Today in AgBioView: July 2, 2003:
* Berkeley professor moves office to lawn
* The Famine Lobby
* No End to World Hunger Without Biotech: Researchers
* Africa’s chance to feed its people
* EU moratorium can be lifted as European Parliament votes yes to new GM
* US farmers aghast at proposed European biotech rules
* Germany's Clement urges EU to import gene foods
* GMO food must have label: EU law
* EU Parliament Passes GM Labeling Laws
* Plant biotechnology: good ideas are growing
* 'No adverse effect on people who ate GM food’
* NGOs: No-Good Organizations
* GM protesters 'destroyed wrong crops'
Berkeley professor moves office to lawn
Biology instructor planted desk outside to protest slow action on his
contract extension, tenure application
Alameda Times STar
By William Brand
July 1, 2003
BERKELEY -- In what has to be the most unusual protest on the University
of California, Berkeley campus in years, an assistant professor up for
tenure moved his office to the lawn in front of California Hall last
Thursday and has been holding office hours for his students since.
But this is no ordinary tenure battle. Biologist Ignacio Chapela's lunch
Monday came from the kitchen of Chez Panisse, at the direction of
California cuisine maven Alice Waters. Breakfast was prepared on a tiny
backpacking stove by a colleague.
And UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl, whose office is on the second
floor of California Hall, walked by and said hello.
Among other research work, Chapela's lab investigates the spread of
genetically modified plants into native, non-transgenic stocks, research
that has won him many friends in the organic food community, including
Waters. Her world-famous restaurant on Shattuck Avenue has been
all-organic from the beginning.
A study by Chapela and a co-investigator that found evidence of transgenic
corn in seed corn in a remote field in Oaxaca, Mexico, created a furor
among biotech scientists, who challenged some of the study's methods. In
an unusual move, Nature magazine said it should not have published the
study, then published two criticisms and Chapela's response.
That was last year. Since then, other researchers have found evidence
through other methods that support Chapela's findings, the assistant
professor said Monday.
Chapela's supporters note he was one of several faculty members who
strongly objected to a $25 million research pact between Novartis, the
multinational biotech business, and UC Berkeley's Department of Plant and
Microbial Biology in 1998. The deal collapsed earlier this year, when the
successor company to Novartis moved its West Coast research facility to
Supporters and students say his outspoken opposition made him a target for
university administrators who welcomed the biotech funds. "Now there's
this tenure battle," said molecular and cellular biology doctoral student
Jason Delborne, munching a Chez Panisse organic sandwich. "It's absolutely
bizarre. At this university, we're supposed to be beyond politics.
Clearly, we are not."
Chapela said the camp-out began as a desperation measure. As of 6 a.m.
last Thursday, the university had not extended his year-to-year contract
and nothing had happened to his tenure application, even though all but
one department faculty member supported it.
Monday at midnight was to be the end of his appointment. So he sent out an
e-mail early last Thursday, and with student help lugged his books, chairs
and files to the campus lawn. At 7 a.m., his department chair, Paul
Ludden, informed him he had been granted another year on the faculty --
while his tenure application proceeds.
The decision, university Vice Chancellor George Strait said, was sent to
Chapela June 19, a week before he started his camp out.
"Well, I found out at 7 a.m. after I was already here," Chapela said.
With a shrug, he said he stayed on the lawn even though his job was no
longer terminal. He said late Monday he would stay until midnight, when
his appointment would have expired.
His tenure request is now in the campus budget committee -- one of nine
layers of approval that must be obtained for any tenure decision, Strait
said. "Ulitimately, it goes to the chancellor's desk. He has to approve
it," he said.
The Famine Lobby
By Chris Weinkopf
July 2, 2003
FIGHTING HUNGER, purging the vestiges of colonialism, cleaning up the
environment—these are all causes the left ostensibly supports.
Someone ought to tell that to the 2,000 leftist protesters who took to the
streets of Sacramento last week.
There, dressed as giant ears of corn, butterflies and tomatoes, protesters
assembled outside what would have otherwise been an unremarkable event: a
gathering of agricultural ministers, scientists, and health-care experts
from more than 100 countries to discuss methods for using advanced
technology to combat famine and improve nutrition.
While the dignitaries met inside, the protesters rallied outside with
puppets and signs bearing catchy phrases like “Feed the needy, not the
greedy.” The display was a far cry from the anti-war vomit-ins or the
Seattle anti-WTO riots, but that didn’t stop the activists from having a
grand time. After the official protest, the Associated Press reports, some
20 activists “doffed their clothes and danced on the steps of the state
Capitol, then began an unauthorized parade through downtown
Sacramento”—all to condemn the use of genetically modified (GM) foods.
Hey, the war’s over. The professional protesters have to protest
So now it’s “Frankenfoods,” the left’s name for GM crops, which do all
sorts of things the Sacramento protesters apparently consider
monstrous—like increasing crop yields, warding off insects, boosting
food's nutritional and health qualities, and withstanding droughts. Top
among the protesters’ concerns is making sure that GM seeds don’t find
their way to Africa, where millions of starving men, women, and children
stand to gain from their use.
As the “Frankenfoods” name suggests, the Left regards GM technology as
reckless messing with nature, the inevitable result of which would be
cataclysmic, unintended consequences. Science tells another story.
Americans—even perpetually protesting Americans—eat GM foods all the time.
Take that vegan favorite, soy. Eighty percent of America’s soy crop is
genetically engineered to resist a popular weed killer. A third of all
U.S. corn contains a bug-killing bacterium. Seventy percent of all
processed foods consumed in the U.S. include at least one GM ingredient.
And the various studies on the safety of GM foods generally show no
deleterious health or environmental effects. Far from it—the use of GM
crops reduces the need for potentially carcinogenic and environmentally
A recent Wired dispatch tells the story of Thandiwe Myeni, a South African
widow and mother of five, and one of few African farmers to take advantage
of GM technology: “Before growing Bt cotton, a strain that makes its own
insecticide, Myeni used four to five pesticides on her cotton crop. The
pesticides made some workers sick, and in one case killed four children
who drank water contaminated by the chemicals.” Thanks to GM technology,
Myeni now not only has a livelihood, but the envirionment and her
neighbors alike are far safer.
But she is the exception. For the most part, Africa has been denied the
use of GM farming, thanks to the vestiges of Europe’s old colonial regime.
EU powers, heartily opposed to GM technology, has campaigned to keep food
out of the mouths of starving Africans, with a high cost in human lives.
In Europe—where experimenting with and even cloning human embryos is
permitted in some countries—tinkering with the DNA of fruits and
vegetables is considered some sort of grave offense. The European Union
has banned the import of GM products (much to the consternation of U.S.
agribusiness and President Bush, who has fined a WTO protest).
In most of Africa, which still relies heavily on Europe as its main
trading partner, the EU’s hard-line stance on GM products has scared
governments and farmers away from this technology. EU activism has allowed
famine to go without As David Almasi, director of the National Center for
Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., told Wired: “Governments like
Zimbabwe are willing to risk famine rather than lose a future trading
partner in the European Union.”
So Africans continue to starve; and the continent routinely suffers from
droughts, poor nutrition, and sundry environmental dangers—in no small
measure because of European Luddism cheered on by eco-radicals in the
Yet at least the European position, unconscionable though it is, makes
sense in light of naked self-interest. The continent’s professed aversion
to GM foods is its justification for a de-facto ban on $300 millions worth
American corn imports. Old European leaders want to protect their farmers
from foreign competition, no matter who starves, just as they wanted to
maintain their Iraqi oil contracts, no matter who suffered.
As for the American Left, the “Frankenfoods” vitriol is more ideologically
driven. Some GM opponents hate globalization and fear technology. Others
so fetishize the environment that they’re willing to let “nature” run
roughshod over starving Africans, even while they chomp on GM soyburgers
and dance around naked in celebration. Others still detest the prospect of
US business opening new markets in Africa, as though death and misery are
better that letting the benighted continent deal with the Great Satan.
Underneath it all is surely some pride, too. How hard it must be for
committed leftists to see how decades of Africa’s experimenting with
socialism has wreaked havoc on precisely the poor and downtrodden people
it was supposed to help. How angry they must be that, through GM
technology, capitalism may soon deliver on socialism’s long unfulfilled
promises to the Third World—autonomy, a clean environment, and food on
It’s not “Frankenfoods” that Africans need fear, but Frankensocialism, the
monster that the left won’t let die.
No End to World Hunger Without Biotech: Researchers
July 2, 2003
By Tim Large
TOKYO (Reuters) - War, drought and runaway population growth will thwart
efforts to halve global hunger by 2015 unless the full weight of science
is brought to bear on food production, a farm research group for
developing countries said on Wednesday.
Without urgent investment in agricultural development -- including
controversial biotechnology -- hundreds of millions will remain underfed
in coming years, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural
Research (CGIAR) said.
"There'll be about a 50 percent increase in the world's population in the
next 50 years, from six billion to something like nine billion," former
World Bank president and CGIAR founder Robert McNamara told a seminar in
"And the food requirement will increase by approximately 100 percent. I
don't know of any way to deal with that problem other than increasing
agricultural productivity ... by applying the technology and knowledge we
have, and by research."
World leaders gathered in Rome last year to renew a 1996 pledge to halve
by 2015 the number of hungry from around 815 million in 1992. The United
Nations and others have since called that goal unrealistic, even by 2030.
"The world is not on track to cutting hunger at least by half by 2015,"
said Joachim Von Braun, director general of the International Food Policy
Research Institute (IFPRI), citing natural disasters, military conflicts
and unequal economic development.
CGIAR, which groups governments, research organizations and private
foundations, supports biotechnology to promote farm growth. That puts it
at loggerheads with opponents of genetically modified (GM) food who are
worried about safety risks.
The European Union has placed a moratorium on approvals of GM foods since
1998, while some African countries facing food shortages, including Zambia
and Zimbabwe, are so wary of gene-altered crops that they have refused
such food aid.
GREEN REVOLUTION FOR AFRICA?
CGIAR members said natural calamities, war, political corruption and acute
water shortages in many of the world's poorest countries made the case for
biotechnology more pressing than ever.
"I believe the opportunity is ripe for a green revolution in many poor
areas, including Cambodia and Africa," said Keijiro Otsuka, incoming
chairman of the International Rice Research Institute.
"East and southern African countries have been particularly neglected. In
my observation, they possess high-growth potential. According to my
calculations, with investment of $10 to $20 million, there can be
revolutionary changes in farming in Africa."
A so-called "green revolution" using innovative farm technologies boosted
food supplies in much of Asia in the 1960s and 1970s, reducing poverty
Debate raged last year in southern Africa on whether to accept
U.S.-produced GM food aid that could have helped some 13 million facing
starvation but endangered countries' key export markets in Europe.
Zimbabwe, worst hit by the food crisis with 6 million people at risk, said
it would not accept imports of GM whole maize, citing fears local farmers
could use it as planting seed.
Other countries are struggling to fortify domestic crops against the
ravages of drought.
"North Africa, central Asia and west Africa have the biggest water
problems," said Adel El-Beltagy, director general of the International
Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas.
"We need to have intervention on two levels. One level is to optimize the
use of available water. The other is to change the genetic make-up of
plants to produce higher-quality food as well as high yields with less
Some researchers acknowledged the need to address safety concerns.
"For us in the CGIAR, the key elements of new technology related to
biotech and infotech need to be brought to bear on the problems of
small-lot farmers," the IFPRI's Von Braun said.
"Of course, sound bio-safety policies are necessary for that."
Africa’s chance to feed its people
East African Standard
By Stefania Bianchi
July 2, 2003
An African writer and activist James Shikwati made a strong appeal at a
forum in Brussels last for introduction of genetically modified crops to
feed the hungry.
Shikwati, who is director of the non-governmental organisation
Inter-Region Economic Network (Iren) based in Kenya, spoke at a meeting
organised by TechCentral Station, a US on-line journal on global public
TechCentral Station promotes free markets and use of technology, but
acknowledges that such promotion raises important public issues.
Iren campaigns for policies that would support development of Africa. The
Brussels meeting was addressed also by Chris Wilson, US Trade Attache’ to
the European Union.
The campaigner from Africa was clearly putting forward a case that seemed
to match US interests in breaking down EU opposition to genetically
modified (GM) foods.
Shikwati argued that Africa needs these crops. "Biotechnology would give
African farmers the freedom to produce their own goods instead of begging
donor countries," he said.
"Africa needs this investment and wants to make use of the technology."
Shikwati urged the EU to drop its five-year moratorium on GM foods. "With
insects destroying crops, Africans don’t have a choice that their crops
live or die, but with GM crops this could change," he said.
"We want to explore GM technology and believe it could tackle pests and
save the starving." The EU has maintained a moratorium on the commercial
development of GM foods since 1999.
This has delayed the approval of GM crops and, according to the US, forced
African countries to refuse GM food aid. Last year famine-stricken Zambia,
Zimbabwe and Mozambique turned down shipments of GM food from the US
because of health and environmental concerns. The countries were worried
also that they could lose their export market in the EU if their crops
were seen as contaminated by genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Shikwati acknowledged EU concerns that African farmers could become
dependent on GM technology from the US, but insisted that such a situation
was still better than dependency on food aid.
"Food aid from abroad makes production difficult, but with GMOs farmers
could make a profit even if the seeds are expensive," he said.
Supporting Shikwati’s case for GMOs at the meeting, Wilson told EU
officials present that a combination of biotechnology and economic
policies could play a significant role in reducing hunger in Africa.
"The world is on the threshold of an agricultural revolution," Wilson
said. "GMOs can reduce the cost of food production, help the environment,
reduce pesticides and feed the starving."
The case for GM crops did not go unchallenged at the meeting. Alexander de
Roo, vice-president of the Environment Committee at the European
Parliament and member of the Green Party, said the US was promoting GM
foods for its own financial gain.
"It’s up to Africans if they want to buy GM food," he said. "I would
advise them not to, but what I don’t understand is why there is so much
pressure from the US."
GM crops were first commercially cultivated in the early 1990s. It was
claimed they would increase resistance to pests and weed-killers, increase
yields, cut prices and enhance the nutritional value of crops.
Cultivation has expanded rapidly since then, especially in the US., which
now produces 68 per cent of GM food, followed by Argentina with 23 per
cent. Canada produces seven per cent and China one per cent.
The US grows biotech crops, mostly corn, over 96.3 million hectares. But
outside the US, and especially in Europe, GM foods have been criticised by
consumers as unsafe, unnecessary and bad for the environment.
The GM debate has become a particularly sensitive issue between the EU and
the US Last month US. President George Bush accused Europe of "impeding"
US efforts to fight famine in Africa because of "unfounded" fears over GM
The US. has taken its case to the World Trade Organisation, which deals
with trade rules between nations, to get the European Union to relax its
The EU, however, denies claims that its reluctance to allow new GM foods
is keeping developing countries away from these foods. Officials say they
simply need more time to develop systems for tracing and labelling GM
foods and feed.
EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy was quoted by the US Wall Street Journal
last month as saying that "choices for developing countries should not
mean accept GM food or starve".
Several consumer groups and civil society organisations say the US is
arguing the case for GM foods to promote its financial self-interest.
Juan Lopez of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest
environment federation, told IPS that GM food cannot solve the food crisis
"GM crops aim to consolidate the big agribusiness control of a food
chain," he said. "They would just force small farmers in developing
countries out of business."
GM crops cannot solve the problem of hunger and food security in
developing countries, he said, "since they are not the right response to
the real causes of those problems, like debt, lack of infrastructure and
EU moratorium can be lifted as European Parliament votes yes to new GM
EuropaBio Press Release
2 Jul 2003
Strasbourg, 2 July 2003: Today, the European Parliament voted strict new
standards for the approvals of GM crops and GM derived foods, including
more extensive labelling requirements. "The good news is that Parliament
voted against the extreme amendments of the Environment Committee that in
effect would ban genetic modification from being used in agriculture, and
GM products from being offered to European consumers," said Simon Barber,
Director of the Plant Biotechnology Unit at EuropaBio (1).
The new GM Food and Feed and Traceability and Labelling rules are the most
broad ranging laws in the world. They are the result of more than two
years of hard negotiations amongst the Commission, the Council and the
Parliament that resulted in a compromise agreement. The adoption of these
two regulations completes the legislative package that a group of Member
States had demanded before the de facto moratorium on approvals of new GM
crops could be lifted. "The new rules will impose a heavy regulatory
burden on the agri-food chain, and are not all that we had wanted. But at
least an agreement has been reached that will allow the new and pending
applications (2) in the pipeline to move forward," says Simon Barber.
The agreed regulation foresees a review after two years of implementation.
"It is welcome that the Member States have left themselves the opportunity
to review the efficiency of the traceability and labelling requirements.
Between now and then, the whole food and feed chain will have to work very
hard to implement the new rules" says Simon Barber.
For further information, contact
Strasbourg: Simon Barber, Mobile: +32 476 44 24 20
Brussels: Adeline Farrelly, Tel: +32 2 735 0313 Mobile: +32 475 93 17 24
(1) About EuropaBio
EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, has 35 corporate
members operating worldwide and 21 national biotechnology associations
representing some 1200 small and medium sized enterprises involved in
research and development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of
biotechnology products. www.europabio.org
US farmers aghast at proposed European biotech rules
July 2, 2003
WASHINGTON, July 2 (AFP) - US farmers reacted with dismay Wednesday to a
European parliamentary vote to require labels on foods in which at least
0.9 per cent of the ingredients are genetically modified.
The European Union has said the decision will unlock the way to lifting a
de facto moratorium on biotechnology food imports, which is being
challenged by the United States in the World Trade Organization.
But US farmers said the new rules, which could be adopted legislatively by
individual European Union member states later this year, would make
matters worse, not better.
"In terms of legislation, we are very disappointed in it," National Corn
Growers Association trade specialist Hayden Milberg said.
"We believe it will lead to further hindrances to free and fair trade
between farmers in the United States and the European consumers," he said.
"It is a step backward and would not improve the situation in light of the
de facto moratorium on products derived from biotechnology."
The United States is leading a group of 12 countries, including Argentina,
into battle at the WTO in Geneva to overturn EU obstacles to foods with
genetically modified ingredients, in place since 1999.
As a first step, the dozen countries requested a 60-day consultation
period at the WTO. If no resolution is found, they may seek the formation
of a WTO dispute settlement panel to hear arguments.
The 60-day period expires July 13.
Ron Gaskill, trade policy expert at the American Farm Bureau Federation,
said he would press US President George W. Bush's administration to
request a dispute settlement panel.
"The labelling and traceability rules only complicate the matter. I don't
think they, from our perspective, help it at all," Gaskill said.
"We think they are just as inconsistent with the WTO agreement on
technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary measures as the
moratorium itself is," he added.
"I don't think there is any change there. I don't think it is a step in
the right direction at all. I think it only makes things worse, honestly."
US farmers argue there is no scientific basis for the European demand for
special labelling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.
Germany's Clement urges EU to import gene foods
02 Jul 2003
BERLIN, July 2 (Reuters) - Germany's Economy Minister Wolfgang Clement
said on Wednesday he will push for the import of U.S.-developed
genetically modified (GM) foodstuffs despite widespread European
opposition to the products.
In an article written for the ruling Social Democrat party newspaper
"Vorwaerts", Clement said he would "expressly urge the import of
genetically modified products", while calling for a reduction of obstacles
to flourishing trans-atlantic trade.
"However, we also expect the United States to respect decisions by the
World Trade Organisation and to make changes where appropriate, for
example by immediately repealing the U.S. customs' ruling on steel,"
Clement said, making a link to a separate dispute over steel anti-dumping
Clement's comments came as the European Parliament passed new laws making
the labelling of GM foodstuffs compulsory, a move that could lead to the
end of an unofficial moratorium by EU member states on the sale or
cultivation in the bloc of new GM products, dubbed "Frankenstein foods" by
They also come as Germany is seeking to restore its relations with
Washington, which were strained by Berlin's opposition to U.S.-led
military action in Iraq.
The U.S. government has launched a trade suit against the EU over its GM
food policy, which U.S. maize growers alone say is costing them $300
million a year in lost exports.
Calling German-U.S. trade links "a pillar for well-being in Germany and
Europe," Clement said it was incumbent upon the delegates taking part at
the next WTO ministerial conference in Cancun, Mexico "to make decisive
steps forward for free trade."
"This would be made much easier if the instances of trans-atlantic
conflict were effectively reduced," said Clement.
GMO food must have label: EU law
July 2, 2003
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BRUSSELS — The European Parliament passed tough new laws today on
genetically modified products, opening the way for biotech foods in Europe
as long as they are clearly labelled.
The 626-member assembly backed two proposals that would allow the lifting
of a seven-year freeze by European countries on the introduction of new
The regulations require producers to trace genetically modified organisms
at all stages of production and oblige supermarkets to label products
containing more than 0.9 per cent biotech material to say: "This product
is produced from GMOs."
The new laws also allow the 15 EU countries to set their own rules to
prevent seeds from farms growing GM crops blowing on to fields of
conventional or organic produce.
The United States, backed by Canada and Australia, has long pushed the EU
to drop its biotech-food ban. But the new rules are unlikely to satisfy
Washington, which says mandatory labelling of biotech products will be too
costly for exporters.
Washington has said the laws, as proposed, would continue to constitute an
unfair trade barrier to biotech product imports.
Still, environmentalists welcomed the vote. Greenpeace said it would give
the EU, "the world's strictest and most comprehensive rules on the
labelling of genetically modified organisms."
Skeptical European consumers can continue to shun biotech products if they
choose, the group said.
"This vote is a slap in the face of the U.S. administration, which thought
that by bullying . . . Europe, and eventually others, would swallow its
GMO policy," said Eric Gall, Greenpeace EU adviser on genetic engineering.
Backed by Ottawa and Canberra, Washington has characterized the EU's
cautious approach as being based on unfounded health fears. The three have
filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization to force Europe to
lift the moratorium.
U.S. farmers estimate the European restrictions have cost them nearly $300
million (U.S.) a year in lost corn exports alone.
The moratorium on new biotech foods was introduced in 1998, in response to
consumer fears about the possible health risks genetically modified
EU Parliament Passes GM Labeling Laws
July 2, 2003
By Robin Pomeroy
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Parliament passed laws on Wednesday to
force labeling of all genetically modified food, in a move which could
lead the EU to lift an unofficial ban on GM crops but may not be enough to
halt a U.S. trade suit.
The regulations, which need the final approval of European Union member
governments, will require the food industry to segregate GM from
conventional crops and put strict limits on the accidental mixing of GM
into traditional food imports.
Washington, along with other GM exporters Argentina and Canada, has filed
a suit at the World Trade Organization against the EU over its five-year
de facto ban on new GM varieties, and the issue is a major source of
transatlantic trade friction.
U.S. farmers alone say the EU policy costs them $300 million a year in
lost exports, mostly maize.
The EU has refused to approve any new GM crops for cultivation or use in
food in the 15-country bloc since 1998, when European consumer fears about
food safety were at their height following the mad cow disease scandal.
A group of GM-skeptical countries, led by France, said the moratorium
would remain until the EU had put in place a raft of new rules on safety
testing, labeling and tracing GM organisms "from farm to fork."
The new rules allow no more than 0.9 percent accidental mixing of GM in
non-GM shipments to the EU. They also let EU states impose "appropriate
measures" to ensure GM crops planted in the bloc do not cross-pollenate
with conventional strains.
The laws could be the final piece in a regulatory jigsaw that will lead
those states to reopen the stalled authorization procedure, but anti-GM
campaigners say even more is needed.
Environmental groups like Friends of the Earth fear that crops genetically
altered to fend off pests could cross-breed with wild relatives and create
super-weeds that cannot be controlled.
They want binding EU-wide rules on GM farming methods to ensure there is
no cross-pollenation and a legal regime that would make farmers or biotech
seed makers financially liable for any future damage they cause to nature.
Plant biotechnology: good ideas are growing
This newly updated brochure provides a comprehensive overview of the
benefits of plant biotechnology.
View the PDF of this brochure:
'No adverse effect on people who ate GM food’
By BUTCH D. ENERIO
July 2, 2003
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - A United States-based scientist doing research on
biotechnology said that corn grown with genetically modified organism
(GMO) has not been linked to any health problem on humans since its
commercialization in the US seven years ago.
Dr. Martina Newell McGloughlin, biotechnology program director of the
University of California, said that for seven years corn with GMO and its
byproducts have been ingested by humans in the US and other countries and
has no known or documented case of negative impact to human health.
“The most that we can ask is that all foods produced by whatever method
receive the same level of evaluation both with regard to impact on the
environment and safety to the consumer. Millions of people have already
eaten the products of genetic engineering and no adverse effects have been
demonstrated. Scientists are confident in the scientific validity of the
systems that regulate and oversee the American food supply,” she said.
“The only negative concern so far with the issue on biotechnology,
particularly on GMO in corn, is that there is no better communication
between the regulatory agencies and the public. And there has been no
documented instances of harm to humans, so far. And that’s not to say that
we may not find this [harm], but we are going to have the checks and
balances in place to catch it in time and then recall everything that has
a problem,” she added.
McGloughlin discussed in a multisectoral forum on biotechnology in this
city last week the issues on the technology, particularly its impact on
She said that the tools of biotechnology can be used to improve the
texture, color, flavor, growing season, stress tolerance, yield, disease
tolerance, nutritional values, among others, of crops.
She added that with biotech, farmers’ dependence on chemical application
on their crops would be reduced, thus the presence of toxic substances on
plant products are minimized.
She said that with biotechnology, food production would increase, while
minimizing the impact of the use of chemicals on agriculture on the
“While the world’s population is growing and arable lands are diminishing,
biotechnology is a tool to improve productivity and quality of food
production,” McGloughlin said.
NGOs: No-Good Organizations
In These Times
By Joel Bleifuss
July 2, 2003
The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is setting out to counter the
subversive influence of Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders,
Oxfam, and other nongovernmental organizations that are pursuing global
agendas that undermine the power of both the U.S. government and U.S.
corporations. To that end, AEI recently sponsored a day-long conference,
“Nongovernmental Organizations: The Growing Power of the Unelected Few.”
According to AEI:
NGOs have created their own rules and regulations and demanded that
governments and corporations abide by those rules. … Politicians and
corporate leaders are often forced to respond to the NGO media machine,
and the resources of taxpayers and shareholders are used in support of
ends they did not sanction.
George Washington University political scientist Jarol Manheim told
conference participants NGOs are pursuing “a new and pervasive form of
conflict” against corporations that he terms a “Biz-war,” which also
happens to be the title of his forthcoming book. Manheim is particularly
upset at NGOs that sponsor shareholder resolutions that ask corporations
to respect human rights and the environment. “Big shareholders are getting
embarrassed to be associated with some companies,” said Manheim.
By opposing the sale of genetically modified corn to Africa and the use of
DDT to fight malaria, NGOs are advancing an “eco-imperialism” that
demonstrates a “callous disregard for human life,” said Roger Bate of
Africa Fighting Malaria. “NGOs definitely provide benefits in the short
run, the in the long run, their influence is almost always malign.”
To further combat NGOs and their “global governance agenda” AEI, has
GM protesters 'destroyed wrong crops'
July 1, 2003
Anti-genetically modified (GM) crop campaigners destroyed a field of
ordinary wheat by mistake at the weekend, according to the growers.
The unnamed group broke into the field of crops at a research centre in
Berkshire early on Sunday morning, claiming they were a GM trial.
But the centre claims the crops were actually ordinary wheat - part of an
important research project investigating a fungal disease.
The group claim they did not make a mistake, and that they had visited the
site several times before attacking the crops.
Ian Weatherhead, of Syngenta, which owns the research centre, said the
company did apply to run a GM trial at the site, but it was cancelled due
to a lack of seed.
He said: "We informed DEFRA some time ago that we were not going to
continue with the trial.
"We've got young researchers based here at Jealotts Hill who have been
working on this project for a number of years.
"Those who are closer to this project than me are quite distressed -
"The fact that this was not a genetically modified trial makes it even
more upsetting really."
Syngenta says the trial was one of several being conducted across the EU,
and had been set back by the action.