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Date:

September 6, 2000

Subject:

Biotech Meeting at Raleigh,

 

NC State University is hosting the Eloise S. Cofer Family and Community
Issues Forum --

Biotechnology, Food, and the Consumer . . . the Science and the Safety

Friday, October 27, 2000, from 8:30 - 4:00 at the Holiday Inn, Research
Triangle Park, NC.

The purpose of this forum is to provide an overview of key issues related
to genetically modified foods. Conference topics include -- current
applications, regulations and labeling, consumer attitudes, food
allergens, and global implications. It has been designed for individuals
who work with families and the public.

Early bird registration cost is $65.00. After October 1, 2000, the
registration cost will be $75.00. Registration includes lunch and all
sessions. The conference is limited to 225 participants. Registrations
will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.

For more information, go to the Family and Consumer Sciences website at:

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/fcs/fls/fls_announcement.html

or contact Christiana Boyle at (919) 515-9127.

Thomas J. Hoban IV (tom_hoban@ncsu.edu)
Professor of Sociology
N.C. State University -- Box 8107
Raleigh, NC 27695-8107
VOICE (919) 515-1676 FAX (919) 515-2610
Web Site: http://www4.ncsu.edu/~hobantj

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From: Andrew Apel
Sub: FBI and Vandalism

Dear Intsoil and all:

Certainly there are risks to involving the FBI in an investigation of crop
attacks. Certainly, if the investigation were high-profile, it could spur
further attacks--but it could just as easily have the opposite effect; the
"night-time gardeners" are notorious for their cowardice and may well
decide to "lay low" if they know a serious investigation has been mounted.

I would also point out that these roughly 40 attacks span the US, from
Hawaii to New York. I agree that it would be good identify an organization
responsible for this activity and act against the organization. To do so,
however, would take unprecedented cooperation between numerous local law
enforcement organizations; the FBI is far better equipped to undertake an
interstate project.

I would also point out that it is not only highly likely that these
attacks represent the efforts of an organization, but that it is an
international organization.

As early as 1988, groups in the Netherlands (take a clue) began carrying
out attacks on experimental crops, giving themselves names such as
‘Razende Rooiers’ (‘Raging Pullers’), ‘Ziedende Bintjes’ (‘Outraged
Potatoes’), Woedende Escorts (Angry Escorts) and Vurige Virussen (Furious
Viruses).

Here they go under names such as 'Lodi Loppers,' 'Bolt Weevils,'
'Cropatistas,' 'Children of the Corn' and others, names which are clearly
reminiscent of those used in the Netherlands. These are either copycat
groups supremely skilled at emulation, or a single group attempting to
make it appear as though a number of groups are responsible. If these
attacks are attributable to an international group, it is even more
clearly beyond the abilities of local law enforcement--and the FBI is
capable of working internationally.

In sum, it is my opinion that if we want to bring to bear the sort of law
enforcement effort this situation appears to require, the FBI is the best
equipped. If there are risks to such an effort, what are the rewards of
inaction?

Date: From: Intsoil@aol.com
Sub: Vandalism and FBI

Andy,

I am concerned about the idea of having the FBI take a very affirmative
response to these obvious crimes. FBI involvement, especially if high
profile
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From: "Ross S. Irvine" Subject:
Environmental mag seeks secret funding for special issue on GM foods

A funding proposal requesting more than $45,000 (U.S.) to finance research
and writing for a special issue of "E/The Environmental Magazine" has been
circulated among foundations which are challenging the biotech industry
and genetically engineered foods. If the funding is received, should E
disclose the source of the money for the special issue? Should news
outlets which may syndicate and the E articles make readers aware of this
funding.

E is a magazine with a mission. Read "Environmental magazines seeks
undisclosed money for researching and writing special issue: Many
questions raised about journalistic objectivity, credibility, and
disclosure."

Visit <http://www.epublicrelations.org>www.epublicrelations.org
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(From Agnet)

TWO PROBLEMS WITH THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE

http://www.cid.harvard.edu/cidbiotech/comments/comments90.htm

Several factors support a precautionary approach for genetically modified
(GM) foods, including the irreversibility of introducing living modified
organisms into the environment, the large uncertainties about the risks of
such introductions, and the widespread human and ecological exposure to GM
organisms. Yet, at the same time, excessive precaution can suppress
important benefits offered by biotechnology products, impose unnecessary
costs on society, and perhaps even increase net risks as a consequence of
risk-risk tradeoffs.

While some precaution may be warranted, application of the precautionary
principle (PP) to GM foods is problematic for at least two reasons. First,
the indeterminacy of the PP makes it an inappropriate and ineffective
regulatory decision-making tool. The PP provides no guidance on any of the
fundamental questions that are faced in making any risk decision. The PP
is ambiguous, for example, as to what level of risk is acceptable, what
role costs should play in risk decisions, what quantum of scientific
evidence is sufficient for making decisions, and how potential risk-risk
tradeoffs should be addressed. Proponents of the PP not only disagree on
these important questions, but also on whether the PP should apply in the
risk assessment process, the risk management process, in both risk
assessment and risk management, or as a substitute for the current risk
assessment/risk management paradigm.

If its proponents cannot even agree on its practical meaning, the PP
surely cannot provide meaningful decision-making guidance for governmental
and industry risk managers who must make defensible real-world risk
decisions. Especially in the U.S., regulatory agencies must follow or
articulate "intelligible principles" to cabin their regulatory discretion.
As presently formulated, the PP offers no intelligible decision-making
principle. At most then, the PP may serve as a general aspiration or goal
for a regulatory system, perhaps appropriate for the preambles of
international treaties and domestic statutes, but certainly not as a
legally binding regulatory stricture.

The second problem with the PP is that it represents a major leap backward
from a focus on risk to a focus on hazard. While used interchangeably in
common parlance, "risk" and "hazard" have distinct meanings in the risk
analysis literature. "Hazard" is the intrinsic potential of an agent to
cause an adverse effect, whereas "risk" is the likelihood and magnitude of
the adverse effect occurring under real-world exposure scenarios. While
many earlier regulatory decisions were based on hazard identification,
there has been increasing realization that a fuller characterization of
risk usually provides a better basis for making regulatory decisions. For
example, for carcinogenic chemicals, agencies such as the National
Toxicology Program (NTP), the International Agency for Research on Cancer
(IARC), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) originally
classified carcinogens based only on findings of hazard (usually the
results of chronic rodent bioassays). However, all of these agencies have
recently recognized that exposure and mechanistic considerations can
produce risk-based evaluations that are more meaningful than the original
classifications based on hazard identification alone.

The PP, at least as defended by some of its strongest proponents, would
appear to be directed at hazard rather than risk by calling for
precautionary measures once some indicia of hazard exist. Yet, we know
that every substance or product has the intrinsic potential for some
hazard, which may or may not translate into real-world risks of concern.
Because hazard potential is ubiquitous, basing regulatory decisions on
hazard alone creates the potential for arbitrary, unfair and inefficient
regulations. With respect to GM foods, many potential hazards can and have
been hypothesized, ranging from interspecies gene transfer, toxicity to
non-target species, and new allergens or toxins in foods. While the
limited evidence supportive of such hazards may be sufficient to trigger
the PP, and thus to block the introduction of GM foods, there is no
evidence to date demonstrating that GM foods present an actual significant
risk to human health or the environment.

The finding, and particularly the hypothesis, of a potential hazard should
not automatically necessitate a ban or other prohibition, but rather
should be the impetus for additional scrutiny including data gathering,
pre-market test requirements, post-market surveillance, and risk
assessment. To be sure, sometimes the finding of a hazard alone will be
sufficient to justify interim precautionary steps, especially when the
general type of evidence produced is known to be predictive of actual
risks. But the ultimate goal should be the assessment of real-world risks
using sound science and expert judgment, critical inputs that the PP
treats as dispensable.

Professor Gary E. Marchant
Arizona State University College of Law
Tempe, Arizona, U.S.A.

=====================

From: Dionson, Nina [mailto:N.DIONSON@CGIAR.ORG]
Subject: IRRI launches media information site

News about Rice and People
4 September 2000

IRRI launches media information site

Los Baños, Philippines-The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
has announced the launch of a new Internet media and information tool for
journalists and members of the general public interested in rice research
and related issues. The address of the Institute's new Media Hotline
Internet site is http://www.cgiar.org/IRRI/pa/index.htm , or it can be
reached by clicking on the Media Hotline logo on the main IRRI homepage at
www.cgiar.org/irri

While the new service will offer a wide range of features not previously
available on IRRI's three main Web sites, IRRI Home, Riceweb
(www.riceweb.org), and Riceworld (www.riceworld.org), the main aim of the
Media Hotline, as its name suggests, is to provide the latest and most
up-to-date information on IRRI and its research. Journalists accessing the
site can expect to find the hottest news and latest information released
by the Institute.

In addition, the site will offer a range of other interesting services
including a comprehensive library of all press and photo releases issued
by the Institute since 1999. It will also contain a selection of speeches
by the Institute's senior management and scientists as well as answers to
frequently asked questions about IRRI, its research, and the rice industry
in general.

IRRI spokesperson Duncan Macintosh said that the aim of the new Internet
site is to enable the media to have access to information about the
Institute and its work more easily. "IRRI is constantly seeking the
fastest, most efficient, and most effective way to disseminate information
about its work-this is just another step in that process," Mr. Macintosh
said. The Media Hotline site also features links to a comprehensive list
of all IRRI scientists including brief biographical details and areas of
particular expertise. "Journalists can now select the scientist they may
want to interview based on their own criteria and then we will just make
the introduction," Mr. Macintosh said. "The aim is to further promote
IRRI's image as an open and transparent institution that is keen to engage
in constructive dialogue and debate."

Other features of the site are detailed information on all of IRRI's key
donors, the research projects they support, and the history of their
relationship with the Institute. In the same section, titled "Facts About
Cooperation," comprehensive information is also available on IRRI's
relationships with its important research partners in the national
agricultural research systems (NARS) of the world's rice-producing
nations. "The donors and the NARS are two of our most important
stakeholders so we are committed to making sure information on our
relationships with them is freely available," Mr. Macintosh said.

IRRI is also planning to use the Media Hotline site to combat any
misinformation circulating on the Internet or in the media about its
research, especially in relation to biotechnology. A "Letters" section
will provide a library of all the letters published by IRRI in an effort
to correct such misinformation and clarify the Institute's position in key
public debates.

"One of the biggest challenges the Institute faces is to ensure the
general accuracy of the massive amounts of information on rice research
that flow around the world each and every day via the Internet and the
traditional media," Mr. Macintosh said. "We hope this site will be able to
make a significant contribution to ensuring that IRRI's voice can still be
heard amidst this constant barrage of data and opinions."

Certain sections of the site remain under construction and several areas
are still to be fully updated, but a wide range of information is already
available. The site officially opens for business this week. Materials
obtained from Media Hotline, including all photos, may be freely used and
quoted provided due credit is given to IRRI.

IRRI, with its headquarters in the Philippines and offices in 11 other
countries, is the world's leading international rice research and training
center. It is an autonomous, nonprofit institution that is focused on
improving the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers
and consumers, particularly those with low incomes, while preserving
natural resources. IRRI is part of the Consultative Group on International
Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an association of public and private donor
agencies that funds 16 international research centers. For more
information visit the CGIAR (www.cgiar.org) or Future Harvest Web sites
(www.futureharvest.org). Future Harvest is a nonprofit organization that
builds awareness and support for food and environmental research for a
world with less poverty, a healthier human family, well-nourished
children, and a better environment. Future Harvest supports research,
promotes partnerships, and sponsors projects that bring the results of
research to rural communities, farmers, and families in Africa, Latin
America, and Asia.
-----
For additional information, contact Duncan Macintosh, IRRI, MCPO Box 3127,
Makati City 1271, Philippines; telephone (63-2) 845-0563 or (63-2)
844-3351 to 53; fax: (63-2) 891-1291 or (63-2) 845-0606; email:
d.macintosh@cgiar.org Web (IRRI): www.cgiar.org/irri Web (Library):
http://ricelib.irri.cgiar.org Web (Riceweb): www.riceweb.org; Web
(Riceworld): www.riceworld.org
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World Scientists Open Letter to State of the World Forum From:
M.W.Ho@open.ac.uk

The full text is on ISIS' website <www.i-sis.org> 29 August 2000

Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments Concerning
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Submitted to State of the World Forum, September 4-10, 2000

The scientists are extremely concerned about the hazards of GMOs to
biodiversity, food safety, human and animal health, and demand a
moratorium on environmental releases in accordance with the precautionary
principle. They are opposed to GM crops that will intensify corporate
monopoly, exacerbate inequality and prevent the essential shift to
sustainable agriculture that can provide food security and health around
the world. They call for a ban on patents of life-forms and living
processes which threaten food security, sanction biopiracy of indigenous
knowledge and genetic resources and violate basic human rights and
dignity.

They want more support on research and development of non-corporate,
sustainable agriculture that can benefit family farmers and consumers.
Previous versions of this letter were submitted to: World Trade
Organization Conference in Seattle (November 30 - Dec. 2, 1999), UN
Biosafety Protocol Meeting in Montreal (24 - 28, Jan. 2000), UN Commission
on Sustainable Development Conference on Sustainable Agriculture in New
York (April 24-May 5, 2000), UN Convention on Biological Diversity
Conference in Nairobi (May 16-24, 2000) and United States Congress (29
June, 2000).

Signed by 345 scientists from 39 countries, including: Dr. David Bellamy,
Biologist and Broadcaster, London, UK Prof. Liebe Cavalieri, Mathematical
Ecologist, Univ. Minnesota, USA Dr. Thomas S. Cox, Geneticist, US Dept. of
Agriculture (retired), India Dr. Tewolde Egziabher, Spokesperson for
African Region, Ethiopia Dr. David Ehrenfeld, Biologist/Ecologist, Rutgers
University, USA Dr. Samuel Epstein, School of Public Health, Univ.
Illinois, USA Dr. Brian Hursey, ex FAO Senior Officer for Vector Borne
Diseases, UK Prof. Ruth Hubbard, Geneticist, Harvard University, USA Prof.
Jonathan King, Molecular Biologist, MIT, Cambridge, USA Prof. Gilles-Eric
Seralini, Laboratoire de Biochimie & Moleculaire, Univ. Caen, France; Dr.
David Suzuki, Geneticist, David Suzuki Foundation, Univ. British Columbia,
Canada; Dr. Vandana Shiva, Theoretical Physicist and Ecologist, India Dr.
George Woodwell, Director, Woods Hole Research Center, USA Prof. Oscar B.
Zamora, Agronomist, U. Philippines, Los Banos, Philippines