ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

21 August 2002


1. Monsanto man to be WTO director-general's deputy
3. 30 tonnes of GM contaminated maize incinerated
4. Italy Launches GM Seed Probe


1. Trading places

Financial Times (London) August 20, 2002, Tuesday London

A canny early move from Supachai Panitchpakdi, who takes over next month as director-general of the World Trade Organisation. The former Thai deputy premier has irked both Brussels and Washington lately by wading into their transatlantic steel trade dispute and threatening the WTO's traditional consensus by posing as a champion of developing countries.

So Supachai has selected two trade veterans to be his US and European deputies. Britain's Rod Abbott has 30 years' experience as a European Union trade negotiator. Witty and with an ear for well-turned phrases, he knows the mind of Pascal Lamy, cerebral EU trade commissioner. That'll prove invaluable for Supachai as he pushes ahead with the Doha trade round and the inevitable haggling over reducing Brussels' farm subsidies. The US deputy, meanwhile, Rufus Yerxa, has Geneva experience as the US ambassador to Gatt, the WTO's predecessor, where he had a reputation for charming opponents. Yerxa has been international counsel to Monsanto, the bio-technology group. Just the man Supachai will need should the US ever bleat to the WTO about EUrestrictions on genetically modified food.


2. Golden Rice

The Christchurch Press August 20, 2002

Sir--I find Dr Ross Bicknell's comment re golden rice (August 16) at the best naive. Whether we trust Greenpeace's or Astra Zeneca/Monsanto's data should depend on the accuracy and reliability of the data and not on the level of our optimism. Dr Bicknell says: it does not matter if we can not do or understand it now; let us just go ahead anyway because we are optimists. I am an unrepentant optimist too. I believe that scientists like Dr Bicknell will still be able to change their techno-fatalistic views and realise that we can move towards a bright future and achieve progress without using genetic engineering in agriculture.

 HOLGER KAHL Diamond Harbour, August 18


3. AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND: Pacific Seeds incinerates 30 tonnes of maize due to GM contamination

20 Aug 2002
Source: editorial team

Australian seed giant Pacific Seeds has been forced to incinerate 30 tonnes of maize in Auckland, New Zealand, after it emerged that the seed was contaminated with genetically modified material.

The GM material, designed to ensure insect and weed resistance, was discovered after routine post harvest testing. Tests are now underway to discover the source of contamination.

GM crops are banned in NZ, and the country's Ministry of Agriculture has reassured consumers that the affected corn seed has not entered the food chain.

Pacific Seeds MD Chris Bazley told ABC Rural News that Australian growers need not worry because the maize was grown in NZ. He admitted however that incinerating the seed will prove costly: "It's going to cost us a lot of money based on destroying the seed, you know we've already had to pay people to grow it and then we're destroying it.

"We're going to have to pay for monitoring and cleaning up and there's been a lot of other on-costs on top of all of that."


4. Italy Launches GM Seed Probe

Chemical Week August 14, 2002

A Turin, Italy court has launched an investigation into 10 seed companies for allegedly selling corn seeds contaminated with genetically modified (GM) material on the Italian market. The planting of GM seeds is prohibited in Italy. The investigation follows tests carried out by state-owned seeds agency Ense (Milan). The court declined to identify the companies, but sources say that five are Italian and the rest are multinationals, including Monsanto and Pioneer Hi-Bred, a subsidiary of DuPont.

ngin bulletin archive