Today's Topics in AgBioView.
* Consumer Trust In Government Is Key To Policies on GM Food
* Greenpeace vs the Herald
* Expert Panel Report on Biotechnology and Foods
* India: Bt Cotton Goes Up In Smoke, Farmers Should Not Have To Pay
* Greens Support Ban On Water!
* Letter: GM Food
* The Agroterrorism Prevention Act of 2001
* Biotechnology: The Academy, Cultural Attitudes and Public Policy
Consumer Trust In Government Is Key To Policies on Genetically Modified Food -- on Both Sides of the Atlantic
- Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology policy dialogue probes trade, cultural economic issues
Washington, D.C. (October 24, 2001) –- The United States and Europe appear to be on a collision course over the regulation of genetically modified food, according to senior government policy advisors speaking today at a Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology dialogue entitled “Are the US and Europe Heading for a Food Fight Over Genetically Modified Food?”
“Both the U.S. and EU governments have the same goal regarding food policy: ensuring food and environmental safety,” said Michael Rodemeyer, executive director of the Initiative. “However, each government has embarked on a disparate approach to the issue, reflecting different experiences, political philosophies and cultures. As a result, it may be hard to avoid a major ‘food fight’ over agricultural biotechnology commodities.”
The value of US-European agricultural trade is estimated at $57 billion, and some in the U.S. agriculture community are concerned that a new European Union proposal could be a barrier to much of that trade. The EU proposal, adopted by the European Commission (EC) this summer and now pending in Parliament, which is expected to be implemented by early 2003, requires that all food/feed containing or derived from genetically modified organisms be labeled. It would also require documentation tracing biotech products through each step of the grain handling and food production processes. The proposal would particularly affect US corn gluten and soybean exports because a high percentage of those crops are genetically modified (26 percent of US corn and 68 percent of soybeans are genetically modified).
David Hegwood, Trade Advisor to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said, “Our government has an effective regulatory system to ensure the safety of foods derived from modern biotechnology. We believe biotechnology is an important tool that can help to increase food production, preserve natural resources, and improve health and nutrition throughout the world. We continue to express serious concerns about the EC’s July 25th proposal for traceability and mandatory process-based labeling. We believe the EU proposal would disrupt international trade without serving any legitimate food safety or environmental safety objectives.”
Tony Van der haegen, Minister-Counselor for Agriculture, Fisheries and Consumer Affairs of the EC said, "Unless we restore EU consumer confidence in this new technology, genetic modification of food is dead in Europe. The Commission’s July labeling and traceability proposal is intended to be a first step to increase that confidence."
European experience with food safety and environmental issues is quite different than the American experience: consumer confidence has been eroded due to food scares in the past, in addition to the way the biotech industry has handled the issue in Europe. Moreover, serious scientific mistakes were made (BSE or ‘mad cow’ could not jump the species barrier, so said the scientists, who were later proven wrong). As a result, science is no longer a quality label any more in Europe. Although genetically modified foods may even be safer than conventional products, our consumers are nevertheless demanding that we in government protect their ‘right to know’ the content and origin of the food they consume. Until now, in a context of food surplus, GM food has no added value, so why take the risk, the EU consumer is asking.”
Julia Moore, a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said, "In Europe there is a ‘crisis of confidence’ in both science and government. A large percentage of the public does not agree with the national and international science and regulatory bodies that deem GMOs safe. If a trade war is looming, it will not be about food. Rather, it will be about who the public trusts to make choices about 21st century technologies and who they see benefiting from the science."
Fred Yoder, president-elect of the National Corn Growers Association, and a farmer from Plain City, Ohio, said, "There are real benefits to biotech corn, which is why so many American farmers have been quick to adopt the technology. But U.S. corn producers have been hurt in the European export market due to concern and misconceptions over biotechnology. American producers are willing and able to meet the demands of our international customers. However, constructing a system to keep these conventional and biotech crops separate as they move from the farm to the consumer's table will cost more and subsequently require higher prices. Most importantly, we need customer acceptance and market access for our products."
The policy dialogue, one in a series hosted by the Initiative, was hosted in an effort to stimulate an informative discussion about the political, economic and cultural differences between the European Union and the United States regarding the regulation of genetically modified food, in the hope that the Initiative’s participation will help frame the international debate. It was moderated by David Gergen, counsel to four presidents and author, Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership from Nixon to Clinton.
To read more about the dialogue or to watch the webcast of the event, go to http://www.connectlive.com/events/pewagbiotech/
The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research project whose goal is to inform the public and policymakers on issues about genetically modified food and agricultural biotechnology, including its importance, as well as concerns about it and its regulation. It is funded by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts to the University of Richmond.
Greenpeace vs the Herald
- Anthony Trewavas , The Herald , Letters to the Editor, 25 October, 2001.
Sir, A recent court case, Greenpeace vs the Herald, concerned a letter published under my name late in 2000. The letter was originally written by an Agbioview network correspondent in London. A few days after I received the letter from this network, I passed it on to a number of acquaintances since in part it concerned important aspects of organic farming and a subject at that time of some debate. One of those to whom I passed the letter, decided on his own volition to send it to the Herald for publication under my name but without my knowledge. The introduction of electronic mail has now rendered that feat more easily accomplished although fortunately rarely carried out.
The individual concerned has since apologised to me. The Herald in publishing the letter acted completely in good faith believing it came from and was written by me. Their conduct throughout this regrettable episode has been exemplary. My only hope is that this sorry episode does not inhibit the Herald in any way from publishing letters on controversial subjects; fears that several readers have expressed to me.
University of Edinburgh
Expert Panel Report on Biotechnology and Foods: Institute of Food Technologists
Full report at http://www.ift.org/govtrelations/biotech/biotechnology.shtml
25 Oct 2001. In an effort to contribute to a meaningful dialogue on scientific issues and consumer concerns about rDNA biotechnology, the Institute of Food Technologists conducted a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence related to biotechnology and foods.
Introduction The use of modern biotechnology (recombinant DNA technology) to produce foods and food ingredients is a subject of heightened interest among consumers and public policy makers, and within the scientific community. As a result, the news media have extensively covered the subject, seemingly with each development. Eager to contribute to a meaningful dialogue on scientific issues and consumer concerns about rDNA biotechnology, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the 29,000-member nonprofit society for food science and technology, implemented a new initiative. IFT's leaders provided the impetus and strategies, including establishment of a Task Force, for the initiative. The Biotechnology Task Force identified the overall goal of providing science-based information about this modern tool to multiple audiences, e.g., its members, journalists, and the general public. The Task Force identified issues within three main topics 'safety, labeling, and benefits and concerns' and decided that each woul
IFT convened a panel of experts, comprising IFT members and other prominent biotechnology authorities, to prepare report sections on each of the three main topics. Each panel con-tributed to an Introduction section. Thus, this scientific report consists of four parts: Introduction, Safety, Labeling, and Benefits and Concerns. Members of the panels of experts are identified within each report section. IFTís Office of Science, Communications, and Government Relations coordinated the development of the report. The report focuses on rDNA biotechnology-derived foods, food ingredients, and animal feed of plant origin, and on the use of rDNA biotechnology-derived microorganisms such as yeasts and enzymes in food production. Milk from cows that have received rDNA biotechnology-derived hormones is discussed; transgenic animals resulting from the application of rDNA biotechnology techniques to animal production are not addressed.
The Introduction presents background information to help readers understand rDNA biotechnology-derived foods and federal regulation and oversight of rDNA biotechnology. The Safety section discusses issues relevant to evaluation of rDNA biotechnology- derived foods, including the concept of substantial equivalence, introduced genetic material and gene products, unintended effects, allergenicity, and products without conventional counterparts. The international scientific consensus regarding the safety of rDNA biotechnology-derived foods is also discussed. The Labeling section provides an overview of the relevant United States food labeling requirements, including constitutional limitations on the governmentís authority to regulate food labeling and specific case studies relevant to labeling rDNA biotechnology-derived foods. The Labeling section also discusses U.S. and international labeling policies for rDNA biotechnology-derived foods and the impact of labeling distinctions on food distribution systems.
Consumer perceptions of various label statements are also discussed. The Benefits and Concerns section considers in detail numerous specific benefits regarding plant attributes; food quantity, quality, and safety; food technology and bioprocessing; animals; the environment; economics; diet, nutrition, and health; and medical benefits. Concerns addressed include economic and access-related concerns, research incentives, environmental concerns, monitoring, allergenicity, antibiotic resistance transfer, and naturally occurring toxicants.
The report sections were published in three issues of Food Technology. The first page of each report section identifies the Food Technology publication volume, month, and page numbers. IFT extends its deep gratitude to each of the panelists. These experts traveled to full-day meetings in Chicago and devoted many other hours to drafting their respective sections of the report, participating in multiple conference calls to discuss drafts, and reviewing the other report sections. IFT appreciates their invaluable dedication to furthering the understanding of rDNA biotechnology, a tool that is vital to enhancing the world's food supply.
Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is a nonprofit scientific society with 29,000 members working in food science, technology, and related professions in the food industry, academia, and government. As the society for food science and technology, IFT brings sound science to the public discussion of food issues.
Bt Cotton Goes Up In Smoke: Farmers Should Not Have To Pay For Centre’s Folly
- Editorial, Financial Express (India), October 25, 2001 http://www.financialexpress.com/fe20011025/ed1.html
Genetically modified food is an emotive issue throughout the world. There are four issues involved — the consumers’ right to know that GM substances have been incorporated in food; food safety and adequate testing requirements, including any damage caused to biodiversity; stringent product liability laws, since negative effects can sometimes only be established at a future date; and finally, the ethical objections against transgenic crops. In the Indian context, the second and third objections assume serious proportions because of government laxity, and the recent furore over Bt cotton (cotton engineered to resist the bollworm pest) illustrates this.
Regulatory rules have existed since 1989 and a review committee on genetic manipulation in the department of biotechnology is supposed to monitor safety, while the genetic engineering approval committee in the environment ministry is supposed to clear release of genetically engineered organisms and products, including experimental field trials. These two committees exist, although the mandatory biotech coordination committees have not been set up in most states at the district level. Mahyco submitted its application for Bt cotton five years ago and both committees found this seed effective in controlling the bollworm and in boosting productivity.
Why the official clearance has not been issued, despite these findings, is anyone’s guess. Instead, GEAC now discovers, after the crop is ready for harvesting, that the seed has been illegally sold as “Navbharat 151” seed in Gujarat and probably in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab as well. Instead of taking action against the supplier, Navbharat Seed Limited, apparently headed by an ex-employee of Mahyco, the government now proposes to burn a bumper crop. Without firm figures on acreage, how farmers will be compensated is not the central government’s problem. The centre has conveniently passed the buck to state governments and state government budgets will have to absorb compensatory payments, the central exchequer providing no support.
There is no dispute that government laxity primarily occurred at the central government level. Other than taking action against the errant supplier, principles of tort law suggest that compensation should be recovered from the centre. More importantly, this should not come out of taxpayers’ money, but should be recovered from government officials who held up the clearance for five years. Unfortunately, as is often the case, costs will actually be borne by farmers.
On the Destruction of Illegal Bt Cotton in India
(From: Dr. B.S. Ahloowalia ; Posted to: PBASIO, an Indian Biotech Discussion Group)
Instead of destroying the crop, the ICAR, DBT and Govt of Gujarat should be grateful to the farmers and to the breeders of the cotton with Bt. It should be seen as a window of opportunity for the missed years on the release of GE crops as well as of non-patenting of genes and their free access for plant breeding. I advise other cotton breeders to cross this variety with the local varieties grown in other States. Other genes have been used freely by plant breeders globally before GE genes appeared on the scene. Please convey this message to the Govt. of India and Gujrat, ICAR and DBT and not destory farm incomes?
Greens Support Ban On Water!
Press Release by New Zealand National Party at 25 Oct 2001
(Source: Francis Wevers )
"The Green Party's support for a ban on water in New Zealand shows how naive and unscientific the Greens are and illustrates why the Government should ignore their extreme views to ban genetic technologies from New Zealand", says National's Environment spokesperson Nick Smith.
In an email response to a spoof highlighting all the dangers and deaths from dihydrogen monoxide (H20 – or in laymen’s terms, water), Green MP Sue Kedgley's office said she was 'absolutely supportive' of a ban on dihydrogen monoxide in New Zealand. "The Greens' support for a ban on dihydrogen monoxide shows just how scientifically illiterate the party is. They would ban anything if it has a slightly scientific name, regardless of the fact that all life would cease without water," Dr Smith said.
The email on dihydrogen monoxide points out it is a colourless, odourless, tasteless chemical used in all sorts of dangerous industries and that in gaseous form it causes thousands of burns; in liquid form millions of deaths from overdose (drowning), and in its solid state causes tissue damage. "This spoof pulled on the Greens is not indifferent to that which they have pulled on New Zealanders in their campaign against gene technology. They have highlighted all of the dangers of gene technology, but ignored the huge benefits the new technology can offer to mankind. The 31,000 diabetics who survive because of GM-produced insulin is just one example.
"Gene technology, just like water, offers both benefits and risks. The Government must reject the scientifically illiterate Greens and instead support the Royal Commission's proposals for sensible controls on this new technology," Dr Smith said.
From: GULLYS <mailto:email@example.com>
Dear Ms Kedgley,
I seek your support in the international campaign to have dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) banned in New Zealand. I have been totally frustrated in my attempts to have this issue taken seriously by the relevant public authorities and seek your and the Green Party's support to have it addressed.
Dihydrogen monoxide (also known as Hydrogen hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide or simply hydric acid) is a chemical used in nuclear power stations, US Navy propulsion systems and many chemical industries. It is colourless, odourless, tasteless and kills uncounted thousands of people each year. It is even present in some imported foods. The chemical is commonly found in pre-cancerous cells and is prevalent in acid rain. In its solid state DHMO causes some tissue damage and in gaseous form severe burns.
I would urge you to check out the website and the information from the Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division on the problems DHMO causes to both public health and the environment. <<http://www.dhmo.org/research.html>http://www.dhmo.org/research.html> <<http://www.dhmo.org.facts.html/>http://www.dhmo.org.facts.html>).
The campaign to ban DHMO is well underway in the United States but is in its infancy in New Zealand. Award winning scientist Nathan Zohner has undertaken research showing that 86% of the population supports a ban on Dihydrogen monoxide. A similar study by US researchers Patrick K McClusky and Matthew Kulick also found 90% of citizens participating in a survey supported the petition for an outright ban of DHMO in the US. The US campaign has been undermined by industrial companies citing economic justification for maintaining supplies of DHMO and thus holding over Federal agencies like the FDA and EPA.
If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be particularly interested in whether you would be prepared to support our campaign for New Zealand to be declared DHMO free.
Yours Sincerely, Philip Gully
From: Sue Kedgley's Office <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: GULLYS <mailto:email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, 10 October 2001 13:30
Subject: Re: DHMO
Dear Philip, Thanks for your email regarding DHMO. I know Sue would be absolutely supportive of the campaign to ban this toxic substance in NZ. Unfortunately, the reality is that she is working on many such issues, and there are only so many hours in the day! That being said, and taking into consideration her time constraints, did you have any ideas in mind on how she could be of assistance to the campaign?
Kind Regards, Greer Harding, - Sue Kedgley's Office
Letter: GM Food
- Colin East, The Christchurch Press, 23 Oct 2001
Sir - The "Society for the Prevention of Unclean Diet" (Spud) was formed in the 17th century to oppose the ugly, dark-skinned potato, which originated from Peru. But plant science has modified it into an acceptable part of our staple diet.
The disastrous potato famine of 1845 left millions dead in Europe, particularly in Ireland. Research ultimately developed varieties resistant to the devastating potato blight. It concerns me that Crop and Food Research has to consider shifting offshore because of GM opponents. Potato research scientist Philippa Barrell (October 19) is also adding to the "brain drain" by taking her expertise to Switzerland.
Twenty-first century crop research demands keeping pace with modern technology. We need to stop condemning the new-found knowledge of GM as being detrimental and make every effort to use its beneficial aspects to advance man's progress towards a better food supply to support an exploding world population.
May common sense prevail.
The Agroterrorism Prevention Act of 2001, HR 2795
- Rep. George Nethercutt (R-Wash.), 5th District, East -- Spokane (Phone: 202-225-2006
Fax: 202-225-3392; Web: http://www.house.gov/nethercutt )
The Agroterrorism Prevention Act of 2001, HR 2795, was introduced by Rep. Nethercutt of Washington on August 2nd. Nethercutt was tremendously concerned after the fire bombing at Washington State, subsequently he introduced this bill in Congress. The bill, was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary, and there has been no action on the bill in committee.
In a nutshell, the bill calls for establishing Federal criminal penalties and civil remedies for certain violent, threatening, obstructive, and destructive conduct that is intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with plant or animal enterprises--both public and private. The damage, however, is not limited exclusively to property/casualty, but also extends to any other economic damage resulting from the destruction. For arson or bombing, the bill would call for imprisonment for not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years and/or fines.
The legislation would also establish a Federal clearinghouse on any acts of agroterrorism, or acts against a person specifically due to his/her connection to any activities of the agriculture enterprises defined in the bill.
Finally, there is request for $5 million for fiscal years 2002 and 2003 to fund a competitive grant program to assist colleges and universities with threat and risk assessment as well as improving security of research faciliities. Priority for grants would be given to those colleges and universities that show the most urgent security risks. The funds would also be used to generate a report on security strategies for colleges and universities.
Language Included in the House Farm Bill: The provision adopted by the Agriculture Committee allows the Secretary of Agriculture to impose civil penalties against any individual that causes economic damage or disruption to an animal or agricultural enterprise. The section is broadly drawn to protect research, production as well as the associations that support these activities. It recognizes not only the physical damages from firebombing, for example, but also the costs associated with lost research, and revenues. Penalties would be collected in a fund to assist victims of agroterrorism.
AgBioView Selection from the past.....
Biotechnology: An Essay on The Academy, Cultural Attitudes and Public Policy
- Drew L. Kershen (University of Oklahoma) AgBioForum, 2(2), 137-146. Retrieved July 15, 1999 http://www.agbioforum.missouri.edu. Excerpts Below....
'Biotechnology is the latest historical example of a scientific discipline creating enormous cultural, social, and public policy controversies. By comparing biotechnology to these past controversies, and by comparing biotechnology to present-day computer technology, Professor Kershen argues that acceptance or rejection of biotechnology will ultimately occur as a result of ideological and political beliefs and pressures. He argues that the debate about biotechnology will not be resolved primarily based on expanded knowledge and understanding of biotechnology as a science.'
Biotechnology In Historical Context
When the half-millennium arrived on January 1, 1501, educated Europeans most assuredly held the view that the Earth was round. They also assuredly held the view that the Earth was the center of the astronomical universe. Forty-three years later the latter view began to shatter when Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) published his On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres. Copernicus’ theory (that the Earth is a planetary body in the solar system - now established beyond scientific doubt) set in motion further discoveries by Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and Isaac Newton (1643-1727) in mathematics and mechanics. The work of these three scientists shook the foundations of astronomy and cosmology and, more broadly, shook the foundations of European culture. As important for our understanding today, their work generated tremendous debate and bitter controversies.
If the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were centuries shaken by the scientific ideas coming from astronomy and mathematics, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries can be characterized as centuries shaken by the scientific ideas based in physics. Isaac Newton was the bridge between these four centuries with his pioneering work in physics. When we think of the impact of physics upon society, we likely think of machines - the steam engine, the steam boat, the railroad, and the mechanical reaper. The machines of physics created the Industrial Revolution of factories and urbansociety with its technological progress and its political manifestos.
Before society had fully assimilated the changes caused by the science of physics, the twentieth century faced the science of chemistry. No better expression of the twentieth century can be found than the advice delivered in the American movie The Graduate, “Plastics. ... The future is plastics.” Even though we laughed at this statement, the twentieth century has indeed been the century of plastics - and polymers, resins, medicines, foods, fuels, pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, and poisonous gases - made by modern chemistry. “Better living through chemistry” has been both an advertising slogan and a guiding principle of the twentieth century. Of course, whether chemistry did bring better living has been the catalyst of bitter and continuing controversies about humankind’s use and abuse of one another and the environment.
As we enter the twenty-first century, any short-sighted futurist or uninspired prophet (that is, the author) can comfortably predict that the coming century will be the century of the science of biology. Before the new century even dawns, scientists and society are rabidly discussing genetics, cloning, immune systems, gene therapies, genome mapping projects, and modern biotechnology. Discoveries from the science of biology will fundamentally change society and human self-perception in the twenty-first century. The preceding sentence can be posited as a fact to be proven or disproved as true, probably long after the author’s death. Just as comfortably, we can predict tremendous debate and bitter controversies about biological science, just as there were tremendous debates and bitter controversies about astronomy, cosmology, physics, and chemistry in the preceding centuries.
What conclusions can be drawn from this superficial history of past centuries and their related scientific discoveries?
* It is to be expected that scientific discoveries will generate debate and controversy. However, the fact that debate and controversy occur does not mean that science and knowledge are evil.
* Human beings express themselves by creating science and knowledge as tools of our ingenuity. Hence, human beings will expand the boundaries of science and knowledge despite the existence of debates and controversies about scientific discoveries.
* Human beings make choices about how to use science and knowledge. These choices, not science or knowledge, per se, are good or evil. Past history shows that human beings will likely choose both good and evil - that is, human beings will use science and knowledge to do good and to do evil. However, the fact that human beings can use science and knowledge to do evil should not dissuade us from seeking to use science and knowledge for doing good.
* To the best of our abilities, our obligation as human beings in civil society (and more particularly in the academy) is three-fold: to promote human ingenuity; to discern the good flowing from our ingenuity; and to promote good choices through sound public policy and laws.
We can not conclude that the task will be easy. We can not conclude that good will triumph over evil. We can not conclude that we will agree upon what is good or evil about a particular scientific theory, discovery, or technology. Each of us realizes that we cannot control how our research and teaching will be used. Assuredly, we will be dismayed and depressed when others use our work in ways and for ends of which we do not approve. Sadly, at times, we will be ashamed when others use our work for evil. Yet these risks of how others will use our work should not dissuade us from our obligation to promote human ingenuity, to discern the good, and to promote good choices. More often we will be amazed and proud when others creatively use our work for good.
Moreover, we can not conclude that the science and technology are inevitably destined to be triumphant in the future. I am a supporter of biotechnology and hold the conviction that the good that biotechnology can bring to humanity and the world will outweigh the evils that might arise from biotechnology. Still, it is society that will inevitably accept biotechnology. Those who support biotechnology should recall that nuclear energy was touted as the wave of the future in the 1950s. However, beginning in the 1970s, those who opposed nuclear energy and nuclear technologies succeeded in many countries in blocking additional nuclear power plants, in shutting existing nuclear power plants, and in drying up demand for nuclear engineers and nuclear programs at universities. Society may ultimately treat biotechnology more like nuclear energy than like telephones.
Conclusions: Biotechnology has become the contested battleground between contending historical forces and cultural values. I am firmly committed to educating the public as broadly and thoroughly as possible about biotechnology as a science and as a technology. I believe in the necessity for a scientifically educated populace in a democracy. And yet, while information is important, and while understanding is important, I would argue that the acceptance or rejection of biotechnology will not be based on information and understanding. Biotechnology will stand or fall based on the ideological beliefs and the cultural values adopted by individual human beings who, in turn, will shape societal beliefs and values.
In this swirl of controversy about biotechnology, I agree with Kalaitzandonakes (1999) who recently wrote: "Clearly, the burden of social responsibility should not be placed on the knowledge system alone. Relevant supporting institutions must also play their intended roles in filtering new knowledge to achieve desirable social, economic and environmental outcomes. If existing antitrust and environmental regulation, agricultural policies and common law are not up to the task within the new economic and scientific realities, they should be appropriately adjusted. Social engineering of new knowledge is probably a poor substitute for an appropriate institutional framework."
Biotechnology is part and parcel of the human condition and the human dilemmas of the dawn of the coming millennium.
Complete Text at http://www.agbios.com/articles/kershen.htm