> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Robert Weissman <email@example.com>
> To: Multiple recipients of list CORP-FOCUS
> Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 1999 7:52 PM
> Subject: A Square Peg into a Round Hole
> > Fearful of a public backlash that might drive the
> industry into
> > oblivion, Monsanto is reaching out to its critics.
> > Last week, Jeremy Rifkin, the biotech critic, flew to
> Monsanto's world
> > headquarters in St. Louis to address something called
> World Business
> > Council for Sustainable Development.
> > According to a report in the New York Times, the
> multinational giants
> > wanted Rifkin to help them "paint a portrait of the
> > landscape of the year 2030 and how it evolved."
> > Also last week, Gordon Conway, president of the
> Rockefeller Foundation,
> > met with Monsanto's directors in Washington, D.C. to
> persuade them to drop
> > the terminator gene. It used to be that farmers would
> plant seed, the crop
> > would come up and be harvested, except for a handful of
> plants, which the
> > farmer would let go to seed, and save that seed for
> year's planting.
> > With the terminator gene, the crop comes up, but there
> no seeds. So
> > the farmer has to go to Monsanto to buy more seed.
> > Conway told Dow Jones Newswires he is worried that the
> backlash over the
> > terminator gene, which is years from reaching the
> commercial stage, is
> > damaging public support for crop biotechnology in
> which might
> > slow research that could benefit poor farmers overseas.
> "We have a lot of
> > people to feed and biotechnology is one of the
> said Conway.
> > Whatever you feel about citizens of conscience meeting
> with corporations
> > to seek to persuade them to do the right thing, (and we
> are not of one
> > mind on this), it is clear that the biotech industry is
> a panic over
> > its beloved high-tech future.
> > The masses in Europe are in full revolt over the issue
> (with the Prince of
> > Wales leading the charge against the corporatist Labor
> Party in the UK).
> > And a lawsuit that the mainstream press has largely
> ignored -- a lawsuit
> > that threatens the well-being of Monsanto, Norvartis
> other biotech
> > firms -- is making its way through the courts.
> > In May 1998, a number of public interest groups sued
> Food and Drug
> > Administration (FDA), alleging that the agency violated
> federal law by
> > allowing biotech foods onto the market without first
> adequately testing
> > the foods for safety and then without adequately
> those foods so
> > that consumers know whether, for example, they are
> fish genes
> > spliced into their tomato sauce.
> > The federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act incorporates
> > principle -- a new food additive is presumed unsafe
> established safe
> > through standard scientific procedures. But the FDA
> in 1992 that
> > genetically engineered foods are not new food
> > In the FDA's critical 1992 statement of policy on
> foods -- the
> > policy that opened the floodgates that allowed biotech
> foods to pour into
> > the marketplace -- the FDA claims that it was "not
> of any
> > information showing that foods derived by these new
> [biotech] methods
> > differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform
> > In fact, internal reports and memos obtained during the
> course of
> > discovery for the lawsuit reveal the FDA's own
> warned that
> > foods produced through recombinant DNA technology
> different risks
> > than do their conventionally produced counterparts.
> > But these scientists were consistently disregarded by
> bureaucrats who
> > approved the agency's current policy of treating
> bioengineered foods the
> > same as natural foods that have been changed by
> conventional breeding
> > practices.
> > "There is a profound difference between the types of
> unexpected effects
> > from traditional breeding and genetic engineering which
> just glanced
> > over in this document," warned Dr. Louis Priybl of the
> FDA's Microbiology
> > Group in criticizing a 1992 FDA draft policy paper on
> > Dr. Linda Kayl, an FDA compliance officer, complained
> the FDA was
> > "trying to fit a square peg into a round hole" by
> concluding that "there
> > is no difference between foods modified by genetic
> engineering and foods
> > modified by traditional breeding practices."
> > "The processes of genetic engineering and traditional
> breeding are
> > different, and according to the technical experts in
> agency, they lead
> > to different risks," Kayl said.
> > Kayl and other FDA scientists recommended that
> > foods undergo special testing. To no avail.
> > So, Americans are now eating genetically engineered
> And for the
> > most part, they don't know it.
> > The main genetically engineered crops in the United
> are soy, corn,
> > canola, cotton, potatoes, papayas, and raddichio. (You
> might say -- hey,
> > I don't eat cotton. But cottonseed oil is in many
> vegetable oil blends,
> > which are in many processed foods.)
> > It has been estimated that corn and soy alone are in 70
> 80 percent of
> > U.S. processed foods. And since 40 percent of this
> season's soybean crop
> > and 30 percent of the corn crop have been genetically
> engineered, you are
> > probably eating genetically engineered foods, whether
> like it, or know
> > it, or not.
> > Steven Druker, the executive director of the Iowa
> City-based Alliance for
> > Bio-Integrity, is the driving force behind the lawsuit
> against the FDA.
> > The lawsuit has received little media publicity since
> being filed last
> > year, but Druker predicts that when the American people
> learn the details
> > of the FDA's deception, we'll see an earthquake of
> reaction against
> > biotech foods.
> > "The FDA has been intentionally unleashing a host of
> potentially harmful
> > foods onto American dinner tables in blatant violation
> U.S. law,"
> > Druker told us. "And they have been covering up the
> that they have
> > been acting so wrongly. I don't like that. And most
> who learn the
> > facts do not like it."
> > Bon appetit.
> > Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington,
> Corporate Crime
> > Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington,
> > Multinational Monitor. They are co-authors of Corporate
> Predators: The
> > Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy,
> Courage Press,
> > 1999, http://www.corporatepredators.org.
> > (c) Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
> > Focus on the Corporation is a weekly column written by
> Russell Mokhiber
> > and Robert Weissman. Please feel free to forward the
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