Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 08:08:26 +0100
From: Richard Wolfson <email@example.com>
next 2 stories were from From: genetics <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: GE - GMO News 09/17
The Globe and Mail News Cover-up alleged at Health
Canada Were pushed to approve drug, scientists say
ANNE McILROY Parliamentary Bureau 09/17/98 The federal Health Department
has concealed evidence about the dangers of a genetically engineered
hormone that boosts milk production in cows, environmentalists and
scientists charged yesterday. The Health Canada scientists told an internal
labour board they were being pushed to approve the bovine-growth-hormone
despite their concerns that it wasn't safe.
The six scientists said they had been ordered by their superiors not to
speak publicly on the issue.
The controversial hormone, manufactured by Monsanto, was approved in the
United States in 1993, but is still prohibited in Europe and Canada.
In another development yesterday, the Sierra Club of Canada released
government documents it says suggest far more research is needed before
Canadian farmers are allowed to inject their cows with the hormone.
The documents show that the U.S. study that led to the approval of the
hormone in that country actually found that 30 per cent of the rats given
the drug reacted with increased levels of antibodies, and some had lesions
and cysts in their thyroid glands, says Sierra Club executive director
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that there had been no
negative effects in a study of the hormone in rats, Ms. May told reporters
"What it shows is that you need an awful lot more studies to be able to say
that, on the basis of a feeding study for rats, there is no problems for
humans. . . . Yet we are now on the brink of approving
bovine-growth-hormone." The documents released yesterday were obtained
under an Access to Information request by Barbara Robson, a researcher for
Progressive Conservative Senator Mira Spivak. The Senate's agriculture
committee is investigating the safety of the bovine-growth-hormone for
humans and animals, and had asked Health Canada to provide the scientific
evidence it is considering.
But Ms. Robson said yesterday the department provided the committee with a
version of the scientific record that blocked out the potentially troubling
results. It was only her personal request that netted the information the
politicians had been seeking, she said.
"What I think is appalling is the Senate was denied this information," Ms.
Robson said in an interview.
It is not the first time the Health Protection Branch has been criticized
for secrecy or for putting the interests of drug companies before those of
Canadians. The branch played a key role in the tainted-blood tragedy of the
The bovine-growth-hormone is controversial, in part, because it is a
genetically engineered drug, produced by inserting a bovine gene into the
genetic code of a common strain of bacteria. In 1993, the U.S. FDA
announced that the drug had been thoroughly evaluated and was safe, and
that no special labels would be required on milk produced by cows that had
been injected with it.
The technology has been criticized by public-interest groups and some
scientists who warn it could increase udder infections in cows and lead to
the increased use of antibiotics, which could end up in the milk produced
by these animals.
The six Health Canada scientists have been told they will be disciplined if
they speak to the media, said Blair Stannard, vice-president of their
union. They are Shiv Chopra, Margaret Haydon, Chris Basudde, Rajinder
Sharma, Gerard Lambert and Arrost Villim.
"There is politician and financial pressure to approve the drug despite the
concerns of the scientists involved," Mr. Stannard said.
But Robert Joubert, Health Canada's director general of human resources,
said yesterday the complaints have led the department to set up two expert
panels -- one of doctors and one of veterinarians -- to examine the
evidence. They are expected to report by the end of October, said Joel
Weiner, a senior Health Protection Branch official.
"It is hard for me to understand why anybody can say we concealed evidence
if in fact: A) We have a review that is still ongoing, and B) We have
turned to both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and the
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association to ask them to use their expertise
to assess whether or not we've looked at all the science."
Yesterday, Ray Mowling, the vice-president of Monsanto Canada, said the
company "stands behind our science," but didn't want to discuss the results
of the study done on rats. He wouldn't speculate about when the drug might
GENETICALLY MODIFIED SOYBEANS CONTROVERSY ...
By Patrick Knight
FWN Brazilian Correspondent Sao Paulo-Sept. 17-FWN--
THE BRAZILIAN INSTITUTE FOR Consumer Defense has obtained a court
injunction prohibiting the import into Brazil of genetically modified
soybeans produced by the Monsanto company. The injunction, granted on the
grounds that such beans are "potentially threatening to the health of the
consumer and require a detailed study of their impact on the environment,"
may be contested by Monsanto. The injunction comes on the eve of a meeting
of Brazil's National Technical Commission for Bio-security, the CTBio.
The group was expected to give the green light for the production of
genetically modified beans in Brazil, and do away with the need for
products containing them to bear a label to that effect.
The CTBio examined the question of risk to health of genetically modified
beans in September of last year, officials say, and permitted the import of
the beans, so long as their effect was monitored. However, the Institute
for Consumer Defense, which is also backed by Greenpeace, thinks a
long-term study of the impact of the beans on the environment needs to be
carried out. The Institute believes the public has a right to know that it
is buying products containing genetically modified raw material. As well as
genetically modified beans developed by Monsanto, the CTBio has allowed the
import or use of genetically modified soybeans and corn developed by
Cargill, Novartis, Braskalb and Pioneer.
The Brazilian Agricultural Research Company, Embrapa, says genetically
modified beans are biochemically identical to orginal beans, and to keep up
with what it sees as inevitable developments, the government-run Embrapa is
developing its own varieties of genetically modified soybeans.
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
tel. 613-565-8517 fax. 613-565-1596
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.
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with "unsubscribe sanet-mg".
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command