16 April 2003
GMOs'trivial, risky and morally problematic'/GM wheat/Cloned meat/Dupont and Monsanto/Biodevastation/The Fluid Genome
"We could be faced with a situation where Roundup Ready wheat is approved for unconfined release and variety registration in the spring of 2004... The urgency of this issue cannot be overstated." Canadian Wheat Board Chairman
several items shortened:
*Field trials in Europe fall 80%
*Italians condemn GMOs as 'trivial, risky and morally problematic'
*Full steam ahead with GM wheat in UK
*Syngenta abandons GM wheat in Germany, will relocate to UK and France
*Big grain coalition opposes GM wheat
*Group opposes sale of meat, milk of cloned cows
*DuPont and Monsanto Sign Licensing Agreement
*DuPont withheld risk of toxic chemical
*THE INTERNATIONAL THREAT TO FARMS AND FARMERS
*Ann M. Veneman - the Calgene connection
*Living with the Fluid Genome - new book
GMOs, the next step?
15/04/03 - Last week the European Commission threatened 12 EU member states with court action if they continue to ignore new EU legislation regulating the release of GMOs into the environment. A new survey released this week backs up the Commission's fears revealing that the number of field trials with genetically modified plants has fallen by about 80 per cent since 1998 in the European Community.
Biotechnology: Italians, yes to ethical cloning, no to GMO
(AGI) - Siena, Italy, April 15 - Italians are inclined towards biotechnology; they say yes to cloning tissues and cells--but for medical purposes only--and are firmly opposed to genetically- modified foods. This, briefly, is the opinion of Italians according to a study on perceptions of biotechnology carried out in Italy by a group of researchers from the Communications Sciences Department of the University of Siena, overseen by Prof. Agnes Allansdottir.
The research is part of a larger study on public perception of biotechnology and so-called "life sciences", carried out in every European country. Italy is portrayed as a country which believes in science, appreciates the results it achieves and harbours certain expectations with regard to technology. According to the research, Italians are anything but technophobes. They even have optimistic expectations of therapeutic biotechnology--more than half of those interviewed said that they were optimistic and only a fifth were pessimistic.
But as to one issue, Italians feel no doubt--the clear distinction between the different types of applications, especially medical and agricultural applications. As a nation of connoisseurs, the inventors of Mediterranean cooking, the keepers of secret recipes for inimitable wines, cheeses and salamis, Italians are against genetically-modified foods and condemn them as trivial, risky and morally problematic.
Full steam ahead
The Guardian , Wednesday April 16, 2003
Problems with genetically modified crops have led to more than 200 farming and other groups in the US and Canada to call for a ban or moratorium on the introduction of GM wheat - so far not grown commercially anywhere in the world. But the British advisory committee on releases to the environment (Acre), bless it, seems unfazed. It has checked an application by GM company Syngenta and now advised that their proposed release "poses a very low risk to human health and the environment".
German gene wheat trial dropped after sabotage
Reuters Securities News
Monday, April 14, 2003 17:45
HAMBURG, April 14 (Reuters) - Swiss agribusiness group Syngenta AG has abandoned plans to start Germany's first trials of genetically modified (GM) wheat after the site was sabotaged last week, a Syngenta spokesman said on Monday.
German authorities last week gave Syngenta permission to undertake the country's first GM wheat trials in the eastern state of Thuringia.
But shortly before approval was granted activists from environmental pressure group Greenpeace planted organic wheat seed on the test site.
Peter Hefner, a spokesman for Syngenta in Germany, said trials would be moved to other countries such as France and the UK.
Syngenta had applied for permission to test wheat resistant to the fusarium fungus.
Germany bars commercial production of GM crops but permits research plantings.
Big grain coalition opposes GM wheat
Western Producer, Canada, Apr 10, 2003
The federal grain variety registration process must be changed to test economic and market factors before genetically modified wheat is approved, a powerful coalition of grain producers, millers, marketers and farm groups told Ottawa last week.
The change must be made within the next year, politicians were told through March 31 letters to agriculture minister Lyle Vanclief and during April 3 appearances on Parliament Hill by Canadian Wheat Board and miller representatives.
Wheat board chair Ken Ritter told MPs on the House of Commons agriculture committee that with a Monsanto application for a GM wheat registration in the system, there is no time to lose.
"We could be faced with a situation where Roundup Ready wheat is approved for unconfined release and variety registration in the spring of 2004," he said. "That is one year away and one year is a very short time. The urgency of this issue cannot be overstated."
Group opposes possible sale of meat, milk of cloned cows
Source - Kyodo News (Eng)
TOKYO, April 14 Kyodo -
A citizens group working against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) urged the health ministry Monday to ban the retailing of meat and milk of cows cloned from the somatic cells of adult animals.
In a written request submitted to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the Tokyo-based group ''NO! GMO Campaign'' said there are numerous safety concerns related to products for consumption from such cloned cows, citing the high mortality and disease rates of clones.
The group's request comes in response to a recent report from a health ministry study group which said meat and milk products from cows cloned from the somatic cells of adult animals are safe for human consumption.
No other country allows the consumption of meat or milk from cows cloned from the cells of adult animals due to the high rate of defects in the clones.
DuPont and Monsanto Sign Licensing Agreement for Rootworm-Protected Corn Tech.
Source - Reuters General News (Eng)
Tuesday, April 15, 2003 20:00
WILMINGTON, Del. and ST. LOUIS, April 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --
DuPont (NYSE: DD) and its subsidiary, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., and Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) announced today they have agreed to a worldwide licensing agreement to Monsanto's recently approved YieldGard Rootworm insect-protected corn technology.
"This licensing agreement allows us to provide our customers with additional new corn technology in Pioneer brand hybrids," said Rick McConnell, Pioneer president.
Group says DuPont withheld risk of toxic chemical
USA: April 14, 2003
WASHINGTON - DuPont Co. (DD.N), the nation's second-largest chemical company, withheld from the government an internal study linking a toxic chemical in Teflon to birth defects in some children, an advocacy group charged.
The Environmental Working Group claimed that DuPont violated federal law by failing to turn over a document in 1981 showing the risks of perfluorooctanoic acid, or C8, a chemical used to manufacture Teflon. Teflon is a widely available household product used to keep clothing dry or prevent food from sticking to pots and pans.
"They obviously had no intention of ever turning this over to the EPA," said Richard Wiles, a vice president of the advocacy group. "This is very damning evidence. It's not surprising to us that they withheld it, and who knows, what else they've withheld."
THE INTERNATIONAL THREAT TO FARMS AND FARMERS
will be one of the major themes at
Biodevastation 7: A Forum on Environmental Racism, World Agriculture and Biowarfare
May 16 - 18, 2003, St. Louis, Missouri, www.biodev.org
The opening panel at Biodevastation 7, "The International Threat to Farms and Farmers," will highlight the destructive impact of corporate policies, including those of Monsanto, on farms and farmers throughout North America and around the world.
Perhaps the best known speaker on the panel is Percy Schmeiser, the Canadian canola farmer who was sued by Monsanto in 1998 for the "crime" of having had his crop contaminated by the company's genetically engineered, herbicide tolerant canola. Percy has appealed his case to the Canadian Supreme Court, and traveled the world telling his story and explaining how the biotechnology industry is systematically undermining the rights of farmers everywhere.
Lawrence Tsimese of the Agricultural Reform Movement in Ghana will offer an African perspective on farmers' growing resistance to genetically engineered crops. Lawrence has been working to educate both farmers and urban dwellers in Ghana about the dangers of pesticides and biotechnology and the benefits of organic agriculture.
George Naylor, the newly elected board president of the National Family Farm Coalition, will relate the problem of biotechnology to the economic plight of farmers in the US. In a setting where a tiny percentage of the largest farmers receive a majority of all the agricultural subsidies, small and medium-sized farms have become increasingly marginalized. George will explain how biotech companies play on farmers' insecurities to sell genetically engineered seeds, and how farmers are organizing for public policies that genuinely benefit both farmers and consumers.
Felder Freeman, an agriculture specialist working in the South Carolina office of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, will relate these issues to the unique struggles of black farmers in the southern United States. The Federation works to help black farmers stay on the land, and to form agricultural cooperatives to facilitate land-based economic development.
In recent years, the Federation has become increasingly interested in organic methods as an alternative to the corporate serfdom being perpetrated by agribusiness interests.
The Gathering will also include workshops on resistance to GE crops in Africa, farmer organizing, and on globalization, biowarfare, environmental racism and the impacts of genetic engineering on indigenous agriculture worldwide. The event is the seventh in a series of international grassroots gatherings known as "Biodevastation."
This year's event immediately precedes Monsanto's annual World Agricultural Forum in St. Louis, and promises to be the definitive event linking issues around biotechnology and food genetic engineering with the wider movement for environmental justice. On the afternoon of Sunday, May 18 farmers and supporters will have an anti-globalization convergence at the World Agricultural Forum. www.worldagforum.com or
Biodevastation 7 also includes the following panel discussions:
7:00 pm, Friday, May 16. "Globalization and Food Imperialism"
10:00 am, Saturday, May 17. "Backyard Bioweapons: Biolabs, Biodefense,
Biotech, & Billions of $"
7:30 pm, Saturday, May 17. "Environmental Racism"
10:00 am, Sunday, May 18. "Crop Contamination and the Future of
From: Center for Responsive Politics
The Bush Administration
Ann M. Veneman
Between her tenure at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (under George Bush Sr.) and being named head of California's Department of Food and Agriculture in 1995, Ann Veneman served on the board of directors for Calgene Inc. In 1994, Calgene became the first company to bring genetically-engineered food, the Flavr Savr tomato, to supermarket shelves. Calgene was bought out by Monsanto, the nation's leading biotech company, in 1997.
Monsanto, in turn, became part of pharmaceutical company Pharmacia in 2000.
Monsanto, which donated more than $12,000 to George Bush's presidential bid, wants two things this year: no mandatory labeling of biotech foods and better access to international markets. Veneman also served on the International Policy Council on Agriculture, Food and Trade, a group funded by Cargill, Nestle, Kraft, and Archer Daniels Midland.
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Media Contact: Steven Weiss
The Institute of Science in Society
Announcing an Important New Book
Living with the Fluid Genome
By Mae-Wan Ho
The biotech empire is fast collapsing because it has got the science wrong.
Read this riveting inside-story of the fluid genome from a scientist who has been warning that genetic engineering is both dangerous and futile for over a decade.
Find out why the whole biotech enterprise, from GM crops and gene drugs to human cloning, is a phenomenal waste of public finance and scientific imagination, and, most importantly, what it means to be living with the fluid genome.
From the author of the international bestseller, Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare? Turning the Tide on the Brave New World of Bad Science and Big Business, 1998, 1999.
A personal account of one scientist's struggle against a corrupted scientific establishment bent on promoting genetic modification (GM).
- A dossier of scientific evidence of the most serious GM hazards
- An exposé of the degenerate research programme of mainstream biology
- A death-blow to genetic determinism
- A refreshing antidote to the Darwin industry