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GE - GMO News 09/09

GMO News 09/09
1) 09/09 Eco Soil Completes $1M Buy Of Agricultural Biological RANCHO
Calif. (Dow Jones)
2) 09/09 0234 Goodbye To Needles? Vaccine Might Rub It In  By Maggie Fox,
Health and Science Correspondent WASHINGTON  (Reuters) - 
3) Jane's Information Group Limited, September 9, 1999 
America vs Europe The Western allies are also rivals 
4) Agence France Presse -Indonesia to set up body to supervise genetically -
modified foods DATELINE: JAKARTA,  Sept 9 
5) United Press International September 9, 1999, Thursday, BC 
> cycle -02:47 Eastern Time SECTION: Standing Feature 
> HEADLINE: UPI Farming Today -- Thursday, Sept. 9 [Excerpt 
> Follows] Seed group builds biotech database 
6)THE LAWYERS WEEKLY September 10, 1999 - Act should permit plant and animal 
patents BYLINE: John Woodley
7) Aust Govt urges biotechnology debate -BIOTECHNOLOGY CANBERRA, Sept 9 AAP
8)  The Canberra Times September 9, -SAFE PROGRESS NEEDED ALONG GM ROAD 
9) The Canberra Times September 9, 1999, - MODIFIED FOOD HAS 'A LONG WAY TO
10) BUSINESS LINE September 9,-India- No accord yet on Astra exit 
11)  The Guardian (London) September 9, 1999 - Anger at minister's pounds 2m
gift to Labour; Conflict of interest denied as Lord  Sainsbury defends
to his own party 
12)  The Independent (London) September 9, SAINSBURY FACES CALLS TO GO 
13) The Independent (London) September 9,- BURGER CRUSADER BECOMES A 
HERO BYLINE: John Lichfield In Paris 
14) Japan Economic Newswire September 9, Farm ministry to check 
snacks for unauthorized GMOs  TOKYO, Sept. 9 Kyodo 
15)  Marketing Week September 9, 1999 Iceland starts free nationwide Net
16)  The Independent (London) September 8, - BRITAIN MAY LOSE TOP GM

1) 09/09 Eco Soil Completes $1M Buy Of Agricultural Biological RANCHO
Calif. (Dow Jones)--Eco Soil Systems Inc. 
> (ESSI) completed its $1 million acquisition of the 
> agricultural biological unit from Canadian-based fertilizer 
> company Agrium Inc. (AGU). In a press release Thursday, Eco 
> Soil said the purchase provides it with four EPA-registered 
> biochemical insecticides, one pending EPA-registered 
> biofungicide, 12 biotechnological patents and a 
> microbiological collection in excess of 2,500 
> microorganisms. Eco Soil, which posted 1998 revenue of 
> $82.37 million, distributes biotech products that treat 
> chronic soil and water- quality problems. -Laura Elizabeth 
> Pohl; 201-938-5388 (END) DOW JONES NEWS 09-09-99 10:31 AM 
> Copyright 1999 Dow Jones & Co., Inc.
> ===================#=================== 
2) 09/09 0234 Goodbye To Needles? Vaccine Might Rub It In  By Maggie Fox,
Health and Science Correspondent WASHINGTON  (Reuters) - 

It is the dream of any child who has had to 
> undergo the recommended series of tetanus, diphtheria and 
> assorted other immunizations -- a vaccine that can be rubbed 
> onto the skin. Tests on mice suggest that vaccines made out 
> of "naked DNA" -- genetic material from whatever microbe is 
> being targeted -- might be absorbed through the hair 
> follicles in the skin, Dr. Paul Khavari and Dr. Hongran Fan 
> of Stanford University say. Writing in the latest issue of 
> Nature Biotechnology, they say the approach, if it is shown 
> to be safe, could work against a range of bacteria and 
> viruses. It will certainly be popular. "People are 
> attracted to the notion of applying vaccines in a painless, 
> topical fashion," Khavari said in a telephone interview. 
> And he said such a vaccine would be cheaper, because it is 
> easier to make DNA than to make a protein or to weaken, or 
> attenuate, a virus. Vaccines work on the principle that the 
> body can be trained to recognize and attack invaders. The 
> earliest vaccine used cowpox, a harmless virus related to 
> the smallpox virus, to give people immunity to the killer 
> disease. Other vaccines might use a killed version of a 
> virus -- as in some polio vaccines -- or a weakened form. 
> Vaccines against bacterial infections often use a piece of 
> the bacteria. But, with the exception of the oral polio 
> vaccine, nearly all must be injected using a needle, 
> although tests are underway on vaccines that can be inhaled 
> or eaten in food. Khavari, Fan and colleagues decided to 
> see if DNA, which is a small molecule, could be absorbed 
> through the skin. They took genetic material from the 
> hepatitis B virus and rubbed it into the skin of mice. It 
> made the mice partially immune to hepatitis B in two ways 
> -- their bodies produced antibodies against the virus, and 
> also immune cells learned to recognize and attack it. But 
> Khavari said it was not perfect. "It only looks like it 
> one-third as potent as commercially available protein 
> vaccine injected into the muscle," he said. And safety 
> issues will have to be addressed before it can be tested in 
> humans. "We need to find out whether putting DNA on skin 
> could possibly provoke an unwanted immune response to DNA 
> itself," he said. "We haven't seen that but it is something 
> that has to be studied more carefully in animals." Stanford 
> has licensed the process to Maxygen, a privately held 
> biotechnology company in Redwood City, California. Khavari, 
> a dermatologist who also works at the Veterans' Affairs 
> Palo Alto Healthcare System, says he thinks the DNA is 
> absorbed through the hair follicles, because mice bred to 
> have no hair follicles did not respond the rubbed-in DNA. 
> Although Khavari's team has tested only hepatitis B and a 
> protein that comes from the E. coli bacteria, they believe 
> the process, if it works at all, will work against a broad 
> range of microbes. "Right now it seems like it could be a 
> pretty broad platform," Khavari said. "We don't know until 
> we test it for every disease." But it will be years before 
> people can hope to avoid the hated needle. "Plenty of 
> things that work in animals don't work in humans," he 
> warned. Executive News Svc. 
> [Entered September 09, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 

3) Jane's Information Group Limited, September 9, 1999 
America vs Europe The Western allies are also rivals 

BODY: FROM high-tech electronic data 
> protection to down-to-earth beef and bananas, the European 
> Union and the United States will be caught up in a 
> near-record number of trade disputes in coming months. 
> However, these could all pale into insignificance if a 
> transatlantic row were to erupt over genetically modified 
> organisms (GMOs). Although the fundamental differences 
> between European and American attitudes towards GMOs have 
> the makings of an almighty clash, the present situation is 
> too fluid for hard-and-fast positions to take shape. 
> European public opinion has huge reservations about GMOs, 
> but some EU governments have nonetheless allowed tests and 
> experiments involving genetically modified crops to go 
> ahead. No attempt to draw up an overall EU position is 
> likely until the new European Commission under Romano Prodi 
> takes office in late September. Although American 
> corporations are at the forefront of genetic engineering, 
> and are the main butt of European opposition, the American 
> government has so far stayed out of the fray. Festival for 
> lawyers There are, however, enough lesser spats to keep 
> politicians, diplomats, traders - and trade lawyers - busy 
> in the meantime, on both sides of the water. At the 
> beginning of August, the United States imposed 100% duties 
> on a range of EU products in retaliation for the continued 
> EU ban on imports of American hormone-treated beef. The 
> American sanctions affect imports of European food products 
> such as beef, pork, canned tomatoes, cheese, and mustard. 
> The annual value of the items concerned is a modest 110 
> million euros. The products mainly affect France, Germany, 
> Italy and Denmark, targeted by the United States as the 
> main EU countries which support the hormone ban. The 
> American retaliation has the full backing of the World Trade 
> Organisation (WTO) because the EU has so far failed to 
> produce scientific evidence that hormone-treated beef 
> presents a hazard to health as world trade rules require. 
> This is the second time this year that the EU has been 
> penalised by the WTO in a dispute with the Americans. Last 
> April, the WTO authorised the United States to impose 
> sanctions on 190 million euros worth of EU goods because 
> the Europeans had not made all the required changes in 
> their banana import regime to end unfair preferences to 
> their former colonies in Africa and the Caribbean. These 
> sanctions, which affect French and Italian leather goods, 
> German coffee machines and British batteries, now look set 
> to last well into next year as the European Commission 
> failed to meet an end-July deadline to submit new proposals 
> for full compliance with the WTO ruling. Offshore 
> arrangements Not all recent WTO rulings have been in 
> America's favour. Last month, a preliminary report by a WTO 
> panel backed the EU in a dispute with the United States 
> over American off-shore tax arrangements for companies 
> exporting to Europe or elsewhere. The EU argues that the 
> American law permitting the creation of so- called Foreign 
> Sales Corporations, whereby exporters can reduce their 
> taxes, gave American firms an unfair advantage over their 
> competitors. The panel report calls on the Americans to 
> modify the system to eliminate any discriminatory element 
> by October 2000. The Americans argue that the system has 
> little effect on trade flows and is compatible with world 
> trade rules. The EU claims that American exporters channel 
> about US$10 billion a year of profits through these 
> corporations, thus saving themselves about US$2 billion in 
> taxes payable to the United States government. One dispute 
> likely to heat up in coming weeks concerns the EU's 
> decision to ban older aircraft fitted with noise-reduction 
> devices, known as 'hush kits'. Despite the apparent 
> acceptance by the United States of a decision by the EU 
> last May to delay the ban on hush kits until 2002, the 
> American aerospace industry is not satisfied and wants the 
> administration to take action under Section 301 of the 
> American 1988 Trade Act. The Americans claim the ban could 
> affect up to US$1 billion dollars of American-made 
> equipment. Still unhappy Meanwhile, earlier signs of a 
> possible rapid settlement of the differences over the EU's 
> recent data-protection directive have disappeared. The 
> directive allows EU governments to ban the export of 
> personal data to countries which do not have binding 
> legislation to prevent its misuse. The Europeans argue that 
> the present American system of industry self-regulation 
> does not meet the requirements set out in the directive. 
> The American negotiators have put forward ways of making 
> the present voluntary arrangements more stringent for 
> American firms, but the EU is still unhappy about the 
> mechanics for verifying compliance. 

> ===================#=================== 
4) Agence France Presse -Indonesia to set up body to supervise genetically -
modified foods DATELINE: JAKARTA,  Sept 9 

BODY: The Indonesian government will set up a 
> commission to supervise genetically -modified (GM) food 
> products, Minister for Food and Horticulture A.M. Saefuddin 
> said Thursday. Saefuddin was quoted by the state Antara 
> news agency as saying the formation of the Food Safety 
> Commission, as the body will be called, is intended to 
> protect consumers from any adverse effects of GM foods. "In 
> Indonesia food originating from genetically modified 
> organisms, corn and soybean have been tested bio- 
> environmentally and the result is good," Saefuddin said, 
> adding the ministry agriculture had certified GM foods as 
> environmentally healthy. But clinical tests had yet to be 
> done here, he said. The commission will be under the 
> supervison of his ministry in cooperation with the 
> agriculture, health and trade ministries, he said. The 
> minister said in the United States and Argentina, 60 
> percent of agricultural commodities are genetically 
> modified. "We will see prototype regulations made by other 
> countries to find out whether GM food have adverse 
> effects," Saefuddin said. 
> ===================#=================== 

5) United Press International September 9, 1999, Thursday, BC 
> cycle -02:47 Eastern Time SECTION: Standing Feature 
> HEADLINE: UPI Farming Today -- Thursday, Sept. 9 [Excerpt 
> Follows] Seed group builds biotech database The American 
> Seed Trade Association has established a database of grain 
> handlers who will accept biotech varieties of corn not yet 
> approved for import into the European Union. The database 
> is available at the association's website, at www. 
> The ASTA says farmers can type in their zip 
> code and cite a specific distance to find purchasers within 
> their area who will take corn grain approved in the United 
> States but not yet approved for import into all markets. 
> Growers who do not have access to the internet will be 
> able to access the database through representatives of 
> major seed companies and biotech providers. The ASTA's Dean 
> Urmston said, ''Though we need to remember that the vast 
> majority of grain handlers are accepting all grain, this 
> tool will be helpful this fall and making next year's crop 
> decisions during the winter.'' -upi- -upi- GAO to review 
> food recall process BODY: The U.S. General Accounting 
> Office, the investigative arm of Congress, is planning a 
> review of how companies recall dangerous foods. The Detroit 
> Free Press said Wednesday that the GAO's probe will take 
> about six months. It was requested by Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin. 
> The investigation comes in the wake of a deadly outbreak of 
> foodborne illness that was traced to a Bil Mar Foods plant 
> in Zeeland, Mich. At least 21 people died and 80 were 
> sickened from bacteria in meat produced at the plant. -upi- 
> Tropical storm Floyd forms in Atlantic Floyd, the season's 
> sixth tropical storm, has formed in the Atlantic east of 
> the Leeward Islands and its top sustained winds of 40 mph 
> were slowly strengthening. At 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Floyd 
> was located near latitude 15.8 north, longitude 50.0 west, 
> about 755 miles west of the Lesser Antilles. Conditions 
> favor a continued but gradual increase in strength during 
> the next 24 hours. Tropical storm force winds extend 
> outward up to 85 miles from the center. Meanwhile, two old 
> systems continue to pelt parts of the continent with rain. 
> Tropical depression No. 8 is dropping heavy rain on Mexico 
> and the remains of Dennis continues to produce wet weather 
> in the Northeast. -upi- Dennis very, very good to Virginia 
> Rain from Hurricane Dennis has been a boon for farmers in 
> the Mid- Atlantic. Pat Michaels at the Virginia Climate 
> Office says mountain regions received 8 inches of rain last 
> weekend, while the drought-stricken northern Valley got 
> about 3 inches. Four inches fell on central Virginia. 
> Michaels says the slow, soaking rains from Dennis did a 
> lot to improve moisture levels. Neanwhile, farms in 
> Virginia's Amherst, Bedford, Nelson and Rockbridge counties 
> are getting a final installment of donated hay this week. 
> Carroll's Foods donated 1,000 half-ton bales to help 
> farmers who cannot feed their cattle due to the drought. 
> But thanks to recent rains, some producers may now be able 
> to grow a late fall crop of hay to get through winter. 
> -upi- Rain slows North Dakota crops Agriculture officials 
> in North Dakota say last week's rain not only halted the 
> harvest, but also raised concerns about quality of the 
> state's small grain crops. The wet weather caused sprout 
> damage in small grains and edible beans. It prompted 
> bleaching and sprouting in alternative crops, such as dry 
> peas and safflower, in North Dakota'a southest district. 
> The rain has also set the harvesting of spring wheat and 
> durum well behind the five year average. The Grand Forks 
> Grand Herald today said American Crystal Sugar Co. has idled 
> three sugar beet refineries because the slow harvest has not 
> generated enough beets. Heavy rains have swollen area 
> waterways but the National Weather Service lowered the 
> crest outlook for the Red River at Grand Forks. The Red is 
> expected to top out Thursday at 30.8 feet, nearly three 
> feet over flood stage. The river surpassed flood stage in 
> Grand Forks early Wednesday, although no problems were 
> reported. -upi- Heinz earnings slightly lower H.J. Heinz 
> Co. reported a slight decline in net income for the first 
> quarter of fiscal year 2000, but figures were near Wall 
> Street estimates. The company reported net income at $206.7 
> million, including special charges. Excluding the charges, 
> net income would have earned $236.9 million for the quarter 
> ended July 28. During the same quarter last year, the 
> ketchup and processed foods giant posted a net income of 
> $213. 8 million, or $223.3 excluding special charges. -upi- 
> Midwest fur activist nabbed in Europe An animal rights 
> activist accused of releasing thousands of mink in the 
> Midwest has been arrested in Europe. Justin Samuel, 20, was 
> picked up in Belgium. The FBI believes Samuel is 
> responsible for releasing 3,600 mink from four farms in 
> Wisconsin in 1997, as well as farms in Iowa and South 
> Dakota. Samuel and another man, Peter Young, were charged a 
> year ago in a six-count federal indictment. The charged 
> included engaging in animal enterprise terrorism and 
> unlawfully interfering with interstate commerce. Samuel is 
> from Washington state and reportedly is a member of the 
> Animal Liberation Front. He's awaiting extradition in 
> Belgium. Young remains at large. -upi- Farmers wrestle with 
> credit card debt The slump in farm prices is bad enough 
> that Iowa farmers are turning increasingly to credit cards 
> to pay for day-to-day expenses and farm operating costs, 
> says Iowa State University. Iowa lenders believe credit 
> card debt is a serious problem for many of the farmers who 
> are in the worst financial shape. Lenders at the Farm 
> Service Agency, which oversees federal farm loan programs, 
> consider credit card debt a greater problem than do lenders 
> at commerical banks, the ISU survey found. Federal bank 
> regulators are keeping a watchful eye on financial 
> institutions lending to businesses affected by the slump in 
> farm prices. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is warning 
> that if the price slide persists, the lending institutions 
> could suffer losses. The FDIC's Regional Outlook report for 
> the third quarter noted a similarity to the price slide of 
> the 1980s, which triggered a ''rolling recession'' that 
> spread through the Plains States and the oil-producing 
> regions of the south central and western states. The 
> decline in farm land values starting in 1981 contributed to 
> the failure of hundreds of banks in agricultural regions 
> between 1984 and 1990. (Thanks to E.W. Kieckhefer) -upi- 
> (end-farmshow) 

6)THE LAWYERS WEEKLY September 10, 1999 - Act should permit plant and animal 
patents BYLINE: John Woodley

TEXT: One no longer has to 
> learn about significant developments regarding genetically 
> engineered plants and animals by reading sophisticated 
> scientific journals. One can now read about them regularly 
> in the local newspaper. Genetic engineers can modify plants 
> to increase crop yield, modify oil content in seeds, such 
> as Canola, and improve disease and insect resistance. 
> Plants and animals can be genetically engineered to 
> produce human proteins not indigenous to the plant or animal 
> -for example, mouse models for investigating disease 
> treatment and production of recombinant proteins in cow's 
> milk, to name a few. Products of nature -are they 
> patentable? The concern is often expressed that chemical 
> structures existing in nature, once discovered, should not 
> constitute patentable subject matter. If the genetic 
> sequence exists in the animal, then the argument is that 
> simply isolating it does not constitute a patentable step. 
> However, one must appreciate that it is the isolation and 
> characterization of the genetic material that renders it 
> patentable and distinct from the prior art. It is a very 
> difficult task -likened to finding a needle in a haystack 
> -to isolate and characterize a DNA sequence that forms part 
> of or all of the gene for encoding a certain protein. The 
> isolation, purification and characterization is an inventive 
> step that results in a new chemical structure that is both 
> new, useful and not obvious in view of the prior art. 
> Having met these three criteria, such subject matter is 
> patentable; however, we lack clear direction on the 
> interpretation of the Canadian Patent Act in connection with 
> patentable inventions pertaining to higher life forms, such 
> as plants and animals. This issue needs to be clarified 
> now. Too much is hanging in the balance respecting 
> significant advances being made in Canada on commercially 
> significant genetic modifications to plants and animals. 
> Why patent plants and animals? The Canadian government is 
> spending millions of dollars every month supporting 
> research programs related to the field of biotechnology. 
> Although many of the developments in this area can be 
> protected by patents in Canada, we are still a way behind 
> when it comes to plants and animals. Such patents are 
> needed not only to secure a marketplace in Canada, but as 
> well to facilitate technology transfer internationally. 
> Canada must compete in the international market, not only 
> from the standpoint of developing new technologies in this 
> field, but in addition, by supporting the importation of 
> technologies that will facilitate developments in Canada. By 
> not permitting patents on plants and animals, we give our 
> neighbour, the United States, which does allow such 
> patents, the advantage of creating an environment that is 
> more supportive of technology transfer. Furthermore, from 
> an investment standpoint, venture capitalists and other 
> financial backers are more prepared to invest in an 
> American company, because of the wider scope of protection 
> allowed in the U.S. in the biotechnology field. The 
> Canadian government should take note and similarly support 
> the Canadian biotechnology industry by modifying the Patent 
> Act to allow patents on plants and animals, if for no other 
> reason than to protect its significant investment in this 
> technology. Where do we stand internationally? Patents on 
> plants and animals can now be obtained in several 
> industrialized countries around the world, including the 
> U.S., 
> Europe, Japan and Australia. We continue to lag behind on 
> this issue and should be getting clear direction from the 
> courts, if not the government, on what can be patented in 
> this field. Where do we stand in Canada? There have been 
> two leading decisions respecting patents on plants and 
> animals. At the Supreme Court of Canada level, it was held 
> in Pioneer Hi-Bred Ltd. v. Canada (Commissioner of 
> Patents), [1989] 25 C.P.R. (3d) 257 that a patent 
> application directed to a plant was not patentable because 
> no clear guidance was given that would enable one skilled 
> in the art to reproduce the unique soybean plant. However, 
> the decision did not hold that plants per se were not 
> patentable, and it appears that there remains an avenue of 
> hope in this respect. In respect of patents on animals, 
> Harvard University had applied in Canada for a patent on a 
> mouse having certain characteristics that facilitate cancer 
> research. Although considerable detail was given in the 
> specification as to how to reproduce the mouse so it 
> consistently had certain carcinogenic features, over all 
> the mouse was not identical to its parent, and hence the 
> production of the mouse was not considered to be totally 
> under the control of man. For this reason, the Federal 
> Court, in President and Fellows of Harvard College v. 
> Canada (Commissioner of Patents), [1998] 3 F.C. 510, held 
> that the mouse was not patentable, because one could not 
> reproduce the mouse in every aspect. However, nothing has 
> been said about techniques that might result in animals 
> that are always identical. Canadian Patent Office position 
> The Patent Office has interpreted the courts'decisions quite 
> broadly and is rejecting any and all patent applications 
> directed to plants or animals per se. To some extent, there 
> is pressure for the Patent Office to function as a 
> gatekeeper for health regulatory issues and to block 
> patents that may affect in some negative way the quality of 
> life. The Patent Office is there to establish the 
> patentability of inventions based on science -not on moral 
> obligation to society. This is made clear by the deletion 
> from the new Patent Act of any reference to an immoral 
> object not being patentable. This amendment clearly 
> prevents morality issues from being raised in connection 
> with patenting plants and animals. Direction for 
> practitioners Every effort should be made to convince the 
> Patent Office, the Appeal Board of the Canadian Patent 
> Office, the courts and all relevant government bodies that 
> patents in Canada on plants and animals are an absolute 
> must. We are trailing significantly behind other 
> industrialized countries in this area of the technology. We 
> are supporting research in this field with considerable 
> public funds. It is time to break the logjam and start 
> allowing patents on plants and animals. In the meantime, 
> practitioners should take a very strong position respecting 
> patents on plants that involve recombinant DNA techniques 
> for gene modification. This type of subject matter is 
> totally reproducible and can be readily enabled by detailed 
> descriptions and the usual biological deposits. 
> Correspondingly, with respect to animals, practitioners 
> should strongly urge the Patent Office to allow patents on 
> animal clones. The science is reproducible right down to 
> identicality of facial features. A cloned animal is an 
> exact replica of the parent animal and hence is 
> reproducible in every respect. We cannot stop the advances 
> of science. We should be supporting it from the patent 
> front. Any misuse should be controlled by regulatory bodies 
> -not the Patent Office. John Woodley is a Patent and 
> Trade-mark Agent with Sim & McBurney in Toronto. His 
> practice focuses primarily on biotechnology, pharmaceutical 
> and chemical engineering technologies. 
> ===================#=================== 

7) Aust Govt urges biotechnology debate -BIOTECHNOLOGY CANBERRA, Sept 9 AAP

- The federal government 
> wants to open up the debate on gene technology and is 
> calling for public comment on the issue. A cooperative of 
> government agencies has produced a discussion paper on 
> biotechnology, which involves scientists using living 
> things to make or change products. Industry, Science and 
> Resources Minister Nick Minchin said the government wanted 
> to capture the benefits of biotechnology for the Australian 
> community, industry and environment. "This discussion paper 
> provides the opportunity for the public to be involved in 
> developing a national biotechnology industry strategy in 
> Australia," Senator Minchin said. "Two strengths of the 
> government's biotechnology approach are its commitment to 
> transparency and a strong regulatory environment, and this 
> discussion paper will play an important role in promoting 
> informed debate within the community." 
> Biotechnology would have major implications in terms of 
> production, trade and economic growth particularly in the 
> agricultural, food and the medical and pharmaceutical areas, 
> Senator Minchin said. The paper was developed by 
> Biotechnology Australia, a cooperative involving the 
> following government departments: Industry, Science and 
> Resources; Education, Training and Youth Affairs; 
> Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, Health and Aged Care 
> and Environment Australia. 
> ===================#=================== 

8)  The Canberra Times September 9, -SAFE PROGRESS NEEDED ALONG GM ROAD 

BODY: THERE is enormous concern in the 
> community about the issue of genetic modification (GM) of 
> foods. Of course, most of what we eat has been genetically 
> modified by selective breeding experiments over the passage 
> of years. Some exotic fruits represent mixtures of genetic 
> material (DNA) that could never evolve in nature. However, 
> we are now entering a new era where, for example, 40 per 
> cent of the corn and 60 per cent of cotton grown in the US 
> has been modified by the insertion of novel DNA using the 
> techniques of contemporary molecular genetics, a process 
> that can move very rapidly indeed. Some of these approaches 
> include the sinister sounding "terminator" technology, 
> which simply means that the gene in question is expressed 
> in the cytoplasm of the cell rather than in nuclear DNA and 
> will thus not pass to the next generation of seeds. " 
> Terminator" should act to protect the environment, by 
> ensuring that GM plants do not take over from the natural 
> flora. GM raises a number of complex issues. Is the 
> technology safe? Should GM foods be labelled? What are the 
> consequences for farmers? "Terminator" seeds, for example, 
> would have to be purchased from large manufacturers, a 
> requirement that imposes constraints on primary producers. 
> Should we legislate to protect growers from predatory 
> restrictive trade practices and pricing? Like plant 
> varieties bred using traditional approaches, GM products 
> have patent protection. How do we ensure that Australia 
> does not become just a client state in the GM world, being 
> forced to pay expensive licensing charges to overseas 
> companies? The bottom line with GM is that there is no 
> point to it unless there is some real advantage. Why go 
> this road unless the product is either better and/or 
> cheaper to make? The fact that GM has so quickly dominated 
> segments of agriculture in the US has to mean that growers, 
> at least, perceive that the technology is useful. It should 
> also be recognised that these are very early days: we have 
> not yet even reached the "T model Ford" era for GM food. 
> There is a long way to go and we must be careful, though 
> experience to date with GM technology in the US has not 
> revealed any significant problems. Could you say the same 
> about automobiles or jets? Should we ban cars and planes? 
> Are horses safer than cars? Was it the English who insisted 
> at the turn of the last century that all "motors" should be 
> preceded through the streets by a man carrying a red flag? 
> They were right, cars are dangerous, though British 
> attitudes have changed. It is highly likely that Europe 
> will find GM food to be acceptable before many years have 
> passed. The issue of labelling is very contentious. 
> Labelling that is specific and does not require removal of 
> those loathsome sticky labels from apples seems to me to 
> present no great problem. A possible mechanism would be to 
> publish (both in hard copy and on the web) a universally 
> accessible, regularly updated guide that lists all genetic 
> modifications. Anyone who cares about this issue could then 
> consult the guide and find out what "GME350" on a packet of 
> cornflakes or a bin of fresh fruit actually means: which 
> gene has been inserted and where? It would then be up to 
> the individual to decide whether to buy what may well be a 
> cheaper and better product next time they go to the 
> supermarket. Manufacturers could potentially use such a 
> label as a mark of quality. The organic people will still 
> be around. Why should anyone buy GM if it is not 
> competitive? Let market forces rule. Would any large 
> company knowingly lay itself open to a possible class action 
> suit resulting from the introduction of a dangerous GM 
> product? I doubt it after the tobacco experience. Even so, 
> mistakes can be made and I believe that (as with 
> pharmaceuticals) all countries should have well established 
> food regulatory agen cies for monitoring GM chemicals (such 
> as pesticides) and bacterial contamination. This role needs 
> to be reinforced by straightforward reporting systems to 
> help identify any problems as soon as possible. The 
> function might also be extended to monitor the so- called 
> "natural medicines," some of which are known to be toxic 
> but are completely unregulated. One of the reasons I am 
> enthusiastic about GM is that the plant scientists are 
> telling us that it is (or will be) possible to engineer 
> products that have higher food value and require less 
> herbicides, less pesticides, less tillage (and soil 
> erosion) and are thus more environmentally friendly. It 
> should be also possible to eliminate toxic components from 
> some commonly utilised foods, such as cassava. The well 
> known GM-corn/Monarch butterfly experiment did not include 
> the right control, which would have been to feed the 
> caterpillars on corn that was sprayed with the chemical 
> that the GM was replacing. What we are talking about here 
> is relative risk. There is little in life that does not 
> involve some element of danger. What about organic farming? 
> This may be a reality for those who care about the issue in 
> rich countries like Australia, but we live on a planet 
> where 800 million people have a very inadequate diet. The 
> global population is increasing annually by 83 million. The 
> organic approach simply cannot deal with this. The 
> publicly-funded effort in international agriculture 
> research is looking to GM as the only possible solution, 
> the aim being to achieve a second "green revolution." It is 
> essential that we approach the GM issue rationally in the 
> advanced nations so that we do not create real obstacles 
> for people who are motivated to help the disadvantaged. 
> These countries are too poor to buy from the rich nations 
> and must produce much of their food slocally. Deprivation 
> in the developing countries also poses major, long-term 
> political dangers for all of us. We live in one world. Why 
> should I care about the GM issue? I have no financial or 
> other interest in feathering the nest of the large GM seed 
> companies. I work most of my year in the US, where the GM 
> approach has not been very contentious. However, I also 
> spend two months annually as a professor in the Department 
> of Microbiology at Melbourne University. My field is 
> immunity to viruses and my research deals with animals and 
> people. The principles of molecular genetics are the same 
> in verte brates and in plants. Malnutrition and the 
> consequences of infectious disease are tightly linked. I am 
> also very concerned that Australia should not shoot itself 
> in the foot by compromising both research and application 
> in the GM food area. One of my broader roles, stemming from 
> an early training in veterinary science, is to serve as an 
> ambassador for Future Harvest, an organisation associated 
> with Australia's Crawford Fund and the Consultative Group 
> for International Agriculture Research. My home 
> institution, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, is 
> dedicated to dealing with catastrophic diseases of kids. 
> There may be worse catastrophes than childhood starvation 
> and malnutrition but, on a global scale, this has to be a 
> major one. Would anyone care to suggest the contrary? I 
> make no apology for arguing that the careful application of 
> contemporary scientific research is one of the few, useful 
> tools that we have to confront the issue. We are culpable 
> if we are persuaded to bury our heads in the sands of 
> irrational prejudice and ill-founded fear. Professor 
> Doherty shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for Medicine with 
> Professor Rolf Zinkernagel for work conducted in the 1970s 
> at the John Curtin School of Medical Research. GRAPHIC: 
> PETER C. DOHERTY says he is enthusiastic about genetic 
> modification because it has the potential to feed a world 
> where many go hungry. 
> ===================#=================== 
9) The Canberra Times September 9, 1999, - MODIFIED FOOD HAS 'A LONG WAY TO

> BODY: Nobel prize winner Professor Peter Doherty says that 
> genetic science has yet to reach the T model Ford" era. 
> There is a long way to go and we must be careful, though 
> experience to date with GM genetic modification technology 
> in the United States Uhas not revealed any significant 
> problems." 
> Today's Canberra Times guest Science and Technology 
> columnist, Professor Doherty says genetic technology is 
> necessary to increase agricultural yields to feed the 
> world's growing population without exacerbating 
> environmental degradation. The publicly funded effort in 
> international agriculture research is looking to GM as the 
> only possible solution, the aim being to achieve a second 
> "green revolution'. It is essential that we approach the GM 
> issue rationally in the advanced nations so that we do not 
> create real obstacles for people who are motivated to help 
> the disadvantaged." Organic approaches to farming cannot 
> provide sufficient increases in yields to improve nutrition 
> for around 800 million people now suffering inadequate 
> diets and provide for an annual global population increase 
> of 83 million people, he says. In developed countries, 
> informative labelling of food for genetically modified 
> content, possibly supported by an online database, seems to 
> present no problem", he says. It would then be up to the 
> individual to decide whether to buy what may well be a 
> cheaper and better product next time they go to the 
> supermarket." He endorses market-driven outcomes at 
> consumer and producer levels. The bottom line with GM is 
> that there is no point to it unless there is some real 
> advantage. Why go this road unless the product is either 
> better and/or cheaper to make?" Professor Doherty warns 
> that Australia must ensure that it does not become a client 
> state in the GM world". 
> ===================#=================== 

10) BUSINESS LINE September 9,-India- No accord yet on Astra exit 

BODY: Our 
> Bureau BANGALORE, Sept. 8 THE fate of Astra-IDL (AIDL) 
> remains unresolved between its two promoters, well over a 
> year after Astra made it clear that it intended to pull 
> out. Addressing shareholders at the company's AGM on 
> Tuesday, AIDL's outgoing Chairman, Mr. D.E. Udwadia, said 
> that Astra Pharmaceuticals and IDL are discussing 
> shareholding and other issues. Astra and the Hinduja-owned 
> IDL each own 25.75 per cent equity in the 19-year-old joint 
> venture. Mr. Udwadia said that there was no final agreement 
> on the exit of the Swedish partner, which has become a 
> subsidiary of AstraZeneca (AZ), after it merged with the 
> British biotech company, Zeneca Group, last April. "We 
> still don't know which way it will go after the talks." Two 
> senior officials based in AstraZeneca's Singapore regional 
> office, including the Regional Director (Asia), were in 
> Bangalore in mid-August. Though officials here did not 
> comment on the outcome of the visit, they hoped the message 
> that Astra should not dissociate from AIDL had been driven 
> home. AZ is also said to be "realistically viewing the 
> stake" in AIDL in view of India being a potential pharma 
> base and market, they added. Meanwhile, AIDL has received 
> Astra's proposals on the use of its brand name in the event 
> of its pulling out, Mr. Udwadia said. The proposals are 
> before the board. After months of negotiations between the 
> two promoters, IDL has been given time till June 30 next 
> year to acquire all the Astra shares, and purchase them 
> within three months. Astra currently owns 56 per cent of 
> the AIDL brands. It wants to withdraw its name from the 
> company and later withdraw the brands, but has offered to 
> allow the new entity to exclusively manufacture and sell 
> its products up to December 31, 2004. In the meanwhile, 
> AIDL will have to explore new export avenues, Mr. Udwadia 
> said. Exports have fallen from Rs. 23 lakhs to Rs. 10 lakhs 
> during 1998-99, as there has been no demand for the 
> mainstay, clofazamine. AIDL has been supplying the anti- 
> leprosy drug to WHO for distribution in South Africa and 
> Latin America, but Novartis has now begun providing the 
> drug free of charge and demand has died. It is also 
> considering exporting non-Astra products. The company has 
> declared a dividend of 33 per cent, with sales of Rs. 39 
> crores during the April-August period. The overall sales 
> turnover stood at 105.2 crores during the year ended March 
> 31. Dr. E.G.Mahadevan takes over from Mr. Udwadia as 
> Chairman for the next one year. Copyright 1999: Business 
> Line. All Rights Reserved. 
> ===================#=================== 

11)  The Guardian (London) September 9, 1999 - Anger at minister's pounds 2m
gift to Labour; Conflict of interest denied as Lord  Sainsbury defends
to his own party 

> MacAskill Chief Political Correspondent BODY: Ewen 
> MacAskill Chief Political Correspondent Labour's disclosure 
> that Lord Sainsbury, the science minister and one of the 
> driving forces behind genetically - modified foods, is to 
> donate pounds 2 million to the party this year was 
> yesterday greeted with outrage from both Tory MPs and 
> environmentalists. The donation, one of the biggest 
> individual gifts in Labour's history, immediately raised 
> new doubts about government impartiality over the 
> development of genetically -modified crops. Labour insisted 
> there was no conflict of interest because decisions on GM 
> foods were the responsibility of Jack Cunningham's cabinet 
> office and not the department of trade and industry, where 
> Lord Sainsbury is a minister. But the Conservatives, 
> claiming to find it extraordinary that a government 
> minister should be funding his own party, called for his 
> resignation. Some Labour MPs expressed queasiness about the 
> gift, as did Friends of the Earth. Lord Sainsbury said he 
> was proud both to serve in the government and 'proud to 
> support the Labour party financially alongside the many 
> other people who contribute generously to it'. 'As a 
> minister, I am more than ready for it to be a matter of 
> public record how much money I give to Labour, and I am 
> therefore announcing today that I will be making a gift of 
> pounds 2 million to the party.' 
> The announcement came as the party published its annual 
> report, which provides details of funding and membership. 
> Breadth of appeal The party has reduced its huge election 
> deficit to pounds 6,000 but recorded a further fall in 
> membership, down from 405,000 at the end of 1997 to 388,000 
> at the end of last year. Labour's inner circle took the 
> decision that it would be better to disclose Lord 
> Sainsbury's donation before it leaked out, creating an even 
> bigger political row. Millbank claimed to be unembarrassed 
> by the gift yesterday, saying it demonstrated the breadth 
> of appeal of the party. In fact, Millbank had been worried 
> that a leak of details of donors last week might put off 
> future donors and hopes a gesture from a businessman of 
> Lord Sainsbury's stature might reassure them. Funding has 
> long been a difficult area for Labour and the Tories. 
> Within months of arriving in power, Labour was embroiled 
> in a row over pounds 1 million donated by the Formula One 
> chief, Bernie Ecclestone, which it was eventually forced to 
> return. On becoming a minister, Lord Sainsbury put into a 
> blind trust his shares in the food marketing group which 
> has invested heavily in research into GM foods. He sits on 
> the cabinet committee dealing with bio-technology and 
> yesterday morning was on BBC radio defending the 
> government's policy on GM foods. Charles Secrett, director 
> of Friends of the Earth, challenged the government's claims 
> to impartiality given that Lord Sainsbury had so many 
> roles. 'If that is not a conflict of interest, what is?' 
> John Redwood, the Conservative environment spokesman, said: 
> 'Either someone helps a political party by giving large 
> donations to it, or helps on policy and can serve as a 
> minister. You cannot do both - especially if you have 
> investments in the area of your ministerial 
> responsibilities. Lord Sainsbury should now resign.' 
> Some Labour back-benchers too are uneasy. Robert Marshall- 
> Andrews, the Labour MP for Medway, a QC and outspoken 
> critic of the government, said: 'The real issue and vice is 
> the question of patronage. Lord Sainsbury is an unelected 
> politician. The real question is the perception that 
> influence will follow money.' 
> Government sources countered that Lord Sainsbury had been 
> transparent about the donation in contrast with his brother, 
> Tim, who had given unknown amounts of money to the Tory 
> party. pounds 7.92m donations In Labour's annual report, 
> the party disclosed that its total donations for last year 
> amounted to pounds 7.92 million. They said its members and 
> 'small donors' amount to 40% of its income, with 30% from 
> the trades unions, 20% from 'large donors' and 10% from 
> commercial activity. Lord Gavron, chairman of the Scott 
> Trust which owns the Guardian, was named earlier in the 
> week as having given pounds 500,000 to the Labour Party - 
> but the gift was handed over in June and so not included in 
> the 1998 list published yesterday. Leader comment, page 21 
> ===================#=================== 

12)  The Independent (London) September 9, SAINSBURY FACES CALLS TO GO 

> Political Editor BODY: THE SCIENCE minister Lord Sainsbury 
> of Turville faced calls to resign last night after 
> announcing that he is to donate pounds 2m to the Labour 
> Party. The Tories claimed there was a conflict of interest 
> because Lord Sainsbury, a passionate advocate of 
> genetically modified crops and foods, was in a position to 
> influence policy on one of the most sensitive issues facing 
> the Government. Lord Sainsbury, former chairman of the 
> supermarket chain, gave Labour pounds 2m before the 1997 
> general election. The party was thrown on to the defensive 
> last night over his new donation, and appeared surprised by 
> the controversy it provoked. The code of conduct for 
> ministers says they "must ensure that no conflict arises, 
> or appears to arise, between their public duties and their 
> private interests". Lord Sainsbury's shares in the family 
> firm, and those in a company that possessed the patent 
> rights to a key gene used in the GM process, were put into 
> a blind trust when he became a minister. The Government 
> insists he plays no part in formulating policy on the issue. 
> But the Tories are to demand an investigation into whether 
> Lord Sainsbury has breached the ministerial rules. "Lord 
> Sainsbury should now resign," John Redwood, the shadow 
> Environment Secretary, said. "Either someone helps a 
> political party by giving large donations to it, or helps 
> on policy and can serve as a minister. You cannot do both - 
> especially if you have investments in the area of your 
> ministerial responsibilities." 
> Bob Marshall-Andrews, Labour MP for Medway, described the 
> donation as a dangerous development. He said: "When someone 
> is the recipient of such massive patronage and also a donor 
> of massive funds, then that obviously affects a perception 
> of democracy. That is what is so corrosive and damaging." 
> Downing Street said Tony Blair had not discussed the 
> donation with Lord Sainsbury, who does not draw a 
> ministerial salary. A spokesman did not know whether the 
> gift had been brought to the Prime Minister's attention. 
> The row was embarrassing for Labour, which has attacked 
> the dependency of the Tories on their treasurer, Michael 
> Ashcroft, a businessman and tax exile. The Tories say he 
> provides 10 per cent of their funds; Lord Sainsbury will 
> now provide a similar slice of Labour's income. Labour 
> sources insisted they had nothing to be embarrassed about 
> and welcomed one of the biggest single donations to party 
> funds. They suggested that wealthy ministers had given 
> money to the Tories while the party was in power, and 
> contrasted the secrecy of these gifts with Lord Sainsbury's 
> openness. Lord Sainsbury said: "As a minister I am more 
> than ready for it to be a matter of public record how much 
> money I give to the Labour Party." The storm overshadowed 
> the publication of Labour's accounts, which showed the 
> party had turned round its finances, wiping out a deficit 
> of pounds 4.5m and making a surplus of the same amount - 
> the largest in its history. But Labour's annual report 
> admitted: "Our financial position remains fragile." Party 
> membership dropped from 405,238 to 387,776 last year, and a 
> further fall is expected this year. Labour argued that it 
> was now Britain's most broadly based political party, with 
> 40 per cent of its annual income, or pounds 8m, coming from 
> small donations from Labour members, 30 per cent from trade 
> unions, 20 per cent from big donations of more than pounds 
> 1,000, and 10 per cent from sponsorship. The report listed 
> the 45 donors who gave the party more than pounds 5,000 
> last year. They included Greg Dyke, the incoming director 
> general of the BBC; Gerry Robinson, the chairman of 
> Granada, who was appointed chairman of the Arts Council by 
> the Government; Neil Tennant, singer with the Pet Shop 
> Boys; John Reid, the former manager of Elton John; Baroness 
> Rendell, the crime author who was made a life peer by 
> Labour; and her fellow peers Lord Hamlyn, the publisher, 
> and Lord Haskins, the chairman of Northern Foods, who heads 
> a government task force on red tape. Lobbyists and public 
> relations firms who bought tickets for Labour fund-raising 
> events at a cost of more than pounds 5,000 included 
> Brunswick, Grandfield, and Lawson Lucas Mendelsohn. 
> GRAPHIC: Alongside Lord Sainsbury of Turville (left) on a 
> list of donors who have given over pounds 5,000 to Labour 
> were Baroness Rendell, the author, and Neil Tennant, of the 
> Pet Shop Boys 
> ===================#=================== 

13) The Independent (London) September 9,- BURGER CRUSADER BECOMES A 
HERO BYLINE: John Lichfield In Paris 

> of Roquefort, Jose Bove, is on the march. Released from 
> prison, the leader of the French small farmers' rebellion 
> against Uncle Sam and Ronald McDonald plans to head a 
> Europe-wide producer and consumer crusade against la sale 
> bouffe (dirty food). Mr Bove, 47, an urban peace and 
> environmental campaigner turned sheep farmer and activist, 
> has become an overnight hero and symbol for individuals and 
> groups all over the world fighting mass agriculture, 
> scientifically engineered food and the diktats of global 
> trade. Imprisoned last month for leading an attack on a 
> half-built McDonald's in the south of France, he refused on 
> principle to pay his Fr105,000 (pounds 10,500) bail. He has 
> now consented to come out of jail after the money was 
> raised a dozen times over by sympathisers in France and 
> other countries, including farmers in the United States, 
> the country Mr Bove accuses of trade and food imperialism. 
> Mr Bove, despite the clearly illegal nature of his actions 
> (smashing up a McDonald's under construction), has been 
> supported across the French political spectrum, from the 
> Communists to the National Front. Even the President, 
> Jacques Chirac, and the Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, have 
> sided with him. He told the newspaper Le Monde yesterday he 
> would form a Europe-wide alliance of small farmers and 
> consumers against agro-industry and cheap but tasteless and 
> doubtfully produced food. The first target of the new 
> campaign would be the world trade talks in Seattle in late 
> November, which he planned to attend. "We have to create 
> another international logic, instead of economic, social 
> and environmental dumping in agriculture," he said. "We 
> have to change the World Trade Organisation so that it 
> respects the cultural choices of different people, does not 
> destroy family farms across the world and guarantees fairer 
> trade rules." 
> He said there was a "profound revolt against the American 
> nutritional model, which produces a nation where 30 per 
> cent of people are obese". Mr Bove's attack on McDonald's 
> was part of a series of assaults across France in the past 
> six weeks, in response to the 100 per cent punitive taxes 
> imposed by the US on high-quality European produce, 
> including Roquefort cheese. The satisfying symbolism of Big 
> Mac versus Roquefort has allowed Mr Bove to portray his 
> struggle as an anti- American one, which has gone down well 
> in France. In truth, it is a struggle between two different 
> models of agriculture, which exist both in France and in 
> the United States. 
> ===================#=================== 
14) Japan Economic Newswire September 9, Farm ministry to check 
snacks for unauthorized GMOs  TOKYO, Sept. 9 Kyodo 
BODY: The Ministry of 
> Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said Thursday the 
> government will investigate a claim by a consumer group 
> that corn snacks sold in Japan contained genetically 
> modified organisms ( GMOs) not approved by the government 
> for human consumption. The ministry said it plans to check 
> the three snack products the group claimed in July 
> contained genetically modified corns that are not on the 
> list of GMOs the Health and Welfare Ministry identifies as 
> safe to eat. The health ministry asks companies developing 
> GMOs to apply for safety tests before such crops are 
> imported or processed for marketing in Japan, but this is 
> not compulsory. The farm ministry said its National Food 
> Research Institute will examine whether the snack foods 
> contain the biotech corns, developed by two U.S. firms, 
> cited by the consumer group. The consumer group, which had 
> organized an anti- GMO campaign, raised the alarm in late 
> July based on the findings of an Iowa-based firm that 
> identified the GMO in the snack food. Monsanto Co., one of 
> the companies that developed the genetically modified corn, 
> said the corn cited is not on the market and that it should 
> not be contained in snacks. 
> ===================#=================== 
15)  Marketing Week September 9, 1999 Iceland starts free nationwide Net
delivery BODY: 
> Frozen food retailer Iceland is launching what it claims is 
> the world's first free nationwide Internet shopping delivery 
> service. The move comes as the chain reveals plans to expand 
> its Extra convenience store trial. Iceland chief executive 
> Malcolm Walker has attempted to differentiate the retailer 
> from larger rivals by taking the lead on genetically 
> modified (GM) foods and by focusing on home delivery. He 
> claims the delivery service will be the first of its kind. 
> Walker says the new Net delivery service, icelandfreeshop, 
> will have a minimum order of L40 and will cover 97 per cent 
> of the UK population. The service launches on October 4. He 
> adds: "There will be no need to promote the new service 
> because it has national coverage and secondly it is free. 
> None of our rivals can offer that." Iceland this week 
> reported a 24 per cent increase in interim pre-tax profits 
> to L29.2m, on sales up 11 per cent to L925.6m for the 
> period six months to July 3. It also announced it has 
> opened a further 19 of its Extra convenience stores with a 
> view to expanding the chain. Walker says: "There could be 
> 70 or 770 of these stores, at the moment, we don't know 
> which. We will make a decision next March." 
> The new stores bring the number of Iceland Extras in the 
> 768-store chain to 25. 
> ===================#========
16)  The Independent (London) September 8, - BRITAIN MAY LOSE TOP GM

BYLINE: Charles Arthur Technology Editor 

A  WORLD-BEATING British technology to make vaccines in 
> genetically modified plants may be lost to the United 
> States, because British investors are scared of the "GM" 
> tag. Iain Cubitt, chief executive of Cambridge-based Axis 
> Genetics, yesterday criticised a "failure of confidence" 
> among City investors, who shied away from providing pounds 
> 10m to fund the expansion of clinical trials of its 
> products. Six weeks ago, an American university began human 
> trials of a vaccine against hepatitis B, which kills one 
> million people every year, made from GM potatoes produced 
> by Axis Genetics. The company, which grew its crops in 
> sealed greenhouses, was also working on GM plants including 
> bananas to produce vaccines against diarrhoea and even 
> cancer. If any of the products proves itself in trials it 
> could be a massive moneyspinner. But when the funding fell 
> short, the business last week laid off 25 of its 50 staff 
> and has gone into administration, one step away from 
> bankruptcy. With no obvious British buyer, a US 
> biotechnology company - such as Monsanto - may be keen to 
> acquire the technology. Dr Cubitt said: "I think it's a 
> tremendous loss for us, as we have gone far enough already 
> to show that there's a chance of succeeding." But he 
> declined to say whether he had been approached by potential 
> buyers. The company's problems make it one of the most 
> visible casualties of the European backlash against 
> genetically modified products, which was sparked in 1996 by 
> American farmers' refusal to separate GM soya - which has 
> no benefit to the consumer - from conventional strains. 
> Opposition to the technology has snowballed in both 
> Britain and continental Europe, forcing supermarkets and 
> manufacturers to declare their foods GM-free. Last week, 
> consumer pressure finally forced one of the biggest 
> American soya processors to tell farmers to separate GM and 
> conventional strains after harvest. Peter Melchett, 
> executive director of Greenpeace UK, blamed the situation 
> on pharmaceutical companies' decision to ally themselves 
> with GM food techniques. "We told the Prime Minister 
> earlier this year that if they didn't distinguish between 
> medicines, and crops and food which involved releases to 
> the environment, they would suffer in the backwash of the 
> public's rejection of GM food." 
> Dr Cubitt said: "Because we are genetically modifying 
> plants, that can be confused in the public mind with all the 
> other issues about GM food. Basically it's a lack of 
> confidence among investors." 
> ===================#===================