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August 3, 2000


NY Bill, Novartis, Kosher law, NY Times


Does anyone know if there are other U.S. states considering legislation of
this type?

If you live in New York you may want to call your local congressman about
this. A New York State Senate hearing is supposedly scheduled for
September 13th, and expert witnesses are needed.



TITLE OF BILL : AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in
relation to genetically modified crops.

No Brains, No Focus, Novartis

Novartis is convinced that when faced with lunatics arguing the
superiority of their flawed ideals, appeasement is the answer. Much like
Chamberlain tried to deal with the Third Reich by giving away the
Sudetenland, Novartis is caving in to Greenpeace's demands to stop
producing food containing genetically improved ingredients.


Date: Aug 04 2000 12:40:09 EDT
From: geno@zap.a2000.nl
Subject: Biotech Giant Novartis Bans GMOs From Own Foods

Contrary to Mr. Apel's claim that the news on Novartis comes from
Greenpeace the below article shows that the real source is Reuters. Here
is the full article.

Thursday August 3 1:14 PM ET

Biotech Giant Novartis Bans GMOs From Own Foods

By Robin Pomeroy

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Novartis, one of the world's largest providers of
seeds for growing genetically modified (GM) food, confirmed on Thursday
that it has made
its own food products GM-free.

The Swiss agribusiness and pharmaceuticals giant which is at the forefront
of GM crop technology banned genetically modified ingredients from all its
food brands
worldwide from the end of June this year.

The policy was revealed in a letter the company sent to the Belgian office
of Greenpeace in an attempt to get the environmental group to include
Novartis on its list of
GM-free food producers.

Novartis said it was aiming to guarantee all its foods -- mostly health
foods such as cereal bars -- were free of GM ingredients because of
pressure from consumers.
Many consumers across Europe are distrustful of transgenic foods.

``With the current sentiment among the population toward GMOs, we have
decided to take all necessary practical measures to avoid using
genetically modifed
organisms in our products worldwide,'' Novartis said in its letter.

A spokesman for Novartis confirmed the company's consumer health division
had opted last summer gradually to phase out GM ingredients from its food

The Novartis policy even goes as far as demanding certificates from its
ingredient suppliers stating their products are GM-free.

``Consumer health, being in a consumer-driven market, has to deliver what
consumers want. We have to respond to the changing needs of the various
markets,'' the
spokesman said.

Asked if Novartis' anti-GM stance conflicted with its position as a
vociferous promoter of GM seeds, the spokesman said: ``That's a totally
different question.''

``All our business centers operate independently in totally different
markets. The market for seeds is totally different from the market for
food products,'' he said.

Growing Consumer Concern

Genetically modified food -- made from plants whose gene sequence has been
scientifically altered to give qualities such as resistance to pesticides
-- has caused
increasing concern among consumers and environmentalists who fear the new
technology could pose a threat to human health or nature.

European Union governments have become so sensitive to the issue that they
have refused to grant any new authorizations for GM crops for the last two

Among the crops currently languishing in the EU's stalled authorization
procedure is a Novartis GM maize.

The Novartis spokesman pointed out that the firm was about to spin off its
agribusiness unit into a joint venture with AstraZeneca.

The move would clearly separate the company that makes GMOs from the firm
that bans them from its food products.

However, this did not mean Novartis was turning its back on biotechnology,
which would continue to be important for its pharmaceutical division, the

``We are convinced that GM plants provide advantages to farmers and
processors and will offer clear benefits to consumers in the future,'' he

Novartis is not the first biotechnology company to be accused of double
standards on GMOs, as Greenpeace has done in this case.

In December last year, U.S. rival Monsanto was embarrassed by press
reports that it had banned GM foods from its own staff canteen run by an
caterer at one of its British offices.

Date: Aug 04 2000 12:57:23 EDT
From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Organic Religion

Since organic farming is a form of "earth-worship," rather than a credible
means for meeting the food needs of a large and hungry planet, it might be
susceptible to the same treatment as Kosher foods, as in this recent case:

August 3, 2000
The Associated Press
NEW YORK -- A federal judge has, according to this story, struck down
state statutes which set standards for kosher food, saying they violate
the First Amendment by "endorsing and advancing religion." The story
says the decision by U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon was part of a ruling
in favor of two butchers who sued the state Department of Agriculture and
Markets in 1996, alleging the long-standing laws violated church-state
separation. Gershon found that "the entanglements involved here between
religion and the state are not only excessive in themselves, but they have
the unconstitutional effect of endorsing and advancing religion."

Subj: RE: Column on Greenpeace-EPA lawsuit
Date: Fri, 4 Aug 2000 12:18:39 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: rhamilton@ceres-inc.com

Now I wonder why we will not read about this in the NY Times??!!!

Richard Hamilton

Date: Aug 04 2000 08:17:26 EDT
From: Steven Milloy
Subject: Column on Greenpeace-EPA lawsuit

No panic necessary
By Steven Milloy
Washington Times, August 4, 2000

"Saturday Night Live" fans may recall the self-righteous commentary of
one Emily Litella, who invariably concluded with a sheepish, "Never
mind," when she finally realized she didn't know what she was talking
about. Now it's the environmental group Greenpeace whose turn it is to
say, "Never mind."