ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

26 October 2001


Spot any connection between items 1 and 2?
1. Media are out of step with democracy
2. Anti-GMO Sentiments Thrive Overseas


1. Media are out of step with democracy, Acting as a branch of government

Salim Muwakkil (Salim Muwakkil is a senior editor at In These Times)
Chicago Tribune, October 22, 2001

EXCERPT: American people remain largely uninformed about the many foreign policy decisions (including aiding in the overthrow of leaders in Iran and bombing Lebanon, Afghanistan, Sudan and Libya) that have inflamed much of the Islamic world. We instead are told that we are hated because we are rich, free and angelic. Nor are most Americans aware that Central Asia, according to the Oil and World Journal, will account for 80 per cent of our oil by 2050, and that some people with connections to the Bush administration have commercial interests in that exploration. This issue may not be earthshaking, but it certainly is a part of the overall context of our war in the Central Asian nation of Afghanistan. Surely, Americans should have some contextual understanding of the conflict before sending their youth into harm's way.


2. Anti-GMO sentiments thrive overseas

Dale McDonald, Rooster News Network -- Friday, October 26, 2001

Early this week I worked my way through about 100 country reports from the USDA's Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS). These reports are written by attaches based in just about every country with which we have diplomatic relations, and they contain news and insights and report on trends that affect commerce in each country.

If you think that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) aren't on every country's hot list, think again. From Poland to Korea to Australia to Mexico, GMOs are getting hit with consumer demonstrations, academic studies, government food labeling orders and outright bans. The issue, however, has little to do with agricultural production. Action is being taken because the perceived issue is food safety. Whether it's corn, beans, potatoes or tomatoes, if consumers eat it they want a voice. And they are getting it around the world.

Take Japan, the number-one destination for most of America's food exports. Here's a sampling of what is happening, as reported by the FAS:

Traces of a genetically modified potato, which is approved in the United States, were discovered in potato chips made by Japan's House Foods. That brand of chip was pulled off store shelves, and other manufacturers are considering recalling all chips produced from the same source of potatoes. A separate food processor began recalling its potato snacks for the same reason.

Japan's Food Agency decided not to purchase GMO wheat, even if it is approved for sale in Japan. The reason cited was food safety concerns by consumers. Earlier this year, Japan's wheat millers said they would not use GMO wheat. According to the report, "Japan's negative response. . .in the wake of the StarLink corn issue, highlights the importance of U.S. industry and government coordination on GMO wheat development, safety assessment, distribution and commercialization."

Genetically Modified High-Oleic Soybean Oil must now appear on the labels of all high-oleic-acid soybean oils produced from genetically modified beans. When Japan's Ministry of Agriculture began requiring GMO labeling for 24 foods last April, edible oils were excluded from the list because the introduced DNA would be destroyed during processing. But last month the agency revised the labeling requirement to include high-oleic soybean oil.

U.S. soybean exports to Japan are expected to decline as soybean users continue to shift to non-GMO beans from Canada and Brazil. Canada and Brazil are increasing their market share, while U.S. market share fell from 79% in 1999 to 64% in 2000.


3. NFU Opposes GM canola

October 26, 2001
Western Producer

The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate has recruited an ally in its class-action lawsuit against those who introduced genetically modified canola to the Prairies.

The National Farmers Union saysg it will offer moral and financial support for the organic growers who plan to take on the international chemical company Monsanto and others who helped bring GM technology to Western Canada.

NFU board member Stewart Wells said, "Since 1998 the NFU has been urging the federal and provincial governments to determine who is liable for genetic pollution and the significant costs that GM technologies impose on organic farmers and conventional farmers who choose to farm GM-free. The SOD lawsuit is an important step in determining that liability."

In addition to seeking compensation for losses resulting from the introduction of GM canola, the directorate is asking for an injunction against the introduction of GM wheat - another move the NFU supports.

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