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May 31, 2000


Biotech panel, organic food


Date: May 31 2000 16:48:14 EDT
From: "Frances B. Smith"
Subject: EU, US will set up biotech advisory panel

EU and US have agreed to set up a biotech advisory panel, as announced
today at the summit with Pres. Clinton and EUleaders.


Date: May 31 2000 19:17:44 EDT
From: Gordon Couger
Subject: Re: Canola Seeds and Hysteria

The simple solution is the seed company buy the seed and export it back to
this country or some other country that accepts it. If the GMO content is
below 1% it is leagle by their rules.

This may be the first problem like this but it won't be the last. The
cleaning needed for ships, elevators, trucks, combines and seed cleaning
plants is not good enough for to assure what the EU demands.

I raised wheat seed for planting. It was not uncommon to see a scattering
of other varieties of wheat on ground that had been in cotton for 5 years
and drills that had been vacuumed out. The most common porblem was to get
a sack of the wrong seed mixed in. That would show up as a streak that was
seperated by the width of the drill.

I have also found noxious weed seed in certified seed. I quit doing
business with one seed dealer over that.

Unless we deal the local elevator and the terminal elevator out and have
the farmer sell directly to the importing country we will never have seed
with out contamination.

There is no reason for ultra pure seed except at the seed breeders level.
It would take a 10% contamination to have any effect on yeild or milling
qualities. Our current practices hold total contamination and dockage to
less the 5%.

My thoughts are pretty well represented on www.couger.com/gcouger/gmo I am
working on another cartoon "The Prince of Fools" the rough layout is on
the site. I will draw and ink it tomorrow.


Gordon Couger gcouger@couger.com

Stillwater, OK www.couger.com/gcouger
405 624-2855

Date: May 31 2000 20:58:13 EDT
From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Sauce for the Goose


It is now apparent that the USDA's proposed "organic" label will mislead
consumers to the point where it constitutes false advertising. The Grocery
Manufacturers Association has asked the FDA for guidance on
the use of a "GM-Free" label which would require consumers to be told that
"GM-Free" does not mean that product quality is different. The "organic"
label should similarly inform consumers that "organic" is just a farming
philosophy, and has nothing to do with the quality of the product.

Date: May 31 2000 20:22:36 EDT
From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Diet Program


I am too busy to profit from this idea, but someone out there likely is.
As we all know, 'eco-tourism' is a cool fad.

Why not combine eco-tourism with weight loss? Tourists from Britain or
France or the US could be placed in Ethiopia, and told to live on the
fruits of wholesome organic farming practices. Bringing cash, on this
program, would be prohibited. Dieters would be required to work in the
fields and eat only the wholesome foods they produced without any
intervention from the giant multinationals.

Here is an idea whose time has come.

(From America, where even the poor are fat.)

Date: May 31 2000 23:51:23 EDT
From: Zeami2000@aol.com
Subject: Re: Sauce for the Goose

In a message dated 5/31/00 9:39:16 PM Central Daylight Time, Andrew Appel
agbionews@earthlink.net writes:

<< So what. >>

Such eloquence. As for your remarks that I should see 'real' organic
farming in Ethiopia: I have traveled to Ethiopia, and Nigeria, and S
Africa, and Zimbabwe, and Rwanda, and Tanzania, ( and 38 other countries )
and will travel to Ladakh and Nepal soon. Have you? I am very interested
where biotech can help. I know where organic has helped. I see clearly
where biotech sabotages itself. You are a good example.
I cannot understand why you and others are hellbent on mocking something
good. Comparing Ethiopia to pesticide-free dairy farm in Wisconsin means
nothing to me. How does robbing an organic standard from the farmer in
Wisconsin help the farmer in Ethiopia?

Date: Jun 01 2000 07:19:24 EDT
From: "Clothier, Jeffrey"
Subject: RE: Organic labels, quacks, Greenpeace colonialism, Irish teens

Once again I must point out that *all* food is "organic," all efforts to
stretch the definition or corner the connotation market aside. To be
"inorganic," a food would have to be based solely on some indigestible
mineral. The term has been co-opted by growers of labor-intensive food
grown by primitive means and marketed to the naive and affluent.

Having now repeated myself, let me relate a real-world experience with
"organic" food that occurred over the Memorial Day weekend. My wife and I
visited my sister and her family in Iowa City, Iowa, granola capital of
the Midwest. We had agreed to bring a salad to accompany a barbecue
dinner. The most convenient place to shop on our route in was the "New
Pioneer Co-op, a "Natural and Organic Foods Market." Elbowing our way
through bandana-headed patrons toward the deli counter, we found the only
readymade salad that looked remotely appetizing was "Organic Mustard/Dill
New Potatoe [sic] Salad" We ordered a pint, and took it to the checkout

The price for a pint of "potatoe salad:" $9.89 PLUS TAX!!!

As I grumbled my way out the door, I heard a university professor's wife
(my spouse happened to know who she was from graduate school) ask a
checkout person whether or not the pound of calve's liver she was about to
purchase was "organically sourced."

I couldn't resist, I leaned over the counter and said, "It certainly LOOKS
like it came from a cow."

Jeff Clothier
Web Coordinator
Employee Communications
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
Des Moines, IA 50306

Date: Jun 01 2000 09:55:11 EDT
Subject: Re: Organic labels, quacks, Greenpeace colonialism, Irish teens

I fully respect those who believe sincerely in organic food; however my
own thinking is that , at the best it is a luxary that rich countries can
afford to satisfy the caprices or the needs of the people who are ready to
pay the additionnal cost and who have to thank the productive agriculture
for having allowed that one single farmer feeds 150 people now instead of
only 3 people 100 years ago.Unfortunately, poor countries which have no
other choice than "organic farming" , just because they cannot afford to
purchase industrial
farms input are paying the high price in terms of starvation.

From the sanitary and health standpoint , as some ( only a very small part
of them) micro organisms ( bacteries, virus, fungis...) remind our worst
enemies ( not the so called allerginicity of superior plants) , I feel
concerned about the lack of sanitary guarantee provided by organic food
due to their production process ( which fight the use of chemical product
more than to fight the unwanted micro organisms). Natural equilibrium is
not the most profitable situation for human being and the prolongation of
the length
of life ( as a mean of measurement of human welfare ) is just the evidence
of a succesful fight against the natural conditions. ( sorry for J J
Rousseau and the proponents of the natural ideal state).

It is true that the concept "organic food" , because being now
commercially sucessful, is going to be taken over by the big concentrated
food distribution system ( it is obvious When you visit hypermarkets in
France). Last but not least, some so called organic food are excellent
from the taste stand point , not because of organic, but because of the
length of production and quality of inputs ( exemple the chicken fed
during 89 days instead of 65 , with grain and low density of animals per
square foot).

Jean Bernard Bonastre

Subj: Cutting through precautions
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 9:25:34 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: "Hodgson, John"

It seems to me that William of Occam (c.1300-1349) had just about the
right take on the precautionary principle:

"Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem" (Occam's razor which
can be translated as "Things that are not known to exist should not,
unless it is absolutely necessary, be postulated as existing."

John Hodgson