ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
3 October 2002


QUOTE OF THE WEEK:  "In terms of the short-term objective [halving world hunger by 2015], the position I have always taken is that  we don't need genetically modified organisms." - Jacques Diouf, head of FAO, quoted in New Zealand Herald, Food aid fears stun FAO head, 02.10.2002

1. GET ACTIVE on a dirty little standard
2. GE drug results deliberately falsified?
3. The out-conflicted Lord Sainsbury


1. Greenpeace Campaign Alert

Soon a small technical committee of the European Union (The Standing Committee on Seeds) will be asked to approve a dirty little standard allowing extensive contamination of European farmland with genetically engineered (GE) plants. The proposed directive on GE seed contamination permits "thresholds" of GE contamination in bags of ordinary seeds:

In a bag of beet, cotton or maize seed, one in every 200 seeds could be genetically engineered without informing the farmer. (0.5%)

In a bag of rapeseed, about one in 330 seeds could be secretly contaminated. (0.3%)
In a bag of soy seeds, more than one in every 150 could be contaminated. (0.7%)

You can help by writing to UK Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Minister Michael Meacher from here:

You can also warn your friends and colleagues about this new threat by sending them this e-card, designed by a Greenpeace cyberactivist and the winning entry of our "Seeds of Trouble" competition:

You can send up to six e-cards at once, and we encourage you to spread the word far and wide.

Please act soon as we expect that the crucial committee meeting will take place within two weeks.


Please don't forget to visit the Greenpeace Cyberactivist Community at:


2. from Private Eye 4 Oct 2002

'HP Sauce' column

What safer or more dependable company could you imagine than Johnson & Johnson, the people who make baby powder?

No doubt it was the company's homespun reputation that persuaded health secretary Alan Milburn to choose it to build and run 20 new hospitals in Britain. Alas, no sooner was the government's memorandum of understanding with Johnson & Johnson signed than the company's shares began to slide.

The problem was a mysterious former employee, as yet unnamed, who says he or she was sacked for whistleblowing about the results of tests on the firm's [genetically engineered] drug, Eprex. The claim--that results were deliberately falsified--is so widely believed that shares are slumping.


3. from Private Eye 4 Oct 2002

'HP Sauce' column

[About the out-conflicted Lord Sainsbury:]

The competition commission has made an interesting choice in appointing David Roberts, the director of strategic management at Sainsbury's, as its new business adviser. But will anyone at the commission dare refer Roberts to the commission's report in 2000 on... supermarkets?

That report carried serious criticism of Sainsbury's, which "contributed to the situation in which the majority of their products were not fully exposed to competitive pressure and distorted the supply of groceries".

Even harsher criticism was reserved for the treatment of suppliers by big supermarkets. Of course if anyone has any complaint about the competition commission's treatment of such matters while Mr Roberts is its business advisor, they can always complain to the relevant ministry, the department of trade and industry, and directly to one of its junior ministers--a certain Lord Sainsbury!

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