GE Trees Destroyed at Oregon State University
(Courtesy of Jack Cooper)
GenetiX Alert News Release: GE Trees Destroyed at Oregon State University
A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E http://www.ainfos.ca/
GENETIX ALERT NEWS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Denny Henke 901.438.9907 ; Date: March 23, 2001
"Concerned OSU Students and Alumni Destroy GE Trees at Oregon State
Corvallis, OR - In mid-March, 2001 concerned OSU students and alumni
targeted three GE test sites where Poplar and Cottonwood trees are being
grown by Steve Strauss, a forestry professor at Oregon State University
and the founder of the Tree Genetic Engineering research Cooperative.
According to the communique the test plots at these places were
independently assessed and found to be a dangerous experiment of unknown
The communique continues : We ring barked or cut down 90% of your trees
at OSU's site at the Peavey Arboretum on Arboretum Rd. (off Hwy 99W north
of Corvallis, Oregon). At OSU's tract near Half Moon Bend of the
Willamette River (just south of Garden Ave. off Hwy 20 between Corvallis
and Albany), we eliminated 60% of the trees. Lastly, every tree was cut
down in one test plot at OSU's Agricultural Experiment Station in Klamath
Falls, Oregon (on Washburn Way, across from the Kingsley Field). In all,
over 1200 of your GE research trees were destroyed.
Oregon State University (OSU) is the number one university in the world
for GE tree research. Among other studies, OSU experiments with
engineering Monsanto's Roundup Ready herbicide into the cells of poplar
This action by the OSU students comes just weeks after the ELF burned a
research cotton gin in Visalia, CA. Since November 1998 there have been
over 40 anti-genetic direct actions in North America. The direct
actionists maintain that biotechnology is completely unnecessary and is
being developed at the expense of human and ecological health solely to
increase the profits of large multinational corporations. With the North
American growing season at hand it is likely that direct actions against
facilities producing and testing genetically engineered organisms will
Concerning the questions about hybrids in general: the mass replacement
of native forests with ecologically unstable monoculture hybrid tree farms
is a gamble with terrifying consequences. The only selection traits for
what to breed into these hybrids are economical ones, so therefore the
non-GE hybrid tree farms are an ecological threat and in the case of TGERC
especially are a legitimate target on their own.
>From TGERC's website http://www.fsl.orst.edu/tgerc/genfor2.htm : "The
TGERC conducts research to facilitate commercial uses of transgenic
trees...TGERC has focused on hybrid poplars, whose clonal propagation and
amenability to standard gene transfer methods facilitates genetic
engineering. After insertion of genes into elite hybrids in the
laboratory, they can be rapidly propagated, field tested for normal
expression of their new traits, and then enter production...TGERC relies
heavily on support and collaborative work from (1) its Member industries
and government agencies; (2) competitive grants to accelerate work on its
more fundamental projects; and (3) leadership and subsidies provided by
Oregon State University.
*Attached is copy of the communique Open Letter to Steve Strauss, Oregon
State University forestry professor and founder of the Tree Genetic
Engineering Research Cooperative:
During mid-March, three of your genetically engineered (GE) tree research
sites were visited by night. The test plots of Populus genus trees
(poplars and cottonwoods) at these places were independently assessed and
found to be a dangerous experiment of unknown genetic consequences.
Therefore, we ring barked or cut down 90% of your trees at OSU's site at
the Peavey Arboretum on Arboretum Rd. (off Hwy 99W north of Corvallis,
Oregon). At OSU's tract near Half Moon Bend of the Willamette River (just
south of Garden Ave. off Hwy 20 between Corvallis and Albany), we
eliminated 60% of the trees. Lastly, every tree was cut down in one test
plot at OSU's Agricultural Experiment Station in Klamath Falls, Oregon (on
Washburn Way, across from the Kingsley Field). In all, over 1200 of your
GE research trees were destroyed.
Some of the trees we targeted may have been hybrids and not technically
GE. However, your Tree Genetic Engineering Research Cooperative (TGERC)
focuses on hybrid poplars as its method for delivering modified genes into
its frankentrees. All of the program's research on the Populus genus is
used for the goal of patenting and commercializing GE trees.
Steve, your exploits with TGERC are socially and environmentally
unacceptable. You claim to be undertaking basic independent studies to
address environmental concerns, but that claim is belied by the millions
of dollars your program receives from huge timber corporations to develop
fast growing supertrees for them.
The expansion of GE from agriculture to industrial resource extraction,
as with trees for timber production, exhibits the slippery slope of
biotechnology permeating every part of human interaction with the rest of
our natural world.
In 1999, people used similar methods, as we have to attack an AstraZeneca
GE tree research site in England. AstraZeneca said the incident seriously
affected its eight-year research program and the company decided to end it
soon after the incident.
Our goal is to do to TGERC what others did to AstraZeneca's program.
You may recall your thoughts about the event: "These environmental
extremists are unfortunately making us very paranoid," said Steve Strauss,
forestry professor at Oregon State University (Reuters News Service
feature article, "Eco-warriors Stunt U.S. Biotech Tree Research," March 2,
Well, Steve, as the saying goes, just because you're paranoid, it doesn't
mean that we're not out to get your research.
Very truly yours, concerned OSU students and alumni
GenetiX Alert is an independent news center that works with other
above-ground, anti-genetic engineering organizations. GA has no knowledge
of the person(s) who carryout any underground actions. GA does not
advocate illegal acts, but seeks to explain why people destroy genetically
engineered crops and undertake other nonviolent actions aimed at resisting
genetic engineering and increasing the difficulty for entities which seek
to advance genetic engineering or its products. GA spokespeople are
available for media interviews. An archive of anti-biotech direct actions
can be found at http://tao.ca/~ban/ar.htm
Reporters and other interested parties may contact GenetiX Alert at: cell
phone: 901.438.9907, email: email@example.com Web:
http://tao.ca/~ban/gapo.htm 787 Ellsworth=20 Memphis, TN 38111 USA
contact: Denny Henke
I am writing to inform the list of a recent act of eco-terrorism aimed at
important research with genetically engineered trees. Sometime in
mid-March, eco-idiots damaged a number of hybrid poplar trees contained in
field trials administered by the Tree Genetic Engineering Research
Cooperative, based at Oregon State University. At this point, it is
unknown how many of the trees that were damaged were actually genetically
engineered. The eco-idiots always exaggerate their claims, and often claim
credit for damaging genetically engineered trees when they actually hit
only classically bred plants. I'm sure we all recall the "incident" when
the "trees" that were damaged turned out to be raspberry plants.
I am outraged at these senseless acts of eco-extortion. Only when the
felons are caught and prosecuted under RICO will there begin to be some
justice. By the same token, we must not allow these criminals to
intimidate us to abandon this research. It is too important.
Finally, the list should know that the announcement by the eco-criminals
also took a swipe at the intensive growing of trees in plantations. While
I'm not surprised, this proves that amongst the entire group, they have
not one living brain cell. It is in fact this type of tree culture that is
reducing pressure on native forests. Such intensive plantation culture is
in no way being practiced in a way to displace native forests.
Lawrence K. Miller
(Note from Prakash: I have learnt that the damage to scientific research
at OSU from this vandalism was very modest. Dr. Steve Strauss would soon
be posting his remarks on the damage to his research trial to Agbioview)
Organized Organic Crime
Friday, March 23, 2001
(Forwarded by "Karl J. Kramer"
Starbucks surrendered this week to extortion by some of the very same
anti-technology extremists who supported the multi-million dollar
vandalism of the gourmet coffee retailer's hometown and several of its
storefronts during the 1999 Seattle WTO riots. You might call it
"Battered Socially Responsible Company Syndrome." Starbucks brags about
its record of "environmental leadership," yet is now a punching bag for
the groups it tries to appease.
But something more sinister is occurring.
The Organic Consumers Association threatened to damage Starbucks'
"worldwide reputation and profitability" unless the company stopped using
milk from cows supplemented with synthetic bovine growth hormone. The
action is part of OCA's campaign to drive off the market non-organic foods
and beverages, especially those produced through genetic engineering and
other modern technologies. OCA claims that hormone supplementation
damages the health of dairy cows and that milk from supplemented cows
increases cancer risk in humans. According to experts, both claims are
CEO Orin Smith said he was more concerned about public perception than
health concerns, and announced Starbucks would stop serving milk from
supplemented cows five days ahead of OCA's scheduled attack. OCA launched
its scheduled attack against "Frankenbucks" anyway, staging protests in
more than 100 cities where Starbucks has retail outlets.
Not only does Starbucks' cave-in encourage the organic thugs to
strong-arm other businesses, but also it harms consumers and the
environment. Bovine growth hormones are present in all cows, even those on
organic farms. Milk from supplemented cows is chemically indistinguishable
from milk produced by non-supplemented cows, according to the Food and
Drug Administration. This is no surprise. Supplementation only helps cows
produce more, not different milk.
Recent research indicated supplemented cows are as healthy as
non-supplemented cows. Dairy producers who use these supplements produce
as much as 15 percent more milk with the same number of cows. In addition
to higher productivity for dairy farmers, use of bovine growth hormone
means less water, land and fuel will be used.
The dairy industry estimates that producing 10 percent more milk with the
same number of cows (based on the 1996 milk supply of 19 billion gallons)
saves: 180 billion gallons per year of water, the annual usage of 700,000
U.S. homes; 1.7 million acres of land, an area one-third the size of new
Jersey; and 150 million gallons per year of fuel, the annual consumption
of 240,000 U.S. homes.
The same increase in milk productivity also reduces: annual manure
production by 0.9 metric tons; soil loss by 5.3 million tons per year, one
percent of U.S. soil loss, and (for global warming worrywarts) greenhouse
gas emissions by 4.9 million tons per year, about 0.2 percent of total
U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Milk production isn't the only area where organic farming comes up short
against new technology. Modern high-yielding farming is the subject of an
article titled "Urban myths of organic farming," published in this week's
edition of the science journal Nature. University of Edinburgh biologist
Anthony Trewavas points out, for example, that organic farmers' frequent
mechanical weeding of their fields damages nesting birds, worms and
invertebrates and increases pollution through added fossil-fuel use.
In contrast, Trewavas points out, "A single treatment with innocuous
herbicide, coupled with no-till conventional farming avoids this damage
and retains organic material in the soil surface." Trewavas concludes
"organic agriculture was originally formulated as an ideology" but for
today's global problems we "need agricultural pragmatism and flexibility,
not ideology." Adding insult to injury, organic foods cost an average of
57 percent more than conventional foods, according to Consumer Reports.
These higher costs could amount to $4,000 annually for a family of four,
according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The organic agriculture industry can't make a compelling case. Organic
farming is an ecological, agricultural and economic bust. It's no wonder
the organic industry relies on extortion and terrorism.
The bad news for Starbucks is that organized organic crime isn't through
yet. The OCA is also after Starbucks to pledge never to use genetically
modified coffee or other GM ingredients in its products and to more
heavily promote organic coffee. "One hundred percent organic" is OCA's
goal. The OCA is affiliated with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade
Policy, another anti-technology group. Mark Ritchie, the president of
IATP, operates Peace Coffee, an organic coffee company.
Should Starbucks not cave-in to OCA's demands, Starbucks might reasonably
worry about a visit from yet another group that shares facilities with
IATP - Earth First!, The eco-sabotage group is under investigation by the
FBI for acts property destruction costing tens of millions of dollars.
Starbucks should wake up and smell its own coffee before it gets an offer
it can't refuse.
- Steven Milloy is a biostatistician, lawyer and adjunct scholar at the
Cato Institute and publisher of Junkscience.com
Subject: Starbucks corporate responsibility failure
This is obviously a form letter, and you obviously did not read my
comments as this DOES NOT address my concerns.
I am NOT concerned about GMOs or Fair Trade, I AM concerned about
eco-terrorism, extortion and the failure of companies to be good citizens
and socially responsible. Starbucks actions, now complicated by your
mistatements (I called your 800 # and was told you were changing you milk
to provide a "safer milk" -- SHAME on you!), are contributing to false and
misleading fear campaigns, that erode consumer confidence, harm America's
dairy farmers economic viability and damage the environment.
The protection racket of which Starbucks is a victim aims to create false
fears about safe foods to increase sales and fundraising for groups like
the "Organic Consumers Association" and "Sustain."
Starbucks should be more responsible! Did you know that Sustain shares the
same mailing address in Chicago as the radical eco-terrorists Earth First?
Did you know that the OCA openly supports "direct actions" campaigns which
include vandalism, threatening farmers, and personally assaulting company
executives? Starbucks has been a victim of this terrorism. When you state
your strong desires to meet with these groups to discuss their issues they
decline. Then you capitulate to their demands.
Pathetic and irresponsible. Shame, shame, shame on you! I will no longer
purchase your products.
--- Info wrote:
Dear Andura Smetacek,
Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company regarding your concerns
about GMOs, Fair Trade coffee and the social, economic and environmental
effects our business has on the communities and people with whom we work.
We recognize that these issues are of increasing concern to our customers.
At Starbucks, we have a long-standing commitment to address the social and
environmental effects of our business and therefore share your concerns. I
have attached a letter written by Orin Smith, our President and Chief
Executive Officer, which addresses these concerns. I hope that this
provides you with valuable information regarding Starbucks policies and
activities on these issues. Again, thank you for sharing your concerns
with us. If you have additional questions or comments, please feel free to
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-235-2883 to speak with a
customer relations representative.
Best regards, Jaime B.
Customer Relations Starbucks Coffee Company
Mr. Ronnie Cummins
Mr. Joe Mendelson
Campaign Director Center for Food Safety Organic Consumers Association c/o
Organic Consumers Association 6114 Highway 61 6114 Highway 61 Little
Marais, MN 55614
Mr. Larry Bohlen Mr. Grahame Russell Friends of the Earth Rights Action
c/o Organic Consumers Association c/o Organic Consumers Association 6114
Highway 61 6114 Highway 61 Little Marais, MN 55614 Little Marais, MN 55614
Ms. Ellen Hickey
Mr. Jim Slama Pesticide Action Network Sustain c/o Organic Consumers
Association c/o Organic Consumers Association 6114 Highway 61 6114 Highway
61 Little Marais, MN 55614 Little Marais, MN 55614
Dear Messrs. Cummins, Bohlen, Mendelson, Russell, Slama, and Ms. Hickey:
Your February 14, 2001 letter raises a number of important issues which
are also of concern to Starbucks. We were disappointed that Mr. Bohlen
declined the invitation extended by Dennis Stefanacci, Starbucks senior
vice president for Corporate Social Responsibility, to meet with us
face-to-face. You have expressed concern about some very complex social,
economic and environmental issues that impact us all, and do not lend
themselves to simple solutions. We had hoped to share with you our
policies and actions on these issues and to explore how we could work
together to achieve those things to which I think we may both be
Your refusal to meet unless we have categorically agreed to all your
demands signals to us that you may be more interested in using Starbucks
as a public forum to express your views than in working cooperatively for
constructive solutions. We still welcome the chance to have a face-to-face
meeting. However, in the meantime, we are responding to your letter in
writing, as you requested. We appreciate the concerns you express on the
effects of GMOs on human health and the environment.
Starbucks first priority is to provide high quality, safe products that
fit into our long-standing commitment to address the social and
environmental effects of our business. As with virtually every other
retailer of food products, Starbucks must rely on governmental agencies
charged with food safety responsibility to determine what foods are safe
for human consumption, unless there is a substantial body of evidence
which contradicts agency positions. We, therefore, have concluded that the
products offered in our stores are safe either because they have been
approved by government agencies or conform to governmental regulators.
Nevertheless, Starbucks recognizes that some of our customers may be
concerned about GMOs, even in the absence of any evidence of harm to the
public, and that there will be increasing public debate on the GMO issue.
It is unfortunate this debate did not occur before so much of the U.S. and
world food supply was made to contain GMOs. As it now stands, as much as
70% of the products sold in supermarkets and more than 95% of the milk
supply may have GMOs. Because Starbucks does not produce these goods and
does not have control over their supply, we are not in a position to give
immediate assurances that we can offer only GMO-free goods. In fact, that
was one of the reasons we asked to meet with you - i.e., to discuss how we
might work together to seek constructive solutions to this complex issue.
In the meantime, Starbucks has been, and continues to be, responsive to
potential concerns about GMOs.
We have examined our entire product line to determine GMO content and to
study alternatives where they exist. We have clearly established that our
core products, coffee and tea, are completely free of GMOs and are not
derived from genetically modified sources. The soymilk that we offer in
our stores is certified organic, and therefore GMO-free. As to our
remaining products, there is no labeling requirement in the U.S. that
obligates producers to disclose the presence of all genetically modified
ingredients. Nevertheless, we believe most other products we offer are
GMO-free and will continue to work with our existing suppliers or
alternative suppliers to assure this is so. We also understand you have
particular concerns about rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) in milk
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization, American
Medical Association, National Institute of Health and regulatory agencies
in 30 countries take the position that milk from cows supplemented with
rBST is no different from milk from untreated cows. However, again we
recognize that some of our customers have concerns about the presence of
rBST in milk products. Therefore we are taking measures to address those
concerns. As soon as we have an alternative source of supply, Starbucks
will begin to offer rBST-free milk as an option upon request, just as we
currently offer soymilk as an alternative in our beverages. We expect that
the rBST-free milk alternative will be available in all our company-owned
U.S. stores by the end of this summer. Currently, 25% of our milk supply
is rBST-free. Ultimately, we hope to be able to offer all of our milk
products rBST-free. However, even though only about one-third of dairy
herds are injected with the synthetic hormone rBST, the USDA advises that,
at the current time, significantly less than 5% of the commercially
produced milk can be certified as coming from rBST-free herds because of
the bulking processes used within the milk industry. Without an adequate
source of rBST-free milk, we cannot make immediate changes. However, we
are already discussing with existing suppliers what we........
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Subject: Previous posting on Greenpeace
From: Tom DeGregori
In a previous posting, I responded to a press release by Greenpeace that
claimed that IRRI (International Rice Research Institute), one of the
world's most respected research institutions whose high yielding varieties
of rice have literally fed billions, had capitulated to Greenpeace's
anti-human demands. The letter that I received from IRRI shows that once
again (posted earlier today to Agbioview...csp), Greenpeace has
shamelessly distorted the truth for its own gain and to the detriment of
humankind. In my response to IRRI, I profusely apologized for the
precipitous anger in my initial response but Greenpeace's antics are
enough to drive the most rational of human beings (for which I do not
qualify) to dispair and distraction. My public apology here to IRRI but at
least my actions have once again allowed us to expose Greenpeace for what
most of us already know it to be.
French farm leader sentenced for McDonald's attack
Nicolas Fichot; Reuters March 22, 2001
MONTPELLIER, France, March 22 (Reuters) - A French appeals court on
Thursday ordered rebel farm leader Jose Bove to serve three months in jail
for wrecking a McDonald's restaurant, but the activist said he would
appeal to France's highest court. The walrus-moustachioed Bove achieved
international prominence in 1999 after he led a group that trashed a
McDonald's in southern France in protest against U.S. tariffs on French
delicacies such as Roquefort cheese and foie gras.
The court in Montpellier, southern France, upheld a lower court's sentence
of three months in prison. Bove, a sheep farmer, had appealed against the
sentence while the prosecution had asked for a six-month term for the
McDonald's attack. Bove, who walked free after the court did not remand
him in custody, said he would appeal the sentence to the Cour de
Cassation, which reviews convictions on procedural grounds. "I remain
confident and serene," Bove, sporting a rumpled striped shirt and smoking
a large, droopy pipe, told reporters as he left the courthouse to the
cheers of supporters.
"For us, the struggle continues more than ever," he added, saying he was
not afraid of prison and noting he was headed to Geneva on Friday to help
plan new anti-globalisation protests. Thursday's ruling drew an immediate
condemnation from the Communist-led CGT, France's most powerful trades
union, and the environmentalist Greens, partners in the French government.
The Greens called the verdict a provocation and said in a statement that
the assault on the McDonald's showed how society was "trying to find a new
means of expressing its protest against the excesses of globalisation".
LESS OF A CARNIVAL
While Bove's previous court appearances have drawn thousands of protesters
and taken on a carnival-like atmosphere, Thursday's event was more subdued
with only 100 or so well-wishers gathering outside the courthouse.Bove,
who has compared his sacking of the fast-food restaurant to the 1789
storming of the Bastille, remained adamant that he should not be punished
for acting in what he regarded as the public interest. "The law sees us as
guilty of acts that we consider legitimate," he said.
Prosecutors had urged the appeals court to uphold the law even if Bove and
his radical supporters justified their act in the name of a political
cause. On a separate count, the court ordered Bove to pay a fine of 6,000
French francs ($815) for having helped lock up Agriculture Ministry
officials in an office during a March 1999 protest.
Bove has become something of a regular at Montpellier legal proceedings.
Last week, a court there handed him a 10-month suspended sentence for
destroying genetically modified rice plants during a 1999 assault on a
research centre. Hailed as a Robin Hood figure by his army of fans, Bove
has skilfully mobilised radical farmers and tapped French prejudices
against America and its fast food - for which he popularised the term "la
malbouffe" (lousy food).
His jovial style and fluent English, learned as a child while his parents
studied in Berkeley, California, have helped him become a star at
anti-globalisation protests from Seattle to Davos since the McDonald's
From: Andrew Apel
Insect perverts? With respect to the project to develop GM pink bollworms
to limit the US population of this invasive, non-native crop pest, Mae
Wan-Ho has this to say: "The males were fertile when mated to other
females. This is important for spreading the female-killing gene
throughout the pest population. However, it would also spread the gene to
related species. The potential also exists for horizontal transfer to
"The proposal to engineer these genes into promiscuous transposon vectors
will greatly multiply the risks of horizontal transfer to unrelated
species, with potentially disastrous effects on biodiversity. "There is a
compelling case for stopping these developments altogether on the basis of
hazards that can already be foreseen. In earlier reports (2,3), we have
given evidence that the transposon used in the GM pink bollworm project is
both promiscuous and unstable, and integrated vectors are prone to
One has to wonderócould these GM pink bollworms even develop a penchant
for Monarch butterflies? A chilling prospect. For the rest of the report,
visit http://www.i-sis.org/sterileinsect.shtml . For a new report on how
an AIDS vaccine causing cancer, visit her site, http://www.i-sis.org
From: "Bob MacGregor"
Subject: Re: Comment by Prakash on 'Gassy' Foods
These comments were 100% right on!! The only major one that was missed
was the useless and energy-consuming travel of self-serving activist
authors to such events.
From: Charles Rader
Subject: Monsanto Potatoes
Monsanto yesterday announced that it was dropping out of the business of
supplying genetically modified potatoes. Currently on the market are a
variety called Newleaf, which is pest resistant.
More important, from the point of public relations about genetic modified
food, are the future of high solids potatoes. High solids means less
absorbtion of oil in frying. French fries from high solids potatoes would
presumably stay crspy longer, while absorbing less oil, than traditional
potato varieties. With the possible exception of tobacco use, no public
health issue can compare with the problems of excess consumption of fats.
These high solids potatoes would have been one of the first and most
important examples of genetically modified crops with consumer advantages.
I certainly hope that Monsanto's decision will not deprive us of an
important new genetically modified crop.
Charles M. Rader
Subject: RE: AGBIOVIEW: How Much Rice to Eat?;
From: "Santerre, Charles"
I appreciated getting the estimates by Dr. Beyer re. golden rice. Are the
following estimates given as dry weight or wet (prepared) weight? I assume
the values given in the message below (1.6-2.0 mg/g = 1.6-2 mg/kg)
include a typo. The first mg/g should actually be microgram per gram,
correct? These values are attributed to B-carotene content, correct. Has
anyone started to look into the acceptability of a yellow rice aspect?
Thanks for the feedback. Charlie
Charles R. Santerre, Ph.D.
Department of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University
1264 Stone Hall. West Lafayette, IN 47907-1264
Subject: Re: New crop approval
From: "Bob MacGregor"
I recently saw a note in Agnet about a new, conventionally-bred winter
wheat variety (called W337) which resists attack by the wheat curl mite
(the principal vector of wheat streak mosaic virus, major cause of crop
loss in winter wheats). The note also mentions ongoing work to breed in
direct resistance to the virus itself. Apparently, approval to plant
this wheat is expected next year. I am waiting with bated breath for the
calls from precautionary principal zealots to have a moratorium on
approval of this new variety until it can be proven safe.
Also, I would like to know if the EU reviews and approves each new variety
of crop plant that receives approval in the US or Canada (or elsewhere in
the world, for that matter) before allowing it to appear admixed into
imported shipments of that crop commodity (eg, soy, wheat, barley, oats,
etc.). If minute traces of unapproved GE varieties of corn can cause
rejection of whole shiploads of US corn or soybeans, then surely
authoritie s in the EU must be similarly restrictive of new,
conventionally-bred varieties of US export crops-- otherwise, they would
be leaving their producers (and farm environment) wide open to genetic
pollution from these new varieties.
NEW WHEAT VARIETY HAS UNIQUE DISEASE RESISTANCE
March 21, 2001 Lethbridge Research Centre Web site:
http://res2.agr.ca/lethbridge/20 Lethbridge, Alta.
A new winter wheat variety with superior agronomic traits, as well as
resistance to wheat curl mite, was recently recommended for registration
by the Prairie Registration Recommending Committee for Grain (PRRCG). The
variety, currently known as W337, is the first in Canada with resistance
to wheat curl mite, the insect vector that transmits wheat streak mosaic
virus (WSMV). The PRRCG's recommendation has been sent to the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency for consideration - the next step in the
registration process. By fall, it is expected that the variety will be
fully registered with a new name. W337 was developed at Agriculture and
Agri-Food Canada's Lethbridge Research Centre by scientists Dr. Julian
Thomas, Dr. Bob Conner and Dr. Rob Graf. Graf, the current breeder,
believes the new variety will ultimately boost farmer confidence in
growing winter wheat and help to expand the crop's acreage in Western
"Winter wheat is a valuable crop from a conservation standpoint, but its
susceptibility to wheat streak mosaic has been a major barrier in its
popularity with producers," he says. Producers are understandably nervous
about winter wheat's potential to transmit WSMV to their spring crops,
says Graf. Winter wheat can act as a bridge, allowing WSMV to be
transmitted from the ripening spring wheat crop to winter wheat seedlings
and then back to the developing spring crop the following year. The
potential for an epidemic in Parkland regions, where spring wheat may not
be completely mature at the time of winter wheat establishment has been a
real problem. Until now, the only feasible method of control was to make
sure there was no green bridge of plant material near the crop. "This
resistant winter wheat variety provides an important new way to reduce
In addition to its unique disease resistance, W337 also boasts high yield,
good winter hardiness, good straw strength, high kernel and test weight,
and good milling and baking quality, says Graf. "W337 will be an excellent
variety for producers in the western prairies. But it isn't resistant to
stem rust, so it may not be the best option for producers in the eastern
prairies." Currently, Graf's team is developing varieties with
"double-barreled" resistance to wheat streak mosaic. "We already have
wheat curl mite resistance in a good portion of the breeding program. Now
we're working to incorporate resistance to wheat streak mosaic virus
itself. Virus resistance, combined with resistance to the wheat curl mite
will provide two modes of protection, improving both the effectiveness
and durability of resistance to this disease." The breeding research is
supported in part by the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) Wheat
Check-off. Lethbridge Research Centre is Agricultur e and Agri-Food
Canada's headquarters for winter wheat and Soft White Spring Wheat crop
From: Bob Orskov
I read 21 march a splendid well reasoned article by Robert Paarlberg of
Havard on the problems of GM foods and that in the end consumer perception
is what matters even if we cannot find that there is something wrong with
GM foods scientifically. The relentless push by GM enthusiasts into Europe
does not help. Forcefeeding can eventually elicit a vomiting reaction!
Then today I saw a similar well reasoning reply by J Butler to the
Starbuck refusal to serve milk from cows injected with bovine growth
hormone. I am sure that Starbuck has caved in to consumes preferences and
not to activist or terrorist as they are sometimes called depending on
which side of the fence you are! Starbuck would loose all their trade in
Europe if they tried to sell milk from cows injected with growth hormones;
not for scientific reasons but for perception of wholesomenes and the
consumer has he last say. They yesterday I saw to my amusement a statement
from a so called consumer group with many impressive names making this
statement as a rebuke to Starbuck for refusing to sell milk from hormone
treated cows,Here the word supplement is used to represent growth hormone
In the U.S. alone, use of these supplements could reduce water irrigation
by 700,000 gallons, save 1.7 million acres of land used for feed and
grain, save 240,000 gallons of fuel, reduce nearly one million metric tons
of manure and reduce 5.3 million tons of soil loss per year.
It is laughable! Who has made that statistics? who do they want to
impress by such ----- Who do they think will believe it? Consumers?
terrorist? activists? governents? You are not helping the cause.
Professor E R Orskov ( OBE), Macaulay land Use Research Institute
Craigiebuckler Aberdeen AB158QH Scotland http://www.mluri.sari.ac.uk/ifru
From: Craig Sams
Regarding Alex Avery's allegation that I am 'splitting hairs' by defining
'organic' as 'certified organic' and excluding 'natural' and 'health food'
from the definition. It was his inability to grasp this concept that led
to the hugely embarassing and utterly daft 'E.coli O157:H7 in organic
food' allegations which originally emanated from the Hudson Institute and
were repeated by so very many scientists before it became clear that they
had no foundation in fact. To define any unpasteurised food or natural
food as 'organic,' (as the Hudson Institute did in calculating that
organic food is many times for likely to poison you with E.coli than
organic food), opens up a myriad of possibilities for dishonesty and
self-deception as to what organic food is. Fresh vegetables, fruit and
meat are all unpasteurised and thus qualify as 'natural' and therefore, by
Avery's calculation, 'organic.'
Thus is would be perfectly realistic for the Hudson Institute to take all
the 100 or so annual deaths from E.coli poisoning arising from the use of
unpasteurised hamburger meat and lump them into a calculation for
poisoning by 'organic' food. They could then add in cases of salmonella
arising from unpasteurised eggs. They could then add in, (as they once
did) unpasteurised apple juice from apples that were sprayed, treated with
growth hormones and otherwise produced in total contravention of organic
This type of shabby statistical manipulation fools nobody and discredits
the people responsible. I truly thought we had heard the last of this from
the Hudson Institute, but clearly they still haven't quite got it. I hope
that your subscribers can understand this distinction as you have been
courteous enough to publish my previous attempts to clarify this and my
postings were unchallenged. The research quoted on aflatoxin in peanut
butter didn't even use the word 'organic.' It was only the subsequent
interpretation by those who quoted it that gave it that spin.
It is a matter of great regret that the USDA has taken such a long time to
publish and implement regulations in the US for organic food, but this
does not justify the Avery's attempts to define as 'organic' anything they
don't like. As far as peddling my figures on mycotoxins is concerned. If
Alex Avery doesn't want to see them, that's fine. I was merely pointing
out that we actually do make comparisons every week. As it is illegal to
sell peanut butter with more than 4 parts per billion in the UK, we
operate to a 2 parts per billion maximum and test for the sake of our
consumers and to stay in line with the law. The maximum limit in the US is
25 parts per billion. Perhaps those scientists who are concerned about
mycotoxins in peanut butter, organic or otherwise, would like to address
that fact. They will find few friends in Georgia.
From: "Bob MacGregor"
Subject: Re: Marion Nestle
If there is merit to concerns about bio-availability of beta-carotene
because of fat defficient diets, maybe the next step beyond beta carotene
and iron will be putting adequate oil content into rice to carry the vit.
A? At this rate, the evolved product in 15 or 20 years won't look very
much like traditional 20th century rice at all (at least not nutritionally)