GE NEWS ARCHIVE
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International News on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture
Biweekly News 00/04/16
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Journal of Applied Nutrition 1993; 45:35-39.
Organic Foods vs. Supermarket Foods: Element Levels
Over a 2 yr period, organically and conventionally grown apples, potatoes, pears, wheat, and sweet corn were purchased in the western suburbs of Chicago and analyzed for mineral content. Four to 15 samples were taken for each food group. On a per-weight basis, average levels of essential minerals were much higher in the organically grown than in the conventionally grown food. The organically grown food averaged 63% higher in calcium, 78% higher in chromium, 73% higher in iron, 118% higher in magnesium, 178% higher in molybdenum, 91% higher in phosphorus, 125% higher in potassium and 60% higher in zinc. The organically raised food averaged 29% lower in mercury than the conventionally raised food.
EU Parliament Rejects Tough GMO Crop Laws
STRASBOURG, France, April 12 (Reuters) - The European Parliament on Wednesday turned down calls for tough laws governing genetically-modified crops, which biotech companies said would have driven the industry out of Europe. It rejected proposals calling for GMO producers to be held liable for any environmental damage, outlawing the transfer of genes between new and existing crop varieties and banning immediately genes resistant to antibiotics. Instead MEPs voted to include GMOs in plans to draw up a more general environmental liability law before 2002, to assess the impact of genetic transfer on a case by case basis and phase out antibiotic resistant genes by 2005. The move was welcomed by EU industry group EuropaBio, which said the changes would have saddled Europe's companies with an intolerable financial and regulatory burden. "The revised directive will also contribute to a more stable investment climate, improved competitiveness and additional jobs in European biotechnology," it said.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.
Copyright 2000 The Financial Times Limited Financial Times (London)
April 14, 2000, Friday London Edition 3
New-Wave GM Foods Fuel Doubt
By Michela Wrong
The consumer benefits of a "second generation" of genetically modified foods have been overstated by a biotech industry keen to win over a sceptical public, a report claimed yesterday. Researchers said consumers stood to gain far less than was promised by drug companies from a second wave of GM products offering added vitamins, minerals and altered oils. "In a desperate bid to reverse its failing fortunes, the industry wants to convince us there will be real consumer advantages. But GM is unlikely to play any significant role in providing healthier diets, either in the developing or developed world," said Sue Dibb of the Food Commission, an independent watchdog. The report was published a day after the industry fended off attempts to tighten European Union laws on the licensing of new GM products. Company executives and legislators argue that the absence of consumer benefits in the first wave of GM crops, which were modified for herbicide and insect resistance, played into the hands of anti-GM campaigners. The report was compiled by the Food Commission and GeneWatch UK.
Protesters Destroy GM Rapeseed Field in France
TOULOUSE, France, April 13 (Reuters) - Several hundred environmental campaigners destroyed a field of genetically modified (GM) rapeseed in France on Thursday as part of a public awareness campaign, the Green Party said. Around 400 protesters, including Green Party activists, took part in the demonstration in a field in the Ariege region. ``In front of around 10 gendarmes who remained at a distance, we symbolically reaped this field of about one hectare using traditional tools,'' Jean-Luc Bennhamias, national secretary of the Green Party, told Reuters. Several ecological activists were placed under investigation a few months ago after staging a similar protest, as public concern about GMOs increased in the aftermath of a series of food crises from mad cow disease to dioxin. Earlier this month, an experiment in Ariege to see whether pollen from GM rapeseed can contaminate nearby plants was sabotaged for the second time in less than a year.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.
Copyright 2000 Business Intelligence Australia Pty Ltd ABIX: Australasian Business Intelligence
March 31, 2000 Friday
Australia Now a 'GM Laboratory'
ABSTRACT: A British farming expert warned on 30 March that Australia was becoming an international laboratory for the development of genetically modified food crops. Director of Britain's Soil Association Patrick Holden warned that Australian farmers faced significant cross pollination risks from the thousands of hectares of GM crops on trial. He is in Australia for the inaugural National Seminar on Organic and Natural Food. Holden's warning came as the Australian Opposition spokesman on genetic regulation Alan Griffin revealed that up to 120 GM crop trials are now being undertaken for crops such as pineapples, wheat, barley, apples and grapevines. The information came from Australian Health Minister, Michael Wooldridge, who earlier stated that other crops being tested included potatoes, tomatoes, lupin, cotton and sugar cane.
Copyright 2000 South China Morning Post Ltd. South China Morning Post
April 10, 2000
Renewed Calls for Labelling as Soya-Based Product Banned by Norway Revealed as Top-Seller in SAR
High GM content in diet drink
By Cheung Chi-Fai
A top-selling dietary product in Hong Kong has been banned in Norway for containing a high level of genetically modified (GM) soya. In March, Norway's Food Control Authority found up to 40 per cent of the soya in Herbalife's protein drink mix had been modified. "We have banned the food on the fact that it contains gene-modified substance," said Dr Dag Lillehaug, an adviser to the authority. "Under Norwegian regulations, all gene-modified foodstuffs must get prior approval before being sold." Dr Lillehaug said the ban did not mean the product was unsafe but more stringent regulation of GM food had been imposed in Norway since January last year. Norway has not approved any modified food products since then.
Sri Lanka Bans Import of Genetically Modified Food
COLOMBO, April 10 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka has banned imports of all genetically modified (GM) foods with immediate effect, a senior health ministry official said on Monday. ``The government wants to wait until the controversy surrounding GM foods has cleared,'' S. Nagiah, chief food inspector of the health ministry, told Reuters by telephone. Nagiah said the government's food advisory committee was keen to avoid health risks associated with genetic modifications, adding there were no price advantages to be gained from importing GM foods. Sri Lanka does not produce any GM foods, but is a significant importer of wheat and sugar.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.
Copyright 2000 FT Asia Intelligence Wire All rights reserved. Copyright 2000 Bangkok Post. Bangkok Post
Tuna Firms Say Certification Could Help End Ban By Saudi Arabia
The local tuna industry and the government are continuing their effort to overturn a Saudi Arabian ban on Thai canned tuna. They are seeking ways to assure the Saudi government that local canneries use soybean oil that does not contain genetically modified beans. The Riyadh government imposed the ban last month, saying it did not allow the imports of any food products containing GM material. Exports of Thai canned tuna to Saudi Arabia are worth about one billion baht a year. The Thai Food Processors' Association has asked the Saudi government to consider accepting non-GM certificates issued by Thailand for soybean oil used in tuna canning, according to vice-president Cheng Niruttinanon.
The Rice Bran and Soybean Oil Producers' Association has said that its members use only local soybeans in oil supplied to tuna processors. No GM soybeans are grown in Thailand. Mr Cheng said the association had asked the oil producers, the Foreign Trade Department and Foreign Ministry to issue certificates for Thai companies and send them to the Thai commercial counsellor's office in Riyadh.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald, April 7, 2000, Front Page:
Big Isle Papaya Crops Tainted
Agriculture board chair Nakatani said market economics have forced the papaya industry to rethink its much-vaunted genetically-engineered plant strains.
The japanese market, looked to as a source of 40 percent of potential sales, has slammed the door on transgenic fruit, Nakatani said. 'This presents an impetus... to get the [nongenetically-engineered] Kapoho Solo variety back to its place of prominence in the Puna district,' Nakatani said.
Meanwhile, growers said they're getting a far better price here for old varieties.
Kapoho Solo cells for 60 cents a pound, while the genetically-altered Rainbow papayas fetch a paltry 20 cents per pound, they said. Durkan said Rainbow papayas have a brief shelf life before turning mushy, and they tend to be oversized, making them more expensive to ship.
To top things off, the Rainbow variety, a hybrid, is showing signs of being less disease-resistant than advertised, Durkan said. 'It's under considerable virus pressure,' Durkan said.
More than 250 farmers statewide are growing Rainbow and SunUp transgenic varieties, whose seeds were released in mid-1998 as the first genetically-engineered fruit sold in the U.S. Developed over two decades, the seeds were engineered to resist the ringspot virus.
Copyright 2000 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc. St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 4, 2000, Tuesday, FIVE STAR LIFT EDITION
Biotech Rivals Team Up in Effort to Sell Altered Food; Monsanto, Others Launch Campaign in U.S., Canada
By Bill Lambrecht; Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau
Monsanto Co. and its biotechnology rivals began a $ 50 million campaign Monday to sell Americans on the benefits of genetically modified food. With television and print ads along with a Web site and toll-free number, the newly formed Council for Biotechnology Information is seeking to raise awareness and reduce worry at a critical juncture for a powerful new technology. The council says it may spend as much as $ 250 million on the campaign over the next five years toward shaping opinion in the United States and Canada. Monsanto spokesman Jeff Bergau said the campaign is designed to tell consumers something they don't know a lot about.
US House Panel Biofood Findings Detailed
WASHINGTON (Reuters 04_13_2000) - A House Science subcommittee issued a report on Thursday endorsing the safety of genetically modified foods, based on testimony from witnesses at three hearings last winter. The conclusions from the panel's 79-page report are outlined below, along with recommendations for future congressional and agency actions. A complete copy of the report is available on the Internet at www.house.gov/science.
Copyright 2000 Reuters Limited.
US Science Panel's Biofoods Recommendations Detailed
WASHINGTON, April 5 (Reuters) - The National Academy of Sciences made several dozen recommendations on Wednesday to improve the U.S. government's regulation of genetically altered plants. A 260-page report was prepared by a panel that included scientists from eight universities plus experts from the Environmental Defense Fund, California's state pesticide agency, a Washington law firm, and a consulting firm. The study did not address philosophical and social issues related to biofoods, or the impact of food labeling and international trade. The complete report is available on the Internet at www.national-academies.org.
[www.nap.edu/catalog/9795.html - ed.]
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.
National Environmental Trust: Environmental and Consumer Groups Question Credibility of Controversial NAS Study on Biotech Foods
Study should be abandoned because of conflicts of interest between biotech industry and NAS
WASHINGTON, April 5 -/E-Wire/-- On Wednesday, April 5, National Environmental Trust, Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, US Public Interest Research Group and the Organic Consumers Association gathered in front of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to object to numerous conflicts of interest in the NAS research panel's study of genetically engineered (GE) foods. The controversial study is being released today at the NAS.
"A panel that leans overwhelmingly toward a pro-biotech position, including members on the payroll of the biotech industry, cannot be expected to produce an independent report with an objective conclusion," said Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
SOURCE National Environmental Trust 04/05/2000
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