ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

Date:  28 February 2001


Five items - reporting breaking news in the Biotech Food Debate

1.    Monsanto Admits Breach of Gene Technology Guidelines. 28 February 2001
       - Australian Broadcasting Service (ABC)).

The multinational crop company, Monsanto, has admitted to breaching Federal guidelines for conducting gene technology trials.  The Interim Office of the Gene Technology Regulator has found Monsanto and another company, Aventis, did not carry out adequate clean up procedures at 11
Tasmanian sites used for trials of genetically engineered canola.

The findings have outraged the Tasmanian Government, which is investigating if there are any grounds for prosecution under state quarantine laws. Spokesman for Monsanto, Brian Arnst, says regrowth of trialled canola plants was found at two of the company's sites during a federal
government check. He says Monsanto has been quick to fix the problem. "These plants have subsequently been destroyed and the remedial monitoring as suggested by the office of the GTR, we have adopted that obviously straight away," he said.

2.    Bush seeks to fully fund US food safety programme and biotechnology
        By Tom Doggett, WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 27 February 2001

President Bush proposes in his first budget to fully fund the Agriculture Department's food safety programs, including money to pay for 7,600 meat and poultry inspectors. According to White House budget documents, Bush also plans to prioritize USDA research to provide new emphasis on biotechnology and developing new agricultural products.

Bush is set to unveil Wednesday his $1.9 trillion federal budget for fiscal 2002, which begins on Oct.

3.    Europe Rethinks Policies, Organic methods on Increase
       Country-by-Country View - 28 February 2001, The Guardian, London.  or news.

Special report: what's wrong with our food? Excerpts:

France: Sales of organic meat, fruit and vegetables have risen by 25% over the past two years.  Successive food crises only increase Europe-wide calls for a fundamental shift in agricultural policies and practices. But agricultural reform to improve food production methods - and particularly any reform of the EU's common agricultural policy (CAP) - will be more difficult to sell in France than anywhere else in Europe. French farmers benefit more than any others from the CAP. They are capable of bringing the country to a standstill and used to getting
what they want from nervous French governments...

4.    Gene-Spliced Wheat Stirs Global Fears (front page WashingtonPost)
       By Marc Kaufman, Washington Post Staff Writer. - 27 February 2001

Buyers Spurn Grain Before It's Planted.

"Some have said that the wheat's very presence on American farms could threaten future purchases of all U.S. wheat....   an unprecedented wheat industry request to put in place a system to strictly segregate the modified wheat before it is ever sold to farmers or even approved by regulators. The company has also agreed generally to promote wheat biotechnology to buyers and consumers abroad."

5.    Traders Fret Japan's StarLink review may drag on - 28 February 2001
        By Jae Hur - Reuters

 Japan could take at least five months to decide whether to approve gene-altered StarLink corn as animal feed, raising fears of possible supply disruptions, traders said on Wednesday.
Japanese feed importers cautiously welcomed an application last week by Aventis CropScience Japan KK, a unit of Franco-German life sciences company Aventis SA , to sell its StarLink biotech corn to Japan for use in animal feed. The gene-spliced corn is controversial in Japan, where consumer opposition to genetically modified products has intensified since traces of StarLink were detected in food and animal feed last October. The discovery prompted Japan, the single-biggest buyer of U.S. corn, to sharply cut its corn purchases, leading the U.S. and Japanese
governments to set up a testing protocol to prevent StarLink from being mixed in U.S. corn exports to Japan.

        (6)   Editor's Note: Our abbreviated format for the next severalweeks is due to time constraints in searching for articles.  Let us know what we've missed.


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