SnowBall archive


GE - GMO News  03/24 (sorry no contents list)

GMO News  03/24
> Disease resistance in wheat breaks down, raising fears of crop 
> plagues
> March 26, 1999
> MEXICO CITY - AP World News via NewsEdge Corporation : Genetic resistance 
> bred into wheat 
> crops 40 years ago has begun to break down, bringing on the threat of crop 
> plagues not seen since 
> the 1950s in the United States, geneticists announced Thursday.
> A new, mutated form of the stem-rust fungus _ a disease that virtually 
> disappeared after destroying 
> as much as half of wheat yields decades ago _ reappeared several weeks ago 
> at an experimental 
> farm in the rainy highlands of Uganda.
> The reappearance of the wind-borne spores, which corrode the plants' stems, 
> threatens a genetic fix 
> introduced during the ``Green Revolution'' of the late 1950s and early 
> 1960s, the scientists said.
> The scientists are from the Mexico City-based International Wheat and Maize 
> Improvement Center, 
> the nonprofit group that discovered the fungus.
> They made the announcement as U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman 
> prepared to unveil a plan 
> for food security on Friday, and said they plan to ask U.S. aid officials 
> to help fund an emergency 
> monitoring and research program.
> ``The resurgence of stem rust in Uganda is alarming because it signals the 
> breakdown of a 
> resistance gene that protects wheat in many countries,'' said Timothy 
> Reeves, the center's director.
> Most affected would be East Africa and southern Africa, where many crops 
> depend solely on the 
> sr-31 resistance gene.
> But the sr-2 gene complex, used throughout much of the rest of the world 
> and which is still able to 
> prevent the fungus, may not work as effectively against the mutated spores.
> In the last major outbreak, which occurred in the United States in the 
> mid-1950s, destroyed up to 50 
> percent of wheat crops on many U.S. farms.
> Reeves said research is needed using new biotechnology methods, like 
> molecular marking, to 
> understand the sr-2 resistance and possibly develop more defenses against 
> crop diseases like stem 
> rust, leaf rust and yellow rust.
> Experts expect the spores won't stay on the African savanna where they 
> first appeared.
> ``It'll move,'' Reeves said. ``It will travel.''
> [Copyright 1999, Associated Press]

> 23)
>  IPS - Resistance to transgenic soya in  Brazil has been concentrated
> in Rio
>  Grande do Sul, whose Workers  Party government is trying to make the
>  southern state an area free  of genetically modified products. The
>  Secretariat of Agriculture of Rio Grande do Sul prohibited the  U.S.
>  transnational corporation Monsanto from planting transgenic  soya on
> five
>  hectares, based on the state government's failure to  authorize the
>  biotechnology giant to experiment with soya resistant  to its own
> Round-Up
> Ready weedicide.
>    Yesterday, the legislative assembly of Rio Grande do Sul
> organized  a seminar, in which environmentalists participated,
> to discuss a  draft law to ban the planting and marketing of
> transgenic products  in the state.    Rio Grande do Sul is the
> biggest producer of soya in Brazil, which  in turn is one of the
> world's top producers, second only to the  United States.    The
> executive director of Greenpeace Brazil, Roberto Kishimani,
> expressed his support for the proposed ban on transgenic
> products,  and called for better assessment of the consequences
> of genetically  modified organisms (GMOs) before their use is
> permitted in  agriculture.
>    There is no scientific evidence that such products do not
> harm the environment and human health, argued Greenpeace, which
> is heading  a campaign against Monsanto's transgenic soya in
> Brazil and other  countries.    The National Technical
> Commission on Biosafety, a government body  set up to study such
> questions, gave the green light not only to  experimental, but
> also to commercial, planting of Round-Up Ready  Soya in Brazil.
>   The governmental Brazilian Company of Agricultural Research
> also  supported the introduction of the product into the
> country.  The chairman of the agency, Alberto Portugal, defended
> transgenic  soya as an important contribution to national
> production that he  said should coexist with traditional soya,
> which draws a better  price.
>    But recently named Minister of the Environment Jose Sarney
> Filho  is opposed to the introduction of the product.
>    While the Ministry of Agriculture has been delaying
> registration  of the product, however, Deputy Minister Benedito
> Rosa announced  that it would be approved as soon as Monsanto
> satisfied the  ministry's formal requirements.    As well as
> environmental and health concerns, authorities in Rio  Grande do
> Sul raise the specter of commercial losses due to  widespread
> opposition to transgenic products in Europe, the biggest  market
> for Brazil's soya.    The same fear has led another important
> farming state in the south,  Parana, to maintain its ban against
> the commercial planting of  genetically altered plants, and to
> oversee experiments with the  new technology.    The chairman of
> the National Technical Commission on Biosafety,  Luiz Barreto de
> Castro, pooh-poohed the objections raised by  environmentalists,
> who he said were unaware of the security  measures taken in the
> development of GMOs.    He also hinted that the campaign against
> GMOs could be based on  commercial interests, arguing that
> Europe's big chemical industry  had no interest in applied
> biotechnology in agriculture, as it  could diminish the need for
> agrochemicals.
>    Roberto Lopes de Almeida, director of Corporate Affairs in
> Monsanto, maintained that Round-Up Ready Soya posed no risks to
> the  environment or human health, arguing that millions of
> people  already consumed the product without any negative
> effects.
>    Resistance to GMOs in Rio Grande do Sul has taken on a
> political  dimension, involving opposition to the central
> government and its  scientific and agricultural authorities.
> Since January the state  has been governed by Olivio Dutra of
> the leftist Workers Party.
>    The Landless Movement (MST), renowned worldwide for its
> occupations  of land and public offices and mass demonstrations
> in favor of  agrarian reform, has joined the protests against
> GMOs.
>    The Rio Grande do Sul branch of the MST promotes organic
> agriculture, which allows costs to be cut as it does not use
> chemicals, while obtaining better prices in markets abroad,
> especially Europe.
> Copyright 1999
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  This Is London 24 March 1999  'Organic' is not always green by Peter
>  Gruner  A new campaign to educate the public about organic produce is
>  launched  today amid mounting concern over food safety. Two leading
>  pressure  groups, the Soil Association and Greenpeace, are joining
> forces
>  in an  effort to help   consumers identify genuine organic   food on
> the
>  shelves.  The move follows concern over pesticides, genetic
>  modification   and now new worries that Britain will be forced to
> import
>  American meat which has been treated with growth hormones.
>   With the organic market growing faster than computers and
> telecommunications, according to supporters, the Truefood
> campaign aims to answer the two most commonly put questions
> about the movement.
>   What does organic mean? Organic is a term strictly defined in
> law   and must live up to a set of agreed high standards which
> put   "principles of health and environ-mental sustainability
> first".
>   Food must be produced without artificial pesticides, grown in
> soil   which has not been treated with artificial fertilisers,
> free from   genetic tampering and in the case of organic meat,
> must come   from livestock which is reared without routine use
> of antibiotics,   growth promoters or other drugs.
>   How can I be sure it is organic? There are seven legally
> binding   symbols in the United Kingdom, including the Soil
> Association's   own logo. The producers all have to meet the
> standards and are   regularly inspected.
>   If in doubt, particularly with a foreign logo, consumers are
>  advised to contact their Trading Standards Officer.
>    Patrick Holden from the Soil
>    Association said: "It is not just food    scares like BSE
> that have fuelled    this interest in organic food. Longer
> term problems like pesticide
>    residues in food and the overuse of    antibiotics in
> farming, as well as    concerns about the environment    and
> animal welfare, are leading    people to take more of an
> interest in    the origins of the food they eat.
>   "It's time for the Government to wake up, look at what is
> going on   in Europe and take food and farming in this country
> down a new,   organic path."
>   Peter Melchett from Greenpeace added: "We are faced with one
> of   the most important choices of our time; whether we want
> genetically engineered or organic food. If we do not act, all
> our   food - even organic crops - will be contaminated by
> genetic   pollution.
>   "We must ban genetically engineered food and promote what the
>  British people want in ever increasing numbers - organic food."
>   A new organic website has been set up at
>   It offers a postcode search to help you
> locate your nearest   organic food store and also supplies news
> on organic product   developments and an on-line organic
> bookshop.
>   The seven symbols belong to:
>   * Soil Association: Founded in 1946, the country's leading and
>  most familiar organic organisation and the major certification
> body   in the UK.
>   * Organic Farmers and Growers: Formed in 1975 to encourage
> organic production on a commercial scale and the second largest
>  organic organisation in the UK.
>   * The Organic Food Federation: A trade federation set up in
> 1986   to help producers, manufacturers, importers and some
> retailers to   market organics.
>   * UKROFS An independent body largely funded by Maff set up
> to regulate the production and marketing of organic foods.
>   * The Scottish Organic Producers' Association: A charitable
> society founded in 1998 by Scottish producers.
>   * The Irish Organic Farmers' and Growers' Association:
> Founded in 1982 to promote the movement in Ireland.
>   * Demeter The Greek goddess of agriculture and protector of
> all   fruits of the earth is the logo for the Bio-Dynamic
> Agricultural   Association which was founded in 1924.
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  03/23 1733  AgrEvo corn GMO line no longer regulated by USDA
>  March 23 (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department said  Tuesay it
> will
>  no longer regulate a genetically engineered corn variety  developed
> by
>  AgrEvo USA Co to tolerate theherbicide glufosinate. The  decision,
> which is
>  effective April 22, was issued after AgrEvo presented  the USDA's
> Animal
>  and Plant Health Inspection Service with studies showing corn
> designated as
>  MS6 was similar to another type of genetically-modified corn already
>  approved by the USDA. The MS6 was genetically engineered for male
>  sterility and glufosinate herbicide tolerance.
>    USDA said an evaluation of field tests of MS6 showed there
> were no adverse impacts on plants or other organisms.
>    AgrEvo is a joint venture of Germany's Hoechst AG <HOEG.F>
> and Schering AG <SCHG.F>.
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  03/24 1109  INTERVIEW-Portugal organic farming area grows By David
> Brough
>  LISBON, March 24 (Reuters) - Portugal's organic farming area  has
>  multiplied tenfold since 1993, reflecting increasing demand for food
> grown
>  free of synthetic chemicals, the president of the Portuguese Organic
>  Farming Association (Agrobio) said. Luis Coutinho estimated that
>  Portuguese farmers were now cultivating about 30,000 hectares, mainly
> in
>  the southern Alentejo and northern Beira Interior and Tras-os-Montes
> regions, without using synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides.
> His
> estimate included about 13,000 hectares undergoing conversion to
> organic production. He gave no forecasts.
>      According to Agriculture Ministry statistics, the area
> devoted to organic production rose from 2,799 hectares in 1993
> to 12,193 hectares in 1997, an insignificant area compared to
> conventional chemical-assisted farming in Portugal.
>      "There is increasing demand for organic produce in Portugal
> and abroad," Coutinho told Reuters in a telephone interview on
> Wednesday. "Recent health scares such as mad cow disease have
> been a factor."
>      Organic farming excludes the use in agriculture and cattle-
> rearing of synthetic chemicals such as fertilisers and
> pesticides. It aims to preserve the environment, raise the
> fertility of the soil and provide food in its most natural form.
>     Coutinho said the lack of information about possible long-
> term health risks from genetically modified (GM) foods could
> stimulate demand for organic foods, even though they were more
> expensive than traditional produce.      "We do not have enough
> information on GM foods to know whether there is any real long-
> term danger," he said.
>      About half of organic food production in Portugal was
> olives, Coutinho said. The remainder included pastures, wine,
> fruits and vegetables.      Production was divided between
> exports and domestic consumption, but no reliable figures were
> available.
>      Coutinho said that the market for organic cereals in
> Portugal, which represented just over 10 percent of total
> organic agriculture production, was insignificant.
>      "Farmers who grow organic cereals often keep it on their
> own land to feed livestock," he said.
>      He said the conversion period for olives was about three
> years and for cereals about two years.
>      Coutinho said EU subsidies encouraged farmers to convert
> their land for organic use. Many converted because they saw a
> growing niche market and because it was hard to compete with
> large farms that benefited from economies of scale.
> "Farmers who convert their farms tend to be sensitive to the
> environment," Coutinho said.
>      Foodstuffs that are produced organically in Portugal say so
> on their labels.
>      A trade fair has been held annually in Lisbon for 13 years
> to promote organic foods and the first such fair to be held in
> northern Portugal will take place in Oporto from May 28-30.
>  Agrobio brings together 2,500 farmers and consumers who support
> organic food production. Portugal now has about 600 organic
> farmers, Coutinho said.
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  03/23 1909  Glickman concerned Pioneer-DuPont deal to harm GMO By
> Barbara
>  Hagenbaugh SAN FRANCISCO, March 23 (Reuters) - U.S. Agriculture
> Secretary
>  Dan Glickman has expressed concern that DuPont Co.'s <DD.N>
> acquisition of
>  Pioneer Hi-Bred International <PHB.N>  could fuel the fire  of
> skeptics of
>  genetically modified crops, the head of Pioneer said on  Tuesday.
>  Charles Johnson, Pioneer's chairman, chief executive officer  and
>  president, said in a "friendly" meeting with Glickman last week the
>  secretary said he was concerned the acquisition by the chemical giant
> would
> raise "red flags" for those who opposed genetically modified food.
>     The DuPont-Pioneer acquisition has not been finalized.
> Glickman thought the purchase of Pioneer, the nation's largest
> seed breeder, would be "another argument to the evil, the
> negative" that is being touted in some countries, especially in
> Europe, about GMO's, Johnson said at the National Grain and Feed
> Association's conference.
>     The secretary did not express that he would make any attempt
> to block the buy, Johnson said.
>     Genetically modified commodities have been a topic of bitter
> resistance abroad, especially in Europe and in some African
> nations, where the crops are often seen as a threat to public
> health. Carol Brookins, chairman and CEO of World Perspectives,
> Inc., said there is also a growing campaign against GMO's in
> Asia, a campaign that the United States has yet to counter.
> Brookins suggested that agreeing to labeling may be a way to
> gain GMO acceptance in Europe.
>     "It is time for the U.S. government to stop fighting
> labeling," she said.     Johnson suggested that the United
> States needs to wage a war against the GMO propaganda, but
> suggested that the responsibility should not rest on the
> companies that sell the seeds.
>     "We've got a serious problem but the problem is not
> something the seed industry can resolve," he said. "Maybe the
> marketplace has to decide. We have to think very carefully how
> to approach this."
>     After the speech, Johnson told reporters that it will not be
> easy to turn Europe around.
>     "I don't think they are going to be easily convinced," he
> said.     Johnson suggested that the United States should reach
> out to Europeans and other foreign consumers to determine what
> they want so that U.S. companies can provide products that avoid
> the GMO controversy altogether.     "We need to listen enough to
> understand what in their food system could be improved," while
> staying in their "value system," he said.     When asked if
> Pioneer planned to enter the grain business, Johnson said that
> he did not see that as "a logical place" for the company he has
> worked at for nearly 34 years.
>     "If we can work in a partnership, then I'd much rather
> approach it that way," he said.
>     Regarding the merger with DuPont that was announced early
> last week, Johnson said he did not think the merger threatens
> competition in any way, but will help Pioneer to gain the
> financial backing to develop new technology and remain a front-
> runner in the seed business, rather than fall behind other
> companies who have been gunning to take away his company's
> market share.     "We didn't put two seed companies together,"
> he said. "We will be able to be in a position to have equal
> footing with the other companies."
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  INTERVIEW-Thais to step up crop biotechnology use By  Anchalee
> Koetsawang
>  BANGKOK, March 24 (Reuters) - Thailand said on  Wednesday it  will
>  increasingly turn to biotechnology, such as genetic engineering, to
>  improve the quality and quantity of its farm crops.  Yongyuth
> Yuthvong,
>  head of protein engineering programme at National  Science and
> Technology
>  Development Agency, said he expected transgenic plants to be widely
> used in
>  Thailand, one of the world's top commodities producers and exporters,
> in
>  the next five to 10 years. We are monitoring this technology closely
>  and will use it to our benefit. If we don't, it would be difficult
> for a
> major agriculture commodities producer like us to catch up with
> others," he told Reuters in an interview.     "The technology
> will allow Thailand to get better quality crops that would
> otherwise take much longer time to develop by natural means."
>   Biotechnology enables genes to be manipulated. For example,
> external genes can be introduced into crops to make them more
> resistant to disease or pests.     Yongyuth said the agency was
> developing some fungus-resistant fruits and long shelf-life
> chillies, used widely in Thai cooking.
>     Other transgenic crops, such cotton, corn or soybeans would
> be bought from foreign companies and tested for safety before
> being released into the fields, he said.
>     Monsanto Co <MTC.N> of United States, for example, expects
> to release Bollgard cotton commercially in Thailand by 2000. The
> cotton contains bacillus thuringenesis bacteria which kills the
> bollworm pest.
>     Thailand spends about 20 billion baht importing cotton
> annually, mostly from Australia and the United States. It
> produces only five percent of its demand because an increasing
> number of cotton farmers, unable to bear cost of pesticides and
> health hazards that they cause, have switched to other crops.
>   The agriculture ministry is developing drought-resistant rice.
> Thailand is the world's top rice exporter.
>     Although the Thai government welcomed genetic engineering
> technology, it was also aware of public concerns surrounding the
> use of such technology and would be careful, Yongyuth said.
> "Like every new technology, there are some uncertainties or
> risks. But evidence to date indicates that they are relatively
> small and manageable compared with the benefit," he said.
> "As much as we welcome the technology, we have strict guidelines
> and processes to ensure safety before using it."     "I think
> Thailand should be willing to reveal to consumers if its
> products are genetically engineered."
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  China Breeds First Genetically Altered Calf SHANGHAI (March 24)
>  Chinese scientists have reported  successfully producing a male calf
> on the
>  afternoon of February 19 as  the result of genetic engineering for
> the
>  first time.    Zeng Yitao and Huang Shuzhen and other scientists, who
> are
>  in charge  of genetic-engineering projects at the Shanghai Institute
> of
>  Medical  Sciences and Genetics, told a national seminar on transgenic
>  animals  held here today of the latest development. Last year, they
>  injected the  human blood clotting
> agent Factor IX into a the zygote of a goat which  was then
> transplanted into the womb of a female goat, resulting in the
> first transgenic goat in China. It later produced milk
> containing  Factor IX.
>    The scientists then used a similar method on a cow by
> transplanting  embryos grown in test tubes out of zygotes with
> human albumin genes  into eight cows last May, three of which
> became pregnant, one of which  gave birth to the transgenic
> calf.
>    In addition, by altering human genes before they are
> transplanted into animals, the scientists have bred mice whose
> milk has 1,400 nanograms  of Factor IX per milliliter, as
> compared with 45 nanograms in previous  experiments.    Experts
> attending the seminar said that these achievements will greatly
> benefit human albumin drug production using genetically altered
> animal  milk and this is specially important for the safety of
> products derived  from human plasma.   Enditem 24/03/99 08:51
> Copyright 1999
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
> March
>  22 /PRNewswire/ -- Pioneer Hi-Bred  International, Inc. (NYSE: PHB),
>  announced it has acquired Dois Marcos,  a soybean seed breeding and
>  marketing company, located in Cristalina,  Brazil. Dois Marcos, a
> small
>  regional company, established a soybean- breeding program in 1987 in
> the
>  Brazilian state of Goias. The Cristalina area of  Goias is recognized
> as a
>  region well suited for soybean breeding.    The company has been
> marketing
> commercial soybean varieties for two  years in the Cerrado area
> of Brazil.
>    Purchase price and details of the acquisition were not
> disclosed. "We  will utilize the germplasm developed in Brazil,
> by Dois Marcos, to  enhance our soybean lines worldwide," said
> Rick McConnell, Pioneer  senior vice president for research and
> product development. "We  continue to improve the disease and
> pest resistance of our soybean  varieties.  This germplasm along
> with our other genetic enhancement  technologies improves our
> ability to do that."    Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. is
> the world's leading supplier of agricultural genetics and is the
> leading developer and integrator of agricultural technology.
> Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, Pioneer  develops, produces,
> and markets a full line of seeds, forage and grain  additives
> and services to grain and livestock producers, grain  processors
> and other customers worldwide.
>   SOURCE  Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
>    -0-                             3/22/99 /CONTACT:  Tim Martin
> of  Pioneer, 515-334-6837/
>    (PHB)
>   CO:  Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.; Dois Marcos ST:
> Iowa,  Brazil IN: AGR SU:  TNM
> Copyright 1999
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  PR Newswire HEADLINE: Dow AgroSciences Signs Agreement With Illinois
>  Foundation Seeds DATELINE: INDIANAPOLIS, March 24  BODY: Dow
> AgroSciences
>  LLC and Illinois Foundation Seeds, Inc. (IFSI) have  consummated an
>  agreement in which Dow AgroSciences acquired IFSI shares in  exchange
> for
>  cash and an ownership interest in Dow AgroSciences'  subsidiary,
> Advanced
>  AgriTraits LLC.  In connection with the transaction,  Advanced
> AgriTraits
>  and IFSI also agreed to share their respective  technologies in crop
> traits
> and seed germplasm. Under the agreements, IFSI will receive
> non-exclusive
>  marketing rights to trait-enhanced products from Advanced AgriTraits.
> In
> return, IFSI will provide access to germplasm and perform breeding,
> testing
> and seed production services for Advanced AgriTraits.
>  In announcing the proposed terms last fall, Dow AgroSciences
> and IFSI cited their intent to exchange minority ownership
> interests.  IFSI received a 16.4 percent ownership interest in
> Advanced AgriTraits, plus $15 million in cash. Dow AgroSciences
> received newly issued Class B common stock, representing
> approximately 25 percent of IFSI's outstanding equity.  IFSI
> plans to use the proceeds to enhance its foundation seed
> breeding and germplasm development programs.
>  Established in September 1998, Advanced AgriTraits was formed
> for the purpose of developing and commercializing elite
> germplasm combined with high value  biotechnology  traits.  It
> serves as a clearinghouse for companies seeking to bolster their
> biotechnology  offerings via strategic alliances and/or
> licensing arrangements for  genetic  traits, germplasm and other
> biotech  capabilities.    According to Bill Tolbert, global
> biotechnology  business leader for Dow AgroSciences, the
> ultimate goal of Advanced AgriTraits is to create the most
> comprehensive portfolio of  genetic  traits,  biotechnology
> tools and elite germplasm available to  biotech  and seed
> companies around the world.  He said the key to achieving this
> goal is collaborating with leading agricultural companies and
> researchers -- such as IFSI.
>    "Finalizing the agreements with IFSI is a critical step in
> the overall growth and success of Advanced AgriTraits," said
> Tolbert.  "This relationship will provide us with access to the
> strong research capabilities of one of the leading foundation
> seed companies in the U.S."
>    Dow AgroSciences launched Advanced AgriTraits last fall by
> contributing access to its own proprietary genes and a variety
> of crop traits, including an extensive library of patent-
> protected insect control technology. Tolbert said broadening
> technology and market access through Advanced AgriTraits is an
> important component of the Dow AgroSciences  biotechnology
> strategy. Dow AgroSciences, in conjunction with The Dow Chemical
> Company (NYSE: DOW), is investing heavily in trait development
> technology and is gaining market access and other technology
> through a number of alliances, joint ventures and acquisitions.
>   "Our agreement with Advanced AgriTraits will significantly
> improve our product offering," said Dale Cochran, president of
> IFSI.  "We will be able to create a stronger portfolio of elite
> corn germplasm which will be enhanced with the best available
> trait technology from Advanced AgriTraits, including products
> that combine multiple value-added traits."    Advanced
> AgriTraits LLC, Indianapolis, Indiana, is a global agricultural
> technology company organized to develop and market an advanced
> portfolio of  biotechnology  traits and elite germplasm.  Its
> mission is accomplished through collaboration with
> biotechnology  suppliers,  genetic originators, and retail seed
> companies.  The company is owned by Dow AgroSciences LLC and
> Illinois Foundation Seeds, Inc.  For more information about
> Advanced AgriTraits contact Doug Vawter, general manager, at
> 317-337-5400.    Illinois Foundation Seeds, Inc., based in
> Champaign, Illinois, was formed by independent seedsmen in 1937.
> Today, IFSI is the second largest foundation seed company in the
> U.S. and has the single best selling inbred line used in the
> commercial seed industry.  With research stations throughout the
> Midwest, Illinois Foundation Seeds is uniquely positioned to
> develop and produce high value foundation seed for the changing
> needs of its customers and agriculture. Illinois Foundation
> Seeds is also the world's largest supplier of Xtra-Sweet hybrid
> sweet corn seed.  Foundation seed companies supply germplasm to
> commercial seed companies for their hybrid selection programs.
> Dow AgroSciences LLC, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is a
> global leader in providing pest management and  biotechnology
> products that improve the quality and quantity of the earth's
> food supply and contribute to the safety, health and quality of
> life of the world's growing population.  The company employs
> more than 4,000 people in over 26 countries and has worldwide
> sales of more than $2 billion.  Dow AgroSciences is a wholly
> owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company.
> SOURCE  Dow AgroSciences LLC
>      CONTACT: Ted McKinney of Dow AgroSciences, 317-337-4792; or
> Dale Cochran of IFSI, 217-485-6260
> ORIGNAL-LANGUAGE: Dow AgroSciences LLC; Illinois Foundation
> Seeds, Inc.; Advanced AgriTraits LLC
> LOAD-DATE: March 24, 1999
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  Deutsche Presse-Agentur March  24, 1999 HEADLINE:  British researcher
>  demands stricter controls on  genetically manipulated  foods
>  London  BODY: A scientist who triggered a heated debate  in Britain
> over
>  genetically manipulated foods, has repeated his concerns  to a
>  parliamentary committee in London. Biochemist Arpad Pusztai  demanded
>  stricter criteria for authorising  genetically  altered foods and
> said the
>  food industry was "using consumers as guinea pigs". He also cast
> doubt on
>  the objectivity of the expert committee which is advising the British
>  government on the issue of  genetic
> technology.     Pusztai caused controversy with a series of
> experiments in which he fed rats with potatoes that had been
> implanted with an additional gene from the snowdrop flower. This
> gene triggered the production of the protein lectin with which
> snowdrops protect themselves from greenfly. The gene was added
> to the potatoes in an attempt to offer them the same protection.
>    But the  genetically  manipulated potatoes also damaged the
> brains, spleen, intestine walls, kidneys and immune systems of
> the rats. A repeat of the experiment showed the lectin itself
> was not the cause for this damage. Pusztai therefore concluded
> that people should be advised not to consume  genetically
> altered foods.
>     After he made this recommendation on television, Pusztai was
> sacked by his employer, the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen,
> Scotland. Yet a group of 23 internationally renowned scientists
> have confirmed in a memorandum that Pusztai's series of
> experiments were irreproachable. They demanded that he be
> reinstated. dpa jbr jbp
> LOAD-DATE: March 24, 1999
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  Information World Review April  1, 1999 SECTION: Pg.4 HEADLINE:
> added
>  FROSTI to its Food and Agriculture cluster.  Produced by the UK's
>  Leatherhead Food Research Association, the database  covers all
> aspects of
>  the food and drink industry, including ingredients  and process
> technology,
>  quality control, microbiology, manufacturing, packaging, food
> chemistry,
>  biotechnology,  food safety and nutrition, recipes and additives.
> Sources
>  are global and include more than 500 scientific and technical
> journals -
>  key journals are abstracted and online within two weeks of delivery.
> <>
> LOAD-DATE: March 24, 1999
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  Questor Column: Extrovert Iceland worth bringing  in from the cold
>  Edited by Ben Potter  BODY: ICELAND risked  widespread sneers
> yesterday
>  with plans to make its brand more "extrovert".  Encouraging staff to
> be
>  more passionate sounds ridiculous, but then the  retailing game is
> all
>  about creating difference. Iceland admits it has  been struggling for
>  several years to find a raison d'etre - it is tough to explain why
> shoppers
> should go to its rather dowdy high-street outlets instead of
> out-of-town
>  Tesco superstores. Chairman Malcolm Walker and his
> team have come up with some imaginative solutions. Last year,
> the company introduced home delivery and catalogue-based home
> shopping, both of which have got off to decent starts.
> Iceland has also carved out a niche as an ethical retailer, with
> an early ban on  genetically -modified food and a halt on
> artificial colouring and flavouring in own-brand products.
> Yesterday's launch of Iceland's new wacky personality will help
> further -slapstick humour in television commercials and
> colourful in-store promotions should attract customers who would
> normally have shunned Iceland's staid reputation. The company
> revealed yesterday that many of its customers visit just three
> times a year - one more trip by each would make a huge
> difference.    Iceland can genuinely claim to offer something
> different, and the initial results are very encouraging - like-
> for-like food sales rose 12pc last year and another 10pc in the
> first 11 weeks of this year. Pre-tax profits, up 26.7pc to
> pounds 55.1m last year, will be hit by exceptional costs of
> about pounds 5m to cover the closure of distribution centres
> this year. Stockbroker Henderson Crosthwaite expects a pre-tax
> figure of about pounds 57m. The shares, up 8 1/2 to an all-time
> high of 283 1/2 p yesterday, are on around 14 times expected
> earnings. Growth prospects look better than average for the
> sector and Iceland is worth a speculative punt.
> LOAD-DATE: March 24, 1999
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  Letter to the Editor: GM assurance  BODY: SIR - To  take up Janet
> Parker's
>  challenge (letter, March 22) we can assure her that  unaltered and
>  genetically  modified soya is not always mixed at source in  America.
> As
>  the world's largest supplier of soy protein, we are experiencing
> increasing
>  demand for consumer choice. We provide this choice  by growing and
>  processing (American) non-GM soya under an Identity Preservation
> system
>  that maintains its non-GM status from farm to plate. Restaurants and
>  retailers must decide how much they trust their
> suppliers to know how ingredients are sourced. Suppliers have to
> rely on the rigour of systems such as our independently audited
> Identity Preservation to guarantee non-GM status.
>    Protein Technologies International
>    Corby, Northants
> LOAD-DATE: March 24, 1999
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  The Christian Science Monitor March  24, 1999 SECTION: WORLD; GLOBAL
>  REPORT; Pg. 1 HEADLINE: Organic farmers hear a call:  If you grow it,
> they
> Long
>  stretches her hand  past piles of yogurt containers on the
> supermarket
>  shelf  and picks out one  with a natural green label: Yeo Valley
> Organic
>  Yogurt.  "It tastes nice and  it's healthier," she says. The fact
> that it
>  costs a bit more than its  conventional counterparts "doesn't
> matter." Mrs.
>  Long, a housewife in the  west of England, is part of a swelling
> global
> wave of consumers who are turning to organic foods in unprecedented
> numbers.
> And farmers from Arkansas to Argentina are racing to catch up in a
> global
> business worth $ 10 billion a year.
> Far from a passing fad, organic food, produced without
> pesticides  or synthetic fertilizers, is exploding out of the
> niche market and into the mainstream, say retailers in Europe
> and the US.
> Four years after the so-called "mad cow disease" scandal erupted
> in Britain, and with public attention in many countries focused
> on the possible dangers of  genetically  engineered foodstuffs,
> industrialized-country consumers increasingly are playing it
> safe and going organic, adding to those who believe such
> products simply taste better.
> "Globally, the main factor behind the growth of the organic food
> market is health," says Ulrich Hamm, an expert on organic
> produce sales at the University of Neubrandenburg in Germany.
> "The organic market is growing all the time," says Melodie
> Schuster, a spokeswoman for the Tesco's supermarket chain.
> Britain's largest food retailer now stocks 250 different organic
> products - from fruit and vegetables to dairy products to bread
> and meat - and plans a major expansion of its lines next month.
> "We have told our suppliers that this is the way forward," she
> says. Billion-dollar market
> The UK market for organic food is rocketing by 40 percent a
> year, and has shot up from $ 160 million in 1993 to $ 640
> million last year, according to the Soil Association, the
> principal organic farming group in Britain. This is still well
> behind other European countries such as Germany, however, where
> organic retail sales are close to $ 2 billion a year. And the US
> alone, with sales of more than $ 4 billion in 1997, consumes as
> much organic produce as the whole of Europe.
> Organic holdings still make up only a minuscule part of the
> agricultural landscape. They account for less than 0.5 percent
> of farmland in Britain, bottom of the league in Europe where the
> overall figure is 1.3 percent, and far behind Denmark and Sweden
> where as much as 10 percent of the land is organically farmed.
> The rising demand for natural produce among well-heeled
> consumers in the rich industrialized world, however, is
> encouraging farmers around the globe to switch to organics.
> Growers in Argentina, for example, have increased the acreage
> under organic cultivation by 4,600 percent since 1992, and sales
> of organic fruit, grain, and beef have been rising by 25 percent
> a year.
> In China, the "green food" movement has swept the country, and
> tropical farmers in Africa and Asia are being encouraged by
> United Nations agencies such as the International Trade Center
> (ITC) to start meeting international demand. In a report to be
> published next month the Geneva-based agency foresees a "very
> large long-term potential" for third world growers able to
> supply out-of-season or exotic goods to European and American
> consumers.
> But the booming market for healthy produce is also beckoning
> small and medium-size conventional British farmers who are
> struggling to make ends meet with standard crops that fetch poor
> prices.
> Richard Watts, for example, who keeps a herd of dairy cows and
> grows wheat on his 330-acre farm near here, says he has "done
> the figures, and organic looks very interesting. It would
> increase my absolute bottom line by 75 to 100 percent. "I'd love
> to dive into it," he says. But he is hesitating because "there's
> a whole management structure behind it, and there's a two-year
> herd conversion period to get over" before his milk would
> qualify as organic. The government this year introduced higher
> grants to encourage farmers to convert to organic production,
> helping them through the in-between period when yields have
> dropped because they are not using chemical fertilizers, but
> they cannot yet charge organic prices.
> Those grants, Mr. Watts reckons, would cover only about 75
> percent of his initial losses. And Britain lags behind most
> other European nations in fostering more organic farming: With
> France and Greece it is the only country that doesn't pay
> organic farmers an annual subsidy for as long as they forswear
> artificial fertilizers and  pesticides,  and intensive farming
> techniques. A few miles away at Newhouse Farm, John Cullimore
> didn't wait for government grants to change over 10 years ago.
> The shifting economics of farming threatened to make his holding
> unprofitable, he recalls, and a request from a pharmaceuticals
> company that he take part in testing a drug to increase his
> cows' milk production "rang alarm bells with me."
> If supply matched demand for organic produce in the early 1990s,
> it has lagged far behind in recent years, Mr. Cullimore points
> out. Though crop yields are about half what he would harvest
> with conventional methods, he has fewer input costs and his
> wheat, beef, and lamb command more than twice the normal price.
> Whether consumers would go on paying those higher prices if hard
> economic times hit Britain is a question Arthur Pullin asks
> himself. Standing by his cowshed surrounded by 40 black-and-
> white Friesian dairy cows, Mr. Pullin remembers how he first
> took his herd organic in 1991.
> He was earning 25 percent more for his milk than conventional
> neighbors, but then "the country hit a recession, people said
> they weren't prepared to pay extra, and the organic market went
> flop."
> He started again in 1996, and feels that nowadays the popularity
> of naturally grown food is broad and deep enough to sustain the
> market under any circumstances.
> "People started getting worried about four years ago," Pullin
> says. "[The 'mad-cow' scare] triggered it, then the medical
> people said that too many antibiotics in animal feed was
> creating resistant bugs. A lot of things are used that we don't
> know the long-term effects of, so people prefer to buy organic
> stuff, where there is less risk."
> International market studies, says Professor Hamm, suggest that
> in countries where organic food is a novelty, sales follow
> economic trends but "when organics have higher market shares, it
> is not important if people's income goes up or down a bit." The
> recent debate in Britain over the possible effects of
> genetically  modified organisms ( GMOs)  gave another boost to
> organic food here: Tesco's organic sales went up by 20 percent
> in February alone "most definitely because of the GM scare,
> there's no doubt about that" says Ms. Schuster.
> Saturation point?
> As more and more conventional farmers ponder making the switch
> to take advantage of this booming market, though, the economic
> advantages could grow slimmer. Dairy and beef farmer Colin
> Pierce, for example, has invited one of the groups that
> certifies growers as organic to visit his farm, as he considers
> his options.
> "The only thing that worries us," he explains, "is that if we
> all do it we will reach saturation point, and you really need
> the premium" over standard prices to make organic agriculture
> profitable.
> But with Britain currently importing 70 percent of its organic
> foodstuffs, and the market growing by leaps and bounds, the time
> when supply will match demand closely enough to bring prices
> down seems a long way off, even if the government does more to
> encourage conventional farmers to take the plunge. "The UK
> market is seen as a jewel in Europe," says Simon Brenman,
> manager of producer services for the Soil Association. "The
> consumer has seen the advantage of organic foods ahead of the
> government."
> Elsewhere too, market opportunities beckon, according to the
> ITC, which is run jointly by the World Trade Organization and
> the UN Conference on Trade and Development. In the medium term,
> its new report predicts, demand in the US is likely to grow by
> as much as 30 percent a year, and by 40 percent a year in much
> of Europe.
> What's organic? An organic farmer uses soil, insects, plants,
> microorganisms, animals, and humans to create a coherent and
> stable whole. A farm's production is integrated, humane, and
> environmentally  sustainable. - Welsh Institute of Rural
> Studies, University of Wales
> GRAPHIC: PHOTOS: 1) Showing organic carrots. BY MELANIE STETSON
> FREEMAN - STAFF 2) BUMPER CROP: Varick Warren of Pure Pacific
> Organics looks over a cauliflower in Salinas, Calif. Organic
> food sales top $4 billion in the US, which consumes as much as
> all of Europe. BY ERIC RISBERG/AP
> LOAD-DATE: March 23, 1999
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  Financial Times (London) March  24, 1999, Wednesday  LONDON EDITION 2
>  SECTION: COMPANIES & FINANCE: UK; Pg. 22 HEADLINE: Iceland  to shun
> own
>  Hollinger  BODY:    Iceland, which sparked a national controversy
> when it
>  banned  genetically modified ingredients from its own-label products,
> is
>  seeking to relaunch itself as Britain's ethical food retailer by
> eliminating artificial colours and flavours from its ranges.
> Malcolm Walker, chairman and chief executive, said he believed
> the stance the company took early last year on GM ingredients
> had "brought in thousands of new customers", helping Iceland to
> report sales increases yesterday substantially ahead of the
> industry.
>    "The GM issue has done more for our image than anything we
> have ever said on the value of frozen foods," Mr Walker said.
> "We think we have found something with this Fighting for Better
> Food campaign."
>    Mr Walker said the group would have eliminated artificial
> colours and flavours from own-label products by the end of the
> year. It had also demanded that suppliers of refrigerators and
> freezers sold in Iceland stores, such as Zanussi, should provide
> environmentally  friendly products.    However, Mr Walker said
> it was impossible to separate the impact on sales of Iceland's
> GM stance from other initiatives, such as the introduction of a
> nationwide home delivery service.
>    Both had contributed to a 10 per cent rise in sales for the
> first 11 weeks of the current financial year and a 12.6 per cent
> rise in like-for-like sales for the year to January 2. Pre-tax
> profits increased from L43.5m to L55.1m, although 1997's figure
> was depressed by L6.7m of exceptionals.
> Group sales were 11 per cent higher at L1.74bn, with food
> showing an 11 per cent increase, while appliance sales fell 3.2
> per cent. The food service division almost doubled sales from
> L13.8m to L26.7m as a result of acquisitions.    The increases
> in food sales, on the top of a strong performance last year
> thanks to the launch of home delivery, drew praise from analysts
> and the shares moved up 8 1/2 p to 283 1/2 p. "They are
> phenomenal sales increases," said one. "They have carved out a
> very nice niche for themselves as the only national home
> delivery operator."
>    Mr Walker said the group planned to launch internet and
> interactive television shopping services by the end of the year.
>   The initiatives were part of the reinvention of Iceland, which
> was investing an extra L5m this year in repositioning its brand
> "slightly more upmarket" through new advertising, product
> packaging and store environments.    Mr Walker insisted,
> however, that the group was "not going posh. We are still very
> much about the mass market. We just want to take out some of the
> prejudice which middle England has about Iceland."
> The final dividend of 4p put the total at 5.8p (5.4p). Earnings
> per share were up from 11.68p to 20.03p. Lex, Page 20
> LOAD-DATE: March 24, 1999
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  The Independent (London) March  24, 1999  ECTION: BUSINESS; Pg. 4
>  BODY:  MALCOLM WALKER, chairman and chief  executive of Iceland
> Frozen
>  Foods,  says he'll eat anything as long as it is  not fatty meat. But
> his
>  real  preference is for the olive oil, red wine and grilled meat or
> fish of
>  the  Mediterranean diet. So it is the River Cafe,  with its
>  Italian-inspired cuisine, which sums up everything he likes in a
>  restaurant. "It's totally unpretentious and the food is just
> stunning," he
>  says. "They use the finest and often the most expensive basic
> ingredients.
> I hate starched table covers, formal service and rich French food,"
> adds the
> 53 -year-old who founded Iceland, now more than 700-outlets strong,
> in 1970. Walker first visited Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers'
> fashionable Thames-side restaurant two years ago and eats there
> on regular trips to London from his Deeside head office.
>     Its simple mozzarella and tomato salad is the epitome of
> why, for him, its food is divine. "It's a little thing, but
> mozzarella can sometimes taste like rubber," he says. "If you
> have it at the River Cafe the mozzarella is like nothing you've
> ever tasted. It sparkles like sherbet on your tongue.     "They
> use top-quality ingredients and are not afraid to say that, in
> some cases, tinned tomatoes are better than fresh ones - much
> better than tasteless Dutch ones, anyway. Not being pretentious
> about food is very important to me."     In any case, the man
> who guarantees Iceland-brand products contain no  genetically
> modified ingredients says he has no worries on that score when
> visiting the River Cafe. "GM soya is used only in processed food
> and everything the River Cafe makes is freshly prepared," he
> says.
>     "And at the River Cafe," he adds, "I don't have to wear a
> tie."     The River Cafe, Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, London
> W6 (Telephone 0171-381 8824)
> LOAD-DATE: March 24, 1999
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  The Times (London) March  24, 1999 HEADLINE:  Customers enthusiastic
> over
>  Iceland GM stance BYLINE: Robert Cole, city  correspondent  BODY:
>  the frozen food retailer, is reaping big  rewards from its
> determined
>  stance against  genetically  modified food, according to Malcolm
> Walker,
>  the chairman and chief executive. Mr Walker  said that he  believes
>  thousands of new customers are shopping at Iceland  because of the
>  company's policy of minimising the amount of GM foodstuffs sold in
> its
> shops. At yesterday's presentation of the company's annual results, it
> displayed some of what it claims to be hundreds of letters from
> customers applauding the policy. One correspondent, Anna
> Turnbull Walker, of Hythe, Kent, wrote: "Although I am a
> traditional Sainsbury's/Tesco shopper I have recently started
> using Iceland because of your splendid attitude towards GM
> food."     Helped by such consumer enthusisam, Iceland reported
> 10 per cent increases in both sales and underlying profits for
> the year to January 2. The group said that an expanding home
> delivery inititative fuelled the rise.     In the 11 weeks of
> the new year, sales grew by 10 per cent, Iceland said. This
> advance is some way ahead of the growth generated by supermarket
> rivals, although in the comparable period of 1998 sales grew 16
> per cent.     The company said that the home delivery service
> had begun in time for the start of 1998, and that the initial
> rise in sales activity had slowed by the first quarter of 1999.
>    Mr Walker said that sales picked up markedly towards the end
> of the current-year trading period. He attributed the
> improvement to the airing of new advertisements.
> The home delivery service is available nationally and is
> currently free. However, Mr Walker said it was given a trial to
> the levy of a Pounds 1 delivery charge.
>     The average value of spending per Iceland customer has risen
> from Pounds 6 to Pounds 9 over the past two years. The group
> said that the much larger average size of shopping bill for
> goods delivered to homes accounts for much of the increase. The
> average shopping bill for home-delivered orders is Pounds 42.
>   Iceland's annual pre-tax profits rose 27 per cent to Pounds 55
> million, up from Pounds 43.5 million. However, the figures were
> flattered by the absence of Pounds 7 million of exceptional
> items which depressed the previous year's profits. The final
> dividend is 4p, making a total for the year of 5.8p, 7.4 per
> cent up on last time.
> LOAD-DATE: March 24, 1999
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  The Toronto Star March  24, 1999 HEADLINE: CORPORATE  MUSCLE FLEXING
>  ITS WAY  BODY: In India, where 70 per cent of the  population work
> the
>  land, farmers are making bonfires of  genetically  modified crops as
> part
>  of their celebration of what they call ''Cremate  Monsanto'' days.
> There is
>  a bill before India's parliament - blandly titled the Patent
> Amendment Act
>  - promoted by global corporations to patent  traditional Indian seeds
> and
>  plants. The World Trade Organization is pressuring the government to
>  approve the bill&semi; the farmers are protesting. Largely
> impoverished and
> illiterate, they are no match for the WTO and the corporations,
> although
> some have been killed trying. Most of our own politicians are
> supportive of
> the WTO. According to the Guardian Weekly, Amnesty International has
> said of
> WTO's part in ''restructuring'' the role of the state to adjust to the
> new world models, that ''(the) rights of people are frequently
> given less weight in public policy than the interests of
> capital.'' Put another way, people's interests are given no
> weight at all. Anyway, who (besides Amnesty International) cares
> about the interests of 600 million farmers who have no political
> power and, more important, no purchasing power either?
> The restless Indian farmers see globalization as an effort at
> re-colonization: the results are much the same - protracted
> poverty and misery,  environmental  destruction, and a governing
> elite at the service of the WTO and the transnational
> corporations, modern day successors to the Raj.
> Here in Canada, our view of globalization is that it's probably
> good for business, which means it's a good thing, but anyway, we
> don't have any choice. All of that is precisely what we are
> supposed to think.
> Resignation to the impervious, relentless flows of history,
> commerce, and technology is a Canadian habit. The how-to
> literature on the subject, shaped by journalism, comes in small
> dollops appropriate for minds with little room for worrisome
> detail or appetite for controversy more profound than, say,
> Question Period on C-Span, or Crossfire on CNN.
> It is indeed remarkable that India's farmers, few of whom can
> either read or write, have become so quickly aware that their
> way of life - such as it is - is now more precarious at the
> hands of timid politicians and of global corporations, driven by
> greed and mandated by the WTO.
> But even the undereducated know the language - the new Esperanto
> of the new world order - that extols productivity, investment,
> ''reform,'' profit, and the natural ascendacy and primacy of
> corporations over legislatures. This, for the vast majority of
> Indian people, is the familiar vocabulary of tyranny&semi; those
> who have protested in India have been killed, jailed, and
> clubbed to their knees.
> Still, a number of dissenters surrounded the state government
> offices in Karnataka recently and held a laugh-in, spending an
> entire day laughing at the government's policies. This
> imaginative form of non-violent protest could be adapted for our
> own purposes.
> Laugh-ins could be staged in such suitable locations as,
> obviously, outside Parliament&semi; under the office window of
> the Leader of the Opposition&semi; adjacent to the library of
> Alberta's treasurer, Stockwell Day&semi; beneath the ivory tower
> of my favourite morning paper, and - for a real good time - on
> the street facing the Fraser Institute's head office.
> Until the serious fun begins, I have embraced stoicism in order
> to come to terms with nature - since its privatization. I
> devoted the past week to reading Conrad Black's campaign to
> improve productivity by cutting taxes, reducing government
> spending, and increasing productivity. Jim Pattison, of
> Vancouver, and Paul Desmarais, the Quebec billionaire, agree
> with Black. So,
> apparently, do all his columnists. If those farmers in India
> could subscribe to the National Post, the world would surely be
> a safer place for Monsanto.
> Dalton Camp is a political commentator. His columns appear
> Wednesdays and Sundays in The Star.
> LANGUAGE: English
> LOAD-DATE: March 24, 1999
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  No. 56 Wednesday, March 24, 1999 ISSN 1521-9402 Biotechnology
> Glickman
>  Forms Task Force On Genetically Modified Foods  by The Bureau of
> National
>  Affairs, Inc., Washington D.C. Agriculture Secretary Dan  Glickman on
> March
>  19 announced formation of a 25-member biotechnology  task force  to
>  address  issues involving the proliferation of genetically modified
> foods.
>  The  panel will include research scientists, social  scientists,
> farmers,
>  and  consumers, Glickman said at a panel discussion sponsored  by
> USDA on
>  biotechnology challenges for     the 21st century. Glickman said  he
> will
>  appoint members to     the Advisory Committee on Agricultural
> Biotechnology
> at a     later date.
>     The advisory panel will examine and advise Glickman on "the
>    effect of biotechnology from every conceivable angle--its
>  creation, application, marketability, related trade and
> inspection implications, and more," Glickman said.
> "Agricultural biotechnology presents complex questions and
> issues that need to be discussed in an active, public
> dialogue," he said.
>     The panel discussion came one day after USDA announced that
>    its researchers have developed a new line of corn that
> naturally resists aflatoxin, a fungus that poses health
> threats to humans and livestock. A family of hybrid corn
> made with the new strain, called Mp715, could take several
> years to get to market, USDA said in a statement.
>     Glickman emphasized the need to persuade foreign countries,
>    especially European Union members, of the safety of
> genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
>              Tilted Playing Field
>     However, Union of Concerned Scientists researcher Margaret
>    Mellon warned at the meeting that the trend toward GMO use
>   could have negative consequences for the U.S. farming
> community.
>     Technology such as "terminator" seeds--which grow plants
>  whose seeds are sterile, requiring farmers to buy new seeds
>  each year--poses a "threat" to small farmers, Mellon said.
> Use of the technology could accelerate the trend of farm
> consolidation, placing production in the hands of "a small
> number of vertically integrated multinational companies,"
> she said.
>     Ralph Hardy, president of the National Agricultural
> Biotechnology Council, said he takes a longer-term view. He
> said he envisions an agricultural community that creates
> value-added products, renewable energy sources, and
> medicines from its farm commodities. Use of terminator seeds
>  can have benefits such as preventing reproduction if
> herbicide-tolerant genes are assimilated by wild weeds, he
> said.
>          Crossing the European Border
>     The panelists addressed distrust among European consumers
>   and the EU of genetically modified foods. On March 17, a
> consortium of European supermarkets announced a new policy
> under which it will not sell genetically modified foods.
>     The EU wants U.S. exporters to label food that contains
> GMOs, a position that U.S. producers say is too costly and
> time-consuming to be workable.
>     Terry Medley, former administrator of the Animal and Plant
>    Health Inspection Service who now works for DuPont, said GMO
>    products have been extensively tested and approved by three
>    U.S. government agencies. This should be proof that the
> products are safe and do not require labeling, Medley said.
>     "When science is subverted by politics and socioeconomic
>  concerns, U.S. products don't stand a chance," said Roger
> Pine, president of the National Corn Growers Association. He
>  urged creation of an international regime for approving
> biotechnology products to replace the current     country-by-
> country approach, which he said is "unworkable."
>     Insect Resistance
>     The panel also discussed possible environmental effects of
>    some of the genetically engineered crops on the market.
>     Medley said crops that exude Bt, a naturally occurring
> pesticide, help the environment by reducing chemical use.
> But there is concern among the scientific community that
> widespread planting of Bt crops will cause insects to
> develop resistance to it.
>     Pine said biotechnology companies are working on a unified
>    insect resistance management program to address concerns
> that insects will develop a resistance to Bt, a pesticide
> that several bioengineered crops now naturally produce.
>     Mellon warned that herbicide-resistant crops like Roundup
>   Ready soybeans could have detrimental effects by increasing
>   farmers' use of Roundup to kill weeds. One solution, she
> said, is to use "refuges" where land is set aside and not
> planted.
>     Hardy said that in the future, biotechnology will enable the
>    production of renewable plant-based energy sources that
> could replace fossil fuels.
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  Australian Broadcasting Corporation - National Rural News South
> Africa
>  Asks for GMO Import Guarantee Monday 22 March, 1999 (3:16pm AEDT)
> South
>  Africa has become the first country to ask for a guarantee that
> imported
>  wheat is not genetically modified. The South African quarantine
> service
>  has asked AQIS for the guarantee but has stopped short of banning
> modified
>  product.  Currently there is no genetically modified wheat produced
> in
>  Australia so the move will not affect our sales to that country.
> However
> Dr Troy Delbridge from the gene policy and assessment unit at AQIS
> says
> it's a warning for other grains and he   expects more countries will
> follow
>  South Africa's lead.
>   Troy Delbridge: Some countries have not really developed
> policies to manage these issues, but they are issues of
> concern to consumers and governments, and I think a lot of
> countries are beginning to start to making decisions about
> these things even though they may not have done for example a
> risk assessment of that GMO coming into their country   they are
> thinking about knowing at least what is coming into the country.
> [Entered Greenbase March 24, 1999 ]
> ======#======
>  The Globe and Mail Genetic experiments on Canadian crops top 4,200 in
>  decade Green Party fears ecological consequences while Ottawa
> welcomes
>  more biotech firms Friday, March 19, 1999 MARTIN  MITTELSTAEDT  The
> Globe
>  and Mail Toronto -- Biotechnology  companies and  agricultural
> researchers
>  have conducted more than 4,200 field trials in  Canada using
> genetically
>  altered  crops during the past 10 years, according to federal
> statistics
>  obtained through the Access to Information Act.  The  trials  have
> been
> conducted in every province except Newfoundland, with  more than  75
> per
> cent of the tests done in the three Prairie provinces.
>       The high number of experiments is being touted by the
> federal government in a recent advertisement designed to attract
> to Canada European biotechnology companies that face organized
> and often militant opposition to testing       genetically
> altered crops in their countries.
>       The government said in its ad that the "thousands" of
> field trials in Canada are "more than in the entire European
> Union" and that Canada is becoming a world recognized centre for
> biotechnology.
>       Figures on the field trials were obtained by the Green
> Party of Canada, which worries about the explosive growth in
> genetic experiments and wants a ban.
>       In the crop experiments, researchers plant seeds that have
> been modified with genetic material from bacteria and other
> organisms. Researchers hope the resulting plants will have such
> desirable characteristics as herbicide and       insect
> resistance.
>       Many environmentalists are nervous about
> genetically     modified crops because of fears that genes from
> these plants will escape into other related species and become
> what they call "genetic pollution." There are also worries that
>      modified crops will lead to food allergies and undermine
> products now commonly used in organic agriculture.
>       "I am concerned about the emerging scientific evidence
> indicating devastating ecological consequences [from genetic
> engineering] and the long-term impacts on human health," said
> Joan Russow, the party's national leader.
>       However, an official with the Canadian Food Inspection
> Agency of Agriculture Canada said extensive precautions are
> taken to ensure the safety of crop trials. Many of the trial
> sites are inspected, and there are precautions, such as
> restrictions on tests where there is a chance
> genetically     altered material will escape into the wild.
>       "Canada's system is recognized internationally as being a
> very, very good system and I think we've have been very cautious
> and responsible," said Morven McLean, chief of the plant
> biotechnology office at the food inspection       agency.
>       But Ms. Russow said Canadians are generally unaware of the
> massive scale of biotechnology under way in the country.
>       "Nothing bothers Canadians more than feeling they've been
> duped," she said of the reason for seeking the data.
>       According to the Green Party's analysis of the field trial
> statistics dating from 1990, Saskatchewan is the leading
> province for genetic tests, with about 1,500 field trials,
> followed by Alberta with about 1,070 and Manitoba with 683.
>       Only one trial was listed for Nova Scotia, and Quebec,
> with its large agricultural industry, had only 46, just ahead of
> Prince Edward Island's 35.
>       The federal data listed the test sites by municipality,
> but few of the actual companies or researchers conducting the
> experiments were listed, nor were the names of the hundreds of
> farmers engaging in the trials. Some sites were
>       listed only as "private farm," but others had no
> indication of the entity conducting the trials or the plants
> being tested.
> ======#======