ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
 
Date:  1 December 2000

LOTSA  GM  SHORTS

Some great GM shorts below: -

1.    GM new top issue for social responsibility
2.    44 Americans claim StarLink corn made them ill
3.    U.S. panel weighs if GM StarLink is safe for people
4.    Japan seeks details on US StarLink illness cases
5.    Govt Move To Benefit MNCs
6.    US to Consider if Rule Needed to Separate Bio-Crops
7.    The beauty and the horror of science - Suzuki
8.    Plan for Use of Bioengineered Corn in Food Is Disputed
9.    PUBLIC COMMENTS NEEDED ON BIOTECH CONTROVERSY
10.  More US firms seen adopting bio-food labels

Favourite bit: Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said the USDA wants the food industry, farm groups, grain exporters and consumer activists to offer suggestions on what, if anything, the USDA ought to do to help farmers market biotech crops in a way that will preserve public confidence [ban 'em?]  "`One of the things we want to talk about with the world, with the public, is what is our role? What ought to be our role in dealing with the marketing of these products?''[!]
Suggestions to Dan, please.

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1.    Genetically modified food is new top issue for social responsibility
By  Robert E Sullivan © Earth Times News Service 1st December
"Genetically modified food will be the big issue next year for people who practice socially responsible investing (SRI) according to a survey of members of social investment professionals.

A survey of some 350 members of First Affirmative Financial Network (FAFN), a group that specializes in SRI, showed that the membership picked genetic engineering as the probable number one topic for the year 2001, according to a FAFN spokesman."

*  *  *
2.    Forty four Americans claim StarLink corn made them ill - Reuters - 28 Nov

WASHINGTON, Nov 28 - Forty-four Americans have complained that they became ill after eating foods containing StarLink bio-corn, but investigators may never be able to pinpoint whether the genetically modified maize was to blame, federal officials said on Tuesday.

*  *  *
3.     U.S. panel weighs if GM StarLink is safe for people - 30 November 2000
http://www.cnn.com/2000/FOOD/news/11/29/biotech.corn.reut/index.html

"WASHINGTON - Federal regulators, now in the midst of the biggest biotech food fight in U.S. history, should not reward Aventis SA for illegally contaminating the nation's corn supply with a variety that may be linked to at least 35 illnesses, environmental groups said on Tuesday."

*  *  *
4.    Japan seeks details on US StarLink illness cases - November 30, 2000 -
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm?newsid=9160

"TOKYO - Japan's Health Ministry said yesterday it was seeking more information from the US authorities on news that some Americans claimed they became ill after eating food containing gene-spliced StarLink corn. "We are seeking more details on this news from the US government,
including the US embassy in Tokyo and the US Food and Drug Administration," the ministry said in a statement.

Traders said early this week that importers had secured only one-third of their needs for first quarter shipment. By this time last year, they had  covered almost all such needs.

Japan buys about one million tonnes of corn for food and another three million tonnes for animal feed each quarter, mostly from the United States." (Reuters)
*  *  *
5.  Government Move To Ease Hybrid Seed Rules To Benefit MNCs - 30 Nov 2000
http://www.biotechknowledge.com/showlib.php3?4132 [Monsanto]

"In a move that could boost multinational seed companies, the government is set to allow these companies to grow and process hybrid seeds on land owned or leased by them instead of entering into contracts with farmers and growers.

The FIPB was supportive of lifting the restriction that required seed companies to enter into contracts with farmers and growers from the beginning. It opined that genetically engineered seeds were required in the country and that no company could manufacture such seeds without growing them. Clearance to the proposal was held back for want of clearance from the department of biotechnology and department of agriculture and co-operation. The government has also changed the requirement that seed companies will not use genetically engineered planting material to raise seeds. " (Economic Times)
*  *  *
6.    US to Consider if Rule Needed to Separate Bio-Crops - 30 November 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20001129/ts/food_biotech_dc_6.html

"WASHINGTON - Amid the debate over the bio-corn contamination that triggered the recall of hundreds of foods, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday it was mulling what new regulations might be needed to separate and monitor gene-spliced crops.

Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said the USDA wants the food industry, farm groups, grain exporters and consumer activists to offer suggestions on what, if anything, the USDA ought to do to help farmers market biotech crops in a way that will preserve public confidence.

Under federal law, the USDA is responsible for promoting American farm exports, which generate some $50 billion annually and are a crucial part of farm income.

But the department also is responsible for inspecting meat and poultry plants, preventing plant diseases, approving field trials of new gene-altered crops, and maintaining U.S. consumer confidence in a safe food supply.

``One of the things we want to talk about with the world, with the public, is what is our role? What ought to be our role in dealing with the marketing of these products?'' Glickman told reporters after
addressing a meeting of the USDA's agricultural biotechnology advisory committee. (Reuters)
-*  *  *

7.    The beauty and the horror of science - 30 November 2000 
http://www.canoe.com/CNEWSScience0011/29_suzuki-can.htm
l
"At a recent international biotechnology conference in Vancouver, an industry spokesperson made reference to the hundreds of protesters outside and suggested that biotechnologists had obviously done a poor job convincing the public about the benefits and safety of their products. Thus, she trivialized the opponents' concerns as based on ignorance and not deserving serious attention." (David Suzuki)

*  *  *

8.    - Plan for Use of Bioengineered Corn in Food Is Disputed - 30 November 2000 ttp://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/29/business/29FOOD.html [to access need to register with NYT]

"WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 Hoping to avoid further product recalls linked to a bioengineered corn, representatives of food, agriculture and biotechnology industries urged the Environmental Protection Agency today to approve the corn temporarily for human consumption. But critics said
such a move would bail out the corn's developer and the food companies at consumers' expense." (NY Times)
*  *  *
9.  PUBLIC COMMENTS NEEDED ON BIOTECH CONTROVERSY
 
"WASHINGTON, DC, November 29, 2000 - Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman today asked the public to provide comments on what, if any, additional steps his agency should take to help segregate genetically engineered from non-biotech products. "In order to protect our domestic and foreign markets and ensure public confidence, it's essential that we improve our ability to identify and track genetically modified farm products," said Glickman, in remarks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology. "We want to provide a forum where the best ideas on this subject can be presented," Glickman said. A notice to be published in Thursday's Federal Register invites public comment on how USDA should help facilitate the marketing of grains, oilseeds, fruits, vegetables and nuts in a marketplace that
includes biotech and non-biotech crops.

Some of the questions USDA seeks comment on include:

*Should USDA be involved in accrediting, reviewing or certifying the performance of food company systems to separate traditional and biotech crops?

*Should USDA establish biotech or non-biotech crop definitions as part of the current U.S. quality grades and standards?

*Should USDA expand its accreditation of laboratories to detect biotech grains and oilseeds to other biotech crops?

Glickman also said that USDA's Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) will open a new biotechnology accreditation lab in January to help standardize the identification of biotechnology derived grains. The facility will review, upon request and for a fee,
laboratories testing grain for the presence of biotechnology derived grain and will accredit those laboratories that meet performance standards. More information is available at:  http://www.usda.gov/agencies/biotech/index.html." (ENS)
*   *  *
10.     - More US firms seen adopting bio-food labels - 27 November 2000

WASHINGTON, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Regardless of how the StarLink bio-corn safety debate plays out, more U.S. foodmakers will likely begin voluntarily labeling products with gene-spliced ingredients to give consumers more information, Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman told
Reuters on Monday.

Labeling is one of the key issues in the battle between U.S. environmentalists and agribusiness over regulation of bio-foods.

Many European and Asian nations already require labels on foods containing genetically modified corn, soybeans, tomatoes and other crops.
 
 
 

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