--Dan Worley in Sunny Puerto Rico--
>Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 12:21:36 -0500
>From: Richard Wolfson <email@example.com>
>Subject: International GE news
>EU to weigh approval for new gene maize, rapeseed
> BRUSSELS, March 6 (Reuters - European Union governments are due to
>consider on March 18 whether or not to approve the marketing throughout the
>15-nation bloc of four new varieties of genetically modified maize and
>rapeseed. The products concerned are maize strains produced by U.S.
>chemicals company Monsanto, Swiss drugs firm Novartis and German group
>AgrEvo, and an oilseed rape variety produced by AgrEvo.
>All four were approved by an EU scientific advisory panel on February 12 in
>a move welcomed by the biotechnology industry.
>The panel's advice is not final and EU states will have to endorse it
>formally before marketing can go ahead.
>Green Euro-MPs and scientists called on Friday for a moratorium on all
>authorisations of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) until solid
>research data could prove they posed no long-term danger to health or the
> Two of the new varieties, the new Monsanto and Novartis maize strains,
>have been engineered to resist the European corn borer by the addition of a
>gene (the BT gene) which causes the plant to produce a protein that kills
>the insect. "This is a new and environmentally friendly way to control
>devastating insect pests and ensure yield," the European Association for
>Bioindustries (Europabio) said.
>But environmentalists and the authorities in Austria, Denmark and Greece
>have voiced concern that the Bt gene could initially kill benign insects as
>well as the corn borer and over time lead to the pest developing a
>resistance to the toxin.
>Austria and Luxembourg have imposed domestic bans on another strain of
>Novartis GMO-maize carrying the Bt gene, in defiance of an EU decision in
>1996 to authorise it. A Commission spokesman said the EU would decide how
>to respond in April.
>New Scientist March 7, 1998
>Chock-full of natural nonsense
>THE poor old US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has had to beat a hasty
>retreat after offending armies of organic farmers and their friends. It
>had tried to allow genetically engineered crops and food treated with
>radiation to be included under the "organic" label, if they were otherwise
>produced by organic means (see p 24). Given what the average organic farmer
>is likely to feel about genetic engineering, the USDA was pretty
>optimistic to think it could ever get away with it.
> Logic might, however, be on the USDA's side. Most people would surely like
>"organic" to be a label for food that is produced to minimise risks to
>health, suffering to animals and damage to the environment. In other words,
>food that you can buy without worry and with a clean conscience. But
>neither genetic engineering nor food irradiation has any necessary
>bearing on these issues. Everything you eat has already been genetically
>engineered for thousands of years. Even the apple, symbol of good health,
>bears little relation to its wild ancestors. So might not ruling out
>new methods of creating foods mean that the label "organic" will stand for
>"traditional" rather than safe and environmentally friendly ? Organic
>farmers might like to be associated with a rosy view of country life, but
>that shouldn't rule out contributions from science. For more science
>news see http://www.newscientist.com
>Subject: GE -Monsanto's altered sugar beet is not sweet to Irish
>News from the Post-Dispatch
>Monsanto's altered sugar beet is not sweet to Irish Sunday, March 8, 1998
>By Bill Lambrecht
>Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau
>SHANAGARRY, Ireland -- With her best-selling cookbooks and her television
>show, Darina Allen is Ireland's Julia Child, with a dash of Martha Stewart
>But down at her Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork, Allen's cheery
>outlook is darkened these days by something other than fallen souffles.
> Allen recently became Ireland's most prominent voice to speak out against
>St. Louis-based Monsanto Co.'s experiments with genetically engineered
>After seeing its first Irish experiment sabotaged, Monsanto is asking for
>approval for expanded field tests in a few weeks. No other company has
>sought similar authority.
>By U.S. standards, Monsanto's experiment in herbicide-tolerance is
>ordinary. But Monsanto and its rivals in the genetic engineering trade are
>finding that Europe is not the United States when it comes to public
>acceptance of genetic engineering. In picking a test plot near Darina
>Allen's school and organic farm, Monsanto poured fuel on an Irish
>controversy that packs far more explosiveness than debates in the United
>Allen, a member of Ireland's governmental Food Safety Authority, tells her
>followers to buy fresh, natural foods for the best dishes and good health.
>To her, natural does not mean "fiddling around with genes," as she put
>it."I'm not a romantic; I'm a realist, a country girl," Allen, 49, said at
>her farm last week. "In my simplistic way of looking at things, you can't
>change nature and continue down this path of intensive farming without
>paying a price."
>Allen's opinion represents a minority in Ireland. But it is a vocal,
>resolute and occasionally militant minority that is slowing the spread of a
>technology to Europe. The United States has two seasons of genetically
>modified soybeans and cotton behind it and this spring will mark the first
>plantings of bioengineered corn.
>Americans pay scant attention to either field tests or to the source of
>what they eat. But in Europe, gene-splicing is meeting the food supply amid
>concerns both about the science and the ethics of manipulating the fabric
>of living things. So far, the vast European market has been a success for
>genetic engineering mainly with pharmaceuticals and diagnostics.
>But agriculture in Europe offers Monsanto and other biotechnology companies
>the potential of hundreds of millions of dollars in profits in the coming
>years if they overcome regulatory hurdles and win public acceptance.
>Regulatory barriers in Europe have begun to melt; last month, a science
>advisory committee of the 15-member European Commission recommended
>approval of four modified crops. Imported foods processed with altered
>ingredients are largely permitted.
>This spring, France will be host to Europe's first commercial planting of
>an altered crop if all goes well in a plan by Novartis, Monsanto's Swiss
>competitor, to sow a modified corn. Yet every European nation is embroiled
>in public debates over testing gene-altered products, labeling them and
>even banning them outright. The discussion is especially lively in Ireland.
>Unlike the United States, the Irish media carry stories almost daily about
>what are known in Europe as GMOs - genetically modified organisms. An
>international conference in Dublin that opens Wednesday is the third public
>forum on the subject in two weeks.
>Last week, an association of Irish retailers announced a voluntary plan to
>label products that contain genetically modified soya and corn imported
>from the United States.In Ireland, Monsanto is deeply involved in political
>skirmishes and public relations campaigns. When the Irish debate
>intensified last year, Monsanto flew a half-dozen Irish journalists to the
>United States for sessions in St. Louis, Southern Illinois and Washington.
>For a conference at Trinity College in Dublin this week, Monsanto is
>picking up the tab for some of the travel costs. The lineup of participants
>says something about Ireland's debate: It includes Ireland's prime
>minister, Scottish sheep cloner Ian Wilmut and an assistant prosecutor in
>the O.J. Simpson trial.
>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.
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