ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

11 October 2002

NGIN'S WEEKLY WATCH NUMBER 1

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THE WEEKLY WATCH NUMBER 1
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from Andy Rees, the WEEKLY WATCH editor
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Dear all

Welcome to the first WEEKLY WATCH from NGIN bringing you all the latest news in brief on the GM issue.

It may be of particular interest to any friends or contacts finding it hard to keep up with all the breaking news on this hot topic, so please circulate widely!

Hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think.

Andy <andy@gmwatch.org>
www.ngin.org.uk

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WEEKLY WATCH  number 1 - CONTENTS
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TOPIC OF THE WEEK
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
FACTS OF THE WEEK
SETBACKS TO THE GM INDUSTRY
LIES FROM THE GM INDUSTRY
HEADLINES OF THE WEEK
CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK
SUBSCRIPTIONS

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TOPIC OF THE WEEK - Labeling
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Not content to bully other nations, the US GM food industry is now starting on upstart US states, like Oregon with its Measure 27 to get labeling of GM foods.

While national polls show strong support for such a measure, the biotech war chest creates a formidable challenge. Already the "no" campaign has raised $4.6 million; over a quarter is from Monsanto and only a miniscule $5500 is from Oregon (about 0.1%)! http://ngin.tripod.com/031002b.htm

Paul Holmes, respected PR business writer, considers the GM industry is mistaken in fighting Measure 27, as fighting against an informed public creates the impression the industry has a sinister secret to hide.  To spend millions of dollars on a campaign to keep their purportedly wonderful technology secret, he writes, is to fly in the face of all logic.
http://ngin.tripod.com/091002a.htm

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, is opposed to Oregon's ballot Measure 27.  In an October 4 letter the FDA argues that labeling GM foods is contrary to FDA guidelines. This is not the only purportedly wonderful technology the FDA is happy to help industry kept secret. The FDA's Oregon letter coincided with news that the FDA has acceded to food industry pressure to allow irradiated food to be labelled as "cold pasteurization"! THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER #197

The EU and Japan already require products with GM ingredients to be labeled as such. In fact, both are currently tightening up their labeling legislation.  But the US has threatened that if the EU doesn't scrap its new measures, it will make its complaint to the WTO formal -- launching a trade war.
http://ngin.tripod.com/041002a.htm

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
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American cloned food on its way
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Food from cloned cattle, pigs and sheep will be on sale in America, probably as soon as next year.  It will then be extremely hard to stop it being exported to Britain. http://ngin.tripod.com/081002b.htm
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Roman Catholic leaders join anti GM campaigners
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Roman Catholic leaders have joined the Council of Canadians in a campaign against patenting genetically modified seeds. http://ngin.tripod.com/071002b.htm
SEE ALSO 'CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK'
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Growing support for Zambia over GM
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There is growing international support for Zambia's right to refuse GM food aid. South Africa has offered to supply Zambia with non-GM corn and wheat, and Japan and the EU have proffered financial assistance to supply non-GM food.
http://ngin.tripod.com/031002a.htm
http://ngin.tripod.com/071002c.htm
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Lula government would favour GM free Brazil
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Should Lula da Silva win Brazil's presidential election this month as expected, his government will uphold the ban on GM food crops. "We want to establish a reputation as GM-free," said Lula's agricultural policy advisor. http://ngin.tripod.com/071002c.htm

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ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
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Greenpeace and Actionaid accused the US of manipulating the southern African food crisis to benefit their GM food interests and of using the UN to dump domestic food surpluses.  Only GM grain was offered when conventional grain was available. Meanwhile the EU and other countries have mostly given money for countries to buy food on the open market. Greenpeace accused the US government and the biotech industry of using  the aid system as a covert subsidy for US farmers.   John Vidal, The Guardian, 7th October 02
http://ngin.tripod.com/071002a.htm
Greenpeace's press release on this issue:
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/contentlookup.cfm?CFID=39470&CFTOKEN=81395670&amp;ucidparam=20021007111926
Greeanpeace's full report:
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/MultimediaFiles/Live/FullReport/5243.pdf

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QUOTES OF THE WEEK
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The USAID website candidly states: "The principal beneficiary of America's foreign assistance programs has always been the United States. Close to 80% of the USAID contracts and grants go directly to American firms. Foreign assistance programs have helped create major markets for agricultural goods, created new markets for American industrial exports and meant hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans."
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/MultimediaFiles/Live/FullReport/5243.pdf

The UK government's Chief Scientist David King has described the USAID programme as "amoral" and "a massive human experiment."
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/contentlookup.cfm?CFID=39470&CFTOKEN=81395670&amp;ucidparam=20021007111926

"The IMF told our government to sell off all of our grain reserves to help make loan payments... Hasn't anyone ever heard the story in the Bible of Joseph saving up grain for the coming famine in Egypt? Now our people are facing real hunger. I have come to South Africa to find work. And that work is now, ironically, to unload GE food relief from ships from America. Malawi will have no choice but to accept GE foods now. When people are desperate, they will accept anything - a dictator, food, sterilization - you name it."  Siswe Nbele, a Malawian dockworker
'Frankenfoods' create furor on Dark Continent
WorldNetDaily, US, October 10, 2002

Roger Dubois, president of Peace and Development, a Catholic agency active in the Third World, was cited as saying that seed patenting erodes the rights of farmers and threatens biodiversity, adding, "Increased hunger will be the impact of patenting seeds." http://ngin.tripod.com/071002b.htm

Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais was cited as saying it is wrong to patent the sources of life, adding, "Food security for the world's hungry requires decentralizing control, yet biopatenting centralizes control."
http://ngin.tripod.com/071002b.htm

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FACTS OF THE WEEK
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More than 35 countries have some kind of restrictions on GM food, whether they be mandatory labeling or outright bans; every few months the list grows.
http://ngin.tripod.com/031002c.htm

Labeling is already mandatory in 19 countries.
http://ngin.tripod.com/031002b.htm

An estimated 70 percent of products on American grocery shelves now contain at least some GM ingredients.
http://ngin.tripod.com/091002a.htm

80 per cent of patents on genetically modified foods are owned by 13 transnational corporations.
http://ngin.tripod.com/071002b.htm

The contamination of Mexico's wild corn stock shows that seeds imported as food can enter the environment because farmers will plant those seeds even though the government officially forbids it.
http://pewagbiotech.org/buzz/display.php3?StoryID=78

Using false productivity calculus, it has been claimed that without industrial agriculture, pesticides and GMOs the world cannot be fed.  "High efficiency and productivity" are the justifications for the spread of industrial agriculture; however, the maths has been skewed by conveniently ignoring the high resource inputs, such as fuel for mechanisation and petrochemical-derived pesticides and fertilisers, and focusing solely on labour, thus making the "efficiency" of industrial farms artificially high.  To further skew the figures, it focuses only on "yields" of single commodities while ignoring the diverse outputs of biodiverse farms.  In reality, small biodiverse farms have much higher productivity both in terms of resource use efficiency and higher production of biomass and nutrition per acre. Vandana Shiva, Director, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, New Delhi.
http://ngin.tripod.com/041002a.htm

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SETBACKS TO THE GM INDUSTRY
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GM soya, despite the hype of it being drought resistant, fared no better in the drought than conventional soya according to recent yields in the US. To imply that GM soya is drought resistant is simply a lie.  Another claim of GM crops is reduced herbicide usage, a claim that farmers, Jim and Rebecca Goodman refute.
http://ngin.tripod.com/071002c.htm

The French team, that made news in 2000, treating children with severe combined immune deficiency (SCID) had to call a halt to the gene therapy trial. One of the ten children treated has developed what looks like leukaemia. As in the genetic modification of plants and animals, the genetic modification of human beings is severely hampered mainly because precisely targeted gene insertion is still not technically feasible.
http://ngin.tripod.com/081002c.htm

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LIES FROM THE GM INDUSTRY
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US Farmers Jim and Rebecca Goodman, are curious how the yield figures given in a pro-GM report, which claims GM crops "boost" agriculture, were determined when the combines had yet to start the harvest! More lies from the GM industry?
http://ngin.tripod.com/071002c.htm

CS Prakash's AgBioView/AgBioWorld campaign has been going full tilt to label the critics of the GM industry as killers of the starving in southern Africa but without ever mentioning Prakash's intimate connections and interests in USAID's pro-GM promotional activities in the name of aid.
http://ngin.tripod.com/081002a.htm

Faced with a ballot initiative that calls on food companies to label products that contain GM ingredients, the GM industry funded Coalition Against the Costly Labeling Law is trying to sell Oregonians on the idea that such labeling would cost millions in 'government bureaucracy and red tape.' The campaign's premise is a lie, of course. http://ngin.tripod.com/091002a.htm

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HEADLINES OF THE WEEK: from the NGIN archive
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9 October 2002
PR Expert Warns Gene Giants/Donations show which measures scare/Novartis
face lawsuit
8 October 2002
USAID and GM Food Aid + the Prakash connection
Biotech's magic cures an illusion/Clones can suffer too/American cloned food on its way
Predicted Hazard of Gene Therapy a Reality
7 October 2002
US 'dumping unsold GM food on Africa'
Catholic leaders condemn GM patenting/Jasmine Rice/Biopiracy
Bush using famine in Africa as GM marketing tool/GM report is "lies"/GM-free Brazil on the cards/EU to provide southern Africa with funds
6 October 2002
Publicly funded GM debate turns into farce
5 October 2002
Transcript - Seeds of Conflict, NOW with Bill Moyers
Mexico's GE Corn Contamination - One Year Later
GMWATCH number 2
4 October 2002
WTO/Vandana Shiva/Bt cotton and Pakistan
3 October 2002
Act Now to Prevent GE Seed Contamination/GE drug results deliberately
falsified?/Lord S/Jacques Diouf
US biotech now trying to bully upstart US states
Naked agenda/increasingly vocal objections heardS to GM foods

FOR THE COMPLETE NGIN ARCHIVE: http://ngin.tripod.com/nginlist.htm

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CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK
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Join the global SeedRights campaign.

Launched to mark World Food Day, 16 October, ActionAid are campaigning to protect the rights and livelihoods of 1.4 billion farmers who rely on saving seed.

Global patenting rules in the WTO‚s TRIPs agreement threaten their livelihoods.

For centuries seeds have been freely saved, used, exchanged and sold by farmers but thanks to patents and the GM industry such rights are being put at risk. Hundreds of US and Canadian farmers have already been sued for using farm-saved seed.

Protect Farmers‚ Rights by joining ActionAid's global SeedRights campaign.

Find out more about what you can do at:
http://www.actionaid.org/ourpriorities/foodrights/seedrights/seedrights.shtml
 

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