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June 20, 2000


Biotech in China; No Debate Please, we are Activists!


AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com

from: "John Mottley"
Subject: Chinese agbiotec - an example?

Hi all,

A mainstay for the pro-GM arguments for ag biotech are their potential
benefits to developing countries. I have heard many rumours that China,
not being retarded by environmentalist arguments, has been producing and
planting transgenic crops on a large scale for several years now. Does
anyone have any information on this, eg what crops have been used, over
what areas, what difference it has made to yields, farmers/local
communities, the environment etc? It would serve as a good example of the
benefits, if any, for other developing nations if we could come up with
some statistics.
From: "Paul Geiger"
Subject: A couple of questions

1. Experiment: Is anyone doing any statistical work on a common food
perhaps a commodity food, genetically improved in some way, but grown
alongside the unmodified variety, a) both grown organically (according to
the "organic rules") and b) both grown with modern techniques, fertilizers
and pesticides? This seems an ideal analysis of variance kind of problem
to sort some things out. Perhaps the Roma tomato such as developed by U.C.
Davis for the picking machine would be a choice. There must be others to
suggest. It seems to me the food should be common, not a specialty that
can always be grown for an upscale market for higher price.

2. "Organic Tastes Better" postulate. Experiment: I suggest a panel of
tasting experts, perhaps some well known, respected chefs taste a variety
of food: fruit, vegetable, etc., cooked and/or raw to establish a claim
that organic tastes better. A food such as grown in Sonoma Co. and sold to
Chez Panisse would be ideal. Compare that to a very similar variety, if it
can be found -- this is a sticking point. The best "Organic" is often an
elite variety such as Haricot Vert. Perhaps it is grown in a non-organic
manner somewhere. The test should be blind maybe double blind, one group
preparing, one group tasting.

3. Regarding Vint's comments: what proof do we have that old varieties
prized by some as superior to new ones and grown organically are safe?
After all, a century or more ago when these were in use people lived
shorter life spans than they do now. Better test all the old ones being
used for "authentic organic" edibles -- particularly tomatoes -- related
to nightshade don't you know. But...I see this as virtually impossible to
do, so, I guess it must remain facetious. Still it tickles the imagination
-- a statistical retrospective. Data in old archives somewhere? Controls
for disease, cleanliness, etc. A real tough one.

Best wishes.

Paul Geiger
================================================================== From:
"Daniel Manternach"
Subject: Re: organic food produce and iceland

Tony, you post a lot of good stuff but you need to update your knowledge
of alfalfa's growing range. Alfalfa is a major cash crop as far north as
the Canadian prairies. And they grow a lot of it in Europe, where it's
known as lespedeza.

----- Original Message -----
From: Tony Trewavas
From: Meredith Lloyd Evans - BioBridge
Subject: Re: Automated Form on Food Aid Complaint Issue

Text of my response The Editor of Independent follows: With reference to
your article "Rejected GM food dumped on the poor"
(http://www.independent.co.uk/news/UK/Environment/2000-06/gmfood180600.shtml) ----------------------
I am writing to say how far of the mark Geoffrey Lean's piece on food aid
to Orissa was. The Independent On Sunday should immediately take time to
provide a balance so that his consistent unfounded stance against genetic
improvement of crops and foods can be corrected. Vandana Shiva's opinions,
if followed to their conclusion, would disenfranchise the majority of poor
Indian women and condemn them and their families to continuing poverty and
starvation. The food aid distributed to survivors of the Orissa cyclone
disaster is not the result of some duplicity perpetrated because the
providers could not get their crops accepted anywhere else. To blackguard
a humanitarian gesture like this is totally unacceptable, indeed Lean
should be made to apologise.

May I remind you that biotech enhanced foods as described by Ms Shiva are
perfectly legal produce in the United States? The foodstuffs described
form part of the normal US food supply and have been tested more
thoroughly and to higher standards than any non-GM crop has ever been.

The USA did not commit any illegality in providing this food, and the
Orissa victims did nothing illegal in accepting it. The only illegality
is, or should be, Vandana Shiva's moral perversion and your support of it,
via Mr Lean.
Yours sincerely

Meredith Lloyd-Evans, Arcadia International, 45 St Barnabas Rd, Cambridge
CB1 2BX, tel 01223 566850

Conversation picked up in the Activist listserv where discussion and
debate are not encouraged, and those who indulge in that are promptly
Subject: re Please, No More Commenting or Debate on this List

Biotech Activists (biotech_activists@iatp.org)
Posted: 06/21/2000 By ljdumble@connexus.net.au
How boring! Lynette.

Biotech Activists (biotech_activists@iatp.org) Posted: 06/21/2000 By
Somehow my message is not getting through. This is not a list for
commenting or debate. You will be removed from now on.

Mark Ritchie, President
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy 2105 First Ave. South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404 USA
612-870-3400 (phone) 612-870-4846 (fax)
cell phone 612-385-7921
mritchie@iatp.org www.iatp.org