18 April 2003
*MONSANTO INVESTORS FACE CATASTROPHIC RISK *Death from DNA shuffling
*Ecologists in Urals Region Demand Greater Restrictions on GM Food
*Protesters fined for damaging GM oilseed rape
*Thailand: GMO labelling to begin May 11
*NZ: GE releases could lift farm returns 5% or slash them 43% *Corn Farmers May Get StarLink Settlement
*Suman Sahai and Gordon Conway in Manchester
*Potrykus and Trewavas roadshow in Scotland
*Bio 2003 show in Bangalore
MONSANTO INVESTORS FACE CATASTROPHIC RISK
April 16, 2003 Greenpeace Press Release http://www.greenpeaceusa.org/media/press_releases/2003/04162003text.htm
The Innovest report can be downloaded from www.greenpeace.org/monsantoinvestor
...GE products constitute one of the most widely rejected product groups ever, and major food importers such as China, Japan and Korea have recently followed the restrictive European approach. In the US, upwards of 90% of consumers now demand GE food to be labeled and many would reject GE food if given the choice.
The Innovest analysis of the risks and liabilities associated with Monsanto's genetic engineering (GE) business pays special attention to the inevitability of GE contamination. Referring to the example of the StarLink corn contamination scandal in 2000, in which the company Aventis lost $1 billion, Innovest estimated Monsanto's potential financial fallout from a "StarLink scenario" to be $3.83 liability per share.
"Monsanto's cash cow remains its agrochemical business, but last year's 24% drop in sales of Round-up and other non-selective herbicides has left the company vulnerable and increasingly desperate. Monsanto appears to be digging its own grave with its GE strategy," said global markets specialist with Greenpeace, Lindsay Keenan.
A comprehensive video on GE wheat market rejection, called 'Slice of Life', is available from Greenpeace International, Martin Atkin +31 627 000 057 For more information, please contact: Frank Dixon, Managing Director, Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, Tel +1 646 237 0220 or +1 212 421 2000, ext. 200; Lindsay Keenan, Greenpeace global markets specialist, Mob: +1 202 550 3845; Teresa Merilainen, Greenpeace International Press Office, Tel: +31 205 236 637
Death from DNA shuffling
Geneticists can now create millions of new viruses and bacteria in a matter of minutes in the laboratory. And there is no regulation to stop them from being effectively released. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho reports.
Ecologists in Urals Region Demand Greater Restrictions on GM Food Rosbalt
YEKATERINBURG, April 17. Ecologists in the Urals have made an appeal to Chief Russian Sanitary Doctor Gennady Onischenko that greater restrictions be imposed to limit the amount of genetically modified food available in shops. A Rosbalt correspondent was informed of this today at the Urals Ecological Union.
According to Olga Podosenova, a member of the union, at least 5% of all Russian food is genetically modified whereas the EU is currently seeking to reduce this level to 1%. Genetically modified food has serious implications for the health of the consumer. Several people have already died in Russia as a result of allergies to genetically modified food.
In their letter to Mr Onischenko the ecologists insisted that genetically modified food is a serious threat to the health of the population and the instability of the national economy does not justify making such food available.
Protesters fined for damaging GM oilseed rape http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/scotland.cfm?id=446812003
The Scotsman, 18 April 2003
FIVE Green campaigners were fined £100 each yesterday for invading a field and damaging a crop of genetically modified oilseed rape.
Among them was organic farmer and Scottish Green Party candidate Donnie MacLeod, 54, who was jailed for 21 days last year for contempt of court while giving evidence during a separate GM crop case for refusing to name the people responsible for damaging GM crops.
Opponents say cross pollination will affect crops in neighbouring fields, and fear that genetically engineered plants could have unpredictable effects on wildlife. But Ross Finnie, the environment minister, has denied there is any danger and has said he is bound by a European directive to allow the trials to continue.
In the Black Isle, where trials are already under way, thousands of people have backed calls for a halt to the production of genetically modified crops.
Yesterday MacLeod, who is the chairman of the Highlands and Islands Organic Association, vowed to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Outside the court, he said: "I am going to appeal my conviction. I also intend to continue campaigning against GM crops being planted.
"Many politicians agree the crop should not have been planted but it was.
"The planting of this crop was against democracy. The local community said that they did not want it, and it was threatening my farm and other farms in the area, but it was forced in by Ross Finnie.
"It is important that the people of the Highlands stand up for what is right.
"The campaign still goes on and I will refuse to pay the fine. The verdict of the court was not correct. I believe that our judicial system appears to have been hijacked by corporate interests.
"We will not accept a judgment such as this."
He said he intended to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.
GMO labelling to begin May 11
TNA BANGKOK, Apr. 17, - The Food and Drug Administration is to enforce the labelling of 22 products containing genetically modified organisms from May 11, with fines of Bt30,000 for companies violating the new rules, the FDA”šs deputy secretary-general announced today.
Dr Sathaporn Wongcharoen said that the FDA had made its decision to introduce GMP labelling after several meetings bringing together the public and private sectors with academia, together with public hearings designed to record the views of ordinary members of the public and the media
GE releases could lift farm returns 5% or slash them 43%
Berl NZPA, 17 April 2003
The release of genetically engineered crops, animals and other organisms could offer New Zealand farmers a 5 percent boost in earnings over the next decade - or slash their earnings by 43 percent, according to a cabinet paper released today.
The economic study of the costs and benefits of releasing genetically engineered organisms, was drawn up by Business and Economic Research Ltd (Berl) as one of the last studies commissioned by the Government before the moratorium on GE releases is lifted in October.
Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said today the report confirmed the Government's case-by-case approach based on the Royal Commission's call to preserve opportunities.
Farmers May Get StarLink Settlement
USAgNet Editors - 04/17/2003
A federal judge in Chicago has approved a $110 million settlement for corn farmers who believe they have suffered because of genetically modified types of corn. StarLink is a variety of corn that gives off its own toxin to kill off any insects that might want to feed on the crop before it is fully harvested.
When officials investigated the StarLink contamination, their actions resulted in disruptions of corn markets that caused some corn farmers to suffer financial losses.
The settlement approved by U.S. District Judge James Moran applies to all farmers who cultivated and harvested corn grown for grain in the United States between 1998 and last year.
Farmers must be able to show they did not use seed for StarLink corn in their farm fields.
Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission
GORDON CONWAY AND SUMAN SAHAI are to speak at an open meeting of the Biotechnology Commission (AEBC) in Manchester on May 7th. Their subject will be the impact decisions in the UK and Europe on GM technology will have on the developing world.
6.30 pm May 7th
Renold Building, UMIST, Sackville St, Manchester
Admission free : Tickets from Andrea Bovolenta 0207-215-6598.
Professor Conway is President of the Rockefeller Foundation. Suman Sahai is Convenor of the Gene Campaign for India.
Potrykus sets out to defend the use of GM produce
The Scotsman FORDYCE MAXWELL
EVERY political party fighting for seats in the Scottish Parliament is either promising to ban genetically modified crops or to take an extremely cautious approach.
Non-political, but on the counter-attack, Professor Ingo Potrykus, the scientist mainly responsible for developing golden rice - genetically modified to enhance its vitamin A content - is in Scotland to say that GM can be a good thing.
Professor Tony Trewavas, head of the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology at Edinburgh University, said yesterday that Potrykus”š work was "an intellectual and technical tour de force in GM technology".
Indian scientists allay fears of genetically modified crops
Source - Associated Press (Eng) Friday, April 18, 2003 16:52 1563 XENGLISH XGEN XINTER V%WIREI P%AP By S. SRINIVASAN, The Associated Press BANGALORE, India (AP)
In many parts of India and in much of its news media, the term "genetically modified crops" raises fears about long-term health defects or new diseases.
However, scientists at the Bangalore Bio 2003 show in one of the country's technology hubs said genetically modified food could solve some of the basic problems of the country's more than 1 billion people, most of whom are poor.
In India, 61 infants out of 1,000 die before their first birthday from disease or hunger. Doctors are fighting diseases such as malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis and jaundice.
The scientists speaking up for genetically modified crops said fruits laced with vaccines, or a midday meal of protein-enriched potatoes and vitamin A-fortified rice could fight disease and malnourishment.