Here is the front page of a website that you might find interesting
URL is http://www.infoshop.org/biotechwatch.html
News about biotechnology, genetically-engineered foods (GE) and activist
campaigns to control this technology.
* Sainsbury's ban GM foods from own-brand range
* Organic groups crafting nationwide guidelines
* Financial threat in Frankenstein foods
* Gene remark shocks Farmers
* A question of breeding
* Bioengineered Crops Raise Question Of Tampering With Nature
* RACHEL Report On Genetically Altering The World's Food
* Secret Report On GM Foods Revealed
* U.S. helps foil treaty on genetically modified crops
* Australia helps sink genetic food treaty
* 'Frankenstein food' scare rocks Britain
* Monsanto pushes benefits of GM foods to the environment
* Greenpeace Calls For Nat'l Import Bans On GE Crops
* Seeds of dissension
* U.S., others sink talks on biogenetics regulation
* U.S. Lawsuit Seeks Withdrawal Of Bio-Engineered Crops
* Moratorium on Genetic Engineered Foods in U.K. for 5 Years?
* Legal "Terminator" Threatens Francophone Africa's Farmers
Financial Times (London) March 27, 1999
Iceland founder acts ahead of the pack
Malcolm Walker, founder of frozen food retailer Iceland, announced the
removal of genetically modified ingredients from the group's own label
products long before the current furore persuaded J Sainsbury and Marks
and Spencer to follow suit. This week he reported a bounce back in annual
profits from L43.5m to L55.1m. Page 20
The Toronto Star March 28, 1999
LEADING THE CHARGE AGAINST MONSANTO
BODY: I wrote last week of India's farmers leading the last cavalry charge
against the big guns of Monsanto. Just about everyone is at war with
Monsanto over its newest technological achievements involving genetically
-modified crops and plants. Those few who are on Monsanto's side include
the United States and world powers such as Panama, Peru, and Canada.
In February, members of the European Parliament voted to restrict further
importation of certain GM products until sufficient study had been done
with respect to possible dangers to human health and the environment. Our
own government, apparently without a mind of its own, has followed the
American lead which is to leave it to the free market to decide. The
exception to this was the bovine growth hormone BST, a Monsanto product
that boosts milk production in cows.
The federal health department, after prolonged and bitter internal debate,
followed Europe's decision and banned BST, on the grounds of its effect on
It is possible to be supportive of genetically -modified seeds and yet
support the need for further research. Against the benefit of greater crop
yields are the possible, considerable dangers. The Europeans are cautious,
the Americans are not (it is largely their technology and to their profit);
Canada supports the Americans.
Monsanto, meanwhile, is on the warpath. It is resisting any attempt by
governments to require food containing GM products to be labelled as such,
or milk products from cows fed with bovine growth hormone being so
labelled. But labelling is only part of the problem: Last February,
European health-food importers were obliged to destory 87,000 packages of
tortilla chips, imported from the U.S.A., found to contain traces of
genetically - modified corn. The tainted corn was likely cross-pollinated
from GM maize grown in a neighbouring field.
Monsanto is also militantly opposing those it suspects of hijacking its
patents. The company is presently suing a Saskatchewan farmer for illegally
growing Monsanto GM granola which a hired detective agency found among his
crops. The farmer claims the seeds blew in from a nearby dump (where seed
sacks are cast away) and took root in his fields. He has spent thousands
thus far in legal fees; his case is due in court this autumn.
An effort by 170 nations to reach an accord regulating the commerce in
genetically -engineered products foundered at this month's meeting in
Colombia. The United States, along with a host of lobbying corporations,
and of course Canada, were among those seeking to undermine the initiative.
The Colombia protocol was intended to follow the convention on Biological
Diversity, ratified by 174 nations, including Canada, at the 1992 Earth
Summit meetings in Rio de Janeiro. The Americans, however, have not yet
concurred. Although President Clinton signed the treaty in 1993, the Senate
has delayed giving consent.
English Nature, the British government's statutory adviser on these
matters, has written Prime Minister Tony Blair to offer its measured
opinion: ''Our position,'' the letter reads, ''on the likely effect of
herbicide tolerant crops is based on good scientific evidence, which
demonstates that declines in wild plants, insects, and birds on
agricultural land is partly due to the use of more efficient herbicides.
More research has recently been commissioned ... but will not report until
2003 at the earliest. ''Our advice to government has been that herbicide
tolerant crops and insect- resistant crops, not all GM crops, should not be
released commercially until this research has been completed... It is
important that English Nature be in a position to reassure the public that
the technology is environmentally safe. .. We cannot assure the public
about this currently.''
The British consumer has, at least, a friend in the court of Tony Blair.
Canadians have - you won't like this - only the Canadian Senate, whose
Agriculture Committee alone took on Monsanto and its bovine growth hormone,
along with senior health department officials, and the minister, Allan
Rock. The government, apparently, is in mortal fear of being sued through
chapter 11 of the NAFTA - every multinational corporation's best friend -
and of losing face in the WTO.
Monsanto, you may recall, are the wonderful folk who brought the world
Agent Orange, a defoliant as deadly to people as to weeds, a leading
manufacturer of PCBs which cause cancer, and who sued farmers daring to
label their produce ''BST free.''
It was the Senate of Canada that gave health department researchers the
opportunity to testify to their unwillingness to approve BST and to report
Monsanto's friendly offer of $1 million to $2 million to Drs. Haydon and
Drennan, made by a Monsanto representative and which Drennan has said he
considered as a bribe. (Monsanto has denied it.)
The Minister and senior officials sought to intimidate the witnesses and
censor their testimony, and the government has denied the Senate committee
the power to subpoena department records.
This is a Liberal government?
Dalton Camp is a political commentator. His columns appear Sundays and
Wednesdays in The Star.
Los Angeles Times March 28, 1999 Opinion Desk
COMMENTARY; PRINCE CHARLES TO TONY BLAIR: GET LOST;
FARMING: THE HEIR APPARENT ADAMANTLY CAMPAIGNS AGAINST GENETICALLY
BYLINE: ALEXANDER COCKBURN,
Alexander Cockburn writes for the Nation and other publications
BODY: Even in the darkest days of Princess Di mania, when his name was mud
among the masses, I had high hopes for Prince Charles as a radical thorn
in the side of business-as-usual. He's always been conspicuous for
sensible environmental positions athwart conventional opinion--on the
Amazon rainforest, land use and organic
Now he's justifying my expectations, launching princely broadsides against
some of capital's mightiest corporate powers, specifically Monsanto and
the genetic -industrial complex.
Last month, Labor Prime Minister Tony Blair ordered the prince to shut down
his royal Web site (www.princeofwales.gov.uk), which features vigorous
denunciations by the heir apparent of GM-- genetically modified crops. (In
the U.S., it's GE-- genetically engineered crops.) The prince refused point
blank the prime minister's command.
Genetic material, the prince thunders in one posting, "does not stay where
it is put. Pollen is spread by the wind and by insects. GM crops can
contaminate conventional and organic crops growing nearby." Such crops
eventually mean "sterile fields offering little or no food or shelter to
The prince adds, "I wonder about the claims that some GM crops are
essential to feed the world's growing populations. . . . How will the
companies who own this technology make a sufficient profit from selling
their products to the world's poorest people? Wouldn't it be better to
concentrate instead on the sustainable techniques which can double or
treble the yields from traditional farming systems?"
It may seem ironic that the British heir apparent should be adopting a
principled, enlightened position in marked contrast to Blair and the social
democrats. But their roles are in character. Blair's tradition of social
democracy has a frenzied enthusiasm for supposed technological progress. It
was Harold Wilson, Labor Party leader in the '60s, who used to hymn "the
white heat of technology." The tradition of rambling and rural hiking that
used to mark British radicals has long since gone.
Far dearer to Blair's heart are big corporations--most notably
Monsanto--that are pushing patents for genetically modified crops into
Europe. Blair ordered the prince to shut down his Web site, calling it
political meddling. GM is a hot issue in the UK.
The stakes are high for Monsanto. Consumers Union estimates that Monsanto's
bovine growth hormone, rBGH, could earn the company $ 500 million a year in
the U.S. and another $ 1 billion a year internationally. The haul from
Monsanto's Round-Up Ready soybeans, potatoes and corn and its terminator
seeds could be tens of billions more.
Faced with the almost certain prospect that the European Union would ban
the import of Monsanto genetically modified corn in 1998, the company
unleashed an unprecedented lobbying effort, flying a group of critical
journalists to the U.S. to visit its corporate headquarters and labs with a
side trip to the White House.
Bill Clinton and Al Gore got into the act, engaging in some last-minute
arm-twisting of the Irish and French prime ministers. France and Ireland
caved in to the pressure by last July. This spring, Monsanto's GM corn will
be planted in Europe.
In Britain, the Labor government, secure in its majority, is nonetheless
embarrassed by blunders on the GM issue, including that Lord Sainsbury,
Labor's science minister, who is deeply involved in GM decision-making, had
financial and familial ties in GM companies.
Prince Charles commands considerable public support from Britons deeply
suspicious of scientific manipulation of their food. The '60s live on, in
the most surprising ways. A decent slice of Prince Charles's world
view--cosmic holism, organic communitarianism--mirrors that of an American
hippie in the late '60s. After all, organic agriculture in America owes
much to the hippies, as does Humboldt Gold, an example of biological
manipulation of the most uplifting sort.
Africa News March 25, 1999
Kenya; Lobby cautions against genetically -modified foods
BYLINE: Catherine Mgendi, The Nation (Nairobi)
Nairobi - There is more at stake in the on-going biosafety debate than
the politics of free trade and biodiversity conservation.
Environmentalists say one of the greatest concerns of the biotechnology
industry is the health implication of eating genetically -altered foods.
According to Greenpeace International, geneticists are "altering life
itself, dabbling with genes" to produce unnatural living plants and
animals. Greenpeace calls the potential consequences of this millennium
industry " frightening", saying scientists are sourcing genes of their
products from organisms such as rats, scorpions, bacteria and even humans,
which have never been part of the food chain.
"The danger is they are mixing genes from entirely unrelated species;
animal genes are going into vegetables, bacteria genes into food crops, and
human genes into animals. ... Never before have genes from bacteria or
scorpions been part of the human diet!" says the environmental lobby,
lamenting that safety tests on genetically -engineered foods have been
"terrifyingly inadequate". How will we protect our health when we can
never tell what strange genes have been put in our basic foodstuffs?
Portugal feed industry says GM safety paramount
By David Brough LISBON, March 25 (Reuters) -
Portugal's animal feed industry believes food safety is paramount in the
debate over whether to use genetically modified (GM) foodstuffs, a
spokesman said on Thursday.
Luis Marques, secretary general of the Feed Compounders Association
(IACA), said it was too early for IACA to take a position on GM foods as
not enough information was available about possible long-term health
risks. Our biggest concern is for food safety," he told Reuters in a
telephone interview. "The debate on genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
remains confused because there is no concrete information on the
possible consequences of GMOs for health," he added.
>From BBC News Website page:
Co-op pulls out of GM trials
The UK's biggest farming organisation has pulled out of government trials
of genetically modified crops after concerns were raised by
environmentalists. ... The Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS), which
farms 80,000 acres across the UK, was to have hosted two of the trials [of
genetically modified crops].
But the CWS says it will be pulling out of the tests for this year as it
believed the tests themselves could raise the very fears they are designed
29 March 1999 Farmers Weekly (UK)
CPS drops case against anti-GM women
THE Crown Prosecution Service has dropped charges against two women accused
of destroying a test site for genetically modified (GM) crops in Devon.
Jacklyn Sheedy and Elizabeth Snook were arrested last August after
protestors uprooted a crop of herbicide-resistant maize at Hood Barton
Farm, near Totnes. The site is only a few hundred yards from a leading
organic vegetable farm.
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
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