ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

3 December 2002

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GMWATCH number 4
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From Claire Robinson, GMWATCH editor
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Dear all,

This month, as well as our summary of recent news, we have a special feature looking at the food safety data (or lack of!) on GM crops. This time I’m placing a particular focus on Bt crops, engineered to express Bt insecticide in every cell. This has added relevance with the biotech industry preparing a wave of second-generation GM crops involving Bt that have multiple novel proteins stacked within each crop plant. I hope to cover herbicide-tolerant crops in a future edition of GMWATCH.

Much of the American food aid recently rejected by the Zambian government was GM Bt corn. The Zambian government was attacked as unscientific by the biotech industry when it declared the GM corn "poison". But as you can see from the report below, the Zambian government could reasonably have reached that conclusion purely on the basis of studying the meagre scientific data on this experimental crop.

While on the issue of Zambia, don’t forget to check out all the latest on the food aid crisis where the US and USAID have been attracting a growing wave of criticism for their "GM or starve" policy. Also in the Food Aid section, look out for the APPEAL TO ALLEVIATE HUNGER IN ZAMBIA.
 
This month also brought more evidence of the biotech industry‚s utter irresponsibility with regard to human health and the food chain, after "pharm" crops, engineered to contain a pig drug, came within a whisker of further contaminating the US (GM) food chain. Some observers believe "pharma" crops may already have done so (PHARMAGEDDON).

Finally, in deference to the Christmas season of joy and goodwill, we have some good laughs for you this month in the form of Dennis Avery’s lunatic antics in London (IMPROPAGANDA), and don’t miss our CHRISTMAS TREAT, right at the end of this mail. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.

Claire Robinson <claire@gmwatch.org>
www.ngin.org.uk

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CONTENTS
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GMWATCH SPECIAL FEATURE: THE MISSING EVIDENCE OF GM FOOD SAFETY
IMPROPAGANDA
CONSUMER RESISTANCE TO GM
CONSUMER RIGHT TO KNOW
HEALTH
FARMING
ENVIRONMENT
PHARMAGEDDON
THIRD WORLD
FOOD AID
CORPORATE TAKE-OVER OF SCIENCE
CLONING
REPULSIVE STATEMENT OF THE MONTH
CHRISTMAS TREAT: THE BOOK THEY DIDN’T WANT YOU TO READ
SUBSCRIPTIONS

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GMWATCH SPECIAL FEATURE:
THE MISSING EVIDENCE OF GM FOOD SAFETY
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"Zambia‚s president Levy Mwanawasa has reaffirmed his rejection of the 35 000 metric tons of GM maize sent by the US, on the advice of his own experts. A delegation of Zambian scientists and economists, headed by Dr. Wilson Mwenya of the National Science and Technology Council, completed a fact-finding tour of laboratories and regulatory offices in South Africa, Europe and the United States, and reported back to the president. The report concluded that studies on the safety of GM foods are inconclusive, and the US maize should be rejected as a precautionary measure." - Dr Mae-Wan Ho, ISIS report
http://ngin.tripod.com/301102a.htm

"It turns out that the FDA never did any safety testing [on GM foods], and its letter giving approval invariably states it is the company, not the FDA, that has concluded the GM varieties ‘are not materially different in composition, safety, or other relevant parameters’ from those ‘currently on the market’ and ‘they do no raise issues that would require premarket review or approval by the FDA.’" - Dr Mae-Wan Ho
http://ngin.tripod.com/301102a.htm

"The fundamental problem of the way in  which GM foods have been approved is that they haven't really been tested properly at all. All that has happened is something which I would characterise as an exercise in wishful thinking." - Dr. Erik Millstone, Sussex University
http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/se.htm
 "The totally artificial nature of GE does not automatically make it dangerous. It is the imprecision in the manner by which genes are combined and the unpredictability in how the introduced gene will interact within its new environment which results in uncertainty. The balanced gene functions that have evolved together and which are preserved with traditional methods, are sacrificed in the unpredictable science of genetic engineering. So from the standpoint of the fundamental principles of genetics and the limitations in the technology, GE is neither more precise nor a natural extension of traditional cross breeding methods. If anything the opposite would appear to be true.  GE foods therefore pose new and unique safety considerations both in terms of health and to the environment.

"The availability of safe, sustainable, natural methods of breeding and husbandry utilising the many thousands of different varieties of any given food crop, makes the risks associated with GE foods simply not worth taking. These risks are even less acceptable when one takes into account the fact that once released into the envlronment, genetic mistakes or pollution cannot be recalled, cleaned up or allowed to decay like agrochemicals or a BSE epidemic, but will be passed on to all future generations indefinitely." ˆ Dr Michael Antoniou http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/article5.htm

Dr. E.J. Matthews of the FDA's Toxicology Group warned that, ". . . genetically modified plants could ... contain unexpected high concentrations of plant toxicants...," and he cautioned that some of these toxicants could be unexpected and could "...be uniquely different chemicals that are usually expressed in unrelated plants." http://www.bio-integrity.org/ext-summary.html

FDA microbiologist Dr. Louis Pribyl stated: "There is a profound difference between the types of unexpected effects from traditional breeding and genetic engineering ...." He added that several aspects of gene- splicing "may be more hazardous".
http://www.bio-integrity.org/ext-summary.html

"…there are many opinions but scarce data on the potential health risks of GM food crops, even though these should have been tested for and eliminated before their introduction. Our present data base is woefully inadequate. Moreover, the scientific quality of what has been published is, in most instances not up to expected standards." ˆ Dr Arpad Pusztai http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotech/pusztai.html

BT CROPS

Bt is a natural insecticide derived from a soil bacterium used as a spray by conventional and occasionally by organic farmers. Used in this way it seems to biodegrade safely and rapidly in daylight. But bioengineering it into plants so that it is expressed in every cell is another matter. The safety of Bt crops for the consumer has never been proven.

"Though we are assured that the Bt toxin does not react with the mammalian gut, to the best of my knowledge there is no direct experimental evidence for that." ˆ Dr Arpad Pusztai
http://www.Btinternet.com/~clairejr/Animal/animal.html

GM tomatoes: A study on a GM tomato expressing Bt toxin CRYIA(b) gene was published in a book and not in a peer-reviewed journal. However, a test tube study showed binding of Bt toxin to the caecum/colon of humans and rhesus monkeys. Although tests on live subjects showed the Bt toxin was not bound by the rat gut, this may have been due to the researchers‚ use of Bt toxin engineered into E.coli bacterium, a common tactic of biotech companies that has been criticised for its lack of scientific soundness. This is because the same GM insert can produce very different effects depending on the host into which it is placed.
http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotech/pusztai.html

Feeding mice with potatoes transformed with a Bt Cry1 toxin gene or the toxin itself was shown to have caused abnormal growth and development of gut cells. The results showed that despite claims to the contrary, CryI toxin was stable in the mouse gut and therefore GM crops expressing it need to be subjected to "thorough tests...to avoid the risks before marketing". http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotech/pusztai.html

At a recent conference in Zambia, Dr Michael Hansen of Consumers Union presented evidence that the biopesticide Bt toxin from soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, widely incorporated into GM crops for controlling insect pests, is an allergen and immunogen, and can damage the gut. For Hansen‚s evidence to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that Aventis‚ unapproved Bt corn Starlink that contaminated US corn harvests ˆ and by extension of his argument, the many other Bt engineered crops - are potential allergens and toxins, visit http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/hansenstarlink.cfm

Hansen reveals misleading and unfounded assumptions on Aventis‚ part, including
- The novel Cry9C protein in Starlink is probably not an allergen (on the contrary, some evidence exists that, while natural Bt sprayed on crops rapidly biodegrades in daylight, workers who spray it do suffer allergic respiratory reactions; while the form of Bt present in these sprays is not the exact one in Starlink, the Starlink protein is similar and precisely NO tests have been done on the long-term effects of inhaling or ingesting this protein)
- only high amounts of an allergen present in food is likely to cause a reaction (ignoring the many cases of people who suffer life-threatening reactions simply from inhaling the aroma of an allergen)
- the amount of Starlink corn a person can eat will be below the level needed to cause a reaction (ignoring certain ethnic groups such as Hispanic Americans whose consumption of corn is larger than average ˆ this, of course, also applies to maize consumption in southern Africa where corn is a staple)
- Starlink is probably not an allergen because blood serum from people
known to be allergic to common allergens such as wheat, milk, egg and shrimp did not appear to react to the Cry9C protein in Starlink (ignoring the known allergic response of sensitisation, whereby a person doesn’t react noticeably to an allergen on initial exposure but reactivity increases on subsequent exposures; and the unpredictable nature of allergies, whereby a person can tolerate common allergens but react severely to a less common food)

"…in the absence of reliable methods for allergenicity testing, it is at present impossible to definitely establish whether a new GM crop is allergenic or not before its release into the human/animal food/feed chain." ˆ Dr Arpad Pusztai http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotech/pusztai.html

Anecdotal reports from US farmers and grain dealers reveal that animals appear to be saying no to Bt crops:
http://www.Btinternet.com/~clairejr/Animal/animal.html
http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/151201c.htm

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IMPROPAGANDA
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MONBIOT REVEALS MONSANTO’S DIRTY CYBERWAR
In an article for the Guardian, George Monbiot revealed evidence uncovered by the NGIN/GMWATCH team that Monsanto had been directly involved in a series of poison pen attacks that played a key part, for example, in the hate campaign against Berkeley scientists Ignacio Chapela and David Quist during the industry's push for retraction of their Nature article on Mexican maize contamination.

Interestingly, within 24 hrs of Monbiot‚s  article on Monsanto's cyberwar being published, the website of the Center For Food and Agricultural Research (CFFAR) was down.  No point getting on the phone to find out the nature of the glitch, though, as this is an agricultural research center without phone number, address or even named personnel. Its existence, as George Monbiot and others have shown, has only ever been virtual; its subtext: the association of Monsanto's critics with violence and terrorism via lies, innuendo and straight fabrication. http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/021202c.htm

The campaign of smears and attacks , including the use of "front" websites such as CFFAR, has been previously attributed only to Monsanto's PR proxies, in particular to a Washington based internet PR firm called The Bivings Group, an employee of which registered the CFFAR site. Bivings are also known to have made postings via a front e-mail for a fictitious "Mary Murphy".  However, in Monbiot‚s latest article, he discloses that the Internet Protocol address on another key front e-mail address in the same  campaign, belonging to an "Andura Smetacek" , showed the attacks had been posted from gatekeeper2.monsanto.com in St Louis, Missouri. Home of course to the New Monsanto Corporation with its pledge to openness, transparency, integrity and respect for its critics.
http://ngin.tripod.com/deceit07.html

Monsanto's former head of Public Affairs and chief internet strategist, Jay Byrne, wrote to the Guardian carefully avoiding any direct denial of Monbiot’s allegations while insisting that "Monsanto's award-winning internet-related outreach programs and websites were lauded by the media, government and consumer groups for openness, educational value, commitment to dialogue, and acknowledgement of opposing views".

Yes, Jay, but that’s just the *overt* Monsanto websites. What we, and Monbiot, are interested in is the *covert* Monsanto websites and internet campaigns. One such campaign, again involving "Andura Smetacek", triggered a libel case that reached the High Court in London after an e-mail attack on Greenpeace got printed in a Scottish newspaper under the name of Prof Anthony Trewavas (see HEALTH for this saloon bar scientist's attack on the BMA). http://ngin.tripod.com/021202a.htm

Trewavas apparently picked up the letter’s content, and then sent it to a local PR contact who forwarded to the paper, from the main conduit for much of this PR sleaze: the AgBioView list. Their website was designed by Monsanto’s PR firm who also used to host the AgBioView archive on its main apollo server until the whole archive was ditched in the run up to the first revelations earlier this year about Monsanto’s dirty cyberwar. http://ngin.tripod.com/deceit5.html
http://ngin.tripod.com/deceit7.html

DENNIS AVERY AT THE WORLD FOOD AND FARMING CONGRESS
Writer/researcher Hugh Warwick reports that corporate comedian Dennis Avery gave an entertaining presentation to 200 men in grey suits at the World Food and Farming Congress on 26 November. His show, called 'The conflict between the affluent consumers and the need of the majority', contained the following jokes, many referring to Zambia‚s refusal of US GM food aid and request for non-GM food (unfortunately, none of the suits laughed as they believed Avery was serious):
"The US does not segregate biotech corn."
"The US has no non-biotech corn to offer."
"The activist stance on agricultural biotech lacks humanity, caring, kindness, compassion, concern for people and society."
"While Moslem terrorists rage, US produces desalinating crops making high-yield farming possible. In a stroke we have made Moslem agriculture sustainable."
The "activist elite", in trying for a complete ban on DDT is condemning 20 million people to die each year (mostly African children) from malaria.
"After Moslem attacks, activists sided with terrorists."
Activists went and formed "human shields for Arafat, leader in chief of the suicide bombers."
For full report and other Avery jokes see:
http://ngin.tripod.com/291102b.htm
Avery primer:
http://ngin.tripod.com/251102a.htm

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CONSUMER RESISTANCE TO GM
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Two Alabama grandmothers were arrested after they stood outside Krogers food store and handed out leaflets campaigning against GM. One of the grandmothers, Gerry Coffey, said, "Although I am basically an introvert and a coward, there have been  a few times in my life when I have reluctantly been forced to be brave."
http://ngin.tripod.com/181102d.htm

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CONSUMER RIGHT TO KNOW
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NEW EU LABELLING REQUIREMENT
EU farm ministers agreed to require food and feed containing 0.9 percent or more GM grain to be labeled as such, starting next year. This is the first time proposed rules have been introduced in the EU requiring the labelling of GMO-based animal feed. Labelling will also be required for food and feed produced from GM crops, even if GMOs cannot be identified in the final product, for example in soybean or oilseed oil. Accidental traces of unauthorized GM grain will be allowed up to a 0.5 percent level for the first three years.   The current "agreement" is only within the Council of Ministers and has to also be approved by the European Parliament, which has co-decision power on this issue. Last time round in the Parliament, the United European Left sought a threshold of 0.1%, and the Greens compromised with the Social Democrats and thus managed to win a 0.5% level. It will, therefore, be interesting to see what final agreement is reached this time. Meanwhile, of course, it's vital that the other wing of this struggle, out there in the streets, supermarket forecourts and fields continues.

EU deal on GM labelling
http://ngin.tripod.com/291102c.htm

More on EU GM food and feed labelling - multiple articles
http://ngin.tripod.com/291102d.htm

NEW GM THRESHOLDS IN EU WORRY CANADIAN EXPORTERS
Industry sources in Canada say they will find it difficult to meet the new tolerance levels proposed for GM grain in the European Union http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20021129/wl_canada_nm/canada_food_biotechnology_col_1

CANADA AFRAID TO UPSET US ON GM LABELLING
American hostility to the idea, and Canada's fear of falling out of step with the United States, are why Canada should not itself adopt mandatory labelling of genetically modified food, says the federal government.
http://ngin.tripod.com/251102b.htm
GM labelling in Canada "just a matter of time"
http://ngin.tripod.com/291102c.htm

AUSTRALIA WILLING TO GO ALL THE WAY WITH USA
"Australia is willing to consider United States demands for unfettered investment access and relaxed labelling for genetically modified food in exchange for opening new markets for Australian farmers under a free trade deal."
http://ngin.tripod.com/151102b.htm

NESTLE SLAMMED FOR SELLING UNLABELLED GM FOOD IN CHINA
Swiss food giant Nestlé has come under fire in China for selling products GM ingredients without the appropriate labelling. This is in direct contravention of domestic law, reported the Shanghai Daily. An official at the Shanghai Agricultural Bureau confirmed that no application to sell GM food had been received from the Swiss group.
http://just-food.com/news_detail.asp?art=52511&dm=yes

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HEALTH
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DOCTORS WARN GM CROP TRIALS SHOULD BE STOPPED TO PROTECT HEALTH
Genetically modified (GM) crop trials in Scotland should be halted immediately as a "precautionary measure" to safeguard public health, senior medical figures have said. The British Medical Association (BMA), which represents over 80% of prctising doctors in the UK, was making its case for a moratorium in a submission to the Scottish Parliament's health committee. Its submission said that "insufficient care" has been taken over public health and concerns are "serious enough" to justify an immediate end to the trials.

Dr Charles Saunders, chairman of the BMA's Scottish committee for public health medicine and community health, told the committee that the absence of monitoring meant any side effects experienced by people living near GM crops trials were not picked up. He said: "There are certain mechanisms within the NHS with regards to human health in relation to food that tend to pick up known organisms and known conditions. They are quite good at picking up things that kill people, but are relatively poor at picking up things that don't. I would have no confidence in their ability to pick up unusual symptoms in people living near GM trial sites."
http://ngin.tripod.com/201102a.htm
http://ngin.tripod.com/211102b.htm

TREWAVAS ATTACKS BMA
Predictably, the BMA’s stand on GMOs was attacked as "stagnation" by pro-GM stalwart Prof Tony Trewavas of the Royal Society. Prof Trewavas’s field of expertise is plant biochemistry. He is not known to have any training in medicine or human biochemistry, nor does he have any expertise in relation to organic farming on which he constantly puts himself forward as an expert critic. Despite this, with reference to the BMA, Trewavas told the Edinburgh Evening News, "when experts offer their opinions on areas outside their immediate expertise they are no better informed than Joe Public downing his pint on a Saturday night." (Evening News, Mon 25 Nov 2002, 'The seeds of doubt can't halt progress') That could explain a lot! For more of the wit and wisdom of Prof T:
http://ngin.tripod.com/trewavas.htm
http://ngin.tripod.com/211102a.htm

CANCER-CAUSING GENES INSERTED INTO ANIMALS AND PLANTS
Researchers at US-based company Morphotek have developed a technique to speed evolution by inserting human cancer-causing genes into animals and plants. Critics say the process could result in organisms with human cancer-causing genes being released into the environment. Others worry that attempts to accelerate evolution could be dangerous. Details of the method were leaked to The Observer by a senior British researcher working for one of Europe's largest biotech corporations. The scientist was dismayed to learn about Morphotek's plans after its directors launched a sales tour of Europe. 'I was completely shocked,' he said. 'What would happen if an organism containing such a dangerous gene escaped? What if a gene got into the food chain? Some people could suffer fatal reactions.'
http://ngin.tripod.com/271102e.htm

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FARMING
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PATENTED GM SEED CAMPAIGN/MONSANTO SUES MISSISSIPPI FARMER
About 1.4 billion people in the world depend on farm-saved seeds for their livelihoods. But farmers who grow patented GM crops have to sign contracts and pay royalties to the patent holder to use their seeds. Just 6 multinational corporations control 70 per cent of patents on the five main food crops of rice, wheat, maize, soya and sorghum. For poor farmers, patents can jeopardize their livelihoods by restricting their traditional right to save, use, exchange and sell their seeds. Even in the richer world, many farmers in the United States and Canada have already been sued for using patented seeds. The latest, a Mississippi farmer, has been ordered to pay Monsanto $780,000 for "patent infringement" http://ngin.tripod.com/271102c.htm

But 180,000 Canadians are saying ‘No!’ to patented seeds. The development agency for the Catholic Church in Canada has sent 180,000 petition postcards to International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew calling on the government to ban the patenting of life forms, especially seeds. 63 boxes of petitions were delivered to Parliament Hill by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.
http://ngin.tripod.com/251102b.htm
Find out more about the campaign to stop patents on life
http://www.devp.org/testA/current.htm

GM CONTAMINATION OF UK ORGANIC ANIMAL FEED
Organic soya used in livestock feed has been found to be contaminated with Monsanto‚s GM Roundup Ready soy, according to a Soil Association press release. The discovery was made following tests carried out on behalf of SA Cert (Soil Association Certification Limited) during a scheduled inspection. SA Cert is writing to licensees informing them that at-risk products certified by other organic certifiers will have to be tested and shown to be free of GM contamination prior to their inclusion in certified feed.
http://ngin.tripod.com/191102c.htm

HOW LONG BEFORE MONSANTO OWNS ALL CORN SEED IN THE US?
In August, research was made public from a test at the University of Manitoba that found 32 of 33 commercially available seed lots planted with canola that was not supposed to be Roundup Ready contained the trait of herbicide resistance. "…The seed stock is all contaminated. Planting it would violate Monsanto's patent. If farmers [purchase from] a seed company they know full well that Monsanto can destroy or keep their crop. Monsanto is basically saying, 'If that gene is in your field it's ours.'"
http://ngin.tripod.com/271102a.htm
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14637

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ENVIRONMENT
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GM CROPS PRODUCE SUPERWEEDS
Tests on genetically modified insect-resistant plants have raised the possibility that a new generation of superweeds could emerge. Experiments involving breeding GM oilseed rape, which carries an "insecticide gene" with wild, non-GM varieties, showed the foreign gene present in the resulting cross-breed plants.  New Scientist reports that the lab research by Matthew Halfhill of the University of North Carolina involved 11 crosses of different plant lines. Five of the crosses produced stable hybrids carrying the insect-resistant gene. The results will fuel fears that rapidly-spreading superweeds, unharmed by insect attack, could emerge. Brian Johnson, biotechnology adviser to English Nature, said: "This demonstrates that hybrids can and will be formed and that they will have insecticidal activity."

EXPERIMENTS UNDER WAY TO CREATE NEW LIFE FORMS
Completely new organisms are to be created by US scientist Craig Venter, warns Genewatch. Funded by the US Government, the research plans to reduce the number of genes in a bacterium normally found in the genital tract to the minimum required for life. Then the organism will be further manipulated to have different functions. In the UK, the GM organisms could be required to be produced under strict containment, but it is not possible to question whether the organisms should be created or not. Dr Sue Mayer, GeneWatch UK's Director, says, "There have been completely unexpected outcomes from the genetic modification of microorganisms in the past, sometimes bacteria and viruses have become much more dangerous. We simply don't know what the outcome of taking this path will be".
http://ngin.tripod.com/251102d.htm

EU DRAFTS POLLUTER PAYS LAWS
European companies are fighting new EU Polluter Pays rules. The liability directive is one of three of major new proposals that industry is desperate to soften, along with a plan to cap "greenhouse gas" emissions and new rules on testing chemicals. Under the proposal, industries, including the biotech sector, would be liable for incidents of pollution or harm to protected natural sites or species.  http://ngin.tripod.com/141102c.htm

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THIRD WORLD
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SYNGENTA TAKE OVER OF CGIAR
Andrew Bennett, former head of environment at Clare Short's Department for International Development, has pulled off a coup within months of joining the Syngenta Foundation, charitable arm of the biotech giant, by gaining a place on the governing body of the consultative group on the international agricultural research centres (Cgiar). This is the network of international public research institutions which have been the target of biotech companies for years but, until now, escaped infiltration. Critics are appalled. "Cgiar has unabashedly adopted the corporate research agenda, thereby accepting that it ceases to follow the original mandate of conducting agricultural research for 'public good'," says one NGO.
http://society.guardian.co.uk/societyguardian/story/0,7843,838495,00.html

BUSH WANTS FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH AFRICA
The Bush Administration has written to leaders in the USA House and Senate announcing its intent to engage in negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) - RSA, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia & Swaziland. The letter contains language that clearly includes a GMO push, viz: "eliminate ... unjustified trade restrictions that affect new USA technologies" and "seek to eliminate SACU country practices that adversely affect USA exports of perishable or cyclical agricultural products."
http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/091102b.htm

Hi-tech crops 'will not save poor'
http://ngin.tripod.com/251102a.htm
Biowatch in court over South Africa‚s GM secrecy
http://ngin.tripod.com/281102a.htm
African consumers demand South Africa label GM foods
http://ngin.tripod.com/271102b.htm
Ill effects from smuggled GMOs force Pakistan to lift ban
http://ngin.tripod.com/141102g.htm
GM crops under fire in India after cotton venture fails
http://ngin.tripod.com/121102a.htm
Corruption in India‚s GM scientific and regulatory agencies?
http://ngin.tripod.com/111102a.htm
GM Mustard in India: ICAR refutes Aventis‚ subsidiaries‚ claims
http://ngin.tripod.com/181102a.htm

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FOOD AID
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GM FOOD AID BLACKMAIL "WICKED", SAYS MEACHER
UK Environment Minister, Michael Meacher, said "it's wicked when there is such an excess of non-GM food aid available for GM to be forced on countries for reasons of GM politics". Speaking at a briefing of British parliamentarians, Meacher continued "if there is an area where anger needs to be harnessed it is here". "We have the means to assist, but we are playing politics over GM."
http://ngin.tripod.com/271102d.htm

"LAMY BACKS AFRICAN STANCE ON GM AID"
Having failed to get a statement of support for GM food aid from the Pope, the biotech industry‚s supporters in the US administration pressed EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy to tour Africa promoting GM food. Instead he has joined the growing chorus of condemnation of USAID - a chorus that now includes African nations, a wide array of African farmer & consumers groups, the OECD, the EU, the UK‚s Environment Minister and the Government‚s Chief scientific advisor, development charities and hundreds of African and other NGOs that have signed half a dozen declarations on the issue.
http://www.busrep.co.za/html/busrep/br_frame_decider.php?click_id=345&art_id=ct20021201190448730N20022&set_id=60

VIDEO FROM ZAMBIA
You can watch a video from Zambia on FOE's site:
http://www.foe.org/camps/comm/safefood/gefood/foodaid/cassava.ram
Video: Zambian groups show cassava, an abundant non-GMO African staple crop, as one alternative to corn (you need RealPlayer to view this)

***APPEAL TO ALLEVIATE HUNGER IN SOME PARTS OF ZAMBIA***
http://www.foe.org/new/releases/1102zam.html

"Wicked" USAID
http://ngin.tripod.com/281102a.htm
Governments have right to choose, admits WFP
http://ngin.tripod.com/251102c.htm
No one dying because of GM rejection - Zambia
http://ngin.tripod.com/221102b.htm
Alternatives to GM in Zambia
http://ngin.tripod.com/281102c.htm
Appeal to alleviate hunger in some parts of Zambia
http://ngin.tripod.com/281102c.htm
Germany donates non-GM foods
http://ngin.tripod.com/271102b.htm
Agencies Pushing Zambia to Accept GM Foods Turned Down Invitation to
Talk to African consumer groups
http://ngin.tripod.com/221102c.htm
African consumer leaders adopt a critical position with respect to GMOs
http://ngin.tripod.com/261102b.htm

FORCE FEEDING THE WORLD - a primer on the food aid crisis
http://ngin.tripod.com/forcefeed.htm

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PHARMAGEDDON
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PHARMA CROPS CONTAMINATE IOWA…
Tony Laos, president of ProdiGene, the company that planted experimental GM pharmaceutical corn in Pocahontas County, Iowa, said the crop was designed to contain a swine vaccine. Part of the crop was accidentally harvested with a food crop planted the following season. USDA ordered 155 acres of nearby corn to be incinerated. The US government claims it caught the pharma corn before it got into the food supply, but critics have questioned how many similar cases have gone unnoticed.
http://ngin.tripod.com/271102a.htm

…AND NEBRASKA
The US government is ordering ProdiGene to destroy 500,000 bushels of soy contaminated with GM corn, engineered to produce a chemical not approved for human consumption (possibly trypsin to make insulin).  The USDA initially refused to reveal details.  "If a company cannot be relied upon to perform such a simple task as to keep pharm corn out of soybeans, how can it be trusted in the far more complicated process of keeping drugs out of corn flakes?" said Jane Rissler, senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists.
http://ngin.tripod.com/131102a.htm
http://ngin.tripod.com/131102d.htm

US FOOD SUPPLY ALREADY CONTAMINATED?
The US food supply has probably been contaminated with GM pharmaceuticals already, but we have no way of knowing due to the extreme secrecy of the 300+ field trials across the country since 1991. Genetically Engineered Food Alert is calling on the USDA to prohibit open-air cultivation of all biopharm crops. For a report on biopharming, see http://www.gefoodalert.org

BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR THE PHARMA
Despite all this, it's business as usual for ProdiGene, with human clinical trials of its biopharm corn insulin set to begin next year.  http://ngin.tripod.com/141102a.htm

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
Maize, soya, rice and tobacco are among the crops genetically engineered to produce vaccines and contraceptives, plus drugs and chemicals to induce abortions, create blood clots, and produce industrial enzymes. The majority of biopharmaceuticals are incorporated into maize.  ProdiGene has the most biopharma plantings, projecting that 10% of the US maize crop will be devoted to biopharm products by 2010.  Far from supporting containment strategies such as buffer zones, ProdiGene has told its shareholders it is hoping to "gain regulatory approval to lessen or abandon these requirements altogether".
http://ngin.tripod.com/131102d.htm

TRADE GROUPS LOBBYING FOR TOUGHER REGULATIONS
Powerful trade groups for the food sector are preparing to lobby federal regulators for new rules making life far more difficult for bio-pharming firms. Many food executives are afraid that vaccines, enzymes, antibodies and hormones might accidentally end up in their products, through mishandling or pollen drift, triggering expensive recalls.  They are pressing the biotech industry to make pharmaceuticals only from nonfood crops such as tobacco.
http://ngin.tripod.com/061102a.htm

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CORPORATE TAKE-OVER OF SCIENCE
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UK GOVERNMENT SCIENCE REVIEW
The UK Government as part of its consideration of the issue of GM crop commercialisation in the UK has set up a Science Review Panel to conduct "a full and open independent scientific review to examine the extent of current scientific knowledge behind GM, with particular focus on crops".
http://ngin.tripod.com/291102e.htm

The review will report ahead of publication of the UK's GM farmscale trials which were previously hyped as "essential" to the scientific understanding of the impact of GM crops in the UK. But now the Government's Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor King has "characterised the trials as a minor, barely significant element in global GM research." [We wonder, why the U-turn on the importance of the trials? Does King know something we don‚t about the success or otherwise of the trials? We think we should be told.]
http://ngin.tripod.com/291102a.htm

The review panel includes scientists from Monsanto and Syngenta. 2 NGO nominees are supposed to balance out the industry figures while the rest are presented as independents. But many of the independents on the panel are tainted by a history of serioulsy distorting science for pro-GM propaganda purposes.
http://ngin.tripod.com/291102e.htm

There is also a massive level of vested interest represented on the panel. Take, for instance, Science Review panellist Prof Mike Gale FRS of the John Innes Centre, who is on record as admitting that any serious slow down or halt in the development of GM crops "would be very, very serious for us."
http://ngin.tripod.com/291102e.htm

The government's press package contained supportive comments assembled for the Government by the Science Media Centre. As usual, the range of scientific opinion provided is narrow - uniformly supportive on both GM and the Government's Review, with even the comments of Stephen Smith of Syngenta being included among those of "scientists". But what can you expect from a Centre that was spawned by Lord Sainsbury, has Dupont amongst its funders and whose director (Fiona Fox) has written articles denying the Rwandan genocide!
http://ngin.tripod.com/291102e.htm

Lord Sainsbury is at the centre of further biotech cash conflicts of interest claims
http://ngin.tripod.com/261102a.htm
GM crops debate goes online
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_718636.html?menu=
GM Science Review: Open Meetings
http://www.gmsciencedebate.org.uk/meetings/default.htm
Science Review details - articles and panel
http://ngin.tripod.com/291102a.htm
More on UK REVIEW OF GM SCIENCE
http://ngin.tripod.com/291102e.htm
Government's press release
http://ngin.tripod.com/291102e.htm
Science Media Centre press release c/o HM Government
key issues from the website
http://ngin.tripod.com/291102e.htm
See also Advisers brand Blair's GM debate a sham
http://www.guardian.co.uk/gmdebate/Story/0,2763,837288,00.html
FOR MORE ON THE CORPORATE TAKE-OVER OF SCIENCE:
http://ngin.tripod.com/pb.htm

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CLONING
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Almost 1/4 of calves and lambs cloned by AgResearch die within the first three months - "errors in the pattern of gene expression" produce animals with deformities that make them "not viable".
http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-nat.cfm?Id=1289

U.N. Treaty on Human Cloning Stalled
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=518&ncid=518&e=16&u=/ap/20021120/ap_on_re_eu/un_human_cloning_1

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REPULSIVE STATEMENT OF THE MONTH
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The unhealthily close relationship between human genetic technologies and Hitler-style eugenics produces some monstrous offspring. In a speech defending genetic testing, ‘Biomedical ethicist’ Dan W. Brock of the National Institutes of Health said that America would benefit from aborting the blind and disabled. According to one commentator, "If we have that kind of a culture of death, then I believe our country is doomed. If we can do away with the disabled, then who's next?"
http://ngin.tripod.com/281102b.htm

"No group of experts should be more aware of the hazards of unwarranted claims than geneticists. After all, it was the exuberance of geneticists early in this century that led to the creation of a discipline called eugenics." David Suzuki, professor of genetics

More on human genetics: http://ngin.tripod.com/gmhuman.htm

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CHRISTMAS TREAT: THE BOOK THEY DIDN’T WANT YOU TO READ
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Treat yourself and all your friends to American activist, comedian and film-maker Michael Moore’s book Stupid White Men, available from the braver bookstores and Amazon.co.uk/Amazon.com. It’s the funniest and truest book I’ve read for many years and lays bare the sorry state of the US administration and its leader, and their shared addiction to corporate bottom-licking. The book barely made it to market after its publishers ran scared of putting it out in the wake of September 11. Luckily for us, a belligerent group of librarians (yes, really) shamed Rupert Murdoch’s publishing company into honouring their agreement to distribute the book. But the publishers cancelled most of the publicity events, so the book’s sprint to best seller status in Britain and the US has been mostly due to word of mouth and the Internet.

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