole processor of UK home-grown sugar beet purchases
the entire crop from around 9000 growers all of whom are under contract to
the company. British Sugar issues a list of recommended seed varieties to
growers based on the statutory NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural
Botany) list. Growers purchase the seed from this list, and British Sugar is
the sole supplier to farmers of this seed. In this way the integrity of UK
home-grown sugar is assured.

Recent reports in the press have mentioned that sugar beet, amongst other
crops in the UK, has been used by scientists in experimental studies into
herbicide resistance. These trials are principally led by the agrochemical
industry and have to be carried out under strictly controlled conditions
following formal agreement from the regulatory authorities.

As genetically modified sugar beet is not cleared for food use in the UK, it
is illegal to grow it for commercial purposes. It is therefore required that
all experimental plants are destroyed, and it is the statutory
responsibility of the trial "consent holder" to ensure that this happens. In
addition to these legislative controls, British Sugar has its own rigorous
monitoring procedures to ensure that plants grown under these circumstances
are ultimately destroyed.

British Sugar is carefully monitoring the progress of the new gene
technologies and will review the range of benefits which may accrue, will
monitor legislative processes and take account of both its customer's and
the end consumer's views towards this technology.


Genetic Hazard Reassurance Fund 

Below is an interesting idea which has been forwarded to us.
A proposal like this would be an interesting test of how much substance 
there is in the biotechnology 
industry's own faith in the safety of such products.
A refusal to participate in such a proposal would indicate that they have 
reservations about it's safety.
However, such a fund is clearly not a solution to the problem as no such 
fund could ever satisfactorily undo damage caused by genetic incidents. 
This can only be achieved by making sure that such technology is not 
implemented in the first place.

>Rather than argue the merits of the case for or against genetic 
>modification, why not create a Genetic Hazard Reassurance Fund? 
>Nationally, regionally, internationally? 
>We are repeatedly reassured that genetically modified food is 
>completely safe. There is, therefore, absolutely zero risk for those 
>biotech corporations who hold this view to underwrite a large fund. 
>To the extent that government shares this view, it could participate 
>in the fund also. 
>The fund would only be called upon in the event of proven 
>hazardous genetic consequences -- when it would be used to 
>indemnify victims generously. Since there is absolutely zero risk 
>for the corporations (as proven by their scientists) they should have 
>no hesitation in guaranteeing indemnification of the order of a million 
>pounds per person affected, for example -- since according to 
>them such consequences will never arise. Such underwriting of risk 
>would be a public relations gesture demonstrating that the 
>corporations were prepared to place their profits and viability at 
>This approach would be better than endeavouring to argue the 
>case because, as with nuclear power station safety, it is not the 
>arguments that persuade but the incidents. Biotech is awaiting its 
>Chernobyl and Three Mile Island incidents. But since for the 
>biotech corporations there is not the remotest chance of such incidents 
>happening (as was argued so vigorously by the nuclear power 
>corporations), why not encourage the biotech establish a large Genetic 
>Hazard Reassurance Fund? 
>Those with insurance skills could usefully draft out the terms of 
>such a fund for comment by biotech corporations -- unless the 
>corporations care to draft one themselves. The fund might also 
>envisage the equivalent of the "decommissioning" cost of nuclear 
>power stations -- namely the costs of removing unwanted genetic 
>modifications from the environment -- although this situation, 
>according to them, will of course never arise. 
>It is time that those patenting innovations should be held 
>directly responsible for the hazardous consequences of that 
>innovation -- but without inhibiting initiatives of whose safety they 
>are convinced. As with large lotteries, the risk is effectively 
>exported to others who should be individually rewarded if they 
>become victims of the innovation. 
>Anthony Judge 
>Director, Communications and Research 
>Union of International Associations 
>Rue Washington 40 
>B-1050 Brussels, BELGIUM 
>Tel:(32 2) 640.18.08 Fax:(32 2) 643 61 99 
>WWW: <> E-mail: