> and one thing, YOUR company should think about (at least a
> bit). yesterday our director came back from the annual meeting
> of the directors of the main german agricultural research
> institutes. at the end of the meeting they made an excursion
> to the largest mill of the largest german milling company for
> grain and corn (kampfmeyer). as it turned out, they test EVERY
> batch by pcr in double-blind analysis in two labs for GMO's. the
> ceo clearly told them, that they would BY NO MEANS be able to
> mill a GM variety, as the public would plainly avoid their
> products after a scandal for at least the usual span a consumer
> would remember (about 3 months) and that would mean their end.
> and no matter how WTO would decide, they simply would not be
> able to use such batches because they would upset their clients.
> and that would also be valid for corn meal (they also do produce).
Yes, this is clearly the issue of the day (year?). In fact, The Crop
Science Society is planning a symposium for our meeting next year in
Minneapolis. At least in division C4 (Seeds). Our C4 symposium on GM seed
production and testing issues will probably be one of a collage of about
three sessions. The others will deal with grain and education, I guess.
The technical GMO issues in milling grain have to do with tolerances,
sampling, and testing. PCR is extremely sensitive. Most forms of these
tests simply give a yes-or-no answer. With discrete seeds or grains,
sensitivity is limited by the number of kernels taken to be ground in the
sample. If you grind together 10,000 grains, then the sensitivity is on the
order of 1 in 10,000, or 0.01%. But when grain is sampled AFTER milling,
the sensitivity may be excessive (that is, in terms of percent GMO grain
needed to produce a positive reaction). It would not be surprising to mill
grain that tested negative, then find that the flour tests positive, due to
the presence of a minute percentage of GMO kernels in the bulk.
The practical matter is that European public officials must decide on
tolerances. Trying to stick to zero will paralyze the system. I have heard
that the officials are dithering on this issue because of conflicting
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