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GE - GMO News 08/30



GMO News  08/30
1) S.Korean firms go into GMO research amid concerns SEOUL, Aug 30 (Reuters)
2) Portland Press Herald August  29, - GENETIC-CROPS DEBATE HEIGHTENS;
OPPOSITION STIRS  ON SEVERAL FRONTS, INCLUDING ORGANIC FARMERS WHO PUSH TO 
LABEL SUCH  PRODUCE. BYLINE: MEREDITH GOAD Staff Writer
3)  ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE AMERISCAN: AUGUST 27, 1999 FARMERS URGED TO
AVOID 
BIOTECH CROPS 
4) BusinessWorld August 30, -GM corn field tests approved without contingency
plans? BYLINE: Earl Warren B. Castillo  
5) International Herald Tribune (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France)  August  30,
1999 -
Backlash on  Gene-Altered Exports Threatens U.S. Markets; A Rapidly Spreading
Distaste  for the American Culinary Way 
6)  Reuters New hybrid corn seen helping cut water pollution USA: August 30,
1999  CHICAGO
7)  ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE AMERISCAN: AUGUST 26, 1999 HYBRID CORN CAN CUT 
PHOSPHORUS POLLUTION FROM CHICKENS  

:
 
:

1) S.Korean firms go into GMO research amid concerns SEOUL, Aug 30 (Reuters)  
South Korea's seed firms said on Monday that with the help of
> government
> subsidies they planned to develop genetically modified organisms
> (GMOs), an
> increasingly controversial technique as consumers raise concerns about
> possible risks. The country's parliament enacted a law for labelling
> GMOs on
> July 1, responding to public concerns over possible health and
> environmental
> hazards. The government has yet to decide which products would be
> labelled.
> It is unavoidable for us to have GMOs research centres to compete with
> advanced nations' technologies amid public concerns," said An
> Yeoung-sik,
> general manager of Nong Woo Seed Co Ltd.
>     An said the company would open a genetic engineering
> department at its Nong Woo Seed Research Center on Wednesday to
> develop GMO seeds, which would meet government regulations and
> healthy for consumers.
>     "Our current technology related to developing GMO seeds has
> been only a half-percent of those of developed countries," An
> said.
>  He said the company would develop GMO seeds by partly investing
> its own money and with help from government subsidies.
>     South Korea has two major seed companies, Nong Woo Seed and
> Hung Nong Seed Co Ltd.
>     Hung Nong is 70 percent owned by U.S.-based fruit and
> vegetable seed company Seminis Inc <SMNS.O>, a leader in the
> production and sales of genetically-engineered fruit and
> vegetable seeds.
>     Cho Young Hwan, Managing Director of Hung Nong Seed Co Ltd
> and Director of Hung Nong Seed Research Station, said the
> company had been waiting for the government to decide which
> products would be approved for GMO development.     "Working
> with universities, the state-run research centres and Seminis,
> we are building GMO technologies ahead of the 'GMO period'," Cho
> said.     Cho said the company was providing about 30 percent of
> the money for its GMO development projects while the government
> was giving the remainder.     The company plans to reimburse the
> government once it received patents and begins selling its GMO
> products.
>     Plans to develop genetically modified crops have triggered
> controversy in Europe. Environmentalists in Britain have
> repeatedly destroyed trial fields of GM crops and environmental
> group Greenpeace had threatened to intensify its campaign
> against genetic engineering in food across Europe.     While
> proponents of GM crops say they improve yields, reduce
> susceptibility to disease and insects and can add nutritional
> value, opponents worry they can harm the environment, affect the
> resistance of nearby crops to diseases and pests and could
> harbour unknown risks to health.
>     Japan, under pressure from consumers, has also proposed that
> foods made with genetically altered crops be specially labelled,
> a move that could spark trade tensions with the United States,
> the world's largest producer of such crops.
>  REUTERS
> ======#======
2) Portland Press Herald August  29, - GENETIC-CROPS DEBATE HEIGHTENS;
OPPOSITION STIRS  ON SEVERAL FRONTS, INCLUDING ORGANIC FARMERS WHO PUSH TO 
LABEL SUCH  PRODUCE. BYLINE: MEREDITH GOAD Staff Writer  BODY: Jim and  Megan
>  Gerritsen of Bridgewater, nestled up in potato country, worry that
> their
>  way of life is in danger. They see huge agricultural conglomerates
>  creating genetically engineered crops. They fear that this new
> technology
>  could destroy one of their key pest-control tools, dramatically
> reducing
>  their yields.
> "If we lose our ability to grow organic potatoes, that will
> affect our livelihood," Jim Gerritsen said. "We have five
> employees, so it will affect five families. Somebody's going to
> have some burden to bear on that."    The Gerritsens are part of
> a small but fiercely determined circle of Mainers who have kept
> the debate about genetic engineering going in the state during
> the last decade. While the rest of America generally has taken
> a ho-hum attitude toward the transgenic food that fills their
> grocery carts, these Mainers are passionately trying to push the
> issue to the forefront of public discourse.    The recent
> vandalism of a University of Maine researcher's field of
> genetically engineered corn was just the latest example,
> although an extreme one, of local activism by opponents of
> genetic engineering.    Three times now, activists have tried to
> force the issue of labeling of genetically engineered foods in
> the state Legislature.
>    "I think Maine may be the only state that's even had a
> labeling debate so far," said Russell Libby, executive director
> of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.
> Maine is also the only state that prohibits the use of Bt corn,
> a genetically engineered variety that produces a pesticide fatal
> to the corn borer. And five Maine organic farmers, including the
> Gerritsens, have joined a federal lawsuit against the U.S.
> Environmental Protection Agency that seeks to remove all Bt
> crops from the market.
>    The opposition to genetic engineering has been strong here,
> even though Maine farms aren't exactly a hotbed of genetically
> engineered crops.    The state has a short growing season and
> paltry production compared to the Midwest. Consequently, Maine
> is usually among the last to get access to genetically
> engineered agricultural products. Last year, just 1.5 percent of
> potatoes grown in Maine were genetically engineered. And it's
> estimated that just 100 acres of Roundup Ready corn were planted
> in the state this year, the first that the genetically
> engineered corn was available.    The Maine Board of Pesticide
> Control denied the registration of Bt corn in 1997 by a close
> vote: 4-3. It wasn't so much a philosophical decision as a
> practical one, said Paul Gregory, spokesman for the board.  The
> companies that wanted to register the product didn't present a
> clear enough need for it in Maine.
> "Maine growers don't spray for the corn borer, which is the
> target pest this corn was designed to control," Gregory said.
>    But genetically engineered foods are plentiful in Maine
> supermarkets. In its September issue, Consumer Reports magazine
> reported that one-quarter of U.S. cropland -- more than 90
> million acres -- is now planted in genetically engineered crops.
> Genetically engineered corn and soybeans are found in everything
> from infant formulas to tortilla chips and even veggie burgers.
>   While surveys show that most Americans have accepted the
> safety of these products, Maine opponents of genetic engineering
> look upon the widespread availability of genetically engineered
> foods as "a big experiment," said Libby of the organic growers'
> group.
>    "There's a much bigger experiment under way than the one
> that's happening at the university," he said. "It's not an
> experiment that we've been told about or that we've had much of
> a voice in because there's no real labeling and no real choice
> for consumers."
>    Some opponents worry that widespread use of genetically
> engineered crops will lead to unintended environmental
> consequences. Others are more concerned about the social and
> economic repercussions of allowing large corporations such as
> Monsanto to control the seed and food supply.
>    Scientists say genetically engineered foods are no different
> from regular foods and that inserting foreign DNA into a food
> crop is similar to inserting a small phrase from one novel into
> another -- it adds information, but doesn't change the overall
> story.
>    "The technology itself poses nothing inherently dangerous,"
> said Michael Vayda, a professor of biochemistry and assistant
> director for biotechnology research at the University of Maine.
> "It's very similar to selective breeding that humankind has been
> doing for the last 10,000 years, except that instead of
> thousands of genes at every cross, you're presenting only a
> small number of specific genetic instructions."
>    Although some transgenic foods have been found to have
> unexpected consequences -- soybeans modified with a gene from a
> Brazil nut were found to cause reactions in people allergic to
> nuts, for example -- that doesn't mean that all transgenic foods
> will have an unexpected impact, Vayda points out.    "These are
> things that need to be tested, and that's what science is for,"
> Vayda said. "That's part of what John Jemison was doing here in
> Maine." The recent vandalism at the University of Maine,
> although a relatively small gesture, echoes the kinds of
> protests that are happening in places like Europe and India,
> where consumers and farmers are rebelling against genetically
> engineered crops by "decontaminating" -- destroying -- the
> fields where they are grown.
>    John Jemison, the researcher whose half-acre crop of Roundup
> Ready corn was destroyed, said the incident may be just the
> second case of "ecoterrorism" directed toward genetically
> engineered crops in the United States.    The first incident
> occurred just a few weeks ago at the University of California at
> Berkeley. The target was fields of corn that actually were not
> genetically engineered at all, according to Peggy Lemaux of the
> department of plant and microbial biology. The vandalism set a
> graduate student's work back six months to a year, she said.
>    At the University of Maine, Jemison was able to salvage some
> of his work with the Roundup Ready corn, which is genetically
> engineered to survive being sprayed with herbicides. The goal is
> to develop crops that will thrive despite being sprayed with
> chemicals that kill weeds growing in the same field. Jemison
> called the incident "very stressful" and "disappointing."
> "Our whole role is to be as open as we can be and to show people
> what we're doing," he said. "That's one of the troubling things
> because, you know, somebody's probably going to disagree with
> something that everybody does on a research farm. I just hope
> that this will never happen again."    Last week, it did happen
> again when part of a corn crop on a private farm in Newbury,
> Vt., was destroyed by someone who left behind literature
> opposing genetically engineered corn.
>    The Gerritsens' court fight against genetic engineering is in
> large part an economic one, although they say they also oppose
> the technology on moral and environmental grounds.
>    The Gerritsens own Wood Prairie Farm, a 110-acre organic farm
> in Bridgewater. They have 45 acres of cropland that they use
> mostly to grow certified seed potatoes. They also grow grain and
> secondary vegetable crops such as carrots, rutabaga, beets,
> onions and garlic.
>    The Gerritsens have been using Bt for 10 to 11 years now. Bt
> is a soil bacterium that kills certain insects by attacking
> their digestive systems. It is a favorite pest-control tool of
> organic farmers because it is such a precise poison -- it spares
> beneficial insects, leaves no residue on the plants and degrades
> quickly.
>    Bt crops, such as Bt potatoes and corn, are grown from seeds
> that have had a bit of DNA from Bt spliced into them. The result
> is that the plants themselves produce Bt. Insects either stay
> away or are killed when they eat any of the plant.
>    The five biotechnology companies that have developed Bt crops
> say farmers who grow them will be able to reduce the amount of
> pesticides they use on their land. U.S. farmers have embraced
> these genetically engineered varieties: The EPA estimates that
> this year 25 percent of all corn grown in the United States is
> Bt corn and more than 50 percent of soybeans are Bt soybeans.
> About 50,000 acres of potatoes are Bt crops.
>    But Gerritsen and other organic farmers worry that if Bt
> potatoes and other Bt crops become widespread, insects will
> quickly become resistant to the Bt spray they apply directly to
> plants.
>    In a typical year, Gerritsen sprays Bt only twice. He goes
> out at about 4 p.m. and is finished by dark. The beetles eat a
> lethal dose of sprayed leaves overnight.
>    "As soon as the sun hits that crop at 5:30 the next morning,
> that Bt is already starting to break down," Jim Gerritsen said.
> "Some people criticize this as a weakness of Bt, but that's not
> my perspective. I want it to break down. I want it to do a
> lethal kill, and then I want it to disappear from the
> environment."
>    Using Bt and two other biological control tools -- a
> parasitic fungus and a predatory stinkbug -- the Gerritsens in
> recent years have been getting some of the best pest-control
> results they've ever had, rivaling that of conventional fields.
> But if Colorado potato beetles become resistant to Bt, that
> advantage will be lost.
>    Jim Gerritsen is unfazed by the biotech industry's assertion
> that most of the insects munching on Bt crops will get a lethal
> dose and won't be able to reproduce and develop resistance.
>    "That is not how nature works," he said. "There's always
> going to be a very rare individual that is going to be able to
> withstand something. When they live through and they end up
> breeding the next year with another individual, it may take some
> time but eventually you will develop resistance." The Gerritsens
> have joined a federal lawsuit filed Feb. 18 on behalf of
> Greenpeace,  the International Federation of Organic
> Agricultural Movements and more than 70 other co-plaintiffs --
> about half of them farmers -- demanding that the EPA reverse its
> position on Bt crops because the agency did not follow its own
> regulations when it approved the technology for commercial use.
>   The EPA has filed a motion to dismiss the suit, and a decision
> is expected in September or October. If the EPA is successful,
> Gerritsen believes the result ultimately will be the ruining of
> a "public good" -- the ability of the consumer to choose between
> conventional foods and organic foods.
>    "To me, it's akin to a new factory coming in from out of
> state and immediately polluting the air and water," he said.
> "Those are public goods that we here in Maine cherish, and what
> right does anyone have to come in here and ruin that? I think
> there will be questions down the line as to culpability and
> accountability."
>    But that accountability, in his view, does not include
> deliberately destroying research crops. Libby, of the organic
> growers' group, said he agrees, so far.
> "I don't think it gets to the heart of the discussion," he said.
> "I can see why people might be frustrated and angry and use that
> as a way to take that out. But it seems to me the bigger need is
> for a broad political debate about why we're being forced to eat
> these foods, and that's why MOFGA's been in the Legislature the
> past few years and not in the fields."
>    Ironically, Jemison's next research project may be one that
> could shed some light on one of organic growers' major concerns.
> He's considering studying the possibility of cross-pollination
> between genetically engineered corn with regular corn. Organic
> farmers are worried that genetically engineered crops growing
> near their own fields will cross-pollinate with their organic
> crops, thereby "contaminating" them.
>    "I try to look at it on a case-by-case basis," Jemison said.
> "If the risks begin to outweigh the benefits, hey, I don't want
> to be there. I don't want that in our state. I don't want
> organic farmers getting into struggles with conventional
> farmers."
> GRAPHIC: PHOTO: color;
>    Staff photo by Bridget Besaw Gorman A sign marks one of the
> rows o; genetically engineered "Roundup Ready" corn at the
> University of Maine that was chopped down by activists.
> Researcher John Jemison said it may be only the second case of
> "ecoterrorism" in the United States.
> ======#======

3)  ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE AMERISCAN: AUGUST 27, 1999 FARMERS URGED TO
AVOID 
BIOTECH CROPS  The American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) is proposing  that
farmers consider avoiding genetically modified organism (GMO)
> crops
>  until numerous questions about health and safety issues, and the
>  marketability of the crops, are answered. "GMOs have become the
> albatross
>  around the neck of farmers on issues of trade, labeling, testing,
>  certification, segregation, market availability and agribusiness
>  concentration. Until all these issues are answered, it is best for
>  production agriculture to examine alternatives to planting GMOs,"
> said Gary
>  Goldberg, chief executive officer of the ACGA. Many legal issues
> concern
>  the ACGA, including liability for damages that might be caused by GMO
>  crops, and responsibility for monitoring the purity of certified
> non-GMO
>  crops. The group also wants to know how far apart GMO and non-GMO
> crops
>  must be planted to avoid cross pollination, whether buffer zones
> should be
> required between the crops, and whether biotechnology companies could
> be
> held liable for any cross pollination that does occur. "Farmers are
> caught
> in the middle of this dispute between grain exporters, foreign buyers,
> seed
> companies, local grain elevators and different governments. The ACGA
> feels
> it is best for producers to consider alternatives for this upcoming
> planting
> season until these many questions are answered,'' concluded Goldberg.
> The
> ACGA calls on seed companies to assure adequate supply of non-GMO seed
> is
> available to farmers, and that farmers are not pressured to plant
> GMOs.
> 
> ======#======

4) BusinessWorld August 30, -GM corn field tests approved without contingency
plans? BYLINE: Earl Warren B. Castillo  BODY: Two multinational agribusiness
firms which have been
> allowed
> to conduct field experiments on the cultivation of genetically
> modified corn
> have not prepared emergency plans to contain possible" environmental
> disasters." Roberto Verzola,  a member of the multi-sectoral National
> Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP), said Agroseed Corp.
> and
> Pioneer Hi-Bred Philippines, Inc. did not submit any contingency plan
> in
> case field experiments prove hazardous.
>  I would like to warn the public that should genetic contamination
> occur
> during the field testing, despite precautions promised by the
> proponents,
> the proponents have not presented an emergency plan to stop further
> contamination," Mr. Verzola said in a statement.
>    "(Given such a situation), it may be extremely difficult if not
> impossible to stop the further spread of this  genetically  engineered
> corn," Mr. Verzola said.
>    Mr. Verzola represents nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the
> NCBP,
> a multi-sectoral committee tasked with processing applications for the
> conduct of genetic experiments in the country.
>    Mr. Verzola said genetic contamination occurs when the pollen of
> genetically  engineered corn mixes with that of organic corn, an event
> which
> could transform the latter into genetically  engineered corn.    "Once
> that
> happens, we could be consuming Bt corn even if we don't want to," he
> said.
> NGOs warn that Bt corn may allow pests like the corn borer to develop
> resistance against the crop's  pesticide  over time. This, they said,
> will
> make the crop vulnerable to infestations just the same, rendering its
> own
> pesticide useless.
>    The NGOs also claim that Bt corn may be harmful for human
> consumption
> since humans will effectively be ingesting the crop's toxin.
>    The NCBP has approved the separate requests of Agroseed and Pioneer
> to
> carry out field experiments on the cultivation of Bt corn.
>    Mr. Verzola said the NCBP approved "with condition" last Wednesday
> the
> two companies' applications to conduct field tests for Bt corn. He
> said the
> NCBP is now drafting an oath of undertaking which will require the two
> firms
> to take full responsibility for their field tests.
>    Agroseed intends to do its experiments in General Santos City's
> Barangay
> Lagao while Pioneer hopes to conduct its field tests in Barangay Bay,
> Laguna.
>     Bt corn is a genetically engineered corn variety which is capable
> of
> releasing its own
> pesticide  when attacked by certain pests like the corn borer.
> The variety incorporates a gene from a soil-based microorganism
> called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) which is harmful to certain
> pests.    Mr. Verzola, who also works as executive director of
> NGO Philippine Greens, scored other NCBP members for approving
> the applications of Agroseed and Pioneer.
>    "They (other NCBP members) did not want to consider the
> safety of Bt corn in general but just the safety of the
> experiments themselves. Suppose there was an accident? They did
> not even want to look at that possibility. They believe all
> precautions will be taken," Mr. Verzola said in a telephone
> interview.    He contended that there are yet no local tests
> proving the safety of Bt corn both as a crop and as a commodity.
>    "There have been laboratory tests but these were only geared
> towards the commercialization of the crop," Mr. Verzola said.
>    "They (NCBP members) first want to prove the effectiveness of
> the crop against pests before proving its safety," he said. "By
> establishing safety issues, we can identify precautionary
> measures that are sufficiently needed to cope with accidents."
> BusinessWorld tried but was unable to reach NCBP officials for
> comment. 
> ======#======

5) International Herald Tribune (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France)  August  30,
1999 -
Backlash on  Gene-Altered Exports Threatens U.S. Markets; A Rapidly Spreading
Distaste  for the American Culinary Way BYLINE: By Melody Petersen; New York
Times  Service
> DATELINE:
>  WASHINGTON  BODY: U.S. farmers paid premium prices  this spring to
> sow many
>  of their fields with  genetically  engineered corn  and soybean seed,
> 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 Co., DuPont Co. and Novartis AG.
>  Overseas consumers say they do not wish to eat the new
> foods, like corn altered to produce its own  pesticide,  and
> some companies are reacting quickly to consumers' desires, even
> though no clear evidence exists that the crops are unsafe.
>     Last week in Japan, for example, Kirin Brewery Co. announced
> that starting in 2001, it would use only corn that had 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 Ltd.,
> 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 are not 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 U.S. 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 U.S. crops, and Mexico,
> whose top producer of corn flour for tortillas is avoiding
> altered grain, is the second largest importer of U. S. corn.
>     ''This is a very significant trade threat,'' said Peter
> Scher, who directs the agricultural negotiations for the U.S.
> 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 U.S. crops, including soybeans and corn,
> are exported. This year, U.S. farmers planted an estimated 60
> million acres (the size of Britain) 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 truckloads
> 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, South Dakota, has been an enthusiastic producer of
> gene-altered corn, and he planted 600 acres this spring, 80
> percent of which is a crop with seeds 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 U.S. companies like Gerber
> Products Co. and H.J. Heinz Co. , makers of 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 U.S. 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, 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 U.S. agriculture secretary, 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. The U.S.
> officials 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.     Still, farmers and trade officials point to new
> problems. In Mexico, which bought $500 million of U.S. 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 corn flour is made into
> tortillas, the Mexican staple.
>     In South Korea, another large importer of U.S. grain, corn-
> processing companies said they were considering buying corn from
> China instead of the United States because of concerns about the
> gene-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 Honda Motor Co. 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, Gerber and H.J. Heinz were the first
> large food companies to reject the new products.
>     Then Iams Co., 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' announcement shut down an
> alternative route that farmers had for corn that exporters will
> not accept.

> ======#======
6)  Reuters New hybrid corn seen helping cut water pollution USA: August 30,
1999  CHICAGO - A new hybrid corn that could help reduce water pollution
> could be on the market by 2001, a grain company executive  said.  The
> corn,
> which is designed to increase the amount of phosphorus that poultry
> and
> livestock can digest, is currently in the final growing and feed
> testing
> stages. If all goes well it could be included in poultry and hog feed
> rations within two years, said Miloud Araba, director of poultry
> business
> for Optimum Quality Grains in West Des  Moines, Iowa. Phosphorus and
> other
> nutrients from agricultural runoff in water systems can increase
> algae,
> reducing the oxygen that fish need to breathe.
> 
>  I would expect a grain like this would be at least one of the
> solutions,
> not necessarily the only solution but one of the solutions, that can
> contribute significantly to solving the problem (of phosphorus
> contamination)," Araba told Reuters.
> 
>  Optimum Quality Grains in conjunction with Pioneer Hi-Bred
> International
> Inc. was one of several companies licensed with the technology needed
> to
> commercialize the hybrid corn.
> 
>  A recent study by researchers from the University of Delaware and the
> U.S.
> Agriculture Department found that phosphorus levels were reduced by 41
> percent in the manure of chickens fed a modified diet of the hybrid
> corn,
> along with an enzyme that made phosphorus more digestible.
> 
>  Water-soluble phosphorus levels dropped even greater, by 82 percent,
> compared to the amount produced by poultry fed a standard commercial
> diet,
> George Malone, a University of Delaware poultry extension specialist,
> said
> in a statement released Thursday.
> 
>  The decrease in soluble phosphorus is particularly significant
> because
> soluble nutrients like phosphorus run off or pass more readily through
> the
> soil and into the water," Malone said.
> 
>  Chickens require phosphorus for muscle and bone development, Malone
> said.
> Yet the birds only poorly digest as much as 75 percent of the
> phosphorus in
> corn and other grains because it is locked within a molecule called
> phytic
> acid, or phytate, he said.
> 
>  By crossing plants with a recessive low phytic acid gene, a corn was
> developed containing low levels of phytic acid.
> 
>  Low-phytate corn, therefore, results in higher levels of phosphorus
> available to the animal," Malone said.
> 
>  Support for the project was provided by Townsends, a Delaware-based
> poultry
> and agribusiness company, Optimum Quality Grains, a DuPont /Pioneer
> joint
> venture, and BASF AG , a manufacturer of various poultry products,
> said
> Ginger Pinholster, a university spokeswoman.
> 
> ======#======

7)  ENVIRONMENT NEWS SERVICE AMERISCAN: AUGUST 26, 1999 HYBRID CORN CAN CUT 
PHOSPHORUS POLLUTION FROM CHICKENS  Phosphorus in poultry droppings -
> a
>  potential threat to water quality -can be reduced by feeding flocks a
> new
>  hybrid of corn with more digestible phosphorus, along with an enzyme
> that
>  helps chickens digest the mineral, University of Delaware (UD) and
> U.S.
>  Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists say. Chickens require
>  phosphorus for muscle and bone development. But as much as 75 percent
> of
>  the phosphorus in corn and other grains is not digested by chickens,
>  because it is locked within a molecule called phytic acid, or
> phytate.
>  Hyrbid low phytate corn results in higher levels of phosphorus
> available to
>  the animal, reducing the need for dietary phosphorus supplements.
> Total
>  phosphorus levels dropped by 41 percent after chickens ate a modified
> diet
>  containing the hybrid corn, reduced levels of supplemental phosphorus
> and
>  the phytase enzyme, says George Malone, a UD poultry specialist.
> Water
> soluble phosphorus levels dropped by 82 percent, compared to the
> amount
> produced by poultry fed a standard commercial diet. "The decrease in
> soluble
> phosphorus is particularly significant because soluble nutrients like
> phosphorus run off or pass more readily through the soil and into the
> water," Malone says. Victor Raboy, a research geneticist with the
> Agricultural Research Service of the USDA, says, "A 41 percent
> reduction in
> total phosphorus is a pretty big deal. This research can help the
> farming
> community make its contribution toward improved water quality."
> 
> Environment News Service (ENS) 1999
> 
> For full text and graphics visit:
> http://ens.lycos.com/ens/aug99/1999L-08-26-09.html
> 
> ======#======