*Indian Farmers Vs Globalised Capital*
NGIN reports daily as Andhra Pradesh farmers put World Bank/DFID plans on trial. Citizens' Jury starts Tuesday 26. Read the intro online at: http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/indfarm.htm
Reporting Breaking News in the Biotech Food Debate
The DAILY BRIEF for Tuesday, 26 June, 2001 ( 14 Items )
(xx) Biotech Conference News in Item Six, Below.
(1) EU: Contamination levels in GM food up for debate in Brussels http://www.just-food.com/news_detail.asp?art=36037&app=1
26 Jun 2001 Source: just-food.com editorial team. Traceability remains one of the burning issues of the day throughout the food industry, and nowhere more so than in biotechnology. The EU is currently developing formal proposals relating to the traceability and labelling of genetically engineered organisms, foods and seeds, but the late July deadline is looking increasingly unrealistic. The European Commission is currently grappling with what level of contamination of GM organisms it is prepared to accept. A threshold of 1% genetically modified content for foods and processed goods has already been established. This means foods containing less than 1% GM content do not need to be labelled as such. However, the Commission is now trying to determine the threshold for accidental GM contamination, which needs to be lower. One of the problems the Commission faces is the lack of scientific trials sensitive enough to detect such minute levels of genetically modified organisms. As the Wall Street Journal comments, contamination can occur when, for example, grains are shipped in a container previously used to transport genetically modified seeds. If tested upon arrival in the EU, these grains could show traces of modified material and need to be labelled accordingly. An EU environment official explained that the intense discussions the Commission was engaging in now were being undertaken to prevent having to rewrite entire sections of the GMO package, which could set the process ....
(2) Parents Lash Out at ABC Network, & Reporter John Stossel (GM Food, Nature) http://www.calendarlive.com/top/1,1419,L-LATimes-TV-X!ArticleDetail-366 17,00.html
Producers are accused of misleading participants in the special "Tampering With Nature." By ELIZABETH JENSEN, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer. NEW YORK--A group of parents, most of them from Santa Monica's Canyon Charter School, charged that producers for ABC News' John Stossel misled them and now they are revoking the permission they granted for ABC. ABC's John Stossel interviewed students for an environmental specia. to use interviews with their children in Stossel's Friday special, "Tampering With Nature." The special deals with everything from genetically modified foods to global warming and human cloning, making the point that humans have "tampered with nature" for centuries, with generally beneficial results, including longer life spans. The children, whose parents thought they would be interviewed by a producer, were taped in April about their environmental education and what they believe about various environmental issues, such as the use of solar and nuclear power; Stossel later sharply questions some of their educators about whether the children are being fed one-sided information. In a group letter sent to Stossel on Monday, the seven parents said they are "disturbed by the way your staff withheld your involvement with the segment and misrepresented the nature of the piece," adding that ABC's controversial correspondent "asked leading questions to get them to say what you wanted." They said they wanted ABC to remove all footage that involves their children's voices and images. One parent said several in the group are also considering legal action, depending on ABC's response. ABC News said in a statement issued Monday that several of the children's parents were present as the interview was conducted, and "at no time during the interview, or in the weeks and months after the interview, were any concerns or issues raised by any of the parents or children involved." The statement added that "while ABC News is confident that the interview was handled in a respectful and sensitive manner according to the highest journalistic standards, we take the concerns of these parents seriously and are reaching out to them to open a direct line of communication to resolve this issue." The parents' reaction was....
(3) Lack of Standards Makes 'Non-GMO' Labeling Risky Business http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/010625/sfm144.html June 25, 2001 06:17 PM
IFT Panel Discusses Potential Liability of Making 'Non-GMO' Claims On Food Products. NEW ORLEANS, June 25 /PRNewswire
Industry experts speaking at a Sunday panel discussion on food biotechnology at the International Food Technologist's (IFT) Annual Expo shared concerns that labeling food products as non-GMO may put food companies and manufacturers at risk for liability. Increasing pressure from anti-biotech activist groups and product recalls associated with StarLink corn have compelled some food companies and retailers to source non-GMO ingredients to protect the reputation of their brands.
It's critical to look before you leap, stated liability attorney Thomas P. Redick, one of three panelists who presented at the forum. Activist groups have recently 'outed' a number of products promoted as 'non-GMO' resulting in product recalls and negative publicity for these companies trying to meet perceived demands of customers. Without careful legal and scientific management of the process behind 'non-biotech' representations, these companies may face fraud suits over the content of their products. Panelists stressed
(4) Five GM Crop News Stories from Indonesia http://188.8.131.52/listarchive/index.cfm?list_id=30 (25 June post)
Titles: Legal Battle over Biotech Products Kicks Off; Annulment of Decree on Transgenic Products Sought; Biotechnology Rules; Decree on transgenic products Deplored; Transgenic Plantation in South Sulawesi.
(5) Congressman Blasts Eco-Terror, Sponsors New Bill http://www.enn.com/news/wire-stories/2001/06/06222001/eco-terror_44022. asp?s
Friday, June 22, 2001.By Comtex.
WASHINGTON Congressman George Nethercutt, R-Wash., detailed his plans Wednesday for a full-out legal assault on so-called "eco-terrorism," including a bill that would convey mandatory prison sentences for violence against environmental and life-sciences research. Nethercutt spoke to legislative aides, reporters and other participants at an eco-terrorismmeeting sponsored by the Frontiers of Freedom Foundation. The Washington-based public policy think tank was founded by retired Republican Senator Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming. `
"These environmental terror groups are getting more aggressive - much more aggressive - and I think we need a strong response," Nethercutt told United Press International after the conference. "The three largest organizations, including the Earth Liberation Front, have launched an all-out assault against researchers and scientists in the environmental field, using bombs and other terrorist-style tactics. My greatest fear is that someone is going to get killed." Nethercutt said he is introducing the Agro-Terrorism Prevention Act of 2001 (HR 2060) to counteract what he called the latest threat to domestic tranquility. "They plan to get more active," Nethercutt said. "I introduced the act on or around June 7 and right now it's in the House Judiciary Committee, where its criminal sanctions are under review." Three weeks ago, the Earth Liberation Front burned the corporate offices of commercial tree farm Greenwood Resources in Portland, Oregon and the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle. The UW horticulture school was engaged in genetic research with poplar trees. "Any person involved in an act of eco-terrorism is looking at a mandatory one-to-five year prison sentence under this bill," Nethercutt said. "If the crime involves firebombing, the sentence increases to a range of five to 20 years. An act of eco-terrorism that results in murder brings a mandatory death sentence. We also have a RICO provision to strip these organizations of their funding and assets, if they can be located." Locating eco-terrorists is problematic, however, Nethercutt said. "We don't really know how many groups exist, or how many people belong to them," he explained. "I've heard estimates of as few as three groups and as many as 15." Nethercutt said his bill gets its teeth from mandatory minimums, which may not be imposed if authorities prosecute eco-terrorists under existing state and local laws. He also said the new law would provide $5 million for security systems in ecological and agricultural research facilities. "My bill is designed to give relief to institutions and their researchers," Nethercutt said. Senator Orrin Hatch tried to introduce similar legislation in 1999 that failed, Nethercutt told UPI, because ....
(5-b) Text of BioTerrorism Legislation - Related Links: Text of HR2060 at: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/c107query.html Congressman Nethercutt Web: http://www.house.gov/nethercutt/contact.html
(6) San Diego Biotechnology Conference Opens. Spirited Debate
AP. June 25, 2001 01:31 PM.SAN DIEGO (AP)
The world's biggest annual biotech conference opened Monday with discussions on genetically altered food, one of the industry's most contentious issues, following a weekend of protest demonstrations. Industry supporters launched a spirited discussion about golden rice, named for its yellow hue and because it is genetically engineered to produce Vitamin A in the hope that developing nations can use it to stave off malnutrition. We could not have come up with a better example of what biotechnology is all about, said Mike Phillips, a spokesman for the Biotechnology Industry Organization. It's a wonderful story of the public and private sectors have come together. `
Critics call it Frankenfood. They view golden rice and other genetically modified foods as potential health hazards, and argue that not enough research has been done to determine whether they are really safe. The biotech industry is conducting a real-time experiment with our biosphere, said....
(6-b) Related Stories:
AP: Spirited Debate at Conference:
GM Golden Rice Debate:
Protesters Steamed over GM Rice:
Rice Polarizes Gathering:
Relative Calm So Far:
In Your Face -- Out of Our Genes:
http://184.108.40.206/listarchive/index.cfm?list_id=30 (26 June)
BioShow A Little Slow:
http://220.127.116.11/listarchive/index.cfm?list_id=30 (26 June)
Consumers' Confidence & Attitudes (See excerpt, Item-14 Below)
(7) Monsanto Field Trials Destroyed in Netherlands
http://18.104.22.168/listarchive/index.cfm?list_id=30 (25 June)
Two field trials with GE sugar beets from Monsanto have been destroyed last night. The two fields were the only Monsanto field trials in the Netherlands so this country is now free of Monsanto GE field trials. Activists from the group "Raging Hares" claims responsibility for the action. In a press release the group states to have removed the leaves from the beets. The action comes at the start of a "Broad Societal Debate" on GE and foods in the Netherlands. The "Debate" is highly criticized at forehand as being a subtle but massive attempt by government to increase acceptance of gmo's. The Start of the "Debate" today in ....
(7-B) Netherlands Related Stories:
Fields Destroyed: http://22.214.171.124/listarchive/index.cfm?list_id=30
(8) Sierra Magazine Issue Devoted to Biotech Articles
http://126.96.36.199/listarchive/index.cfm?list_id=30 (25 June, From Laurel Hopwood)
The Sierra Magazine, July/August issue, is devoted to biotech. Editor Marilyn Snell's interview with Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher leads off -- Tewolde has been a major voice in international negotiations for biodiversity protections -- and it's a gem. This is followed by several articles. As a whole the issue moves the debate from the level of "food fights" to that of concern for nature and the world we live in. The cover has a corn cob wrapped in $100 bills, a Patagonia ad about "killer pollen," and two GE book reviews and a GE video review. The magazine is available in hardcopy now. It will become web accessible in late July.
(9) Monsanto To Share Key Genetic Information To Develop 'Healthier' Soybean (PR Newswire, 25 June)
Monsanto Company, in line with the New Monsanto Pledge, today announced it will share important genetic information to accelerate the development of a soybean with improve oils and more protein. See: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/010625/cgm034.html
(10) Philippines plans rules on imported GM Products
26 Jun 2001 Source: Reuters MANILA, June 22/26 (Reuters)
The Philippines, a big importer of feed ingredients, plans to issue rules on the importing of genetically modified products, Agriculture Secretary Leonardo Montemayor said on Tuesday. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will soon issue the policy on gene-altered crops after getting the views of officials at the departments of agriculture, health, science and technology, and trade, Montemayor said. "We have rules on field-testing but we don't have rules yet about testing, for example, imported products," he told reporters after a forum with members of the Makati Business Club. "That's important because right now we are doing a lot of importation of GMO corn and soybean," he said. Asked whether Manila planned to introduce labelling to say if grains and meal contained GMOs, Montemayor said: "I'm not saying that we are going to recommend labelling... we will have to discuss it." "If it's labelling, do you label on the basis of the final product? Or do you label on the basis of the raw material used?," Montemayor asked. It would also have to be determined who would pay for the extra cost of testing the products, if it was introduced. The Philippines imports about one million tonnes of soymeal a year and about 350,000 tonnes of soybeans, the bulk of which traditionally comes ....
(11) A double-tall protest of Starbucks. OCA's Cummins.
By ALLISON LINN,AP Business Writer 26 June, SEATTLE (AP)
President Orin Smith was not really surprised to learn his company was to be the target of nationwide protests Monday and Tuesday by the Organic Consumer Association -- despite the coffee retailer's previous pledge to meet many of the group's demands. "We are, I guess, in some ways accustomed to being front and center on some issues that I don't think we own," Smith said from his office Monday. "But it is the price of being so visible." The consumer group, which wants Starbucks to stop using milk and other foods with genetically modified ingredients, concedes the hugely popular coffee retailer is far from the worst offender. In fact, Seattle-based Starbucks has made clear it agrees with the OCA on many issues. It plans to offer milk free of genetic tinkering at its more than 2,700 U.S. stores by the end of July. But the advocacy group, which has a staff of just 13 and is based in Little Marais, Minn., says Starbucks is still the best tactical choice. "We believe that Starbucks is the weakest link in the chain because their customer base cares about the environment and cares about social justice and cares about their health," explains organizer Ronnie Cummins. Starbucks is well aware of its customer base. In March, on the eve of another planned....
(12) Planned Demonstrations, See "Looking Ahead" Section:
(12-b) HLS/Novartis Demonstraton, Arrests, 25 June 2001, USA:
http://188.8.131.52/listarchive/index.cfm?list_id=30 (26 June)
(13) Greenpeace Heads Global Campaign Against 'Biopiracy' (Rome) http://www.checkbiotech.org/root/index.cfm#
26 Jun 2001 Inter Press Service (IPS/IMS) ROMA, Jun 25 (IPS)
Greenpeace International and other non- governmental organisations (NGOs) charged Monday that transnational corporations are ''pirating'' genetic resources from the developing South, a practice the groups say threatens global food security. Private companies and research institutes have been able to patent life forms and their genetic composition since intellectual property laws were passed that include living organisms within their scope, according to the NGOs. As a result, the free exchange of seeds and other materials for plant reproduction are at stake, posing a threat to world food security, said the activists. Delegates from the 160 countries that make up the Commission for Genetic Resources, a body of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), are in Rome this week to study an international treaty that would ....
(14) Consumer Awareness of Genetically Modified Foods May Be Taking Root; Poll Finds Public Confidence in Government Regulators Mixed http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/010626/dctu043.html
June 26, 2001 12:46 PM.SAN DIEGO and WASHINGTON, June 26/PRNewswire/ --
Americans are more aware of genetically modified food t han they were six months ago, but confidence in the ability of government regulators to manage these products is mixed, according to a Zogby International poll released today by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology. `
More than half of poll respondents (55 percent) reported they had heard a 'great deal' or 'some' about genetically modified foods sold in grocery stores, with those in the West polling highest (61 percent). The national level of awareness is a notable increase (of 11 percent) from an earlier study conducted for the Initiative by the Mellman Group/Public Opinion Strategies 6 months earlier, when less than half (44 percent) of respondents reported hearing a 'great deal' or 'some' about genetically modified foods. The Zogby poll also revealed that consumers have mixed confidence in the government's ability to manage genetically modified foods, following last fall's recall of products contaminated with Starlink corn -- a type of genetically modified corn approved only for use in animal feed that accidentally made its way into the human food supply. More than half of respondents (52 percent) said they were very or somewhat confident that government regulators can manage genetically modified foods and ensure consumer safety, while 45 percent said they were not too confident or not at all confident in the government. The most recent poll also suggested that consumers may be more likely to hear about product recalls and generally negative information about genetically modified food than supportive studies. The January poll found that 57 percent of people surveyed had heard about the Starlink recall. In contrast, only a little more than one-third (36 percent) of respondents had heard about the recent Centers for Disease Control report finding no evidence that Starlink corn caused allergic reactions in the 28 cases they had investigated. Given the U.S. experience with Starlink product recalls, it is not surprising that some consumers are questioning the government's ability to handle these products even in the absence of any demonstrated harm, said Michael Rodemeyer, executive director of the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology. We must try to learn from Europe, where governments lost credibility in their ....
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