ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

7 December 2001

GM PROMOS - CROPGEN & MONSANTO

Bought & paid for:
1. Canada's 'Agbios' CD-ROM freebie
2. SPIN OF THE DAY:
CropGen launches report into safety of approved GM foods
3. Who's behind the big bad WoLF?
4  Gimmie some relief!

***

1. Canada's Agbios freebie

[Agriculture & Biotechnology Strategies Inc. (AGBIOS) is "a Canadian company based in the Ottawa area that is dedicated to providing consulting expertise to the agricultural biotechnology industry, government departments and agencies, non-governmental organizations, and producer groups and associations." It's run by a couple of ex-Canadian biotech regulators - see: http://www.agbios.com/_aboutus.asp]

http://www.essentialbiosafety.info/main.php
'Essential Biosafety' a free CD-ROM represents an offering of "the latest scientific and regulatory information for genetically modified and other novel crops and foods."

"Information has been classified into three discrete areas that include: a database of safety information on all genetically modified (GM) plant products that have received regulatory approval, training tools in the form of case-studies for food and environmental risk assessment, and a library of pertinent biosafety references and online documents.

AGBIOS is proud to acknowledge the support of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) in facilitating the distribution of this material and Monsanto Company for providing financial assistance to aid in the creation of this resource.
(EssentialBiosafety.info)

[for more on the ISAAA see: 'ISAAA in Asia -- Promoting Corporate Profit in the Name of the Poor', GRAIN briefing - October, 2000
http://www.grain.org/publications/isaaa-en.cfm]

***

2. SPIN OF THE DAY:
CropGen launches report into safety of approved GM foods

Author of the report, Prof Moses, whose books include such bio-biz classics as "FROM CELLS TO SALES", heads the 100% biotech industry funded lobby group CropGen. The report comes to the, er... surprising conclusion that GM foods are as safe as anything ever possibly could be.

The basis of this "commission" somewhat gves the game away about the report's anticipated conclusions: ""This report has been commissioned to help achieve a greater measure of realism and better balance in the UK public debate about crop biotechnology."
...
http://www.cropgen.org/

One hundred percent safe?
CropGen launches report into safety of approved GM foods

London, 7th December 2001 - A new report, released today by CropGen, points to evidence from over one hundred publicly available sources showing that approved GM foods are in practical terms at least as safe as other supermarket foods.

ONE HUNDRED PERCENT SAFE?

GM foods in the UK was written by Professor Vivian Moses (Chairman, CropGen Panel) in response to polarised attitudes to the use of biotechnology in food and agriculture. The report reviews the regulatory procedures for evaluating the health aspects of novel foods, particularly GM foods, notes in detail what the regulators have said and concludes to what extent approved such products can be declared safe. The report acts as a guide to the substantial data that has been amassed on those GM foods approved for consumption in the UK - three varieties of maize, three varieties of oilseed rape, one of soybeans and one of tomatoes.

"As biochemists, our reading of the publicly available information on GM food safety has offered us not one indication of hazard to human health from any of the GM crop foods so far approved for use in the UK", emphasises author Professor Moses.

Having reviewed the evidence and how it can be accessed, he concludes that the people concerned with developing, promoting and approving GM foods for public consumption have been thorough: "This report has been commissioned to help achieve a greater measure of realism and better balance in the UK public debate about crop biotechnology. Details of the regulatory processes for the approval of GM foods are very similar for the different countries and sufficiently open for individuals to make up their own minds from publicly available sources of information. Critics can no longer claim that GM technology is not independently tested. Regulations are in place - and our report shows you where to find them."

The report also defines what is meant by the term safe and to what extent 100% safety of a food product can be achieved. "In our view, it is essential to retain a sense of proportion. Inasmuch as GM crops and foods have value, we favour them being available for those who want them. Present GM technology offers us a more environmentally responsible system of farming and the potential for many consumer benefits including a GM apple which might help prevent tooth decay. In time, we may all become so used to these novel foods that none of us any longer goes in fear and trembling, demanding testing, testing, testing without limit. Although products have been on the market for several years, this remains a fairly new technology. In practical terms, approved GM foods are at least as safe as other foods in the shops", explains Professor Moses.
...
To DOWNLOAD the report click on NEWS then CURRENT PRESS RELEASES

"CropGen is funded by, but operates independently of, the crop biotechnology industry."

***

3. Who's behind the big bad W(o)LF?

Recently we included a report on how the Washington Legal Foundation, is one of many using September 11th to condemn the patriotism of public interest activists. In an ad in the New York Times, WLF's Daniel Popeo condemned "self-anointed consumer protection groups, working closely with profiteering plaintiff lawyers," "Naderite food police" and "no-growth activists," saying that "in the post-September 11 world we can no longer afford to put the narrow agendas of a 'public interest' elite ahead of our own national interests."

Marcus Williamson <http://www.connectotel.com/gmfood/> points out the following:

Whilst they don't have any exact info about who's funding them (to the tune of $4m in 2000!), the "Links to other organisations" and "WLF Clients" includes many of our old friends such as:

American Council on Science and Health
American Enterprise Institute
Cato Institute
Hoover Institution
National Food Processors Association
etc, etc

Looking at the litigation in which they've been involved shows this:

"J.E.M. AG Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc On June 15, 2001, WLF filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, urging the Court to find that genetically modified seed qualifies for patent protection under federal law. In its brief, WLF argued that the Intellectual
Property Clause of the Constitution contains no mandatory purpose that limits Congressís power to issue patents. WLF also argued that giving federal patent law an artificially narrow reading is the wrong way to ensure a reasonable fit between constitutional limits on Congressís power to issue patents (assuming that any exist) and the actual issuance of patents. WLF further argued that under Supreme Court precedents construing federal patent law, Congress need not expressly classify genetically modified seed as patentable in order to ensure such legal protection. And WLF pointed out that several objections against the patenting of genetically modified seed are irrelevant. WLF filed its brief on behalf of itself and the Allied Educational Foundation."

***

4. Gimme some relief!

for a bit of light relief why not visit the 'Patrick Moore is a Big Fat Liar' website: http://www.fanweb.org/patrick-moore/

or remind yourself of what Alan Simpson MP had to say recently about the biotech industry

29 November 2001, Report in Hansard of question to Leader of the House, House of Commons from Mr. Alan Simpson (Nottingham, South):

"May we have a debate on GM contamination?

My right hon. Friend will be aware of this morning's news that contaminated maize has turned up in a remote area of Mexico that is separated by some 60 miles and several years from the last recorded GM plantings in California.

Given that the UK has paltry separation distances, that UK farmers cannot get insurance against GM contamination and that we have found ourselves consistently blocked from having a GM producer liability regime by the industry that wants to pursue the trials, could we have an urgent debate in order to dispel the public myth and criticism that UK policy is increasingly either in the pay or the pockets of a biotech industry that is currently driven by a bunch of crooks and shysters?"

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