Articles on Genetically Modified Food received from Richard Wolfson, Ph.D. March 9, 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.

Sellers who don't label foods with genetically engineered ingredients could face up to three  years in jail.

GM labeling moves ahead in Hong Kong and South Korea

(February 27, 2001 -- Cropchoice news) -- Both Hong Kong and South Korea are considering labels for foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

The Hong Kong government would label foods only if they contain more than 5 percent transgenic ingredients because it contends that measuring below that level is too difficult. Perhaps the real reason is that many foods contain at least that level of genetic contamination....

Sellers who don't label foods with genetically engineered ingredients could face up to three  years in jail.

Sources: Reuters,

Below is a letter to Tony Blair from Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser who has been locked in an extended GM contamination court case with Monsanto.

Mr Percy Schmeiser, Box 400,Bruno,Sask.S0KOSA Canada

Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP
10 Downing Street

25th October 2000

Dear Prime Minister

In 1996 Canadian Farmers were encouraged to use Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Seeds. They were told there was potential for their crops to be more nutritious, that less chemicals would be used to grow the crops and that they were economically more viable as they would produce higher yields. The reality is that the market for Canadian Rape seed has dropped by 50% in only the last year, as much of the world does not want GE produce and will not buy it. The trade for Canadian honey has completely died because of loss of business due to GE contamination and subsequent loss of market. Instead of a drop in chemical use, farmers are now using between 6 and 10 times the amount they previously used.

Monsanto was aware of the implications of GE, they knew it would cross pollinate, that gene flow was uncontrollable: they had no intention of controlling it and now it is out of control. Farmers in Canada were never warned of the hazards of contamination. If a single farmer plants GE seed, it will spread; there is no way to provide a buffer or a boundary which can protect other farmers from contamination, which occurs by seed drift by wind, machinery, birds, insects or animals. Once you have GM, there is no longer any choice; there is no way back, you cannot change your mind. In Canada it has become increasingly obvious that there is no safe distance.

You have to decide do you want GM or not, there is no half way measure, these seeds cannot be recalled. The issue of testing these seeds has to be very carefully considered, and must happen in controlled and closed conditions, they must not have access to the environment. Pollen will definitely drift.

By putting these seeds into the environment you have no idea of what is the long term outcome not only to the environment, but to the public, to animals, plants and insects.

A major concern is that of patents. In Canada only a gene can be patented, it is not possible to patent a plant or a seed. There is now much concern that if genes can be put into any life form, multi-national companies can then say they own that life form - where will it stop? Will they be able to own a human being?

There should never be a patent on a gene, they can patent the process but not the gene because it has always been there. The loss of indigenous plants and seed is guaranteed, as the GE altered gene is always the dominant gene, which would mean loss of seed varieties and bio-diversity

Farmers must never give up their rights to use their own seeds, they must never give up ownership, once that occurs they are at the mercy of the multi-national seed companies. If you lose control of the seed supply, you lose control of the food supply, if you lose control of that, you lose control of the country.

Yours faithfully

Percy Schmeiser


No figures yet on StarLink contamination of seed corn-industry

WASHINGTON, March 1 (Reuters) - The protein Cry9C, a key component of an unapproved variety of bio-engineered corn, has been discovered in seed for this year's crop but officials have not yet been able to estimate the amount of contamination, an official with the National Corn Growers Association said on Thursday.


Food for thought: uniform GM product labeling

Environmental  News Network

Thursday, March 1, 2001 By Brian Mattmiller

As the rest of the world continues to reject genetically modified foods, American farmers might look to government-mandated labels as their ticket back into the global market.

Lydia Zepeda, an associate professor of consumer science for the University of Wisconsin, draws that conclusion in an analysis of the current GM food market. Zepeda was part of a forum that examined the public sector's role in biotechnology at a recent American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Francisco.

Thursday March 1, 4:10 pm Eastern Time

Leading US farm group demands Starlink-free corn seed

WASHINGTON, March 1 (Reuters) - The American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation's biggest grower group, on Thursday urged farmers to demand corn seed for spring planting that is free of StarLink bioengineered corn....

"Producers who are planning to plant corn this spring should check with their seed providers to ensure that the corn they plant does not contain the Cry9C protein,'' Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau, said in a statement.


Thursday March 1, 12:57 pm Eastern Time

USDA won't confirm presence of StarLink in corn seed

WASHINGTON, March 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday it would not confirm the presence of a StarLink biotech protein in seed destined for this year's corn crop, but said it was investigating the issue.

StarLink found in corn seed

(March 1, 2001 --Cropchoice news) -- The discovery of StarLink in corn seed could spell financial trouble for farmers.

Although the batch of seeds containing the genetically modified variety won't be planted, major export markets, such as Europe and Japan, have said they'll refuse to buy any U.S. corn if they suspect it contains StarLink.


Engineered Corn Turns Up in Seed

By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 1, 2001; Page A01

Corn seed about to be sold to farmers for this year's crop has been found to contain small amounts of a genetically engineered variety of the grain that prompted massive recalls of food and crops last year, government and industry sources said yesterday.


Monsanto admits it broke the GM testing  rules in Tasmania

(February 28, 2001 --Cropchoice news) -- Monsanto admitted that it broke Australia's guidelines for conducting trials on genetically engineered crops.

The Australian government found that Monsanto and Aventis, the maker of the StarLink transgenic corn that contaminated much of the U.S. corn supply, didn't adequately clean up 11 Tasmanian sites on which they performed trials on genetically modified canola.

The Tasmanian state government is examining its legal options.

Source: ABC News


Japan turns to China for corn

(February 27, 2001 -- Cropchoice news) -- This week at least, Japan plans to buy March/May corn from China instead of the United States because of its concerns about genetically engineered StarLink corn.

This comes in the wake of the Japanese Health Ministry's decision to test corn imports for the presence of StarLink, which has approval for neither human nor animal use in Japan. In April, the government likely will pass strict regulations of unapproved genetically modified  products.

Japan plans to buy some of its April/June corn from Europe. Again, the concern is StarLink in U.S. corn.

Source: Reuters


Canada moved too fast on GM foods - Stephen Leahy


Corn prices fall, questions grow on StarLink seed flap

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department and seed industry officials refused to disclose on Friday an estimate of how much U.S. seed corn for spring planting was contaminated with an unapproved biotech variety.

Corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade fell on Friday amid concerns over the U.S. seed corn supply containing residue of the Cry9C protein of StarLink, a variety engineered to repel pests.

Corn futures for May delivery closed down 1-1/4 cents lower at $2.22-3/4 per bushel.

Government and industry officials met on Thursday and confirmed that traces of the protein were found in various kinds of seed corn by companies preparing to deliver planting supplies to farmers.


Tuesday March 6, 12:04 pm Eastern Time

USDA, industry mum on StarLink corn seed survey results

By Randy Fabi

WASHINGTON, March 6 (Reuters) - The American Seed Trade Association reiterated on Tuesday that "very low levels'' of this year's U.S. corn seed were contaminated with a biotech variety not approved for humans, but refused to disclose the amount.


Straight Goods
March 5, 2001

Canada moved too fast on GM foods
Spin control doesn't change message of expert panel

By: Stephen Leahy

A Royal Commission in New Zealand is currently investigating whether that country should grow genetically modified crops. Experts from around the world are participating in a full and open public debate about the benefits and risks of GM crops.

And yes, this is before such crops are grown there. We do things a little differently in Canada. Last year, five long years after Canadians began growing and eating foods with GM ingredients, the Federal government asked the Royal Society of Canada to form an independent panel of scientists to evaluate the regulation and safety of these new food products. This was the first-ever independent assessment. Nearly a year later this Expert Panel on the Future of Food Biotechnology slammed government regulators at Health Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) who allowed GM crops to be grown.

"We have run the experiment for five years", said Brian Ellis of the University of British Columbia, a molecular biologist and one of the 14 scientists on the panel. "The fact that these foods haven't hurt us may be due to careful scrutiny, but may also be plain luck," Ellis has been reported as saying. The panel found that GM crops were not scientifically assessed for their safety, results of studies kept secret, and none have been evaluated independently. Reactions to the report were swift - and predictable.

Health Canada rejected the Panel's findings saying that the panelists didn't understand how biotechnology is regulated. In the pages of the National Post, researchers Douglas Powell and Shane Morris of the University of Guelph - which receives substantial funding from the biotech industry - declared that panel members were biased against biotech. Some of Powell's and Morris' work at Guelph's Centre for Food Safety is directly funded by industry giants like Novartis and Monsanto.

"The panel's report was very fair and balanced," says Mark Winston, a professor at Simon Fraser University and one of Canada's preeminent biologists. He is currently writing a book about biotechnology for Harvard University Press. "The charge of bias is completely inappropriate," Winston says, because the panel members are some of Canada's top scientists and represent the first and only independent assessment of how biotechnology is regulated.



March 2, 2001
Julianne Johnston

Earlier this week, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) sent a letter to EPA, USDA and FDA officials, stressing to them the majority of the seed industry, like others in the food chain, are victims of the StarLink corn situation.


ABC News

The Tasmanian Premier, Jim Bacon, was cited as saying the state is more likely to impose a permanent ban on genetically modified organisms following the "escape" of GM crops and that the Federal Government must reveal the locations of GM crop trials held in the state over the past three years. He says secrecy over the trials will only increase fears of gene technology. The Tasmanian Government has imposed a temporary moratorium on GMOs since July.


Inter Press Service

JAKARTA - Indonesia's Ministry of Environment has, according to this story, joined non-governmental organisations in opposing the use of transgenic crops in this country until these are proven to pose no harm to humans and to the environment.

The story says this pits the ministry against another government department, the Ministry of Agriculture, which earlier this month issued a degree that has opened the door for the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indonesia.


February 27, 2001
Des Moines Register
Jerry Perkins
Page 1
Dozens of Iowa farmers have, according to this story, complained to the state attorney general's office that the maker of StarLink corn is missing a 30-day deadline for payments.

Aventis CropScience, the developer of StarLink corn, agreed with 17 state attorneys general to compensate farmers, grain elevators and others facing financial losses stemming from StarLink, a genetically modified corn approved for use only as a livestock feed.


Mar. 3 2001
New Zealand Herald

As the New Zealand Royal Commission on Genetic Modification winds up and prepares to write its report, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Morgan Williams, was quoted as saying the battle lines have been drawn in the gene debate, creating a climate of "distrust and polarization."

Dr Williams was cited as telling the commission this week there was a perception that "expert arrogance" on one side and "interest-group pressure" on the other had hardened attitudes in the debate, adding, "There must be far greater transparency and constructive dialogue than has been the case thus far."

The story explains that over the past six months the four commissioners, charged by the Government to investigate where New Zealand should stand on the GE issue, have heard 47 days of sometimes mind-bogglingly complicated scientific evidence, along with pleas from animal rights and religious groups for consideration of moral and ethical issues. Before the commission are 11,000 public submissions, evidence from more than 300 experts, and comments from hundreds of people who attended 15 public meetings.

Meanwhile, the pro- and anti-GE lobbies have gone head-to-head.


INL Newspapers
New Zealand

According to this story, a call for an "unequivocal" Maori right of veto over applications to introduce or experiment with genetically modified organisms, on Tuesday added to an increasingly tough overall Maori line against the new technology.

Put to the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification by Maori Congress chief executive Tu Williams, the call came with a series of tough recommendations, including for a 10-year moratorium on all field tests or general release of genetically modified organisms.


Beekeepers fear ruin with potential GE crop contamination of honey
7 Mar 2001
Source: editorial team

Tasmanian beekeepers apparently unaware of the risks involved in projects with Monsanto and Aventis are facing potential ruin amid  fears that their bees are contaminated with genetically engineered canola pollen.

The two major agribusinesses convinced many beekeepers to place their hives close to GE-canola crops in a bid to facilitate pollination  and increase production. The problem has now been raised following findings in Europe that honey can be contaminated with GE pollen.


JAPAN: Traders fret Japan's StarLink review may drag on 28 Feb 2001 Source:

By Jae Hur

TOKYO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Japan could take at least five months to decide whether to approve gene-altered StarLink corn as animal feed, raising fears of possible supply disruptions, traders said on Wednesday.


Thursday, March 8, 2001



GMOs Are Found in Morningstar Farms Products

Food: Kellogg says discovery of genetically modified ingredients was an isolated incident. No decision has been made on recalls.

By  MELINDA FULMER, Times Staff Writer

New laboratory tests have found that veggie burgers and  meat-free corn dogs made by natural foods brand Morningstar Farms contain genetically modified soy and the controversial genetically altered feed corn, StarLink, that has not been approved for human  consumption. The tests, commissioned by the activist group Greenpeace, highlight the difficulty that even natural foods companies are having  in assuring customers that their products do not contain genetically  modified ingredients. Kellogg Co., which bought Morningstar's parent company, Worthington Foods, in late 1999, had told customers in a string of  letters and e-mails about its conversion to a soy protein that is not  produced through biotechnology. Its products were not labeled as GMO-free, however.


''This is an important step toward the reassurance of both the American consumer and our foreign markets of the safety of both our food supply and the safety of the many crops and  foods improved through biotechnology,'' said Carl B. Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

EPA: Altered animal feed must pass human standard

By Anthony Shadid, Globe Staff, 3/8/2001

WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency will no longer approve genetically engineered food for use as animal feed unless it's safe for human consumption, too.

Yesterday, EPA officials acknowledged that approving products only for animals was a mistake. It was the latest repercussion from last year's recall of taco shells, corn chips, and other food products that contain StarLink corn.


"The tolerance for Cry9c protein effectively is zero for corn processed into human food in the United States, as well as raw corn shipments destined for major U.S. export markets,'' the farm groups said on Thursday.

Thursday March 8, 3:11 pm Eastern Time

Farmers, demand non-StarLink seed - US grain groups

WASHINGTON, March 8 (Reuters) - Four major U.S. grain groups on Thursday urged corn farmers to obtain written assurances from suppliers that seed for spring planting is free of a bioengineered corn variety banned from human food.


Thursday March 8, 11:32 am Eastern Time

StarLink corn woes cut U.S. farm exports

(UPDATE: grafs 4-12 new; u.s. dominates global corn sales)

By Charles Abbott

WASHINGTON, March 8 (Reuters) - Foreign wariness over StarLink biotech corn -- never approved as a food -- was cutting into U.S. corn (maize) sales, helping push prices to their lowest levels in about 15 years, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday.

In a monthly look at crops and food demand worldwide, the department shaved 50 million bushels from its forecast of corn exports "because some importers, like Japan, are expected to minimize purchases of varieties of corn not approved for some, or all, uses,'' a description fitting StarLink.

In its report on crops, the Agriculture Department projected that farm-gate prices for corn would average $1.85 a bushel, lowest since the farm recession of the mid-1980s.


Friday March 9, 4:26 pm Eastern Time

Brazil to export corn for first time since 1982 - USDA

By Randy Fabi

WASHINGTON, March 9 (Reuters) - Brazil was expected to become a net corn exporter for the first time since 1982 as foreign buyers turn their backs on the United States amid the StarLink bio-corn controversy, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday. ...

Brazil was projected to export 800,000 tonnes of corn in the 2000/01 marketing year.

Brazil joins Argentina, China and other smaller corn exporting countries expected to benefit from questions surrounding the purity of U.S. corn.

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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