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August 21, 2000


Copenhagen Post, organic debate, Borlaug speech


GM foods: Oops - the Post gets it wrong

After three years of reporting the Danish news in English with almost 100%
accuracy, the Copenhagen Post made a major factual mistake for the first
time last week.

In an article titled 'Ban on GM foods' ('Environment Minister bans GM
foods', on the Post web-site) a Post reporter wrote that Environment
Minister Svend Auken has placed a ban on certain genetically modified

This is wholly untrue, as was kindly pointed out to Post editors by
Environment ministry press spokesman Hans Chr. Karsten.

Karsten further pointed out that any political or other motives for
introducing such a ban attributed to the Environment Minister, are
also wholly unfounded.

"Obviously this kind of error is quite inexcusable," Post Chief Executive
San Shepherd said on Monday, "and we apologise without reservation for any
inconvenience we may have caused. Our environment editor was on holiday and
the un-modified article just slipped through. The only positive aspect of
the incident is that this seems to be the sole factual mistake we have made
in three years of publishing, which must be a record in the newspaper

The GM ban article unleashed an avalanche of phone-calls, mail and e-mails
from concerned individuals, companies and organizations around the world,
either requesting more information, criticizing the ban or pointing out
other factual inaccuracies in the text.

"If the Minister is considering taking any kind of action on GM foods, he
should probably think twice," Shepherd said. "The amount of correspondence
we received indicates that this is clearly an exceptionally sensitive issue
about which many people both at home and abroad are very concerned."

The actual event behind the errors in the article is the continued support
by minister Auken of a block on EU approval for genetically modified strain
of beets and turnips that are resistant to roundup pesticide. Auken's
support for the block - according to daily newspaper Politiken - goes
against the advice of his own ministry experts, who have recommended
approval of the roundup resistant vegetables.

Barry Hearn
EVAG Co-ordinator

Economically Viable Alternative Green
Bridging the gap between environmental idealism and reality.

Have you fed a starving person today? Visit http://www.thehungersite.com/
have a sponsor donate food on your behalf - costs you nothing.

Date: Aug 21 2000 18:29:22 EDT
From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Re: AGBIOVIEW: Research groups, Responses to Thomas and Bowden,

Dear Drs. Jones and Thomas,

You have both chastised some members of the group for criticizing the
efforts of well-funded professional international protest groups who want
us to return to a Stone Age sustainable/subsistence level, as a ploy to
gain a marketing advantage for corporate "organic" farming interests, or
to shift the playing field for imports and exports of agricultural inputs
and outputs. Their slanders on agriculture and food production methods
which saved, and continue to save millions from starvation need to be
exposed somewhere, since the popular press is largely uninterested. I
recommend that you view these expressions from a scientific perspective,
and consider them to be phenomena; and then, that you consider why these
things are found in this environment.

Date: Aug 22 2000 05:56:41 EDT
From: "Strategic Edge Incorporated"
Subject: Help on Borlaug speech

Dear All,

A few months ago, Dr. Norman Borlaug delivered a speech at the Texas A&M
University and a copy of it was posted at AgBioview. Dr. Borlaug discussed
how anti-biotech groups have affected the international donor community in
terms of "misinforming' them and the consumers about biotech and how
cereal yields are becoming incomparable to the figures during the 1960s.
Dr. Borlaug delivered the speech few months back (sometime May or June,
if I remember right. )

Anyway, I would appreciate it very much if someone can forward a copy of
speech to me.

Would appreciate any help.

Agnes Almasan
(By the way, am working with ISAAA with their biotech information