Articles on Genetically Modified Food received from Richard Wolfson, Ph.D. August 26, 2000.




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- Thomas Edison

Cancer is a political problem more than it is a medical problem.

"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food," said Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications. "Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA's job." 
- New York Times, October 25, 1998

"What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks it's doing are as different as night and day." - Dr. Herbert Ley, Former FDA Commissioner

"The FDA serves as the pharmaceutical industry's watchdog, which can be called upon to attack and destroy a potential competitor under the guise of protecting the public." - Dr. James P. Carter  


The following information courtesy of Richard Wolfson, PhD, Consumer Right to Know Campaign for Mandatory labeling and long-term testing of genetically engineered food.

Thanks to for reposting the following from the Norfolk Genetic Information Network (ngin), :

The Express (UK) Aug 25, 2000

GM crops cost US farmers 700m in lost exports

By John Ingham

BRITISH farmers will be warned today that GM crops will become an albatross round their necks.

The American Corn Growers Association  says growing biotech crops is costing US farmers up to 700million in lost markets as consumers around the  world shun GM food. It also claims that the whole of the US corn industry is being undermined by the minority who grow GM varieties.

The warning will be delivered by ACGA chief executive Gary Goldberg at a conference in Copenhagen and reinforced on a visit to Britain this weekend.

Mr Goldberg, who represents 14,000 corn farmers in America, is issuing his warning amid growing confusion over Britain's GM farm-scale trials. Ministers have admitted they may have to send in teams to pull the  flowers off up to 100 acres of GM trial crops to prevent them cross-pollinating with  neighbouring farms.

 Mr Goldberg, who says his views on GM issues are commercially driven, has spoken out because of plummeting American corn exports. He also attacks the "arrogance" of the US government in trying to force GM crops on the  world.

"What was presented as clear-cut and non-debatable technology that will save  farmers money and allow for increases in productivity and efficiency has  instead become an albatross round farmers' necks.

"This is a warning for British farmers. These markets will disappear for any farmers with GM crops. Now it seems to be an advantage or a marketing opportunity to have GM-free crops."

Mr Goldberg cited trade figures which show declining sales abroad for American corn growers. In 1997-98 the US shipped two million tons of corn to Europe.

But last year Europe took only 137,000 tons from America - less than 10 per cent of the previous total. Meanwhile Japan, America's largest corn export market, took 15.8million tons last year but has now demanded that corn for human consumption is GM-free.

Mr Goldberg said: "We have lost 120million in sales to Europe and the forecast losses around the world are about 700million."

He claimed the soya bean industry - which in America grows large volumes of GM crops - has suffered similar setbacks with exports to Europe dropping by 44 per cent over two years as shops opt for GM-free supplies from Brazil.

Mr Goldberg said: "Europe has been a very important market for the US farmer for decades and we are throwing that market away. The reason we are losing our foreign markets is that we have taken a conscious decision to push the planting and export of GM crops. Somewhere we have lost the premise that we should grow what the customer demands."

Mr Goldberg claimed his industry was being dictated to by a minority because GM corn accounted for only 25 per cent of all corn grown in the US.

Last night organic farming's Soil Association said British farmers would do well to learn from the experience of their US colleagues.

Director Patrick Holden said: "There could be no more powerful expression of concern from someone who represents the very heart of America's farming industry.

"Any British farmer who has been sitting on the fence over GM issues should take note. That is why it is so important that we keep Britain GM-free."

Helena Paul, chairwoman of the Five Year Freeze campaign, said: "What AGCA says is further proof that there should be an immediate five-year freeze on the commercialisation of genetic engineering for food and farming."


Farmers' markets - where growers sell direct to the consumer - offer a lifeline to the beleaguered industry, a new report reveals.

Sales in the US have topped 600million a year with a third of the 20,000 farmers surveyed getting all their income in this way.

The phenomenon has also had a major impact in Canada with sales in Ontario alone totalling more than 300million and generating spin-offs worth nearly 1billion to the economy.

The Friends of the Earth report says there are about 240 regular farmers' markets in Britain. After starting up three years ago in response to the mounting agricultural crisis, they already have a turnover of 65million.

One market in Winchester, Hampshire, took 85,000 in three days with each farmer receiving 500 on average. And local stores reported big increases in takings while the markets were on.

The report praises ministers for backing the boom with EU Rural Enterprise Scheme cash but urges them to provide start-up grants in poorer areas.

FoE spokesman Simon Bullock said: "Farmers' markets can boost the rural economy and offer a lifeline to farmers fed up with the exacting demands of supermarkets and the poor return for their produce." Express Newspapers, 2000


Here are some quotes reposted  by from the Norfolk Genetic Information Network (ngin), :

"I've been a seed dealer for Monsanto for 18 years and this is the year we are going to have to part ways. They've forgotten that they have to serve farmers. I don't think they care who we've got to grow for. They're just concerned with making a fast buck."
--Steve Mattis, an Illinois farmer and seed dealer, February 18, 2000

"We could be coming back to a situation like the Middle Ages where producers have to depend on a single, powerful company for their livelihood."
--Quebec Agriculture Minister, Remy Trudel, July 7, 2000

US soybean sales to Europe have dropped by more than a billion dollars: from $2.1 billion in 1996 to $1.1 billion in 1999.

"The promise was that you could use less chemicals and produce a greater yield.  But let me tell you none of this is true."
--Bill Christison, President of the US National Family Farm Coalition

For the low down on the problems of GM farming:

Sidney Morning Herald
GM seeds may be in food chain: Monsanto
Date: 26/08/2000

Tonnes of genetically modified cotton seed had accidentally been released on to the market, and could have entered the food chain as cattle feed, the giant chemical company Monsanto admitted yesterday.

The technical director of Monsanto, Mr Bill Blowes, told a Senate committee investigating genetic modification that modified cotton seed had inadvertently been mixed with non-GM seed, and the company now had "no way of knowing" where it had ended up.


New Scientist magazine, 26 August 2000.

via: Biotech Activists (
Posted: 08/24/2000  By

Bugs for bunnies

A GENETICALLY modified virus that can spread from rabbit to rabbit for one generation and immunize them against two major diseases has been created in Spain. Its development has caused unease in countries such as Australia, where rabbits are serious pests and the diseases play a key role in limiting their numbers.

"If I was a farmer I would be concerned," says David Cowan of Britain's Central Science Laboratory in York. "Rabbits cause up to 100 million worth of damage in the UK per year."


August 14, 2000
Matthew Harris
SAO PAOLO -- The Brazilian Institute of Consumer Defence (ICD) this week called for an official investigation to be launched after tests carried out on a range of over 30 food products showed the presence of genetically modified DNA in 11 of them. Several companies have been ordered by the Centre for Sanitary Vigilance of the State of Sao Paulo to withdraw their brands from supermarket shelves in response to the tests. The ICD, in partnership with Greenpeace and the Swiss laboratory Interlabor Belp AG, found transgenic soya or corn, in quantities of up to 10% of the contents of the food products. The transgenic ingredient was not indicated on the labels of any of the products, contravening state and federal law.


August 15, 2000
European Communities
Member states are voicing concerns over the European Commission's plans to push for legislation which would make producers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) liable for any harm their release may cause to human health or the environment.

The New York Times/AP/
St. Louis Post-Dispatch/CBC/etc

Ever since scientists reported last year that pollen from genetically engineered corn could kill monarch butterfly caterpillars in the laboratory, scientists, industry representatives and activists opposed to genetic engineering have, according to these stories, been battling over one central question: Are these butterflies being harmed by the millions of acres of biotech corn being planted across the country?

Now, in what the stories are calling the first study published on the subject since the debate began, scientists from Iowa State University say plants growing in and near the corn fields are being dusted with enough toxic pollen to kill monarch caterpillars that feed on them. The genetically modified corn produces the insecticide Bt in its tissues, including its windblown pollen.

Scientists say it is the first published data showing the potential for genetically engineered pollen in the wild to harm monarchs, but leaves open the crucial question of what impact the corn actually has on the butterfly population. Critics of the original study, published by researchers at Cornell University, said caterpillars in the study could have died because they were fed levels of toxic pollen that were much higher than those found in nature.

Dr. John Obrycki, who along with Laura Hansen, wrote the article published Saturday in the journal Oecologia, was quoted as saying, "This is telling us that with naturally deposited pollen there's a good probability you'll get some mortality. "In the field you may have higher mortality rates because of the cumulative effect of being exposed to the toxin throughout the larval stage. Coming up with a good ecological assessment of this technology probably needed to be done before planting it across the Midwest."

In their study, the researchers gathered leaves from plants growing in and around corn fields and onto which pollen had blown. The leaves were then fed to caterpillars in the laboratory. Twenty percent of the caterpillars eating leaves bearing genetically engineered pollen died, while all caterpillars eating leaves with regular corn pollen survived.

Dr. John Losey, one of the authors on the original Cornell study, was quoted as saying, "This is a big deal. It's an important next step." But the new study seems to have only fueled the battle for public opinion inspired by the monarch butterfly, which has become a symbol to many of fragile nature threatened by genetic engineering.

Dr. Rebecca Goldburg, a scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, a group that has been critical of the biotechnology industry and its regulators, was quoted as saying, "This study should dispel any doubts about whether or not the effect observed in the Cornell study is a real one in the field. The Environmental Protection Agency should take some steps to ensure that butterflies in this coming planting season are protected."

Richard Wolfson, PhD
Consumer Right to Know Campaign
for Mandatory labelling and long-term
testing of genetically engineered food.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes.




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