Misc GE News: Financial times, etc.
Daniel D. Worley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sun, 22 Feb 1998 08:13:34 -0400
>Received: from darius.concentric.net (darius.concentric.net [18.104.22.168])
> by ice.icepr.com (8.8.8/8.8.5) with ESMTP id WAA09955
> for <email@example.com>; Thu, 19 Feb 1998 22:47:42 -0500 (EST)
>Received: from mcfeely.concentric.net (mcfeely.concentric.net [22.214.171.124])
> by darius.concentric.net (8.8.8/(98/01/20 5.9))
> id VAA19477; Thu, 19 Feb 1998 21:38:54 -0500 (EST)
> 1-800-745-2747 The Concentric Network
>Received: from [126.96.36.199] (ts002d08.ott-cn.concentric.net
> by mcfeely.concentric.net (8.8.8)
> id VAA22126; Thu, 19 Feb 1998 21:37:42 -0500 (EST)
>Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 21:27:41 -0500
>From: Richard Wolfson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Misc GE News: Financial times, etc.
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>Thanks to the Allsorts <email@example.com> news group for posting the
>Financial Times (London) Feb 17, 1998
>Viewpoint: Biotech industry reaps as it has sown, by Sue Mayer
>The public mistrust genetically engineered crops
>Whether genetically engineered food crops will ever be grown in Europe has
>become a very real question for the biotechnology industry.
>For instance, there is an indefinite delay on the registration of Plant
>Genetic Systems' genetically modified, herbicide resistant oilseed rape,
>which would have been the first such crop to be grown commercially in the
>UK. Plant Genetics Systems had hoped to see it planted this spring, but in
>November, the French government introduced a moratorium on all genetically
>engineered crops to allow for a public debate about their safety and
>desirability. France, which is responsible for European Union approval of
>using the oilseed rape crops in food, is now holding up the procedure.
>In the UK, the company also awaits the outcome of a long overdue
>consultation about herbicide resistant crops in agriculture. Austria
>continues to resist genetically modified crops.
>Although the biotechnology industry probably feels angry and aggrieved,
>it is a situation it should have seen coming and is largely of its own
>making. The mistakes of the biotechnology companies and others supporting
>the technology are that they have either failed to recognise the extent and
>nature of public unease or have dismissed it as based on ignorance.
>A report last year by the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change at
>Lancaster University, concluded that there were "serious limitations" in
>the ability of the political and regulatory framework to reflect legitimate
>public concerns. The mistaken response of the biotechnology industry has
>been to employ people the public trust least - public relations companies -
>to put a positive gloss on things without addressing the concerns.
>The regulations used to assess the safety of genetically modified foods
>have similarly never allowed the broader questions about need and
>alternatives to be addressed, so risks have never been publicly justified.
>They never question whether safety management and monitoring schemes can
>work in practice. Last year, three experimental trials with genetically
>modified crops were criticised by the UK's environment department for poor
>management such that licence safety conditions could have been breached.
>For example, one company was said to have "exerted little management
>control over the release" of genetically engineered oilseed rape. If
>companies are failing to manage experimental trials properly, what
>confidence can there be in the future safety of commercial use?
>All the research on public attitudes to genetically modified foods in
>Europe has shown concern and unease. There is overwhelming evidence that,
>at the very least, the public wish to know how food has been produced and
>to be able to make choices about what they eat. Consumer and environmental
>groups have also protested about safety issues and questioned the need for
>Despite this, the industry has consistently resisted efforts to reconsider
>or even segregate genetically modified crops from those which have been
>bred conventionally and have squeezed labelling requirements so that the
>very minimum is covered.
>By present voluntary schemes and proposed regulations, none of the food
>products made from the PGS oilseed rape would be labelled as containing
>genetically modified products, because the oil from the rape is officially
>pronounced identical to oil from non-engineered rape. By this logic,
>free-range eggs, for instance, would not be labelled - yet, just as with
>genetically modified foods, the means of production is important
>information for the consumer.
>The products of commodity crops such as oilseed rape and soybean are found
>in most items on supermarket shelves. Inevitably, the feeling is that
>genetically modified versions are being imposed, restricting consumer
>An underlying problem is that the official language of risk about genetic
>modification marginalises the concerns of many people. "Playing God" or
>"tampering with nature" are the sorts of phrases people use to articulate
>their fears. Although they sound vague, these expressions are only the tip
>of the iceberg.
>Behind the unease about the ethical implications of this powerful new
>technology are memories of other risk issues.
>The public have learnt from the nuclear industry and recent food scares
>that the extent to which developments prove dangerous in the long term is
>influenced by profit and our inability to control risks. From "mad cow"
>disease, perhaps more than anything, we have learnt the hard lessons of
>scientific uncertainty and its interpretation in policy.
>The biotechnology industry has always defended the narrow framing of the
>debate but now, as the products supposedly come closer to the market, the
>consequences of stifling public debate and influence are becoming clear and
>may mean huge losses through misplaced investment.
>Unless there is a proper debate which influences whether genetically
>engineered foods reach our tables, we will see more direct action and legal
>challenges by public interest groups. The debate about genetically
>modified foods will explode in inappropriate places and businesses will
>suffer. Governments appear to have begun to recognise that public concerns
>are not irrational and must be addressed.
>European governments should agree a complete moratorium on genetically
>modified crops and establish the conditions for dialogue. If this
>opportunity is missed, the risks for all concerned are enormous. Tuesday
>Sue Mayer is director of GeneWatch, which undertakes research and analysis
>of the ethics and risks of genetic technologies. firstname.lastname@example.org
>Food testing 'starved of resources' By Alison Maitland
>Financial Times (London) Feb 17, 1998
>The scientific back-up for food-safety enforcement by local authorities is
>inadequate and required urgent improvement, Richard Worswick, the
>government's chief adviser on chemical analysis, said yesterday.
>Mr Worswick, the government chemist, said the public analyst service used
>by local authorities in England and Wales had been starved of resources
>for years and its testing methods had failed to keep up with technological
>advances in food production.
>Developments in the food industry, including high levels of processing,
>genetic modification and increased cases of food poisoning, demanded rapid
>research into new testing methods. "We're moving into a different league
>of sophistication of tests," he said. "Unless you're well-equipped, it's
>going to be very difficult to tackle these problems."
> AAP NEWSFEED
> February 17, 1998
>BROWN AND WILLIAMSON STILL SELLING HIGH-NICOTINE CIGARETTES
> By Todd Lewan
> NEW YORK, AP - A major US tobacco company has admitted publicly that it is
>selling cigarettes made with genetically altered, high-nicotine tobacco
>despite assurances to the government it had stopped the practice four years
> The genetically altered tobacco packs twice the nicotine of natural
>leaf. The secret use of the ingredient was disclosed by Roger Black,
>director of leaf blending for Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corp, in a
>January 16 deposition for New York state's class-action suit against the
>major tobacco companies.
>(AFP) Nobel-prizewinning dramatist slams EU biotechnology patent law
>STRASBOURG, Feb 18 Nobel-prizewinning Italian dramatist and actor Dario Fo
>on Wednesday began a campaign against a European Union-backed draft
>directive on patenting biotechnological discoveries. The bill, approved
>by the Council of Ministers in November prior to a second reading in the
>European Parliament in Strasbourg, would harmonise and replace national
>legislations and allow the patenting of biotechnical products and the
>procedures by which they are obtained.
>Speaking from the parliament, Fo said "We give people the illusion of
>eternal life by means of distorted information on technical progress, and
>we rush headlong into spheres which challenge the notion of humanity."
>Fo is backed in his campaign by Green Euro-MPs, who claim that the bill
>does not provide the necessary constraints to prevent human cloning and
>that it would encourage research using human embryos.
>Under a placard reading "No patents on life," the playwright charged that
>research into biotechnology was "a grotesque and tragic farce swapping
>parts of animal and human bodies against a backdrop of market interests and
>money transfers which for me provoke instant repulsion."
>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
>Subscription fee to genetic engineering news is $35 for 12 months
>See website for details.
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with "unsubscribe sanet-mg".
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command