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GE - GMO news 21st March



1)  U.S. farm group says producers need to know 
2) How women took on the supermarkets
3) Brazil Ends Work on Altered Soybean 
4) Subject: AC ACRE agenda for March 25 meeting, deciding which GM crops to
permit next 
5) Super-viruses threat to farms
6) Iceland sales rise 9 per cent after the ban on GM foods
7) World hungers for new types of food Notebook
8) International Scientific Committee Warns of Serious Risks of Breast and
Prostate Cancer from Monsanto`s Hormonal Milk
9) INDIA COMPLIES WITH WTO RULING ON TRIPS 


Saturday March 20, 9:35 pm Eastern Time
1)  U.S. farm group says producers need to know 
GMO risks
SAN FRANCISCO, March 20 (Reuters) - U.S. farmers need to know that 
if they choose to plant genetically modified crops, they run the risk of not 
being able to market their product to foreign customers, a panel of grain 
buyers said Saturday.
Delegates at the National Grain and Feed Association conference said in a 
climate where genetically modified crops 
face intense opposition from U.S. trading partners, especially in the 
European Union, farmers need to know more 
about the crops they are planting.
GMO crops have been the subject of intense debate in Europe, where the 
crops, which are genetically-modified to fight 
disease and improve the commodity in other ways, are viewed as a danger to 
public health.
The United States, however, has approved many varieties of GMO crops made 
by companies including Monsanto 
(NYSE:MTC - news), DeKalb (NYSE:DKB - news) and AgrEvo, and has sharply 
criticized the European Union for 
dragging its feet in approving the GMO crops. The U.S. Agriculture 
Department has expressed frustration, saying the 
EU has not been basing its decisions on sound science, but instead on
politics.
U.S. farmers have been quick to embrace GMO crops. Approximately 40 percent 
of the 1999 U.S. corn crop is 
expected to be planted with genetically modified seed.
But grain buyers at the conference expressed concern that farmers do not 
know that the crops they are growing face 
intense opposition, which puts the buyers in a bind when it comes time to 
try to sell the products abroad. One elevator 
operator said he has had foreign purchasers reject his product because he 
would not certify that none of the sale 
included GMO commodities.
At this point, most grain buyers do not test the commodities they purchase 
to determine if they are GMO products, but 
if opposition intensifies, they may be forced to do just that, company 
officials said.
The delegates voted at their annual meeting to distribute information to 
farmers about the GMO issue in order to 
educate the producers about the potential marketability problems of the 
crops. A representative from the National Corn 
Growers Association said his group plans to create a web page that will 
list all of the types of GMO corn farmers can 
buy and which countries still forbid the importation of the products to 
help farmers in their planting decisions.
Many representatives at the conference expressed concern that more and more 
U.S. producers will plant GMO crops 
while the backlog of GMO applications at the EU expands. Most said they 
expect the EU will not approve any GMO 
varieties in 1999.
==========================
2) How women took on the supermarkets - and won The decision by stores not to 
stock genetically modified products is a triumph for purse power. Which,
writes

MELANIE McDONAGH, means woman power 
Evening Standard - London
THERE has been a quiet revolution this week; what's more, 
it's a women's revolution. What I'm talking about is the 
extraordinary decision by the supermarkets Sainsbury's and 
Marks & Spencer to join Iceland in not using genetically 
modified ingredients in their products. Yesterday, it was 
followed by the news of measures to force eating places to designate GM 
maize and soya in 
meals, to oblige even the smallest hotdog vendor to label his ketchup for 
GM constituents.
And you know who did it?
Women, that's who, because it's women who buy food for families and women 
who exercise 
most of the purchasing power in the above- named supermarkets.
There aren't many ways that ordinary people - that is, women in shopping 
queues - can wield 
direct influence over politicians, still less over the way world trade and 
British agriculture is 
carried on. But that's precisely the implication of what's happened.
As a result of a vigorous public debate, conducted in the newspapers, on 
radio and on television, 
people buying their groceries have simply walked away from anything with 
"Genetically 
Modified" on the label. There is no other way to interpret this decision 
by the supermarkets, 
perhaps the most sophisticated registers of changing social habits, except 
as a rational concession 
to consumer preferences. Certainly it wasn't belated concern for the 
environment that led 
Sainsbury's and the rest to reject GM ingredients as the equivalent of a 
skull and crossbones on a 
tin of tomato puree. Their anxiety is such that they'll even be trying to 
make sure that they don't 
crop up in the small print on ready-meal ingredients: things like soya oil 
or lecithin.
Think about it. Quite independently of the Government - actually, full in 
the face of the 
Government we've actually changed the course of the entire debate about 
food production. If 
supermarkets give the no-no to GM foodstuffs, then production methods have 
to reflect that. 
Now the big chains are desperately trying to find pure, untainted food 
sources - Brazil and the 
former Yugoslavia have been mentioned. The moral is obvious for 
commercially minded 
farmers and for the Government, which is conducting noncommercial trials 
of GM crops over 
the next three years: we don't want GM products and we won't buy them.
BUT before we can walk away from genetically modified produce, we have to 
know they're 
there. Jeff Rooker's announcement, on behalf of the Government, that 
restaurants and cafes will 
have to designate GM elements in their dishes, is profoundly important in 
making that possible, 
however unenforceable and clumsy the measure sounds.
It doesn't take much imagination to see what follows: no one normal, 
unless they're the Prime 
Minister, is going to touch a sausage roll with its GM soya content 
advertised. It's not, as they 
say, a selling point. American trade negotiators want Monsanto soya 
exports from the US not to 
be labelled, precisely because they worry about adverse consumer reaction, 
(another 
girl-dominated consumer trend) instead.
What is absolutely certain is that the British political system is too 
clumsy to reflect people's 
prejudices and passions about issues like this, which simply don't 
register in party-political terms. 
In Switzerland, where they hold referendums about everything, they had a 
vote on genetically 
modified produce.
The result bucked the trend: the Swiss decided in favour of the Monsanto 
argument, but at least 
they had the chance to discuss the matter rationally, and then to vote on 
it. Here, people are 
expected to express their feelings in a single vote in a general election.
IF THIS expression of public sentiment about food has a moral, it is that 
there have to be better 
ways in a democracy for people to express their opinions about important 
individual issues.
The Labour Party is, famously, conducting a poll to find out what women 
want from politicians.
What if it turns out that women feel exceptionally strongly about food 
which damages wildlife, 
promotes the use of damaging pesticides and may have damaging effects on 
human health?
Then what?
But for the moment, it's good enough that individual shoppers have got the 
big boys, the global 
conglomerates , the party politicians, on the run. Well done, girls. but 
the battle against them is 
now half-won.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this stubborn exercise of consumer 
preferences is how 
much it wasn't determined from above. Mr Blair's famous sense for the 
instincts of Middle 
England failed him badly here. Terribly excitedly, he harangued us about 
how genetic technology 
was the way ahead, the equivalent of the computer revolution in this decade.
It was a real boy's view: over-excitement about a scientific development 
on the grounds that it is 
new. Mr Blair is a sucker for anything which can be perceived as modern - 
remember his 
squeaky enthusiasm for getting schools on the Information SuperHighway. 
But however much 
the Prime Minister assured us that he and Cherie and the children would be 
eating genetically 
modified food regardless of any old scares, we were unimpressed.
People read the papers, took note of the television news, and for 
multifarious reasons, they 
decided that they weren't buying it. Cabinet ministers lined up on 
television to support the view 
that the debate as it was conducted, was hysterical, ill-informed, partial 
and girly. It didn't matter. 
We listened and then we went and exercised our inalienable consumer right 
not to touch the stuff.
This development - purse power - (market forces is too ungendered a word 
for it) could, of 
course, go much further. [ Monsanto ] , the leading company in genetically 
modified crop research 
and development, is in trouble on another front in the ethical food 
debate. A British scientist has 
condemned its use of BST, a synthetically reproduced cattle hormone which 
stimulates cows to 
produce more milk, as a cause of animal health problems. If milk cartons 
were labelled as 
containing the produce of artificial hormones, just how many people do you 
suppose would buy 
them?
Of course, there are other ways in which we could conduct the arguments 
about food production 
and labelling than simply boycotting those products we don't like, and 
pointedly buying organic
(Copyright 1999)
_____via IntellX_____
====================
3) Brazil Ends Work on Altered Soybean 
Associated Press
SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) -- Authorities in a southern state of 
Brazil ordered work stopped Friday on a plantation where 
chemical conglomerate [ Monsanto ] is growing a new 
genetically altered soybean.
The move comes only days after Rio Grande do Sul state ordered Monsanto to 
provide 
environmental impact statements for all the areas where they are growing 
genetically altered 
crops.
"Whoever fails to inform the agriculture secretariat (about research on 
genetically altered 
organisms) cannot continue to work," said Jose Hermeto Hoffman, the 
state's agriculture 
secretary.
Monsanto's director of corporate affairs, Rodrigo Almeida, said the 
company would go to court 
in order to continue production of the genetically modified soybeans.
In September, the Brazilian government approved Monsanto's request to 
produce the genetically 
modified seeds, which are designed to withstand a powerful herbicide also 
made by Monsanto.
Earlier in the week, Monsanto withdrew its application to register the 
seeds as intellectual 
property claiming they needed to make some corrections to the application.
Hoffman said Monsanto was the first company to have operations halted 
under a decree issued 
on March 3, which requires companies working with genetically modified 
organisms to obtain a 
license from the state. The state will now monitor operations at all 
Monsanto plantations to ensure 
that no genetically altered grains make it to market.
With 160 million people, Brazil is an important part of the Monsanto's 
plan to engineer the 
genetic codes of crops grown in different regions around the world.
Monsanto still hopes to distribute the seeds produced in Brazil for 
commercial planting by 
mid-1999, for harvest in early 2000.
=================

"Peter Rowley (E-mail)" <pgrowl@aol.com> 

4) Subject: AC ACRE agenda for March 25 meeting, deciding which GM crops to
permit next 


For those who don't spend every waking moment searching the Web, here's 
ACRE's agenda for next week's meeting to decide which GM crops to permit 
next. This first item sounds particularly scary to me! Comments may be 
sent to the ACRE secretariat at biotech@detrbiotech.demon.co.uk 
Lets go for it and tell them what we think! 
Viv Mountford (Ms) 
Industry & Pollution Activist 
Halton Friends of the Earth Group, Cheshire, England 
Email vivmount@greener.u-net.com 
Phone (44)-1928-566236
Department of the Environment, 
Transport and the Regions
Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment
------------------------------------------------------------------------
ACRE Meeting on 25 March 1999
The Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) will meet on 
25 March 1999 when it is expected to discuss:

.Application from the Institute for Environmental Microbiology for consent 
for a small scale release of baculovirus modified for biocontrol of 
specific insects within an enclosed field site (Ref. 98/R3/5).
.Application from Zeneca for consent for a small scale release of potato 
and tobacco plants modified with a gene combination which enables a marker 
gene to be switched on (Ref 99/R1/9).
.Notification for consent from Monsanto Europe SA, DLF-Trifolium A/S and 
Dansico Seed to market fodder beet genetically modified for herbicide 
tolerance (Ref C/DK/97/01).
.A research paper about the effects of snowdrop lectin, expressed in 
transgenic potatoes, on aphids and predatory ladybirds written by Birch et 
al.
.The Soil Association commissioned report on the Dispersal of Maize Pollen.




Comments on these subjects may be sent to the Committee Secretariat at the 
following address:
The Biotechnology Unit 
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions 
3/G9, Ashdown House 
123 Victoria Street 
London SW1E 6DE 
E-mail: biotech@detrbiotech.demon.co.uk
------------------------------------------- 
Published 16 March 1998 
==========================
Sunday Independent 21 March 99 
5) Super-viruses threat to farms
By Marie Woolf, Political Correspondent
Genetically engineered crops, altered to be resistant 
to common plant viruses, risk creating new mutant 
strains of "super-viruses" which could wipe out 
entire farms, a damning research report 
commissioned by the Government has warned.
The report, ordered under the Government's 
Genetically Modified Organisms Research 
Programme, has found that plants engineered to be 
resistant to common viruses could in fact lead to the 
creation of more virulent strains which could spread 
throughout the British countryside. The report, 
prepared for the Department of the Environment by 
the Scottish Crop Institute, has been seized on by 
ecological campaigners as evidence that the 
countryside could be irrevocably damaged by 
introducing GM crops.
The report says that there is insufficient research to 
determine the long-term effects of introducing viral 
resistance. Environmentalists fear that indigenous 
plants could be wiped out by the new viruses 
created by genetic engineering.
"This report indicates that we are playing with 
science we simply do not understand," said Pete 
Riley, food and biotechnology campaigner for 
Friends of the Earth.
The report was seen by officials at the Department 
of the Environment two years ago, but has remained 
secret until now. Michael Meacher, the 
Environment Minister, ordered the report to be 
published earlier this month. MPs, who were 
promised first sight, have not yet been shown 
copies.
Genetically engineered viral resistance is designed 
to give crops protection against common scourges 
which can scar or kill a plant. Several varieties of 
virus-resistant plants, including potatoes and sugar 
beet, have already been grown in "test" fields in 
Britain.
The report also warns that within years the very 
plants engineered to be resistant to viruses could 
develop a greater susceptibility to the viruses they 
are supposed to be protected against. They could 
then pass on this new susceptibility to ordinary 
crops and wild plants.
The scientists advise that detailed studies of plant 
life in the areas where such GM crops are grown 
are vital before they are sown. It says that the 
bigger the fields the greater the risks of unknown 
side effects.
The GM plants are made resistant to viruses by 
inserting, like an inoculation, part of the virus's 
genetic make-up.
Scientists warn that genetic engineering will make 
viruses more prevalent in the countryside. "The 
likelihood of plants being exposed to a virus is a 
billion times more likely," said Dr Ricarda 
Steinbrecher,a genetic biologist advising the 
Women's Environmental Network. "At the moment 
viruses are confined to a few plants and a few cells 
in that plant. But because every cell of every plant in 
a field will be genetically engineered, the potential 
for spreading the virus will be far greater than 
ever.This report re-emphasises the lack of research. 
It is very revealing and worrying."
===========================
UK Observer 
21 March 99 

6) Iceland sales rise 9 per cent after the ban on GM foods
By Ben Laurance 
Sunday March 21, 1999
Food retailer Iceland is expected this 
week to unveil sales figures showing that 
it is reaping big sales increases in the 
wake of its stand against genetically 
modified foods.
Iceland last year launched a drive to 
ensure that nothing it sold contained GM 
ingredients. Other, larger, food retailing 
groups have subsequently said they will 
try to phase out GM ingredients from their 
merchandise.
Iceland is expected this week to publish 
figures showing that its like-for-like sales - 
that is sales excluding the effect of 
opening new stores - have been around 9 
per cent higher in the first 10 weeks of 
1999 than they were a year earlier.
The major supermarket chains have 
shown far more modest sales increases, 
according to recent information. 
Sainsbury's like-for-like sales were up 1.5 
per cent over Christmas; Tesco's increase 
was 3.1 per cent and Safeway's 3 per 
cent. Only Bradford-based Morrison's has 
come close to matching Iceland's 
performance: last week it said recent 
like-for-like sales were up 7.6 per cent.
In part, Iceland's boom can be accounted 
for by the company's continuing 
expansion of its home delivery operation. 
'But Iceland's decision to take a very 
public stance on GM foods must also 
have helped,' said an insider.
Iceland's recent sales boom is higher than 
the City had been predicting. The latest 
half of 1998 - which itself showed a strong, 
14 per cent, rise.
It is thought that Iceland's figures will 
show underlying sales growth for the 
whole of 1998 of around 12 per cent.
But analysts' forecasts of full-year pre-tax 
profits of 54 million are likely to be 
exceeded by only a small amount: 
although Iceland sales have been strong, 
the company incurred heavy extra costs in 
the year - principally because of wage 
rises well above inflation.
======================
The Guardian

7) World hungers for new types of food Notebook
By Mark Tran 
Monday March 22, 1999

Say what you will about genetically modified food, the world cannot feed 
itself without biotechnological techniques, according to Gordon Conway, 
president of the Rockefeller Foundation. Professor Conway, an agricultural 
ecologist, 
expects that by 2020 there will be about an extra 2.5 billion people in the 
developing world to be fed. Even today, there are 750 million people who 
are chronically undernourished. In Prof Conway's view, the controversy over 
genetically modified potatoes could be very damaging to biotechnological 
research. Alarm over genetically modified food is likely to inhibit work by 
UK scientists and by British companies.
Professor Conway thinks the health concerns are overstated. His real worry 
is that some half a dozen biotechnology companies in the US and Europe will 
corner patents for seeds and crops, making them too expensive for the poor 
people who need them. As the world moves from a system of free access to 
seeds to a system of patents, Prof Conway argues that it is essential for 
developing countries to protect their intellectual property and resources 
so they are in a position to swap their patented crops for those owned by 
Western companies. From his perch at the Rockefeller Foundation, Prof 
Conway is well positioned to try and redress the imbalance of power between 
poor countries and the biotechnology giants. A pioneer of sustainable 
agriculture, Mr Conway calls for a second green revolution in his new book, 
The Doubly Green Revolution. Unlike the first, which ravaged the 
environment with chemicals, the Conway revolution would take into account 
ecological and social concerns. Conway's appointment as president of 
Rockefeller a year ago is not without irony.
Rockefeller is one of America's oldest foundations and one of the most 
influential in international agricultural development. It championed the 
first pesticide-drenched green revolution in the 1960s. Prof Conway, then 
working in Borneo, was one of the first to realise that heavy use of 
pesticides was killing the predators of pests like bagworms, borers and bee 
bugs. He advocated alternating the limited use of pesticides with the 
introduction of the pests' natural enemies, an approach known as integrated 
pest management. The first non-American to lead the foundation, Prof 
Conway, formerly vice-chancellor of Sussex University, sees enormous 
benefits in the application of biotechnological techniques to agriculture 
in the developing world. As an example, he argues that if it is possible to 
engineer vitamin A into a rice plant, that would hugely increase children's 
resistance to diarrhoea and save the lives of millions of children who die 
each year from vitamin A deficiency.
Through biotechnology, rice could be made more drought- and 
saline-resistant and less dependent on fertiliser. Genetic engineering 
could be a valuable tool for increasing yields in less fertile areas such 
as north-east Brazil, the dry savannahs and desert margins of the Sahel and 
the shifting deltas of Bangladesh.A criticism of bioengineered plants is 
that they are too expensive and designed for use with expensive chemical 
pesticides or nutrients and are unsuitable for developing countries. So 
Rockefeller has pushed research into less explored crops such as rice, 
where genetic mapping is well behind wheat, corn and soya beans. 
Rockefeller allowed labs in the rice programme to license technology to the 
private sector in Western markets but required them to make their findings 
freely available to developing countries.
Now the foundation is giving grants for research into crops such as 
cassava, sorghum and millet. Rockefeller has given money in recent years 
to support training for developing country scientists and agricultural 
officials on the international dimensions of intellectual property rights. 
The most significant grant in this area is to the Centre for Applications 
of Molecular Biology to International Agriculture at the University of 
Australia, Canberra. About $450,000 was given to help train Third World 
scientists in ways to use crop biotechnology. In 1997, 56 per cent of the 
foundation's $116 million funding of went towards agriculture, health, 
population and the environment.
Each week brings fresh evidence of the backlash against genetically 
modified foods. European Union member states have become increasingly 
reluctant to approve new modified crops. European supermarkets including 
Sainsbury and Carrefour have formed a consortium to eliminate genetically 
modified crops and derivatives from their own-label food products.
In Brazil, Monsanto, one of the leading US biotech companies, withdrew an 
application to register modified soya as intellectual property after 
protests by environmental groups, including a lawsuit aimed at halting a 
licence to plant it 'Round-Up Ready' beans. The beans are genetically 
altered to allow application of Monsanto herbicides without harming the 
crop
Mr Conway sees one positive result from the uproar. Biotechnology 
companies can no longer ignore public opinion. The danger is that worries 
will stop the testing of new varieties of rice or other crops, and that 
would be a disservice to developing countries. Asian laboratories are now 
examining rice plants that have been genetically engineered for resistance 
to pests and disease. Without genetic engineering the process would have 
taken years longer.
============================
8) International Scientific Committee Warns of Serious Risks of Breast and
Prostate Cancer from Monsanto`s Hormonal Milk

March 22, 1999

CHICAGO, March 21 /PRNewswire/ 
via NewsEdge Corporation -- The 
following was released today by 
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., 
Professor Environmental Medicine, 
University of Illinois School of 
Public Health and Chairman of The 
Cancer Prevention Coalition:
The European Commission (EC) has 
just released a report by its 
authoritative international 
16-member scientific committee, 
based on meticulous scientific 
documentation, confirming excess 
levels of the naturally occurring 
Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 
(IGF-1) in milk of cows injected 
with Monsanto's biotech hormone 
(rBGH). The report concludes that 
the excess levels of IGF-1 pose 
serious risks of breast and 
prostate cancer. "Experimental 
evidence for an association 
between IGF-1 and breast and 
prostate cancer is supported by 
epidemiological -- evidence 
arising from recently published 
cohort studies -- . " The report 
also warns that excess levels of 
IGF-1 may promote the growth and 
invasiveness of any cancer by 
inhibiting programmed 
self-destruction of cancer cells 
(apoptosis), and that 
contamination of milk with 
residues of antibiotics used to 
treat mastitis in rBGH cows is 
likely to spread antibiotic 
resistant infections in the 
general population. The EC human 
health report finally emphasized 
the need for additional 
investigation of several other 
potential risks of rBGH milk. A 
parallel EC report also warns of 
serious veterinary risks of rBGH. 
It may be noted that FDA has 
ignored such evidence reported in 
detail by the author in peer 
reviewed scientific publications 
over the last decade. 
[Image] 
The EC warnings are in sharp 
conflict with the policies of the 
Food and Drug Administration, 
largely based on unpublished and 
confidential Monsanto claims, 
that hormonal milk is safe. As 
seriously, the report raises 
serious questions on the 
competence and conflicts of 
interest of Codex, the WHO 
organization responsible for 
setting international food safety 
standards, which has given an 
unqualified clean bill of health 
to rBGH milk. It should further 
be emphasized that senior FDA 
officials and industry 
consultants are members of Codex, 
which meets in secrecy and relies 
on unpublished industry 
assurances of safety. 
Interlocking relationships 
between U.S. and Canadian 
regulatory officials and Codex 
are matters of critical concern 
to U.S. consumers and global food 
safety.
Faced with escalating rates of 
breast and prostate cancers, 
besides other avoidable public 
health hazards, FDA should 
immediately withdraw its approval 
of rBGH milk whose sale benefits 
only Monsanto while posing major 
public health risks for the 
entire U.S. population. A 
Congressional investigation of 
FDA's abdication of 
responsibility and of its 
reliance on Codex authority for 
food safety, analogous to that 
recently conducted on rBGH milk 
by the Canadian Parliament, is 
well overdue.
SOURCE Dr. Samuel S. Epstein
/CONTACT: Samuel S. Epstein, 
M.D., Professor of Environmental 
Medicine, University of Illinois 
School of Public Health, Chicago, 
and Chairman of the Cancer 
Prevention Coalition, 
312-996-2297/
[Copyright 1999, PR Newswire] 
[Image] 
[Image] Copyright  1999, NewsEdge Corporation No redistribution allowed.
===========================

9) INDIA COMPLIES WITH WTO RULING ON TRIPS 
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest 
Vol.3, Number 10, 15 March, 1999
India's Parliament last week approved a patent regime bringing the 
country into compliance with a 1998 WTO ruling. The Parliament vote 
upholds an executive ordinance regarding intellectual property protection 
put forward in January (See BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest Vol 3, No 1 
& 2: 18 January 1999). The regime establishes a mailbox system and 
exclusive marketing rights in compliance with the WTO ruling. The 
ordinance does amend the 1970 Patents Act to include product patents as 
well as process 
patents, but does not go as far as to include patent requirements on 
iterations of products.
Multinational pharmaceutical companies are especially keen for India to 
push through a strict product patent regime, calling such a regime key to 
future investment there. A product patent regime would include patents on 
iterations of products-- meaning a company could replicate a product with 
minor manufacturing variations. Domestic drug companies and consumer 
groups warn that a strict product patent regime could result in higher 
costs for medications in India. Sikander Bakht, Minister of Industry, 
said last week that India would "not bring product patents before 2005."
Meanwhile, divisions are growing within India over the use of genetically 
modified (GMO) cotton seed. The Delhi-based Research Foundation for 
Science, Technology and Ecology has filed suit against Monsanto (producer 
of Bollgard cotton, a strain genetically engineered to resist bollworm 
infestation) and the Indian government, alleging that current Bollgard 
field trials in India are illegal. The suit alleges that Monsanto 
violated existing biosafety laws by not securing the proper permission to 
plant Bollgard.
The suit calls for a five-year moratorium on GMOs, to allow time to 
evaluate the safety of GMO products in the environment. Monsanto 
officials commented that it "would be a sad day for India" if a 
moratorium were imposed. Monsanto and GMO supporters inside India argue 
that products like Bollgard would help India increase agricultural 
production and in turn boost India's economic growth. Indian agricultural 
agencies are also working on GMO products for the Indian market.
However, skeptics note that without improvements to basic agricultural 
elements, GMO products will be of little value to poor Indian farmers. 
"They should have irrigation, power and fertilizer- even if you are going 
to give them Bollgard, it's not going to raise productivity," according 
to food policy analyst Devinder Sharma.
"India complies on patents laws," FINANCIAL TIMES, 11 March 1999. 
"India says it will let the market decide," FINANCIAL TIMES, 9 March 
1999.



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