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August 24, 2000


Better Bt corn?, pasteurization


Whether or not Bt pollen poses a significant risk to non-target
lepidopterans, it seems useful from both a PR and market perspective
to produce a Bt corn that does not express Bt in the pollen at all. Has
anyone done so, and how has it worked?

I have heard that the answer is yes, but I am keen to know more. Perhaps
readers of this group have some current data and insight.

For resistance management reasons, the expression levels have to be very
high where the protein is produced and essentially zero elsewhere. Are
there promoters available that will generate such a distribution? It does
in lots of promoter/reporter studies in Arabidopsis, but can it be done in
corn, in the right tissue, and with the Cry proteins?

For sweet corn, it seems that high expression in the immature tassel
tissues would knock the European Corn Borer population down early.
Expression in the silk would protect effectively from Corn Earworm damage,
and hit the corn borers again when they move to the ear. In the husk as
well would permit direct entry through the side and also help get the Fall
Army Worm. (I use this as an example because I am familiar with sweet corn
production in New York. The considerations in field corn are going to be
different; and in some part of the country, other plant parts (e.g. leaves
or stem) would have to have the protein even in sweet corn.)

So, for anyone who does this kind of work, what are the technical
limitations to making a sweet corn that expressed Cry in the husk, silk
(=style) and sporophytic parts of the male inflorescence (eg. the bracts
that are present only on the staminate flower)? Or, perhaps an easier
problem, just the sporophyte.

(OK, kept it down to a Jonesful...)

Subj: Re: AGBIOVIEW: Pasteurization
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 4:25:24 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Red Porphyry

dear frances,

my point is not simply that organic retailers and food processors sell
a "wide variety of pasteurized products" but that pasteurized products are
the *only* kind they sell. they don't even give the u.s. consumer the
option to choose pasteurized vs. unpasteurized products.

you are correct that unpasteurized juices are required by law to
carry a warning label. however, if a significant u.s. consumer market for
unpasteurized juices existed, organic retailers and food processors would
eagerly seek to supply that market, and no legal requirement for a warning
label would deter them. they'd simply slap it on the package and be done
with it. the reason they don't is that there's simply no significant u.s.
consumer market, organic or conventional, for unpasteurized juices. ditto
for unpasteurized dairy products. i might also point out that there was no
public outcry in the u.s. by those living organic-associated lifestyles
when the unpasteurized juice labeling law was passed. there were no
marches, no rallies, noone waving signs and shouting "not a penny not a man
for louis pasteur's death machine", no nothing. to be blunt, the organic
community simply lied down, turned belly-up, and took it. odd behavior for
a group of people who are supposed to be anti-pasteurization fanatics.
however, if these people are in fact *not* anti-pasteurization fanatics,
their behavior is not surprising at all.


Subj: Re: AGBIOVIEW: Rhetoric, pasteurization
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2000 5:35:22 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: "L. Val Giddings" shiva@pop.net

In re the comments below on pasteurization and organic practitioner's
mindsets, Red Porphyry illustrates how somebody can be misled by taking at
face value what one finds on parachuting into a new situation without
benefit of historical background. The fact that today foods on grocery
store shelves (alternative/organic or conventional) are predominantly
(when relevant) pasteurized is less a reflection of the mindsets of
organic producers than the fact that FDA has authority to prevent unsafe
foods from being sold. The current dominance of pasteurization even in
organic food stores is an historical consequence of a number of well
publicized negative impacts on consumer health, including some deaths,
that resulted in the past from widespread consumption of unpasteurized
organic apple juice and raw milk. Fifteen or twenty years ago the shelves
looked quite different from what Red found. The non pasteurized stuff Red
failed to locate can still be found, but one has to know where and how to
look for it. It is not difficult to find at all.

The organic community encompasses a wide variety of mindsets and world
views. Anybody who suggests that there is not a substantial number of
organic devotees opposed to pasteurization is misinformed. I grew up
amongst or alongside of organic devotees passionately opposed to
pasteurization for metaphysical reasons impregnable to reason, data and
experience. (Phrenology, reflexology, iridology, chiropractic and a bunch
of other crackpot cosmologies and etiologies, are still very much in
evidence in these communities.) These folks tend to buy what they drink
from fellow travelers rather than from grocery outlets. These people are
abundant today among communities in several parts of the United States,
and their mindsets and worldview and historoical attitudes toward
pasteurization can be amply documented by perusing the stacks in any
reasonably well stocked university library or a little imaginative
websurfing. They formed the bedrock on which were shaped the worldviews of
many of those in control of ideological purity in the organic community

 Date: Aug 22 2000 12:36:03 EDT
 > From: Red Porphyry
 > Subject: The Role of Pasteurization in Organic-associated
 > > several recent contributors to the list have made the claim
that the
 > process of pasteurization is, to one degree or another, frowned
upon by
 > those who practice certain lifestyles known to be associated
with the
 > consumption of organic foods. not having the wherewithal to do
a sound,
 > reliable controlled study of the people who practice
 > lifestyles, but curious nevertheless, i decided to do a quick
tour through
 > the various grocery stores that sell organic foods in my (u.s.)
town, to
 > see if there was any evidence that suggested that organic food
 > either don't pasteurize their products or produce both
pasteurized and
 > unpasteurized products. here's what i found: