GE NEWS ARCHIVE
Mothers for Natural Law
International News on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture
Biweekly News 99/08/01
Thanks to Dennis Dey and Richard Wolfson for these items.
Articles have been aggressively shortened.
Campaign for Food Safety News #20
The biotech industry understands quite well that consumer polls over the past ten years show that 80-90% of Americans support mandatory labeling, and that 60% or so, if foods were clearly labeled, would attempt to avoid buying GE products. They also understand that there isn't more of a controversy yet in the USA because almost half of all consumers erroneously believe that there aren't any GE foods (except for rBGH-derived dairy products) on the market. A 1999 study by the International Food Information Council, a government and industry-funded group, found that 47% of Americans believe that there aren't any genetically engineered foods on the market yet.
Baby Food Maker Cautious on Grain
Wire Service: APO (AP Online)
Date: Fri, Jul 30, 1999
SUMMIT, N.J. (AP) -- The maker of Gerber baby food is dropping suppliers who use genetic engineering in their corn and soybean products, the company's chief executive officer confirmed today. The move by Novartis follows a request from the environmental group Greenpeace for information on the company's use of bioengineered products...
Novartis plans to drop some of the company's grain suppliers this summer in favor of producers who do not use gene alteration to make corn and soybeans resistant to pests and weedkilling chemicals. Those ingredients account for less than 2 percent of Gerber's products, mainly dry cereal, Piergallini said...
Two other baby-food makers, H.J. Heinz Co. of Pittsburgh and Poway, Calif.-based Healthy Time Natural Foods, have made similar product changes in response to the Greenpeace concerns. The move by Novartis was first reported by the Wall Street Journal...
Gerber is exploring its labeling options for its new organic products. Gerber is the nation's largest maker of baby food, producing 5.5 million jars per day and annual worldwide sales of $1 billion.
Copyright 1999 Business Intelligence Australia Pty Ltd
Manufacturers Shun High-tech Foods - For Now
by Mark Ragg; Nick Leys
On July 25, 1999, Australian food manufacturers are cutting back on their use of genetically modified ingredients. They state that they are responding to an apparent consumer backlash against genetically modified foods by cutting out the use of such foods, rather than a concern that such ingredients are unsafe. The Sanitarium Health Food Company has been cutting out such ingredients since March 1999, and is aiming to have all its products free of genetically modified ingredients by September 1999. Heinz Watties states that it is taking similar action with its baby foods
Copyright 1999 Business Intelligence Australia Pty Ltd
Field of Genes
by Anthony Hoy
ABSTRACT: According to molecular biologist, Christine Deane, careful applications of biotechnology to agriculture can provide tremendous benefits. By inserting a single gene, Australian scientists have developed potatoes that do not turn brown when bruised. Researchers are working on other foods, including apples, lettuce, sugar cane, pears, bananas, pineapple, grapes and oysters... The Sanitarium Health Food Company, George Weston Foods Limited and Arnotts Limited have dumped genetically-modified ingredients from their products. The Jewel Food Stores Limited has specified non-genetically-modified ingredients to its suppliers
Business Times (Malaysia)
Ban Genetically-Produced Food
THE National Consumer Protection Council has called for the ban on imports and sale of all genetically-engineered food products until it has been proven safe for consumption by an independent body. Chairman Datuk Moehamad Izat Emir said, recent reports from scientists have alerted the danger of such products. The council has suggested proper labelling of all the genetically-engineered food.
"All the health food and health products need to be labelled accordingly to safeguard the rights and safety of consumers," he said in a statement released to announce the resolution of the council meeting attended by 18 members in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Copyright 1999, Business Wire
Trade Group Calls For Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods
Foods that have been genetically altered should carry a label letting consumers know that fact, according to the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), a trade group representing the interests of retailers and manufacturers of dietary supplements, natural foods and other products. To ensure that genetically engineered or altered products, often referred to as "genetically modified organisms" (GMOs), have informational labeling, the association vowed to aggressively seek legislation requiring such labeling. "The public has a right to know what they are eating," said Michael Q. Ford, NNFA's executive director. "If a food product contains GMOs, then it should be stated on the label."
AgBiotechNet July 99
Economics of Bt Maize Hybrids
A new report on growing borer-resistant Bt maize hybrids in Ontario has indicated that growers should not rely on Bt genetics for a healthier bottom line every year.
Tracy Baute, a University of Guelph researcher hired through a Novartis grant to study Bt corn, produced the report as part of her MSc. According to Baute "you have to look at Bt as an insurance policy. You won't get a return on investment unless there's heavy corn borer pressure."..
Baute's strongest conclusion is that Bt works. She rates its effectiveness for preventing boring damage by European corn borers as at least 96%. Hybrids protected with Bt had fewer broken stalks and damaged ears. Baute was cited as saying they also had less ear rot and fewer mouldy kernels, adding, "the difference was great enough that it can make sense for a swine producer to go for Bt, whether there's a yield advantage or not."
During the 2-year study, Baute found the Bt hybrids outyielded their non-Bt twins by 4%. However, the yield responses were sporadic. In 1996, borer pressures in the extreme southwest were intense, and some Bt-protected hybrids gave yield increases of 10%. In central and eastern Ontario, there were few if any extra bushels. In contrast, in 1997 there was little response in the southwest and big gains in the east.
Baute ... has concluded that growers can expect Bt to pay for itself one year in three. Her studies suggest a field needs an average 16 cm of tunnelling per plant in order to pay the premium cost.
Pioneer Hi-Bred agronomist Tim Welbanks ... was quoted as saying, "the Guelph study is probably pretty realistic. As long as borer pressures are so hard to predict, you do have to look at Bt as insurance....it isn't going to pay every year."
Baute has also cautioned growers to keep an eye on the yield potential of non-Bt hybrids. While in her trials the Bt hybrids outyielded their non-Bt twins, they rarely outyielded good conventional hybrids for the area.
(via NLP Wessex)
Copyright 1999 Jiji Press Ltd. Jiji Press Ticker Service
Takara Shuzo to Form JV for Genetically Modified Crops
Major distilled spirit maker Takara Shuzo Co. plans to form a joint venture with major trading house Mitsubishi Corp. by late August to inspect imports of genetically modified crops. Takara will hold a 60 pct stake in the new Tokyo-based firm, which will be capitalized at 50 million yen, and Mitsubishi will own the remaining 40 pct, informed sources told Jiji Press Thursday. Annual revenues are projected at 100 million yen, the sources said. At the request of importers, the new firm will check imported soybeans and other crops to see whether they have been genetically modified. An original certificate will be issued if crops are proven safe. Takara officials said this kind of company is necessary to offer valuable guidelines to consumers and manufacturers. Since there is no clear guideline for identifying genetically modified crops, Takara hopes to have the certificate accepted, they said.
U.S. Warns Japan Against Making GMO Labels Mandatory
09:54 a.m. Jul 27,1999 Eastern
TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States warned Japan Tuesday that if Tokyo implements mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) it could mislead consumers about food safety and disrupt trade. Isi Siddiqui, special assistant for trade to the U.S. agriculture secretary, expressed concern about possible GMO labeling requirements by Japan when he met senior officials of the Agriculture Ministry in Tokyo. ``We do not believe that obligatory GMO labeling is necessary, because it would suggest a health risk where there is none,'' Siddiqui told reporters after the meeting. He added: ``Mandatory labeling could mislead consumers about the safety of these products and require segregation of GMO and non-GMO foods. I fear major trade disruptions and increases in food costs to consumers if Japan requires mandatory labeling.''
Siddiqui also said Japan, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), is obligated to find the least trade-restrictive way of achieving its objectives. There are a number of ways other than labeling, such as educational materials and public forums, to provide consumers with information on genetic engineering, he said. Keishiro Fukushima, director-general of the ministry's Food and Marketing Bureau, was quoted by a ministry spokesman as telling Siddiqui that Japan was considering reliable and practical GMO labeling. But he did not elaborate on whether it would make labeling mandatory or voluntary. A Japanese government advisory panel on GMO labeling rules will make a final decision by the end of August.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.
Copyright 1999 AAP Information Services Pty. Ltd. AAP NEWSFEED
NSW: Japan Ignores Australian Push Against Food Labelling
Australia linked with three other nations in a failed bid to stop Japan introducing compulsory labelling of genetically-modified foods, official documents have revealed. Australia teamed up with the US, Canada and New Zealand governments to fight the labelling laws, but wanted their stance kept secret, the Sydney Morning Herald reported today. The New Zealand document, obtained under Freedom of Information legislation, showed Australia had already decided not to introduce compulsory labelling, the newspaper reported.
A joint letter from the four nations to the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture said compulsory labelling would place a substantial burden on small food manufacturers and would be difficult to enforce. "This letter is to express our shared desire for consultation with you regarding the possibility that Japan will move towards introducing policies for genetically modified organisms that may adversely effect exports of agricultural products to Japan and raise costs to your food industry and consumers," the letter said. Japan ignored the pressure and decided to adopt the tougher European guidelines on genetically-modified food.
UK website with a lot of info about GM (GE) food, including news, ingredients and who's doing what:
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