"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.|
US Agribusiness Fights Mexico Mandatory Labels for GE Foods
IS MEXICO GETTING STRONG-ARMED ON BIOTECH LABELING?
(Exerpted From Rural UPdates! March 29, 2001)
The Mexican Senate has unanimously approved a bill calling for mandatory labeling of biotech foods and a cadre of US trade groups are trying to block final passage in the Mexican House of Deputies. On February 4th, the American Farm Bureau Federation and approximately 20 other groups sent a letter to US officials urging them to intervene "at the most senior levels" to "prevent this legislation from becoming Mexican law." The letter urged them to use President Bush's "upcoming visit to Mexico" and was sent to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoelick.
Moreover, the letter conveyed wording that could be interpreted as a threat to Mexico regarding their favorable trade status. "The ramifications (of mandatory labeling) to US farmers, grain handlers, food companies and biotechnology providers" said the letter, "would be enormous and threaten our favorable relations with Mexico as an ally and NAFTA trading partner." The letter also stated that labeling "would not only confuse and mislead Mexican consumers about the safety inherent in biotech foods but also create a negative precedent for NAFTA." With the upcoming Free Trade for the America's next month in Quebec, this development is sure to reverberate widely throughout the global trade and biotechnology communities. The Mexican House of Deputies is expected to vote on this bill soon. Karil L. Kochendorfer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association of America (202) 295 3927 was the contact person mentioned on the letter. Rural Updates! has obtained a copy and will be posting developments in future editions. To receive UPdates! email firstname.lastname@example.org with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject line. To learn more about Farm Bureau's vast insurance and agribusiness investments, go to:
JAPAN: Japan to start mandatory checks for GM feed
19 Apr 2001
TOKYO, April 19 (Reuters) - Japan's Agriculture Ministry said on Thursday it will introduce mandatory safety checks to guard against imports of unapproved genetically modified (GM) crops for animal feed, following a recommendation by a government panel.
WORLD: World Health Organisation examines biotech allergies
19 Apr 2001
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation have published new guidelines for the examination of new biotech food products, to reduce the risk that they might cause dangerous allergic reactions. The two groups have recommended a more extensive methodology than has thus far existed, to check the danger of foods from ingredients made from sources with known allergic properties, as well as those with no known allergenicity. It includes an initial comparison of a protein's amino acid sequences with those of known allergens followed by more in-depth investigations. The guidelines are available on the Internet at http://www.fao.org/es/ESN/gm/biotec-e.htm
By Keith Nuthall, just-food.com correspondent
South China Morning Post
Modified Crop Advocate Fears Lost Chances Through Cultivation Ban
18 Apr 2001
The government has banned the growth of genetically modified rice, wheat, corn and soyabean for fear other countries would refuse to buy them even though the technology presents big opportunities for the future, according to a leading advocate of GM crops.
[foxBGHsuit] Great News From Fired Fox TV Reporters!
Mon, 23 Apr 2001 06:41:00 -0000
It has been some time since we have contacted you or posted news on our website (at http://www.foxBGHsuit.com) and Jane and I wanted you to be among the first to know some really big and incredibly good news.
We are writing today from San Francisco where this evening (Monday, April 23, 2001) we will be named recipients of the 2001 Goldman Environmental Prize. (This news is embargoed for release until the morning of the prize ceremony when you may see it on CNN, in the New York Times, and elsewhere.)
The prize is frequently referred to as the Nobel Prize for grassroots work that aids the environment or calls attention to a significant environmental issue. We are the first journalists to ever win it.
We are both incredibly humbled by this honor, especially after spending the last few days meeting the other winners selected from each of the other five inhabited continents on Earth. The man who has saved the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, an indigenous woman who has fought an incredible battle and endured unspeakable personal hardships in her fight against an American gold mining company that is raping her Indonesian homeland, the Greek biologist who brought feuding nations together to save a fragile ecosystem. These are some of the incredible people in whose company we are so proud to be.
(The Prize ceremony, including 3-minute speeches by the winners and 5-minute videos about their work, will be broadcast live on the Internet at http://www.goldmanprize.org on April 23, 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time/8:00 p.m. Eastern. Full details of the Goldman Prize and this year's winner are at the bottom of this note.)
We promise we will update the website soon, but there has been very little news since our court victory last summer. Just as we expected, we are both "radioactive" as far as getting new jobs in the mainstream media and we remain essentially unemployed. And just as they promised, Fox lawyers have filed their appeal that is slowing grinding through the Florida court system. Steve has also filed an appeal of the jury verdict with regard to his individual claim. The process at this first appeals level could take up to two years while Jane's $425,000 award is untouchable to us pending the outcome.
The Goldman Prize carries a generous cash award, a grant we will use to develop an organization we can use to continue to produce documentaries and other projects to bring attention to GE foods, the state of the American media, and other important issues that the mainstream press is just not covering any more. We will have more details on our plans soon.
In the meantime, we wanted you to share our joy in this recognition, the brightest spot in a four-year-long struggle. We also wanted to say to all of you around the world, again, thank you! Thank you for your support, your kind words, and your prayers. We could not have survived and had the courage to go on without you. It has meant more than you will ever know.
In late 1996, journalists Jane Akre and Steve Wilson began investigating rBGH, the genetically modified growth hormone American dairies have been injecting into their cows. As investigative reporters for the Fox Television affiliate in Tampa, Florida, they discovered that while the hormone had been banned in Canada, Europe and most other countries, millions of Americans were unknowingly drinking milk from rBGH-treated cows.
The duo documented how the hormone, which can harm cows, was approved by the government as a veterinary drug without adequately testing its effects on children and adults who drink rBGH milk. They also uncovered studies linking its effects to cancer in humans. Just before broadcast, the station cancelled the widely promoted reports after Monsanto, the hormone manufacturer, threatened Fox News with "dire consequences" if the stories aired. Under pressure from Fox lawyers, the husband-and-wife team rewrote the story more than 80 times.
After threats of dismissal and offers of six-figure sums to drop their ethical objections and keep quiet, they were fired in December 1997. In 1998, Akre won a suit against Fox for violating Florida's Whistleblower Law, which makes it illegal to retaliate against a worker who threatens to reveal employer misconduct. They must now defend the $425,000 award to Akre through the appeals process. Meanwhile, with their assets drained, neither has been able to work full-time in television news. They recently formed a production company to expose environmental and health news that is increasingly ignored by mainstream media.
Monday April 23 3:59 PM ET
Seeds Contain Biotech Contamination
WASHINGTON (AP) - More than one quarter of the nation's seed suppliers have found corn seed contaminated with traces of a biotech variety that wasn't approved for human consumption, the government says.
Monday April 23, 4:21 pm Eastern Time
Japan adamantly against biotech wheat - US report
By Carey Gillam
KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 23 (Reuters) - Japanese wheat industry players remain adamant in their stance against genetically modified (GM) wheat, a team of U.S. wheat industry leaders learned on a trip to Japan last week.
A report on the April 15-20 series of meetings with the Japanese wheat industry was issued by U.S. Wheat Associates on Monday, and stated that ``the Japanese industry leaders have indicated that they will purchase non-GM wheat from U.S. competitors if the U.S. cannot ensure that Japan will receive 'GM-free' wheat.''
Biotech Corn Found In Variety of Foods
FDA Testing for Possible Allergic Reactions
By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 24, 2001; Page A03
A genetically engineered variety of corn that caused massive recalls of taco shells last year has spread further through the food supply than had been thought and is present in a much wider range of processed foods, officials reported yesterday.
The corn, known as StarLink, was found in new categories of corn products such as corn bread, polenta and hush puppies in tests conducted by the company that developed the corn.
Shareholders Push Hershey to Report On Genetically Engineered Ingredients; Annual Shareholder Meeting
Tuesday, April 24, in Hershey, PA
Updated 9:51 AM ET April 24, 2001
SAN FRANCISCO (BUSINESS WIRE) - Shareholders concerned that Hershey Foods (NYSE:HSY) is exposing the company to unnecessary financial risk by using food ingredients derived from genetically engineered materials are taking their case to fellow shareholders at the company's annual meeting today.
Curbs on genetically altered crops sought
By David L. Chandler, Globe Staff, 4/24/2001
Scientists, farmers and environmental groups yesterday called for Massachusetts to lead the nation in curbing the dissemination of genetically modified crops until research can establish their safety.
Critics charged yesterday in testimony at the Massachusetts State House that federal agencies and Congress have failed to enact the necessary safeguards, so the Commonwealth should take the lead instead.
StarLink corn is export headache worldwide--U.S.
WASHINGTON, April 25 (Reuters) - U.S. corn exports are under a cloud ``literally all over the world'' because of foreign refusal to buy grain that may contain traces of a biotech corn variety banned in food, an Agriculture Department official said on Wednesday.
Monsanto Replacing GMO Canola Seed in Canada.
Scramble to Retrieve Thousands of Recalled Bags (25 April, Reuters)
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, April 25 (Reuters) - Two of Canada's major grain companies deployed dozens of employees and a fleet of trucks as they scrambled to retrieve thousands of bags of a genetically modified canola seed that Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MON - news) voluntarily recalled on Wednesday after discovering trace amounts of an alternate version of a genetic trait. ``If we see a farmer in the field and we know that farmer purchased Quest, we'll be stopping him right on his seeder,'' said Diane Wreford, a spokeswoman for Agricore. ``We're taking this very seriously because this is a potential trade issue,'' Wreford said. -
Monsanto said that the quality tests on canola seed, initially conducted by Saskatchewan Wheat Pool late last week, had detected trace levels of an alternative version of the Roundup Ready trait, a version that has not been registered for canola by Japan, Canada's largest canola seed customer, or the United States, the largest buyer of Canadian canola oil and meal.
StarLink cum Quest
(April 27, 2001 --Cropchoice opinion) -- Monsanto has voluntarily recalled thousands of bags of its Quest canola seed, grown on 12 million acres in Canada last year, after the discovery of small amounts of an alternate version of the genetic trait that gives the plants resistance to the herbicide Roundup.
Problem is, Japan and the United States, who together accounted for C$1 billion in canola seed, oil and meal purchases last year, have not registered this version of Roundup Ready canola.
GM pollution now pervasive: agency
By CLAIRE MILLER
Monday 30 April 2001
Organic produce such as corn and canola imported from North America can no longer be guaranteed free from genetically modified (GM) organisms, according to the Organic Federation of Australia.
The federation is warning consumers that GM pollution is now so pervasive in North America that foodstuffs containing imported ingredients cannot be guaranteed GM-free without testing.
"Refiners Shun Bioengineered Sugar Beets, Frustrating Plans for Monsanto,
Wall Street Journal
April 27, 2001
The food industry has soured on genetically modified sugar.
Hundreds of thousands of pounds of bioengineered seeds for growing herbicide-tolerant sugar beet plants are gathering dust. The nation's sugar refiners are telling their farmers to avoid the seed even though it has been cleared by U.S. regulators. Sugar executives say many of their customers -- candy and food manufacturers -- aren't willing to accept bioengineered sugar until the debate over the safety of crop biotechnology dies down.
Against the altered grain
Some North American crops grown from Bioengineered seeds face bans in certain lucrative export markets
By Anthony Shadid, Globe Staff, 5/2/2001
WASHINGTON - The nation's agricultural industry - from farmers to food processors - is bracing for the latest and possibly most far-reaching repercussion of the introduction of bioengineered foods: lucrative export markets closed to unapproved crops grown in North America.
Monsanto Co. announced last week that it had recalled hundreds of tons of bioengineered canola seed from Canadian farmers because the shipments may have contained genetic material not approved for consumption in Japan, one of the leading export markets for Canada and the United States.
A spokesman for Monsanto said the St. Louis-based company is trying to find out how the mistake happened. But experts contend that such mistakes are likely to occur more often and become more costly as long as biotech seeds grown in North America remain banned in markets like Europe and Japan.
Wednesday, May 02, 2001
Scientists fear biotech will harm food supply
By COLIN FREEZE
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
The human food supply is in danger of being contaminated by crops genetically modified to create better drugs and industrial chemicals, a group of veteran scientists and academics is warning.
The warning is in a strongly worded letter by four PhDs - among them the former dean of science at McMaster University in Hamilton - who advocate mandatory food labelling and better testing of genetically modified foods.
The letter, obtained by The Globe and Mail, says there is a "high probability" the food we eat could be contaminated as a result of sloppy farming practices and the "arrogance" of biotechnology researchers and regulators.
Report points out problems with Roundup Ready soybeans
(May 3, 2001 -- Cropchoice news) -- Contrary to the promises of Monsanto, farmers are applying more herbicides to Roundup Ready soybean plants and reaping lower yields from them compared to conventional varieties, according to a new report by Dr. Charles Benbrook of the Northwest Science and Environmental Policy Center in Sandpoint, Idaho.
The study, "Troubled Times Amid Commercial Success for Roundup Ready Soybeans: Glyphosate Efficacy is Slipping and Unstable Transgene Expression Erodes Plant Defenses and Yields," available at www.biotech-info.net/troubledtimes.html, uses recent USDA and university research to update the Center's 1999 report on the same subject.
Many farmers have told Cropchoice about the extra herbicides and lower yields that go along with growing Monsanto's herbicide-resistant beans.
Science - Associated Press - updated 1:02 PM ET May 4
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Friday May 4 1:01 PM ET
Food Makers Want Biotech Food Tests
WASHINGTON (AP) - Food makers stung by recalls involving biotech corn products say the government shouldn't approve any other genetically engineered crops unless there is a way to test for them.
Friday, 4 May, 2001, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK BBC online
Genetically altered babies born
By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse
Scientists have confirmed that the first genetically altered humans have been born and are healthy.
Up to 30 such children have been born, 15 of them as a result of one experimental programme at a US laboratory.
An "unwelcome" development say scientists.
But the technique has been criticised as unethical by some scientists and would be illegal in many countries, including the United Kingdom.
Genetic fingerprint tests on two one-year-old children confirm that they contain a small quantity of additional genes not inherited from either parent.
The additional genes were taken from a healthy donor and used to overcome their mother's infertility problems.
Wednesday, May 02, 2001
Countries stalled over labels for genetically altered foods
Ottawa - Despite almost a decade of talks, the countries of the world are making little progress over how to label genetically modified foods. Discussions at the annual meeting of Codex Alimentarius, the UN body that sets food labelling standards, were bogged down Tuesday over terminology.
Canada has proposed to eliminate the words "genetically modified foods" from the text of the draft agreement, replacing them with the words "food and food ingredients obtained through modern biotechnology."
Protesters outside the conference hall said the wording is intended to confuse consumers.
"They know that consumers are afraid of genetically modified food so the industry doesn't want that term used," said Mike McBane of the Canadian Health Coalition.