GE NEWS ARCHIVE
Mothers for Natural Law
International News on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture
Biweekly News 99/06/17
Thanks to Cliff Kinzel and Richard Wolfson for these items.
Articles have been aggressively shortened.
Monsanto Co. has done something quite remarkable for a U.S. company in Europe. It has gone from obscurity to infamy in just a few years.
Wall Street Journal, May 11, 1999
PA News (UK) 06/03 0249
Now WI Wants GM Food Ban
By Padraic Flanagan
The Women's Institute has added its voice to demands for a five-year ban on growing genetically-modified crops for food. The National Federation of Women's Institutes, representing more than 250,000 women, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the moratorium yesterday. They also demanded that the Government should ban imports of GM foods for the same period, until consumer safety and environmental concerns have been fully investigated.
A packed meeting at the Royal Albert Hall in London found 7,055 votes to 368 voting in favour of the moratorium, delivering another major blow to Government efforts to reassure consumers about the new food science...
Sangeeta Haindl, Federation spokeswoman, told the Daily Telegraph: "...Women want to be sure of the ingredients they use when baking their cakes and cooking in general. They are concerned for their families."
SUNDAY INDEPENDENT (London) June 13
Supermarkets Join Forces on GM Animal Feed
By Marie Woolf
Britain's supermarkets are planning to take from their shelves meat from animals fed on GM crops because of consumer concerns about possible health risks.
The move by a consortium including Sainsbury, Safeway, Marks & Spencer, Northern Foods, Nestle and Unilever, will come as a huge blow to the GM industry...
The move follows rising fears about the development of antibiotic resistance from GM food which could arise from feeding GM crops to animals.
Scientists have warned that GM crops containing an antibiotic resistance marker gene could harm our ability to fight fatal diseases such as meningitis, typhoid and Aids-related illnesses with penicillin.
The Guardian, Monday June 7, 1999 Front page
Blair Softens Stance on GM Foods
Nicholas Watt, Political Correspondent
Tony Blair yesterday signalled a significant softening of his support for genetically modified foods when he declared that "the jury is out" on whether they are safe to eat.
After months of intensive campaigning by ministers on the benefits of GM foods, the prime minister indicated that he has heeded growing public opposition when he admitted that he was horrified when he first heard the term.
"The first time I heard about genetic modification the term [was] so terrible," Mr Blair told BBC1's Breakfast with Frost. "You think, my goodness, what on earth is going on here. You think of Dr Strangelove."
U.S. Turns Spotlight on Genetic Engineering - "We Can't Force-Feed Consumers," Agriculture Secretary Says
St. Louis Post-Dispatch; 05/30/99
After years of muted concerns about biotechnology in the United States, Washington is suddenly brimming with new studies and discussions:
* A White House task force will report as early as July on the prospect of labeling genetically engineered foods, the administration disclosed last week. One option is voluntary labeling to give consumers more information.
* The National Academy of Sciences met last week to plan a new biotechnology review that focuses on seeds and ownership of genetic materials. An academy panel also held a public hearing last week on a study of potential risks of crops engineered to resist pests.
* Glickman has resurrected a biotechnology advisory committee that will have a wide array of experts, members of the public and critics. Official notice of the committee might appear in the Federal Register as early as this week, with the first meeting held by summer.
If that weren't enough new activity, wealthy foundations are considering plowing millions of dollars into a public awareness campaign that would be conducted by environmental advocacy groups.
Besides encouraging public debate, Glickman is raising eyebrows among insiders who watch the politics of genetic engineering.
His public shift from cheerleader to probing realist began a month ago in a speech at Purdue University.
"It's not enough to celebrate science for science's sake," Glickman said in the speech. "When it's all said and done, the public opinion poll is just as powerful a research tool as the test tube."...
Glickman surprised participants on all sides of the debate, among them Charles Benbrook, a consultant who has worked for Congress and the National Academy of Sciences since the early 1980s.
When word of Glickman's all-but-ignored speech at Purdue filtered out, Benbrook said, "People's jaws dropped. .. It was probably the most dramatic turnaround in the message of a secretary of agriculture that I've seen."
Low Yields for GM Sugar Beet
The 98/09/01 newsletter indicated that late spraying of Roundup Ready sugar beet weeds sufficient time to sustain a rich insect population. Now the cost has been revealed: sugar beet trials utilising only late applications of Roundup produced a massive cut in yield - at least 24% - compared with a Roundup spray regime incorporating an earlier application.
UK's Farmer's Weekly, 4 June 1999
New Scientist (Oct 29 '98 www.newscientist.com)
TITLE: Insecticide use on corn
SOURCE: Charles Benbrook, firstname.lastname@example.org
SENT BY: email@example.com
DATE: May 21 & 25, 1999
A Monsanto Press Release of May 21, 1999 on the impact of Bt-corn on Monarch butterflies states that:
"-- In 1998 use of Bt insect-protected corn reduced or eliminated the use of broad spectrum chemical insecticides on some 15 million acres of U.S. farmland."
On May 19, 1999, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National
Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the results of the
1998 field crop chemical use survey. The data can be downloaded by
anyone from the NASS site, go to
At most, Bt-corn may have reduced corn insecticide use by 1% to 2% of corn acres, or 714,000 to 1.4 million acres (NASS surveyed 71.4 million corn acres in 1998). Monsanto's claim of reducing or eliminating pesticide use on 15 million acres -- i.e. all acres planted -- is not accurate. Some people on this list have asked why Monsanto seems to be such a lightning rod for criticism. Statements like the one above is one reason why.
The Agribusiness Examiner, Issue #37, June 7, 1999
Conagra\Monsanto Pact: "Identity Preserved" Corn; Suddenly No Cost
In continuing its relentless drive to force bioengineered crops down the throats of U.S. farmers and consumers Monsanto Co. has announced that it has signed a marketing agreement with ConAgra Inc. whereby the nation's second largest food manufacturer will accept and separate bioengineered corn from standard corn...
Curiously, ConAgra says that at no extra charge, it will separate or "identity preserve" corn for sale in markets that have approved the use or import of corn with traits developed through biotechnology. ConAgra also said in a news release that it was approached by Monsanto with the marketing deal. Terms were not disclosed.
As Charles Margulis of the Greenpeace Genetic Engineering Campaign comments "isn't this the same industry that's been saying how costly it would be to separate crops? Now suddenly they can do it for nothing!"
Court Jury Verdict to Result in Sizable Penalties Against Monsanto Subsidiary DeKalb Genetics, According to Rhone-Poulenc Agro
June 4, 1999
GREENSBORO, N.C., June 3 /PRNewswire/ via NewsEdge Corporation -- DeKalb Genetics Corp., a subsidiary of Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MTC), faces at least $65 million in damages and penalties as a result of a federal court jury which has found the company infringed on a genetic technology patent owned by Rhone-Poulenc Agro. The jury on Wednesday upheld Rhone-Poulenc Agro's patent which was used by DeKalb in its development and sale of Roundup Ready(R) corn. The jury also found DeKalb misappropriated trade secrets when it transferred Rhone-Poulenc Agro's technology to Monsanto and commercialized Roundup Ready corn. While the jury added no additional punitive damages to the $50 million awarded by a jury in April, presiding U.S. District Judge N. Carlton Tilley will consider awarding additional damages against DeKalb for willfulness of the patent infringement.
Rhone-Poulenc said today following the conclusion of the suit that it will seek an injunction against the sale of DeKalb's Roundup Ready corn seed for next year's growing season.
Copyright 1999, PR Newswire
Ethics Debate Clouds New European GM Food Law
01:53 a.m. Jun 08, 1999 Eastern
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Sweden is calling for ``ethical considerations'' to be taken into account in the approval of new genetically modified organisms, complicating efforts to reach agreement on a new approvals system, EU officials said Monday. EU diplomats met Monday to discuss the latest paper from the bloc's German presidency, which Germany hopes will allow ministers to agree later this month on plans to tighten rules on releasing GMOs onto the market. ``Sweden -- supported by Denmark, Greece and Spain -- wants the ethical situation to be taken into account, and this is making things a lot more complicated,'' one EU official told Reuters.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.
No Go for Cattle Hormone
Significantly on June 5th, the New Zealand Herald carried a news story entitled "No Go for Cattle Hormone" in which it reported that "Elanco Animal Health, the animal remedy division of Auckland-based Eli Lilly NZ, says it will stop trying to register in New Zealand a controversial synthetic cattle hormone used overseas to boost milk production.
Israelis Discover Gene to Almost Double Growth Rate of Plants
June 9, 1999
JERUSALEM - AP World News via NewsEdge Corporation : Researchers at Jerusalem's Hebrew University think they have developed a method to reduce famine and quickly replenish rain forests in the discovery of one gene. The gene can be injected into trees and plants and almost double their rate of growth. The results could mean the accelerated growth of such plants as cotton, potatoes, corn and paper-producing trees.
Copyright 1999, Associated Press
China Develops Genetically-Enhanced Cotton with Rabbits' Help
June 11, 1999
Xinhua via NewsEdge Corporation : SHANGHAI (June 10) XINHUA - Chinese scientists have developed a strain of cotton from rabbit genes, using genetic-engineering. The rabbit keratin cotton strain was developed by researchers at the Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology to have the benefits of ordinary cotton fiber and rabbit fur and analysts say it has a good chance of being widely used and could account for 10 percent of China's total cotton output in the near future and change this traditional textile industry. China is a world major cotton producer whose 1998 cotton output was 4.3 million tons...
The stems and leaves of the new strain are similar to those of ordinary plants, but the cotton fiber is bright and as soft as rabbit hair. A test by China Textile University and the Ministry of Agriculture's Cotton Quality Inspection Center in May found that the new fiber is 60 percent longer than ordinary fiber and is more resilient with greater tensile strength and better ability to maintain warmth.
Copyright 1999, Comtex
Research project 52425, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Develop technology for gene transfer in Pacific salmon. Theses studies will be undertaken with the long-term goal of introducing desirable characteristics into fish such as enhanced growth or controlled reproduction.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is compiled for educational use only.
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