info4action archive


GE - GMO News 09/12

GMO News 09/12 
1)  09/10 DJ US Corn Growers Chide Novartis For Gerber GMO Decision CHICAGO
(Dow Jones)
2) 09/12 1250 Britain Losing Its Edge In Science, Expert Warns By Patricia
Reaney SHEFFIELD, England (Reuters) - 
3) Report: genetic corn planting may drop WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) --
4)  09/12 0000 Altered Food By PHILIP BRASHER WASHINGTON (AP)  Already
by low corn and soybean prices, farmers now fear the loss of overseas markets
for the genetically  altered crops that now make up a hefty percentage of
5)  Agence France Presse HEADLINE: US farmers in panic as  consumers reject
genetically - altered grain: WPost 
6) COMLINE Daily News Biotechnology and Medical Technology - September 13,

Nissin Switching from Genetically Altered Soybeans 
7)  Japan Economic Newswire September 12, 1999,- Team Canada trade mission
arrives in Osaka OSAKA,Kyodo 
8)  Jiji Press Ticker Service HEADLINE: Restaurants Moving to  Ease Concern on
Gene-Modified Foods DATELINE: Tokyo, Sept. 11 
9) The London Free Press September 11, 1999, - JUNK JOURNALISM UNFAIRLY TAINTS
10)  The New York Times September 12, 1999, -It Isn't Easy Being Green 
11) The Detroit News September 11, 1999, - Food for Thought 
12) The Washington Times September 12,  Corporate dollars cause stir among

1)  09/10 DJ US Corn Growers Chide Novartis For Gerber GMO 
> Decision CHICAGO (Dow Jones)
The National Corn Growers 
> Association is blasting the decision by Novartis AG to 
> eliminate biotech ingredients from its Gerber baby food 
> line, according to a letter obtained by Dow Jones 
> Newswires. Gerber, attempting to address food safety 
> concerns, said in July it would no longer use ingredients 
> containing genetically-modified organisms. About one-third 
> of the U.S. corn crop is grown with GMOs, and the U.S. 
> government considers such ingredients safe for human 
> consumption. The NCGA, which represents thousands of U.S. 
> farmers who grow GMO corn, said in a letter to Novartis 
> (Z.NOV) that the decision by Novartis, which itself 
> produces biotech seeds, unnecessarily increased the 
> public's concern over the crops. It called the company's 
> move an "ill conceived reaction to an activist 
> organization." The organization being referred to was 
> Greenpeace, which sent a letter to Gerber in May pointing 
> out the growing concern over genetically-altered 
> ingredients. "By deciding to eliminate all biotech 
> ingredients from the Gerber line of products, Gerber 
> necessarily gives the perception that those ingredients are 
> nutritionally inferior to their conventional counterparts," 
> wrote Roger Pine, president of the NCGA, in an Aug. 23 
> letter to Dr. Daniel Vasella, chief executive officer of 
> Novartis. "Why has Gerber indicated its intent to avoid 
> biotech products? Is Gerber responding to concerns 
> expressed by parents, or because an activist organization 
> inquired about company policy?" Pine went on to say that 
> the Gerber/Novartis decision will hurt other food 
> manufacturers, who might have to take comparable steps to 
> retain their market share. It could also hurt consumers, 
> who might have to pay more for food if biotech products are 
> eliminated. Ironically, Novartis is one of the companies 
> that sold U.S. farmers on biotech seeds in the first place. 
> "Farmers feel betrayed and are left to wonder how the 
> company that sold them the technology can now undermine 
> consumer confidence in biotechnology," Pine wrote. A 
> spokeswoman for Novartis wasn't immediately available to 
> comment Friday. -By Daniel Rosenberg; 1-312-750-4118; 
> 09-10-99 04:16 PM Copyright 1999 Dow Jones & Co., Inc. All 
> rights reserved. 
> ===================#=================== 
2) 09/12 1250 Britain Losing Its Edge In Science, Expert Warns By Patricia
Reaney SHEFFIELD, England (Reuters) - 
Britain  is falling behind in the race to exploit new technologies 
> and is even lagging some developing countries, the head of 
> the country's science association said Sunday. Sir Richard 
> Sykes, head of the British Association for the Advancement 
> of Science, said the world was faced with an unprecedented 
> pace of change in science and technology but Britain was 
> not keeping up. "The UK has fallen behind in the struggle 
> to compete not only with the developed countries but with 
> an increasing number of developing countries," he told a 
> news conference on the eve of the association's annual 
> science festival. He cited Singapore and Malaysia as two 
> examples of developing nations which realized the 
> importance of investment in education and research and 
> development in a rapidly changing global economy. The 
> United States was by far the most successful in exploiting 
> new technologies, said Sykes, who is also chief executive 
> of the drugs giant Glaxo Wellcome Plc. He said he would 
> propose a six-point plan for Britain to reach its full 
> potential and be competitive in the future when he 
> addressed the start of the five-day conference Monday. "We 
> must develop a strong knowledge-based economy if we are not 
> to be left behind," he said. Education, a strong science 
> and technological research base, receptive industry, an 
> entrepreneurial spirit, a wider role for government and a 
> well-informed and supportive public were the six building 
> blocks necessary for Britain to regain a leading role in 
> science and technology, he said. Sykes blamed Britain's 
> poor performance on a long history of underachievement and 
> a lack of sufficient investment in research and development. 
> "Our competitors have been increasing their investment in 
> research, and in the case of Japan there was an increase in 
> civil R&D (research and development) spending just last year 
> which exceeds the total UK civil R&D budget," he said. He 
> attributed much of the United States' success to its 
> "can-do" attitude and willingness to start new companies. 
> He said UK venture capital funding was much too low -- a 
> paltry 350 million pounds ($568.7 million) had been 
> invested in early stage UK companies in 1997 compared to 
> 5.8 billion pounds ($9.4 billion) in the United States. 
> During the conference, around 300 scientists will present 
> papers on topics ranging from genetically modified (GM) 
> food to the dangers of mobile phones. ($1-.6154 Pound) 
> Executive News Svc. 
> ===================#=================== 
3) Report: genetic corn planting may drop WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) --

 The amount of genetically engineered corn 
> planted in the U.S. next year could be down by as much as 
> 25 percent as farmers face growing rejection of so- called 
> "Frankenfoods." 
> Gary Goldberg, CEO of the American Corn Growers 
> Association, told the Washington Post his organization had 
> earlier been expected that genetically engineered corn 
> acreage planted next year would be 20 percent higher than 
> this year, but farmers are now concerned that they are 
> losing overseas markets for such crops, especially in 
> Europe. "We now think there now may be a 20 to 25 percent 
> reduction in (engineered) acres next year because of this 
> uncertainty," Goldberg said in today's Post. Although 
> consumers in the U.S. have been relatively unconcerned 
> about gentically-engineered foods, worries about potential 
> health and environmental effects overseas has prompted some 
> major food processors to declare they won't buy such crops. 
> The boycott leaves farmers who grow engineered crops with 
> fewer potential customers. The rejection of 
> genetically-engineered crops -- dubbed "Frankenfoods" by 
> some critics -- places U.S. growers in the dilemma of 
> deciding whether to switch to the new seeds, which should 
> give a higher yield of better quality, but cost more and 
> may produce a crop that ultimately fetches a lower price 
> because it can't be sold as easily as crops that aren't 
> engineered. Chuck Simmons, president of Bio-Plant Research, 
> a marketer of genetically-engineered seeds in Camp Point, 
> Ill., told the Post the indecision among farmers over 
> whether to invest in the high- tech seeds was "the worst 
> I've seen." 
> "This is the Y2K of agriculture," he said. In Washington, 
> the American Corn Growers Association went so far as to 
> issue a statement last week blasting the biotech industry 
> for allegedly encouraging farmers to invest in genetically 
> engineered crops "without any warning to farmers of the 
> dangers associated with planting a crop that didn't have 
> consumer acceptance." 
> Monsanto, a major producer of genetically engineered seeds, 
> told the Post it did not expect any major slump in sales and 
> predicted U.S. farmers will continue to switch to the new 
> seeds. --- Copyright 1999 by United Press International. 
> ===================#=================== 

4)  09/12 0000 Altered Food By PHILIP BRASHER WASHINGTON (AP) 
> -- Already battered by low corn and soybean prices, farmers 
> now fear the loss of overseas markets for the genetically 
> altered crops that now make up a hefty percentage of U.S. 
> production. Europeans were the first to balk at buying 
> biotech crops, which wary Britons have dubbed 
> "Frankenfoods." Now the baby-food makers Gerber and H.J. 
> Heinz are turning them down, as are two Japanese brewers. 
> In Mexico, a major tortilla maker is avoiding altered corn. 
> One U.S. processor has announced plans to pay a premium for 
> conventional grain, while another company has told its 
> suppliers to start separately storing conventional and 
> biotech grain. Some growers and analysts fear the moves 
> will lead to price cuts on biotech grain, if not this fall 
> then next year, and a shortage of conventional seed next 
> spring. "Farmers are in real despair right now," said 
> Nebraska farmer Keith Dittrich, who grows 1,300 acres of 
> soybean, most of them genetically modified. "Issues like 
> this can just infuriate them." 
> Half the soybeans that U.S. farmers are growing this year 
> were engineered to withstand a popular weedkiller, and a 
> third of the corn crop is biotech, having been altered to 
> produce its own pesticide. There are also genetically 
> modified tomatoes, melons and potatoes, though in much 
> smaller amounts. Biotech ingredients are all over the 
> grocery store, in everything from tortilla chips to baby 
> formula and drink mixes, according to a study in this 
> month's issue of Consumer Reports. For farmers, the crops 
> mean higher yields, which are badly needed at a time when 
> profit margins are thin or nonexistent. Dittrich figures 
> the high-tech soybeans save him $10 an acre. U.S. 
> regulators say there is no scientific evidence that the 
> crops pose any danger to humans or livestock, and American 
> consumers have so far indicated little concern about them. 
> In Europe, however, the crops have become a symbol of 
> globalization and growing American dominance in food 
> production. In Great Britain, some supermarkets are 
> refusing to carry food with biotech ingredients, and 
> activists repeatedly have destroyed seed test plots. The 
> European Union's approval process for new hybrids has come 
> to a virtual standstill this year, according to industry 
> officials, and labeling requirements for food are under 
> consideration. "There's no question we're more cautious 
> than the United States," said EU spokeswoman Ella Krukoff. 
> Gerber and Heinz announced this summer they would rid their 
> baby food of genetically modified ingredients, though they 
> believe they are safe, and then Japanese brewers Kirin and 
> Sapporo said they would switch to traditional corn. Japan 
> also is requiring labels on biotech foods, and U.S. farmers 
> are signing contracts with Japanese buyers to guarantee 
> them a supply of conventional soybeans. Japan is expected 
> to purchase 700,000 metric tons of conventional American 
> soybeans this year, twice as much as in 1998 and about 17 
> percent of its total U.S. soybean imports. The anti-biotech 
> momentum forced Archer Daniels Midland Inc. to announce 
> Aug. 31 that its suppliers needed to start separating 
> conventional and genetically modified crops. A day later 
> Consolidated Grain and Barge Co. announced that it would 
> start paying premium prices for traditional crops. "Clearly 
> the firestorm of controversy in Europe has spread around 
> the world," said biotech analyst Sano Shimoda, president of 
> BioScience Securities Inc. of Orinda, Calif. "The sparks of 
> the firestorm have landed in the U.S. The problem is that 
> the production of major crops is a global business." Farmers 
> eventually could be forced to sell biotech crops at a 
> discount, he said. Industry optimists play down the impact 
> of the developments in Euope and Japan and say it is going 
> to mean higher prices for farmers who grew conventional 
> crops this year. The American Soybean Association expects 
> traditional soybeans to fetch as much as 40 cents a bushel 
> more than the biotech variety. A key question is whether 
> the Europeans, who buy a fourth of the U.S. soybean crop 
> each year, can be induced to pay more for the conventional 
> variety. "We don't want to give up that market," said Bob 
> Callanan, a spokesman for the soybean group. At best, the 
> recent developments have introduced new uncertainty into 
> the farm economy. The American Corn Growers Association, in 
> an informal survey of 250 grain elevators, found few 
> planned to heed ADM's suggestion for separate storage of 
> conventional and biotech crops, primarily because they are 
> not equipped to do it. At least one Illinois elevator is 
> advising farmers not to plant genetically engineered crops 
> at all next year. Iowa farmer Ed Wiederstein, who grows 
> both altered corn and soybeans, says he is not concerned 
> about finding a place to sell them -- this year, at least 
> --but he is watching the markets. "If nobody wants it, I'll 
> definitely change. There is going to be a real scramble for 
> seed if that does occur," he said. End Adv for Sunday, 
> Sept. 12 ! MORE !109,111,114,116 Executive News Svc. 
> [Entered September 12, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 

5)  Agence France Presse HEADLINE: US farmers in panic as  consumers reject
genetically - altered grain: WPost 
> DATELINE: WASHINGTON, Sept 12 BODY: US farmers and 
> agricultural workers who have heavily planted genetically 
> engineered grain are in a near panic as foreign and 
> domestic buyers reject the crops in droves, the Washington 
> Post reported Sunday. Despite an agressive US marketing 
> blitz, Japan's two biggest breweries and a major Mexican 
> corn tortilla maker said they would no longer use US- 
> genetically altered grain in their products, faced with a 
> wave of strong consumer mistrust, the daily said. Ohio pet 
> food maker Iams Company recently announced it would no 
> longer use biograin for its premium dog and cat chows, 
> unless the corn varieties were among the few approved by 
> the European Union. Even US food mega-conglomerate Archer 
> Daniels Midland is advising that US farmers separate their 
> gene-altered grain from their conventional produce -- a 
> recommendation that is making the industry nervous. 
> "American farmers planted ( genetically altered crops) in 
> good faith with the belief that the product is safe and that 
> they would be rewarded for their efforts," the American Corn 
> Growers Association said in a statement last week. "Instead 
> they find themselves misled by multinational seed and 
> chemical companies and other commodity associations who 
> only encouraged them to plant increased acres of (the 
> crops) without any warning to farmers of the dangers 
> associated with planting a crop that didn't have consumer 
> acceptance." US regulators have given the green light to 
> more than 40 genetically modified crops, saying they are 
> both safe to eat and environmentally friendly, the Post 
> reported. Such crops contain genes from bacteria and 
> viruses to make them resistant to insects and weeds, and US 
> farmers have planted them in record numbers this year. More 
> than half of soybean crops and about one-third of the corn 
> planted this summer were genetically engineered, according 
> to the Post. sg/ok 
> ===================#=================== 

6) COMLINE Daily News Biotechnology and Medical Technology - September 13,

Nissin Switching from Genetically Altered Soybeans 

BODY: Nissin Food Products 
> [2503] noted September 10 that it intends to stop using 
> genetically engineered US-grown soybeans. In so doing, it 
> is joining the likes of Kirin Brewery [2503] in shunning 
> genetic technology out of respect for consumer fears, but 
> it is the first instant noodle manufacturer to do so. 
> Soybeans are used to make the deep-fried bean curd found 
> in noodle products. Nissin's policy takes effect from this 
> year's US soybean harvest from November. It says that by 
> February its current inventory of soybeans, which includes 
> some genetically altered beans, will be gone. Nissin also 
> procures soybeans from China, a source which it says does 
> not use genetic engineering. Ref: COMLINE Business News, 

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

7)  Japan Economic Newswire September 12, 1999,- Team Canada trade mission
arrives in Osaka OSAKA,Kyodo 
BODY: A 350-member trade 
> mission from the Canadian government and private sector 
> arrived Sunday evening in Osaka for a one-week stay in 
> Japan intended to expand bilateral trade and economic 
> relations. The Team Canada mission consists of federal 
> government officials, provincial and territorial leaders, 
> and business representatives. International Trade Minister 
> Pierre Pettigrew is among mission members. Canadian Prime 
> Minister Jean Chretien will join and head the mission from 
> Tuesday. Chretien is now in Auckland, New Zealand, to 
> attend an annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic 
> Cooperation forum. On Monday and Tuesday, the Canadian 
> federal and provincial government officials will hold talks 
> with local government and business leaders in Osaka and 
> Hyogo prefectures. The Canadian business executives will 
> hold seminars in Osaka to introduce Canadian industries, 
> including food biotechnology and information technology, to 
> business leaders in the Kansai region, which includes 
> Osaka. The mission will move Wednesday to Tokyo for talks 
> with Japanese state government officials as well as 
> business group leaders and corporate executives. Chretien 
> is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi on Friday. 
> The business group is Canada's fifth joint 
> government-private sector overseas mission. Similar Canadian 
> missions visited China in 1994, India and three other 
> countries in 1996, South Korea and two other countries in 
> 1997, and Latin America in 1998. LANGUAGE: ENGLISH 
> LOAD-DATE: September 12, 1999 [Entered September 
> 12, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 

8)  Jiji Press Ticker Service HEADLINE: Restaurants Moving to  Ease Concern on
Gene-Modified Foods DATELINE: Tokyo, Sept. 11 

BODY: Japanese restaurant chains are studying how to 
> ease consumer worries about genetically modified foods 
> before food makers are required from 2001 to indicate their 
> use of such foods. The Skylark Co. group will begin in 
> November at the earliest to tell customers that the major 
> suburban family restaurant chain does not use genetically 
> modified soybeans. Watami Food Service Co., a fast-growing 
> pub-eatery chain, will start displaying that no genetically 
> modified potatoes, corns, "tofu" bean curds or other 
> bean-based foods are served to customers. The Agriculture, 
> Forestry and Fisheries Ministry recently decided to 
> obligate food makers to start showing in April 2001 whether 
> or not they use genetically organized corns, soybeans, 
> potatoes and other foods, though restaurants will not need 
> to comply with the new rule. Two major restaurant 
> chains--Seiyo Food Systems Inc. and Royal Co.--have yet to 
> decide how to convince customers that their dishes are 
> safe. If restaurants specify nonuse of genetically modified 
> foods only for some dishes, consumers may have suspicion 
> about other dishes, industry sources said. >
9) The London Free Press September 11, 1999, - JUNK JOURNALISM UNFAIRLY TAINTS
BODY: On a recent visit to 
> France, I saw a magazine cover depicting a tomato with a 
> burning fuse and "La Cuisine du Diable" spelled out in big 
> bold letters below. It wasn't about a recipe for 
> devil's-food cake with tomatoes, but about food developed 
> through biotechnology. A more influential magazine contains 
> an article that could be called "La Cuisine du Diable Lite." 
> September's issue of Consumer Reports presents a more honest 
> look at biotechnology than the French magazine. Considering 
> the magazine's growing tendency to find corporate-produced 
> horrors behind every bush, that's an achievement. Indeed, 
> the article stated, "There is no evidence that genetically 
> engineered foods on the market are not safe to eat," adding 
> that genetic engineering could lead to consumer benefits 
> like lower cholesterol and increased cancer resistance. But 
> like Darth Vader, Consumer Reports embraces the dark side. 
> It repeats false claims about biotech foods, says biotech 
> development doesn't have enough safeguards and recommends 
> mandatory labelling of foods containing genetically 
> engineered ingredients. You can be sure that Consumer 
> Reports wasn't about to weaken its case by explaining that 
> there is no inherent difference between bioengineered food 
> and nonbioengineered food. Virtually nothing we eat is 
> truly "natural." From cattle to corn, apples to artichokes, 
> today's food is the result of cross- breeding experiments 
> dating to the dawn of history. Many plant varieties we 
> consume didn't exist a century ago. With biotechnology, you 
> isolate a specific gene or genes with the desired features 
> and splice them into the organism you want to improve. It's 
> faster, surer and safer than the old technique of 
> crossbreeding. Henry Miller, a senior research fellow at the 
> Hoover Institution, notes that the few harmful plants 
> developed before gene-splicing would have been much less 
> likely to occur under biotechnology. Can biotechnology 
> guarantee food that is utterly, absolutely, 101 percent 
> safe? No. There is no technology that can. But biotech food 
> regulations are at least as tough as those for other foods 
> and often needlessly tougher. Since biotech is merely an 
> extension of the sort of food development that's always 
> been going on, there's no justification for additional 
> scrutiny. But even major U.S. government agencies is split 
> -- the Food and Drug Agencysees no reason for more 
> scrutiny, while the heavily politicized Environmental 
> Protection Agency burdens it with worthless tests. But the 
> greatest problem for companies investing billions of 
> dollars in these foods is not with government regulators. 
> Rather, they suffer under a constant barrage of false 
> claims from environmental activists, organic farmers and 
> media crusaders. They are besieged by European governments 
> that perceive (correctly) that their heavily subsidized 
> farmers will need even more subsidies to compete with 
> cheaper biotech crops. If companies actually committed the 
> sins they're accused of, the resulting media attention and 
> lawsuits could destroy them. The Sierra Club has already 
> sent chilling notices to individual researchers warning 
> they will personally be held legally liable for problems. 
> So the food is safe. Why label it then? Simple, says 
> Consumer Reports: "Consumers have a fundamental right to 
> know what they eat." That sounds nice but doesn't mean 
> much. Consumer Reports and other biotech labelling 
> advocates note many European governments mandate biotech 
> food labelling. Yet few mandate nutrition labels on food to 
> the extent required in North America. If we are to label 
> biotech foods, why don't we require labels informing us 
> where the ingredients were grown, slaughtered or 
> synthesized? Why not tell us the specific variety of 
> blueberry in that muffin, or grapes in that juice? Because 
> it's not important. Since biotech food differs from other 
> food only in the way it was developed, there's no purpose 
> to labelling it. But activists and media allies continue to 
> fight for such labels, in hopes that a biotech label will 
> scare consumers away. Furthermore, because labeling 
> requires food testing at every stage of transport from 
> picking to processing, it increases the cost of those foods 
> by as much as 30 per cent. What the public needs is a label 
> on all the scientifically inaccurate articles and press 
> releases on biotech food. Perhaps: "The following piece 
> contains five per cent half- truths, 10 per cent 
> obfuscation and 85 per cent rubbish." 
> NOTES: Michael Fumento is a senior fellow of the Hudson 
> Institute andspecializes in health and science issues. 
> ===================#=================== 

10)  The New York Times September 12, 1999, -It Isn't Easy Being Green 

> Robert Shapiro, the C.E.O. of Monsanto, may fake concern for 
> the environment in his efforts to overcome resistance in the 
> E.U. -- where not just Greenpeace but several national 
> parliaments have blocked the importation of bioengineered 
> foods and seeds (The Way We Live Now, Aug. 22). His 
> environmentalist pose is especially absurd in light of the 
> fact that Monsanto seems to believe that there are only two 
> plant species ("my crop" and "weeds"). Chemical 
> conglomerates are racing to carve out market share and 
> increase farmer dependence on their product lines. Their 
> goals are not environmental preservation but profit, profit, 
> profit. These guys aren't being green; they're seeing green! 
> Cecile Krejsa Seattle 
> ===================#=================== 

11) The Detroit News September 11, 1999, - Food for Thought 
> According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), farm 
> water runoffs are the biggest remaining cause of water 
> pollution in the country. Controlling them through 
> available methods will cost billions of dollars and take 
> decades. It is therefore puzzling that environmental groups 
> are reacting with undisguised hostility to bio-engineered 
> or genetically modified plants -- a potentially cheap and 
> quick cure to the problem. Bioengineering is the process of 
> isolating genes in organisms and splicing them onto plant 
> DNA to develop pest- or herb-resistant crops. And since 
> genetically modified crops need less plowing and 
> pesticides, they would go a long way toward reducing 
> polluted water runoffs. The reaction in Europe to such 
> foods has been downright hysterical. In England, so-called 
> eco-warriors have vandalized private farms [very misleading - it looks as
though people are attacking the farms themselves rather than the GE corops
>that allowed 
> test trials of these plants. Prominent environmental groups 
> have led a consumer revolt against what they call 
> "Frankenstein food." Gerber, the U.S.-based manufacturer of 
> baby food, dropped all suppliers of bio-engineered produce 
> when Greenpeace merely requested information about the 
> company's use of it. The campaign is spreading to North 
> America: Last week some prominent environmental groups met 
> in Ottawa to work out a strategy to combat bio-engineered 
> plants in the United States and Canada. This hysteria 
> notwithstanding, people have been modifying the genetic 
> makeup of foods from time immemorial. Indeed, had 19th- 
> century botanist (and monk) Gregor Mendel not discovered 
> cross- breeding, we would still be harvesting corn with 15 
> kernels per ear. If human beings depended only on totally 
> natural foods, nectarines, seedless grapes and grapefruit 
> would all have to be purged from the face of the earth. 
> Yet, Daniel Seligman, a program director at the Sierra 
> Club's Washington, D.C., office, argues that bio-engineered 
> plants ought to be "regarded as guilty until proven 
> innocent." 
> Environmentalists have resorted to all kinds of draconian 
> regulations to eradicate water pollution. If they now 
> reject an easy technological fix, people will justifiably 
> wonder whether they are perpetuating the problem to stay in 
> business. Our view Use of genetically modified plants will 
> reduce polluted water runoffs from farms. Opposing view 
> Genetically-modified plants may pose huge risks to human 
> health and the environment. 
> ===================#=================== 

12) The Washington Times September 12,  Corporate dollars cause stir among

> CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Here's the old-fashioned way of doing 
> science: Win a grant from the government. Gather and analyze 
> data. Publish the results. Here's the vogue today: Attract 
> money from a private business. Gather and analyze data. Show 
> results to the sponsor. Wait while the sponsor considers 
> whether the information is commercially valuable. If so, 
> wait while a patent is filed. Publish the results. Is 
> anything wrong with the new mode of research? Advocates say 
> associating with industry provides a needed source of money 
> and, just as important, if not more, it brings academics 
> down from their ivory towers, helps transform knowledge 
> into useful products and processes and strengthens job 
> prospects for students. Yet an increasing number of science 
> leaders are speaking up against the trend, warning that the 
> integrity and vigor of science are at stake. Those sounding 
> the alarm include Lita Nelsen, whose job at the 
> Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the past 13 years 
> has been negotiating agreements between faculty members and 
> private businesses. At MIT nearly 25 percent of research is 
> paid for by industry. "My recommendation is that 
> universities can, should and better get started holding the 
> line," Miss Nelsen says. "Why do we need the money? Why do 
> we need to grow bigger to become what we aren't, and don't 
> want to be?" On Miss Nelson's campus last spring, about two 
> dozen scientists from around the country started what they 
> hope will be a continuing discussion about the risks in 
> commercializing academic research. Their chief concern was 
> the secrecy involved in such deals, and so they called the 
> colloquium, which attracted an audience of about 200, 
> "Secrecy in Science." 
> Since the end of the Cold War, concerns about secrecy in 
> science imposed by the government have given way to worries 
> about involvement of industry with academia. Most of the 
> relationships are with companies in the fast-growing 
> biomedical and biotechnology sectors. All told, industry in 
> 1997 contributed only slightly more than 7 percent of 
> research funding in higher education. But its contribution 
> is rising unmistakably. In 1986, industry funding totaled 
> $700 million, according to National Science Foundation 
> figures. By 1997, it had more than doubled to nearly $1.6 
> billion. That same year, in a survey reported in the 
> Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly one in 
> five life-science faculty researchers report delaying 
> publishing data for more than six months in order to 
> protect the commercial value of the results. The authors of 
> the study, led by Dr. David Blumenthal of Massachusetts 
> General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, wrote: 
> "Openness in the sharing of research results is a powerful 
> ideal in modern science. . . . Such sharing is critical to 
> the advancement of science, for without it, researchers 
> unknowingly build upon something less than the total 
> accumulation of scientific knowledge, and scientific work is 
> slowed by problems for which solutions already exist but are 
> unavailable." 
> Mary Good, president-elect of the American Association for 
> the Advancement of Science, which co-sponsored the secrecy 
> colloquium, describes the absurd level that such secrecy can 
> reach. A former senior vice president of technology at 
> Allied Signal Inc., Miss Good says she met doctoral 
> students interested in jobs with the company "who could not 
> discuss their Ph.D. theses with us in the interviews 
> because they had been embargoed." 
> If academic researchers cannot find a way to balance their 
> business relationships with science's need for openness, 
> Miss Good warns, "We will lose the public trust, whether 
> justified or not." 
> At the University of California at Berkeley, a recent 
> agreement between the Department of Plant and Microbial 
> Biology with the biotechnology company Novartis has created 
> a "chill," particularly among untenured faculty, says Laura 
> Nader, an anthropology professor. "It's bringing corporate 
> values onto campus," Miss Nader said in an interview after 
> the colloquium. "It creates a culture of secrecy." In the 
> deal signed last fall, Novartis will give the department 
> $25 million in research funds over five years and access to 
> proprietary information in return for first dibs on 
> marketable discoveries. Peggy Lemaux, one of three faculty 
> members who helped design the deal, says money was not the 
> prime lure but rather access to plant genetic sequences 
> that Novartis can generate quickly with powerful computers 
> and other expensive equipment. With such data, Miss Lemaux 
> says, student and post-doctoral researchers can do 
> meaningful genomics research. "Otherwise, they sit there 
> and do something stupid with federal money that's already 
> been done 10 times over in industry." To get access to the 
> company's trade secrets, researchers must sign 
> confidentiality agreements. It's something two of 32 faculty 
> members in the department have declined to do. One of them, 
> Donald Kaplan, says he has managed through his 35-year 
> career to pay for most of his own research, although he has 
> used a few government grants. "I prize my freedom to think 
> the way the plants show me how to think," says Mr. Kaplan, 
> who studies plant shapes. "I've constructed my career in 
> such a way that I wouldn't be dependent on these sources of 
> money." 
> Mr. Kaplan says anguish over scientific research funding 
> has given him a mischievous idea for a sociological 
> experiment: "If you took away all the funding, how many 
> people would stay in the business? . . . How many people 
> would do it on their own?" SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE 
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