London Sunday Times
Daniel D. Worley (email@example.com)
Tue, 10 Feb 1998 09:41:21 -0400
>Date: Sun, 8 Feb 1998 23:38:45 -0500
>From: Richard Wolfson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: London Sunday Times
>Thanks to MichaelP <papadop@PEAK.ORG> for forwarding this article:
>London Sunday Times February 8 1998 INNOVATION
>Duped consumers swallow genetically altered food
>SCIENTISTS are warning consumers that within the next month they run the
>risk of unwittingly eating genetically modified food, writes Sean Hargrave.
>The Food And Drink Federation, which represents food manufacturers, is
>launching a web site devoted to the issue and is distributing CD-Roms on
>the subject to schools.
>The main concerns about modified food are that its long-term effects on
>health have not been exhaustively tested and that altered crops could
>damage the environment, by harming insects that feed on them. Cross
>pollination between plants could lead to "super weeds" that can resist
>herbicides, making them impossible to kill.
>Geneticists are raising the alarm because within the next few weeks soya
>harvested last autumn in America will reach the shops - the beans can be
>found in processed foods, including pizza, margarine, chocolate and ice
>The concern is that 15% of last year's American crop - five times more than
>in 1996 - was genetically modified to enable the beans to resist a
>herbicide used to keep weeds down. The figure is expected to double during
>this year's harvest.
>The American farmers have not had to segregate modified and unmodified
>crops and so it is now increasingly likely that manufacturers could be
>unintentionally adding modified soya to food.
>A voluntary labelling agreement has just come in to force which labels all
>food containing soya protein as being genetically modified.
>Critics say the system does not empower consumers to make informed
>purchases because nearly all products will be labelled as containing
>modified soya, regardless of whether they really are.
>The Genetics Forum, which is opposed to the rapid introduction of modified
>food, says the labels are meaningless as they do not have the force of law
>behind them. The modified soya looks and tastes like the original product,
>and there is no law to force shops to admit that an item may contain
>genetically altered ingredients.
>The forum is also critical of the voluntary code that applies to products
>containing soya protein but not soya oil, which is used in many products,
>such as flour and chocolate.
>"What we've got now is a mishmash that we're not happy with," says Susan
>Casey from the forum. "The system we have is being put together on an ad
>hoc voluntary basis. We think if the population was aware of how modified
>food is creeping into shops without them knowing they would be horrified.
>You only have to look at the demand for organic produce to realise the
>importance people place on knowing what is in their food and where it has
>There is no proven health risk associated with modified food, but opponents
>claim this does not prove it is safe because there have been no long-term
>tests. Malcolm Walker, chairman of Iceland, the supermarket chain, is one
>of the industry's strongest opponents of, what he terms, "Frankenstein
>"It takes seven years or so to get a new pill on the market, but these new
>foods are getting approval at the drop of a hat," he says. "The Americans
>are purposefully not separating the modified and unmodified soya because
>they know, if given the choice, we would go for the unmodified. There can
>be no categorical assurance that these new foods are not bad for us, the
>long-term tests have not been done. And soya is the thin end of the wedge,
>later this year we will probably be seeing altered maize and wheat."
>Iceland is due to announce that its own-brand products are free of
>genetically altered ingredients. It buys from suppliers who have secured
> The Food and Drink Federation's web site can be found at
>Here is another article from the London Sunday Times. This one is clearly
>promotional of the industry perspective, and ignoring the potential
>long-term risks of genetic engineering. :
>the truth is that when one genetic change is made, to add some attribute,
>there could be other damaging effects that may not show up for many years,
>and this is dangerous-- Richard
>London Sunday Times February 8 1998 BRITAIN
>New tomato keeps men healthy - with a bit of sauce on the side
>by Steve Connor Science Correspondent
>SCIENTISTS have captured the secret of the sun-dried tomato. They have
>created a genetically engineered tomato plant that could prevent prostate
>cancer and so prolong men's sex lives.
>The tomato has been altered to boost its production of lycopene, a natural
>ingredient which has been shown to reduce significantly the risk of men
>developing the cancer.
>The research marks a new era in the genetic enhancement of food. Until now
>changes have concentrated on improving the crop yields or the shelf-life of
>A "virility" tomato is one of the first in a new line of genetically
>engineered products which are aimed at improving the extra nutritional
>content of a wide variety of foods. The tomato is generating intense
>interest from biotechnology companies which want to sell lycopene-enriched
>Tomatoes have the highest levels of lycopene of any fruit or vegetable and
>could account for the low incidence of prostate cancer in some
>Mediterranean countries, where older men are renowned for their continued
>interest in love-making.
>Several studies have shown that men who eat between five and 10 servings of
>tomato a week decrease their risk of developing prostate cancer by nearly a
>Levels of lycopene in the body are highest in the testes, prostate and
>adrenal glands, which are intimately involved with generating the hormones
>that are necessary for sexual performance.
>Zeneca, the British biotechnology company, is running a lycopene research
>project aimed at boosting the naturally high levels of the substance in
>Camilla Beech, a Zeneca executive, said the company's scientists have
>identified many of the genes involved in the production of lycopene in
>tomatoes and are developing ways of increasing its concentration. "We are
>trying to get the plant to overproduce lycopene in the tomato fruit. We
>have identified the genes and created transgenic plants," she said.
>Beech said it was too early to say whether Zeneca will market the tomato as
>a "virility product" given that it will take at least two years for it to
>receive the approval of regulatory bodies. "We would have to see what the
>market potential is," she said.
>Jack Winkler, an independent policy analyst on the health aspects of food,
>said it might be easier for Zeneca to sell the tomato as a virility booster
>than as a product for preventing prostate cancer.
>"As the regulations stand it is more permissible to say something maintains
>and enhances health than it is to say it prevents disease. I think this
>tomato is more likely to be sold as something that maintains natural powers
>than something which can help to avoid cancer," Winkler said.
>The creation of new foods with medicinal properties is not restricted to
>tomatoes. Many companies are experimenting with adding extra calcium to
>products such as chewing gum to prevent osteoporosis in older women.
>Healthy shoppers in America can buy eggs from hens fed on fish oil: the
>eggs are enhanced with antioxidants, vitamin E and essential fatty acids
>for guarding against heart disease and cancer.
>Gerbl=E9, the French confectionary company, sells a chocolate called Barre
>Memoire that is enriched with a substance believed to help improve the
>memory; in Britain, Allied Bakeries has recently launched Burgen bread with
>added phyto-oestrogens to help menopausal women cope with hot flushes.
>Richard Wolfson, PhD
>Consumer Right to Know Campaign,
>for Mandatory Labelling and Long-term
>Testing of all Genetically Engineered Foods,
>500 Wilbrod Street
>Ottawa, ON Canada K1N 6N2
>Our website, http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/geindex.html
>contains more information on genetic engineering as well as
>previous genetic engineering news items
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with "unsubscribe sanet-mg".
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command