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September 21, 2006


French Farmers Protest Attacks on GMOs; Earthbound Silent About E. coli; Saludsod ken Sungbat Maipapan Kadagiti; Drought Tolerance Research


Today in AgBioView from www.agbioworld.org: September 21, 2006

* French farmers protest over GMO attacks, water curbs
* RE: 21 Reasons Not to Waste Your Money on Organic
* Earthbound suddenly mum about E. coli link to plant
* Saludsod ken Sungbat Maipapan Kadagiti 'Genetically Modified (GM) Crops'
* Gov. Rounds announces creation of Drought Tolerance Biotechnology Research Center at SDSU


French farmers protest over GMO attacks, water curbs

- Reuters, 20 Sep 2006

BORDEAUX, France, Sept 20 (Reuters) - At least several hundred French farmers marched through the south-west town of Pau on Wednesday to protest against attacks on genetically modified (GMO) crops, bans on pesticides and irrigation curbs.

The head of France's maize (corn) producers' group AGPM Christophe Terrain said the aim was "to channel the anger felt by some farmers" faced with a threat to their livelihoods.

Organisers said some 2,500 farmers were expected at the rally but police put the number of marchers at 800.

The south-west is France's main maize growing area and farms in the region have been targeted by anti-GMO protesters for growing test fields of biotech strains.

In August, some 200 activists destroyed six hectares of commercially grown maize at a farm near Toulouse, the first attack on a field of commercial maize, approved for EU growing.

Terrain also said maize farmers in France faced curbs on the use of pesticides that were allowed elsewhere. Farmers in the region have also been under pressure to switch away from growing irrigated maize because of its high water consumption.

The protesters presented a petition to the local authorities, demanding government support in areas such as food quality, irrigation, research, biofuels and new technologies.

The country's main farm union FNSEA this week issued an open letter to candidates in France's 2007 presidential election, demanding that agriculture be put at the heart of policies.

Subject: 21 reasons to not buy organic
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2006 10:19:34 -0500
From: "Mark Hubbard"

I appreciate Toney Trewavas forwarding the article “21 Reasons Not to Waste Your Money on Organic.” I would be interested in some references for some of the statements as I continually discuss these issues with students and others. In particular:

6. Organic may contain more carcinogens, nerve toxins and oestrogen mimics.

7. Organic baby foods worst for synthetic pesticide residues.

8. Conventional fruit and vegetables reduces cancer risks.

12. Organic farms produce more carbon dioxide.

16. Nitrate pollution no better.

17. Organic soils become mineral deficient.

Could anyone provide specific studies or reference materials? Thank you!

Mark Hubbard

Mark A Hubbard, Ph.D.
Agriculture Department
Box 17
College of the Ozarks
Pt. Lookout , MO 65726-0017
417.334.6411 ext. 3357


Earthbound suddenly mum about E. coli link to plant

Company calls news conference that doesn't go beyond prepared statement

- Monterey Herald, By JIM JOHNSON, Sep. 21, 2006

Once a readily accessible media darling celebrated for its eco-friendly business practices and humble beginnings, Earthbound Farm shied away from public scrutiny almost entirely Wednesday after investigators found E. coli bacteria in spinach that had been processed at the company's San Juan Bautista plant.

During a hastily called news conference, Earthbound Farm spokeswoman Samantha Cabaluna read a prepared statement and answered a few questions before being hustled back into the plant by company officials, leaving more questions than answers in her wake.

During questioning, Cabaluna acknowledged that the E. coli-contaminated Dole baby spinach discovered in the refrigerator of a New Mexico resident who had fallen ill is directly connected to Earthbound Farm. She said all Dole spinach is processed by the local plant, although Cabaluna pointed out that some Dole spinach is not grown by Earthbound Farm.

"This is a link to our facility," she said.

But Cabaluna stopped short of acknowledging that Earthbound Farm is a possible source for the nationwide E. coli outbreak -- despite the fact that the strain found in New Mexico is the same as that found in 22 other states.

She said the "entire industry" is intent on finding and eliminating the source of the contamination.

Investigators last week traced the national outbreak to Natural Selection Foods LLC, the San Juan Bautista-based parent company of Earthbound Farm, which voluntarily recalled all its fresh bagged spinach products, as well as spinach packed in plastic clamshell containers and salad containing spinach. Dole was one of the brands recalled by Natural Selection.

Cabaluna also wouldn't talk about potential sources of the E. coli contamination in the local plant or what measures, if any, were being implemented to avoid future incidents.

Officials from the Federal Food and Drug Administration and the state Department of Health Services took samples from the plant Friday, but test results have not been released. Cabaluna said Earthbound Farm had identical testing done by an independent lab and the results were "clean."

The latest count of those sickened by the national E. coli outbreak was at 146 on Wednesday. One person has died.

A pioneer in the bagged salad industry, Earthbound Farm began as a modest venture in Drew and Myra Goodman's Carmel Valley living room two decades ago.

The Goodmans grew organic baby lettuce on their 2˝-acre property and started packaging it in plastic bags from their kitchen for delivery to area restaurants and grocery stores. Today, the company is the country's largest grower-shipper of organic produce. Earthbound Farm has 1,200 employees at its 225,000-square-foot local plant.

The company's rags-to-riches story has been the subject of much media attention over the years, with extensive recent features in People and The New Yorker magazines.

Almost three months ago, the company celebrated a milestone when it began shipping 1 million cases of packaged vegetables per week with a party at its San Juan Bautista plant.


SEARCA BIC is pleased to share with you the second in the series of Ilokano (a Philippine language) brochures entitled "Saludsod ken Sungbat Maipapan Kadagiti 'Genetically Modified (GM) Crops' ". It is a local translation of Pocket K No.1 'Q and A: Genetically Modified (GM) Crops' published by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, ISAAA.

The brochure provides answers to frequently asked questions on GM crops including information on global adoption. It is jointly published by the Philippines' Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program, SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center, the Cagayan Valley Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (CVARRD), Ilocos Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (ILARRDEC), and Cotabato Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (CARRDEC).

To view and download this brochure in PDF format, click here.

You may also download ISAAA-KC's Pocket K No.1 English and Filipino translations thru the following links below:

English version:


Filipino version:



Gov. Rounds announces creation of Drought Tolerance Biotechnology Research Center at SDSU

-South Dakota State University, Spet 20, 2006

During a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Innovation Campus at SDSU, Gov. Mike Rounds announced today that a sixth university-based research center will be created.

The 2010 Research Center for Drought Tolerance Biotechnology at South Dakota State University will join five other highly-specialized research centers already in operation. Earlier this year, the legislature agreed to Gov. Rounds’ request to create a fifth center, which focuses on Bio Processing, expanding on a successful effort begun in 2004 to target state investments in specialized research at South Dakota public universities.

“There is no indication that the current six-year drought cycle will end any time soon,” said Gov. Rounds. “The new Drought Tolerance Biotechnology Research Center will foster the development of new commercial varieties in corn, wheat, oilseeds and possibly even short-season soybeans.”

The Drought Tolerance Biotechnology Research Center will be a true partnership involving the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association (SDCIA), crop research and promotion boards and individual biotechnology companies. The SDCIA has already committed more than $6 million over the next three years to build the Seed Technology Center on the Innovation Campus to support research efforts. Gov. Rounds will introduce legislation during the 2007 Legislative Session seeking almost $3 million for the creation of the new research center.

Gov. Rounds noted that after only 24 months in operation, the four original research centers now report a $40 million economic impact from a state investment of $5.4 million. The research centers are an integral part of the governor’s 2010 economic development initiative.

The new drought tolerance biotechnology center will be located within the new Innovation Campus at SDSU. The center will focus on research that leads to emerging technologies in drought tolerant crops. This research could potentially accelerate the availability of drought resistant products to the market by one to three years. A primary focus of the center will be to identify genes associated with drought, temperature, disease resistance and crop quality. All of these traits are important for South Dakota’s growing biofuel and feedstock industries.

The center’s principal investigators are Dr. John Kirby and Dr. Gregg Carlson.