GE NEWS ARCHIVE
Mothers for Natural Law
International News on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture
Biweekly News 00/07/02
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UK Supermarket Chain Gobbles 40 Percent World's Organic Veggies
By Neville Judd
LONDON, England, June 22, 2000 (ENS) - One of the largest British supermarket chains has announced plans to switch to organic food at no extra cost to consumers.
The supermarket chain Iceland, which has 760 stores, said last week it is buying almost 40 percent of the world's organic vegetables in a nine million pound (US$13.5 million) decision to replace conventionally grown food in its frozen food fridges.
The company has donated one million pounds (US$1.5 million) to the National Trust, Britain's biggest landowner and charity, to encourage environmentally friendly farming.
A further eight million pounds (US$12 million) will be spent absorbing the extra costs of buying more expensive organic supplies without passing on the cost to customers. Shareholders of the company have been warned that extra annual investment will be needed by December 2001.
Iceland's managing director, Russell Ford, told BBC radio that the investment was prompted by a survey suggesting three out of four customers would prefer to buy organic goods if they were cheaper.
A new poll, published by Friends of the Earth on Monday, confirmed the trend. More than four fifths of the British public want pesticides banned from supermarket food, according to the NOP opinion poll, conducted between June 1 and 6 among 2,162 adults.
Participants were asked: "Do you think that the supermarket that you or the main shopper in your household normally shop at should ensure that all their food products are free of pesticide residues, or not?" Eighty five percent said yes.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2000
06/30/2000 09:04 a.m.CDT
US Wheat Associates Commits to Identity Preservation Program
The US Wheat Associates (USW), an export market development organization, accepted a biotechnology policy this week that commits to putting the consumer's wishes first, according to the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers. Although genetically modified (GM) wheat will not be commercialized until 2003, USW board members report that some overseas customers have already told them they will not import GM wheat. Recognizing that half of all US wheat is exported, the board's policy is to develop an identity preservation program in the next few years to ensure their customers will get the kind of wheat they request. The USW also committed to working with biotech companies, producers and consumers to determine the benefits of GM wheat. The USW works with 100 wheat-importing countries and 19 wheat-exporting US states.
Schroeder Wants to Halt GM Crop Use Until 2003
EINBECK, Germany, June 21 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called on agro-businesses on Wednesday not to grow genetically modified plants until 2003 so the government could investigate their effect on the environment. In a speech at a seed company in the northern town of Einbeck, Schroeder called for a voluntary pause to increase scientific awareness and public acceptance of GM crops. "Development and research makes no sense when the products cannot be sold," Schroeder said. "With genetic and biotechnology there can be a similar dynamic for economic growth as with information technology."
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.
The Age, HOBART
Friday 30 June 2000
Defiant Tasmania bans GM crop trials
By Andrew Darby
Tasmania has become the first state to impose a moratorium on trials of genetically modified crops, sparking a new fight with the Commonwealth.
The decision defies a warning from Prime Minister John Howard about going it alone on the issue, and the Federal Government is examining its legal options.
Press Release: New Zealand Government
Thursday, 15 June 2000, 10:55 am
New Zealand Moratorium on Genetic Modification
The Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, has announced that agreement has been reached with industry and research organisations over a voluntary moratorium on field tests or general release of genetically modified organisms. "The voluntary moratorium applies to all applications to field test or release a genetically modified organism from containment," the Minister said. "The major potential applicants have agreed that a voluntary moratorium with some limited exemptions will allow their research to progress while reducing potential risks to the environment." The voluntary moratorium will be in place until the Royal Commission into Genetic Modification has completed its report and the Government has considered its findings.
Copyright 2000 AAP Information Services Pty. Ltd. AAP NEWSFEED
June 22, 2000, Thursday
Govt Finally Introduces Gene Regulations Into Parliament
Genetic PARLY 020 By Linda McSweeny CANBERRA, June 22 AAP - Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will finally be regulated in Australia, with the introduction into parliament today of the federal government's planned regime. But the government cannot guarantee their safety, saying no system could achieve such a result. "No regulatory system can guarantee absolute safety or zero risk," the Gene Technology Bill 2000 explanatory notes said.
The policy will cement in law temporary arrangements governing the release and monitoring of GMOs, putting in place an Office of the Gene Technology Regulator to control them. Three science, ethics and community committees will oversee the development of gene technology and report to the regulator as part of the government's long awaited Gene Technology Bill 2000. It proposes a public database of all GMOs to allay public concerns about their safety and knowledge of GM's applications.
"Under the bill, all applications for GMOs to be released into the environment will be made available to anyone who wants to see it," Health Minister Michael Wooldridge said. "For a regulator of individual products, this is the very highest degree of openness and transparency." States and territories will receive the GM applications for comment and non-government parties will also have a say. Dr Wooldridge hailed it as world's best practice.
"The regulator will be backed by the full weight of the law and have the legislative teeth to deal with breaches of licence conditions. "The sole purpose of the regulator will be to protect the health and safety of the community and the environment by identifying and managing risks posed by or as a result of GMOs."
The regulator will have powers and independence akin to the Auditor-General, Ombudsman or the Tax Commissioner. It can appoint inspectors to investigate alleged breaches equivalent to the Australian Federal Police, with fines of up to $1.1 million. Dr Wooldridge introduced the proposed laws to parliament boasting the support of all sides of politics.
But the Greens said the bill failed to provide safety for consumers and the environment. "It is gutless," Greens Senator Bob Brown said. "Unless this bill is drastically amended Australian organic and GE (genetically engineered) free producers will have their markets put at severe risk."
Copyright 2000 Business Intelligence International Pty Ltd. ABIX: Australasian Business Intelligence
June 21, 2000 Wednesday
GM food a big risk, say insurers
SOURCE: The Age
ABSTRACT: The Insurance Council of Australia has warned that genetically modified (GM) food has unforeseen risks for the insurance industry. In a June 2000 submission to a House of Representatives committee report on gene technology, the council said that farmers, manufacturers and retailers were unlikely to be able to secure liability insurance for GM products. The council's executive director, Robert Drummond, said the risks were similar to those associated with asbestos, where companies faced enormous claims 20 to 30 years later.
Copyright 2000 Wellington Newspapers Limited The Dominion (Wellington)
June 20, 2000
Five Modified Foods Get ANZFA's Seal of Approval
FIVE genetically modified foods assessed carried no additional risks compared with corresponding conventional foods, trans-Tasman regulator ANZFA said yesterday. But critics said the Australia-New Zealand Food Authority's conclusions were expected because of the "limited" terms of reference. ANZFA issued the safety assessment reports in Canberra for public comment in the next 10 weeks. The foods -- involving modified corn, cotton, canola and soybean -- appeared in thousands of processed items from icecream to sausage skins, it said.
ANZFA board chairman Michael MacKellar said 17 safety assessment reports on genetically modified foods would be made public in the next three months. Reports on BT cotton and Roundup Ready soy had already been issued. "All the scientific data presently before ANZFA indicated that the GM foods under assessment have all the benefits of the corresponding conventional foods and no additional risks."
Supplied by New Zealand Press Association
Copyright 2000 FT Asia Intelligence Wire All rights reserved. Copyright 2000 BusinessWorld (Philippines). BUSINESSWORLD (PHILIPPINES)
June 27, 2000
Test sites for GM rice approved
The National Committee on Bio-safety of the Philippines (NCBP) has approved in principle the proposed experimental sites for doing field tests on the cultivation of a genetically modified (GM) variety of paddy rice. Officers of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice) yesterday said the NCBP has given its informal nod to their proposed field test sites in Los Banos, Laguna, and Munoz, Nueva Ecija, respectively. "They (NCBP) have found it initially acceptable but of course, that is still reviewable," IRRI deputy director general and former Science and Technology Secretary Dr. William G. Padolina told BusinessWorld in an interview at the Makati office of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
Copyright 2000 Gazeta Mercantil Inc. GAZETA MERCANTIL ONLINE
June 29, 2000, Thursday
Ruling bars planting transgenics
Greenpeace and the Brazilian Consumer Defense Institute (Idec) won another round Wednesday in the battle against transgenics. A ruling by the 6th jurisdiction of the Federal Court in Brasilia prohibited the planting and the commercialization of genetically modified species without the prior study of the environmental impact. Now, Monsanto and the federal government bet their chips on the appeal already presented by the Regional Federal Court, first district, whose ruling yesterday was suspended by a review appeal. (Marcia Quadros, Gazeta Mercantil - Translated by James Bruce)
Lab tests detect illegal GM in Brazil food samples
RIO DE JANEIRO, June 21 (Reuters) - European analysts have detected genetically modified materials in more than a quarter of food samples recently sent from Brazil, where the marketing of GM crops is banned, a leading consumer body said Wednesday. The Brazilian Institute for Consumer Defense (IDEC) teamed up with international environmentalist group Greenpeace to test for the presence of GM components in 42 national and imported foodstuffs regularly sold to consumers in Brazil. IDEC, a non-government consumers association, sent 31 of the products for analysis by Swiss laboratory Interlabor Belp AG, which detected the presence of either GM soy or corn in nine of the products submitted. Greenpeace sent 11 products to the Umweltbundesamt laboratory in Vienna, which found that three of the items were contaminated with GM corn or soy.
...The items submitted for GM testing ranged from chips and cookies to sausages, milk powder and soups.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.
Scientists warn of danger of jumping gene - report
LONDON, June 21 (Reuters) - British scientists are concerned that a jumping gene used to genetically modify organisms could spread to other species, New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday. The so-called mariner element had jumped species at least seven times in evolutionary history, according to a report commissioned by the British government. "In a project for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Andy Brass and two colleagues at the University of Manchester compared the DNA of 80,000 different organisms, using five million sequences," the weekly magazine said. "They found seven pairs of similar mariner sequences." The scientists said there was strong suggestive evidence that the gene moved between the tsetse fly and humans. They also suspect it crossed over to a mosquito, bee, beetle and a cat flea. By using it to insert genes into animals or plants the researchers fear it could spread into other species. But other scientists who are using mariner in GM organisms played down the potential risks. "We can engineer things so that the risk is acceptably small," David Finnegan, of the University of Edinburgh, told the magazine.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is compiled for educational use only.
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