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GE - GMO News 09/20



GMO News 09/20 
[apologies as we have no time for contents list today this is 
just to ensure that you have everything for your archives]


> Britain May Grow Commercial GM Crops Before Trials End 
> LONDON (Sept. 20) XINHUA - Britain may grow controversial 
> genetically modified crops before a three-year trial period 
> is complete, according to local reports on Monday. "If the 
> trials for a particular crop were satisfactorily 
> concluded...there would be no point in making that wait 
> till the end of the trials," Cabinet Minister Jack 
> Cunningham told BBC Radio. "If we were satisfied that one 
> crop had cleared all the tests satisfactorily and had been 
> given a clean bill of environmental health, I can't think 
> of any logical reason why that should be held up," he added. 
> However, Environmental activists criticised Cunningham's 
> comments, saying that the government was using the tests as 
> a cover to press ahead with GM crops despite growing public 
> hostility. "This is the clearest indication that these 
> trials are a yellowing, shrivelled fig leaf...to cover the 
> government's passion for genetically modified foods," a 
> spokesman for Greenpeace said. The Royal Society for the 
> Protection of Birds said prejudging trial results would be 
> "completely bonkers". Enditem 20/09/99 16:35 GMT Copyright 
> 1999 Executive News Svc. 
> 
> [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> <<GP>> 
> 09/20 UK may grow commercial GM crops before trials end By 
> Dominic Evans LONDON (Reuters) - Britain sparked fresh 
> anger from environmental activists Monday by refusing to 
> rule out commercial growing of controversial genetically 
> modified crops before a three-year trial period is 
> complete. "If the trials for a particular crop were 
> satisfactorily concluded ... 
> 
> there would be no point in making that wait till the end 
> of the trials," Cabinet Minister Jack Cunningham told BBC 
> Radio. "If we were satisfied that one crop had cleared all 
> the tests satisfactorily and had been given a clean bill of 
> environmental health, I can't think of any logical reason 
> why that should be held up," he said. Environmental pressure 
> groups said Cunningham's comments showed the government was 
> using the tests as a cover to press ahead with GM crops 
> despite growing public hostility. "This is the clearest 
> indication that these trials are a yellowing, shriveled fig 
> leaf ... to cover the government's passion for genetically 
> modified foods," a spokesman for Greenpeace said. The Royal 
> Society for the Protection of Birds said prejudging trial 
> results would be "completely bonkers." 
> 
> Public opinion in Britain is firmly opposed to GM crops but 
> Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has said the 
> country's competitiveness in research will be jeopardized 
> if trials are blocked. The trials, due to be held until 
> late 2002 or 2003, have already run into legal challenges 
> in the courts and direct action from protesters digging up 
> GM crops. Last week the government bowed to a legal 
> challenge from environmentalists who said it had been wrong 
> to allow biotechnology company AgrEvo to bring forward one 
> of its tests of GM rapeseed from spring to autumn planting. 
> And Monday, 28 Greenpeace volunteers, including executive 
> director Lord Melchett, were committed for trial in 
> November for destroying a genetically modified crop in 
> Norfolk in east England. Greenpeace said the trial would be 
> an opportunity to put its argument against GM crop trials 
> to a jury. REUTERS Executive News Svc. 
> 
> [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> <<GP>> 
> Global GM food talks end with no deal, resume Jan By Julia 
> Ferguson VIENNA, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Global talks on 
> regulating the multi-billion-dollar trade in genetically 
> altered foods and crops have ended without resolution, but 
> both industry and environmentalists on Monday said progress 
> had been made. The United Nations-sponsored conference 
> which ended just before midnight on Sunday was a shot at 
> hammering out agreement on a draft for an internationally 
> binding pact on the trade, handling and transportation of 
> genetically modified (GM) organisms. Negotiating parties 
> agreed in Vienna that another round of talks that would 
> take place in Montreal in January was necessary to iron out 
> differences before the Biosafety Protocol could be signed 
> by ministers in May 2000. The previous round of talks ended 
> in stalemate last February in Cartagena, Columbia, after 
> the main grain exporting countries led by the United States 
> baulked at accepting environmental controls on exports of GM 
> crops. The dispute centred on the G-77 group of developing 
> nations, wary that the hi-tech crops could pose a potential 
> risk to the environment and human health, and the so-called 
> Miami Group of the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Uruguay, 
> Australia and Chile. The Global Industry Coalition, which 
> represents 2,200 firms worldwide active in biotechnology, 
> said the Vienna talks were encouraging as they were held in 
> greater openness and showed a stronger commitment to 
> clinching a successful protocol. "We're all pleased there's 
> been some movement since the low point of Cartagena," 
> coalition member Joyce Groote of BioteCanada told Reuters. 
> 
> "Everybody's looking for flexibility, and although not too 
> much is on paper per se, there's definitely a mood, a 
> desire at looking at different proposals," she added. The 
> talks centred and stumbled on the treatment of commodities 
> containing GM organisms which can resist disease or produce 
> higher yields. The Miami Group of grain-exporting countries 
> wants a distinction between GM crops that are used for seed 
> and GM crops that will be used for food -- be it for 
> livestock or human consumption. "It may be that that's a 
> nice distinction, but the real issue is what is the impact 
> on biodiversity? And the reality is that the impact is 
> exactly the same," said political adviser Louise Gale of 
> environmental campaigners Greenpeace. According to 
> Greenpeace, the major development from the five-day talks 
> was the firm resolve of the so-called Like-Minded Group of 
> the developing world to insist on their right to reject 
> imports of GM commodities on fears that the crops could 
> pose a potential risk to the environment and human health. 
> 
> It is the biggest grouping at the negotiations and 
> consists of the G77 developing countries except Argentina, 
> Chile and Uruguay, but including China. REUTERS Executive 
> News Svc. 
> 
> [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> <<GP>> 
> 09/20 1112 GREEN CAMPAIGNERS PLEAD NOT GUILTY TO DAMAGING 
> GM CROPS By Brian Farmer, PA News Lord Melchett, executive 
> director of environmental campaign group Greenpeace, was 
> today committed to crown court for trial on charges of 
> damaging a genetically modified maize crop. The 51-year-old 
> peer of Ringstead, Norfolk, was one of 28 Greenpeace 
> supporters appearing before a magistrate at Norwich accused 
> of damaging a field of maize belonging to agro-chemical 
> company Agrevo at Lyng, Norfolk, on July 26. All 28 
> defendants, who are also all accused of stealing a quantity 
> of maize during the same incident, pleaded not guilty and 
> opted for trial by jury. They were all ordered to appear at 
> Norwich Crown Court on November 15. All were freed on bail 
> pending trial. The defendants come from various parts of 
> the country including: London, Surrey, Berkshire, 
> Staffordshire, Cardiff, Hertfordshire, Derby, Norfolk, 
> Manchester, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire 
> and Leicestershire. Executive News Svc. 
> 
> [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> <<GP>> 
> Spanish Grains-Feed trade urges rules on GMOs By David 
> Brough LISBON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Feed compounders in 
> Spain and Portugal say rules on the use of genetically 
> modified (GM) ingredients in animal feed are needed as the 
> food safety debate intensifies. "There are no clear rules 
> on the use of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in 
> feed," Pablo Aguirre, secretary-general of the Spanish 
> Confederation of Animal Feed Compounders (CESFAC), told 
> Reuters. Jaime Picarra of Portugal's Association of Animal 
> Feed Compounders (IACA) said the appointment of a new 
> European Commission last week could accelerate a decision 
> on the maximum permissible level of GM content in animal 
> feed. Dominique Taeymans, director of science and 
> regulation for Brussels-based food and drink producers' 
> group CIAA, told Reuters the Commission was readying a law 
> that would define the maximum allowable level of GM 
> material in feed. "A threshold is needed that reassures 
> consumers," Picarra said, noting that two percent seemed to 
> be a consensus view. "Our main concern is to provide safe 
> products." 
> 
> The Spanish and Portuguese spokesmen said GMOs were a vital 
> component of animal feed already, especially in soybeans 
> which were imported mainly from the U.S. and South America, 
> and that demand for non-GM feed would remain a minority, 
> niche market. In the United States, for example, more than 
> 35 percent of all corn and 55 percent of all soybeans 
> produced was now genetically engineered. "Without GMOs you 
> cannot manufacture feed today," Aguirre said. He said 
> environmental groups such as Greenpeace, which have 
> campaigned vigorously against GM crop trials, were now 
> turning their attention to GMO use in animal feed. "The 
> animal feed industry will not have a quiet autumn," Aguirre 
> said. He added, "It has not been shown that genes (in feed) 
> pass from animal intestines to meat." 
> 
> Spain and Portugal import GM soybeans but have spurned use 
> of unapproved varieties of U.S. GM maize for many months. 
> 
> Aguirre said he favoured the creation of an EU food safety 
> agency to protect consumer interests. An increasing number 
> of European politicians, including French President Jacques 
> Chirac, is calling for an EU-wide body to deal with food 
> safety and avoid a repetition of scandals such as the 
> recent Belgian dioxin-in-feed scare. "Such an agency would 
> need to impose tight controls to make sure that if any 
> anomalies occur, resources are immediately deployed to 
> solve the problem," Aguirre said. 
> 
> ! MORE !4,5,8 Executive News Svc. 
> [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> <<GP>> 
> The Daily News (Truro) Monday, September 20, 1999 Final 
> Agriculture 8 Standards for food labelling on the way 
> OTTAWA (CP) -- The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors 
> and the Canadian General Standards Board launched a project 
> Friday to create standards governing labelling and they've 
> got farmers on side. Farmers have agreed in principle to 
> the voluntary labelling of foods produced through 
> biotechnology, Bob Friesen, president of the Canadian 
> Federation of Agriculture, said Friday. ``We're afraid that 
> we may suddenly lose our ability to sell our products,'' 
> said Friesen. ``If there's voluntary labelling, that will 
> perhaps give the consumers some sense of confidence and a 
> higher sense of comfort.'' Canada has almost three million 
> hectares of land generating biotechnology products, said 
> Friesen. Genetically modified seeds are meant to make crops 
> hardier and insect-resistant. They're particularly common 
> for plants like canola, soy bean and corn. ``This project 
> will guide the development of meaningful criteria for the 
> voluntary labelling,'' said Jeanne Cruikshank, 
> vice-president of the grocery council's Atlantic region. 
> 
> However, the environmental group Greenpeace said the 
> government's initiative gives only the appearance of 
> dealing with an issue of concern to consumers and lacks 
> specifics. Voluntary labelling by food companies is already 
> an option. ``There's nothing new from this except for maybe 
> they're striking a committee to come up with a new graphic 
> design,'' said Michael Khoo, genetic-engineer campaigner 
> for Greenpeace. Laurie Curry, who works on the policy side 
> for the Food and Consumer Products Manufacturers of Canada, 
> says that it's important that strict criteria be determined 
> to define genetically modified foods. She says that in 
> Europe people are putting ``genetically modified free'' 
> monikers all over the place, even in instances where the 
> food could never conceivably be a product of biotechnology. 
> ``If you go back to the cholesterol example, you know 
> `cholesterol-free,' . . . some products carry that claim 
> and yet maybe never had cholesterol to begin with.'' 
> ``That's confusing,'' she said, and that's why there needs 
> to ``stringent criteria that is truthful and is not 
> misleading to the public.'' Low-fat and fat-free labelling 
> for yogurt, for instance, provides a somewhat similar 
> example about standard setting. Low-fat has less than three 
> grams of fat. For a product to be fat-free, the standard 
> was set at less than .01 grams, said Curry. The bottom line 
> is that criteria needs to be devised for any credible 
> labelling to take place. 
> 
> [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> <<GP>> 
> National Post Monday, September 20, 1999 All But Toronto 
> News A13 Jittery Europeans have had their fill of 
> 'Frankenstein food': Spread of genetically modified crops 
> leads to rising consumer backlash BY Carl Honore LONDON - 
> Right across Britain, discerning dog owners are lining up 
> to buy the latest treat for their pampered pooches. It's 
> not a toy, or a bone or even a fussy garment. It's a new 
> dogfood that is free of genetically modified (GM) 
> ingredients. "People may think it sounds silly," says 
> Graham Rathmore, who owns a small terrier in London. "But 
> if I'm not going to eat GM products, then why should my 
> dog?" Already famous for their love of animals, the British 
> are gaining a reputation as the world's leading opponents 
> of GM foods. On both sides of the Atlantic, biotechnology 
> companies are tinkering with the genetic make-up of crops 
> to render them stronger and more productive. North American 
> farmers are cultivating millions of hectares of modified 
> corn, soybean and canola. In many countries, foodstuffs 
> from beer to baby food contain GM ingredients. But though 
> Canadians and Americans seem content to let scientists 
> fiddle with their diet, Europeans, and especially the 
> British, are kicking back against what they call 
> "Frankenstein foods." 
> 
> "Anyone cultivating GM crops should be aware that they are 
> not welcome in Europe," says Jim Thomas, a campaigner from 
> Greenpeace UK. "The powers that be may support GM foods, 
> but ordinary people clearly don't want them." 
> 
> Although the European Union allows some modified corn and 
> soybean imports, GM crops are still largely in the trial 
> stage here. Only Spain grows them on a significant scale. 
> 
> Even so, a backlash against the technology is sweeping 
> across Europe. Though claims that genetic modification 
> threatens the environment and human health remain unproved, 
> supermarkets from Leipzig to London have yanked GM goods 
> from their shelves. Protesters who recently ransacked a 
> McDonald's outlet in France have become heroes of the 
> anti-GM movement. In Britain, where Prince Charles and Paul 
> McCartney have vowed no genetically modified food will pass 
> their lips, the anti-GM coalition draws in everyone from 
> suburban housewives to hardcore eco-warriors. A recent poll 
> found 79% want GM crop tests on farmland ended. British 
> protesters, many with no history of civil disobedience, 
> have ripped up GM test crops around the country. With 
> groups like Greenpeace threatening more attacks, and with 
> some farmers bowing out of the trials, biotech companies 
> have hired guards and turned to the courts for help. All 
> this is grim news for Canadian farmers who have put their 
> trust in GM technology. This year, 57% of Canada's canola, 
> 35% of its corn and nearly 20% of its soybean crops are 
> genetically modified. If demand in Europe dries up, who 
> outside North America will buy their produce? The sharp 
> contrast in consumer sentiment on the other side of the 
> Atlantic is not hard to explain. Europeans have less faith 
> than North Americans in the wonders of science. A recent 
> string of food scares, from "mad cow" disease in Britain to 
> dioxin-tainted chicken in Belgium, has shaken confidence in 
> the ability of officialdom to police the food industry. At 
> a time when demand for organic produce is going through the 
> roof, the spread of GM crops is fuelling a wider unease 
> about globalization and the trend toward large-scale 
> industrial farming. In Europe, where gastronomy is serious 
> business and the Big Mac is seen as a tool of U.S. 
> 
> imperialism, GM technology is perceived as another step 
> toward making food taste the same everywhere. "Many 
> Europeans have long felt that their culture is under siege 
> from the American juggernaut," says sociologist Michael 
> Harman. "Food is just the latest battleground in that 
> cultural war." 
> 
> Like its partners around the EU, Britain's Labour 
> government is caught in the crossfire. True to its 
> modernizing agenda, it backs testing GM crops in British 
> soil, and warns that Europe must not fall behind in the 
> biotech race. London recently cleared the way for many more 
> trial sites. But the anti-GM backlash has shaken Tony 
> Blair, Britain's prime minister, and bolstered the old 
> charge his government is beholden to big business and 
> Washington. To appease irate consumers, Britain has imposed 
> new rules for labelling foods containing GM ingredients. 
> 
> The EU, which has already sparked a mini-trade war by 
> banning imports of hormone-fed (though not genetically 
> modified) beef from the U.S., is considering similar 
> labelling moves. However, implementation is spotty at best. 
> A recent British poll found that more than 50% of pubs and 
> restaurants were unable to meet the new rules on 
> identifying GM food, which came into force last week. 
> 
> Despite the European jitters, GM technology is still being 
> hailed by supporters. Many studies show that modified crops 
> stand up better to disease and pests, require less chemical 
> spraying, deliver higher yields and grow in harsher 
> conditions. Above all, claim supporters, GM foods are safe. 
> "This is the most exhaustively tested agricultural 
> technology we've ever had," says Roger Turner, chairman of 
> Scimac, an industry-wide body that promotes GM crops in 
> Britain. "Anyone who says otherwise is just scaremongering." 
> But skeptics remain. Some think much more testing is needed 
> before GM crops are let out of the laboratory. Others 
> believe any genetic modification is an act of vandalism 
> against nature. Bio-tech are opening a Pandora's box, they 
> say. Citing sporadic studies, critics warn GM crops could 
> become toxic, trigger the emergence of new strains of 
> "superbugs" and "superweeds," or contaminate other plants 
> with their modified genes. "The nature of genetic 
> engineering is that it's very unpredictable, and when 
> something goes wrong, you can't recall it," says 
> Greenpeace's Mr. Thomas. "With GM crops, the risks far 
> outweigh the supposed benefits." 
> 
> In this transatlantic food fight, though, science probably 
> matters less than perception. European consumers are so 
> worried about GM crops that Germany's Deutsche Bank 
> recently urged investors to dump shares in companies 
> dealing in the technology. North American farmers are 
> starting to feel ripples from the European backlash. 
> 
> Protesters have begun destroying fields of GM crops in 
> California, and consumer groups are starting to push for 
> new labelling laws. Even more ominously, U.S. farmers are 
> now being urged to segregate their output, so exporters can 
> meet the surging demand for GM-free goods from overseas. 
> 
> With billions of dollars at stake, the battle for the 
> hearts and minds of the average consumer rages on. 
> 
> "Governments think they can just ram this technology 
> through, but that's not going to happen," says Mr. Thomas. 
> 
> "This fight is a long way from over." 
> [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> <<GP>> 
> The Kingston Whig-Standard Monday, September 20, 1999 Final 
> Editorial 7 Genetically modified food fight looms BY 
> Terence Corcoran Ingredients: This column contains facts, 
> opinions, unsubstantiated claims, verbs, nouns, adjectives, 
> allegations, references to hazardous scaremongers Maude 
> Barlow, Jeremy Rifkin, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, 
> warnings about a coming media blitz, and a major bias in 
> favour of genetically modified foods as a scientific 
> miracle. Not approved by any government agency, 
> environmental group, or industry association. Do not eat 
> this space. Over the next few weeks, Canadians will be 
> inducted into a national debate over genetically modified 
> food. Conscripted would be a better word. It's an 
> unnecessary war, brought on by environmental activists who 
> claim they want to do all consumers a favour by forcing the 
> food industry to label all food products that contain 
> genetically modified organisms (GMO). Having left Europe in 
> chaos over genetically modified potatoes and other 
> products, the scaremongers are hoping to create a similar 
> disaster in North America. The Canadian assault is led by 
> Maude Barlow's Council of Canadians, Greenpeace and the 
> Sierra Club. Recently, Barlow's group and the Sierra Club 
> called on Ottawa to ``stop talking and start labelling 
> genetically engineered foods.'' If anything, this is a 
> diversionary tactic and a trap. What the activists really 
> want is a complete ban on GM foods. As one activist put it 
> in a newsletter: ``Why are we calling for labelling of 
> genetically engineered foods, when what we clearly want is 
> to get rid of them altogether?'' Last week, major Canadian 
> food industry groups began walking into the trap. 
> 
> Retailers, manufacturers, distributors and the Canadian 
> Federation of Agriculture, under the newly formed Task 
> Force on Food Biotechnology in Canada, distributed a note 
> to various biotech parties around the country urging them 
> to join the task force in a counter-offensive against the 
> activists. Ad campaigns are planned, a Web site and 1-800 
> numbers are being set up, information and media packages 
> are rolling off the presses. It's an earnest-looking troupe 
> of corporate public relations types. Maybe it will work. 
> 
> Unfortunately, the group also looks identical to the 
> industry whizbangs who were chewed up in Europe by fact-free 
> sensationalists at Greenpeace and in the media. Experience 
> shows that in any such battle, industry's attempts to use 
> honest information and facts are mush against the 
> fabrications and scares of activists. Take the labelling 
> issue. Responding to what appears to be an honest call for 
> clear labelling, the industry groups say that ``Canadians 
> have a right to know what they are eating and a right to 
> choose.'' The task force also says that while accurate, 
> useful and understandable labels are difficult to achieve, 
> ``we support continuing a dialogue on the creation of 
> effective labelling.'' The government hopes this can be 
> done on a voluntary basis through the Canadian Standards 
> Board. All very good, except that the activists already 
> appear to be moving to higher ground. The label objective 
> wasn't even mentioned in recent news reports on the 
> anti-biotech campaign. As the activists attempt to decamp 
> to a new battle ground, they will leave industry members 
> fighting one another over the labelling issue while the war 
> is waged somewhere else. The easy answer to the label 
> problem, if we must have a label at all, is to develop a 
> standard national logo that says this food product is 
> ``GMO-Free.'' If the labelling issue were about labelling, 
> that would solve the problem. But that's not likely to 
> satisfy all the organic food lobbyists who back the 
> Greenpeace campaign against genetically modified food. Nor 
> will it satisfy the anti-biotechnology groups whose true 
> objective is a total ban on GM foods. On another front, the 
> leading anti-biotech operator in the United States is 
> Jeremy Rifkin, author of numerous campaigns against 
> economic and scientific progress, including such economic 
> quackery as The End of Work and a notorious campaign to rid 
> the world of beef. Now he's taking Monsanto and other 
> companies to court, claiming their biotech operations are 
> tainted by antitrust practices. The greatest risk in this 
> coming debate is that it will force policy compromises that 
> hinder the future development of biotechnology and food 
> modification. Some companies are already caving in to 
> Greenpeace. Gerber, the baby food maker, said it will not 
> use GM ingredients in its products. Food retailers have no 
> particular reason to stand on the principle that the 
> science is sound. Their motto is that whatever the consumer 
> wants, the consumer is entitled to get. If Barlow and other 
> activists can alarm consumers into thinking GM foods are 
> dangerous, many industries will simply fall into line. 
> 
> Biotechnology promises reduced pesticide use, higher 
> productivity, less crop disease and other benefits. 
> 
> Industry estimates are that 60 per cent of food products 
> in Canada already trace their origins to some form of 
> genetically modified organisms. A general lack of political 
> courage on the part of government and industry could 
> produce the wrong label requirement, leaving consumers 
> spooked and putting biotech progress on hold. 
> 
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> 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> The Province Sunday, September 19, 1999 Final Money A60 
> Farmers back food labelling OTTAWA -- The Canadian Council 
> of Grocery Distributors and the Canadian General Standards 
> Board have launched a project to create standards governing 
> labelling. Farmers have agreed in principle to the 
> voluntary labelling of foods produced through 
> biotechnology, said Eric Friesen, president of the Canadian 
> Federation of Agriculture. ``We're afraid that we may 
> suddenly lose our ability to sell our products,'' said 
> Friesen. ``If there's voluntary labelling, that will 
> perhaps give the consumers some sense of confidence and a 
> higher sense of comfort.'' Genetically modified seeds are 
> meant to make crops hardier and insect-resistant. They're 
> particularly common for plants such as canola, soy bean and 
> corn. 
> 
> [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> THE DAILY TELEGRAPH(LONDON) September 20, 1999, SECTION: 
> Pg. 07 HEADLINE: America warns EU over 'unscientific' GM 
> curbs BYLINE: Charles Clover, Environment Editor, in Geneva 
> BODY: AMERICA will challenge European Union curbs on 
> genetically modified food if they are "unscientific" under 
> world trade rules. The food labelling scheme for 
> restaurants, introduced by Britain, is one of the likely 
> targets for complaint. Frank Loy, the deputy to Madeleine 
> Albright and the United States under-secretary for global 
> affairs, said at a weekend forum in Geneva that America had 
> been "relatively patient" in waiting for EU approval of new 
> GM crops. However, it would not wait for ever and was not 
> prepared to see further restrictions on imports, such as GM 
> soya, that had already been approved. "We have two 
> problems," he said. "A failure to approve importation of 
> certain new products and a number of products which have 
> been approved under a process the Europeans set up 
> themselves with, so far as I know, no ill- effects 
> whatsoever. If that [process] were tampered with, we would 
> have a much, much more serious situation." 
> 
> The US has sent papers to the World Trade Organisation 
> saying that the mandatory labelling of food, such as that 
> now imposed unilaterally by Britain at restaurants, can 
> amount to a barrier to trade. Trade experts believe that 
> labelling of GM products by the EU is now the most likely 
> to form the subject of a complaint to the WTO dispute panel 
> - the most powerful sanction any country can resort to 
> short of war. Mr Loy said that America was concerned about 
> the EU's effective two-year moratorium on the approval of 
> GM crops. He said the different attitude to GM crops in 
> Europe and America "might be a cultural thing" but it 
> "doesn't seem to be consistent with any of the rules we 
> have". If countries were unable to find scientific reasons 
> to justify banning products on environmental or health 
> grounds, then they should admit they could not comply with 
> the rules and pay compensation or face up to trade 
> sanctions, he said. The forum, which was also attended by 
> Michael Meacher, the environment minister, was set up in an 
> attempt to head off a row over the use of environmental 
> standards as barriers to trade which threatens to overwhelm 
> the WTO's meeting in December. Mr Meacher said: "There are 
> certain issues that are clearly potential or actual 
> conflicts. This probably is the best opportunity that we 
> have to try to resolve them, to get a rule- based system 
> that we all want." LANGUAGE: ENGLISH LOAD-DATE: September 
> 20, 1999 [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> The Canberra Times September 20, 1999, Monday Edition 
> SECTION: Part A; Page 8 HEADLINE: THERE IS MUCH WRONG WITH 
> GM FOOD BODY: RE PETER Doherty's article Safe progress 
> needed along GM road" (Science Technology, CT, 9 September, 
> p.10). Traditional food has evolved over years, not the 2 
> decades of genetically modified versions. And farmers have 
> always saved some of their seed for the next year; with 
> Terminator technology they cannot do so, but must buy more 
> - even Monsanto is backing away from this one. In addition, 
> United States farmers are finding yields are lower; 
> Mississippi cotton yields in 1997 were 22 per cent lower, 
> with seed+weed con trol costs higher. The American Corn 
> Growers' Association now recommends planting only 
> traditional seeds because GMOs have become an albatross 
> around the necks of growers". Of course, some will find 
> that they have now contaminated their soil, and with the 
> new cheap, simple tests even their traditional crops will 
> not pass. Contamination also spreads to organic farms, 
> destroying one of the alternatives provided by a 
> rapid-growth sector (Doherty seems to think organic is the 
> only alternative to GM; it is one of several traditional 
> versions). Those starving children he so emotionally evokes: 
> even the CSIRO sponsor of GM has publicly admitted that 
> world- wide hunger is a function of the (corrupt and 
> inefficient) distribution of food, nothing to do with its 
> production; there is plenty to go round. Incidentally, that 
> first green revolution" did not in fact work for the 
> majority of small farmers. No wonder Deutsche Bank has told 
> its large investors to pull out of GM funding. BRIDGET 
> FARRER Tharwa District LANGUAGE: English LOAD-DATE: 
> September 20, 1999 [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> ASIAINFO DAILY CHINA NEWS September 20, 1999 SECTION: News 
> LENGTH: 188 words HEADLINE: CHINA- DuPont Seeks Local 
> Partners BODY: Ref.: Shanghai Business News, Page 6, 
> September 20, 1999 SHANGHAI, September 20, AsiaPort -- 
> DuPont will still consider Shanghai as its major market 
> although its global positioning is under review. Kathleen 
> Forte, vice-president of DuPont, detailed the company's new 
> corporate direction and its new focus on science. "We are 
> negotiating with local businesses seeking possible 
> cooperation," Forte said. DuPont currently has three joint 
> ventures in Shanghai which produce Lycra spandex fiber, 
> week killer and photomask. DuPont believes its new 
> direction will allow it to expand its market share Shanghai. 
> For the past 65 years, DuPont has been known worldwide as a 
> chemical company. Now it is changing track and 
> concentrating on sciences to meet the challenges of the 
> 21st century. "We are investing in new sciences in the 
> fields of biology, agronomy, genetics, information and 
> catalysis," Forte said. The achievements DuPont has made 
> over the past few years have paved the way for this new 
> strategy and for success in China. Copyright 1999: Asiainfo 
> Daily China News. All Rights Reserved. LANGUAGE: English 
> LOAD-DATE: September 20, 1999 [Entered September 
> 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> Daily Record September 20, 1999, Monday SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 
> 12 HEADLINE: NEW LAW PUTS GM ON MENU BODY: EVERY pub, 
> restaurant, cafe and caterer in Britain will have to tell 
> customers if dishes contain genetically modified 
> ingredients under a new law that went into effect yesterday. 
> Britain has yet to approve the raising of any GM crop, but 
> some imported ingredients for foods do contain GM plants. 
> 
> Food Minister Baroness Hayman said that failure to meet the 
> new labelling law carries a maximum penalty of pounds 5000. 
> LANGUAGE: ENGLISH LOAD-DATE: September 20, 1999 
> [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> The Independent (London) September 20, 1999, Monday 
> SECTION: COMMENT; Pg. 2 HEADLINE: LETTER: WHAT IS SCIENCE 
> FOR? BYLINE: Norman Paterson BODY: Sir: There are a 
> surprising number of issues in the speech by the chairman 
> of Glaxo Wellcome to the British Festival of Science ("We 
> must support our GM food industry", 14 September) that are 
> taken entirely for granted. Science is needed, we are told, 
> to help Britain struggle to compete not only with the 
> developed countries but also with developing countries. Why 
> we are competing with these people? We are told that if 
> only the public understood the potential benefits of GM 
> foods, the debate about them would be over. What is unsaid 
> is that despite attempts by many, there is no debate. It is 
> now only a matter of selling the idea to the voters by 
> explaining the benefits with sufficient repetition that we 
> will all believe it. It is precisely because of this lack 
> of debate that civil disobedience takes place. It cannot be 
> a purely scientific debate, which is settled by scientists 
> who then inform the voters of the result. We need a forum 
> where we can discuss questions like: should we release 
> genetically modified organisms into the wild? Of course 
> there are ethics bodies already in existence, but the GM 
> experience suggests they have no teeth that can compare to 
> the power of huge international companies. What we have now 
> as a forum for discussing science, and discussing whether we 
> should or should not pursue any particular path, is the 
> marketplace. We have given up asking whether science will 
> help make the world a better place for people, and ask 
> instead whether it will make some people richer. NORMAN 
> PATERSON Anstruther, Fife LANGUAGE: ENGLISH LOAD-DATE: 
> September 20, 1999 [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> The Independent (London) September 20, 1999, Monday 
> SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 9 HEADLINE: CONFUSION OVER GM RULES IN 
> RESTAURANTS BYLINE: Antoine Banet-Rivet BODY: RESTAURATEURS 
> ACROSS the country have expressed bemusement at labelling 
> laws on genetically modified ingredients that came into 
> force yesterday. Out of the 20 restaurants surveyed by The 
> Independent, one-third were not aware of the government 
> regulations that require them to identify dishes containing 
> GM soya or maize. All but two said they did not plan to 
> modify their menus. Judith Wakeham, proprietor of the White 
> House restaurant in Prestbury, Cheshire, said: "Could you 
> imagine the state of the menus? Reading them would be 
> impossible. It was simply not practical." 
> 
> Most owners said they would not go as far as advertising 
> their cuisine as GM free. While 16 said they did not use any 
> genetically modified ingredients, four admitted they could 
> not guarantee their dishes did not contain biotech foods. 
> 
> Raffaele De Martino, manager of Casa Mamma in central 
> London, echoed the view of many when he said: "To be 
> honest, we don't know if we use any. All the ingredients we 
> buy don't have labels. You can only take the suppliers' 
> word for it." 
> 
> And Roberto Cimelli, owner of Sasses Restaurant in Norwich, 
> added: "We have to rely on what the suppliers say but we 
> are the ones at the end of the line. This new regulation is 
> a complete mess." 
> 
> While most owners said they understood people's concerns 
> over GM foods, some questioned the necessity of such a law 
> which, they said, would penalise them and could prove as 
> difficult to enforce as the beef on the bone ban. Angela 
> Davies, owner of Quay 35 in Newcastle, said: "If we have to 
> label everything, it is going to be a huge exercise. At the 
> moment it's only soya and maize but soon there could be 
> more. That means we will have to check each ingredient. And 
> we don't even know if there is a danger to the public." 
> Britain's biggest fast-food chains, including McDonald's 
> and Burger King, had removed genetically modified 
> ingredients from their menus in time for yesterday's 
> deadline, according to Friends of the Earth. The 
> environmental group surveyed 11 leading chains and found 
> that all said that they did not use GM soya or maize and 
> would not have to label any of their food to comply with 
> the new regulations. However, the group highlighted a 
> loophole in the legislation, which meant food outlets could 
> supply meals that contained GM derivatives such as GM 
> lecithin and GM soya oil without having to tell customers, 
> as derivatives are not covered by the new rules. GRAPHIC: 
> Diners at the White House restaurant in Prestbury, 
> blissfully unaware of whether their food contains GM 
> products Martin Rickett LANGUAGE: ENGLISH LOAD-DATE: 
> September 20, 1999 [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> THE JOURNAL (Newcastle, UK) September 20, 1999, Monday 
> Edition 1 SECTION: REGIONAL NEWS, Pg. 15 HEADLINE: GM 
> foods banned from region's school menus - Moves ahead of 
> labelling deadline BYLINE: by Beverley Addy BODY: 
> GENETICALLY -MODIFIED foods have been banned from school 
> menus throughout the North-East as a deadline on food 
> labelling arrives. From today, European food labelling 
> legislation will be extended to restaurants, cafes, bakers 
> and delicatessens as well as school meals services, 
> hospitals, prisons and other similar institutions. All will 
> have to show whether their food contains any GM products. 
> 
> Outlets caught serving foods that contain GM material that 
> is not properly labelled may be prosecuted and fined up to 
> L5,000. Councils across the North-East have already taken 
> action to ensure there are no GM foods on school menus. At 
> Sunderland City Council, June Gray, head of facilities 
> management in City Contracting Services, said: "Since June 
> 1998 we have been working closely with our suppliers to 
> ensure that we identify any GM foodstuffs being used in our 
> menu options. "I can confirm that all known genetically 
> modified products have ceased to be used." 
> 
> Ms Gray added: "All manufacturers are requested, in 
> writing, to identify ingredients of GM-free products and 
> food suppliers renewing future contracts will be required 
> to demonstrate that they are supplying GM-free products." 
> In Northumberland, parental pressure has prompted a change 
> in policy on GM foods over the past seven months. Earlier 
> this year, a spokesman said it did not have a policy on 
> banning GM, stating: "There has been nothing proved. We 
> feel it would be unfair to ban it. It is all a matter of 
> choice and there will be alternatives on school menus to GM 
> products." 
> 
> But a council spokesman now says: "We undertook an audit of 
> all our food suppliers. Where there was evidence of GM 
> foods we asked suppliers to change their sources. Our 
> policy is not to supply schools with any GM foods. 
> 
> "Although there is no scientific evidence to prove GM 
> foods are a threat to health, we listened to the views of 
> parents who felt if we could source GM foods they would 
> prefer it." 
> 
> Durham County Council is supplied by Chartwells, part of 
> food giant Compass. A Chartwells spokesman said: "We have a 
> firm policy of no GM foods. ''Our suppliers are aware they 
> must not use any ingredients with GM foods. ''Compass group 
> is one of the world's biggest food companies and it has a 
> food technology lab in the South of England where it can 
> test these sort of things." 
> 
> And in Newcastle the story is the same, with suppliers 
> instructed not to send GM foods. A spokeswoman for the city 
> council said: "From next week, our units will have signs up 
> to that effect. ''With the new labelling laws, we will 
> check our suppliers are keeping their word." 
> 
> North Tyneside and Gateshead councils have said previously 
> that they did not knowingly use any GM food in their school 
> meals. LOAD-DATE: September 20, 1999 [Entered 
> September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> The Scotsman September 20, 1999, Monday SECTION: Pg. 18 
> HEADLINE: GM FOODS CAN HELP ECONOMY SAYS SCIENTIST BYLINE: 
> Bill Macfarlane Smith Is Leading The Call To Investigate 
> Genetic Modification And How It Might Help Farmers, Writes 
> Ian Morrison BODY: A LEADING Scottish-based plant breeder 
> and geneticist has hit back at the critics of genetically 
> modified food, arguing that the development of the 
> technology will bring benefits for both farmers and 
> consumers - as well as the national economy. The outspoken 
> comments by Dr Bill Macfarlane Smith, of the 
> internationally renowned Scottish Crop Research Institute, 
> come in the run-up to a major conference on the issue at 
> which he'll be one of the keynote speakers. The two -day 
> event is being held by the Scottish Agricultural College at 
> Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, on Wednesday and 
> Thursday . Pointing to the "horrendous difficulties" 
> currently facing the farming industry, with prices for most 
> commodities at rock bottom, he warns that there is no easy 
> solution on the horizon. As long as agriculture continues 
> to produce surpluses, food processors and buyers will be in 
> a position to force down returns to primary producers. "The 
> only way I can see of breaking the cycle is by enabling 
> farmers to add value to their crops through genetic 
> modification," says Dr Macfarlane Smith. "For example, by 
> producing genetically modified malting barley which 
> consistently malts better, it would be perfectly reasonable 
> for the growers of that barley to expect a share of the 
> improved efficiency. "At present it's a divide and rule 
> situation which makes it very difficult for the farmer to 
> earn more money, especially in an over-supplied market 
> which allows processors and the supermarkets to dictate 
> prices. I've yet to find a single farmer who says he will 
> never grow GM crops if they're going to add value to his 
> production - provided, of course, that there are safeguards 
> and the environment isn't going to be affected." 
> 
> The SCRI at Invergowrie, near Dundee, is one of three UK 
> research centres in the UK which are partners in a 
> three-year project to compare GM crops with non -modified 
> crops, commissioned by the Department of Environment with 
> total Government funding of GBP 3.25 million. The other 
> bodies involved are the Institute of Arable Crops, 
> Rothamstead, Hertfordshire, and the Institute of 
> Terrestrial Ecology, Huntingdon. As Dr Macfarlane Smith 
> explains: "The aim is to see what impact there will be on a 
> whole range of factors including insect life, the 
> environment in general, and how pollen movement from GM 
> crops might affect other plants. Basically, we'll be 
> addressing all the criticism coming from the green lobby and 
> other anti-GM groups. "The fact that the Government was 
> willing to put money into this risk assessment project has 
> been important in persuading commercial companies, such as 
> Monsanto, that they should have a voluntary three-year 
> moratorium on the growing of commercial GM crops in the 
> United Kingdom. "Hopefully, our work over the next three 
> years will also answer some of the more way-out statements 
> made by the green lobby, who are being selective about the 
> facts and are not giving all the information on genetic 
> modification to the public." 
> 
> For instance, Dr Macfarlane Smith dismisses as "patent 
> nonsense" the claim by some environmental groups that 
> pollen from GM maize poses a risk to organic fish farming. 
> 
> And in response to suggestions that the release of 
> genetically modified pollen could have a severe effect on 
> the environment as far as plants are concerned, he states: 
> "Research into pollen movement has shown that 50 metres 
> from the crop you are unlikely to get much more than three 
> parts per million of modified pollen." 
> 
> As for "scurrilous statements" to the effect that 
> scientists are prepared to prostitute the facts about GM 
> food, because they are being paid by commercial companies 
> with a vested interest in profiting from the technology, he 
> says: "Anybody who did that would be destroying his or her 
> career. We have nothing to hide and the safety requirements 
> are enormous, even at the experimental stage." "What we are 
> doing is for the public good. We are seeking to show in 
> these experiments whether or not the technology is safe 
> and, as scientists, we are certainly not in the maw of big 
> business. We have no axe to grind and all the science will 
> have to stand on its own merits." 
> 
> The Department of Environment project will look at three 
> crops -maize, spring grown oilseed rape, and winter sown 
> oilseed rape -involving around 25 comparative trials in 
> each of these "big area" crops where GM material is readily 
> available, so that the full impact on the ecology can be 
> assessed. Each crop will be examined in the same way to 
> "very precise standards." 
> 
> Once the results are known the three research bodies 
> concerned will produce a combined report for the 
> Government, whl then be responsible for deciding what 
> course of action should follow. "The reason we're involved 
> in this study commissioned by the Government is because we 
> think it's important to generate hard scientific 
> information about GM crops," declares Professor Howard 
> Davies, acting deputy director of the SCRI who will be 
> chairing one of the sessions at the conference. "This will 
> allow the public to make up their own minds about the 
> technology. So let's get all the scientific facts before 
> making any value judgements." 
> 
> Supporting calls for full information, and the labelling of 
> GM food in the shops, so that the consumer can decide on a 
> factual basis, he points out: "After all scientists are also 
> consumers and, like everyone else, we want to be informed 
> when we go shopping for food." 
> 
> Endorsing the argument that GM technology has the potential 
> to benefit both farmer and consumer, he explains: "It can 
> guarantee consistent supplies of high quality material - and 
> therefore guarantee a market for the farmer's produce. 
> 
> Certainly that's the way it tends to work in America, 
> where they seem to have more guaranteed avenues for their 
> products as long as the quality is consistent." 
> 
> The SCRI acting deputy also confesses to being puzzled by 
> the confrontation between organics and GM foods. Since 
> organic growers prefer not to use agrochemicals in the 
> production of their crops - and GM crops provide a way of 
> doing just that - he contends the two should be "natural 
> partners" rather than in a constant state of conflict. 
> 
> Returning to his earlier theme, Dr Macfarlane Smith says 
> the debate about GM foods, and the potential offered by the 
> technology, is only beginning - but he predicts that in 20 
> years time farmers will be growing genetically modified 
> crops alongside those produced by conventional or organic 
> systems, thus giving consumers the choice. "If you look 
> logically at GM technology it is something which is going 
> to be of great value not only to farmers and consumers, but 
> also to the UK and world economy. We are looking at a 
> doubling of the world's population in the next 30 years 
> and, since the existing methods of agriculture cannot feed 
> the present population, if we carry on as we are then we'll 
> be consigning many more people to starvation. "I don't 
> believe that will happen because some countries - such as 
> China where there's a huge development taking place - are 
> pressing on vigorously with genetically modified crops. In 
> terms of food quality and nutrition we are also entering a 
> very interesting stage. "Once you identify the factors 
> which are good or bad for us in our food, genetic 
> modification gives us the tool to change that by 
> manipulating plants. For example, it should be possible to 
> develop a non-allergenic peanut which won't kill people." 
> 
> Turning to this week's SAC conference on genetically 
> modified crops and the environment, he says it is an 
> attempt to "open up the debate" so that all the factors can 
> come out - and not just the selective facts that some 
> members of the green movement have chosen to present to the 
> public. It will also try to approach the subject on a more 
> rational and less emotive basis. Whereas the random nature 
> of old-fashioned, traditional methods of plant breeding 
> have been categorised as crossing with the best -and hoping 
> for the best - modern techniques like genetic modification 
> allow plant breeders to change one or two particular 
> characteristics. They are more scientific, more focused, 
> and perhaps at the end of the day safer, according to Dr 
> Macfarlane Smith who uses the analogy of a 100-storey 
> building, stacked with books from top to bottom, where 
> someone is talking about changing only a few pages. "We 
> know the number of genes in any organism and we know what 
> we're changing," he states. "Relatively simple organisms 
> will have 70,000 genes in them and with GM technology we 
> might be changing only one of that large number. "I don't 
> see anything wrong with people having the choice of GM 
> foods. If we had a wholesale switch to organic production 
> the cost of food would rise by 40 per cent, which is fine 
> if you have a lot of money. But if you're already on the 
> breadline a 40 per cent increase would be seriously bad 
> news. "The choice for the public, therefore, is do they 
> want food that is cheap, nutritious and safe?" LANGUAGE: 
> ENGLISH LOAD-DATE: September 20, 1999 [Entered 
> September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> <<GP>> 
> The Independent (London) September 18, 1999, Saturday 
> SECTION: TITLE PAGE; Pg. 1 HEADLINE: MINISTERS ADMIT TO 
> 'ILLEGAL' GM TRIALS BYLINE: Michael Mccarthy Environment 
> Correspondent BODY: GOVERNMENT TRIALS of genetically 
> modified crops were plunged into chaos yesterday when the 
> Environment Minister Michael Meacher had to admit the 
> latest series of plantings were illegal. Government 
> lawyers, in a highly embarrassing climbdown, conceded the 
> claim by the Friends of the Earth, in a judicial review 
> case in the High Court, that this autumn's large-scale 
> trials programme on four farms had been wrongly licensed. 
> 
> Environment Department officials had allowed the company 
> involved, AgrEvo, to obtain a variation of an old licence 
> when they should have insisted it seek a new one, which 
> would have been more expensive and time-consuming for the 
> company. Although the case is based on a technicality, it 
> is a big embarrassment for the Government, as it gives an 
> impression of incompetence in the management of a hot 
> political issue, and of special treatment for the 
> agribusiness companies promoting GM technology. "It is a 
> bad day for us," a government source admitted. Mr Meacher, 
> insisting that it was a "narrow, technical matter" with no 
> health, safety or environmental issues involved, said that 
> the Government still wished the environmental trials of 
> winter oilseed rape to continue on the three sites already 
> planted. He accepted, however, that if Friends of the Earth 
> returned to court and won an order for the trial sites to 
> be destroyed, they would have to be dug up. Friends of the 
> Earth said it would seek such an order, accusing the 
> Government of hypocrisy. "How can they admit they have 
> broken the law over these trials and then do nothing about 
> stopping them?" said the group's campaigns director, Liana 
> Stupples. "How can the Government expect people to trust 
> them if this is their attitude? We are calling for these 
> crops to be dug up immediately. The trials are completely 
> discredited." 
> 
> Mr Meacher said he was concerned at the possibility that 
> green activists might in the meantime attack the three 
> remaining sites, the locations of which, in Lincolnshire and 
> Hertfordshire, are well known. Crops on a similar site in 
> Norfolk were destroyed by members of Greenpeace last month. 
> "We are concerned about their protection and the police are 
> obviously concerned that they should not be damaged or 
> destroyed or violated in any way," he said. But he claimed 
> that the majority of members of the public had reacted 
> adversely to Greenpeace's attack and he hoped that this 
> would "give others due cause to think very carefully." He 
> added: "I am sure the courts will act vigorously with those 
> who behave in this way." 
> 
> However, Mr Meacher said he still believed that in the 
> cause of open government the location of the sites should 
> continue to be published. Jack Cunningham, overseer of the 
> Government's GM policy, hinted last week that if attacks 
> continued, the sites might be kept secret. The dispute 
> concerns the four-year series of farm-scale trials, begun 
> under government supervision this year, to test the effects 
> of growing GM crops on the local environment, the first 
> such trials in the world. The GM plants involved, oilseed 
> rape and maize, are genetically engineered to be tolerant 
> of a new generation of powerful weedkillers and there are 
> fears that these may have a devastating effect on wild 
> flowers, insects and birds. The plantings this year are a 
> dry run to establish the methodology for the full series of 
> 75 trials to run from 2000 until the end of 2002. Six 
> plantings of spring-sown rape and maize are now coming to 
> an end, and are being followed by four sites of autumn-sown 
> rape. It is these four which are the subject of Friends of 
> the Earth's successful High Court challenge. They were 
> authorised by a variation of the licence for the spring 
> sowings, but the Government now accepts that under EU law 
> and the Environment Protection Act it should have been the 
> subject of an entirely new licence application. Mr Meacher 
> said that the Government would no longer be contesting the 
> judicial review proceedings. "We are accepting that we 
> acted illegally," he said. "We acted in good faith, but we 
> made a mistake and as soon as that became clear, we have 
> sought to put it right." The testing programme would 
> continue. "It is absolutely vital that we have these 
> trials." 
> 
> LANGUAGE: ENGLISH LOAD-DATE: September 20, 1999 
> [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> The Washington Times September 20, 1999, Monday, Final 
> Edition SECTION: PART A; COMMENTARY; Pg. A18 LENGTH: 650 
> words HEADLINE: Butterflies bearing grenades BYLINE: John 
> E. Foster BODY: The emerging trend toward publicizing 
> little laboratory studies is going to cause big problems 
> for scientific credibility if it is not reined in quickly. 
> 
> The most recent example was a laboratory study conducted 
> at the University of Arizona concerning the potential for 
> bollworms to develop resistance to genetically modified 
> cotton. Before that, a Cornell University study resulted in 
> public declarations that the Monarch butterfly could be 
> wiped out by genetically modified corn. Both works were 
> summarized in the British journal Nature, both were hyped 
> in press releases sent out by the journal, both were 
> exploited by activists, and both left the erroneous 
> impression that science had overlooked something important 
> in reviewing the potential risks of biotechnology. The 
> butterfly publicity has had serious impact on the 
> acceptability of biotechnology. But neither of the studies, 
> and a handful of others, which were conducted in 
> laboratories, gave a complete picture of what would be 
> expected in a natural setting. The result has been a 
> disservice to science, unnecessary concern among the 
> public, a discrediting of a valuable technology and a lot 
> of work for conscientious scientists who have to mop up the 
> mess. I have no quarrel with the quality of the laboratory 
> work, and no one is suggesting the results were not 
> accurate. But I am very concerned about snippets of 
> information being released out of context with the 
> implication they are surprising and have great importance. 
> 
> The current issue of Consumer Reports magazine is a good 
> illustration of how a series of little studies gets 
> portrayed as something significant. Time, Newsweek and the 
> New York Times weighed in last week, citing studies without 
> providing balancing information. In the case of Monarch 
> butterflies, there probably was not an entomologist in the 
> world who was not aware that corn pollen containing the Bt 
> gene could harm butterflies -if butterflies ate corn 
> pollen, which they don't. Most entomologists understood 
> there is very little potential for Monarch exposure in a 
> natural setting. That was taken into consideration by 
> scientists and regulators in developing strategies for the 
> safe use of crops that have been genetically modified to 
> control insects. But it seems that a few scientists, who 
> apparently don't want to accept the general consensus of 
> the scientific community, are willing to use questionable 
> methods to take their case to the front of the line. The 
> quickest way to get attention is to conduct a laboratory 
> study knowing what the outcome will be and then find 
> accomplices to make a big deal out of it. I call it the 
> hand-grenade syndrome. If someone lobs a hand-grenade into 
> a room, he's going to get everyone's attention very fast. 
> 
> Lately science journals, like other media, are competing 
> for readers by seeking to call attention to themselves. 
> 
> They have learned that simple little studies get big 
> headlines. They try to cover the fact that the studies are 
> misleading with wiggle words like, "This is only a 
> laboratory study and it makes no conclusions about what 
> would happen in a natural environment." That's like trying 
> to put the pin back in the grenade after you lob it into 
> the room. When grenades go off, they make a mess. Demands 
> for "more study" come from all corners. So university 
> researchers, with limited resources, end up dropping what 
> they were doing and devote attention to providing the data 
> demanded by a concerned public and regulators under 
> pressure. This is a poor way to set priorities for 
> scientific research, but it's what happens when we conduct 
> science by press release. John E. Foster is a full 
> professor of entomology at the University of Nebraska - 
> Lincoln, and has 30 years of experience in working with 
> insect issues. He is a collaborator with NC205, a panel of 
> leading entomology experts studying insect resistance 
> management. GRAPHIC: Illustration, NO CAPTION LANGUAGE: 
> ENGLISH LOAD-DATE: September 20, 1999 [Entered 
> September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> NOVARTIS: New Agribusiness Strategy SEP 16, 1999, M2 
> Communications - Basel -- Novartis today outlined its 
> Agribusiness Strategy to take Novartis Crop Protection and 
> Novartis Seeds forward into the new Millennium. The 
> Strategy will capitalize on the unique competitive 
> advantages that Novartis Crop Protection and Novartis Seeds 
> enjoy, in particular, a broad range of crop protection and 
> seeds products worldwide. The agribusiness industry is in a 
> state of upheaval and rapid change. Low farm commodity 
> prices and depressed farm income have impacted sales. 
> 
> Margins have eroded, putting pressure on financial results 
> and the distribution channels. Restructuring in the 
> agribusiness industry has created a more aggressive 
> competitive environment. New technologies, including 
> genetically modified crops and precision agriculture, are 
> challenging traditional farming practices. Moreover, 
> farmers and growers are increasingly influenced by other 
> players in the food chain, from food and feed processors 
> and food companies right down to supermarkets and consumers. 
> In order to be successful in such a demanding environment, 
> Novartis must not only adapt to the changing situation, but 
> also set its own path forward. The Agribusiness Strategy 
> has three main objectives: Growth Our goal is both top line 
> and market share growth. Fitness We are looking to 
> improving our profitability and productivity. Sustainable 
> Leadership With our unique competitive advantages and 
> global coverage, we are investing in technology and 
> targeting value creation throughout the business chain. The 
> Agribusiness Strategy charts a new course by: Focussing on 
> the food and feed chain and crop solutions Novartis is 
> uniquely positioned in several crops to create producer and 
> consumer benefits and capture additional value. Integrating 
> breakthrough technologies Novartis continues to invest in 
> new technologies as a leading integrator of technologies 
> for sustainable growth. Exploiting joint synergies between 
> Crop Protection and Seeds Global market coverage and broad 
> offer in both Crop Protection and Seeds provides 
> opportunities for high synergies and effective 
> implementation. Crop Teams with representatives from both 
> sectors are being established for several crops. The goal 
> is to exploit synergies between the Crop Protection and 
> Seeds Sectors and increase long-term value creation in the 
> food chain. Crops have been categorized into two main crop 
> strategies: Pillar Crops (Corn, Vegetables, Cereals and 
> Rice) are the highest priority and will form the basis of 
> long term growth. Important Crops (Oilseeds, Sugar beet, 
> Cotton and Fruits/Grapes) generate significant revenue and 
> provide the ability to broadly leverage our technology. An 
> Agribusiness research plan will include technology planning 
> for research and development, including existing 
> Agribusiness research initiatives, such as NABRI and NADI. 
> 
> Although the traditional areas of input traits, discovery 
> of crop protection chemicals and conventional plant 
> breeding will remain very significant, projects will 
> increasingly focus on areas such as crop output traits, 
> chemical trait regulation, marker assisted breeding and 
> genetics/genomics. Novartis is a world leader in Life 
> Sciences with core businesses in Healthcare, Agribusiness 
> and Consumer Health (Nutrition and Self-Medication). In 
> 1998, Novartis Group sales were CHF 31.7 billion, of which 
> CHF 17.5 billion were in Healthcare, CHF 8.4 billion in 
> Agribusiness and CHF 5.8 billion in Consumer Health. The 
> group annually invests more than CHF 3.7 billion in R&D. 
> 
> Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis employs 
> about 82 000 people and operates in over 140 countries 
> around the world. M2 COMMUNICATIONS DISCLAIMS ALL LIABILITY 
> FOR INFORMATION PROVIDED WITHIN M2 PRESSWIRE. DATA SUPPLIED 
> BY NAMED PARTY/PARTIES. -0- (C)1994-99 M2 COMMUNICATIONS LTD 
> Copyright 1999 [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> NATIONAL NEWS: Meacher says GM crop trials were illegal 
> Financial Times ; 18-Sep-1999 01:53:48 am ; 452 words The 
> government suffered another setback in its campaign to test 
> genetically-modified crops yesterday after it was forced to 
> admit that some of its field trials were illegal. 
> 
> But Michael Meacher, the environment minister, insisted 
> the trials would continue because the error committed was 
> on a "narrow, technical point" and had no implications for 
> public health. 
> 
> "We accept that we acted illegally. We acted in good 
> faith, but we made a mistake," said Mr Meacher, 
> acknowledging that three fields planted with autumn oilseed 
> rape by the AgrEvo biosciences group had been sown in 
> technical violation of the law. 
> 
> His admission was hailed as a moral victory by Friends of 
> the Earth, which had mounted a legal challenge seeking a 
> judicial review of the government's decision to allow GM 
> crop testing to be expanded in Britain. 
> 
> "This humiliating climb-down puts the whole GM trials 
> programme into complete chaos," said Tony Juniper, FoE's 
> policy director. "We caught the government fiddling the 
> law." 
> 
> FoE argued that AgrEvo, a joint venture between Hoechst 
> and Schering of Germany, had been been allowed to extend 
> its official consent to grow genetically modified spring 
> oilseed rape to cover the autumn crop as well. 
> 
> But AgrEvo should instead have put in an entirely fresh 
> application for government consent, Mr Meacher said. 
> 
> Yesterday's admission is a further hiccup in the 
> government's drive to establish the safety of GM crops. 
> 
> Attacks on trial sites by environmental activists have 
> prompted growing pressure from biotechnology companies for 
> the testing to be secret. 
> 
> But Mr Meacher yesterday made it clear he was still 
> reluctant to take that step. 
> 
> AgrEvo said it regarded the violation as a "technical 
> matter of interpretation of the relevant legislation" and 
> said it remained committed to its research programme. 
> 
> The revelation of errors in the GM trials came as the food 
> industry and environmentalists united to condemn new rules 
> that force all caterers to label food containing GM 
> ingredients. 
> 
> The new rules come into force tomorrow and no catering 
> business is exempt. Pubs, restaurants, takeaways, canteens 
> and bakers face a fine of up to oe5,000 if they fail to 
> comply. 
> 
> Any food that contains GM soya or maize - apart from GM 
> derivatives - must either be labelled as such or staff must 
> be trained to explain the situation to customers on request. 
> "It's placing an absolutely intolerable burden on caterers 
> and only paying lip service to consumers," said Hilary Ross 
> of Paisner & Co, a law firm. 
> 
> Most big caterers have responded by banning GM ingredients 
> from menus. 
> 
> Many small restaurants were ignorant of the changes or 
> finding it difficult to comply, said Michael Gottlieb, 
> owner of the Cafe Spice and president of the Restaurant 
> Association. 
> 
> Copyright  The Financial Times Limited [Entered 
> September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> COMPANIES & FINANCE: EUROPE: Novartis may spin off arm 
> Financial Times ; 16-Sep-1999 01:52:40 am ; 206 words 
> Novartis, the Swiss life sciences group, could spin off or 
> merge its agribusiness division, one of the world's top 
> companies in crop protection and seeds. 
> 
> Heinz Imhof, who took over as chief executive of the 
> agribusiness division in May, said yesterday that Novartis 
> was considering options for its second biggest business 
> where profits are under pressure and there have been 
> threats of law suits from environmental groups concerned by 
> the spread of genetically modified food. 
> 
> Mr Imhof said that options ranged from "keeping the 
> present set-up to a spin-off or even an alliance". 
> 
> There has been growing speculation in recent months that 
> Novartis is planning to get rid of its agribusiness 
> division, which has lower margins and less ambitious growth 
> prospects than the group's core pharma business. Mr Imhof 
> emphasised that Novartis had not made a decision on the 
> agribusiness operation and his priority was a new strategy 
> to restore its profitability. 
> 
> Mr Imhof's comments will increase speculation that 
> Novartis is trying to clean up the business for a quick 
> sale. 
> 
> Bank Sarasin has estimated that Novartis could raise 
> SFr23bn (Dollars 15bn) by floating the division on the 
> stock market and considerably more if sold to a competitor. 
> Copyright  The Financial Times Limited [Entered 
> September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> REUTERS , Canada to develop GM food voluntary label 
> standard CANADA: September 20, 1999 WINNIPEG - The group 
> which represents most of Canada's major food sellers will 
> take part in a project to develop a Canadian standard for 
> voluntary labeling of biotechnology foods, the agriculture 
> ministry said. 
> 
> "The Government of Canada believes in the right of 
> consumers to have access to information as it relates to 
> biotechnology and food," Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief 
> said in a statement. 
> 
> The ministry will support the project, launched by the 
> Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD) and the 
> Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB). 
> 
> Environmental and consumer groups in Canada, following the 
> lead of similar organisations in Europe, have started 
> demanding that foods made with genetically-modified 
> organisms (GMOs) be labeled The CCGD represents 80 percent 
> of major food retailers in Canada, a major world 
> agricultural producer. 
> 
> The CGSB is an accredited standards development 
> organisation within the federal government. 
> 
> "Consistent codes of practices for voluntary labeling of 
> foods derived from biotechnology will give consumers 
> information to make choices," Vanclief said. 
> 
> The Canadian government has refused to enforce mandatory 
> labeling of GM foods, following a policy favoured in the 
> United States. 
> 
> [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> REUTERS NEWS SERVICE, U.S. says EU governments afraid to 
> defend GM foods EU: September 20, 1999 BRUSSELS - A top 
> U.S. trade official accused European governments of being 
> afraid to speak out against opponents of genetically 
> modified (GM) foods. 
> 
> U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce David Aaron said a decade 
> of experience had shown that biotech foods in use in the 
> United States presented no food safety risks beyond those 
> of their "natural" counterparts. 
> 
> "But that experience has made no difference in Europe. 
> Biotech products and their potential benefits are held in 
> limbo ...," he said in a speech to the European Policy 
> Centre, a Brussels thinktank. 
> 
> The European Union had no functioning approval process and 
> current labelling regulations covering biotech did not 
> work, he said. 
> 
> Too few European leaders were "making an effort to dispel 
> the reservoir of public ignorance through education on the 
> subject", he said. 
> 
> "Both the EU and member state governments are apparently 
> fearful of going against public opposition and yet are 
> unable to find grounds for outright rejection of such 
> products," he said. 
> 
> Rather than looking to bodies such as the World Trade 
> Organisation (WTO) for a solution, Aaron said European 
> officials had to find "a little wellspring of courage" to 
> deal with public attitudes over food supply questions. 
> 
> The United States has been frustrated by the obstacles to 
> getting new GM crops approved for use in the European 
> Union. Food safety fears, fuelled by the "mad cow" crisis, 
> have led to a consumer backlash against GM foods in Europe. 
> EU environment ministers earlier this year said they would 
> not license new GM crops until a new approval system is in 
> place, making it unlikely the bloc will authorise any new 
> such crops for several months. 
> 
> U.S. HOPES PRODI WILL TAKE FRESH LOOK AT GM ISSUE Aaron 
> said he hoped EU's new executive Commission, under Romano 
> Prodi, which was sworn in on Friday, would take a fresh 
> look at the GM issue. 
> 
> He urged European leaders to develop a comprehensive 
> policy on biotechnology, which would include creating 
> institutions to reassure the public. 
> 
> Aaron is on a tour of European capitals which appears to 
> be part of a hearts and minds campaign by the U.S. 
> 
> government to try to dispel fears about GM foods, which 
> are more widely used and accepted in the United States than 
> in Europe. 
> 
> Some U.S. officials have said in the past that the United 
> States and the EU could be heading for a trade war over the 
> issue. 
> 
> But Aaron indicated that the United States has, at least 
> for now, decided on a strategy of trying to win over 
> Europeans through persuasion and scientific argument rather 
> than complaining to the WTO. 
> 
> "We do have trade rights and it could be a trade issue but 
> right now it is my judgment and the judgment of (U.S. 
> 
> Commerce) Secretary (William) Daley that it's important to 
> try to enter into a dialogue with the Europeans on this 
> because it is seen in Europe as a food safety issue," he 
> said. 
> 
> But he warned: "At some point, when there's been a debate, 
> our trade rights could come into play as they finally did 
> in beef hormones." 
> 
> The United States earlier this year imposed sanctions on 
> $117 million of EU exports after winning a WTO case against 
> the EU's decade-old ban on imports of hormone-treated beef. 
> Story by Adrian Croft [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#=================== 
> REUTERS NEWS SERVICE, Agrevo committed to R&D despite GM 
> crop challenge UK: September 20, 1999 LONDON - 
> Biotechnology company AgrEvo remained committed to its 
> programme of research and development in genetically 
> modified crops, despite the government's decision not to 
> contest a legal challenge to trials. 
> 
> "Following legal advice, the government has decided not to 
> contest the judicial review of proceedings instigated by 
> Friends of the Earth (FoE) in respect of licensing of 
> certain GM trials," Environment Minister Michael Meacher 
> had told a news conference. 
> 
> "The statement made today involves a technical matter of 
> interpretation of the relevant legislation and remains an 
> issue between the UK government and Friends of the Earth," 
> AgrEvo said in a statement. 
> 
> "Agrevo remain committed to their ongoing programme of 
> research and development of this technology and believe 
> that it has many benefits for consumers, growers and the 
> environment," it said. 
> 
> FoE had sought a judicial review of a government decision 
> to allow AgrEvo, a joint venture between Germany's Hoechst 
> AG and Schering AG , to switch one of its tests of GM 
> rapeseed from spring to autumn planting. 
> 
> "We are accepting that on this point we acted illegally," 
> Meacher said. He described the issue as "a narrow technical 
> matter" with no health, safety or environmental 
> implications. 
> 
> Meacher said the government accepted it had made an error 
> because the law did not allow it to vary its consent and 
> the company should have made a fresh application. 
> 
> "If a consent had been sought in the normal way I have no 
> doubt it would have been granted," Meacher said. He said 
> the government programme of farm-scale crop trials would 
> continue. 
> 
> REUTERS NEWS SERVICE [Entered September 20, 1999] 
> ===================#===================