ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

8 March 2002

SCHMEISER/TRACEABILITY/FORCE-FEEDING EUROPE/GM FERAL OIL SEED RAPE/GM CROPS THREAT TO DIVERSITY

1. Percy Schmeiser talk transcript
2. GRAINCO URGES PRODUCT TRACEABILITY
3. CONSERVATIONIST SAYS GM CROPS THREAT TO DIVERSITY
4. Risk from GM feral oil seed rape greater than thought
5. Britain's most prolific GE hack meets Prof Wilspin!
6. Force-Feeding Europe

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1. Subject: Percy Schmeiser talk

From: "Paul Goettlich" <goettlich@earthlink.net>

Jonathan,

I transcribed this text from a video that Neil Carmen (Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter, TX) sent me last week. You should take a peek at it. I don't normally have time for such work, but I was "on a mission" after I watched it.

Percy Schmeiser speaking at  Genetically Engineered Seeds of Controversy: Biotech Bullies Threaten Farmer and Consumer Rights.
University of Texas at Austin 10oct01
http://www.mindfully.org/GE/GE3/Percy-Schmeiser-UTAustin10oct01.htm

Best Regards,
Paul

***

2. Australia: Grainco urges product traceability

[via Organic Trade Services: http://www.organicts.com/]

1 March

The present halting of the export of some canola cargoes to China, because of fears over that country's new rules on GM foods, would become a commonplace event if traceability was not improved, GrainCo Australia Ltd has said.

"These issues will only increase in frequency and won't be isolated cases as time goes on," Grainco's spokeswoman said.  The company was commenting on uncertainty over Chinese regulations, to be introduced on March 20, which will require that all imports of GM products be certified safe to humans, animals and the environment.

"Markets want to know what they're paying for and that what they've paid for is what they think they've got."

Grainco's recently-forged partnership with ConAgra, to form a new Australian grain marketing company, MarketLink (Aust) Pty Ltd, was partly based on a long-term strategy of satisfying traceability requirements, she said.

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3. Conservationist says GM crops threat to diversity

March 7/02
Reuters [via Agnet]
By Laura Vinha

HELSINKI - Yolanda Kakabadse, president of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and a former environment minister of Ecuador, was cited as saying today that genetically modified crops are threatening the global diversity of animal and plant species and costing livelihoods.

Kakabadse said Mexico, where U.S.-produced GM corn now dominates, showed how GM crops could harm local communities.

Corn is a leading GM crop, and although mainly used as livestock feed, it is a staple food in Latin America.

"Thousands of people in local communities are losing their markets of their own typical seeds of corn which reflect the diversity of species," Kakabadse told Reuters in Helsinki where she is attending a seminar for women environment ministers.

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4. Risk from GM feral oil seed rape greater than thought

From: "NLP Wessex" <nlpwessex@bigfoot.com>

"One consequence of this assumption is that the identity of plants growing on road verges is thought to reflect one of the cultivars currently or recently cultivated, while another consequence is the widespread belief that transgenic plants can be simply managed and controlled by stopping their cultivation. Our work showed that this assumption is false..... Within the scope of transgenic oilseed rape cultivation, these results suggest that more studies on the dynamics of feral oilseed rape are needed in order to assess more precisely the risks of its invasiveness and its potential impact on genetic pollution between GM fields and non-GM fields."
...
http://www2.icgeb.trieste.it/~srswww/cgi-bin/wgetz?-id+tjPU1IJmdY+-e+[BIOSAFETY-ID:'2765']

ICGEB Accession Number
2765
Title:   Persistence of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) outside of cultivated fields.
Author:  Pessel, F. D.; Lecomte, J.; Emeriau, V.; Krouti, M.; Messean, A.; Gouyon, P. H.
Correspondent Address:  Laboratoire Ecologie Systematique et Evolution, CNRS-UPRESA 8079, Bat. 362 Universite Paris Sud, Centre d'Orsay, F-91405 ORSAY Cedex, France.
Source:  Theoretical and Applied Genetics vol. 102 (6/7) p.841-846
Publication Year:  2001

Abstract
It is widely assumed that most cultivated plants cannot persist in natural or semi-natural habitats. Most people thus assume that the plants growing outside of fields (in particular oilseed rape along roadsides) find their origins in the current or previous year's cultivation of that crop. One consequence of this assumption is that the identity of plants growing on road verges is thought to reflect one of the cultivars currently or recently cultivated, while another consequence is the widespread belief that transgenic plants can be simply managed and controlled by stopping their cultivation. Our work showed that this assumption is false. We identified relict plants of a now unmarketable cultivar type of oilseed rape which have persisted in a semi-natural habitat (road verges) for at least 8 years according to farmer surveys in the studied area (Selommes, Loir-et-Cher, France). More generally, we confirmed that the dynamics of the feral oilseed rape plants of road verges was more complex than those resulting from spillage of agricultural machines or from neighbouring arable fields cultivated the previous year. Within the scope of transgenic oilseed rape cultivation, these results suggest that more studies on the dynamics of feral oilseed rape are needed in order to assess more precisely the risks of its invasiveness and its potential impact on genetic pollution between GM fields and non-GM fields.

26 ref.
Descriptors cultivars; cultivation; farm surveys; habitats; identification; population dynamics; rape; roads; transgenic plants; volunteer plants; Brassica napus; Brassica napus var. oleifera; plants; France; Brassica; Brassicaceae;

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5. Britain's most prolific GE hack meets Prof Wilspin
...
Attitudes to GM see UK miss out
The Scotsman, Vic Robertson, Thursday, 7th March 2002
http://www.business.scotsman.com/news/headlines_specific.cfm?id=255322002&section=bus%2Dagr

POLITICIANS were accused of being "disingenuous" in their approach to bio-technology regulation, an industry conference was told yesterday. The end result was the potential loss of a valuable industry, the export of many jobs and a missed opportunity of improving the environment through reduced chemical spraying. "The overall message is one of lost opportunities in Europe," said Professor Michael Wilson, director of Horticulture Research International. [or should that be Panticulture? see:
http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/pants5.htm]

***

6. Force-Feeding Europe [excerpt]

Toronto Star
Luke Eric Peterson
Wednesday -- February 27, 2002
http://www.agbios.com/_NewsItem.asp?parm=neIDXCode&data=2787

How do you assess risks which may not become apparent for years or even decades? In their haste to rush GM foods to the table, North American firms have overlooked an important distinction: It is one thing to tout a product as safe because it has stood the test of time, and quite another to say so simply because you donít have the time to test.

The virtues of a commercially driven approach are clear enough: Corporations can go to the bank, long before the scientific jury - or at least those of its members without stock options - finishes weighing the evidence. But this is also an approach, remember, which long condoned the promiscuous use of commercial substances as diverse as tobacco and Agent Orange.

Indeed, it is deeply revealing that when then vice president Dan Quayle introduced the U.S. rules which would govern genetically modified foods - an approach which Canada would later adopt - he touted them as a "deregulatory" measure. Thereafter, North American governments have found themselves in a hopeless conflict of interest: torn between their duties as the public`s watchdog and industryís cheerleader.

It's not an approach that European nations are keen to follow, having been chastened by their experience with mad cow disease, a food-borne illness linked so far to the deaths of dozens of Europeans.

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