GE NEWS ARCHIVE
Mothers for Natural Law
International News on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture
Biweekly News 98/10/01
Thanks to Cliff Kinzel and Richard Wolfson for these items.
Articles have been aggressively shortened.
Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company The Boston Globe
September 23, 1998, Wednesday, City Edition
HEADLINE: Genetic engineering debate shifting to America;
By By Stan Grossfeld, Globe Staff
Behind a door marked "closed" to the thousands of visitors who tour the Monsanto Life Sciences Research Center here each year, Cindy Clasen fires a DNA-loaded .22-caliber shell into corn tissue, changing its genetic makeup.
The process, called genetic engineering, allows scientists to transfer a single gene from any organism - plant, animal, or microbe - into a food crop so it can withstand insects and herbicides, as well as last longer before spoiling.
"What we do is the same as Mother Nature," says Clasen, a Monsanto Co. research technician. Genetically engineered, or transgenic, crops look and taste the same as conventional crops, and are not required to be labeled in the United States, unless they contain known allergens.
But some people think it's not nice to fool with Mother Nature.
The genetic engineering of plants has triggered a major food-safety controversy in Europe, where Monsanto's transgenic crops have been destroyed by activists in Britain, France, and Ireland and banned by governments in Austria and Luxembourg. Protesters call the rapidly expanding list of genetically engineered foods "Frankenfood."
But slowly, like ketchup creeping from a bottle, the genetic engineering debate is shifting to America.
"There's two extremes and the truth is somewhere in between," said Sheldon Krimsky, a professor of urban and environmental policy at Tufts University. "The big question is, are we being adequately protected? Years ago they decided air bags saved lives. But now they know air bags also kill kids."
Natural Foods Merchandiser, October Hain Food Group Labels Products As Non-Genetically Engineered
UNIONDALE, N.Y.-Hain Food Group (NASDAQ: HAIN) is setting an industry wide precedent by labeling some of its products as free of genetically engineered organisms (GEO). The products have a "Pure Food" label and are part of the company's message, "Just Say No To GEOs"...
The products that include the Pure Food Label are BearitosAE White and Blue Tortilla Chips and Corn Chips. Non-genetically modified popcorn will be available to retailers soon.
Copyright 1998 The Financial Times Limited Financial Times (London)
September 26, 1998, Saturday LONDON EDITION 1
BODY: Environmental groups yesterday hailed a French decision to suspend the distribution of genetically altered corn seeds.
The suspension, ordered by the council of state, will be in force pending an assessment of a request from Greenpeace, the ecological group, for the seeds' removal from the market.
GREECE BANS IMPORT AND SALE OF GE OILSEED RAPE
Brussels, 2 October, 1998 --- Greenpeace welcomed a decision by Greece to ban the import and marketing of AgrEvo's genetically engineered oilseed rape.
According to the press statement issued by deputy minister of environment Theodoros Koliopanos the ban was decided because the product could present dangers for the public health and the environment. Greece became the third country to use powers given in the relevant EU directive (90/220/EEC) to object to EU-wide market authorisations of a genetically engineered crop. Austria and Luxembourg have similar bans on Novartis' genetically engineered maize.
AgrEvo's oilseed rape received its approval for import to the EU in June 1998. The French government has recently decided on a moratorium for transgenic plants like oilseed rape and sugarbeets.
The Guardian (London) Sept. 23, 1998
Choice cut; Companies must not be allowed to steamroller genetically altered food in to the shops without a wider debate, argues John Elkington
By John Elkington
Thanks Monsanto, but no thanks! That's what activists and consumers across Europe want to say to the US company whose attempts to get genetically modified soya beans and related products on to our tables and plates are meeting fierce resistance.
Britain's first 'citizen's jury' on the subject convened in Brighton recently, sitting for 10 evenings and taking evidence from expert witnesses. The jury was 'horrified' that multinational companies were being allowed to meddle with our food in what it saw as a 'covert and secretive manner'.
Brazil panel approves Monsanto transgenic soybeans
SAO PAULO, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Brazil broke from its historic ban on transgenic crops on Thursday by approving the safety of genetically modified soybeans produced by a local unit of U.S. biotechnology giant Monsanto Co., a government spokeswoman said.
The decision allows Monsanto's herbicide-resistant Roundup Ready seeds to be regulated like any other agricultural product, clearing the way for future seed sales to the world's second-largest soybean producer.
"The commission has approved the (Monsanto's) soybeans," a spokeswoman at the National Commission for Biological Security (CTNBio) said immediately after the panel tallied the votes.
She added the commission has made no decision on labeling of transgenic soybeans or products made with them.
Monsanto has Australian canola deal
SYDNEY, Sept 17 (Reuters) - U.S. chemical giant Monsanto Co has entered into its second biotechnology venture in Australian agriculture, signing a canola breeding agreement with the Victorian state government.
This follows the company's controversial sale of a transgenic cotton variety in Australia, known as Ingard cotton, which internally produces its own pesticide. Some industry groups had criticised the high price of Ingard in Australia compared to its U.S. price, while the whole concept of gene-modified crops has also raised some eyebrows.
BGH Controversy Continues in Canada
Report on Grievance Hearings
On September 15 and 16, 1998, six Health Canada scientists voiced grievances before the Public Service Staff Relations Board. The scientists described in detail how they were pressured by senior Health Canada management to approve BGH (genetically engineered bovine growth hormone for use in dairy cows) and other products of questionable safety.
During the grievance hearings, the scientists said that when they hesitated to approve drugs they considered unsafe, they were threatened by their superiors with personal law suits by drug companies. The scientists were also charged with insubordination, harassed, and isolated in their research.
Title: Uptake of foreign DNA from the environment: the gastrointestinal tract and the placenta as portals of entry
Foreign DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is part of our environment. Considerable amounts of foreign DNA of very different origin are ingested daily with food. In a series of experiments we fed the DNA of bacteriophage M13 as test DNA to mice and showed that fragments of this DNA survive the passage through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract in small amounts (1-2%).
Food-ingested M13 DNA reaches peripheral white blood cells, the spleen and liver via the intestinal epithelia and cells in the Peyer's patches of the intestinal wall. There is evidence to assume that food-ingested foreign DNA can become covalently linked to mouse-like DNA.
When M13 DNA is fed to pregnant mice the test DNA can be detected in cells in various organs of the fetuses and of newborn animals, but never in all cells of the mouse fetus. It is likely that the M13 DNA is transferred by the transplacental route and not via the germ line.
The consequences of foreign DNA uptake for mutagenesis and oncogenesis have not yet been investigated.
Authors: Doerfler W; Schubbert R
Address: Institut fĻur Genetik, UniversitĻat zu KĻoln, Federal Republic of Germany.
Source: Wien Klin Wochenschr, 110(2):40-4 1998 Jan 30 Abstract
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is compiled for educational use only.
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