Not to beat a dead horse; however, the appalling and irresponsible nature
with which Starbucks Coffee is handling their response to extreme
activists threats regarding biotechnology is astounding. The warning
labels on each cup of Starbucks, which currently read:
"Careful, the beverage you're about to enjoy is extremely hot." Should be
changed to read, "Careful, the beverage you're about to enjoy is the
result of extreme and misleading fear campaigns."
Please call the Starbucks' 800 information line hear for yourself how
Starbucks consumer affairs operators are misleading the public about the
safey of biotechnology products and milk. 1-800-235-2883 or
I called this number after receiving a form letter from Starbucks
suggesting they "heard" my concerns and offered in response their
capitulating letter to organic industry consultant Ronnie Cummins in
response to his threat to damage Starbucks reputation if they
didn't go 100% organic. The Starbuck's employee, name Sara, informed me:
* Starbucks is working to source "GMO-free milk" to provide their
customers with "safer milk."
* "Starbucks is going to require the dairies to do testing... requiring
the dairies supplying us with milk to do testing to see if they have been
supplied with the hormones in their milk supplies..."
* "They are testing the milk for the presence of the GMO content...I am
telling you there are GMOs in milk."
Of course none of these statements are true and this conflicts with
Starbucks' written statement noting that according to the FDA (and the
regulatory bodies of over 50 other countries) the milk is the same and is
safe. Starbucks needs to know that there are NO GMOs in milk, no hormones
or antibiotics are every added to milk, and that since the milk is the
same, there is no test. Claims such as these have been used by organic
extremists and unscrupulous marketing
agents to scare consumers into paying the higher prices for "organic"
milk, which is exactly the same milk.
Exacerbating Starbucks' poor judgement caving into the protection racquet
practices of these extremists, Starbucks is now helping them carry their
false and misleading messages to their own customers. How sad, and their
coffee used to be pretty tasty. Now it's just pretty expensive and pretty
Two necessary bills: Both go after eco-terrorism
A Register-Guard Editorial
March 20, 2001
The line between protest and crime is often a fine one. At what point
does the freedom of assembly, and its equally revered cousin, freedom of
speech, give way to concerns over public safety?
But there is one line between protest and crime that stands out like a
neon sign on the Vegas strip: terrorism. In this arena, there are no
constitutional subtleties involved. When violence is used to further a
political agenda, there is no conflict between the lofty ideal of
peaceful protest and society's interest in lawful conduct.
In Oregon, terrorism has occasionally been employed in service of
environmental goals. Trees have been spiked to keep forests from being
logged. Research laboratories working to cure or prevent dreaded
diseases have been raided, even destroyed, in the name of animal rights.
Such acts, though rare, have gained their own label in the lexicon of
political violence: eco-terrorism.
It's encouraging to see the Legislature addressing eco-terrorism
without succumbing to hysteria. Two bills dealing with this area of the
law were unanimously approved by the Oregon House last week and now go to
House Bill 2344, which would reclassify certain crimes - tree spiking,
interference with animal research or livestock research, for example -
so that they would fall under the state's inelegantly named Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act. In everyday shorthand, the act
elevates the penalty for those convicted under its aegis from the level of
property damage to the level of racketeering and organized crime. The
punishment would jump for those convicted from a maximum of, say, five
years and a fine of $100,000 to a maximum of 20 years in prison and a
House Bill 2385, which would create the new crime of "interference of
agricultural research," which would carry a maximum penalty of five
years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. What is missing from the
bills is as important as what they contain.
When first introduced, the bills included a provision creating the crime
of "interference with agricultural operations." That language was clearly
too broad and could easily have criminalized non-violent demonstrations
such as sit-ins.
But the bills as passed by the House speak to an ongoing problem in
Oregon and elsewhere. Deliberate acts of sabotage perpetrated by such
groups as the Earth Liberation Front not only damage property and prevent
normal research, logging or farming, they also pose a definite risk to
people - including people not directly involved in the activity being
protested. When a saw blade hits a spike in a tree, for example, loggers
or mill hands can be injured or worse by shrapnel.
The bills' backers hope that stiffer penalties for eco-terrorism will
reduce the number of such incidents. Whether that's realistic, only time
will tell - but it is reasonable to draw a legal distinction between
ordinary vandalism and organized, premeditated political violence. If the
bills themselves don't cut down on eco-terrorism, perhaps the first
20-year prison sentence for tree-spiking will.
From: Craig Sams
Subject: Re: AGBIOVIEW: IATP Terrorists?, OSU Vandalism, Organic peanuts,
Consumer analysis, New soybeans, IRRI
I don't want this to go on forever, but I invite any of your
subscribers to visit a health foods retail outlet to see for themselves
that there is a clear distinction between 'natural' or 'health food' and
the descriptor 'organic.' Apart from the Hudson Institute and the
AgBioView website it is rare to encounter the stubborn unwillingness to
accept this distinction. In Europe since
1993 and in the USA in the very near future the use of the term 'organic'
requires that a product has been grown or produced from ingredientsgrown
by a legally defined method. Simply being unpasteurised or unrefined is
not sufficient to qualify as
As far as publishing our results is concerned. There are facts outside of
scientific journals. I could get into a lot of trouble if my peanut
butter exceeded the maximum legal limits, peer review or not. I do not
get into a lot of trouble as my peanut butter never exceeds and never has
exceeded the legal limit. That may not make me a good scientist, but it
makes me a responsible food manufacturer who knows the differencebetween
different strains of aflatoxin and takes all steps necessary to keep total
aflatoxin below the legal limit. If this isn't good enough for John
Cross, that's too bad, but please get the distinction betweenorganic and
'bought in a health food store' clear and we can all have an intelligent
Whole Earth Foods Ltd
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 17:09:34 -0600
From: Tom DeGregori
Subject: Animal rights op-ed piece: Revised for posting
The Houston Chronicle ran an op-ed piece titled "Meat-eaters ought to kick
the habit cold turkey," by PETER A. BRANDT and SAMUEL L. JACOBS. As an
advocate of free expression and presentation of all sides of an argument,
I can only praise the Chronicle for publishing it. Nevertheless, certain
questions need to be raised about it as it is a not-too-thinly disguised
bit of animal rights propaganda that is likely to be run in other
newspapers. Brandt is listed as a Seattle-based writer, while Jacobs is
listed as an associate professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in
New Jersey, and as a member of the Physicians Committee for Responsible
Medicine. A search of the website of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical
School fails to turn up his name and the "click-on" for contacting the
medical school was not working so; I could not inquire further.
Assuming he is a member of the faculty even though unlisted, it is still
not clear of what he is an associate professor. The name "Physicians
Committee for Responsible Medicine" conceals more than it reveals, as one
does not have to be a physician to be a member, and it is questionable to
what extent practicing physicians and/or medical researchers are involved
with the organization. It is in fact a front organization for PETA (People
for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which is using pseudo-nutrition to
an animal rights/animal liberation agenda that the public will not
otherwise buy. PETA has also appropriated for another front group the
honorable name of "Humane Society" in many areas, though, the traditional
organization still exists and continues its fine work for humane treatment
Though ostensibly they are writing on the current problems with mad cow
disease and hoof-and-mouth disease, their main thrust is to use these
difficulties to promote vegetarianism-which would in effect achieve most
of their animal rights agenda except for their aim to eliminate the use of
animals in research. In the article they even argue that "weaker diet
changes, such as the chicken and fish diets some doctors have recommended,
do not go far enough." In fact, there is a very large and growing
peer-reviewed literature in anthropology (which I cite extensively in my
forthcoming book, Agriculture and Modern Technology [Iowa State U.P.] that
argues cogently that humans evolved (as did our closest relatives, the
chimpanzees) as meat-eaters and that the development of the brain and
various human intelligences and other capabilities were dependent on the
search for and consumptiom of high-density nutrition from fruits and meat.
It is only with the technological (and scientific) advances that led to
humans' developing agriculture (less than 1% of human existence) that have
allowed some to acquire sufficient energy from more energy-dense
domesticated crops. Nevertheless, humans still require vitamin B-12, which
is only available from animal products.
The advocacy of strict vegetarianism that disallows even milk, cheese,
eggs, and other animal products is dangerous and irresponsible, as vitamin
B-12 deficiency can lead to permanent (irreversible) nerve damage. This is
particularly dangerous for pregnant women who are taking the B vitamin
folic acid, and as it can mask the symptoms of Vitamin B-12 deficiency
until the nerve damage is irreversible. The authors are clearly engaged in
a form of medical practice by propaganda, though we do not know if either
is properly trained or licensed. There is clearly nothing responsible
about the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
The op-ed piece in question may have already appeared in your local
newspaper or may soon do so. I suggest that you be on the alert and be
prepared to respond accordingly.
HoustonChronicle.com -- http://www.HoustonChronicle.com
P.S. - The above was gone over by competent medical doctors who made minor
but appropriate changes to ensure accuracy.
Thomas R. DeGregori, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
University of Houston
204 McElhinney Hall
Houston, Texas 77204-5019
More U.S. Consumers See Potential Benefits to Food Biotechnology: Many
Oblivious to Labeling Debate
Attached you will find the summary and full results of IFIC's latest
consumer research on biotechnology. The research was conducted in January
2001 by Wirthlin Worldwide.
The summary and full results can also be found on our new Web site
http://ific.org as well as the old Web site (http://ificinfo.health.org).
The summary follows:
More U.S. Consumers See Potential Benefits to Food Biotechnology
Many Oblivious to Labeling Debate
IFIC BACKGROUND Mar 2001
Contact: Nick Alexander or Cheryl Toner; (202) 296-6540
IFIC's fifth survey on U.S. consumer attitudes toward food biotechnology
suggests consumers may be surprisingly oblivious to the frequent debate
over the labeling of foods produced with the aid of biotechnology.
The new survey, conducted January 19-21, 2001 by Wirthlin Worldwide,
includes a few new questions to determine how consumers consider food
biotechnology in context with other food safety issues.
Only 2% of the consumers polled named "altered/engineered food" as
something they were concerned about when it comes to food safety, despite
extensive "StarLink" coverage in fall 2000-with almost daily news reports
focusing on the recall of products containing biotech corn not yet
approved for food use and the resulting discussions of regulatory
Again, when asked if they could think of any information not currently
included on food labels that they would like to see on food labels, only
2% of the people surveyed responded "genetically altered." 74% said they
could not think of any additional information they'd like to see on food
For the first time since IFIC began its surveys, the number of Americans
expecting to benefit from biotechnology in the future increased.
Sixty-four percent expect to benefit from biotechnology within the next 5
years. While 79% of those surveyed in 1997 expected to benefit, the trend
declined to a low of 59% in May 2000 but now appears to be turning upward.
In general, how did the massive media coverage of a corn product recall
affect consumer knowledge and attitudes? Not a whole lot, according to the
IFIC survey. More consumers than in the previous survey (conducted in May
2000) correctly identify corn products as foods currently in the
supermarket that have been produced using biotechnology. But overall
awareness of the presence of biotech foods in grocery stores has actually
decreased since May 2000. And only 1 in 4 consumers has heard anything
about recalls of foods
produced through biotechnology.
Support remains high for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling
policy regarding food biotechnology. The FDA currently requires no special
labeling, except when biotechnology's use introduces an allergen or when
it substantially changes a food's nutritional content. When specifically
asked, 70% of respondents said they supported the policy.
The only perplexing response elicited by the new survey was to a question
which presented consumers with biotechnology critics' desire to label all
foods produced through biotechnology even if the safety and nutritional
content are unchanged. When offered that specific choice, more than half
of consumers polled sided with the critics and only 37% remained
supportive of the FDA policy. That response is puzzling given the strong
support for the FDA labeling policy in the question immediately preceding.
And then, in the next question, when consumers were presented with
information resource alternatives to food labels, 75% agreed that
information should be provided through toll-free numbers, brochures, and
Web sites "instead of labeling".
International Food Information Council (IFIC) is a nonprofit organization
that communicates sound science-based information on food safety and
nutrition topics to health professionals, journalists, government
officials and consumers. IFIC programs are supported by the broad-based
food, beverage and agriculture industries. IFIC materials can be found
online at http://ific.org.
--FoodBiotechNet provides weekly updates and science-based perspectives on
issues related to food biotechnology. It is a central, credible forum to
facilitate information sharing and exchange of scientific perspectives
among scientists, opinion leaders and expert communicators on breaking
stories, research and other information relating to food biotechnology.
FoodBiotechNet is a partnership of the Council for Agricultural Science
and Technology (www.cast-science.org), the Georgetown Center for Food and
Nutrition Policy (www.ceresnet.org) and the International Food Information
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 09:15:50 -0500
From: Katie Thrasher
Subject: PRNewswire: Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology Finds Public
Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology Finds Public Opinion About
Genetically Modified Foods 'Up For Grabs'
Pew Charitable Trusts Launch Effort to Build a New Platform For Discussion
and Bring Needed Information to National Debate
WASHINGTON, March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey reveals that Americans
know little about genetically modified (GM) foods, are uncertain about
their safety, and change their views about safety when more information
about widespread use of GM foods is revealed. The announcement of survey
findings marks the launch of the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology,
a new effort committed to bringing reliable information to the national
debate about agricultural biotechnology. The Initiative is a project of
University of Richmond funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The survey determined that a plurality of consumers (46 percent) do not
know what to think about the safety of GM foods. Those who do have a
definitive opinion, however, are evenly split on the safety of GM foods,
with 29 percent of respondents stating they believe GM foods are safe and
25 percent of respondents stating they believe GM foods are unsafe.
Despite this uncertainty (or perhaps due to), views about safety do not
seem to be strongly held. After hearing that more than half of the foods
on supermarket shelves are genetically modified, one in five of those who
initially said GM foods are unsafe changed their minds.
The survey also indicates that consumers do not know much about GM foods
and want more information made available to them. Only 44% of consumers
have heard either a "great deal" or "some" about either genetically
modified foods or biotechnology in the production of foods. Only 9% have
heard a great deal. Over half (54%) have heard "not much" or "nothing."
Three-quarters of those polled (75 percent) indicated it is important for
them to know whether a product contains genetically modified ingredients.
Most respondents (75 percent) favor further scientific research into
genetically modified foods.
"Despite the heated national debate about agricultural biotechnology, most
Americans do not have strong or well-informed opinions about this new
technology," said Mike Rodemeyer, executive director of the Pew Initiative
on Food and Biotechnology, "Essentially, public opinion is 'up for grabs'
because this new technology has moved faster than the public's ability to
fully understand it and its implications."
The survey also confirmed the previously known fact that, when asked if
they favor or oppose the introduction of GM foods to the U.S. food supply,
the majority of respondents (58 percent) report they oppose it.
The bipartisan survey, a telephone poll of 1,001 Americans conducted in
January by the Mellman Group and Public Opinion Strategies, is the first
information provided to the public by the Pew Initiative on Food and
Biotechnology. Recently created by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts
to the University of Richmond, the Initiative intends to provide reliable
information to the national debate about agricultural biotechnology.
In coming months, the Initiative will conduct conferences and workshops,
generate papers, and disseminate information on topics related to current
issues and concerns about agricultural biotechnology. Possible topics
include the adequacy of the regulatory system to address food safety and
environmental concerns about the next generation of agricultural
biotechnology products, the potential benefits of such products, economic
impacts of the new technology and marketing issues faced by farmers and
processors. The Initiative will simultaneously convene a group representing
industry, the public sector, academia, farmers, and environment and
consumer groups to identify actions that could help move the debate beyond
the current polarized condition and towards consensus.
The Honorable Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture, and the
Honorable Vin Weber, former member of Congress, have agreed to co-chair a
bi-partisan Executive Advisory Committee that will oversee the
"This initiative is an important contribution to the public debate on
agricultural biotechnology," said former Secretary Glickman. Mr. Weber
added, "Dan and I look forward to working together with the Pew Initiative
on this critical topic for our nation."
"Agricultural biotechnology has the potential to be one of the most
significant transforming technologies of our era," noted Rebecca W. Rimel,
president of The Pew Charitable Trusts, "But the risks, benefits and
social values ignited by its creation must be thoroughly aired if the
public is to have a lasting trust in the technology and the products it
produces. The Trusts have a long history of supporting projects that fill
gaps in understanding. The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology was
created to give the public the information they need to evaluate a subject
as complex and important to our public and environmental health as
Further information about the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology and
its initial survey, titled "Public Sentiment About Genetically Modified
Food" is available at http://www.pewagbiotech.org .
The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology is a non-profit project based
in Washington, D.C. established through a grant by The Pew Charitable
Trusts to the University of Richmond. The Initiative provides public
policy recommendations, research and education about agricultural
biotechnology to the public, media and policymakers. The Initiative
advocates neither for, nor against, agricultural biotechnology. Instead,
the Initiative is committed to providing reliable information and
encouraging debate and dialogue.
SOURCE Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology
GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS: A FRONTLINE / NOVA SPECIAL
APRIL 24, 2001, 9:00 P.M.
March 26, 2001
Frontline Press Release
FRONTLINE and NOVA team up for GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS,
an investigative look at the controversial advancements that biotech
scientists have made in genetically altering food. A gene from a firefly
is placed in a potato plant, making it light up whenever it needs
watering. In Africa, rice plants are genetically transformed to produce
vitamin A, preventing millions of African children from going blind. Crops
are engineered so that they can grow in contaminated soil. Plants are
modified to produce plastic or pharmaceuticals. These are just a few of
the touted benefits of genetically modified agriculture ? the use of
genetic engineering to alter crops for the benefit of mankind. Proponents
believe that this unprecedented power has the potential to end world
hunger, yet critics say that scientists are tampering with nature, risking
irreversible ecological disaster.
Presenter: WGBH Boston.
Date: Mar 26 2001 23:53:18 EST
From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Illusory Headlines
Colleagues, it may be good to look at a few imaginary headlines and leads
and wonder why we never saw them...
CBI Denounces Vandalism
The Center for Biotech Information (CBI), which is funded by the
biotech industry, denounced the attacks on research at Oregon State
University. “Destruction of research is not what most people consider a
debate,” said a spokeswoman...
BIO Denounces Arson
The Biotechnology Industry Organization, a consortium of companies
seeking to improve agricultural productivity, responded angrily to the
arson which destroyed a Delta and Pine Land warehouse....
Starbuck’s Completes Market Research
Organic activists trying to boost market share targeted the Starbuck
Coffee Corp. and as a result, the corporation found that most of its
customers cared most about tasty coffee. “The protesters constitute
0.00001347 percent of our customers,” Starbucks said in an official
statement. “And most of them still come in for coffee. In marketing terms,
that is as significant as....
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a trade group of
US beef producers, pointed out to the European Union and its Green Party
that it may be time to re-evaluate the denunciation of modern farming
practices in light of outbreaks of....
After having its facilities in Brazil invaded and destroyed by
thousands of landless peasants led in part by Jose Bove, a convicted
criminal from France, Monsanto clearly expressed its opinion on the
international movement of terrorists by saying....
Dow AgroSciences Boasts New Hires
In the wake of consumer scares fomented by activist groups around the
globe, experts in plant molecular biology are abandoning their native
countries and moving to the US. New hires include....
Aventis Rejects Accusations
After revelations that StarLink GM corn entered the US food supply,
representatives of Aventis, the developer of StarLink, said that the US
EPA botched the job. “The Food and Drug Administration found it safe,”
said a spokesman. “We don’t know how an environmental agency [EPA] became
a food agency, but it’s obvious that they don’t understand....
Bt Inquiry Initiated
The new head of the US Environmental Protection Agency announced a
program to evaluate the use by organic farmers of Bacillus thuringiensis
to control insects. “We’ve known for decades that organic farmers have
been destroying the value of Bt,” she said. “Previous administrations have
ignored this challenge. It is time that we...
OCA Begins Tests
Continually bludgeoned by accusations that organic farming would set
agriculture back by a century or more, and reduce the world’s output of
food to the point where only the most affluent could afford to eat well,
the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) announced that its members would
divert $5 million in donations to The Tides Foundation to a study to
disprove five decades’ worth of research...
FBI Announces Priority
Pointing to the loss of many dollars’ worth of research and some
months or more of progress in crop development over the last few years
because of vandalism by international terrorists, the head of the US
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said that the chief investigative
body of the US government would look into the matter. “It’s kind of like
smashing pumpkins on Halloween but instead these kids kill some living
plants,” said a chief investigator. “A few scientists seem to think it’s
serious, so we just might....
FOE Blasts Greenpeace
The Friends of the Earth (FOE) has blasted Greenpeace for what it
calls “capitulation to the global forces of food and nutrition.” In a
statement, FOE said that Greenpeace had “sold out the environment” by
trading the “unknown consequences” of genetically modified crops merely to
help alleviate blindness in children who would likely die anyway.
Greenpeace angrily denied the accusation,
saying it was much more willing to see blind children die than the FOE
was. “I’d even shoot them bloody little dark-skinned illiterate pesky
buggers myself,” said.....
Congressional Inquiry Begun
Reacting to recent inquiries into what staffers call the “protest
industry,” US Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has launched an inquiry
into the activities of The Tides Foundation. “It is odd that we give
tax-exempt status to an organization that launders money for various
for-profit activities that also damage honest farming,” a spokesman said.
BIO Denies Inactivity
Responding to accusations that its only represents drug interests, a
representative of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) said the
group was “forging ahead.” In a statement, a representative of the group
said that crops were
like drugs. “Consumers like pharmaceuticals,” he said. “Especially the
sick folks. Sick people should be in favor of GM crops. Also, when you
shop for food, you should figure that these (GM) foods will feed people in
other countries when you buy them, even if you just eat them yourself.”
After the spokesman was fired, he announced a press conference with
Vandana Shiva and....
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 10:56:43 -0700
From: Laurie Wood
FOOD OF THE FUTURE? Presented by Simon Fraser University at the Morris J.
Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Simon Fraser University, May 2-4, 2001
Comparing conventional, organic and genetically modified food crops:
Understanding and managing the risks A TWO-PART MULTIDISCIPLINARY WORKSHOP
AND THINK TANK ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS Sponsored by Faculty of
Science and Faculty of Arts, Simon Fraser University
Visit http://www.sfu.ca/cstudies/science/foodforthefuture/index.htm to
find more information
The process of genetic modification (GM) of foods is relatively new,
having been in place for only about 20 years. McHughen (2000) contends
that, to date "no fundamentally unusual, unpredicted, or unexpected
results have emanated from the GM process" and "so far there are no
documented untoward results from the release of any GM product." However,
some scientists claim that key experiments on both the environmental risks
and benefits of GM food crops are lacking and a recent report from the
Royal Society of Canada (RSC) expert panel recommends that "new
technologies should not be presumed safe unless there is a reliable
scientific basis for considering them to be." Of course, humans have been
using conventional breeding methods over thousands of years to alter the
genetic inheritance of all cultivated plant varieties and produce new
products which may also generate health and environmental concerns. How
exactly are GM food crops different from conventional, or even organic,
crops? On what basis does the consuming public choose among GM,
conventional and organic food stuffs? Can science help to inform the
public on issues related to the safety of food they eat?"
FOR national and international experts, government and industry
scientists, and mangers, academics (scientists and social scientists),
consumers, members of the farming and environmental communities, legal
professionals and members of the media
Organized by Continuing Studies in Science, Simon Fraser University
THE JAKARTA POST March 17, 2001
Genetically modified cotton seed arrives in Makassar from S. Africa
MAKASSAR, South Sulawesi (JP): A total of
40 tons of genetically modified Bollgard cotton seed
arrived at the Makassar airport from South Africa on
Thursday amid strong protests from environmentalists. The
cotton seed, belonging to U.S.-based Monsanto, was imported
by Jakarta-based PT Monagro Kimia. The seed will be
distributed to seven regencies based on the recommendations
of Minister of Agriculture Bungaran Saragih. A number of
activists, waving banners reading "Reject Genetically
Modified Cotton in South Sulawesi", tried to intercept the
convoy of trucks carrying the cotton seeds, which contain
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), and block them from leaving
the airport. A sign reading "Logistic Depot Rice" was
placed on the front shield of the trucks. The activists
said that genetically modified products should be
prohibited from directly entering the province, because the
goods were still controversial. They should be quarantined
for detailed examination before being distributed, the
activists said. The Ministry of Agriculture issued decree
No. 107/2001 on Feb. 6, 2001, allowing limited sales of
genetically modified seed in Sulawesi. This decree was,
however, criticized by State Minister for the Environment
Sonny Keraf. Sonny has said that his office had to take
precautionary measures as nobody could assure the safety of
such crops (which are scientifically developed). The
authorities had apparently concealed the seed's arrival
from the press. The provincial plantation office denied
reports of the seed's arrival on Thursday morning, but at
approximately 1 p.m. on Thursday The Jakarta Post noticed a
Russian Ilyusin transport plane, with body number IL-76T,
unloading the seed in the airport's military area. The
wide-bodied plane, chartered by Norse Air Charter from
Johannesburg, was tightly guarded, and reporters and
photographers were barred from approaching the plane.
Members of the Indonesian Air Force guarding the area said
that reporters must back off for security reasons. Four
Monsanto officials, president director for Indonesia Hans
Bijlmer, communications manager Tri Soekirman, regional
manager Edwin Mudahar and public affairs officer Wahidin
Alauddin eventually spoke to reporters in the airport
canteen. Tri Soekirman said that the cotton seed was
imported to meet the needs of the province's farmers. "It's
the first import of such seed into the country. There are
at least 400,000 hectares of cotton plantations to be
developed by the farmers here," Tri Soekirman said.
Responding to the environmentalists' protests, he said
that his office had been approaching the non- governmental
organizations. "Apart from the fact that we hold the permit
from the Ministry of Agriculture, we are also taking
precautionary measures. Pros and cons are common in the
"People should not worry about the negative impact of the
crops. There have been no complaints from the U.S., South
Africa, China and Argentina (where genetically modified
cotton has been grown)," he said, adding that Australia had
cultivated genetically modified cotton for the past five
U.N. group eyes GM food standards
The Japan Times
March 26, 2001
CHIBA (Kyodo) A U.N. task force aiming to establish standards for
genetically modified foods kicked off a five-day meeting in Chiba on
Sunday amid ongoing discord between the United States, which says GM foods
are safe, and the European Union, which is more cautious about potential
risks in such foods.
On Sunday, EU officials requested that participants first discuss a
tracking system for GM foods that would cover production and distribution.
U.S. and Japanese officials favored a proposed agenda for discussing
"general principles" on safety evaluations of GM foods and a guideline on
Around 35 countries and international organizations are represented in the
second meeting of the Codex Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Food
Derived from Biotechnology held at the Makuhari Messe convention complex
in Tokyo's outskirts.
Nongovernmental organizations representing food makers and consumers have
also sent officials to the meeting scheduled through Thursday.
The ad hoc task force plans to produce a final report by 2003 that it
hopes will serve as a standard for the World Trade Organization and others
in arbitrating international food trade disputes.
The task force is part of the Codex Alimentarius Commission comprising
some 170 member states. It was set up jointly by two U.N. bodies -- the
Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization and the Geneva-based World
The meeting is being held as Japanese interest in GM foods grows following
news reports that banned StarLink GM corn was detected in food on the
StarLink corn contains a gene that creates a germ-killing substance and
can cause allergic reactions in some people.
NGOs opposing GM foods staged a protest around the venue, with members
handing out leaflets to passersby.
On Sunday, participants also selected Hiroshi Yoshikura, head of the
research institute of the International Medical Center of Japan, as chair
of the meeting.
Greenpeace chief dies in car crash
By Peter Conradi
March 25 2001
THE international environmental movement was in mourning yesterday for
David McTaggart, the Canadian co-founder of Greenpeace, who survived
perilous clashes at sea during highly publicised protests against nuclear
tests and whaling, only to die in a banal car crash near his home in
McTaggart, 69, guided Greenpeace through its controversial and often
successful campaigns of the 1970s and 1980s to save the whale, preserve a
virtually pristine Antarctica and restrict the dumping of toxic waste in
Some of his most notable escapades after Greenpeace was formed in 1971
were attempts to block French nuclear testing in the south Pacific. His
vessel was rammed by a French gunboat the following year. In 1973, on the
Polynesian atoll of Mururoa, he was beaten by French soldiers who
inflicted permanent damage on his right eye.
McTaggart also led Greenpeace through a heady period of popularity after
French agents blew up the group's ship, Rainbow Warrior, in Auckland in
1985, killing a photographer. He retired to Umbria in 1990.
Police in Perugia said yesterday they were trying to determine why a
Volkswagen Golf driven by McTaggart veered onto the wrong side of a curved
stretch of country road near Castiglione e del Lago on Friday afternoon
into the path of another car.
McTaggart, believed to have been travelling at about 50mph, was killed
instantly. The driver of the other car, a Fiat Panda, died in hospital;
the other driver's wife was in a critical condition last night.
Although he was still actively involved with Greenpeace, McTaggart's
headstrong, buccaneering style appeared increasingly at odds with the
approach of his successors in an international organisation marketed and
managed on more sophisticated lines.
Brian Fitzgerald, of Greenpeace International and a fellow Canadian, said
McTaggart would be remembered as a "cold-hearted bastard". "When David
retired from active leadership of the group in 1991, there were those who
breathed a sigh of relief," he said.
"Many believed the organisation had outgrown his leadership, that the
skills of a ragtag pirate leader were simply no longer a match to an
organisation that had grown so large so fast. But McTaggart had the guts
to make saving the planet his personal mission. The world will never see
another one of him."
Hollywood to Portray Greenpeace Co-founder
A co-founder of Greenpeace is to have his life story told in a £30 million
Paul Watson has sunk nine ships and been shot at by Norwegian coastguards.
He was thrown out of Greenpeace for being too violent.
The film, Ocean Warrior, will star Aidan Quinn as Watson, with Anne Heche
playing his girlfriend.
Billy Bob Thornton and Rutger Hauer will play other Greenpeace activists.
Pierce Brosnan and Martin Sheen, who have supported Watson's environmental
campaigns, will make cameo appearances.
The film is due to start production in June, The Observer reports.
Producer Pieter Kroonenburg said: "There was a very dramatic story to
tell. Here's a man obsessed with going after the pirate whalers and all
those who rape and pillage the ocean. He's sort of an outcast - people
don't know about him."