Articles on Genetically Modified Food received from Richard Wolfson, Ph.D. March 14, 2001




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"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
- 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.

Thursday, March 8, 2001 Japan Times

"If we do not allow GM corn produced in the U.S. to be imported to Japan, one consequence is clear: The price of imported corn will rise. The U.S. normally exports to Japan about 16.5 million tons of corn a year, but those exports have plummeted since StarLink corn was detected. At the same time, the import prices of corn from South America and elsewhere are rising rapidly."


CANADA: Government approach to GM crops slammed by first independent
scientific panel

12 Mar 2001

Source: editorial team

Canadian government regulators have been slammed by an expert panel on the Future of Food Biotechnology, who  says that GM crops should not have been grown in Canada. The criticism comes six years after the Health Canada  and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) gave the OK for GM crops to be grown and used as food ingredients without conducting scientific assessments for their safety.

Last year, the Royal Society of Canada formed the first independent scientific panel to assess the Canadian approach to GM crops, and its findings have now been attacked by Health Canada, which claimed that the panel did not fully  understand the regulation of biotechnology.

Canada is the third largest grower of GM crops in the world, and the 14 scientists on the panel argue that the government is attempting to adopt a conflicting role of simultaneously regulating the biotech industry and promoting its science with huge investments, like the 1983 National Biotechnology Strategy (NBS) and the fully funded Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee (CBAC).

One scientist Brian Ellis, of the University of British Columbia, commented: "The fact that these foods haven't hurt us may be due to careful scrutiny, but may also be plain luck."

Another panel member and important biologist Mark Winston claims that the foremost problem with GM crops is not their safety but with the regulation of the industry and the secrecy that surrounds it. The lack of openness with regard to scientific questions is a "truly profound issue of democracy," according to Winston.

Winston also points out that there are problems with the government's assumption that GM crops are of "substantial equivalence" to non-GM counterparts. This means that testing is not as extensive or as unbiased as it could be.  Federal-funding for independent testing is essential, according to Winston, who points out that the government must act quickly on the panel's recommendations.


NEW ZEALAND: NZ$5000 reward for the MP who introduces liability bill for GE
crop companies

12 Mar 2001

Source: editorial team

MPs have been offered a reward of NZ$5000 to create legislation that forces companies to pay up for any damages  caused by their genetically engineered crops.

Details of the reward were provided by an advertisement in Saturday's edition of The Dominion, when organic farmer and businessman Andrew Martin explained that a "Protect New Zealand Bill" was essential in standing up to exploitative multinationals. ...

Martin revealed that he has received many calls since placing the US$1200 advertisement. His offer of a US$5000  reward would be given to the MP who introduced the legislation to give to a charity of their choice.


Farmer calls Monsanto threat a bluff

(March 12, 2001 --Cropchoice news)-- Monsanto is threatening to pull the plug on its wheat research in North Dakota if the legislature approves a moratorium on transgenic wheat. One farmer regards this threat as "hollow."

Japan, Europe and the Middle East, all big U.S. wheat customers, have said they'll take their business elsewhere if Monsanto proceeds with commercialization of its transgenic Roundup Ready wheat. The biotechnology giant designed the variety to resist the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate).

For the last 10 years, the Europe Union and Japan have purchased about 45 percent of  the wheat that the United States exports. They bought nearly 2.3 million of the 5.5 million  tons of U.S. wheat exports in 1999-2000, according to the USDA.

Sensing the importance of those sales to North Dakota family farmers, who produce 70  percent of the country's hard red spring wheat and a majority of the durum wheat, state legislators introduced House Bill 1338. The bill would place a moratorium on the cultivation of transgenic wheat for two years.


Doctors criticise  report on GM foods

By Gillian Ní Cheallaigh

A group called the Irish Doctors' Environmental Association has described as "unbelievable" conclusions on the safety of genetically modified foods, made in a Government-commissioned re port published last week.

The group of 40 Irish GPs, specialists and consultants is to meet the EU Food Safety Commissioner, Mr David Byrne, soon. They will demand a ban on all genetically modified foods, unless they are proved to be safe for human consumption.

"We take issue with what's in the report," said Dr Elizabeth Cullen, co-chair of the group yesterday, challenging all three grounds on which the Report of the Inter-Departmental Group on Modern Biotechnology based its conclusion that GM foods pose no threat to human health.

The group is also "very, very disappointed" that the report does not recommend  the establishment of a register of diseases thought to be linked to GM foods.

Dr Cullen said the group met the Minister for the Environment, Mr Dempsey, "ages ago" to request a register, and he told them he would bring it to the attention of the inter-departmental group.

A motion is to be proposed at the upcoming Irish Medical Organisation annual general meeting in April reiterating this call to the Minister. Rejecting the report's contention that "the scientific evidence about the safety of current GM food products is supported by the absence of reports of adverse  effects from their consumption", Dr Cullen said: "The complete lack of labelling means it's virtually impossible to trace back possible allergies."

She said there had been a recent increase of allergies to soya among Irish children, and there was no way to tell if it was related to foods containing GM  soya products, because there is no obligation to label them under EU law.


RAFI News: New Terminator Patent Goes to Syngenta

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 16:51:10 -0600 (CST)

From: Rural Advancement Foundation Intl <>

News Releases

New Terminator Patent Goes to Syngenta

World's Largest agrichemical and Seed Enterprise Holds Growing Arsenal of Terminator and Traitor Technologies

Wake-Up Call for CBD's Scientific Body Meeting in Montreal

Syngenta, the world's largest agribusiness firm, was formed on 13 November 2000 with the merger of AstraZeneca and Novartis. The next day the company won its newest Terminator patent, US Patent 6,147,282, 'Method of controlling the fertility of a plant.' (The patent was issued to Novartis - but the company's intellectual property goes to Syngenta.) With pro forma 1999 sales of US $7 billion, Syngenta is the world's largest agrichemical enterprise, and the third largest seed corporation.

'Syngenta's newest Terminator patent should set off alarm bells for governments concerned about biodiversity and Farmers' Rights,' said Julie Delahanty of RAFI. 'Some governments and civil society organizations (CSOs) mistakenly assume that the threat of Terminator is diminished. The reality is that the Gene Giants are winning new patents, and Terminator seeds are moving closer to commercialization,' warns Delahanty.

'Terminator technology' refers to plants that have been genetically modified to produce sterile seed; it is designed to prevent farmers from saving and re-planting their seed, forcing them to buy new seeds every year. Terminator has been widely condemned as an immoral technology that threatens global food security, especially for 1.4 billion people who depend on farm-saved seed. In 1999, due to mounting opposition to Terminator seeds, both Monsanto (now Pharmacia) and AstraZeneca (now Syngenta) vowed not to commercialize genetic seed sterilization technology.

Syngenta now controls at least six Terminator patents and a host of new patents on genetically modified plants with defective immune systems.

If the Gene Giants get their way, warns RAFI, sterility is just one of many traits that could be controlled by the application of external chemicals. 'Traitor' technology or genetic trait-control allows companies to engineer crops that depend on the external application of a chemical in order to develop into fertile, or healthy plants. Using inducible promoter systems, a plant's genetic traits can be turned 'on or off' with the application of an external chemical catalyst. RAFI and other CSOs warn that a new generation of chemically dependent plants will be among the next wave of genetically modified crops unless action is taken to ban them.


Md. farmer files suit over modified corn

He says genetic mix-up hurt profits for many

"I think StarLink got Americans serious about the issue of genetically engineered foods," he said. "We've been hearing for years about how wonderful they are, but there's a feeling that this might  be the nail in the coffin, or at least may turn the tide of public sentiment against them."

By Dennis O'Brien Sun Staff

Originally published March 2, 2001

As many as 3,500 Maryland farmers have lost money on their corn crops because genetically modified corn that was never approved for human consumption found its way into the  nation's food supply.

So says Richard Smith, a Baltimore County farmer who has filed suit in county Circuit Court seeking compensation for farmers allegedly hurt by a French pharmaceutical company's  experimental corn.

Smith, a Fork resident, claims in a class-action suit that the price  for his 50 acres of corn was slashed because Aventis Cropscience USA Holding Inc. mishandled its genetically engineered corn.


PRESS RELEASE 10th March 2000 - The Gaia Trust


British farmers betrayed by the NFU

In light of the statement in the National Farmers Union (NFU) insurance policy document (see below) and their refusal to indemnify farmers against any GM damage or liability -  however caused - the NFU itself must immediately stop its encouragement and promotion of GM technology and take immediate and direct steps to protect its members from any such GM risk. ...

We now call upon the NFU to take immediate and direct action to ensure that all outdoor testing of GM crops is stopped immediately, that any GM crops that are already in the ground are immediately destroyed - and that a moratorium is immediately applied until the safety of these crops is so assured that the NFU insurance will indemnify its members.

Our farmers deserve this much - at least - from a union that is supposed to represent and protect the interests of its members.

Kate O'Connell
The Gaia Trust
Tel/fax : 01507 490112
Email :


American Corn Growers Association issues warning about biotech export policy

 (March 14, 2001 --Cropchoice news) -- The American Corn Growers Association warned farm  and government leaders today that pushing transgenic crops onto export markets that don't  want them will harm family farmers.

"Japan and South Korea are buying non-GMO corn from Brazil and China instead of buying   U.S. corn," said Keith Dittrich, Association president and corn farmer from Tilden, Neb. "USDA lowered its corn export forecast by another 50 million bushels. We expect they will lower the forecast again and it's doubtful that U.S. corn exports will even reach 2 billion bushels this year. The reduction is a direct result of GMOs in general and their unacceptability with world buyers. It's good to see that USDA and other farm groups  recognize the problem with StarLink in the seed supply, but the problem is bigger than  StarLink."

After Brazil's large sale of non-transgenic corn to the European Union last week, the USDA predicted that the South American agricultural powerhouse would be a net exporter of corn  for the first time since 1982.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates Brazil corn production for 2000-2001 at 38.5 million tons, nearly 7 million tons more than it produced the previous year.

What's more, the USDA projected that farmers would receive an average of $1.85 per bushel for their corn, the lowest since the farm recession of the mid-1980s. At the same time, farmers are spending more money on inputs, including fertilizer, pesticides and  transgenic seeds.

Foreign markets' search for corn that doesn't contain StarLink is fueling the shift away from the United States as a supplier.

Richard Wolfson, PhD
GE News.
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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