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August 3, 2000


Novartis quits, family farms, BBC, BT



Greenpeace is circulating a press release which I have excerpted below.
Historians will recall that the Alar hoax proceeded through a 'domino'
effect; first, one baby food maker tipped over, then the rest did. Then a
major supermarket tipped over (Greenpeace is working on that), and then
the rest did. (Not what marketing pressure in Britain regarding GM did to
the major supermarkets.) Now Greenpeace claims to have toppled a big food
manufacturer domino. Will marketing folks in other food manufacturers feel
to follow suit? Read on:


3 August 2000

AMSTERDAM -- Novartis, one of the world's leading producers of genetically
engineered seeds has informed Greenpeace that it will no longer use
genetically engineered ingredients (GE) in its food products worldwide.
Novartis is the first multinational company to commit to non-GE standard
in food globally.

The letter to Greenpeace from Novartis Consumer Health department in
Belgium confirmed that on 30th June, 2000, the company stopped producing
food containing GE-ingredients in its own brands.


Subj: megafarm units
Date: Fri, 4 Aug 2000 12:22:46 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Rick Roush


Can you clarify for me just how GE crops are relevant to "megafarm units"
? Of course farmers have to decide if GE crops offer any economic
advantages (I hope they will also consider if they offer environmental
advantages), just as my grandfather in Lake Park Iowa had to decide if
(and which) corn hybrids were profitable, but how is GE contributing for
or against survival of the family farm?


>Subj: Re: UCS
>Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2000 5:05:23 PM Eastern Daylight Time
>From: Dennis R Keeney
>I agree that Margaret's views are socioeconomic in nature. But in her
>defense, that is what is on the minds of many farmers these days, do I
>stay in business or not? Do GE crops offer any economic advantages? And
>if I and my neighbor go and are replaced by megafarm units, what happens
>to my kids and my community? We have to go beyond science to find many
>the issues to GE crops.
>Dennis Keeney

Subj: Re: BBC Vote
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2000 11:47:17 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Bruce Chassy

>When I clicked this URL I came up on the results page and the=20
>announcement that I had already voted.


If you have the same problem go to


click on Genetically Modified Foods and Crops

and on the next page, click on Vote

That will allow you to vote

Bruce M. Chassy
Assistant Dean for Biotechnology Outreach, Office of Research
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and
Executive Associate Director, Biotechnology Center
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

238 NSRC
1101 West Peabody Drive
Urbana, IL 61801 b-chassy@uiuc.edu

Subj: RE: BBC, Stossel, Fumento
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2000 12:05:12 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: "Krone, Todd"

Dear AgBioView:

The link for voting below had inscription from the original person that
voted that would not allow me to vote. The link I have attached
immediately below should allow one to walk through the links and vote.

Todd Krone


Date: Aug 03 2000 11:55:01 EDT
From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Organic Bt Alert!


Organic farmers have long said that their use of the microbe Bacillus
thuringiensis as a biocontrol for insects is superior to the use of plants
which merely express the B.t. toxin. (In spite of the fact that sprayable
"organic" B.t. sickens up to 3,000 farm workers each year while B.t. maize
has sickened no one.)

Well, now it appears that the use of "organic" sprayable B.t., which uses
the whole bacterium, could constitute a public health threat because of
the possibility of gene transfer from its deadly anthrax cousin.

With this latest research, scientists have clearly identified the
possibility of unknown potential consequences which could come from using
"organic" sprayable B.t. Should we have a "public debate" on this, apply
the "precautionary principle," call for a moratorium, demand field trials,
or engage in "direct action" against crops sprayed with these potentially
deadly microbes?

Read on:


August 1, 2000 Researchers at the Biotechnology Center at the University
of Oslo, led by Anne-Brit KolstÝ, have determined that what were thought
to be three separate Bacillus species are actually three strains of the
same species, Nature Biotechnology reports.

The research team had previously found evidence that Bacillus
thuringiensis, which produces Bt toxin, and B. cereus, a common cause of
food poisoning found ubiquitously in the soil, appear to be the same
species, exhibiting low degrees of clonality and frequent exchange of
genetic material. Through multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MEE) and
sequence analysis of nine chromosomal genes, the KolstÝ group now has
found that B. anthracis, the cause of anthrax, belongs to the same species
as well. The difference in phenotype is due to virulent plasmids harbored
within B. anthracis. With B. anthracis currently undergoing complete
sequencing, KolstÝ plans to sequence genes in the closest B. cereus
relatives to determine what exactly allows B. anthracis to retrieve and
retain virulent plasmids.

Although researchers should not be overly concerned by these findings,
KolstÝ says, they could have implications for "organic" pest control
methods: "We do not know whether it would be dangerous to use B.
thuringiensis as a whole bacterium for pesticidal reasons due to possible
genetic transfer," she warned.