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GE - GMO News 08/29

GMO News  08/29
1)  Marketing Week August  26 -Digest  BODY: [Excerpt Follows] Greenpeace has
accused Novartis subsidiary Wasa of 'double standards' 
2)  August  29, - Gene-altered foods belie health-hazard warnings BYLINE: 
3) Asia Today September,  1999 
HEADLINE:  Industry rethink needed as Indonesia  looks ahead  
4)  The New York Times August 29, -Week in Review Desk -The World: Heartburn;
Fearful Over the Future, Europe Seizes On Food BYLINE: ROGER COHEN 
5)  The New York Times August 29, 1999 -New Trade Threat For U.S. Farmers
6) The Grocer August  28, 1999  LETTERS;This symbol  is discredited  
BODY: Sir, In  selling its symbol, the Vegetarian Society  has discredited
7)   The Washington Post August  28, LETTERS : Our  Wholesome Tofu

1)  Marketing Week August  26 -Digest  BODY: [Excerpt Follows] Greenpeace has
accused Novartis subsidiary Wasa of 'double standards' 
following its decision to cease drawing German
> consumers'
> attention to the fact that its Powerplay chocolate bar contains
> genetically
> modified ingredients. The company is not required to do so by law.

> ======#======
2)  August  29, - Gene-altered foods belie health-hazard warnings BYLINE: 
BODY: Americans have been eating
> genetically engineered foods, altered with microbes and other genes
> not
> found in human fare, on a widespread basis since 1996. And despite a
> lot of
> early doomsday warnings, no one has been hurt, scientists and federal
> officials say. I have not heard of anyone becoming sick or developing
> allergies by eating genetically engineered foods.  They are totally
> safe,"
> said John Kopchick, professor of molecular biology at Ohio
> University's
> Edison Biotechnology Institute.
>    James Maryanski, biotechnology coordinator for foods at the Food
> and Drug
> Administration, confirms the hazard-free track record of the many
> biotech
> foods now on grocery shelves.
>    "We have no evidence that any foods developed from genetic
> engineering
> have caused harm," he said in a recent interview.
>    Genetic engineering occurs when a viral, bacterial or other gene
> with a
> particular trait from one living creature is isolated and spliced into
> the
> DNA of another plant or animal. The purpose is to achieve a desired
> trait,
> whether it be increased resistance to bugs or insecticides or a longer
> shelf
> life.
>     Advocates of food biotechnology believe it can decrease use of
> harmful
> pesticides, improve nutrition and taste, and delay spoilage.  But
> opponents
> of the practice - led by Greenpeace and other environmental and food
> safety
> activists - contend that the safety of genetically rearranged food has
> never
> been tested and that such crops harm the environment.
>    Some also fear such crops can lead to the emergence of new
> allergies and more potent infections.
> Nevertheless, there's a large contingent of organizations and
> agencies that believes in the safety of such genetic
> manipulation for dietary purposes.  They include the American
> Medical Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the
> U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency, the International Food
> Information Council, the Council for Agricultural Science and
> Technology, the Georgetown Center for Food and Nutrition Policy,
> the National Gorngrowers Association, and the Grocery
> Manufacturers of America.
>    Food biotechnology got another big boost with the September
> issue of Consumer Reports.  In an article titled "Seeds of
> Change," the Consumers Union publication concludes: "There is no
> evidence that genetically engineered foods on the market are not
> safe to eat.  But continued vigilance is crucial."    Gary
> Toenniessen, deputy director for agriculture sciences at the
> Rockefeller Foundation in New York, cited a well-publicized case
> reported several years ago in which U.S.  researchers spliced a
> Brazil nut gene into a soybean to create a nutritious nut
> protein.  But that research was abandoned when it was found that
> people allergic to Brazil nuts were also allergic to the new
> recombinant soybeans.
>    "That problem was found in the very early stages of
> development . None of those commercialized (genetically
> engineered) foods" has caused illness or harm, Mr.  Toenniessen
> said in a telephone interview.
>    "To be frank, I don't think gene-altered foods are much of a
> health risk," he added.
>    Although it's only been three years since the first large-
> scale commercial harvest of a crop that had undergone genetic
> tinkering, such crops today cover a fourth of U.S.  cropland.
> "The rate of adoption of this technology at least in this
> country has been extremely rapid," Mr. Toenniessen said.
> According to Consumer Reports, the USDA has already approved 50
> genetically altered crop plants engineered to be resistant to
> insects or herbicides.  The list includes tomatoes, potatoes,
> melons, beets, corn, soybeans and squash.  And gene-spliced
> versions of other such crops, such as rice, cucumbers, apples,
> strawberries, walnuts and sugarcane are currently being tested.
>   The magazine said more than a third of all corn, almost 55
> percent of all soybeans, and nearly half of all cotton grown in
> this country are crops that have undergone genetic tinkering.
>    In shopping trips last winter and summer, Consumer Reports
> staffers found a wide array of products - including Ovaltine
> Malt powdered beverage mix, certain brands of infant formula,
> veggie burgers, taco shells, and a corn muffin mix - that
> contained genetically engineered ingredients.
>    For the most part, Americans have been consuming biotech
> foods without knowing it because genetically rearranged foods
> sold in this country do not have to be so labeled.
>    A recent survey by the International Food Information Council
> found that only a third of Americans knew such foods are sold in
> stores.  Thomas Hoban, professor of sociology and food science
> at North Carolina State University, said studies he and others
> have conducted have consistently indicated between two-thirds
> and three-quarters of Americans are not worried about genetic
> foods, since they trust the safety of the food supply.
>    But that's starting to change.  "Americans seem to be moving
> from a position of not paying much attention to genetic
> engineering of foods or not even knowing about it to a position
> of paying some attention to it," Mr.  Toenniessen said.    Some
> environmental and consumer groups have sued the government over
> the lack of labeling and safety testing.
> What's more, some food industry giants such as grain processor
> Archer Daniels Midland Co.  and baby food manufacturer Gerber
> are demanding that farmers provide them with corn that has not
> been genetically changed. 
> ======#======
3) Asia Today September,  1999 
HEADLINE:  Industry rethink needed as Indonesia  looks ahead  
BODY: JAKARTA: Mining  and agriculture in Indonesia are
> two
>  sectors that have best withstood the  impact of the economic crisis -
> and
>  therein lies the country's competitive  advantage. Businesses which
> have
>  survived the crisis are those focussing on sectors where Indonesia
> has an
>  advantage - using cheap labour or  resources. They have survived in
> spite
>  of low commodity prices and political turmoil, says George Tahija,
> President Director of PT Austindo Nusantara Jaya, a member of the huge
>  Indrapura Group, one of the few privately-owned Indonesian
> conglomerates to
> escape the impact of the crisis. The mining and agriculture sectors
> continue
> to generate strong
> cashflow because output has generally been exported to earn
> foreign exchange. It is the cashflow that sustained - and is
> sustaining - their operations. [Some small-to medium companies
> survived on informal sources of finance outside the banking
> system - which no longer offers working capital and other
> credit.] Hopefully, as Indonesia picks itself up from the
> ravages of the economic crisis - the worst in a generation - it
> will have weeded out unproductive industries and identified
> sectors where it clearly has an advantage. Tahija says that
> if there is one purpose the crisis has served, it is to define
> areas where Indonesia has the best competitive advantage. Aside
> from agriculture and mining,  fisheries  and tourism are two
> areas which are "natural" for Indonesia, he says. Indonesia
> should develop tourism because it absorbs a lot of people and
> earns foreign currency.
>    Before the crisis, companies were able to get finance for any
> project, whether or not the underlying fundamentals made sense,
> says Tahija, whose group of companies survived the recession
> through a combination of good management and judicious
> investment in the boom years.
> In reality, there are plenty of opportunities in Indonesia today
> because thousands of indebted companies have had their assets
> impounded by the state agency, the Indonesia Bank Restructuring
> Agency [IBRA], which is now attempting to dispose of the assets
> to recover some 600 trillion rupiah in bad debts. However,
> Tahija says one has to be cautious with these assets, including
> those in the agriculture sector. "If you take palm oil, [as an
> example] you need to have three things right - climate, soil and
> seeds. And if you use these as screens across all palm oil
> plantations available in the market today, you will find few fit
> the criteria. There was a planting boom and the number of plants
> required exceeded the availability of quality seeds."
>    Mining and agriculture, he says, are clearly long-term
> investments - ranging over 15 to 20 years - and therefore the
> quality of asset is far more important than the entry price
> itself. The essence is to get the right investment.    Tahija
> sees good prospects in the production of spices - nutmeg,
> cloves, and cinnamon. "Actually Indonesia could become a world-
> class producer in each of these products, provided the industry
> is structured properly," he says. The sector would benefit
> tremendously from technology, he adds, in areas such as
> development of new seeds genetically  to obtain best production
> results. Productivity across the board should be increased, he
> says. And this can only be done through education and training.
> "The only way forward is to ensure that Indonesia develops
> specific knowledge and skills in industries where it is
> inherently competitive. A fundamental point of our survival is
> having an educated workforce and I don't think education has
> received the level of importance it should have.
>    "In the past the government has been seen as having promoted
> too many types of businesses and industries viewed as
> "strategic", but to have placed very little emphasis on
> productive industries. The level of productivity was not taken
> into calculation when the government talked about building cars
> and planes or developing a huge banking sector. Basically, the
> reality is that Indonesia will not produce the next General
> Motors or Boeing because it does not have the inherent
> competitiveness in these two industries.
>    "Whoever takes over [the government], should try to focus on
> developing globally competitive businesses. If we don't, we will
> be wiped out in an increasingly globalised economy." Tahija says
> Indonesia is in the ASEAN Free Trade Area [AFTA] which becomes
> a reality in 2003 and is committed to liberalise its market
> under deadlines agreed with the World Trade Organisation.
> Indonesian companies can no longer hide behind regulations and
> tariff barriers. Free trade rules will force Indonesia to become
> more productive to compete in the global market. There will be
> less room for unproductive businesses, which will be wiped out.
>    Many Indonesian businesses have disappeared during the
> recession, but Tahija says it would be wrong to under-estimate
> the tenacity of business people here. He believes business will
> thrive again given the right environment, the right climate and
> getting the banking sector back in business.
>    "The banking sector is the most crucial element in restoring
> the confidence of business," he says. Extra funds provided by
> the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund during the
> crisis have gone to the government, and the money is not flowing
> back into the economy to turn the wheels of commerce. "What we
> need is private sector money to come back... but it won't return
> unless there is confidence." He agrees that "some degree of
> confidence" has returned and this is evident in the inflow of
> speculative investment in the Jakarta stock market. But
> Indonesia is not seeing long-term investment yet because
> confidence has not improved to that level. It could well be two
> or three years before full confidence is restored.
> The major problems Indonesia faces today are two-fold. People
> are more cautious, and financial institutions are still working
> out the debt overhang. "What will make the difference is
> establishment of a transparent and cleaner business
> environment," says Tahija. And that will not come from lessons
> learned from the crisis, but rather external factors forcing
> Indonesia to conform to international standards. Ultimately,
> however, Tahija says Indonesia must have a stable government.
> The longer that takes the longer it is going to take to turn the
> economy around.
> ======#======
4)  The New York Times August 29, -Week in Review Desk -The World: Heartburn;
Fearful Over the Future, Europe Seizes On Food BYLINE: ROGER COHEN DATELINE:
PARIS  BODY: FIST raised, mustache bristling, Jose Bove
> looked defiant as he handed himself in to French police in the
> southern town
> of Montpelier a few days ago. "My struggle remains the same," this
> farmer
> declared to an appreciative crowd, "the battle against globalization
> and for
> the right of people to feed themselves as they choose." A
> Parisian-turned-
> sheep-farmer who moved to southwest France 20 years ago, Mr. Bove
> emerged
> this month as a sort of Subcomandante Marcos of the French
> countryside, the
> leader of a self-styled, anti-imperialist revolt over food. His crime,
> committed on Aug. 12, was to lead the ransacking and demolition of a
> McDonald's restaurant nearing completion in the southwestern town of
> Millau.
> It was only the most conspicuous of a rash of recent protests against
> McDonald's, targeted not so much for anything the company has done but
> as a
> symbol of the United States and of what Mr. Bove has called "the
> multinationals of foul food." His efforts have struck a chord.
> French labor unions,  ecologists,  Communists and farmers have
> joined to demand his immediate release, burying other
> differences in a shared politico-gastronomic outcry. An army,
> Napoleon noted, marches on its stomach, and the European forces
> gathering this summer in protest against what is seen as
> American-led globalization have abruptly focused on food. Where
> it was once the deployment of American  nuclear  missiles that
> caused alarm, it is now McDonald's, Coca-Cola,  genetically
> modified American corn and American beef fattened with growth
> hormones that have Europeans up in arms.
>    "Behind all this lies a rejection of cultural and culinary
> dispossession," said Alain Duhamel, a French political analyst.
> "There is a certain allergy in Europe to the extent of American
> power accumulated since the cold war's end, and the most
> virulent expression of that allergy today seems to be food."
> Of course, it is not just culture or the kitchen that is at
> stake. Enormous economic interests are also involved. Large
> quantities of American corn and soybeans, to name just two
> crops, have been  genetically  modified over the years -- that
> is, rendered more productive, more hardy, less vulnerable to
> fungal and viral pests through scientific alteration, including
> the addition of genes.
>    No discernible harm to Americans has occurred. But if Europe
> and possibly other parts of the world reject or ban such
> products, the economic consequences may be measured in the
> billions of dollars. Already, a federal judge in Brazil has
> banned sales of the Monsanto Corporation's Roundup Ready soybean
> seeds --gene-altered to resist fungus and weeds -- and Japan has
> announced that it will require labels on  genetically  modified
> food.
>    E UROPE seems to be gripped right now by a kind of collective
> madness, and we don't want that to spread to the rest of the
> world," said Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana,
> the head of the Senate agricultural committee, who was in
> Germany this month. "In the United States, we have not seen a
> scintilla of ill effects, and on my farm alone we've been
> modifying corn and soybeans since the 1930's, raising
> productivity by a factor of three."    Behind the "madness"
> several factors appear to lurk. The specter of nature being
> rendered more uniform by scientists in America has meshed with
> a wider fear of an increasingly undifferentiated planet where
> national distinctions fade. Europeans see on the horizon a
> uniform, global culinary culture dominated by multinationals --
> a Hollywood of the kitchen drowning any European distinctiveness
> with sheer marketing muscle.
>    At the same time, a rash of health scares -- including the
> outbreak of mad cow disease in Britain in 1996, and the
> discovery this year of dioxin- polluted chicken in Belgium --
> has provoked widespread fear of any tampering with nature. This
> mood clearly lies behind Europe's refusal to drop a ban on
> American beef raised with growth hormones -- a decision that
> prompted the United States last month to impose a 100 percent
> tariff on some European food products, including Roquefort and
> foie gras.  The American foie gras controversy, page 7.    That
> American decision -- targeting foods that nestle very close to
> the prickly French soul -- added fuel to a fire already raging.
>   Attacks or complaints directed at American food and beverages
> have been almost constant lately as American marketers move to
> exploit what they see as an underserved European market. The
> reasons for the attacks have differed, but not the common thread
> of an American target.
>    Coca-Cola, still reeling from the effects of a poorly handled
> health scare that saw supposedly contaminated drinks removed
> from shelves in Belgium and France, is now the object of a
> European Commission investigation that involved dawn raids on
> offices in Germany, Britain, Austria and Denmark last month. The
> company is suspected of abusing a dominant market position to
> damage its competitors. In Italy, where Coke has an 80 percent
> share of the cola market, a separate national investigation was
> begun this month.
>    "There is no anti-American conspiracy here," said Stefan
> Rating, a spokesman for Europe's competition and anti-trust
> policy regulators in Brussels. "That Coke is American is
> undisputed, but not unlawful. What we are looking into are
> possible abuses." Coke denies any wrongdoing, and is known to be
> piqued by the extent and repetitiveness of its recent European
> travails.    THIS month in Belgium, a McDonald's near Antwerp
> was destroyed, the latest of several attacks, and a number of
> McDonald's in France have had rotting fruit and vegetables
> dumped on them since the Clinton Administration's decision to
> apply punitive duties to French products.
> "We are attacked because we are a No. 1 global American brand,"
> said Alessandra di Montezemolo, a McDonald's spokeswoman in
> Europe. "But people should understand we are local partners in
> the national economies."    McDonald's, which operates 750
> restaurants in France, tried to calm protests there by issuing
> a statement saying that "80 percent of the products we serve are
> made in France," adding that they were "cooked by local
> employees." But la France profonde -- the heartland of the
> imprisoned Mr. Bove -- was not impressed.
>    "Culinary sovereignty is imperative," said Patrice Vidieu,
> the secretary-general of Peasant Confederation, the growing
> farmers' movement founded by Mr. Bove in 1987. "What we reject
> is the idea that the power of the marketplace becomes the
> dominant force in all societies, and that multinationals like
> McDonald's or Monsanto come to impose the food we eat and the
> seeds we plant."
>    Mr. Vidieu's movement derives much of its intellectual
> inspiration and direction from Attac, an association founded
> last year in France to fight globalization and to campaign for
> a tax on international financial transactions that would be used
> to help the world's poor and fight social inequality. Among the
> leaders of Attac (the French acronym for the Association for
> Taxation of Financial Transactions in Order to Aid Citizens) are
> Viviane Forrestier, whose anti-globalization book "The Economic
> Horror" has had enormous sales in France, and editors of the
> prestigious Le Monde Diplomatique.
>    It is this merging of militants against global finance and
> global food that has given the current outcry some of its
> curious virulence. Senator Lugar, who would like to see
> scientific testing of  genetically  modified crops in Europe,
> confessed to being amazed. His argument is simple. The
> population of the world will probably grow to nine billion from
> six billion by 2050. Available acreage for planting has already
> been identified. So, unless food productivity is increased --
> which will not happen without scientific intervention -- people
> are going to go hungry.
>    "The Europeans think they are protecting humanity," he said,
> "but we think they want to starve the rest of the world. These
> are big issues. I've been telling the Europeans that there's a
> big difference between the Kosovo war and  genetically  modified
> corn: For many Americans corn is more important."    But
> Philippe Folliot, the mayor of a St. Pierre-de-Trivisy, a small
> town in the Roquefort-growing area, is unimpressed by such
> arguments. He has imposed a symbolic 100 percent tax on Coca-
> Cola sold in the town. "Here we cannot make plastic cheeses and
> hormone beef," he said. "Roquefort is unique, a symbol of our
> battle against the globalization of taste."
> GRAPHIC: Photos: Target, American food: Top, Jose Bove, leader
> of French farmers held in the destruction of a McDonald's.
> Bottom, Coca-Cola being dumped in Belgium's tainting scare.
> (Associated Press)(pg. 3); American food is a focus of fears
> over globalization. A McDonald's after a protest in Cavaillon,
> France, last week. (Reuters); Farmers in Cavaillon, France, last
> week, protesting punitive American tariffs on French products.
> (Associated Press)
> ======#======

5)  The New York Times August 29, 1999 -New Trade Threat For U.S. Farmers
BODY: American farmers paid
> premium prices this spring to sow many of their fields with
> genetically
> engineered corn and soybeans, but now as the fall harvest nears, more
> of the
> international buyers they depend upon are saying they do not want
> those
> crops. Consumers and food companies in a growing number of countries
> are
> shunning the new crops created by genetic engineers at such companies
> as
> Monsanto, DuPont and Novartis.  Foreign consumers say they do not wish
> to
> eat the new foods like corn that have been altered to produce their
> own
> pesticide, and some companies are reacting quickly to consumers'
> desires
> even though no clear evidence exists that the crops are unsafe.
>  This week in Japan, for example, the Kirin Brewery Company
> announced that starting in 2001 it would use only corn that has
> not been  genetically engineered. While bowing to customers'
> concerns, Kirin made clear that it did not think the products
> were unhealthy. A day later, Kirin's competitor, Sapporo
> Breweries, announced that it, too, would revert to traditional
> corn, which is an ingredient in some types of beer.
>  The  biotechnology  industry plays down the recent decisions
> of some food companies, saying they are overreacting to threats
> that aren't real. Most consumers, the industry says, do not mind
> these new products.    Until a few months ago, opposition to
> genetically  altered foods was largely confined to Europe, and
> trade officials in the United States have been battling the
> European Union, which has stopped buying all American corn. But
> this summer, the Clinton Administration's efforts have grown
> increasingly urgent, in an attempt to contain the aversion to
> these crops that is leaping from continent to continent.
>    Japan, which now wants mandatory labeling of gene-altered
> products, is the largest importer of American crops, and Mexico,
> whose top producer of corn flour for tortillas is avoiding
> altered grain, is the second largest importer of American corn.
>    "This is a very significant trade threat," said Peter Scher,
> who directs the agricultural negotiations for the United States
> Trade Representative's Office. "The only thing I can tell
> farmers is that we are doing everything we can to sell their
> products overseas."
>    About a third of American crops, including soybeans and corn,
> are exported. This year, American farmers planted an estimated
> 60 million acres (the size of the United Kingdom) with
> genetically  engineered corn and soybean seeds, accounting for
> nearly half of all soybeans in the United States and about a
> third of all corn.
>    Most farmers still expect that they will find a market for
> much of this year's corn and soybean crops, industry officials
> say. But they have already been told that seven varieties of
> gene-altered corn, representing about 5 percent of the expected
> harvest, will be rejected by corn exporters. Most of that will
> be ground into animal feed.
>    Next year's harvest looms as more troublesome, with public
> sentiment changing, foreign markets shrinking and the
> agriculture industry struggling to adjust.
>    For the first time this summer, many corn growers are dealing
> with costly new issues.
>    Local grain elevator operators, who buy and store wagonloads
> of corn to sell to the exporters, have begun asking farmers to
> separate some types of gene-altered corn from ordinary corn to
> appease international buyers.    Dennis Mitchell, a farmer in
> Houghton, S.D., has been an enthusiastic producer of gene-
> altered corn and planted 600 acres this spring, 80 percent of
> which is a crop altered to produce a toxin that kills the
> European corn borer.    He boasts that the new seeds have
> increased his yield by at least 15 percent, and he has received
> assurances from local elevator operators that he will be able to
> sell his grain this year.
> But he is paying close attention to the tremors in the
> marketplace, especially now that American companies like Gerber
> and Heinz baby foods have announced that they will not use
> genetically  altered corn or soy ingredients. And he is
> uncertain what he will do next year when spring planting season
> arrives. "I wish we could get this cleared up," he said. "I
> certainly can't raise anything I can't market."
>    Such uncertainty only adds to the problems of American
> farmers, who point out that this year's crop prices are the
> lowest in more than a decade.    "This is such a hard time for
> us, and then you compound that with this uncertainty," said Gary
> Goldberg, the chief executive of the American Corn Growers
> Association, a group that has been opposed to some practices of
> the  biotechnology  industry. It represents 14,000 independent
> farmers. "Farmers are going to get caught in the middle," he
> said.
>    Clinton Administration officials have repeatedly assured
> consumers that all of the  genetically  engineered crops that
> have been approved in the United States are safe for people to
> eat. And, indeed, there is no compelling scientific evidence
> that shows the foods are unsafe. But the crops are so new that
> there is not enough evidence to prove the foods' safety to a
> minority of scientists who say further studies need to be done.
> Dan Glickman, the Secretary of Agriculture, said that the
> consumers' concerns seemed to be spreading like "an infectious
> disease."
>    "This technology," he said, "got a little bit ahead of the
> politics."    He and Federal trade officials have spent the
> summer pressing European leaders and agricultural ministers to
> reconsider what is essentially the European Union's moratorium
> on new types of gene-altered crops. They have threatened some
> countries with intercession by the World Trade Organization,
> arguing that restrictions on these foods run counter to the
> current science supporting their safety.
>     Genetic  engineering is a process in which scientists splice
> one organism's genes into another. For example, scientists
> created the  pesticide -producing corn by inserting a gene from
> a bacterium.
>    Most of the corn and soybeans have been altered to either
> produce their own  pesticides  or to be resistant to herbicides.
> The first gene-altered seeds were offered to farmers in 1996,
> and growers snatched them up, quickly making the new
> biotechnology  into a multibillion-dollar business for the seed
> companies. The  biotechnology  companies say that the food
> companies are caving in to pressure from  environmental
> advocates who have written letters saying that consumers do not
> want these products.
>    "Consumers are turning away from these foods in enormously
> smaller numbers than the activists would have you believe," said
> L. Val Giddings, a vice president for food and agriculture at
> the  Biotechnology  Industry Organization, a trade group of more
> than 800 companies in Washington.
>    Still, farmers and trade officials point to new problems. In
> Mexico, which bought $500 million of American corn last year,
> Grupo Maseca, the company that is the leading producer of corn
> flour, said recently that it would avoid importing  genetically
> modified grain. The flour is made into tortillas, the Mexican
> staple.
>    In South Korea, another large importer of American grain,
> corn-processing companies said they were considering buying corn
> from China instead of the United States because of concerns
> about the altered crop.    And, in Japan, the Government passed
> a law requiring food companies to label products that have been
> genetically  engineered. (In the United States, Federal
> officials have only recently said they will consider voluntary
> labeling.) Preparing for awareness generated by the labeling in
> Japan, a subsidiary of the Honda Motor Company said this week
> that it would build a plant in the United States and hire
> farmers to supply it only with unaltered, conventional soybeans.
> The soybeans, which would be exported back to Japan, would be
> made into tofu.    In the United States, where there has been
> little uproar over the foods, the baby food makers Gerber and H.
> J. Heinz were the first large food companies to reject the new
> products. Then Iams, the pet food company, said it would not buy
> the seven varieties of gene-altered corn that have not been
> approved by European regulators. Iams's announcement shut down
> an alternative route that farmers had for that corn that
> exporters will not accept.
>    The agricultural industry has begun responding, with
> exporters trying to devise new methods to bridge the growing gap
> between farmers and consumers. A two-price system -- higher
> prices for conventional crops and lower prices for  genetically
> -altered crops -- is clearly developing. For example, this year,
> the Archer Daniels Midland Company has been paying some farmers
> an extra 18 cents for each bushel of non-altered soybeans.
>    The American Corn Growers Association, which represents
> mostly family farms, told its members last week that they should
> consider planting only conventional seeds next spring, unless a
> host of questions can be answered, including whether the United
> States will be able to export the  genetically  altered crops.
>    The National Corn Growers Association, which is about twice
> as big as the American Corn Growers Association, and has a
> financial partnership with Monsanto and some of the other
> agricultural companies, has not followed suit.    Susan Keith,
> the group's senior director for public policy, said that the
> association, which is based in St. Louis, was keeping farmers
> informed of what types of  genetically  altered corn could be
> the hardest to sell, but had not suggested that they consider
> planting only conventional seeds.    The worries about
> international trade have deepened farmers' fears of a bleaker
> economic future.
>    Prices for most crops are the lowest in 10 years, and farmers
> say they are concerned that grain prices are falling even
> further now that foreign consumers are turning away from
> genetically  altered crops. But experts say prices have mostly
> been affected by the larger harvests in other countries, which
> have reduced the demand for grain from the United States. In
> addition, the financial crisis in Asia caused exports to fall
> last year and prices to drop. And overproduction of some crops
> continues to hurt prices.
> For now, uncertainty about the next planting season is
> bedeviling the nation's farmers. They cannot predict where the
> next food backlash will surface and sometimes, even if they do,
> it is too late.
>    "It wasn't until May that farmers got word that Europe had
> not approved certain kinds of corn," Mr. Goldberg said. "By
> then, the corn was in the ground."
> ======#======
6) The Grocer August  28, 1999  LETTERS;This symbol  is discredited  
BODY: Sir, In  selling its symbol, the Vegetarian Society  has discredited
by  bestowing approvals on products, ingredients,
>  and processing aids made from  battery eggs and by means of  genetic
>  engineering (The Grocer, August 21,  p17). Sudden changes of  policy
> have
>  resulted, to the confusion of customers and consternation of
> manufacturers
>  and vendors.    So it is little wonder some "approved"  products are
> inferior in the requirements of a serious vegetarian customer
>  to others without the society's mark. Vegetarian consumers in the
> know are
> not fobbed off with bland
> assurances.    Alan Long
>    Vegetarian Economy & Green Agriculture
> ======#======
7)   The Washington Post August  28, LETTERS : Our  Wholesome Tofu
>  I write in response to Rick Weiss's two " Biotech"  news stories that
> ran
>  on Aug. 15, one on the front page. Our product, Mori-Nu Tofu, was
> shown in
>  a close-up photograph captioned "This tofu  consumer food from
> California,
>  for sale in markets in this region, contains  engineered soybean
> products."
>  While I am sure The Post had no malicious intent, the caption's
> wording
> apparently has led many readers to believe that our product is loaded
> with
>  genetically  altered ingredients because, unfortunately, we have had
>  several phone calls from concerned
> consumers and stores.
>  Our company is very concerned with food safety and packages
> our tofu aseptically, which increases nutrient retention and
> flavor while ensuring safety. For the record, a recent test
> conducted by a third-party testing lab shows our product to
> contain only 0.1 percent of  genetically  modified material.
>    Director of Sales and Marketing
>    Morinaga Nutritional Foods, Inc.
>    Torrance, Calif.
> ======#======