info4action archive


GE - mixed news 15th September

1a) Worry over GM food grows in US Michael Ellison  September 15, 1999 
1b) September 12 - Caffeine-Free Coffee Bean Sought By BEN DiPIETRO 
Associated Press Writer HONOLULU (AP) -
2) September 13, Praxair to supply Monsanto's Argentine plant BUENOS AIRES,
Sept 13 (Reuters) - Praxair Inc.'s (NYSE:PX - news) 
3) Monday September 13 European biotech group rejects crop control claims
RUSSELS, Sept 13 (Reuters) -
4)  September 13,Hoechst declines comment on crop control report FRANKFURT,
Sept 13 (Reuters) -
5) September 13, Novartis says no ground for crop control allegations BASLE,
Switzerland, Sept 13 (Reuters) - 
6) Media: Can two reporters take on Murdoch and win? Two sacked TV
7) Anti-biotech activists plan lawsuits By Associated Press
8) Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 From: Jonathan <> 
Subject: ‘Transgenic’ pollution a new concern 
This is a wide ranging piece and particularly good on Bt concerns 
9) Organic farming can 'feed the world' by BBC Science's Corinne Podger
-September 14, 1999
10) Anti-GE demo in SF- Sept. 23 - Please send this on to all your contacts in
the Bay Area. Thanks! * * Please Post Direct Action Alert Please Post * * 
1a) Worry over GM food grows in US Michael Ellison  September 15, 1999 

Americans are catching up with Europeans in their anxiety about genetically
modified foods but still lag behind, according to a survey published

The telephone poll of 1,017 people aged 18 and above shows that 37% are aware
of genetically modified foods and that 40% believed more regulation was
The survey was conducted by Edelman PR, the world's biggest independent public
relations company. Lord Hurd, former Tory foreign secretary and a member of
company's international advisory board, suggested that an international panel
of scientists should rule on the safety of GM foods. In the past month Japan's
two biggest brewers and a Mexican corn tortilla maker have said they will stop
using gene-modified corn from the US. 

1) September 12 - Caffeine-Free Coffee Bean Sought By BEN DiPIETRO 
Associated Press Writer HONOLULU (AP) -

The future of caffeine-free coffee is taking shape in petri 
dishes at the University of Hawaii, where scientists are growing plants that 
will produce beans without the buzz.
But don't expect to drink a genetically engineered double-mocha decaf 
anytime soon.
The first plants won't be available to commercial growers before 2003, with 
the first caffeine-free cups of java to be sold in 2006, according to John 
Stiles, assistant professor of plant physiology.
``The decaffeinated coffee you have now is treated chemically to remove the 
caffeine, and that changes the structure of the bean,'' Stiles said. ``In 
our process the bean just wouldn't have it to begin with. The quality will 
be higher.''
The university, in conjunction with Integrated Coffee Technologies, now is 
field-testing caffeine-free plants.
The first commercial crop will produce about 250,000 pounds, enough coffee 
for several million cups, said Stiles, who also is director of scientific 
research for Integrated.
Coffee is one of Hawaii's top five crops. First introduced to King 
Kamehameha I in 1813, coffee was grown on 7,000 acres and generated $28.2 
million in 1997, according to the state agriculture department.
The state's best known coffee is grown on the Kona side of the island of 
Decaffeinated coffee accounts for up to 25 percent of U.S. coffee sales, 
which reached $4 billion in 1997, according to the U.S. Department of 
The Hawaii-based company so far has invested $750,000 in the project and 
expects to spend another $500,000 to grow the first plants, Stiles said. 
Seed money came from the state of Hawaii, with additional funding from 
venture capitalists.
The state university owns the patent for the bean and the process that 
created it and is leasing that to Integrated.
Monsanto Corp. (NYSE:MTC - news), in turn, is leasing to Integrated some of 
the procedures used in extracting the caffeine gene. Monsanto will share 
revenues from the sales of plants and beans and the future licensing of the 
Each plant will sell for up to $1.50, about three times the current price.
Integrated will market the plants to specialty growers more willing to 
absorb the higher cost and eager to offer better tasting coffee to 
Growers eventually will save money after the cost of decaffeination -- which 
can reach 25 percent of the cost of the coffee -- is factored in, Stiles 
``Farmers will make back that additional cost in one or two years of 
harvest,'' he said.
The project also has received interest from coffee growers worldwide.
``We're talking with some of the major U.S. coffee roasters, but we have 
nothing definite yet,'' he said.
The National Coffee Growers Association and Hawaii Coffee Growers 
Association said they knew nothing about the caffeine-free bean.
Maxwell House Coffee spokeswoman Mary Jane Kinkade said the company is 
monitoring the project.
A spokeswoman for the Starbucks coffee chain said the company won't decide 
on the beans until they are grown and tasted.
``Whether this is something we would offer would depend on when we could 
test those beans,'' Helen Chung said. ``It would depend on the quality of 
the beans.''
The idea for a caffeine-free bean began brewing in 1991, when Stiles was 
having a beer with colleagues and was asked if there was a way to use 
biotechnology to remove caffeine from coffee.
``I didn't work with coffee at the time, so I thought about it and said, 
`Yeah, this is the sort of thing you should be able to do,''' he said.
Five years later, he and his team succeeded in isolating the protein that 
creates the caffeine gene.
Scientists then isolated the gene and removed it through a process called 
anti-sense, which removes the regular coffee gene, turns it backwards and 
reinserts it, Stiles said.
``If you stop the gene's activities so the protein can't be made, the 
caffeine can't be made,'' Stiles said. ``Some proteins are easy to isolate, 
some are hard. This one was hard. Which in a way is probably good for us, or 
else someone would have done this before.''
Stiles' team is the first to successfully breed a plant without the caffeine 
gene, following failed attempts by several groups around the world.
Michael Grace of Qusac Decaf Inc., a Canada-based decaffeinator, said the 
company isn't worried by the threat posed by a caffeine-free bean, saying 
such a bean likely will find a niche as a specialty product.
``It may be caffeine-free, but it may also not have other characteristics of 
coffee,'' he said. ``In the end it's got to taste reasonable.''
2) September 13, Praxair to supply Monsanto's Argentine plant BUENOS AIRES,
Sept 13 (Reuters) - Praxair Inc.'s (NYSE:PX - news) 

Argentine unit said Monday it has signed an agreement to provide oxygen 
and nitrogen to U.S. biotechnology giant Monsanto Co.'s (NYSE:MTC - 
news) herbicide production plant in the town of Zarate.
Under the deal's terms, Praxair will pipe in 80 tonnes per day of oxygen 
and 5 tonnes per day of nitrogen to Monsanto's plant from its facility in 
Campana, about 3 miles (5 km) away, Praxair said in a statement.
Campana is about 37 miles (60 km) northwest of Buenos Aires.
Praxair is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America 
and one of the largest worldwide with 
annual sales of more than $4.7 billion.

3) Monday September 13 European biotech group rejects crop control claims
RUSSELS, Sept 13 (Reuters) -

A group representing Europe's life 
sciences industry said on Monday there was no evidence to support 
allegations its members unfairly controlled the market for genetically 
modified crops.
Industry association Europabio was responding to an article in Monday's 
Financial Times saying the Foundation for 
Economic Trends and the U.S.-based National Family Farm Coalition plus 
individual farmers were planning lawsuits 
against companies such as Novartis AG , Monsanto Co (NYSE:MTC - news) and 
DuPont (NYSE:DD - news).
They claim the companies are exploiting biotechnology to gain a 
stranglehold on agricultural markets. The multi-billion 
dollar suit could be brought later this year in as many as 30 countries.
"``There is no evidence supporting an allegation of market control,'' 
Europabio said in a statement.
``The agricultural market is characterised by strong competition. Farmers 
can buy their seeds from a large number -- in 
fact several hundred in Europe -- of small and large seed companies,'' it
``In a few countries, they have the additional choice whether to use 
genetically modified or conventional seeds. The 
article...itself mentions that 10 companies represent about 30 percent of 
the seed market, which suggests that the market 
control allegation is unfounded,'' Europabio added.
The group represents 47 multinational companies plus 12 national 
biotechnology industry associations.
4)  September 13,Hoechst declines comment on crop control report FRANKFURT,
Sept 13 (Reuters) -

German chemical and life sciences 
group Hoechst AG (quote from Yahoo! UK & Ireland: HOEG.F) on Monday 
declined to comment on a report that alleged the world's biggest life 
sciences companies conspired to control the market for genetically 
modified crops.
The Financial Times reported that companies like Novartis , DuPont (NYSE:DD 
- news) and Monsanto (NYSE:MTC 
- news) would face a multi-billion dollar antitrust action later this year.
While Hoechst is not one of the companies the FT report mentions with 
regard to the lawsuit, it is a major player in the 
commercial seed and genetically modified crops market.
``We read the item in the newspaper. This information was delivered by the 
media and we are not able to comment on 
that,'' said a Hoechst spokesman.
The FT report said the action would be filed in up to 30 countries later 
this year by the Foundation on Economic Trends 
and the U.S.-based National Family Farm Coalition as well as individual
Novartis earlier said there was no evidence to support allegations it and 
other companies had exploited bioengineering 
techniques to gain a stranglehold on agricultural markets.
Hoechst and France's Rhone-Poulenc will soon complete their planned merger 
into one of the world's largest drugs and 
agribusiness groups with nearly $20 billion in sales.

5) September 13, Novartis says no ground for crop control allegations BASLE,
Switzerland, Sept 13 (Reuters) - 

Life sciences group Novartis AG 
said on Monday there was no evidence to support allegations it and other 
companies controlled the market for genetically-modified crops.
A company spokesman responded to an article in the Financial Times 
saying the Foundation on Economic Trends and the U.S.-based National Family 
Farm Coalition as well as individual 
farmers were planning to bring lawsuits against companies such as Novartis, 
DuPont (NYSE:DD - news) and 
Monsanto (NYSE:MTC - news), claiming that they are exploiting 
bioengineering techniques to gain a stranglehold on 
agricultural markets.
The suit would be brought later this year in up to 30 countries and would 
be for several billions of dollars.
``We believe that there is no evidence to support an allegation of market 
control on which the proposed lawsuit appears 
to be based,'' the spokesman said.
``The agricultural market is characterised by strong competition and 
farmers can purchase their seeds from a number of 
small and large seed companies and they can choose whether to use 
genetically-modified or conventional seeds,'' he 
``Under international plant variety protection legislation, farmers are 
able to use farm-saved seeds on their own farm,'' 
he said, adding farmers were not restrained in using newly developed seeds.
In the corn market, for instance, he said there were a number of corn seed 
companies including Novartis that compete 
aggressively for market share.
``The theoretical concept that Novartis is pursuing is one of trait-control 
rather than germination control, except in very 
restricted circumstances,'' the spokesman said.

6) Media: Can two reporters take on Murdoch and win? Two sacked TV
are seeking revenge - and they want the world to know. The Independent -

They seemed like a television dream team. She is a former 
CNN anchorwoman. He is a three-time Emmy-Award winner 
and, according to Penthouse magazine, "one of the most 
famous and feared journalists in America," owing to 
documentaries he made that blew the whistle on Chrysler's 
defective door latches and Ford's fire-hazard ignition switches.
But within a year of hiring Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, Rupert Murdoch's 
Fox 13 TV station in 
Tampa Bay sacked the wife-and-husband team. Why is not clear. But the 
reporters are now suing 
the network under Florida's Whistleblower Act, claiming they were fired 
for refusing to 
broadcast statements which they considered to be untrue about bovine 
growth hormone, which is 
manufactured by [ Monsanto ] , a major Fox advertiser.
Fox denies the allegations and is defending the action. It has twice asked 
for postponements of 
the trial, now due to begin 11 October. And the giant corporation recently 
added President Bill 
Clinton's personal legal counsel, David Kendall, to its team of a dozen 
defence lawyers on a case 
that promises to illuminate aspects of the startling concentration of 
ownership in the US media 
and the extent to which this could be skewing TV news coverage.
The story begins in June 1996. That's when Rupert Murdoch celebrated his 
acquisition of US 
citizenship with a shopping spree in which he added 13 major US stations 
to his Fox network. 
Fox, which is part of Murdoch's vast News Corp, then owned 22 US stations, 
reaching more 
than 50 per cent of American viewers.
One of his purchases was Tampa Bay's WTVT. The former [ CBS ] station was 
known for its 
in-depth news reporting and loyal middle-aged, upper-income audience. Akre 
and Wilson were 
hired to add some tiger to the tank of its news machine in what looked 
like an attempt to boost 
ratings before Fox imposed its formulaic regime of titillation and 
sensational if-it- bleeds-it-leads 
news coverage.
Akre and Wilson were quick to impress their new colleagues. Within weeks 
they unearthed a 
little-known fact: Florida's entire milk supply comes from cows that have 
been injected with 
Synthetic BGH, sold under the brand-name Posilac, boosts the milk 
production of cows by up to 
30 per cent. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 
in 1993 and, 
according to Monsanto, one-third of US dairy herds are now injected with 
the product. But 
Posilac is banned in Canada, Britain and most European countries owing to 
suggestions from 
scientific researchers, contested by Monsanto, that it might be linked to 
In a two-month investigation, which raised a range of concerns, she and 
Wilson found that 
Florida grocers had broken their pledge not to buy milk from 
hormone-injected herds. Akre had 
photographed cows being injected with Posilac at seven out of seven local 
dairies chosen at 
The news managers at WTVT, now known as Fox 13, were sufficiently 
impressed to buy 
thousands of dollars of radio advertising in the run-up to the scheduled 
broadcast, on 24 February 
1997. But at the last minute, Monsanto hired a lawyer to approach Roger 
Ailes, head of Fox 
News in New York stating that the programme was inaccurate and 
unsubstantiated. Within 
hours, the documentary was pulled "for further review".
The journalists' court documents say that they were "concerned about the 
threatening nature of the 
Monsanto letter, particularly the part which read `There is a lot at stake 
in what is going on in 
Florida, not only for Monsanto, but also for Fox News and its owner'."
As Britons know from the GM foods debate, Monsanto is a fierce litigant 
with deep pockets. 
Known to some as the "[ Microsoft ] of microbiology", it is the world's 
largest agrochemical, 
second-largest seed, and fourth- largest pharmaceutical firm.
Still the Tampa Bay station did not back down. According to the 
journalists' lawsuit, the general 
manager of Fox 13, a former investigative reporter, and the station's 
lawyers scrutinised the 
broadcast frame by frame and found that "nothing in the {Monsanto} letter 
raised any credible 
claim to the truthfulness, accuracy, or fairness of the {documentary} 
reports." The station then set 
a new date for broadcast, a week after the initial one.
But Monsanto's lawyers now sent Ailes, who served as director of media 
relations for 
Republican president George Bush, a second and more hostile letter, and 
the Tampa station pulled 
the BGH broadcast again, this time for good.
Soon afterwards, Fox fired Tampa Bay's general manager and news manager. 
And the new 
management offered Akre and Wilson more than $150,000 in exchange for 
their resignations and 
a promise not to publish details about Posilac or how the stories were 
handled by Fox.
The pair refused. And in the next six months their employer demanded that 
they rewrite their 
script 73 times. Furthermore, the journalists claim that the new managers 
threatened to fire them 
if they did not include information that they believed to be false: that 
milk from Posilac-injected 
cows is the same and as safe as milk from untreated cows.
Monsanto insisted that this statement be aired. But the journalists 
presented scientific evidence 
suggesting this was not true. Fox 13, however, having taken legal advice, 
eventually sided with 
Monsanto and when the journalists refused to back down, it suspended them for 
"insubordination", then terminated their contracts in December 1997. Six 
months later, the station 
hired a less experienced reporter to prepare another broadcast, one that 
contained the Monsanto 
"I'm not aware of any precedent to our case," Steve Wilson told The 
Independent. "It's no secret 
in journalism that stories are sometimes killed. What is so unusual and 
egregious about our case 
is that this is the first time I know of that a newspaper or broadcaster 
has opted not to kill a story 
but to mould the story into a shape that the potential litigant and 
advertiser would like."
David Boylan, the general manager at Fox 13, however, says that the 
dismissal of Wilson and 
Akre had "nothing to do" with the newscast about BGH or chill letters from 
Monsanto. Fox 
categorically denies that it ever asked for false information to be 
included and says that the 
reporters were not willing to be objective. Echoing court documents filed 
by Fox, Boylan says 
they are just two disgruntled former employees who were released for their 
argumentative, ad hominem, and vituperative conduct and their refusal to 
abide by {Fox 13's} 
established policies and procedures."
Journalists who know Wilson agree that he can be difficult. Steve Cohen, 
Wilson's former news 
director at the CBS flagship station WCBS in New York from 1978-1982, 
says, "He was one of 
a generation of reporters who were shaped by the Watergate scandal: he 
cares about getting bad 
guys. Not a lot of senior television managers today share that concern. 
They care about targeting a 
particular demographic and that's all."
But why did Fox change its mind? Wilson suspects concern over advertising 
revenue. The 
documentary would have embarrassed Florida dairy farmers and supermarkets 
for allegedly 
breaking their public promises not to sell the hormone-injected milk.
In addition, Monsanto is a client of Actmedia, a major advertising company 
owned by Murdoch. 
And Fox stations everywhere sell commercial time to Monsanto for products 
such as Roundup, 
its hugely popular herbicide, and foods and drinks containing NutraSweet, 
the leading brand of 
aspartame artificial sweetener.
Whatever happens in court, Akre and Wilson seem to be winning the public 
relations war. Their 
website (<> has registered
thousands of hits, major US 
magazines such as 
Penthouse and The Nation have covered their story, and the pair have been 
showered with awards 
for courage and journalistic integrity. And as the trial date approaches, 
executives at Fox might be 
regretting that they didn't simply allow the journalists' original 
documentary to be broadcast, and 
then perhaps forgotten.
(Copyright 1999 Newspaper Publishing PLC)
_____via IntellX_____

Publication Date: September 14, 1999

7) Anti-biotech activists plan lawsuits By Associated Press

Opponents of genetic engineering have come up with a new tactic to stop the 
spread of altered crops: antitrust lawsuits against the companies responsible 
for the technology. 
The lawsuits, to be filed in 30 countries later this year, will accuse the 
companies of using the technology to gain control of world agriculture, said 
antibiotech activist Jeremy Rifkin, director of the Foundation on Economic 
Major grain traders and processors also will be named in the lawsuits. 
Until now, biotech opponents have focused their efforts on persuading food 
manufacturers not to buy genetically modified crops and getting governments
require the labeling of altered foods. 
The antitrust actions will force governments to consider curbing the power 
of a 
shrinking number of giant agribusiness companies, Rifkin predicted Monday. 
Eight major antitrust law firms have agreed so far to handle the lawsuits, he 
said. In addition to Rifkin, the plaintiffs will include individual farmers 
the National Family Farm Coalition. 
Biotech companies are genetically manipulating plants to make fruits and 
vegetables more attractive, speed the growth of crops or make them 
resistant to 
insects, disease and weedkillers. 
The companies control the spread of the technology by patenting the seeds and 
then leasing them to growers, rather than selling them, to prevent the
from reproducing the seeds. 
While the crops have grown quickly in popularity with American farmers, the 
technology has had trouble getting accepted by consumers in Asia and Europe. 
Defenders of the technology say it can increase yields while reducing the
for pesticides and eventually will lead to nutritionally enhanced crops. 
"Biotechnology is being adopted at an unprecedented rate by American farmers 
because it's giving them more choices than ever before in how they grow their 
crops. It's producing benefits for them in terms of higher yields and less
of pesticides," said Carl Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry 
But critics say the technology raises a number of environmental concerns in 
addition to giving giant agribusiness companies, such as St. Louis-based 
Monsanto Co. and Novartis AG of Switzerland, new power over farmers. 
"In less than five, six years from now virtually no farmer in the world will 
own any seed again," Rifkin said. 
A third of the nation's corn crop and about 55 percent of the soybeans U.S. 
farmers are growing this year have been genetically engineered. The soybean 
seeds are sold by Monsanto for use with its popular Roundup weedkiller. 
Rifkin said the lawsuits would be filed before the next round of negotiations 
by the World Trade Organization starts in November. Biotechnology is expected 
to be a major issue of the global trade talks. 

8) Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 From: Jonathan <> 
Subject: ‘Transgenic’ pollution a new concern 
This is a wide ranging piece and particularly good on Bt concerns 
‘Transgenic’ pollution a new concern
By Francesca Lyman 
Sept. 14 — It has the ring of a sci-fi thriller — “transgenic” foods 
illegally traded on the international market, detected and rejected by 
border police - a kind of food version of “Bladerunner”. Wasn’t Rachel 
Young), hunted down by Rick (Harrison Ford) for being a replicant? 
science fiction, it’s a real problem for some food producers who have 
to their surprise that their products can be rejected for being 
by genetically modified organisms.
In an ad for Apache Tortilla chips, a slice of succulent red pepper 
out at you over a line of plump, yellow ears of sweet corn ? the 
for an organic line of corn chips, available in “five delicious flavors 
yellow, blue corn, nacho, sesame, and red.”

But far from being welcomed at their distribution point, the chips — 
made by 
Terra Prima, a certified organic producer in Hudson, Wisc. — were 
by an independent tester to contain traces of genetically modified corn, 
their Netherlands importer was notified.
It was a devastating blow to Terra Prima, a small producer that prides 
itself on a superior product free of chemicals or other substances. The 
company chose to destroy 87,000 bags of their corn chips and essentially
swallow $147,000 when they couldn’t sell their product as organic — a 
bite out of a company with only about $4 million in total sales, says 
Walker, its president.
Walker didn’t blame the Texas organic farmer who sold them the corn, 
was grown using rotational methods, minimal pesticides and no 
modified, or GM, seed varieties. But he did blame the contamination on 
pollen from GM corn that was blown over from another farm and whose 
gene was the same one picked up in the test.
That apparent cross-pollination is what environmentalists and organic 
farmers are calling “transgenic” pollution.
Last February Terra Prima joined environmentalists and consumer groups 
in a 
lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, charging the EPA 
registering genetically engineered crops without adequately considering 
their health and environmental impacts.
The lawsuit, filed by the Center for Food Safety, asked the EPA to 
all current registrations and deny future approvals of crops engineered 
the Bt (Bacillus thuriengensis) insecticide — a natural bacterial toxin 
for years as a spray by organic farmers who grow crops without using 
industrial pesticides.
It was this toxin that was detected on the Terra chips.
The lawsuit charges that the EPA did not properly assess three major 
environmental risks: the development of insects resistant to Bt, the 
transfer of Bt genes to other plants, and effects of Bt crops on 
nontarget insects. Included among the more than 70 plaintiffs are 
Greenpeace, the International Federation of Organic Agricultural 
(with 650 member groups in 100 countries) and environmental 
Walker says he’d like to see a moratorium on GM crops until farmers can 
assured they won’t cross-pollinate. “More than that,” says Walker, “I’d 
to see an open public dialog on the whole issue of genetically modified 
foods. Does the public even want the foods already being served to us, 
well as others waiting in the back pantry?”

The issue is particularly poignant to organic farmers because once 
crops are pollinated with biotech genes, their crops can lose their 
status, which takes three years to accomplish, and cause them to suffer 
In Canada, for example, the National Farmers Union has said it wants 
to make agricultural biotech firms liable for the “genetic pollution” of
organic and traditional crops.
In the United States, organic farmers are equally militant. “Organic 
are very clear that they don’t want contamination of their crops and 
hold owners of these licenses responsible,” says Robert Scowcraft of the
Organic Farming Research Foundation.
But the Terra chip incident in winter 1999 continues to have other 
effects on farming, food and environmental policy questions. What 
with genetic pollution from “transgenic” produce — when pollen from 
genetically engineered crops drifts to neighboring fields? Will crops 
modified for pest resistance pass those genes on to weedier species, 
them harder to eradicate, lead to more virulent pests, and decimate 
species in their path?
And a recent study published in the science journal Nature found that 
from GM corn can kill monarch butterflies if they ingest it.
In the wake of the study, several environmental groups — including the 
of Concerned Scientists, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club and 
Natural Resources Defense Council — wrote to the EPA in August asking 
agency to restrict the planting of Bt corn.
“Monarch butterflies are already under pressure as a result of changes 
their overwintering habitats,” they wrote. “Additional threats to 
populations feeding on toxic corn pollen as they migrate through the 
are of serious concern.”

The furor over GM products has also struck fear into conventional 
who have invested in GM seed varieties and other technologies and who 
want to be hurt either.
Today, only three years after the first large-scale commercial harvest, 
genetically modified crops now cover more than 90 million acres, 
to the latest estimates ? nearly a quarter of America’s croplands.
But many countries, including Brazil, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and 
European Union, have moratoria or restrictions in place against GM 
foods. As 
a result U.S. corn exports alone have dropped precipitously — and 
are estimating as much as $1 billion in export trade losses for this 
The international scene is forcing food shippers such as Archer Daniels 
Midland and Cargill to segregate their grain supplies.
“There’s definitely concern about this,” says Warren Pufahl, managing 
for Agrinews, an agriculture newsletter. Farmers are worried that 
invested a lot of money in these seed varieties and that here’s a good 
product they may not be able to use ? or maybe not as much.”

Most of the GM seeds on the market have been engineered to make crops 
tolerant of pesticides or to carry their own pesticide.
In the case of Bt, Walker says that whereas Bt spray as used by organic 
farmers degrades easily in the soil, in Bt corn the pesticide is in the 
and doesn’t wash off.
“It does not degrade. It is at its full potency all the time,” he adds. 
don’t even know what the health effects of eating it are ? at what 
What if you eat Bt potatoes, Bt tomatoes, and Bt corn together all the 
time ? what’s the effect of that?”

Organic farmers are also concerned because use of Bt crops could create 
class of insects resistant to it, rendering their most effective weapon 
last line of defense ? Bt as a spray — useless.
Seed companies like Monsanto, Novartis and Pioneer Hi-Bred International
maintain that altering crops to contain the Bt will ultimately decrease 
need for chemical pesticides and therefore benefit the environment.
However, the Biotechnology Industry Organization has reported that the 
introduction of Bt corn reduced insecticide use on only 2.5 percent of 
total U.S. corn acreage in 1998.
And new studies from the Department of Agriculture show that engineering
crops genetically does not necessarily guarantee pesticide reductions, 
might do the opposite. Data for the Heartland region show that 
were reduced only minimally in 1997 for corn borers using Bt compared to
non-Bt corn, and showed no difference in insecticide use for other corn 
Charles Benbrook, a biotechnology consultant for Consumers Union and 
head of the National Research Council’s board on agriculture, argues 
“while Bt corn might work for a few years, those gains would be offset 
big problems long term.
“The real problem,” he believes, “is that saturating the soil with these
novel organisms will shift the competitive balance in the soil and 
other pests moving in. And by taking away farmers’ use of Bt as a spray,
genetic engineers are robbing them of a most valuable tool.”
9) Organic farming can 'feed the world' by BBC Science's Corinne Podger
-September 14, 1999

Organic farming could produce enough food to feed large populations,
to British scientists at the Festival of Science in Sheffield.

It may be environmentally friendly, but advocates of modern intensive farming 
methods say that "going organic" will not produce enough food to feed large 
Lower yields still profitable
But the British team say the lower yields from organic farms can still be 
profitable once the savings on chemical additives such as fertilisers and 
machinery are taken into account. And they say organic farming could be
even in developing countries if the political climate is favourable.
In developed countries, organic food is increasingly in demand. It is

by many as being healthier, and free from chemical residues from pesticides

Although organic farms achieve only 60 to 80% of the yield of high intensity 
conventional farms, some of these losses can be offset against savings on 
expensive fertilisers and insecticides.
Organic farms economically viable

Could organic crops feed the world? 
Most organic farms in countries like Britain and the United States are still 
fairly small in size. Dr Liz Stockdale, of the Institute of Arable Crop
in England, believes organic farms could be economically viable on a much
scale, even in developing countries with large populations.
"In less developed countries, countries where the conventional agricultural 
systems aren't that intensive to start with, we can see that conventional 
systems and organic systems actually can match yields very closely," she said.
Dr Stockdale says this is because conventional farms in poorer countries tend
use less expensive machinery and chemicals, putting them more on a par with 
organic systems.
Growing the right crops
But she says the lower yields of organic farms in any country could be
increased as scientists learn more about controlling insects and disease
chemicals, and find the right crops to suit a particular region's pests and 
"One of the main problems isn't getting the total yield, it's getting
yield, yield that consumers are quite happy to buy. And that's because
quite a 
bit of that crop is damaged by pests or disease, just on the surface but not 
affecting the quality for eating, but the way it looks".
"So just improving ways of trapping pests is the one that makes us money."
But Dr Stockdale says farmers can do only so much in producing enough food to 
feed the world; governments have a role to play as well.
Conventional farms, she says, often produce too much food - leading to
being grown for human consumption in Western countries frequently being fed
Until governments tackle the social and political factors involved in poverty 
and effective food distribution, she says, millions of people will continue
go hungry.
10) Anti-GE demo in SF- Sept. 23 - Please send this on to all your contacts in
the Bay Area. Thanks! * * Please Post Direct Action Alert Please Post * * 

* Hear Celebrity Speakers About Genetic Engineering Dangers 
* Live Music and Entertainment Against Frankenfoods 
* Street Theater: " Who's Been Getting In My Genes ? " 
* Eat Free Organic Food 
* Be Heard By the Major Media and the Stock Traders 
* Surprises ! ! !
Demonstration 11 am - 1 pm
Thursday September 23 
Pacific Coast Stock Exchange
301 Pine (between Montgomery & Sansome) 
Downtown San Francisco
Goals of This Rally:
* Educate Media, Public and Investors about the Dangers of Genetic 
* Demand that the Stock Market Stop Investing in Genetic Engineering 
* Promote Organic Farming as The Best Choice For People and The Planet 
* Demand Full Disclosure Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods
Voicemail for Info: Stage Hands (831) 469-5055
Zea Sonnabend 
Policy Director 
Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) 
(831) 761-3213 phone; (831) 761-8988 fax