info4action archive


GE - news mix 23rd September

1) Commons caterers serve up GM embarrassment for Blair 
Nicholas Watt, Political Correspondent  Thursday September 23, 1999 
2) Reply-To: "Stephen Emmott" <> 
Just to remind everybody what the Directive 90/220 says about public
information on GMO trial releases. 
3) EU May Require GM Animal Feed to be Labelled - AgBiotechNet Sept 15 1999
4) France and EU Will Oppose Sale of GMOs at WTO  AgBiotechNet Sept 15 1999
5) German Retailers go GM-Free - AgBiotecNet 15 Sept 1999
6) Attitudes to GM Technology in South America - AgBiotechNet Sept 15 1999
Service: PA (PA News) 
Date: Tue, Sep 21, 1999 
Press Release for Worldwatch Paper 148
9) Lib Dems talk tough on GM Wednesday, September 22, 1999
11) Pesticide safety limit raised by 200 times 'to suit GM industry' DAILY

12) Growing pains for farmers Debate continues over genetically altered crops 
The Pantagraph Bloomington, IL
13) Food trials without fanfare The Press - September 20, 1999
14) SOME GMO GUIDELINES AHEAD OF HARVEST September 16, 1999 Farm Journal
On-Line Bob Coffman
15) San Fransisco Demo
16) From: "Maison de l'Ecologie" <> 
17) Subject: Burma - Sorry to abuse this list with another

1) Commons caterers serve up GM embarrassment for Blair 
Nicholas Watt, Political Correspondent  Thursday September 23, 1999 
Tony Blair's efforts to encourage the development of genetically modified food
suffered a setback yesterday with the announcement that GM products will no
longer be served at the Palace of Westminster. 
A notice, displayed prominently in canteens around the palace, announced that
the use of GM food would be "avoided wherever possible". 
Sue Harrison, the director of the Commons refreshment department, said that
had decided to act because of general unease about GM foods. 
Ms Harrison, who has asked suppliers to provide non-GM foods, added that she
was making no judgment about the foods but was merely responding to demand. 
Her statement, which follows the decision of the Commons all-party catering
committee to give the refreshment department a free hand over whether to serve
GM food, will be an embarrassing reminder to the prime minister of widespread
disquiet over GM food. 
Mr Blair has called for people to "keep an open mind" on the issue. 
Dennis Turner, the Labour chairman of the Commons catering committee,
last night that he was taken by surprise by yesterday's announcement. 
"The director of catering will want to bring a report to the next meeting of
the catering committee," Mr Turner said. "She will presumably want to justify
to us the decision." 
MPs were also surprised by the decision because they thought that the
refreshment department was concentrating on meeting the government's target of
labelling GM food by the end of this month. 
The prime minister, who has criticised opponents of GM food for exaggerating
the dangers, has argued powerfully for research trials to be allowed to
In his most recent comments he said that genetic modification could be the
leading science of the next century. 
"All I say to people is: just keep an open mind and let us proceed
according to
genuine scientific evidence," Mr Blair said during the summer. 
2) Reply-To: "Stephen Emmott" <> 
Just to remind everybody what the Directive 90/220 says about public
information on GMO trial releases. . Note the first indent to paragraph 4. The
location of the release may NOT be kept confidential- This is the new common
position text but it is not much changed from the existing one in this

Article 25 Confidentiality
1.The Commission and the competent authorities shall not divulge to third
parties any confidential information notified or exchanged under this
and shall protect intellectual property rights relating to the data received.
2.The notifier may indicate the information in the notification submitted
this Directive, the disclosure of which might harm his competitive position,
that should therefore be treated as confidential. Verifiable justification
be given in such cases.
3.The competent authority shall decide, after consultation with the notifier,
which information will be kept confidential and shall inform the notifier of
its decisions.
4.In no case may the following information when submitted according to
5, 6, 7, 12, 16, 20 or 23 be kept confidential :
-general description of the GMO or GMOs, name and address of the notifier,
purpose of the release, location of release and intended uses; 
-methods and plans for monitoring of the GMO or GMOs and for emergency
-the environmental risk assessment.
5.If, for whatever reasons, the notifier withdraws the notification, the
competent authorities and the Commission must respect the confidentiality of
the information supplied

Steve Emmott 
Advisor-Genetic Engineering 
Greens/European Free Alliance Group 
European Parliament 
1047 Brussels
Tel/fax +32 2 284 2026
3) EU May Require GM Animal Feed to be Labelled - AgBiotechNet Sept 15 1999
According to a press report, David Byrne, the EU's Health and Consumer 
Protection Commissioner-designate, has said that the EU plans to require 
animal feed containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients to be labelled 
as such. Requirements for labelling of foods containing GM ingredients 
already exist in the EU for foods destined for human consumption. Mr. Byrne 
reportedly made the comment at confirmation hearings at the European 
Parliament in Brussels held in early September.
The announcement follows scares in the EU where animals were found to have 
been fed with products contaminated with dioxins in Belgium and with human 
sewage in France. There is now considerable consumer pressure to regulate 
what is fed to meat animals. A requirement to label not only grocery food 
products but also animal feed as GM or GM-free would increase the demand for 
segregation of non-GM commodity crops from GM crops. Soybean meal is a key 
protein additive in European animal feed and is mainly imported from the 
USA. A US official reacting to Mr. Byrne statement was cited as saying that 
non-segregated US soybeans were the "only practical source" of protein for 
European livestock and that no realistic alternative existed at present.
AgBiotechNet Sept 15 1999 
4) France and EU Will Oppose Sale of GMOs at WTO  AgBiotechNet Sept 15 1999
President of France Jacques Chirac has stated that France and the EU will 
oppose the sale of genetically modified foods and hormone treated beef at a 
global trade summit starting in November.
Chirac, speaking on France's TV5, said his stance was not incompatible with 
his overall support for the benefits of a globalized economy. He said France 
would vigorously defend its position at the upcoming ministerial meeting of 
the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle, USA, from 30 November to 3 
"Some in Seattle at the WTO are going to support the possibility of selling 
freely on the market food products for livestock and for people that are 
genetically modified or have undergone treatment with hormones,'' Chirac 
said. "Our conviction is that we have no assurance that these practices meet 
standards for the health of mankind and we cannot play with that,'' he said. 
"We French will be very firm on this point in Seattle.''
Chirac spoke against a background of a summer-long wave of protests by 
French fruit and vegetable farmers at what they say are unacceptably low 
prices imposed by large supermarket chains that buy in bulk. The outcry has 
overlapped with a series of violent protests against US companies like 
McDonald's and Coca-Cola in reaction to tariffs imposed on some French 
luxury goods by the United States. The US tariffs were imposed punitively 
after the WTO ruled the European Union was illegally restricting the import 
of US and Canadian beef treated with hormones.
There is no evidence that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) harm humans 
and scientific studies by the EU have failed to produce proof that hormone 
treated beef is a health hazard. Chirac said one way of resolving the 
dispute was to create an impartial scientific body within the United Nations 
to assess the risks of GMOs, hormones and other agricultural issues. But he 
said that as long as any doubts remained, countries should be allowed to ban 
the import of contested foods. "Either we are sure that everything is fine 
and the concerned scientists say so, in which case there is no problem,'' he 
said. "Or we are not sure, which is the case with GMOs and hormone treated 
meat, and we accept that countries protect themselves against possible 
imports of this sort until the scientific authorities have given the green 
He said Europe's worries were compounded because GMOs also carried 
environmental risks, referring to a US study which showed that pollen from 
genetically modified corn harmed the larvae of the monarch butterfly.
AgBiotechNet Sept 15 1999

5) German Retailers go GM-Free - AgBiotecNet 15 Sept 1999
The German retailer Edeka has joined other German companies in declaring 
that it will not use genetically modified (GM) ingredients in its products. 
The company’s headquarters in Hamburg has announced that Edeka does not sell 
own-brand products containing GE ingredients. This is guaranteed through 
agreements with suppliers and the company’s own monitoring measures. 
Although not required to do so by law, the company will also guarantee the 
absence of GM ingredients in cat and dog food.
Greenpeace had previously found GM soya in Edeka's own-brand "Domino". 
Representatives from Greenpeace in Germany had demonstrated in front of an 
Edeka store recently to alert the public that the company was selling food 
containing GM ingredients. A spokesman for Greenpeace, Dr Christoph Then, 
commented, "The company obviously pulled the emergency brake……Up to now 
Edeka was only willing to keep labelled products from its own-brands. Those 
responsible within Edeka obviously learned that consumers also don't want 
products with GE-ingredients like genetically modified soya lecithin or 
maize oil that don't have to be labelled."
Edeka joins other big German retailers like Tengelmann and Rewe, which after 
negotiations with Greenpeace, have recently declared that they will remove 
GM ingredients from own-brand products. Edeka had previously refused to join 
the initiative towards GM-free products. According to Then, "The trend 
towards GE-free production has become massive. The remaining large retailers 
like Spar, Metro, Lidl, and Aldi should see the writing on the wall and 
refrain from using GM raw materials. Since even the Deutsche Bank gets rid 
of shares of companies producing GM seeds it is clear that there is nothing 
to earn with GM food in Europe."
Contact: Greenpeace Germany 
URL: <>
AgBiotecNet 15 Sept 1999

6) Attitudes to GM Technology in South America - AgBiotechNet Sept 15 1999
Member countries of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), as well as its 
associate members, are far from reconciling their positions on the 
cultivation of genetically modified (GM) food crops. Mercosur, which is made 
up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, is responsible for policies 
that limit or even ban the production of genetically modified (GM) crops, as 
well as others that encourage their use.
The environmental organisation GRAIN has stated that South American 
governments have "redirected their economies toward the export of GM 
products as a key to growth," and have become "the latest opportunity for 
agro-industrial transnationals that are encountering obstacles to their 
expansion in North America and Europe." GRAIN has argued that "the massive 
flow of dollars has made [South American] governments insensitive to the 
obvious environmental and social costs, and, in the long term, the risks for 
safe food supplies" caused by GM organisms.
Within Mercosur, the most contradictory situation is in Brazil. Here, the 
federal government has authorised the marketing of several types of 
genetically modified seeds, while the judiciary has passed a resolution 
covering the entire nation that prohibits the release of GM soya into the 
environment. The legal measure was decided after legal claims were made by 
Brazil's Consumer Institute and by the Brazilian branch of the international 
environmental organisation Greenpeace. The decision particularly affects the 
interests of the transnational corporation Monsanto.
The state of Rio Grande do Sul, which is an economic leader in its 
agricultural production and where soya is one of the principal crops, leads 
the opposition in Brazil against GMs. In March the state banned the use of 
GM products within its territory. The state legislature is currently 
considering a bill that would declare Rio Grande do Sul a permanent "GM free 
zone." In August, more than 2000 people participated in a meeting of several 
citizen organisations in Porto Alegre, the state's capital. The meeting 
culminated with the adoption of the "Rio Grande do Sul Charter" and a street 
demonstration against genetically altered organisms. The Charter was 
approved by a wide range of groups including the Landless Rural Workers 
Movement, trade unions, professional associations, groups of ecologists, 
Catholics and farmers, as well as research centres and women's movements. 
Citing "hundreds of scientific and experimental documents," the text 
maintains that the GMs "are a threat and a risk to human health and to food 
safety, as well as being transgressors against nature's harmonic processes." 
The Charter also states that the production and businesses arising from 
research linked to GMs in agriculture "are in the hands of a small group of 
transnational companies."
The Charter's signatories demand that the federal, state and municipal 
governments immediately suspend any action that legalises the production and 
marketing of GM foods, whether nationally produced or imported, as well as 
freeing up resources to clarify this new technology's risks. They also 
demand a public investigation and, in accordance with ethical principles, a 
study of the process's social, economic and environmental sustainability.
In Paraguay, a Bio-Safety Commission of experts, citizen organisations and 
parliamentarians designated by the government recommended that the executive 
office declare the nation "free of genetically modified organisms." Soya is 
Paraguay's primary agricultural product and the commission's pronouncement 
would be a serious obstacle to the transnationals' plans for GM products, 
indicated the citizen organisations.
Argentina and Uruguay, for their part, have not yet taken real steps towards 
openly debating the issue. Since Argentina opened the doors for the 
cultivation of modified soyabeans in 1996, the nation has become the world's 
second largest producer of GM soya, with four million hectares in 
production. The Bio-Safety Commission created by Carlos Menem's government 
to study the issue has been harshly criticised by environmental groups due 
to the heavy participation of representatives from the industrial sector and 
the absence of ecologists, consumer advocates and agricultural 
In Uruguay, several experimental sites have been authorised, primarily for 
GM maize and soyabean varieties. A governmental Risk Evaluation Commission 
includes the technical advice of just four experts, and has not allowed the 
participation of Uruguayan civil organisations.
In Chile, environmental and consumer organisations have charged the 
government with allowing GM cultivation to increase, and permitting the sale 
of GM foods without implementing appropriate safety measures. The 
Sustainable Chile Foundation has released a report indicating that "the 
surface area planted with GM products grew four-fold between 1997and 1998, 
from 7152 hectares to 28,541 hectares." The Chilean government claims that 
it has based its position on the defence of free trade, and on the fact that 
GM foods are not sold within Chile, but rather the seeds exported to North 
America. The Sustainable Chile Foundation maintained there are still risks 
because the GM seeds are not grown in quarantine, which implies "an imminent 
risk of biological contamination of nearby crops and weeds." The foundation 
and the Conscientious Consumer's League have claimed that "genetically 
modified maize not used for seed is being used to feed pigs and chickens," 
representing unknown risks to Chileans who eat meat that is potentially 
contaminated with modified genes.
AgBiotechNet Sept 15 1999

Service: PA (PA News) 
Date: Tue, Sep 21, 1999 
> Copyright 1999 PA News. Copying, storing, redistribution, 
> retransmission, 
> publication, transfer or commerical exploitation of this information is 
> expressly forbidden. 
> By Melissa Kite, Political Correspondent, PA News 
> Liberal Democrats were today stepping up pressure on the Government to 
> take action on genetically modified food by calling for a five-year ban on 
> the growing of GM crops. 
> Members will try to reinforce their image of standing up for consumer 
> rights by taking a tough stance on the issue during a debate at their 
> annual party conference in Harrogate. 
> They will urge a five-year moratorium on commercial growing of GM crops 
> to allow time for research on the environmental and health consequences. 
> The party is expected to commit itself to an urgent review of policy, 
> and possibly to a permanent ban, if the research shows that GM cultivation 
> would harm organic farming. 
> The current ban on human cloning should be maintained and genetic 
> modification of animals allowed only when the suffering is minimal and 
> outweighed by the benefit to humans, they will say. 
> During a separate emergency debate on farming, Liberal Democrat MP Paul 
> Tyler will condemn the Government's "inadequate response" to the plight of 
> livestock farmers, whose incomes have plummeted to record lows in that 
> last 
> four years. 
> A debate on the Neill committee recommendations on party funding, 
> meanwhile, will see some members condemning the new rules as going to 
> far.. 
> They will call for changes to the proposals to allow anyone resident in 
> the UK, including foreigners, to be able donate to political parties. 

Press Release for Worldwatch Paper 148

Widespread losses of plant species and varieties are eroding the 
foundations of 
agricultural productivity and threatening other plant-based products used by 
billions of people worldwide, reports a new study by the Worldwatch 
Institute, a 
Washington, DC-based research organization.
"Plants provide us with irreplaceable resources," said John Tuxill, author of 
Nature's Cornucopia: Our Stake in Plant Diversity. "The genetic diversity of 
cultivated plants is essential to breeding more productive and disease 
crop varieties. But with changes in agriculture, that diversity is slipping 
away." In China, farmers were growing an estimated 10,000 wheat varieties in 
1949, but were down to only 1,000 by the 1970s. And Mexican farmers are 
only 20 percent of the corn varieties they cultivated in the 1930s. 
"Biotechnology is no solution to this loss of genetic diversity," said
"We are increasingly skillful at moving genes around, but only nature can 
them. If a plant bearing a unique genetic trait disappears, there is no way
get it back." 
The effects of plant loss extend far beyond agriculture. One in every four 
medicines prescribed in the United States is based on a chemical compound 
originally found in a plant. And worldwide some 3.5 billion people in 
countries rely on plant-based medicine for their primary health care. Plants 
also furnish oils, latexes, gums, fibers, timbers, dyes, essences, and other 
products we use every day. Rural residents of developing countries depend on 
plant resources for up to 90 percent of their total material needs. 
Loss of habitat, pressure from non-native species, and overharvesting have
one out of every eight plant species at risk of extinction, according to the 
World Conservation Union. 
"It is not just obscure or seemingly unimportant plants that are in trouble," 
said Tuxill. "Those that we rely upon most heavily are declining too. Some
thirds of all rare and endangered plants in the United States are close 
relatives of cultivated species. Crop breeders often turn to wild relatives
crops for key traits, like disease resistance, when they cannot find those 
traits in cultivated varieties.
Many medicinal plants are also in trouble from overharvesting and 
destruction of 
habitat. The bark of the African cherry tree is widely used in Europe for 
treating prostate disorders, but the medicinal trade has led to severe 
of the tree where it grows in the highlands of Cameroon and other central 
African countries. Since fewer than 1 percent of all plant species have been 
screened for bioactive compounds, every loss of a unique habitat and its 
is potentially a loss of future drugs and medicines. And traditional
about medicinal plants is declining even faster than the plants themselves.
Until recently, gene banks, botanical gardens, and protected areas have 
been the 
first line of defense in maintaining the diversity of plant life. The world's 
1,600 botanical gardens, for example, collectively tend tens of thousands of 
plant species. But Tuxill notes that these conventional approaches need 
significantly higher levels of support. Many conservation facilities must 
by on increasingly scarce funding, particularly those run by national 
governments. Only 13 percent of gene-banked seeds are in well-supported 
facilities with long-term storage capability. Protected area systems in many 
countries are also poorly developed.
As a result, governments, NGOs, and citizen activists are developing 
partnerships to bring plant diversity back to the landscapes where we live
grow our food and material goods. Tuxill identifies a number of examples:
* In the U.S. state of Iowa, a farmers' group and university researchers are 
identifying agronomic practices, such as alternative crop rotations and cover 
crop plantings, that can enhance biological diversity on farms and save 
money on fertilizers and agrochemical inputs.
* Innovative plant breeders in developing countries are working directly with 
farmers in participatory breeding programs to evaluate, select, and improve 
locally adapted crop varieties while maintaining robust levels of genetic 
* Consumers can buy timber products from nearly 10 million hectares of forest 
worldwide certified as being managed in an environmentally responsible manner 
under the guidelines of organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council.
* In the Central American nation of Belize, the government has established a 
rainforest reserve that is being managed by a local association of
healers for the production of wild medicinal plants. 
* Throughout India, hundreds of thousands of hectares of degraded 
forestland are 
recovering under co-management arrangements between state forest 
departments and 
village associations. 
Additional steps need to be taken to reform policies and practices that work 
against plant diversity. Some international bodies like the Convention on 
Biological Diversity (CBD) require governments to develop policies for 
plant resources wisely. However, others like the World Trade Organization 
demand that countries dismantle these protective policies, labeling them 
barriers to free trade. 
"The bottom line is that we have to share both the economic benefits of plant 
diversity and the obligation for protecting it," said Tuxill. "Those who 
the benefits of plant diversity, such as agribusinesses and pharmaceutical 
consumers, should acknowledge and support those who maintain it, like 
cultures and national gene banks." Through benefit-sharing agreements, 
international conservation endowments, and grassroots development projects 
attuned to the links between cultural and biological diversity, many options 
exist for supporting plant diversity rather than diminishing it. 
You can download this paper today as an Adobe PDF file for $5 on the 
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9) Lib Dems talk tough on GM Wednesday, September 22, 1999

Liberal Democrats have overwhelmingly supported a motion to ban
genetically-modified crops outright if tests show they would damage organic
The party also backed a five-year moratorium on commercial sowing of GM crops
proposed by leader Charles Kennedy. 
But environmental hardliners succeeded in shifting the wording of the final
motion so it promised the ban in place of an "urgent review" in the event
scientific research showed the new technology affected other crops. 
Mr Kennedy has made it clear he views the GM issue as one where he can put
"clear orange water" between his party and Labour. 
In a surprise intervention, the party leader got up on the podium to join the
debate - a day ahead of his keynote speech on Thursday morning. 
Anti-GM protests have got through to Lib Dems, if not Downing Street
He told delegates: "Science must be a servant of humanity. Science must not
ever become the master of humanity." 
A problem had developed in recent years of the public not believing scientific
information passed on by politicians, he said. 
"What's been clear in the disastrous mishandling of this issue by the
government is that the people don't trust the politicians. They don't trust
them because they don't think the Cabinet ministers are telling them the
Mr Kennedy also promised to put the environment at the heart of the UK's third
party as he re-models it. 
"We've got to be bolder on the environment. We've also got to be more
watertight because of the inevitable attacks we get from our opponents on
environmental policy. 
'Genuine public consultation' proposed 
Days after his election as leader, Mr Kennedy published a policy paper setting
out the proposals before the Lib Dem conference. 
The key recommendations on GM crops are: 
· A reaffirmation of the party's commitment to a five-year moratorium on
GM crops for commercial use. 
· Strenghtening labelling requirements. 
· Extending segregation zones around GM sites to avoid the risk of cross
· Forcing each proposed site to undergo an independent environmental impact
· Ensuring genuine public consultation at a local level. 
The contentious issue of GM food was the main focus point at the conference on
a day with no major speaker, looks set to provide the next upset. 
Also on Wednesday's agenda in Harrogate was an emergency motion on the
food crisis". 
Paul Tyler MP used the debate to condemn the government's "inadequate
to the plight of livestock farmers, whose incomes have plummeted to record
in that past four years. 
At the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Harrogate today, a third of the 
party supported a permanent ban on GM crops whereas a majority supported a 
five year moratorium on the commercial growing of GM crops. 
Greenpeace campaigner, Jim Thomas, said: "It's encouraging to see that 
Kennedy is facing this issue head on and, unlike Blair, is listening to 
public opinion. The decision not to support a permanent ban is misguided 
and regrettable but the party's willingness to review its decision now, 
should organic farming be jeopardised by GM crops, as it will, is to be 
A recent Government report by the respected John Innes Research Institute 
said that contamination of conventional and organic crops by GM crops was 
"inevitable". Furthermore, a report by the National Pollen Research Unit 
suggests that pollen can be carried by bees and wind over hundreds of 
kilometers. Such dispersal would also lead to inevitable GM contamination of 
conventional and organic crops.

11) Pesticide safety limit raised by 200 times 'to suit GM industry' DAILY

Daily Mail
THE limits on pesticide residues allowed in soya have been 
increased 200-fold to help the GM industry, according to one 
of the country's leading food safety experts.
Malcolm Kane, who has just taken early retirement as head of 
food safety at Sainsbury's, warned that higher levels of pesticide 
residues could appear in a range 
of foods from breakfast cereals to biscuits.
He raised concerns that although the toxin levels are low, there may be 
dangers associated with 
long-term consumption.
The claims were rejected by the Government's GM spin unit but are bound to 
fuel hostility to the 
tainted technology.
The fact that the warning comes from such a respected source is highly 
embarrassing for the 
Government and biotech firms.
Previously, UK and European rules stated that residues of the pesticide 
glyphosate left on a crop 
of soya beans should not be higher than 0.1 parts per million.
But according to Mr Kane, the Government has increased this figure by 200 
times to 20 parts per 
million specifically to smooth the path of GM soya into the national diet.
The soya has been modified to withstand spraying by glyphosate which is 
sold by the giant U.S. 
biotech firm [ Monsanto ] under the brand name Roundup.
This means it can be sprayed more heavily without any of the soya plants 
being harmed. But one 
negative result could be that higher residues of the chemical are left on 
the plant when it is 
Mr Kane believes that rather than force the industry and farmers to meet 
the existing safety levels, 
officials have instead relaxed the rules to ensure GM crops remain legal.
While soya is sprayed with glyphosate, other crops, specifically maize or 
corn, have been 
manipulated to contain their own insecticides. These are designed to kill 
off pests which attack the 
plants so leading to bigger crops, but Mr Kane raises the possibility that 
these pesticides will also 
find their way into human food. A major loophole in the regulatory system 
means there is no 
way of monitoring or policing levels of pesticide which are effectively 
injected into plants through 
GM technology.
Mr Kane argues that the development of crops which are herbicide- resistant

pesticide-resistant was a major mistake by the biotech industry because 
these do not offer any 
benefits to consumer.
He believes that a better handling of the technology with an emphasis on 
the production of foods 
which are higher in important vitamins or other chemicals which promote a 
more healthy lifestyle 
could have produced a much more positive reception.
'One does not need to be an activist or overtly anti-GM to point out that 
herbicide-resistant crops 
come at the price of containing significant chemical residues of the 
active chemical in the 
commercial weedkiller,' said Mr Kane. 'Conventional food crops will have 
no such residues.' He 
added: 'Consumers are understandably concerned about chemical residues in 
the food supply, and 
it is the responsibility of food industry professionals to protect and 
defend their requirements.
Undoubtedly, GM offers longer-term benefits in food quality and nutrition.
However, the two most significant GM food developments currently being 
herbicide-resistance and insect-resistance, offer no consumer benefits.' A 
spokesman for the 
Government's GM spin unit said that the residue level had been changed in 
1997, after GM soya 
was approved in Europe.
'The change was made because of a change in farming practice for all soya, 
both conventional and 
GM, it was not done to suit the GM industry,' said the spokesman.
While in the past the crops had been sprayed early in the growing season, 
farmers had now 
decided to spray them before harvest to speed up the drying process, she said.
However, Mr Kane, who now runs his own food safety con-sultancy, Cambridge 
Food Control, 
described this explanation as a red herring.
'This whole debate has been dogged by misinformation,' he said.
'There is absolutely no good reason for raising the residue limit on soya 
other that to satisfy the 
GM companies.' Friends of the Earth biotech expert Adrian Bebb said 
glyphosate was a 
suspected 'gender bender', adding: 'It is extremely long lasting in the 
food chain and has been 
implicated in changing hormone levels in humans and reducing sperm counts 
in men.'
(Copyright 1999)
_____via IntellX_____

Publication Date: September 21, 1999
12) Growing pains for farmers Debate continues over genetically altered crops 
The Pantagraph Bloomington, IL
European Union countries reiterated this spring that they didn't 
want them. Since then, two major Japanese beer brewers, a 
Mexican flour tortilla company and baby food makers Gerber 
and Heinz have followed like a set of tumbling dominos.
And, in the United States, a group of organic farmers and food 
processors just joined forces with environmental organization, Greenpeace, 
to sue the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency. The suit would have EPA officials 
withdraw approval for Bt 
corn - resistant to European corn borer - already on the market as well as 
ban future approvals.
The repeated concern and rejection around the world of so-called 
genetically modified organisms, 
including about half the soybeans and a third of the corn being harvested 
in the United States this 
fall, has caused emotions to flare on the farm.
Many farmers' frustrations levels have doubled with the furor about GMOs 
adding to anxiety 
over low commodity prices.
What to do about GMOs has sparked lively discussion at field days as well 
as in farm sheds and 
coffee shops.
The verdict? Farmers aren't ready to give up on the improved corn and 
soybeans lines created by 
combining existing genes within the plants to make new ones, but they're 
also unwilling to lose a 
global market with a hankering for traditionally-bred grain. No one 
believes the issue will be 
resolved soon.
"Mad cow disease really shook up the Europeans. I think it's their right 
to be cautious about food 
safety. I also think we can target grain to meet their needs. Instead of 
talking about biotech crops, 
we need to think about what the customer really wants," said Doug Wilson 
of Gridley, Illinois 
Corn Growers Association president.
"At the same time, I don't want to abandon biotech. We may lose 
development of some benefits 
that could be really good if we back away. Getting pharmaceuticals from 
corn and soybean plants 
is a wonderful idea."
Few farmers would disagree with Wilson's sentiment. They believe GMOs are 
safe because of 
testing and approval by the EPA, Food and Drug Administration and U.S. 
Department of 
Many, in fact, believe that concern about GMOs would disappear if the cure 
for cancer could be 
discovered in a cornfield. Biotech giant [ Monsanto ] has already looked 
at ways to use corn 
material as in chemotherapy and to assist diabetics.
"So far, most of the GMO modifications have centered on production 
benefits, for example, 
controling weeds. If there is a pharmaceutical benefit, I wonder what 
consumers will think," 
asked Joe Kapraun, manager of Stanford Grain. "I also wonder how worried 
they would be 
about GMOs if we didn't have large supplies of grain on hand."
In the meantime, farmers are trying to decide what to do next year. Many 
are considering planting 
nonGMOs not only because of market concerns but also economics.
Farmers pay seed companies technology fees to plant GMO material. For 
example, they may pay 
$24 more per bag for Bt corn and $6.50 per bag more for Roundup Ready 
soybeans resistant to 
Roundup herbicide. Farmers have to weigh those added costs against lower 
herbicide and 
insecticide costs, and possible yield gains.
For many growers, Roundup Ready soybeans yield about the same as other 
varieties. Using 
Roundup herbicide, however, drastically reduces agrichemical costs.
On the other hand, farmers like Wilson and McLean grower Ron Fitchhorn 
said Bt corn will be a 
hard sell for next year. The corn only pays if European corn borers become 
a problem. And, 
farmers receive no price premium for growing the corn.
Conversely, many growers and grain elevator operators believe buyers may 
pay premiums for 
nonGMO grain later this fall. A premium market, however, will hinge on the 
ability of farmers 
and elevators to keep grain segregated. Just two weeks ago, Decatur corn 
processor [ Archer 
Daniels Midland ] asked grain suppliers to keep GMOs separate.
"I don't think we can do that at the elevator level. How do you do it," 
asked Fred Gent, McLean 
County Service Co. grain manager. "Next year could be different, but our 
markets are accepting 
GMO grain for livestock feed. If a premium does develop for nonGMO grain, 
everybody will 
grow it next year, and then there will probably be so much that a premium 
won't be paid."
Gent and most farmers said price incentives are needed to segregate grain 
on the farm. 
Segregation means cleaning out the combine thoroughly when changing 
fields, and paying close 
attention to on-farm bin use.
Kapraun said he thinks farmers could be paid 10 to 15 cents per bushel 
more for nonGMO corn 
and up to 30 cents per bushel for nonGMO soybeans later this fall. While 
tests are available to 
determine Bt corn in about 10 minutes, Kapraun said he will not make 
farmers wait. Farmers 
needing a GMO market can find buyers on the American Seed Trade 
Association web page at 
"We may attempt some segregation. We'll ask farmers for as much 
information as possible. I 
think we will be unsuccessful," said Kapraun. "Farmers have been asking me 
what they should 
do for next year. I think it would be a mistake to say the GMO issue will 
not be a problem next 
Curt Haynes, president of Specialty Grains Inc. in Gibson City, agreed 
wholeheartedly. The 
company sells large volumes of nonGMO corn and soybeans primarily to Japan 
for human 
"The big chemical companies who own the seed keep saying it's no big deal 
- that everything will 
be worked out by next year. It's not going away - not in the short-term, 
anyway," said Haynes. A 
recent announcement by Japanese brewers who want only nonGMO corn for beer 
prompted Haynes' company to seek nonGMO corn from growers throughout the 
Most of the company's grain gets grown via contract. Haynes said on-farm 
bins of nonGMO 
corn will be probed and analyzed chemically before his company can accept 
it. Customers will 
pay for the tests ranging in cost from $50 to $300. Premiums vary, Haynes 
said, explaining that 
most corn shipped in October will be priced at December Chicago Board of 
Trade bids.
With Japanese officials also saying they will require labels on GMO food 
products begining 
April 2001, Haynes said the U.S. risks losing a significant market if 
nonGMO needs cannot be 
"We are trying to force feed GMOs. That could cost us market share. If we 
can't sell it, why plant 
it," Haynes asked.
National as well as Illinois Corn Growers Association members went so far 
as to advise seed 
companies not to pressure farmers to buy GMOs this winter. Called the Know 
Before You 
Grow campaign, the organization urges farmers to know their customers.
"We're going to try and identify markets for our members this winter. 
Growers need to know 
what they are planting and be certain they will have an appropriate market 
to sell their 
commodity," said Wilson.
(Copyright 1999)
_____via IntellX_____

Publication Date: September 19, 1999
13) Food trials without fanfare The Press - September 20, 1999
The decision not to make public the Lincoln sites of trials of 
genetically engineered bread wheat will do nothing to reassure 
people already suspicious of gene food technology. The 
multinational food firm [ Monsanto ] has applied to test 11 
strains of Roundup-ready wheat in field trials. The exact 
locations have yet to be chosen. But although the Environmental Risk 
Management Authority 
says it will want to know where the trials are, it will keep the 
information confidential.
Given that protesters against genetically engineered foods have already 
damaged a trial crop of 
genetically modified potatoes at Lincoln, not releasing the locations may 
be no more than trying 
to contain potential trouble. It will not, however, comfort the growing 
number of consumers who 
worry about unanticipated effects that trials of genetically altered food 
crops may produce.
Among them is the Alliance's health spokeswoman, Phillida Bunkle. She has 
pointed to field 
trials as carrying hazards not thrown up in the laboratory. The unintended 
spread of the trial crop 
is one of them.
That risk and others have produced a growing unease among potential 
consumers. In less than a 
year, the world has become sharply split over genetically modified food. 
It is most freely 
accepted in the United States. Elsewhere, however, there is considerable 
The modified wheat to be tested at Lincoln has already undergone trials in 
the US. More than half 
the US soybean crop and a third of corn planted during the northern 
hemisphere summer has 
been genetically engineered. Wheat is eventually expected to reach those 
The development of such crops has been accompanied by aggressive 
marketing. Yet they are far 
from popular. For instance, Japan's two biggest breweries and a major 
Mexican maker of corn 
tortillas have refused to use genetically altered grain in their products. 
That is because of a wave 
of consumer mistrust.
US farmers planted genetically altered crops in good faith. Now, according 
to the American Corn 
Growers' Association, they find themselves misled by multinational seed 
and chemical 
companies which failed to warn them of the dangers of raising crops that 
do not enjoy consumer 
New Zealand farmers are wider awake. The chairman of the grain section of 
North Canterbury 
Federated Farmers, John McGloin, says that introducing genetically 
engineered crops into this 
country too soon might endanger export marketing. He says that at the 
section's conference a year 
ago, many grain farmers thought such crops should be actively encouraged. 
"At this year's 
conference, everyone had the hand- brake on."
Public opinion has had a lot to do with that change of heart. In Europe, 
it has proved particularly 
obdurate. The European Union is thus extremely strict about approving 
imports of food which 
has been genetically changed. Some politicians have not read the signs 
well. For example, Tony 
Blair was loud in his praise of genetically engineered food until a 
consumer backlash told him 
otherwise. He has since muted his enthusiasm.
Suspicion of additives and an increasing emphasis on organic produce have 
also fuelled worries 
about food biotechnology. That is in sharp contrast to people's general 
acceptance of genetic 
developments in medicine. Under way in several centres, one of them in 
Australia, is the testing 
in animals of a gene technology that would get liver cells rather than 
pancreatic cells to make 
insulin. Although the project has yet to be tried in humans, there seems 
little disquiet about it.
That cannot be said for genetically altered food. The big difficulty is 
that reassurances by the 
companies developing it cannot mean much. The recent debate over labelling 
gene-modified food 
demonstrated the problems. How it should be defined and how far down the 
processing chain 
gene manipulation needs to be identified are two hard questions. In the 
absence of good answers, 
consumers revert to instinct. They are understandably wary of eating 
something whose origins 
they do not understand.
That discomfiture amounts to a marketing opportunity for Canterbury. Since 
1992, dozens of its 
farmers have opted to go the organic way. More are increasing their 
production of organic 
vegetables and many are diversifying to add non- vegetable organic produce 
to their rotation. 
That, in the end, spells profit.
Having a substantial organic alternative will give this country a 
much-needed export boost. It will 
also provide local consumers with choice. The organic farming project 
planned by Lincoln 
University and Heinz-Wattie's is one encouraging trend. Ironically, both 
it and the bread-wheat 
trials are to be developed in the same area. Shoppers will ultimately 
decide which is worth their 
(Copyright 1999)
_____via IntellX_____

Publication Date: September 20, 1999
Thanks to NGIN for this.
14) SOME GMO GUIDELINES AHEAD OF HARVEST September 16, 1999 Farm Journal
On-Line Bob Coffman
>A statewide video conference has, according to this story, been held in 
>Iowa to 
>try to get producers, grain handlers and processors on the same page 
>into harvest. The uproar and uncertainty about GMO crops versus non-GMO 
>crops, -- or corn varieties which have not yet been given 
>clearance for trade in the EU countriesQhas led to huge confusion, with 
>combines starting to nose into 
>the fields. 
>Neil Harl, the nationally-known Iowa State University ag economics 
>professor, policy resource, and a member of the Iowa Bar, offers these 
>Several processors have signaled that products must be kept separate and 
>there will likely be differential pricing for GMOs and non-GMOs. That 
>exporters have to keep the products separate if they are to sell into 
>market. In turn, elevators and other first purchasers are expected to 
>request the same of producers. As a practical matter, actual testing for 
>GMO germplasm for the 1999 crop is expected to be spotty with heavy 
>reliance on producer representation as to which loads are GMO and which 
>are non-GMO. 
>Harl says that it's not as simple as stating that a load of corn, 
>or other crops is GMO or non-GMO. Some of the seed companies concede 
>their seed purporting to be non-GMO contained low levels of GMO 
>Besides, contamination from pollen drift may have added to the level of 
>GMO germplasm in non-GMO crop. And there may have been mechanical 
>contamination in augers, wagons, storage bins or even in the combine 
>Harl says that all of this adds up to a high stakes legal problem for 
>everyone involved. Eventually, with reliable testing at every point at 
>which the crop is commingledQat the elevator, the processor's bins or at 
>export vesselsQit 
>will be possible to monitor more closely what is GMO and what contains 
>only low levels of GMO germplasm. But the system is not there yet and 
>be capable of that type and extent of testing this crop season. 
>Bottmline: Producers should be careful. 
>Harl advises that if producers are asked by the first purchaser to 
>that the crop is non-GMO, they should be very careful what they sign or 
>even what oral comments are made. 
>Harl says farmers can realistically: 
>State that no seed represented by the seed company as GMO seed was 
>planted. State that seed represented by the seed company as non-GMO seed 
>was planted. State that care was taken in avoiding contamination in 
>augers, and in the combine. 
>Producers should be careful NOT to: 
> -- State that the crop in question has no GMO 
> -- State that no contamination has occurred from 
>mechanical handling and storage of the crop. 
> -- State that no contamination has occurred from 
>pollen drift. 
>Harl also notes that the Uniform Commercial Code imposes implied 
>warranties or promises in some situations. An implied warranty of 
>is imposed on the producer as seller if the seller has reason to know 
>particular purpose for which the goods are required if the buyer is 
>relying on the seller's skill and judgment in providing the goods. 
>This could very well be invoked against a producer if the conditions are 
>met. You can disclaim or nullify an implied warranty of fitness but it 
>takes a conspicuous, written provision in a contract. 
>An implied warranty of merchantability is imposed on merchants. Nearly 
>half of the states treat farmers as merchants. One feature of this 
>warranty is that the goods must be fit for the ordinary purposes for 
>they are to be used. Implied warranties of merchantability can be 
>disclaimed or nullified by the producer as seller if done orally or in 
>writing in 
>language that mentions merchantability. 
>Harl says this mean producrers should check immediately with likely 
>purchasers. What are they requiring? Some may not yet know. Once the 
>answer to that question is known, check carefully the language in any 
>statement you're asked to sign. Use caution in responding orally. 
++++++++++++++++++++++ PROTEST GENETIC +++++++++++++++++++++++++ 
++++++++++++++++++++++++ ENGINEERING ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 
+++++++++++++++++++++++ IN YOUR FOOD ! ++++++++++++++++++++++++
15) San Fransisco Demo
* JOIN THOUSANDS OF CITIZENS during lunch hour * 
to help make a difference in our food supply!

* 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
16) From: "Maison de l'Ecologie" <> 

if you want a dull insight on what our brain-dead biotech scientists and 
coroporations are doing, subscribe to Genetic Engineering News (GEN!!). 
It is a free glossy mag, mostly only good for toilet paper, but with 
occasional interesting articles eg how they justify GMOs and the risks 
to emperor moths, advice on how American exporters can change EU 
resistance to GM, forthcoming conferences etc. 
you can subscribe if you go to <>
From: Hugh Warwick <> 
Subject: Burma - Sorry to abuse this 
(and thanks to Jack if I am allowed to abuse it) - but 
I have just had a call from Ruth Goldwyn - sister of the imprisoned human 
rights activist, Rachel Goldwyn. Rachel is in a Burmese jail - sentenced to 
seven years hard labour for camapigning against the brutal regime. 
Ruth has requested that people write _polite_ letters to the Burmese 
Ambassador, as the first part of what is hopefully a short campaign. 

Please write to:
Myanmar Ambassador 
Embassy of the Union of Myanmar 
19a Charles Street 


This does not ignore the plight of James Mawdsley, who has been imprisoned 
for 17 years for pro-democracy campaigning, the Burmese prisoners - or the 
millions of people who have been burnt and beaten from their homes - but it 
does provide a focus for action.