A while back you wrote -
<<Does anyone know of a current, updated on-line listing of foods that
contain bio-engineered ingredients. I am concerned about the lack of
mandatory labeling that would identify bio-engineered ingredients in foods.
Among the many disadvantages of foods that do not contain complete labeling
is the triggering of allergic reactions.>
There are a number of websites with good info on genetically-engineered
* Mothers for Natural Law <www.lisco.com/mothersfornaturallaw/> - they're
collecting a million signatures calling for labelling - not sufficient, but
the minimum that should be done, so we can choose if we want to participate
in this mass experiment!
* Physicians against Genetically Engineered Food - <for web address, do a
search or email Jaan Suurkula MD, firstname.lastname@example.org>
* Council for Responsible Genetics - "1,000 scientists, bioethicists and
religious leaders who are concerned about the social and ethical
implications of new genetic technologies." <for email address, do a search
or email them at CRG@essential.org>
* Pure Food <www.geocities.com/athens/1527> "A list for those concerned
about the recent cross-species genetic engineering of the global food
supply with the genes of viruses, bacteria, insects, fish, animals; even
with human DNA."
Below is some info for you. Chilling, no?, to see how many people are
being exposed to this largely UNTESTED, EXPERIMENTAL, and HIGHLY RISKY
technology - unlabelled and thus untraceable!! What a public health
nightmare unfolding before our eyes - unless we act to significiantly
change its direction now! Otherwise, we will surely bear the costs, in oh
so many ways.....
Best regards -
--- FORWARD #1
To: Patricia Dines, 73652,1202
Date: Fri, Jan 30, 1998, 4:56 PM
Subject: Reminder: How To Shop
From: email@example.com (Peter M. Ligotti)
Reminder: How To Shop
Thanks again to Judy Kew for putting most of this list together.
This is still pretty much up-to-date. But I've learned that many do not
follow the guidelines. Please don't allow yourself to be a guinea pig for
the multinationals. Some people continue to take their chances with this.
HOW TO SHOP TO AVOID GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS:
FOODS TO AVOID OR BOYCOTT:
SPECIFIC BRAND NAME PRODUCTS TO BOYCOTT:
THESE COMPANIES USE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED INGREDIENTS IN SOME OR ALL OF
Coca Cola (corn syrup and/or Aspartame), Fritos (corn), Green Giant Harvest
Burgers (soy), McDonald's French Fries (potatoes), Nestle's chocolates
(soy), Karo Corn Syrup (corn), NutraSweet (Aspartame), Kraft Salad
Dressings (canola oil), Fleishmann's margarine (soy), Similac Infant
Formula (soy), Land o Lakes butter (rBGH), Cabot Creamery Butter (rBGH).
AVOID ALL OTHER CONVENTIONAL (NOT CERTIFIED-ORGANIC) TOMATOES, POTATOES,
CORN, SOY, CANOLA OIL, COTTON SEED OIL, AND YELLOW CROOK-NECK SQUASH:
TOMATOES: Genetically engineered with bacteria-derived kanamycin resistance
genes, Antisense backwards DNA, antibiotic marker genes, viruses, and DNA
of flounder and North Atlantic shellfish. This and the following
genetically engineered foods have antibiotic marker genes used to
facilitate the genetic engineering process. They can cause allergies and
POTATOES: Genetically engineered with wax moth insect DNA; genetically
engineered to produce its own pesticide internally with the DNA of bacillus
CORN: Genetically engineered to tolerate high quantities of the chemical
pesticide glufosinate, and genetically engineered with a virus and the DNA
of the bacteria bacillus thuringiensis.
SOY: Genetically engineered and DNA-altered by Monsanto with bacteria;
capable of tolerating heavy doses of Monsanto's Roundup brand chemical
YELLOW CROOK NECK SQUASH: Gene-spliced with two experimental viruses and
arbitrary marker genes, capable of causing unpredictable and unexpected
CANOLA OIL: Genetically engineered and DNA-altered with California bay
turnip and various viruses and bacterium in order to produce high
quantities of lauric acid.
COTTON SEED OIL: Genetically engineered and DNA-altered with Arabidopsis
bacterium, and viruses to be able to withstand large applications of the
chemical pesticide bromoxynil. Bromoxynil causes birth defects in human
PAPAYA: Some have been genetically engineered.
AVOID ALL PRODUCTS DERIVED FROM THE ABOVE NON-ORGANIC ITEMS
As of the beginning of 1997, these products will have been genetically
engineered and on the market as a percentage of the total conventional food
supply. Since they are sold unlabeled in the conventional market, there is
no way to tell specifically which tomatoes, potatoes, corn, soy, etc. have
been actually genetically engineered. If you live in a nation which may
receive imports from the U.S. and Canada, you should also avoid these
non-organic foods as a safety precaution. Your own nation or another
exporting to yours may be doing genetic engineering. Eat only organic food
if possible. Even if you buy seeds to grow your own food, buy only organic
AVOID EATING IN NON-ORGANIC RESTAURANTS
Unless the restaurant management makes it clear in writing that they are
committed to using only non-genetically engineered foods and products,
avoid eating out as much as possible. Since genetically engineered foods
are not labeled, they also have no idea which of their tomato, potato,
corn, soy, canola, yellow-crook-neck squash products may be genetically
READ LABELS CAREFULLY: BE CAREFUL WITH ALL PROCESSED FOODS
WATCH OUT FOR CONVENTIONAL, NON-ORGANIC CORN AND SOY, BECAUSE THEY ARE IN
SO MANY PRODUCTS:
Avoid corn syrup, fructose, and fructose corn syrup in almost all beverages
and sodas (even health food brands), and in almost all sweet products,
yogurt, and aspirin. Avoid corn oil, corn starch, corn meal, baking soda,
baking powder, glycose syrup; Avoid soy; soy flour in baked goods; pizza,
cookies, cakes, pasta; fillers in meat products, (for example Big Macs)
vegetarian meat substitutes, (for example tofu, tofu burgers, tofu hot
dogs) soy milk, infant formula, baby foods; diet and protein shakes,
protein bars; chocolate and candy bars; margarine; ice cream; pet food; soy
oil in salad dressings & snack chips; soy sauce; lecithin and soy lecithin.
In all, well over 30,000 products!
AVOID rBGH MILK & DAIRY PRODUCTS (apologies to strict vegans):
Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH), marketed
through veterinarians and injected into dairy cows, causes increased milk
production and horrible mastitis. These cows then require constant medical
supervision and continuous high doses of antibiotics. Their milk contains
high levels of pus. The cow's milk and dairy products made from this milk
also contain rBGH, bovine growth hormone. This hormone increases cancer
risk in human beings.
This is known as the artificial sweetener Equal or NutraSweet and is made
up of three chemicals and a genetically engineered enzyme. It has been
implicated in many diseases. It breaks down into formeldahyde in the body.
EAT ONLY ORGANIC RENNETLESS CHEESE (apologies to strict vegans):
Most non-organic cheeses are made with a genetically engineered rennet
AVOID DOUGH CONDITIONER:
This is a code word for a combination of genetically engineered enzymes and
other components, found in cheaper breads and baked goods.
OTHER GENETICALLY ENGINEERED ADDITIVES AND ENZYMES
Avoid Amylase (used in making bread, flour, whole wheat flour, cereals,
starch), Catalase (used in making soft drinks, egg whites, liquid whey) and
FOODS TO FAVOR:
BUY AND EAT ONLY CERTIFIED ORGANIC FOODS:
Certified organic tomatoes, potatoes, corn, soy, canola oil, cotton oil,
and yellow-crook-neck squash are safe. Many other genetically engineered
products will be coming to market in 1997 and 1998 if the bio-tech industry
has its way. By buying only organic foods of every type, you will protect
yourself and your family from Frankenfoods. Almost everything that can be
found in your conventional food market is also produced by the organic food
industry. If you buy a few carefully chosen conventional foods, keep
up-to-date on which few conventional foods are safe through the websites
and mailing lists at the end of this consumer report.
MEAT AND POULTRY (apologies to vegetarians)
Most livestock are being fed genetically altered feed, as well as a
disgusting mix of ground-up and often diseased and discarded animal
carcasses. The only safe beef and poultry will be those fed only
organically grown grain. Avoid commercially produced seafood. Commercial
pork has been genetically altered with DNA from human beings. Great time to
decide to be vegetarian.
FAVOR DAIRY PRODUCTS FROM COMPANIES THAT DO NOT USE (rBGH) BOVINE GROWTH
HORMONE (apologies to strict vegans)
Research and buy only from suppliers that promise on the package or in
other writing that their products are rBGH-free. Be especially careful with
butter. Buy only organic butter, because even otherwise good companies buy
cheap rBGH milk to make butter, or else they buy their butter (rBGH) from
--- FORWARD #2
From: Richard Wolfson, INTERNET:firstname.lastname@example.org
To: Patricia Dines, 73652,1202
Date: Wed, Jun 4, 1997, 2:25 PM
Subject: recent ny times article
New York Times
May 21, 1997
By MARIAN BURROS
Last December, Whole Foods Market, the largest natural foods supermarket
chain in the country, sent letters to more than 400 of its suppliers,
asking if their products contained genetically engingeered ingredients.
About three-quarters of the suppliers have not yet responded.
"Most of them don't know about their ingredients and are scrambling to find
out," said Margaret Wittenburg, quality assurance director of Whole Foods,
who wrote the letter.
Most Americans are in the dark, too. They have no idea what foods on their
supermarket shelves contain genetically engineered ingredients because the
Government does not require those products to be labeled. A small but
growing movement of people is pushing for that to change.
Genetically engineered food is created by taking the DNA from one organism
and inserting it into another. The process passes on certain
characteristics to plants and animals. The resulting organism is called
"transgenic." This modification of gene material is not possible with
traditional selective breeding.
No tests have been conducted to determine the impact of transgenic food on
the human diet. At least one study published in the New England Journal of
Medicine, however, has shown that some genetically engineered food has the
potential to cause allergic reactions.
Producers are turning to genetic engineering for a more abundant, less
expensive and more nutritious food supply. Biotechnology companies like
Monsanto and Novartis produce genetically engineered soybeans, tomatoes,
squash and corn. There has been talk, for instance, of inserting flounder
genes in tomatoes to keep them from freezing.
--- ASIDE FROM PD: Corporations are making all sorts of claims about GE, but the truth is the food will likely be - less nutritious, less tasty (as the trends have been) - longer shelf life (so less fresh, and harder to tell visually when it's old) - more toxic (many allow the use of more pesticides, especially herbicides, and have led to requests for increased "pesticide tolerances" (allowable amounts of these pesticides in our food).) - and the farmers will be more beholden to the ag/biotech corporations (having to get seed from them every year, not being able to save and select their own). Plus some of these seeds aren't working, causing horrible yields, deformed cotton bolls, etc., which the corporations are blaming on the farmers and the weather, not their seeds!-- <article continues>
More soybeans are genetically engineered than any other food, and 13 percent to 16 percent of the country's soybean crop is being grown from genetically engineered seeds. Between 60 and 70 percent of processed food contains soy, but there is no way to know, without testing, how much of that is genetically engineered. About 2 percent of the corn crop is genetically engineered.
Europeans have been quicker than Americans to react to transgenic food. Thousands of Europeans, rallied by Greenpeace and green parties, have participated in referendums and rallies, signed petitions and marched in protest to the corporate headquarters of biotechnology companies. They have demanded that transgenic food be labeled and kept separate from other food. The European Commission has proposed strict labeling. In Austria and Luxembourg, genetically engineered food is banned.
Most observers suggest that Europe's response is so much more intense because of the European experience with mad cow disease.
It's not that Americans are ignorant of genetic engineering -- almost everyone is aware of Dolly, the sheep that was cloned. And many people have raised objections to milk from cows that have been given the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone to increase milk output. Americans also have strong opinions about the need for labeling.
In a survey announced this year by Novartis, 93 percent of respondents agreed that labeling is needed. At the same time, 21 percent said transgenic food is very safe, and 50 percent said it is somewhat safe.
So far, small groups of consumer advocates are raising health and environmental concerns about genetically engineered products. Those consumers pushed Whole Foods to get answers from their suppliers. The company wrote in its first letter to its suppliers that mandatory labeling "is the only way consumers can exercise their right to choose not to consume genetically engineered foods." It added, "Accordingly, Whole Foods Market is requiring verification from your company as to whether the single or multiple ingredients in your products are from genetically engineered sources."
In two months, the company heard from only a quarter of the suppliers. It wrote the others: "First we wanted you to understand the depth of passion that our customers have for accessing food from nongenetically engineered sources. Second, we wanted to be the impetus for manufacturers to pressure their suppliers for assurance of nongenetically engineered sources. Third, we wanted to see what the reality of the situation truly is at this time for manufacturers being able to access nongenetically engineered ingredients."
The company is also urging customers to write to the Food and Drug Administration demanding labeling.
There are signs that the consumer movement is gaining momentum. Nebraska and Maine are considering legislation for labeling. Mothers for Natural Law, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, has begun a public awareness campaign. The group, which is affiliated with the Natural Law Party, which promotes transcendental meditation, wants to collect a million signatures on a petition asking the Food and Drug Administration to require testing and labeling of transgenic foods.
In this country, transgenic food is not tightly regulated because the Food and Drug Administration says it is safe. Companies must get F.D.A. approval to market a genetically engineered product only if the food contains a known toxic substance, nutrients that are different from the original food, any new substances or a known food allergen, or if it uses antibiotic-resistant genes. Labeling is required only if a transgenic food carries a known food allergen. For those with unusual allergies, like one to bananas, there is no way to know what foods to avoid.
The problem of allergens was outlined in the New England Journal of Medicine for May 14, 1996. In a study at the University of Nebraska a gene from a Brazil nut was introduced into a soybean. The genetically modified soybean was tested on people known to be allergic to Brazil nuts, and they had an allergic reaction to the modified soybeans but not to the unmodified soybeans.
"Genetic engineeers are taking genes from bacteria, viruses and insects and adding them to fruits, grains and vegetables," said Dr. Rebecca Goldburg, an Environmental Defense Fund senior scientist. "They are producing foods that have never before been eaten by human beings. Consumers should not be guinea pigs for untested food substances."
Skip Rogland, the vice president of communications for Novartis in the United States, said that as long as the federal government approves the products, "consumer safety has been protected, and we've complied with the law." He added that the company supports "labeling of genetically engineered raw products when there is scientific evidence that requires it."
How prevalent is transgenic food? This column asked Genetic ID, a company in Fairfield, Iowa, that tests food for genetically engineered ingredients, to test four soy-based baby formulas and eight other products made with soy or corn. The formulas -- Carnation Alsoy, Similac Neocare, Isomil and Enfamil Prosobee -- all tested positive. Eden Soy milk tested negative. Morningstar Farms Breakfast Links and Morningstar Farms Better 'n Burgers, Betty Crocker Bac-os Bacon Bits, all soy-based products, also tested positive. And so did three corn-based chips -- Fritos, Tostitos Crispy Rounds and Doritos Nacho Cheesier.
Consumer advocates worry that treating infections could become more difficult because some genetic engineering introduces antibiotic-resistant genes into food. And critics have raised concerns about potential environmental problems, like the unintentional creation of weeds resistant to some herbicides and pests resistant to certain pesticides.
For now the only way Americans can avoid genetically engineered food is to choose certified organic food. But even that might change.
The Agriculture Department is expected to release national standards for organic foods this year, and there is concern among organic farmers and processors, consumer advocates and some scientists that the department will override the recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board, which voted to prohibit genetically engineered foods from being labeled organic.
Following is a list by Genetic ID of Fairfield, Iowa, of genetically engineered foods that have been approved by the federal government, that await approval or that are under development. An asterisk marks foods that are for sale.
Abalone* Alfalfa Apples Asparagus Barley Beets Broccoli Canola (rapeseed oil)* Carrots Catfish* Cauliflower Cheesemaking enzymes (chymosin)* Chestnuts Chicory Corn Cotton (cottonseed oil)* Cucumbers Flaxseed Grapes Kiwi fruit Lettuce Melons Papayas Peanuts Pepper Potatoes* Prawns* Raspberries Rice Salmon* Soybeans* Squash Strawberries Sugar cane Sunflowers Sweet potatoes Tomatoes* Walnuts Watermelons Wheat
Copyright 1997 The New York Times Company
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- INFORMATION COURTESY OF: Patricia Dines, Community Action Publications, PDines@compuserve.com
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