Articles on Genetically Modified Food received from Richard Wolfson, Ph.D. January 31, 2001.




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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.

Jan. 13 2001

WASHINGTON -- StarLink, a biotech corn variety not approved for human consumption, was, according to these stories, found in an ingredient used by some U.S. beer makers, federal regulators were cited as saying in a letter released on Friday by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin.


January 16, 2001

TOKYO - According to this story, traders were cited as saying on Tuesday that a new discovery of gene-spliced StarLink in samples of U.S. corn shipments to Japan has importers increasingly nervous over the effectiveness of a U.S. test plan that Japan had agreed upon.


January 15, 2001
Reese Ewing

PAULO - Latin America's leading grain cooperative COAMO was cited as saying that Brazil's GM-free corn will continue to attract international buyers such as Spain which purchased 150,000 tonnes last month.


January 15, 2001
The Independent
Stephen Castle

In a climate of growing concern over food safety, the European Union is, according to this story, preparing to toughen its rules on genetically modified foods.

And unless the American food biotechnology company Monsanto goes through a stringent EU process of licensing, labelling and traceability, Brussels will prevent its GM wheat being imported.

The story says that one EU directive will be to ensure "traceability"  - ensuring that any product deemed to be out of step with European rules could be withdrawn. It will also ensure that food made from GM products can be identified.

The story also says that more measures will enshrine rules on labelling, in effect ensuring that any product containing more than 1 per cent of GM materials will have to be labelled.


January 16, 2001
The Guardian
John Vidal

Prince Charles was cited as reignited the GM debate yesterday by endorsing a revolutionary agricultural system that claims to prove that the 800m facing hunger in developing countries can grow far more food by adopting simple farming techniques than by going down the hi-tech GM route favoured by Tony Blair and US corporations.

Addressing a conference at St James`s Palace on the benefits of "sustainable" agriculture, the prince was quoted as saying, "Arguments for hi-tech agriculture are increasingly accepted without question, and their possible long term consequences on the environment and economies are not being given sufficient attention. One of the most commonly raised arguments raised by those in favour of GMs is that they are necessary to 'feed the world.' But where people are starving, lack of food is rarely the underlying cause. There is a need to create sustainable livelihoods. I would argue for a more balanced approach. Sustainable agriculture provides a pointer to what can be achieved."


K.T. Arasu

CHICAGO- The U.S. unit of European pharmaceutical giant Aventis SA was cited as saying on Thursday it had expanded its compensation program for farmers whose crops were tainted with its unapproved gene-altered corn, with a spokesperson for Aventis CropScienc quoted as saying, "It is a recent improvement," while declining further comment. The story says that the move adds another category of farmers affected by StarLink corn to the list of those eligible for compensation, explaing that Aventis is currently paying farmers a 25-cent premium per bushel of StarLink corn to ensure the remainder of the 2000 crop not accounted for is kept out of the food chain. It is also paying the same amount for regular corn that was grown within a 660-foot buffer zone of StarLink which run the risk of contamination through cross pollination.

The story adds that Aventis will now pay premiums of 5 cents and 10 cents to farmers whose corn was grown beyond the 660-foot area but was "inadvertently commingled" with their corn grown near a field of StarLink corn.


Toronto Star
Jan. 23, 2001

Genetically modified spuds cleared
Inspectors had blasted `extremely poor' field trials

Stuart Laidlaw

The Canadian government approved a new line of genetically modified potatoes despite "extremely poor'' field tests that federal inspectors feared would undermine the legitimacy of Canada's regulatory system, The Star has learned.

But despite objections by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, or CFIA, the Monsanto Co. potatoes - modified to fight potato beetles without pesticides - were released on to the market without further testing under pressure from farmers and Monsanto.

Among the numerous deficiencies cited by the federal inspectors, parts of the test fields that were supposed to be left free of all insecticides were in fact sprayed with a powerful bug killer.

These areas - dubbed "refuges'' and planted with unmodified potatoes - are meant to slow the rate at which bugs develop resistance to the powerful toxins in the modified potatoes.


January 25, 2001,


BY Bill Lambrecht; Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau

Ann Veneman, the new secretary of agriculture, faces various problems as she takes office, including what to do about genetically modified food.

Veneman served on the board of Calgene, a company owned by Monsanto Co.

Bill Clinton's agriculture secretary, Dan Glickman, warned his replacement, Ann Veneman, that biotechnology policy may become her most difficult problem. But in her speedy confirmation, Veneman revealed almost nothing about her views.


"Tesco said more than 75 percent of its customers expressed a preference for GMO-free products".

General Agriculture News

1/26/2001 British Supermarkets Support GMO-Free Meats
by Darcy Maulsby

Some of the UK's leading retail chains say the meat and eggs sold in their stores will soon be free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Tesco, Asda and Marks and Spencer are promoting the GMO-free products, saying that they will provide meat products from animals not fed with GMOs. The chains said their store-brand products are already GMO-free.


Farmers Weekly (UK)

26 January 2001
Germans shelve GM trials

By FWi staff

PRESSURE is growing on Britain to abandon genetically modified crop trials after Germany shelved similar plans, reports the Daily Express.

German chancellor Gerhard Schröder has announced an indefinite postponement of a three-year programme of GM trials. ...

The Express (UK) describes the German decision as fresh blow to the biotech industry, which has been stunned by European opposition to GMs.


ISIS Press Release
26 Jan. 2001

UK Top Research Centre Admits GM Failure

Scientists in UK's top GM crop research institute, the John Innes  Centre, are finally admitting to the public that GM crops are no good. It amounts to pronouncing the death sentence on GMOs. Mae-Wan Ho, Angela  Ryan and Joe Cummins report.

The John Innes Centre (JIC) is UK's leading plant research institute, publicly funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to the tune of more than £10m in grants every year. It also houses the Sainsbury Laboratory and has research alliances with Zeneca and Dupont.

Not surprisingly, JIC has some of the most pro-GM scientists who have been staunchly defending GM crops from critics like ourselves, even as they have been pointing out the same problems in scientific papers published in specialist journals. For years, we have been drawing attention to the instability of GM constructs and GM lines. This raises serious safety concerns over the possibility that the GM genes could  spread out of control to unrelated species, with the potential to create  new bacteria and viruses by recombination. More recently, we have also argued that the promoter from cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV 35S  promoter), which is in practically all GM crops already commercialised or undergoing field trials, will make GM constructs and GM lines extra  unstable, and hence greatly exacerbating the problems of horizontal gene transfer and recombination.

Two items are noteworthy in the latest annual report from JIC, the first reveals that GM barley lines became unstable and variable in later generations of field trials. The researchers concluded, "The results show that transgenic lines need to be examined over a number of  generations under field conditions to obtain the necessary data on transgenic stability and agronomic performance", and also call for "detailed molecular and genetic analysis" Both of these ISIS have demanded for years along with other scientists.

The second item concerns the CaMV 35S promoter. When ISIS pointed out the dangers of this promoter in the scientific journals, we were reviled  and attacked. Our fiercest critic was leader of a research group in the JIC that had discovered that the promoter has a 'recombination hotspot', a breaking point that makes it much more likely to recombine. Now, two years later, the same group admits the need to avoid recombination hotspots such as that in the CaMV 35S promoter as well as the 'origin of replication' in the plasmid serving as vector for the GM construct, which is also often integrated 'accidentally' into GM crops.

Ms. Angela Ryan: 44-20-8441-6481; mobile: 44-07833-114525 e-mail:
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho: 44-20-7272-5636; e-mail:
Prof. Joe Cummins: 1-519-681-5477; e-mail:


Marco Sibaja
NAO ME TOQUE, Brazil - More than a thousand poor Brazilian farmers, joined by activists attending an anti-World Economic Forum summit, were cited as storming a biotech plant owned by U.S. life sciences giant Monsanto, threatening on Friday to camp out indefinitely to protest genetically modified (GM) food. The story says that some 1,200 workers from settlements of the radical Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil's southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul invaded the plant just before midnight on Thursday, yanking out GM corn and soybeans crops at Monsanto's experimental farm. Solet Campolete, a local MST leader, was quoted as saying, "We're staying here indefinitely. We want to make a statement ... these seeds trick farmers and create dependency on seeds produced by a big multinational."



South Korea intensifies GM inspections of imported grain

Associated Press
January 26, 2001

SEOUL -- South Korea plans to tighten customs inspection to prevent the import of genetically modified food and grains for human consumption, government officials said Friday.

The move came after government food inspectors found on Jan. 15 that genetically modified corn, known as StarLink, was included in a 55,000-ton shipment from the U.S. that was meant for human consumption.


Wednesday January 31, 2:21 pm Eastern Time

Japan team to observe U.S. testing for StarLink bio-corn

By Randy Fabi

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Japan's Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry next week will dispatch a small team of officials to the United States to observe government testing for StarLink bio-corn as Tokyo continues to find traces of the unapproved variety in American shipments.


via FarmPowerNews

"Humanitarian" GM corn: U.S. Withdraws Genetically Engineered Corn - Animal Feed Donation After Bosnia's Hesitation

SARAJEVO, Jan 30, 2001 -- Agence France Presse

The United States has withdrawn a four million dollar donation of genetically engineered (GE) corn for animal feed after Bosnian officials hesitated to approve it over fears of health risks for humans, the embassy said here Tuesday.

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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