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July 10, 2000


Petition, Acronyms, RAFI, CBS, Farm Summit, Disaster


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

Subj: Re: petitions
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 9:41:02 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Ray and June Shillito

I have not seen this one posted on this list yet (Go to the following URL
and click on "Petition" to the left).


Ray Shillito

Subj: What is PSRAST, really?
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 4:42:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Matthew Metz

Using the Non-regressive Objective Correllative Reinterpretation of
Acronyms Procedure (NO-CRAP) I have discovered the true meaning of the
acronyms for some of our favorite anti-biotech groups:

PSRAST-- Pseudoscientists and Surgeons for the Repression and Alientation
of Science and Technology.

RAFI-- Reverse All Farming Innovations

FOE-- Friends of Organic Extravagance

RAGE-- Religous Aversion to Gene Eating

My NO-CRAP algorythm is as follows: the initials of an acronym for an
organization etc. should match words that truly define its actions and
purpose. Feel free to use and enjoy... ;)

Matt Metz
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
UC Berkeley

Subj: Re: RAFI
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 11:30:10 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Bob MacGregor

Hope Shand said, "RAFI has spearheaded an international campaign against
Terminator technology because we oppose technologies and laws that attempt
to eliminate or restrict the right of farmers to save and exchange seed,
and to breed their own crops. "

I presume that RAFI has been pressing governments to ban the use of
hybrid crops worldwide, since these usually produce seed which farmers
would not want to save for planting next season.

Subj: Re RAFI
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 11:50:27 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Bob MacGregor

Andrew Apel missed making the point that RAFI is implicitly assuming that
someone will continue to produce superior varieties of crops even if they
have no way to recover development costs. More likely, the rate of
progress in developing productive and pest-resistant varieties would
revert to what it was several centuries ago, when breeding was done
mostly by individual farmers for their own use. Another possibility is
that RAFI believes, intuitively, that existing crop varieties were created
by God, and not
painstakingly bred by people; this would explain the belief that no
company should hold the right to any plant variety, I guess, but it would
also demonstrate a pretty distorted worldview.


Date: Jul 10 2000 22:23:29 EDT
From: "Clothier, Jeffrey"
Subject: CBS Sunday Morning, Rita Braver

From Sunday, July 9 edition of CBS Sunday Morning, online at:


What's Cooking In The Laboratory

(CBS) Probably every dish you've craved over summer vacation or indulged
in back home has been tampered with somehow by bioengineers. CBS News
Sunday Morning Correspondent Rita Braver ponders genetically altered food.

It's picnic season, time to sit out on the lawn and savor all those great
American summertime favorites: succulent yellow corn, juicy red tomatoes,
tender green broccoli - all a feast for the eye as well as the stomach.
But wait! Before you begin to wax poetic about Americas bounty, you might
want to note that a gigantic food fight is breaking out over our homegrown

At issue are GMOs, short for genetically modified organisms, pioneered by
America's biotechnology industry and using the latest gene-splicing
techniques. Right now most GMO crops are things like soybeans, corn and
potatoes - gene-altered to be stronger and to resist pests and drought
better than their old fashioned cousins. You may not realize it, but we
consume GMO corn and soybean oil in everything from corn-fed beef to
Coca-Cola to cake mixes.

What's more, scientists across the nation are working on new generations
of GMO fruits and vegetables that may someday contain not only more
vitamins and minerals, but also cancer-preventing properties and even
vaccines and other medications. And already GMO fish and animals are
coming to market. Scientists have created "super salmon," that grow twice
as large as the usual type when modified with genes from another type of

But are these miracle crops or "Frankenfoods" that could be masking a
monster? European consumer activists have started raising a fuss about
GMOs. There have been demonstrations on the streets of Italy and in the
English countryside. And of late, Americans are getting into the act with
protests in places like Boston, New York and Washington. Eco-terrorists
have also emerged in this country, destroying crops
and labs where genetic food experiments are being carried out.

Opponents of these new foods complain that the government has not required
long-term testing to be done on the impact to humans or the environment.
Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety in
Washington says, "I'm very concerned that these...foods could create toxic
effects in consumers, could create some very serious allergenic
effects,...could lower the nutrition in our foods and could create
antibiotic resistance."

Val Giddings, a spokesman for the biotechnology industry, claims that the
industry has done its own testing and that since GMOs were first
introduced in 1990s, evidence shows that "there is not so much as a
sniffle associated with consumption of these foods."

Advocates for GMOs point to unfounded consumer panic over substances like
Alar, a product used to keep apples fresh that turned out to be safe.
Critics recall concoctions like DDT that were supposed to kill insects,
but ended up having a devastating impact on plant and animal life. And the
public is caught in the middle.

The Clinton administration recently announced that it was studying the
possibility of greater regulation but so far has ruled out mandatory
labeling to let Americans know whether they are ingesting products that
contain genetically modified foods. But quietly, some administration
officials seem to be acknowledging that tighter rules for GMOs make sense,
as I came to realize during a recent chat with Dan Glickman, the secretary
of agriculture.

Glickman is an unabashed advocate for genetically engineered foods. He
believes that "a lot of the opponents just want to see this industry
killed. Dead. No development and that is a stupid thing for
the human race to do."

"The world and the American people want progress," he adds.

As a former congressman from Kansas, Glickman is well aware that most
Americans loathe the idea of more bureaucracy and red tape. But he also
knows that we want someone to make sure we aren't drinking
botulism spores along with our soup or scarfing down E. coli-laden
burgers. "I do understand people feel a little bit differently about food,
he says. "I do think that the technologies are changing rapidly,...and we
will have a more sophisticated testing and regulatory system as time goes

It doesn't take much reading between the lines to see that Glickman is
predicting that there will eventually be more GMO regulation, just not on
this administration's watch.

But why not turn up the volume? Surely the best way to get Americans to
accept this new technology is give us every shred of information about it
as soon as possible. Because I, for one, can't wait to nibble on
that cancer-preventing broccoli.

Copyright 2000, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved.

Jeff Clothier (515) 270-3989
Web Coordinator
Corporate Communications
Pioneer Hi-Bred, Int'l, Inc.
Des Moines, IA 50306



Plan to attend the second annual "The Future of Our Food and Farms" summit
on November 30 and December 1, 2000-a regional summit to promote
agriculture, learn about trends in food distribution and find ways to
reduce hunger.

Participants from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware will
learn about issues affecting the food system across the region including:
genetically modified organisms (GMO's), rotational grazing, school
breakfast and lunch programs, USDA community food security, cooperatives,
connecting producers with consumers, direct marketing of premium beef,
quality of youth diets, inner-city supermarkets, women in agriculture, do
the poor pay more for food, rural restorations, southern New Jersey food
systems, minorities in agriculture, increasing minority youth interest in
agriculture and natural resources, searching for economic equality in the
food system and much, much more!

Who should attend? Farmers, food industry professionals, government
officials, advocates for hunger prevention, policy makers, community food
security activists, teachers, students interested in agriculture, natural
resources, environment, food science and nutrition, extension agents,
chefs, nutritionists, wholesalers, retailers, FFA, and consumers in
Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

For more information, contact:
Meredith Stone o 215-568-0830 o Ext. 10

Date: Jul 10 2000 22:12:43 EDT
From: Marcus Williamson
SubjectRe: Engineering Environmental Disaster


>Don't you think that if vitamin A deficiency could be easily solved by
>fixing "the problem of monoculture" that it would have been done already?
>Do you think people in developing countries such as India are not
>sufficiently intelligent to realise that they have to consume more
>vegetables? The issue is that "the problem" is not easily fixed and in
>most cases has more to do with people being able to afford vegetables than
>"monoculture" per se. Where does a poor person in Mumbai grow his own

Unfortunately, farmers have in many cases stopped growing leafy green
vegetables for economic reasons. This is what's causing the lack of
vitamin A which is then being used as a marketing spin vehicle by the
GM lobby in trying to promote their "fix it" products...

I know you won't like me saying so, but listen to Vandana Shiva on this
issue. She lives and works in India which is one of the countries affected
by the problem.

So, I repeat, the solution is not to grow a "fix" in the form of a GM rice
which will promote monoculture at the expense of the environment. Instead,
the solution is to reestablish the balance of crops which will ensure that
people are fed with real food which is both sufficient in quantity and
nutritious, without requiring genetic modification.

I'm still waiting for a reply from Ingo Potrykus on the safety testing
which has been carried out on "vitamin A" rice.

Marcus Williamson