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Date:

May 23, 2001

Subject:

A PETITION APPEALING TO AVENTIS TO DO THE HUMANITARIAN THING

 


AGBIOVIEW: Burried Rice, Superweed Kit,<br /> Eco-fascism, O



color="#000000">Date: color="#000000">   size="-4" color="#000000">May 22 2001 11:02:29 EDT face="Times" size="-4" color="#000000">

color="#000000">From: color="#000000">   size="-4" color="#000000">AgBioView
<AgBioView-owner@listbot.com>

color="#000000">Subject: color="#000000">       
AGBIOVIEW:
Burried Rice, Superweed Kit, Eco-fascism, Organics, Fearing Fiction,
Doom and Gloom





Date:  May 21 2001 19:53:56 EDT 

From:  Malcolm Livingstone
<Malcolm.Livingstone@pi.csiro.au> 

Subject:  waste 



Tom,



I couldn't agree with you more. My frustration with this debate grows
as

the anti-GM rhetoric increases. It is a terrible shame that such waste
is

allowed. In fact it is criminal. I wonder if there exists a law which
would

make an individual or organisation guilty of a crime against humanity
for

such behaviour? After all it is a crime to not render assistance in
the

case of an emergency. For example a child in imminent danger of death
due

to any number of circumstances. Why would it be any different if
the

children numbered in the thousands but lived in Africa or Asia?



This is an example (even before the most useful GM crops have been

developed) of Western, middle class, spoilt brats who have never had
to go

without food for 24 hours dictating to poor people what is and isn't
good

for them to eat. Starving people have been known to eat tree bark to
try

and survive. These fools have taken it upon themselves to be the
guardians

of world agriculture and to decide who lives and dies. Don't they
have

something useful to do with their lives? If they cared about humanity
they

would not only allow the rice to be given away they would volunteer to
get

it there. As usual, however, all they really care about is
themselves.



Malcolm

_____________________________________________________________________ >______



Malcolm Livingstone



CSIRO Plant Industry      
      Ph:  (07) 3214
2902    Fax:  (07) 3214 2288

120 Meiers Rd.

Indooroopilly

Qld 4068

AUSTRALIA



Email:Malcolm.Livingstone@tag.csiro.au

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 06:58:57 -0500

From: Tom DeGregori <trdegreg@uh.edu>

Subject: Biotech rice is headed for landfill burial



http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/metropolitan/917114



The Houston Chronicle  has a large picture  this morning on
the front page

of a large truck hauling away rice to be buried. It also shows rice in
the

foreground. The story that goes with it is on page 13a of the home

addition that I receieved.  Both the picture and the story are
shown at

the following URL. I am scheduled to leave for Asia this afternoon so
I am

unable to act. If anyone has any ideas on what, now is the time to
put

them forward as each day that passes buries more rice that could
feed

hungry people.  Burying good edible food is another victory
for

Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and others of that ilk. Burying good
food

is fine as long as it does not interfere with their evening
repast.



http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/metropolitan/917114



Tom DeGregori

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



Date:  May 21 2001 11:31:53 EDT 

From:  Alex Avery <aavery@rica.net> 

Subject:  Superweed kit 1.0 



I obtained the Superweed kit 1.0 over 2 years ago.  Of course, I
haven't

planted any of the seeds, but it is pinned to the corkboard over my
desk

and provided nice fodder for an article I wrote.  I figure the
more people

who request the kits, the more we drain this group of wackos of money
and,

more importantly, time.  The little plastic bag contains a rather
ratty

bunch of seeds (lots of plant trash and debris, as well as random
weed

seeds) and one wonders if there really is any RR canola at all. 
Who knows.



Also, Seminis was kind enough to send us a bunch of transgenic
yellow

squash seeds to plant in our garden, as suggested on the list not too
long

ago.  As has been pointed out several times, the more regular
folk who

plant and use biotech varieties, the less scary this technology will
seem.

So I plan to grow as much of this as possible and then share it with
as

many friends and family as I can.  My mother-in-law will also
plant some in

her garden. 
I plan to take a bushel down to the local farmers market along

with some regular, non-GM squash and do a little local PR.



Call Seminis and tell them you want to promote biotech by planting
and

sharing their squash with regular folk.  Any serious war requires
foot

soldiers on the ground doing grunt work--join the fray and enjoy.



Alex Avery

Hudson Institute

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



Date:  May 21 2001 14:06:19 EDT 

From:  "Robert Vint"
<rjvint@globalnet.co.uk> 

Subject:  Civil Society and GM safety tests 



Dear Mr Apel,

You write:

 

"On May 1 I challenged Robert Vint, in his capacity as Genetic
Food Alert

(GFA) National Coordinator, to "publicly call on Greenpeace and
Friends of

the Earth to conduct 'independent, long-term tests' of GM foods,"
but that

"call" didn't happen that I saw. It appears his group has a
possible

potential allergic reaction to the "unknown consequences" of
objective

research."

 

The suggestion that it is the responsibility of the public rather
than

biotech companies to prove the safety of their products and to pay for
the

tests is clearly asinine. This kind of arrogance has led to almost

universal contempt for the biotech industry from civil society.
Please

keep churning out such statements - they are valuable to my work.

 

Robert Vint

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



Date:  May 21 2001 19:28:15 EDT 

From:  Andrew Apel <agbionews@earthlink.net> 

Subject:  eco-fascism/scientist connections 



Dear Mr. Hopkin,



We are in the grip of "source fanatics" (as you describe
them, people more

concerned with the source than the safety of food) because new-age

fascists, variously dubbed "eco-fascists" or
"eco-reactionaries," have

focused on the farmer as the most vulnerable link in the supply
chain.

Name a country, developed or developing, and the farmer is
invariably

totally vulnerable to those who want to seize political control of
the

food supply.



The eco-fascists want to use food as a weapon in order to gain control
of

international food markets, and thence to control international
corporate

enterprise. Interesting that Italy, having inherited fascism from

Mussolini, leads Europe in this trend.



RE: CSPI and Conflicts of Interest



The CSPI database of scientists and their funding is a completely

disingenuous sham. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth do not fund

science, they fund rhetoric, so only "other" scientists will
be found

there. The built-in bias of the database naturally puts the vast
majority

of scientists either in the pay of government (corporate stooges
according

to some activist claims), or in the pay of universities (funded by

government or with grants from corporations or

both) or employed by corporations (on the corporate payroll). The
CSPI

database is simply another effort by activists to discredit science.
The

ploy behind the database is flagrantly obvious.



As an aside to red porphyry, I would add that the vast majority of

scientists, i.e., those not rank opportunists or charlatans, are
indeed

independent members of their professions, and only they may be trusted
to

be worthy of their hire. A falsely dedicated scientist, in any

organization, amounts to a desperate threat. It is a fact that
some

scientists are willing to sell their reputation to infamy for a
handful of

silver, but their names are known.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



Date:  May 21 2001 15:00:19 EDT 

From:  "NLP Wessex"
<nlpwessex@bigfoot.com> 

Subject:  MAB - Building Wheats with Multiple Resistance to Leaf
Rust 



Marker Assisted Breeding (MAB)

Building Wheats with Multiple Resistance to Leaf Rust



USDA-ARS News Service. ((Contact: Linda McGraw, (309) 681-6530,

mcgraw@ars.usda.gov)) May 21, 2001. Genetic markers--tools of
modern

biotechnology--are being used by Agricultural Research Service

scientists to fortify wheat with longer-lasting resistance to leaf
rust,

a disease that costs Great Plains wheat farmers about $150 million

annually. ARS plant geneticist Gina Brown-Guedira in Manhattan, Kan.,
is

building gene complexes using markers closely linked to leaf
rust

resistance.



More on this at:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/may01/leaf0501.htm



NATURAL LAW PARTY WESSEX

nlpwessex@bigfoot.com

www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=



Date: 21 May 2001 18:32:12 -0000

From: cs@csams.demon.co.uk

To: agbioview-owner@listbot.com

Subject: Re: AGBIOVIEW: World Congress, Fanatics, CSPI,
BIOThailand,

Burried Rice, Organics, Genetic ID, Argentina, Canola

        

Im not sure who wrote asking me to admit that we all want a safer,
more

nutritious future (Tom de Gregori)  but here's my reply.



I agree that we are all good people who want the best for humankind
and

the health of the environment and that we differ only in the most

sustainable approach.  I strongly disagree that, even on a short
time

scale, industrial agriculture is a more productive and efficient way
to

produce food. The huge subsidies on which the most industrialised
sectors

of agriculture are totally dependent illustrate this point, but
the

gathering body of statistics on sustainable (not always certified
organic,

but always applying practices such as rotation, undercropping,
green

manures and composting) is not only just as

productive as industrial agriculture, but builds stronger
communities,

increases soil fertility over a period of time and does it all without
the

need for expensive inputs.  See the postings from February 2001
about

Jules Pretty's conference at St. James' Palace where all this
information

was set out at a Department for International
Development-sponsored

conference.



In other words there would not be mass hunger and starvation.  My
point is

precisely that it is the unfair competition from inefficient North

American producers, hugely and increasingly dependent on
Government

handouts, that undercuts unsubsidised but efficient producers
indeveloping

countries, driving them off the land, despite their efficient
management.



The organic industry does embrace the best and most productive of

modern technology, including sophisticated machinery, GPS
technology,

computers, hybridisation research and large-scale composting. 
The

processing industry produces wholesome food without using
artificial

additives, hydrogenated fats, phosphoric acid or preservatives, in

response to consumer demand.  The scares usually come from our
Ministry of

Agriculture, not from the organic industry. The fact that the Soil

Association prohibited the feeding of animal remains to

ruminants in 1983 was derided at the time as anti-science as the

research showed the improved milk yields this practice delivered.



On your suggestion I made a map of the globe to compare where
people

eat organic food to their health and welfare:



Switzerland        9% organic

Austria           >    11% organic

Sweden           >    9% organic

Denmark          10%
organic and over 25% organic in dairy production

Holland           >    4% organic

Great Britain      3% organic, but with the
fastest-growing market  for

organicfood at 50% p.a.



I think you'll agree that these countries have relatively high

standards of health and welfare and that consumers in them have a
pretty

good grasp of what constitutes a healthy diet and society.



USA            >       2% organic, but growing
fast.  Serious health and

welfare problems mostly associated with consumers of industrialised
'junk

food.'



China           >      Rapidly increasing organic
acreage in response to

export demand and increasing domestic demand



Cocoa and coffee producing countries - where they have gone
organic

their is increased tree growth as the products are shade-grown. 
This has

tremendous health and environmental benefits as the use of fungicides
in

cacao production is unsustainably high.   Organic cacao and
coffee

production leads to organic production of tropical fruit and other

tropical products, with economic and environmental benefits.



I hope you find this reply the honest one that you requested.  I
do not in

any way feel compromised by my position.  Whole Earth has plowed
its own

furrow and has watched a fringe position move into the mainstream
of

consumer acceptance.



You asked about our support for Campaigning groups.



1. We supported the foundation of Genetix Food Alert in 1997, 
which

sought declarations from food manufacturers about their policy on
GM

ingredients. We supported them because we believe that retailers
and

consumers should have achoice.  Not them a choice is the surest
way to

obtain their opposition.



2. Whole Earth Foods has never contributed money to any other

campaigning group in all its 34 years.  Most of these groups
rely

primarily on membership contributions or research
funding.    Our products

carry the Soil Association symbol, which represents the fact that we
have

been inspected and audited to a 'gold plated' version of the EU
legal

standard for organic food.   This costs money, but it is a
service that we

pay for, not a donation.



However, I do find it a bit rich having to justify the marginalia
of

our contributions to campaigning groups when Monsanto can spend a
million

pounds ($1.42m) on advertising GM in the UK and the Government
also

regularly campaigns to change public attitudes to GM.  
What's really

pushing organic food forward is the large scale advertising from
companies

like Mars, Unilever, General Mills and Heinz, who are moving fast to
keep

up with the growing number of organic consumers.  This is where
the

millions are being spent and is where you should be looking for the
real

challenge to the future

acceptability of GM food.



Craig Sams

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 09:47:38 +0100

From: Craig <cs@csams.demon.co.uk

Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: point missed....

To: Bob Goldberg <bobg@ucla.edu



  My response was motivated by Andrew Apel's extremely unbalanced
fantasy

  about LSD trips from organic bread and E.coli from organic
hamburgers.

  (I'd hate to eat the burger and the bun of his imagination at
the same

  time!)



  When government policy encourages overproduction of food by
halving its

  cost (i.e. by subsidising half the U.S. farmer's income) this
leads to

  too much food at artificially low prices coming out of the
USA.  This

  makes farming uneconomic in large parts of the world where
economic

  progress has not reached the point where there is an industrial
sector

  that can finance artificially low food (and feed) prices. 
So your

  fourth point is tied up with the first.  People in the
developing world

  wouldn't suffer from hunger and malnutrition if they could
produce food

  and sell it at a fair price.  For as long as a Kenyan or
Indian grain

  trader can pick up the phone and buy US Govt subsidised corn
for 3˘ a

  pound when it cost a US farmer 6˘ a pound to produce it,
farmers in

  Kenya and India (who can produce corn at a cost of 4-5˘ a
pound) will be

  poor and those developing economies will never get off the
ground.  It

  was agriculture that was the backbone of America's economy in
the 19th C

  and the early 20th C and this created the capital that led to
industrial

  expansion.  By encouraging production regardless of
economic

  considerations, the US (and to some extent the EU) is denying
the same

  opportunity to farmers in developing countries.  As
farmers are the

  bedrock of social stability and self-reliant attitudes, if they
suffer

  their society suffers and instability, poverty, slums and all
the rest

  of it follow.



  Craig

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



http://www.independent.co.uk/story.jsp?story=73603



To benefit from progress, we must stop fearing fiction



The Independent

May 21, 2001



The novel The Day of the Triffids has a lot to answer for. Public

attitudes to the technology of genetic modification are dominated by
fear

of the unintended consequences of scientific progress, the theme of
John

Wyndham's allegory (although it might have been predicted that
creating a

species of giant, mobile, stinging plants would lead to trouble).



The Royal Society, the closest Britain has to a body capable of acting
as

a spokesman for scientists, has decided to tackle such fears by

acknowledging them, but meeting them and by setting out the
potential

benefits to be
weighed in the balance against them. It must be doubted

that this is the right approach. The problem is that many of the
fears

about GM technology are irrational, whereas the gains are often
highly

technical advances in our understanding of diseases with an
inherited

element such as cystic fibrosis, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.



The truth is that the hazards of GM technology are considerably
less

exciting than the prospect of a planet overrun by unfriendly

intelligent plants, or of totalitarian superstates producing cloned
slaves

or soldiers. The escape of GM salmon into the open sea, for example,
would

be undesirable, as is the escape of pollen from GM crops on test
sites,

but it would be a minor detriment compared with humanity's
everyday

interference in the ecosystem through selective breeding, pollution
and

destruction of habitats.



It is to be hoped that more attention will be paid to the Royal

Society's careful, sensible analysis of the potential benefits of
research

into GM animals, rather than to its assertion that the potential costs
are

"great", but that seems unlikely. Equally, the debate over
genetic

engineering in humans seems dominated by those who see the treatment
of

inheritable illnesses as the first step on the road to Aldous
Huxley's

Brave New World.



As James Watson, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of
DNA,

argued recently, stopping this kind of research would be to avoid
doing

something that is clearly possible, for fear of the risks of
something

that is currently impossible.



It is noticeable that in Germany, where the debate on the GM issue
is

distorted by the history of Nazi medical experiments and eugenics,

Chancellor Gerhard Schrńder last week endorsed genetic engineering
as

an important industry of the future. If the Germans are able to shake
off

the fears of what really happened, surely the British can shake off
the

fear of fiction?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1172000/1172144.stm# >one



The biological goldrush



BBC

By Helen Briggs

Monday, 21 May, 2001



In a laboratory at Monsanto's headquarters in St Louis, Missouri, US,
a

robot arm works its way through hundreds of DNA samples, adding
chemicals,

shaking, analysing results and churning out computer data.



Each tiny well contains a chunk of DNA, incubated with plant tissue,
and

an insect in some stage of development that normally feeds on the
plant.



The robot shuttles back and forth, performing systematic tests. At the
end

of the day, it prints out a ream of data for the scientists to look
at.



Eventually, after innumerable tests, one of these biological
production

lines might come up with what Monsanto is looking for - say, a gene
that

shows promise in controlling insects on a given plant, or, perhaps,
in

another research lab, a gene that might alter the fat profile of
corn

making it better for the heart.



Biological goldrush



Gene traits, Monsanto believes, will form the bulk of its
biotechnology

business in coming years. Its $1bn research centre is dedicated to
this

biological goldrush, identifying and isolating genes that confer a

beneficial trait, then inserting the gene into a given plant.



It takes tens of millions of dollars and at least 10 years' work to
turn

basic science - inserting a desired gene into a plant - into a
marketable

product: seed containing the new genetic characteristic.



Once a desired gene has been selected, the gene is transferred into
the

plant in the laboratory using one of two different techniques. One way
is

introduce the DNA into the plant using a common bacterium known as

Agrobacterium.



The other method is to literally blast DNA, coated on tiny particles
of

gold dust, into plant cells growing in the laboratory using a
so-called

"gene gun".



Once the new gene has been inserted, using either technique, the
modified

plant cells undergo tissue culture. They reproduce, and grow into
new

plantlets. Eventually, the plantlets can be transferred into soil.



So far this technology has been used to produce commercial crops aimed
at

the farmer.



One main approach has been to engineer the likes of potato, corn
and

cotton to produce their own insecticides via a toxin-producing gene
from

the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).



The other main approach has been to develop crops that are resistant
to

herbicides, allowing farmers to apply chemical sprays that kill weeds
not

crops.



The GM loaf



The next product of the biotech revolution, at least in the US, is
likely

to be genetically modified wheat. Monsanto's spring-sown variety has
been

engineered to confer resistance to Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller.
Field

trials are now underway in North and South Dakota, Montana and
Minnesota.



"We are hopeful that there will be a commercial launch between
2003 and

2005 of RoundUp Ready spring wheat in North America only," says
Monsanto's

Mark Buckingham.



As a staple part of the diet of millions of people around the world,
the

advent of the GM loaf is likely to be a particularly sensitive issue
for

consumers. And there are signs that the US wheat industry is being
very

cautious about deciding whether or not to go forward with the
technology.



However, biotech enthusiasts argue that a new wave of products - the
first

GM foods with enhanced nutritional qualities - will be more palatable
to

consumers.



The first such foods are likely to appear on the supermarket shelves
in

the next few years.



Golden rice



One of the first examples is being kept under lock and key in a

grenade-proof greenhouse on the outskirts of Zurich, Switzerland.



Unlike any other rice, this genetically modified variety contains a
gene

from a daffodil that enables it to produce beta-carotene in seeds.

Beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body, is
crucial

for healthy vision. The World Health Organisation estimates that
124

million children in developing countries do not get enough vitamin
A.



The scientists who invented Vitamin A rice, Ingo Potrykus and Peter
Beyer,

have promised to make their share of the golden rice intellectual
property

available to poor farmers for free. But the rice is still subject to
about

70 other patents and legal agreements.



Advocates believe that vitamin A producing plants, such as golden rice
and

a new bright orange vitamin A sweet potato, could alleviate
suffering.



But environmentalists challenge such claims, accusing the biotech
industry

of cynically promoting the benefits of such crops to thrust GMOs on
the

developed world.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storyprint.cfm?storyID=190119



Dialogue: Doom and gloom stands in the way of progress



The New Zealand Herald

22.05.2001

By Shelley Bridgeman



Many recoil at the idea of genetic engineering. But why, asks
SHELLEY

BRIDGEMAN*, must we always assume the worst about scientific
developments?



Oh, the evils of modern technology. Right-thinking folk everywhere
shudder

at the very thought of the repercussions of recent scientific

developments.



According to the nay-sayers, it is a given that the cloning of
human

beings is a bad thing. The popular view is that humans would lose
the

essence of their humanity and that a sub-class of people would be
created

simply to provide spare parts and organs for the rest of us.



And don't forget that, according to conventional wisdom, human
cloning

could mean that an army of little Hitlers - generated from some
DNA

remnant - will soon be wreaking havoc on the world.



But never fear. There's talk of legislation to outlaw cloning,
thus

preventing such horrific scenarios from eventuating.



Unfortunately, the law-makers seem to have overlooked the fact that
the

sort of people who typically mastermind plots to rule the universe
are

unlikely to let minor details like a few laws stop them.



And have you ever noticed that apparently only the bad guys will
be

cloned? No one ever postulates that Mother Teresa could be cloned and
that

there would then be a plethora of selfless do-gooders working with
the

poor and the hungry.



Speaking of hungry people, proponents of genetically modified
crops

profess that this technology has the capacity to end starvation. It
is

clearly a biased,
and as yet unproven, view, but surely it's too early to

dismiss the claim out of hand.



Genetic engineering is an emotive subject. Few of us know much about
the

details, so it is easy to assume that it is dangerous.



As soon as we hear of herbicide-resistant crops, we conjure up images
of

some indestructible super-weed that evolves to choke the entire Earth
in

its tentacles.



We are equally suspicious when we learn of potatoes being modified
with

toad-like genes so they become resistant to rot. We fear that an
overdose

of french fries could result in us hopping everywhere and
developing

croaky voices.



It is true that the issues of cloning and genetically engineered food
will

take a while to resolve and, who knows, they could well end up being
the

thalidomide of our times. But must we always assume the worst outcomes
of

any scientific progress?



Genetic testing is another hot topic. The man on the street is up in
arms

about the prospect of being tested for a predisposition to various

diseases.



The fear, of course, is that insurance companies will require these
tests

to be carried out before providing life or medical insurance - and
will

then either refuse to insure people who test positive, or demand

impossibly high premiums of them.



That would obviously place high-risk people in an unenviable
situation.

Dramatic phrases such as genetic discrimination are being bandied
about,

and the British Government plans to ban these so-called genetic
profiling

tests from being used to deny people essential insurance.



But, surely we need to temper the predictable gut-reaction to this
and

explore the issue just a little further.



Let's suppose that people who are 100 per cent healthy - who have
no

genetic-predisposition to anything except a long life - are also

genetically profiled.



These hale and hearty people will then soon realise that they no
longer

need medical insurance because they are unlikely to ever claim on it.
And

they will also steer clear of mortgage insurance since - as long as
they

are not knocked over by a bus - the chances are that they will be
around

long enough to pay off the mortgage.



If the only people queuing to buy insurance are the high-risk and

unprofitable customers, the insurance companies will simply cease
to

exist. They operate only on the basis of having enough healthy
people

paying premiums to subsidise the claims of the unhealthy.



So, if an insurance company started requiring genetic testing of
its

customers, it would have effectively signed its own death warrant,
because

the only people it would be prepared to insure would be the people
who

will have little need for insurance.



In the long run, the insurance industry probably has more to fear
from

these tests than the average person. But somehow the Joe and
Josephine

Bloggses of the world blithely refuse to consider this.



Buying into all the scare-mongering just seems to come naturally to
many

of us. And anyway, those horrific predictions just make for
juicier

tittle-tattle, don't they?



* Shelley Bridgeman is an Auckland writer.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



 EU's Fischler optimistic on GM food 

 

European Union Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler said yesterday
that

Europe was moving toward a new policy on biotech foods that will
address

food safety concerns while allowing advancement of the new technology
into

the marketplace.



Reuters 

By Carey Gillam

May 22, 2001

   

"Europe is very much in favor of new technology and
biotechnology,"

Fischler told a press conference at a World Agricultural Forum
World

Congress in St. Louis. But he added: "There is a huge sensitivity
for food

safety."



He said a proposal outlining traceability as well as labeling
standards

and requirements for genetically modified (GM) crops and foods would
be

completed in the next 30 to 60 days and would then be presented to the
EU

member states, with a "solution" hopefully agreed to
"soon."



Tolerance levels are up for debate, but Fischler said he believed

tolerance levels for products containing GM material would be
"acceptable"

at 1 percent.
Anything much higher than that - specifically, one

suggestion of tolerance of up to 5 percent - would not be acceptable,
he

said.



Registration applications for GM food products have been bogged down
for

years as Europe wrestles with controversy over biotech foods. But
Fischler

said he saw that backlog breaking in the near future.



In other comments, Fischler said that he felt optimistic after he met
last

week with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman that Europe's
embattled

beef industry would soon be getting a boost from a re-opening of
U.S.

borders.



The United States in March banned fresh meat products from all 15
EU

countries because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. The
disease

has only been found in four of the EU member countries.



Veneman said on Friday that the ban would be relaxed in some regions
in

the next couple of weeks.



Fischler said reform plans for European farm policy and budgetary
issues

were taking into account the severe hit that the European beef
industry

has taken of late. The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Europe
came

fresh on the heels of the spread of "mad-cow" disease, a
brain-wasting

illness that can be transmitted to humans.



Efforts to eradicate foot-and-mouth alone had resulted in the
slaughter of

about a million animals, including 200,000 cattle, Fischler said.



Now the EU must restore its stocks as well as its markets, a factor
which

could require funds to be shifted away from other agricultural
spending

programs, Fischler said.



"We need to pay for the consequences of the disaster in the
beef

industry," he said. 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ >








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