>UK Guardian 4 Feb 99
>1) MP links geneticfood to 37 deaths
>Blair rejects Tory call for three-year moratorium
>By David Hencke Westminster Correspondent
>Thursday February 4, 1999
>An outbreak of a fatal disease that infected 5,000 people, killing 37 and
>leaving 1,500 permanently ill, was linked to genetically modified food, a
>Labour MP claimed in a Commons debate yesterday.
>The claim came as Tony Blair came under fire for rejecting demands for a
>three-year moratorium on GM foods. Tory leader William Hague accused the
>Prime Minister of ignoring his own advisers in refusing to implement a ban
>on GM crops until
>there has been more research.
>Earlier Joan Walley, MP for Stoke North, called for an immediate ban on
>commercial use of GM food. She said: "Despite reassurances that these
>products are rigorously tested and safe, there have been unexpected
>incidents and illnesses apparently caused by them. "In the worst case, I
>understand a US epidemic of a disease known as EMS, affected apparently
>some 5,000 people. An estimated 37 died, 1,500 have been left permanently
>disabled with sickness."
>She added: "The outbreak I understand was traced to a batch of food
>supplement produced by genetically engineered bacteria." Mrs Walley based
>her claim on a scientific article by Dr Michael Antoniou, a senior
>lecturer in molecular pathology at a London teaching hospital.
>Dr Antoniou quoted a case involving a Japanese company that produced a
>food supplement, vitamin B2, saying "whether the presence of the toxin was
>a direct result of the genetic engineering or was due to sloppy
>manufacturing procedures is still under debate".
>But he pointed out that under British government rules the product would
>not need to be labelled or be given marketing approval. Mr Hague demanded
>at Prime Minister's question time: "Why hasn't the Government accepted the
>advice of English Nature, which is by law the Government's advisers on
>these matters, by delaying for at least three years the commercial release
>of these crops until more research is done?"
>Mr Blair countered: "There is a committee in the Government looking at
>this on the basis of scientific evidence - I think that is the best way
>to proceed. The worst way is to raise fears in the public mind before the
>evidence is put before them."
>In the earlier Commons debate Mrs Walley won cross-party support from
>Labour backbenchers Barry Sheerman and Joan Ruddock, former Tory minister
>Alan Clark, and Lib Dem MP Norman Baker. Jeff Rooker, the deputy
>agriculture minister, said the modified food for commercial use in
>Britain. There is "none planned and when it does happen it will be a
>introduction, it will not be a free-for-all", he said.
>Last night Friends of the Earth food campaigner, Peter Riley, claimed
>licences had already been granted for the commercial planting of oil seed
>rape, fodder beet and maize for seed production. "The first commercially
>grown GM crops could be planted in our fields in the next few months
>unless the Government takes steps to stop them."
>BLAIR ACCUSED OF IGNORING EXPERTS IN GM FOOD FURORE
>By Gavin Cordon
>[UK Prime Minister] Tony Blair was tonight under fire from
>environmentalists after rejecting demands for a three-year moratorium on
>genetically-modified foods. In heated Commons exchanges, Tory leader
>William Hague accused the Prime Minister of ignoring his own expert
>advisers in refusing to implement a ban on GM crops until there has been
>Earlier, a senior Labour backbencher, Joan Walley, told the House that GM
>foods had been linked to an epidemic in the United States of the disease
>EMS, which left 37 dead and 1,500 disabled.
>Mr Blair, however, insisted that ministers were acting on the best
>scientific advice and that the issue was being monitored by a Government
>committee. "I think we do have to proceed on the best scientific evidence
>since we are also talking about something where the potentials are very
>great indeed," he told MPs at Prime Minister's Questions.
>"And it's important that we proceed logically and scientifically and not
>on the basis simply of prejudice of either side of the debate." But Mr
>Hague said English Nature, which by law advises the Government on such
>issues, wanted a delay of at least three years on the commercial release
>of GM crops.
>"The effect of the muddle in Government policy is to increase public
>concern and not to decrease public concern," he said. "Why doesn't the
>Government do the common sense thing and listen to the advice of its own
>experts and at least put on hold the release of these new and unfamiliar
>seeds until the research is done?"
>Environmental groups, who have also been pressing for a moratorium, said
>they were "extremely disappointed" by the Prime Minister's remarks.
>Friends of the Earth policy director Tony Juniper said: "The Government
>has promised that it will invoke the precautionary principle when it comes
>to GM crops.
>"There is already enough scientific evidence to justify a halt on their
>the next article was posted by <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>From The Electronic Telegraph (UK)
>- Friday 5 February 1999
>By Charles Clover, Environment Editor
>HEALTH food importers revealed last night that they have destroyed 87,000
>packets of organic tortilla chips after they were found to be contaminated
>with genetically modified corn.
>The British distributor of the Apache brand of organic chips, De Rit, said
>that the most likely source of the contamination was cross-pollination of
>the organic maize used in them by GM crops grown around the organic farm
>in Texas where the maize came from.
>If so, the incident will create further pressure on the Government to
>tighten controls on the introduction of genetic crops in Britain.
>William Hague, the Tory leader, called in the Commons on Wednesday for a
>moratorium on all introductions until further scientific studies are
>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--
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