Dolly creators begin mass slaughter
PPL Therapeutics, the Scottish biotechnology company involved in the creation of Dolly the sheep will today begin a mass slaughter of up to 3,000 transgenic sheep at two farms in East Lothian as it struggles to survive after Bayer, the German pharmaceutical giant, pulled the plug on joint drug trials. The animals must be slaughtered and incinerated on the same day under strict Home Office regulations to avoid environmental risks. Meat from the animals cannot be sold as food.
Supermarket chiefs debate GM food with Government, icWales, UK
The chief executives of Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Safeway are expected to discuss whether shoppers are ready for genetically modified foods when they meet Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett tomoorow (16th). The talks come as the Government prepares to make a decision on the future of GM technology in the UK. Environment Minister Elliot Morley insists the GM Nation debate has been a success. He indicated he had more of a measured view on GM than his ministerial predecessor, Michael Meacher. He said, "I am not as convinced as Michael about the health threats," he told the magazine. The greater risk is environmental cross-contamination, and that's the focus of the field scale evaluations."
Food and drink groups jib at new US 'terrorism' demands
http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1057562395379 Financial Times, July 15 2003
While the the US opposes, as burdensome and uneconomic, strict traceability requirements in the EU's new regime for authorising and labelling genetically modified crops, it is moving to place equally stringent requirements on companies exporting food and drink products to the US. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working on implementation proposals for US bioterrorism legislation which would force European companies to register their facilities with the FDA, give prior notice of any shipment to the US and provide elaborate records of the products used during the manufacturing process. "Does anyone really think we have a greater chance of tracking down bioterrorism by tracking down whether a cucumber comes from Sicily or France?" one EU official remarked. Industry representatives have also voiced fears that - put into practice - the draft legislation would impose crippling costs on food and drink exporters, threatening in particular the thousands of small and medium businesses that form the backbone of Europe's food industry.
Organic farmers sing biotech blues
Des Moines Register, Iowa, July 14, 2003
Washington, D.C. - Farmers who are trying to fill America's growing appetite for organic food are having trouble keeping biotech contamination out of their crops. Organic crops can be contaminated in a variety of ways. Bags of seed often include traces of biotech varieties. Depending on weather conditions and farming practices, organic corn can easily cross-pollinate with biotech corn in nearby fields. Food companies and livestock producers are increasingly forcing farmers and grain elevators to test organic commodities to detect any traces of biotech material. Lynn Clarkson, president of Clarkson Grain Co. Inc. of Cerro Gordo, Ill., a major supplier of biotech-free grain to U.S. and foreign companies, was quoted as saying, "The trend for difficulty is going up and will continue to get worse if the planting trends for GMOs continues as they've been in the last several years." A recent survey of U.S. organic farmers by the Organic Farming Research Foundation found more than half of the 990 respondents said the government wasn't doing enough to protect them from biotech contamination and 18 farmers in the survey said their crops had tested positive for biotech material. The financial stakes for farmers are large: Organic soybeans that can be sold for food go for $12.50 to $14.50 a bushel. Feed-grade soybeans sell for about $9 a bushel, still about $3 more than conventional soybeans.