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GE -GMO News 08/27



GMO News  08/27
:
 
:
1) Greenwire August  26, 1999   -  WORLDVIEW -GENETIC  ENGINEERING II:
HOW'S IT
PLAYING?  
2) DJ Japan Govt To Inspect Genetically Modified Food - 08/27  
3) The Globe & Mail Online Canola looks to genetics for its future
SOWING SEEDS OF SUCCESS 
Canadian biotechnology firms  are leading the  way in  discovering new strains
of  crops. 
4) Tribune (Welland) Friday, August 27, 1999 Final Local/Region  B1 / FRONT
Genetically modified food: debate rages on 
BY Peter  Brieger  NIAGARA FALLS
5) Benefits of Genetically Modified Crops May Include Wildlife Protection
>  GUELPH, ON, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - 
6) The Globe & Mail Online Honey, there's a gene in my soup  For years,
Canadians have been eating food that was genetically altered in laboratories.
Many other countries are deeply concerned. Shouldn't we be, too? HEATHER 
SCOFFIELD The Globe and Mail Saturday, August 21, 1999
7) The New York Times August  27, -Commercials in  Class  
8) U.S. Newswire August  27, 1999 
NATIONAL DESK,  ENVIRONMENT REPORTER 
9)  Africa News August  27, 1999 - Africa-at-Large; Genetic Engineering Could
Solve World's Food  Needs BYLINE: Patrick Earle in Sydney, All Africa News
Agency  
10) BusinessWorld August  27, 1999 - Farm biotechnology  forum focuses on
combating pests  
11) Field testing of GM corn approved  - BusinessWorld August  27, 1999
12) REASSURANCE FOR FARMERS OVER GM CROP  - The Northern Echo August  27 - 
13)  The Toronto Star August  27 -  If  genetically  modified foods are as
safe, tested  and of ''enhanced  nutritional quality'' as suggested by
David T.
Dennis of  Performance
>  Plants Inc. 
14) The Toronto Star August  27, 1999 -  The sad reality of  genetically 
modified food, like many of the medicines man has developed this century, is
that it may take an entire generation of
15) The Times (London) August  27, 1999- Features -  GM crops  


1) Greenwire August  26, 1999   -  WORLDVIEW -GENETIC  ENGINEERING II:
HOW'S IT
PLAYING?  
Greenwire rounds up the latest
>  commentary on genetically modified foods:  Boston Globe:
> "Environmental
>  extremists who destroy genetically altered  crops, supposedly to save
> the
>  world, are not only breaking the law, ... but  are stopping the very
>  research that can tell people about the risks of growing such plants.
> ...
>  Slashing an experiment and attempting to stop science is the height
> of
>  ignorance" (Aug. 24). Gainesville (FL) Sun: "It ought to be possible
> to
> fashion
> a labeling requirement that will serve both consumers and the
> industry. The biotechnology revolution won't be halted by
> labeling. Nor will its potential benefits be squandered by rules
> that allow informed consumers to choose for themselves whether
> to partake of the fruits of the revolution" (Aug. 20).
>  Toronto Globe and Mail: "It is not enough to decry public
> opposition to genetically altered foods and related innovations;
> rational doubts require convincing assurances from public and
> private authorities lest the growing power of science be sadly
> hobbled in expanding fields" (Aug. 16).
>      A Toronto Globe and Mail editorial says increased
> agricultural productivity coming from GM foods is "an
> environmental good, reducing pressures to destroy remaining
> forests and colonize marginal lands to feed expanding
> populations, especially in the developing world" (Aug. 23).
>  Wall Street Journal: "In Europe, across the whole food
> technology front, confusion and hysteria have displaced reason
> and economics, with incalculable costs to those who are trying
> to bring new and beneficial innovations to market" (Aug. 9).
>   In a Journal of Commerce op-ed, Dennis T. Avery, director of
> global foods issues for the Indianapolis-based Hudson
> Institute, says Gerber's decision to not use GM crops in its
> products could be "the beginning of the end for high-yield
> 
> agriculture." Avery: "Other baby-food producers may strive to be
> as 'safe' as Gerber. Homemakers may see the shift as an industry
> admission organic foods are safer for their families" (Aug. 10).
>     In a San Diego Union-Tribune column, James O. Goldborough
> writes, "The (Food and Drug Administration's) error has been to
> side with the industry against GM food labeling, keeping
> consumers in the dark and raising suspicions. GM food science
> may or may not turn out to be benign, but we have the right to
> know what we're eating" (Aug. 9).
>      Doug Parr, campaign director of  Greenpeace,  in a London
> Times op-ed: "The (UK) government has not realized that a new
> form of politics is emerging, best described as risk politics.
> To take an example, the decision to allow Monsanto's GM soybeans
> into our food means the public takes the risk, while Monsanto
> gets the benefit" (Aug. 23).
>      In an International Herald Tribune letter to the editor,
> Mark Cantley, life sciences adviser in the research
> directorate-general of the European Commission, writes, "Modern
> genetic engineering brings precision, predictability, speed and
> greater safety to traditional methods for pursuing familiar
> objectives in food production, health care and environmental
> protection" (Aug. 25).
> In a Wall Street Journal letter to the editor, Ruth Kava of the
> American Council on Science and Health, writes, "What
> Greenpeace  and other such groups are really accomplishing is
> simply provoking unwarranted anxiety in parents. Unfortunately,
> companies such as Gerber seem unwilling to stand up to this food
> terrorism -- even to the extent of simply having a separate line
> of non-GM foods" (Aug. 23).
>      Charles Margullus of the  Greenpeace  Genetic Engineering
> Campaign, in a Wall Street Journal letter to the editor:
> "Gerber's decision to avoid engineered ingredients was no short-
> sighted concession. Novartis, Gerber's parent company and a
> leading biotech crop producer, may be realizing that public
> opposition is based on legitimate concerns" (Aug. 23).
>      Margullus in a Journal of Commerce letter to the editor:
> "No independent, long-term studies of altered foods exist,
> making scientific assessment of their safety impossible.
> Moreover, numerous doctors and scientists around the world have
> pointed to the unknown threats from these experimental foods"
> (Aug. 25).
>      In a Wall Street Journal letter to the editor, Henry I.
> Miller of the Stanford, CA-based Hoover Institution, says GM
> foods with resistance to disease and pests are badly needed in
> developing nations and claims that "gene splicing is
> fundamentally no different from older techniques that have given
> us products like the tangelo and seedless grapes" (Aug. 23). --
> DB
> ======#======
2) DJ Japan Govt To Inspect Genetically Modified Food - 08/27  
Nikkei TOKYO-A government organization will begin to inspect genetically
>  modified foods, which until now has been done by private companies,
> the
>  Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported in its Friday evening edition. The
> Oilstuff
>  Inspectors' Corporation, a food certification body affiliated with
> the
>  Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of
>  Transport, will begin inspection and certification of soybeans, corn
> and
>  other grains in autumn on behalf of Marubeni Corp. (J.MRB or 8002),
> Itochu
>  Corp. (J.CIT
> or 8001) and other big trading houses.
>   The government plans to mandate GM labeling in April 2001, but
> food distributors are likely to accelerate voluntary labeling
> before then.   Oilstuff Inspectors' currently inspects the
> quality of grain imports at 12 of the nation's ports on behalf
> of the farm ministry. As soon as early November, it will begin
> inspecting some 100 shipments per month of 1999 harvest soybeans
> imported from the U.S. and other countries on behalf of trading
> houses.   Marubeni, Itochu, Mitsui & Co. (MITSY or 8031),
> Sumitomo Corp. (J.SUT or 8053) and other companies have decided
> to entrust the inspections to the organization, industry sources
> said.
>   The protein content will be measured using the ELISA (enzyme-
> linked immunosorbent assay) method. The organization says it
> will be able to measure the content of GM grains in units of
> 0.1%. Trading houses and foodstuff makers will label their
> products based on the results of the tests, which will cost them
> about Y20,000 per sample.
>   The farm ministry's inspection and certification method will
> take into account increasingly vocal opposition from the U.S.,
> which fears that clear labeling could mean the end of the road
> for GM foods, the report said.   (END) DOW JONES NEWS  08-27-99
>   04:02 AM
> Copyright 1999 Dow Jones & Co., Inc.  All rights reserved.
> 
> ======#======
3) The Globe & Mail Online Canola looks to genetics for its future
SOWING SEEDS OF SUCCESS 
Canadian biotechnology firms  are leading the  way in  discovering new strains
of  crops. HEATHER  SCOFFIELD  The  Globe and Mail Monday, August 23, 1999 
Saskatoon -- Dr. Malcolm  Devine holds out a small
> tray dotted with tiny,  bright green sprouts  growing strange
> tentacles.
>  They  look like plants from another  planet. But for  Dr. Devine and
> the
>  multinational biotechnology company he works for, the  genetically
> modified
>  canola sprouts represent the  future. AgrEvo Canada  Inc., owned by
>  Germany's Hoechst and Schering, is among several multinationals
> investing
>  millions in biotechnology research and development in Saskatoon,
> hoping to
> invent new strains of crops through genetic modification.
> 
>  If you were to get into biotech, this is the place to be," Dr. Devine
> says.
> 
>  He's looking for the gene that can be blended into canola to make it
> resistant to Black Leg, a disease that attacks the bottom part of the
> stem
> of the lucrative plant and kills it, just before it's ready for
> harvest.
> 
>  We've got some leads," says Dr. Devine, manager of AgrEvo Canada's
> research
> in Saskatoon, one of two such global research labs owned by AgrEvo.
> 
>  Finding the gene-enabling canola to fight Black Leg "is kind of the
> holy
> grail of canola," interjects Steve Meister, the company's
> communications
> manager for North America.
> 
>  Government money, university researchers and entrepreneurial farmers
> make
> Saskatoon and the province of Saskatchewan a fertile ground for
> leading
> research in genetically modified foods. It was the birthplace of
> canola in
> the 1970s, of genetically modified, weed-resistant canola in the
> 1990s, and
> will likely be the source of some interesting products in the next
> millennium.
> 
>  Scientists at the University of Saskatchewan turned rapeseed -- which
> produces an inedible oil used in lubricating marine vessels -- into
> canola
> in the 1970s, after they discovered a strain that was not acidic.
> 
>  The oil produced by canola, they found, was not only edible -- it was
> also
> much lower in saturated fat than any other type of cooking oil.
> 
>  All of a sudden it became a darling crop. It was actually healthy,"
> says
> Peter Phillips, a political economist and canola industry specialist
> at the
> University of Saskatchewan. "Here we have a Cinderella crop."
> 
>  By the late 1980s, biotechnology giants Monsanto Co. of St. Louis and
> AgrEvo had both discovered that canola could easily be modified with
> genes
> from other plants. Both companies developed herbicide-resistant brands
> of
> canola. Monsanto's canola was resistant to its Roundup herbicide and
> AgrEvo's canola resisted its Liberty herbicide.
> 
>  Both products were approved and quickly embraced by Saskatchewan
> farmers,
> who were desperately looking for ways to control weeds.
> Mississauga-based
> Monsanto Canada Inc. says it has seen a 60-per-cent growth in volume
> in
> year-to-year demand for its Roundup Ready canola in Canada.
> 
>  Now, production is booming, bringing in $3-billion a year in gross
> revenues
> some years, making it the second most important crop in Canada after
> wheat,
> both in terms of dollar value and acreage. And about 80 per cent of
> this
> year's crop will be genetically modified.
> 
>  A few years ago, industry was spending about $3-million a year on
> canola
> research around the world, Mr. Phillips says. But now, about
> $100-million a
> year is devoted to the research, and about half of that is in Canada.
> 
>  Governments in Canada provide about half the research funds, with the
> rest
> coming mainly from multinationals such as Monsanto, AgrEvo, Dow
> Pioneer,
> Rhone Poulenc and BASF, Mr. Phillips says.
> 
>  Canada is the only obvious place to do canola research."
> 
>  Competition in the industry is fierce. For Monsanto and AgrEvo,
> genetically
> modified seeds are now their profit centres, and the herbicides and
> pesticides that used to be their mainstays are now sideshows. But a
> genetically modified seed that hits the market is only good for about
> three
> years, company officials say. After that, another super-seed will no
> doubt
> be invented to take its place.
> 
>  The companies are evasive when questioned about what they're working
> on and
> where their research will take them. They speak in quiet voices and
> it's
> clear there's an intense race on.
> 
>  Part of the race is against researchers in the United States, who are
> close
> to developing a soybean that will have oil that is lower in saturated
> fat
> than canola oil. So naturally, Canadian researchers are looking for
> ways to
> make canola oil even lower in saturated fat.
> 
>  We're going to beat them at the end of the day," says Dr. Ashley
> O'Sullivan, director of Agriculture Canada's Saskatoon Research
> Centre.
> 
>  In the near future, Monsanto is focusing its research on building
> better
> canola and wheat in Canada, and is looking for ways to develop seeds
> resistant to weeds, diseases and insects, says Craig Evans, general
> manager
> for biotechnology and seed.
> 
>  And AgrEvo, besides looking for ways to cure Black Leg, is searching
> for
> much the same thing, company officials say.
> 
>  Heat-tolerant, high-yield canola is likely in the near future too,
> Dr.
> Phillips says.
> 
>  But in the long run, he adds, the real money is in genetically
> modifying
> canola for industrial uses. Already, Calgene -- owned by Monsanto --
> has the
> rights to Laurate canola, which uses a gene from a bay tree to produce
> suds
> in soap.
> 
>  Procter and Gamble is also using modified canola for suds in
> industrial
> detergents, Dr. Phillips says. And researchers have developed a canola
> that
> can be used as a stiffener in meringues and baked goods.
> 
>  That's where everybody sees the big bucks -- getting away from food
> products and into industrial products,"  he says.
> 
>  Researchers are also looking for a canola that won't break down
> during deep
> frying, allowing cooks to reuse the oil again and again without it
> turning
> brown and useless.
> 
>  Canola is also being used in medical research in conjunction with
> other
> ingredients to develop anticoagulants
>  and AIDS drugs.
> 
>  That's what has got everybody excited," Dr. Phillips says. "You've
> gone
> from a low-grade marginal oil to an
>  edible oil to a product with an increasingly diverse base in the
> market."
> 
>  But there's a dark cloud in this blue sky. Europe has effectively
> banned
> Canadian canola by holding up approvals of genetically modified foods,
> and
> by placing a moratorium on any new approvals for the next three years.
> Since
> the Canadian system does not separate genetically modified canola from
> the
> conventional product, all of it is prevented from entering Europe.
> 
>  They treat GMOs [genetically modified organisms] as hazardous waste,"
> Dr.
> Phillips says.
> 
>  And it's spreading. Japan has been talking about wanting all
> genetically
> modified foods labelled as such. But again, since Canadian genetically
> modified canola is not segregated, it can't be labelled with any
> accuracy.
> Brazil is also speaking out against genetically modified foods.
> 
>  The multinationals, backed by many Canadian researchers as well as
> Ottawa,
> argue vociferously that their products are just as safe as
> conventional
> products, both in terms of human health and the environment.
> 
> 
>  CORRECTION
> 
>  Professor Baldur Stefansson of the University of Manitoba developed
> the
> first canola variety. Incorrect
>  information was published Aug. 23.
>  Thursday, August 26, 1999, Page B2)
> 
> ======#======
4) Tribune (Welland) Friday, August 27, 1999 Final Local/Region  B1 /
FRONT Genetically modified food: debate rages on 
BY Peter  Brieger  NIAGARA FALLS
> - A simmering international debate on the safety of
> genetically-modified
> food continues to boil as more Ontario farmers adopt the practice.
> ``Without it, we might have to go back to using massive amounts (of
> pesticides) and we're not anxious about that,'' said Mary Lou Garr, a
> Niagara farmer and vice-chairwoman of AGCare, an Ontario farm
> coalition.
> The number of provincial growers planting genetically-modified corn
> has more
> than doubled since last year to 35 per cent of the approximately
> 22,000
> Ontario corn producers, according to an AGCare survey
>  Meanwhile, the debate on the other side of the Atlantic is bitter.
>  On the other side of the Atlantic, pressure from European consumers
> led major supermarket chains to ban genetically-altered food in
> their own products.
>  In fact, Canadian exporters are facing rising trade barriers from
> the European Union, Japan and Brazil who are questioning the safety
> of genetically-altered food products - the EU has banned Canadian
> canola despite assurances from Canadian regulators that the product
> is safe.
>  The controversy first took root about three years ago when
> genetically-engineered tomatoes and milk appeared on grocery store
> shelves.
>  Proponents bragged of tomatoes with longer shelf life and increased
> milk yields from cows fed genetically-engineered growth hormones -
> the process is most commonly applied to corn, potatoes, soya beans
> and canola.
>  By altering the genetic material in crops or livestock, scientists
> have paved the way for improved products, lowered costs, faster
> production and reduced pesticide use, supporters say.
>  For instance, back in the 1970s and 1980s, rootworm was a feared
> pest among regional corn growers, Garr explained.
>  To control the problem, Ontario farmers doused their crops with
> 145,000 kilogrmas of pesticides in 1983, according to AGCare
> figures. By contrast, growing corn with a gene from an organic
> pesticide reduced usage to 16,000 kilograms last year.
>  But tinkering with the food supply's genetic code could have
> dangerous long-term consequences, say critics who point to an
> experiment which transferred a Brazil nut gene to soya beans.
>  The test concluded that people who were allergic to Brazil nuts
> might suffer a similar, and possibly fatal, allergic reaction after
> consuming the altered soya bean.
>  Critics also argue that transferred genes might create resistance
> to bacteria.
>  Douglas Powell, a Guelph University professor in the department of
> plant agriculture, agrees that genetic-engineering could nurture
> resistance.
>  ``But you have to remember that with any technology you run the
> risk of developing resistance...resistance is a widespread and well
> understood problem,'' he said.
>  Powell suggests that tests claiming the negative effects of
> genetic-engineering have caused the public to overreact.
>  ``But we don't always say that technology will bail you out down
> the road. We emphasize a cautious approach,'' Powell said.
>  Taking the cautious approach means ensuring regional farmers
> restrict their use of genetically-engineered crops, Powell said.
>  At one local winery, scientists are working to develop a cold
> resistant crop by transferring a wild grape gene into wine grapes -
> wild grapes can resist frigid winter conditions.
>  Sponsored by the National Research Council, the five-year project
> is being conducted at Chateau des Charmes in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
>  ``You learn by doing. If you don't do it, you're never going to
> know,'' said research scientist Dr. John Paroschy, referring to the
> project.
>  ``That's how discoveries are made.''
>  Meanwhile, a handful of local grocery stores have only fielded a
> trickle of inquiries about genetically-engineered produce while Doug
> Littlewood, a spokesman for Country Harvest, wonders what he would
> tell his customers.
>  ``There's no way for me to find out because there is no government
> standard, to my knowledge, that requires sellers to label for
> this,'' Littlewood said.
>  Labeling for genetically-modified food won't likely be on Federal
> Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief's agenda at World Trade
> Organization talks in Seattle this November - despite requests from
> some consumer groups.
>  Vanclief is expected to call for a clearer set of trade rules amid
> the growing controversy over food biotechnology.
> 
> ======#======

5) Benefits of Genetically Modified Crops May Include Wildlife Protection
>  GUELPH, ON, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - 
Research scientists at the  Arable Crops  Research Institute, an independent,
publicly-funded body in  the UK,
> have
>  found that the control of crop pests through the use of  genetically
>  modified crops may be more beneficial to wildlife than  conventional
>  spraying with pesticides. In the study, reported August  26 in the
> journal
> Nature, scientists used genetically-engineered canola  containing a
> gene
>  from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a naturally-occurring soil
> bacterium,  to
>  examine the impact of Bt-crops on non-target, beneficial insects.
> They
>  found that the Bt-protein
> in the plant killed the larvae of the diamondback moth, a destructive
> crop
> pest, but had no impact on the parasitic wasp that functions in nature
> as
> its natural predator.
>  The researchers, led by Dr. Guy Poppy, believe that realistic
> experiments such as this one show that genetically modified crops are
> less
> likely to damage beneficial wildlife than chemical sprays, which may
> kill
> non-target insects as well.
>  The study provides confirmation for Ontario's farmers, who are
> growing
> genetically modified crops in record numbers this season, citing both
> increased efficiency and environmental benefits as reasons for their
> choice.
> The use of genetically enhanced seed can result in dramatic reductions
> in
> agricultural pesticide usage and increased environmental and product
> quality.
>  Approximately 35% of Ontario corn grown in 1999 contains products of
> biotech research, mostly in the form of Bacillus thuringiensis. This
> is a
> dramatic increase from 15% of the crop in 1998. Bt-corn, as the new
> product
> is called, is safe for human and animal consumption, but produces a
> protein
> that is toxic to the European corn borer, a destructive pest that has
> plagued North American producers since the 1920s.
>  Other genetically modified crops grown in Ontario include soybeans
> that
> are herbicide resistant (25% of the 1999 crop) as well as herbicide
> resistant canola (60-70% of the crop this season). By choosing these
> varieties, farmers can control weed pests effectively through the use
> of a
> broad spectrum, low-toxicity herbicide that breaks down within days in
> the
> soil and is safe enough to be sold for domestic use at hardware stores
> and
> garden centres.
>  Farmers are choosing this technology because it works,'' said Jim
> Fischer, chairman of AGCare (Agriculture Groups Concerned about
> Resources
> and the Environment). ``It helps us to reduce pesticide use and crop
> input
> costs while maintaining the crop yield and quality our customers have
> come
> to expect.''
>  AGCare is a coalition of 16 farm groups representing Ontario's 45,000
> field and horticultural crop growers on crop biotechnology, crop
> protection,
> and related environmental issues.
>  0- 08/27/1999
> ======#======
6) The Globe & Mail Online Honey, there's a gene in my soup  For years,
Canadians have been eating food that was genetically altered in laboratories.
Many other countries are deeply concerned. Shouldn't we be, too? HEATHER 
SCOFFIELD The Globe and Mail Saturday, August 21, 1999
> Saskatoon -- Paul McCartney is persona non grata in Saskatchewan these
> days.
> In June, the former Beatle very publicly denounced genetically
> modified
> organisms (GMOs) and ordered all traces of them removed from his late
> wife
> Linda's vegetarian food business. The products now carry a stamp that
> reads:
> Say NO to GMO.
> 
>  But Saskatchewan farmers are major producers of genetically modified
> crops,
> and although they don't know it, Canadians eat them every day. Whether
> you
> like it or not, GMOs were probably in your breakfast cereal, in the
> cookies
> you ate with your lunch, in the dressing you poured on your salad for
> dinner
> and in the potato chips you munched on last night while watching TV.
> 
>  By official estimates, about 75 per cent of the processed food
> Canadians
> eat is likely to contain genetically modified ingredients. But
> Canada's love
> affair with GM food is by no means shared by all industrialized
> nations.
> 
>  In many European countries, they won't touch the stuff. Brazil is
> heading
> in that same direction. In Japan, New Zealand and Australia,
> governments
> want special labels on anything that might contain genetically
> modified
> material.
> 
>  In Canada and the United States, on the other hand, nothing is
> labelled, or
> is it required to be; governments have embraced biotechnology and
> farmers
> welcome anything that cuts their costs or their workload. And
> consumers, at
> least until now, have devoured the genetically modified products
> without
> complaint.
> 
>  But as high-profile names such as McCartney, the Prince of Wales and
> the
> British Medical Association have protested against biotechnology as
> being
> bad for the environment and health, people in Canada, including
> environmentalists and a growing number of scientists, have started
> asking
> questions.
> 
>  I think people are aware and people are concerned," says Lucy
> Sharratt, the
> Sierra Club's co-ordinator of a campaign for safe food and sustainable
> agriculture. The Canadian activists say no one can be sure processed
> food
> products are safe because our regulators rely too much on studies
> provided
> by the multinational companies and the biotechnology industry. No one
> is
> conducting long-term tests. And the behaviour of modified genes is
> unpredictable, putting the ecosystem in a precarious situation, they
> argue.
> 
>  There's no independent testing, and there's no long-term testing,"
> Ms.
> Sharratt says.
> 
>  Canadian scientists are divided on the effects of genetic
> modification, but
> those who are fearful say that farmers who use GMOs will become
> increasingly
> dependent on herbicides. They will be tempted to use more herbicides
> than in
> the past because their GM crops won't die, but everything else will.
> And
> they will have to spray other herbicides to kill runaway GM plants
> that get
> into places where they are not wanted.
> 
>  They are also concerned about GM crops cross-breeding with other
> plants,
> forming new, untested products. New genes are on the loose and no one
> knows
> what they will do.
> 
>  On the health side, some studies have suggested that a gene used in
> the
> genetic modification of corn, potatoes and soybeans, called the
> cauliflower
> mosaic virus, is toxic. The Sierra Club cites recent evidence of
> monarch
> butterflies dying in a lab after eating milkweed coated with pollen
> from
> corn modified to contain a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis, a
> bacterium
> often just called Bt. The study, done in Iowa, comes long after Ottawa
> approved Bt corn in Canada. Although the government has now asked for
> a
> Canadian study, the lead researcher selected by the government, Mark
> Sears,
> heads the Bt Corn Coalition of growers, which promotes GM crops.
> 
>  Regulators in Ottawa and the companies behind GM foods insist the
> products
> are completely safe, that they differ little from conventional crops
> and
> that there is no proof of danger to people's health. They say they've
> been
> well tested by environmental and health specialists, and the spreading
> and
> cross-breeding of GM seeds can be easily controlled by farmers who are
> good
> managers and know how to control their crops with herbicides.
> 
>  But anti-GMO activists counter that the risk is too great for Ottawa
> to
> take. "It's absolutely not true that genetically engineered crops are
> better
> for the environment. In fact, they bring along significant risks,"
> says Jo
> Dufay of the nationalist lobby group, Council of Canadians. "On the
> health
> side, we simply don't know."
> 
>  The Sierra Club and the Council of Canadians are gearing up for a
> major
> campaign aimed at making consumers aware of their environment and
> health-related concerns. They want shoppers to take their concerns to
> the
> local supermarket and pressure retailers to take food that may contain
> GMOs
> off the shelf.
> 
>  Canadian green groups look to McCartney and other activists in
> Britain who
> have persuaded major grocery chains, such as Sainsbury's and Marks &
> Spencer, to stop carrying GM foods and prompted food companies, such
> as
> Cadbury, Nestlé and Unilever, to change their practices in Europe.
> 
>  They've already had some success in changing business practices.
> Heinz
> Canada is in the process of removing all genetically modified
> additives to
> its baby food, including corn starch, soy lecithin and vegetable oil.
> 
>  But Canada is not Britain, with its recent history of food scares,
> such as
> mad-cow disease. Most Canadians have been eating GM food for years
> without
> thinking about it. A British-style revolt against GM foods would be
> difficult to rouse up, the activists say.
> 
>  In Saskatchewan, Paul McCartney's name is spoken with scorn. Many
> farmers
> are quick to condemn the singer for publicizing what they see as a
> non-issue.
> 
>  I don't think he's ever done a study on it," says a bitter Wayne
> Bacon, a
> canola farmer near the town of Kinistino and the president of the
> Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission. He grows big,
> bright-yellow
> fields full of genetically modified canola, and he's convinced that
> the
> product is safe for humans and the environment.
> 
>  For producers and consumers, it's a safe product. It's an economical
> product for farmers to use, and it's an environmental product because
> we use
> less chemical," he says.
> 
>  The federal government has one of the toughest regulator processes
> anywhere
> in the world, he says, and it has approved genetically modified canola
> after
> careful consideration.
> 
>  In fact, Ottawa has approved 42 different genetically modified foods
> as
> safe since 1994. Most of the approved products are varieties of four
> key
> crops: corn, canola, soy and potatoes.
> 
>  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency estimates that up to 75 per cent
> of all
> processed foods are made with corn products, soy or canola. And since
> Canadian grain wholesalers don't separate conventional crops from GM
> crops,
> the products are all mixed together, and there is no way food
> processors
> know how much genetically modified material they're using.
> 
>  At least 60 per cent of this year's Canadian canola crop is
> genetically
> modified, as are about 45 per cent of this year's corn and 25 per cent
> of
> this year's soy crop. A fifth of potatoes two years ago were
> genetically
> modified, and that proportion is probably higher now.
> 
>  So when you pick up a bottle of salad dressing, eat a pile of
> pretzels,
> open a can of tomato paste or any other product containing corn
> starch,
> chances are you're going to be consuming genetically engineered
> material.
> 
>  Many of the ingredients in processed food use corn, soy or canola:
> corn
> starch, soy lecithin, cano oil, corn meal, corn oil, corn syrup,
> glucose
> syrup, vegetable oil, vegetable protein, maltodextrin, margarine,
> riboflavin, soy protein, vitamin B2, xanthan gum, cryptoxanthin,
> emulsifying
> agents, monosodium glutamate.
> 
>  In the face of the GM onslaught, what can worried consumers do to
> avoid
> them? About the only way, in Canada, is to buy organic produce. "We
> don't
> think that's a sufficient choice," says Jo Dufay of the Council of
> Canadians.
> 
>  When a company has developed a GMO that it wants approved, it first
> approaches the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which reports to the
> federal
> Minister of Agriculture. The CFIA does an environmental assessment to
> see
> whether it's safe for the company to do field testing.
> 
>  To be approved for general release, the CFIA assesses the product for
> environmental effects, and Health Canada's Health Protection Branch
> examines
> it for effects on people's health. They compare the new, genetically
> modified product with the traditional product and evaluate any
> differences
> to see if they are toxic, could affect allergies or inadvertently harm
> the
> environment.
> 
>  Neither government body does original research, but depends on data
> supplied by biotechnology companies, as the biotechnology critics
> claim. But
> the regulators have high standards as to which data the companies
> should
> supply, officials say, and government scientists read all the latest
> independent studies too.
> 
>  There's a lot more that goes into a decision than just a company's
> information," says Bart Bilmer, biotechnology regulations officer at
> the
> CFIA.
> 
>  Companies are not forced by law to submit their genetically modified
> products to Health Canada, says Karen McIntyre, acting associate
> director
> for the bureau of policy integration at the Health Protection Branch.
> But
> regulations are in the works that would make submission to Health
> Canada
> mandatory, she says, and companies are already voluntarily submitting
> their
> products anyway.
> 
>  While regulators insist that the GMOs approved in Canada are
> perfectly safe
> for health and the environment, Health Canada is urging food
> processors to
> label their products anyway, just to let curious consumers know.
> 
>  People want that. What we're talking about is the consumer's right to
> know," says Ms. McIntyre. "There's no question about it, they
> [approved
> GMOs] are safe. They go through a rigorous assessment. But it's become
> a
> very important consumer issue."
> 
>  But labelling is easier said than done, Heinz Canada has discovered.
> The
> company, which produces baby food in Leamington, Ont., has no way of
> knowing
> whether its supplies are genetically modified or conventional, since
> they're
> all mixed together. So far, Canada is not equipped to segregate crops
> in
> bulk. Farmers and grain dealers are reluctant to develop a system,
> because
> they feel bringing attention to the fact that much of the produce is
> genetically modified would hurt their market.
> 
>  Heinz is toying with the idea of setting up contracts with individual
> farmers to act as suppliers, says spokeswoman Anna Relyea.
> 
>  In Saskatchewan, however, farmers who try to avoid genetically
> modified
> crops feel hard pressed to guarantee their produce is GM-free. That's
> because the genetically modified crops spread, through the wind,
> through
> pollen carried by bees or through shared farm machinery.
> 
>  Canola farmer Percy Schmeiser told Monsanto Canada last week that he
> was
> suing the multinational for contaminating his land and his crops with
> genetically modified seeds, because he has found Monsanto's herbicide-
> resistant Roundup Ready canola growing in among his conventional
> canola.
> 
>  To a farmer that doesn't grow it, it's a new weed. They call it a
> Frankenweed," Mr. Schmeiser says. There's little point in organic
> farmers
> trying to grow canola, he added, because it's difficult for farmers to
> know
> whether their crop has been infiltrated with genetically modified
> seeds. "We
> cannot guarantee it to be GM free."
> 
>  WHAT'S ON YOUR PLATE?
> 
>  In Canada, genetically modified corn, canola, soybean, squash and
> cotton
> are approved for cultivation and use in foods. But Canadian food
> companies
> have no way of knowing whether the ingredients they buy from suppliers
> are
> from GM crops.
> 
>  Here's a brief shopping list of staple items that have a high
> likelihood of
> containing GM material:
> 
>  Chocolate bars
> 
>  Veggie burgers
> 
>  Potato chips
> 
>  Pretzels
> 
>  Baby food
> 
>  Diet and protein shakes
> 
>  Protein bars
> 
>  Margarine, especially from soy or canola
> 
>  Canned soup
> 
>  Ice cream
> 
>  Salad dressing made with canola oil
> 
>  Corn syrup, often used in soda pop
> 
>  Yogurt
> 
>  Cereals
> 
>  Cookies
> 
>  Frozen French fries
> ======#======
7) The New York Times August  27, -Commercials in  Class  
BODY: To the Editor: Genetically  modified food  comes from
>  organisms that are artificially constructed by transferring  genes
> from an
>  otherwise  genetically  incompatible organism (news article,  Aug.
> 23).
>  These organisms are not synonymous with hybrids. Second,  genetically
>  modified organisms are patented. With patenting, the traditional
> practice
>  of saving seed for the next generation of planting is illegal. New
> seed
>  must be purchased each time. Added to that, some  genetically
> modified
> organisms
> require application of chemical triggers produced by the same
> company that is selling the organism. Lastly, there are numerous
> environmental concerns: loss of  biodiversity, pollution  of
> wild species and buildup of resistance in the pests and weeds.
> MARGARET WEBER
> Detroit, Aug. 23, 1999
> ======#======
8) U.S. Newswire August  27, 1999 
NATIONAL DESK,  ENVIRONMENT REPORTER 
HEADLINE: NFPA Tells Members to  Ignore Consumer Group  Concerns Over 
Genetically  Engineered Foods, Says  FoE 
BYLINE: Mark  Whiteis-Helm of Friends of the Earth, 202-783-7400, ext.  102
> DATELINE:
>  WASHINGTON, Aug. 27  BODY: Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  Week
>  reported today that the National Food Processors Association (NFPA)
> is
>  "advising its members to ignore the efforts of advocate groups
> seeking to
> pinpoint and reduce the use of  genetically engineered (GE)
> ingredients."
>  This announcement comes in the wake of a Friends of the Earth (FoE)
> letter-writing campaign directed at the CEOs
> of 83 prominent food companies -- among them PepsiCo., Nabisco,
> Nestle, General Mills and Kellogg -- inquiring whether or not
> any use potentially harmful  genetically  modified Bt corn in of
> their products.
>  Friends of the Earth is concerned because a recent study
> conducted by Cornell University published in the journal Nature
> found that corn  genetically engineered to include the Bacillus
> Thuringiensis (Bt) kills the larvae of the Monarch butterfly.
>    "NFPA is telling big food companies to thumb their nose at
> consumer concerns," said Friends of the Earth President Dr.
> Brent Blackwelder, "Food companies need to look at the facts of
> recent scientific studies and not the profit-driven bias of the
> NFPA."
>    According to a Consumer Reports study published yesterday,
> scientists at Iowa State University determined that "pollen from
> some types of  genetically modified corn can kill monarch
> larvae."
>    The FoE Letter was sent on August 6.  To date, only one
> company -- UTZ Quality Foods Inc. -- has responded.  UTZ, a
> maker of potato chips and snack foods, acknowledges that it uses
> genetically  engineered ingredients in its foods.  In their
> letter to FoE, they stated "The FDA does not regard GE foods as
> any different from foods processed through conventional means."
>   "The FDA is letting American consumers down," said
> Blackwelder. "FoE and food safety advocates insist that the FDA
> is required by law to examine GE foods because the are
> different.  They can contain genes from other species, have
> traits that do not occur naturally, and are changed in ways that
> scientists say cannot be accurately measured."
> ======#======
9)  Africa News August  27, 1999 - Africa-at-Large; Genetic Engineering Could
Solve World's Food  Needs BYLINE: Patrick Earle in Sydney, All Africa News
Agency  
> NAIROBI - The world's population currently totals nearly 6 billion
> people.
> But over 800 million of them do not have adequate food and 1.3 billion
> people live on less than one US dollar a day. The future does not look
> any
>  better. Global food demand is forecast to double and possibly triple
> by
> 2050, when 50 billion people will need to be fed world-wide. The
> majority of
> the poor people live in the developing world, with 25 percent of that
> number
> living in Africa alone. In order to ensure adequate nutrition for this
> growing population, food production must expand faster than population
> growth. Yet there are obstacles to overcome. Drought, low farm
> productivity,
> deficiencies of nutrients, weeds, insects and pests take heavy
> toll on the 5 billion tons of food that is currently produced
> annually. To address these problems, actions must be taken to
> ensure that, the world will be able to produce food needed in
> the future.  Genetic  engineering or  biotechnology,  as
> scientists explain, is considered as the panacea for the
> dwindling food supply.
>  Sparred by the need to feed billions of people in the coming
> decades, scientists have  genetically  engineered crops like
> soya beans, potatoes, fruits and millet, with research showing
> that 28 million hectares of  genetically produced crops being
> grown just this year alone.
>  An earlier study estimates that 800 million people in the
> developing world eat food without enough micro nutrients such as
> proteins, fats and mineral salts, while 250 million children
> world-wide face vitamin deficiency. Critics of  biotechnology
> claim that Africa has no chance to benefit from  genetically
> modified foods, and it will just be dumping ground or will be
> exploited by multinationals. However, Dr Florence Wambugu a
> director of the International Service for the Acquisition of
> Agro- Biotech  Application ISAAA African Regional Office says
> that on the contrary small scale farmers in Africa have greatly
> benefited by using hybrid seeds from local and multinational
> companies.
>    Local farmers, she notes, are benefiting from tissue culture
> technologies from banana, sugar cane, pyrethrum, cassava and
> other crops. She maintains that productive farmers enhance
> economic growth because of increase in income, improvement of
> their lives, job creation and poverty reduction.    Due to
> population pressure and land use in many places in Africa, the
> land available for farming is actually decreasing. This means
> farmers must be helped to be more productive on their existing
> farmland.  Biotechnology  provides avenues through which these
> can be improved.
>    Better still is  biotechnology  in horticulture.  Forests
> and crops result to high yield and crops mature quickly.
> Biotechnology  also offers alternatives to toxic  pesticides
> since  genetic  solutions are used for crop- protection. Another
> form of  biotechnology  is the tissue culture. This is a low
> cost, relatively simple yet powerful technology that complements
> traditional crop improvement programmes. Tissue culture has been
> used for mass propagation of diverse  genetic  materials and for
> identifying and developing disease in tree plants. Such  genetic
> breeds are of high yield and offer sustainable agriculture by
> reducing needs for toxic  pesticides.
>    Africa needs  genetically  produced crops to improve food
> production. With the lowest crop production per unit area world-
> wide, there are prospects for increase in food productivity if
> genetically  engineered crops are used beyond of their high
> yield resistance to diseases and bad weather.    Africa also
> needs  biotechnology  to solve its  environmental  problems,
> says the chairman of African  Biotechnology  Stakeholders Forum
> ABSF John Opiyo Ochanda. He cites Kenya where the demand for
> tree seedling is 14 million per year, whereas the country can
> only supply 3 million, a clear indication of the need for the
> tissue culture and techniques to curb deforestation.    Kinyua
> M'Mbijjewe, the Government and Public Affairs Manager for
> Monsanto, a US-based agricultural group, says  genetically
> engineered crops with high yield require less use of
> insecticides, demonstrate better pest control and require use of
> herbicides with improved  environmental  characteristics.
> Despite its potential benefits,  biotechnology  remains one of
> the controversial issues world-wide. There are those who insist
> that  genetically modified foods are unnecessary because "there
> is more than enough food to feed everybody in the world". Still,
> ecologists  argue that certain species of birds and insects have
> been driven into extinction as a result of "poison" ingredients
> they consume from  genetically  propagated food.
>    Are foods derived from  biotechnology  safe to eat? Yes, Food
> and Agricultural Organisation FAO in collaboration with World
> Health Organisation have introduced standards which subject
> genetically  engineered foods to same standards as non- biotech
> food and must be substantially equivalent with regards to
> composition, nutrition, toxicity, allegenicity and
> digestibility.    South Africa, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Uganda,
> Namibia, Kenya and Cameroon are some of the countries in the
> continent that already have National Bio-safety laws and
> regulations that assure the safety of  biotech  foods.
> 
> ======#====== 
10) BusinessWorld August  27, 1999 - Farm biotechnology  forum focuses on
combating pests  
BODY: The Sangguniang
> Panglungsod of General Santos, upon the initiative of kagawad Minda
> Atendido, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Aquatic
> Resources,
> recently held a public forum to provide community  members with a
> better
> understanding of agricultural  biotechnology.  The  forum also aimed
> to
> clarify issues surrounding the proposed field tests of Bt corn in the
> barangays of Lagao and Katangawan. The trials aim to determine the
> effectivity of Bt corn in combating corn's perennial pest... the
> Asiatic
> corn borer. Invited to shed light on the subject were Dr. Randy
> Hautea,
> executive director of the International Service for the Acquisition of
> Agbiotech Applications; Dr. Reynaldo Ebora, acting director of
> BIOTECH  or
> the National Institute of Molecular Biology and  Biotechnology;  Dr.
> Flerida
> Carino and Dr. Dolores Ramirez of the National Committee on Biosafety
> of the
> Philippines; and Dr. Eduardo Fernandez, deputy director and
> entomologist of
> the Institute of Plant Breeding-UPLB. Arguments opposing the field
> tests
> were delivered by Dr. Romeo Quijano of UP Manila College of Medicine
> and Dr.
> Chito Medina. Farmers and community members of Lagao, Katangawan and
> some
> neighboring barangays called for the approval of the proposed field
> testings
> of Bt corn in the concerned barangays. The farmers reasoned that the
> field
> tests should be allowed to see if this technology is effective in
> resisting
> corn borer infestation, a problem that causes 30 to 80% damage of corn
> crops on an annual basis.
>    General Santos farmers and agriculturists such as Caloy
> Yuseoeng, Rex Rivera and Ben Alsula, to name a few, expressed
> the need to give the scientists a chance to conduct the field
> testing of Bt corn. Alsula, a farmer since 1953, related how
> there were times when nothing could be harvested because of the
> corn problem. Rivera, meanwhile, emphasized the need to "learn
> for ourselves" and therefore, allow these field tests to take
> place.
> Radio commentator Ampy Agcaoili added that unless scientists are
> given a chance to conduct the field tests, scientific progress
> and breakthroughs will continue to come from other countries.
>    On the other hand, groups opposing the field testing, led by
> Neth Dano of SEARICE, a nongovernmental organization working
> against the introduction of  genetically  modified organisms or
> GMOs,  raised concerns on possible deleterious effects brought
> about by this new technology... from creation of superpests to
> food safety.
>    Heated discussions between the supporters and opponents of
> biotechnology followed, with supporters calling for matters to
> be put in perspective.    The general sentiment at the end of
> the forum was to allow the field tests to push through to
> determine whether this new technology will bring valuable
> benefits to the country.

> ======#====== 
11) Field testing of GM corn approved  - BusinessWorld August  27, 1999 - 
BYLINE: Earl Warren B. Castillo 
 BODY: The National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP) has
allowed
> two multinational agribusiness firms to conduct field experiments on the
> cultivation of genetically modified corn in the country. The NCBP is a
> multi-sectoral body based at the Department of Science and Technology
> which
> processes applications for the conduct of such experiments. A source
> at the
> NCBP said the applications to conduct field tests of agribusiness
> companies
> Agroseed Corp. (Agroseed) and Pioneer Hi-Bred Philippines, Inc.
> (Pioneer) were approved during a meeting last Wednesday.    The
> BusinessWorld source, however, refused to divulge further
> details.    Agroseed, a subsidiary of agribusi-ness
> multinational Monsanto, wants to do field experiments in
> Barangay Lagao in General Santos City.    Pioneer, on the other
> hand, will carry out its experiments in Barangay Bay, Laguna.
>    Agroseed and Pioneer intend to test the effectiveness of Bt
> corn, a  genetically  engineered pest-resistant variety, against
> the local corn borer.    A source at Agroseed said they have
> received reports about the NCBP's approval of their request, but
> added they have yet been formally notified.    "I just learned
> about it (yesterday) morning from our staff. However, this is
> still unconfirmed because we have yet to receive formal
> communication on this matter from the NCBP," the source told
> BusinessWorld in a telephone interview. BusinessWorld tried but
> was unable to reach concerned NCBP and Pioneer officers for
> comment.
>    Bt corn contains a gene from the microorganism Bacillus
> thuringiensis which allows the plant to produce its own
> pesticide  which will protect it from attacks by the local corn
> borer.
>    Local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have staunchly
> opposed local field tests for the crop, claiming these
> experiments are capable of causing  environmental  problems.
>    One such hazard, they said, is that the cultivation of Bt
> corn will allow the prolonged exposure of pests to the crop's
> pesticide.  This, in turn, could help the pests develop their
> own resistance to the  pesticide  over time, eventually making
> the  pesticide  useless.
>    They also said that Bt corn may be harmful for human and
> animal consumption since humans and animals will also be
> ingesting the crop's  pesticide.    Corn is also used in the
> production of livestock and poultry feed. 
> ======#======
12) REASSURANCE FOR FARMERS OVER GM CROP  - The Northern Echo August  27 - 
BODY: FARMERS  have been told their
> vegetable
>  crops will be safe during North-East  experiments on  genetically
> modified
> seed. The Department for the  Environment, Transport and the Regions
>  yesterday rushed to defend trials of  a weedkiller using  genetically
>  modified oilseed rape in a Teesdale  village from next month.     The
> tests
> will be conducted on an area of farmland in Hutton Magna and
> neighbouring
>  farmers had expressed concern that their crops could be contaminated
> by
>  pollen from the test crop. An environment department spokesman said :
>  "Cross-pollination is
> only possible with other oilseed rape crops or other related
> plants. Contamination can not happen with vegetables. This
> farmer and anyone else growing their own vegetables have nothing
> to fear from these trials."
> ======#======
13)  The Toronto Star August  27 -  If  genetically  modified foods are as
safe, tested  and of ''enhanced  nutritional quality'' as suggested by
David T.
Dennis of  Performance
>  Plants Inc. ( Genetically  modified foods are among most  tested,
> letter,
>  Aug. 23), why is the  genetically  modified food industry  so opposed
> to
>  labelling its products as such? If the process is supposed to
> enhance food
>  quality, why not let consumers be the judge?     Dave Hook

> ======#======
14) The Toronto Star August  27, 1999 -  The sad reality of  genetically 
modified food, like many of the medicines man has developed this century, is
that it may take an entire generation of
> humanity before the impact, if any, will appear among our children.
> Food for
> thought.
>     John Henri Landry

> ======#======
15) The Times (London) August  27, 1999- Features -  GM crops  
BODY: From Professor Ralph A.  Lewin Sir, The use of several kinds
> of GM crops, now being tested, could significantly decrease the need
> for
> the use of synthetic  organic  pesticides. Has anyone discovered to
> what
> extent the activities of the  white-overalled protesters who destroy
> experimental crops are supported,  financially or otherwise, by
> manufacturers of chemical  pesticides,  spraying equipment, etc?
> Yours
> faithfully, 
RALPH A. LEWIN,     
Meadow Larkins,     
Old Headington, Oxford,  OX3 9DW.     August 23.

> ======#======