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September 10, 2000


Nigerian Minister Demands AgBiotech; Junk Science Laid



Hassan Adamu, Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development, contriubuted
the following article in the Washington Post today. I hope Washington's
policy makers read it carefully. Regards Jim Thornton, President, Novatero
Foundation. <http://www.novatero.org>

We'll Feed Our People As We See Fit
Hassan Adamu, Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development of Nigeria
Washington Post September 11, 2000

It is possible to kill someone with kindness, literally. That could be the
result of the well-meaning but extremely misguided attempts by European
and North American groups that are advising Africans to be wary of
agricultural biotechnology. They claim to have the environment and public
health at the core of their opposition, but scientific evidence disproves
their claims that enhanced crops are anything but safe. If we take their
alarmist warnings to heart, millions of Africans will suffer and possibly

Agricultural biotechnology, whereby seeds are enhanced to instill
herbicide tolerance or provide resistance to insects and disease, holds
great promise for Africa and other areas of the world where circumstances
such as poverty and poor growing conditions make farming difficult.
Fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, machinery, fuel and other tools that
richer nations take for granted as part of their farming regimen are
luxuries in poorer countries.

Moreover, the soil in tropical climates, or in areas with inhospitable
weather; cannot be farmed successfully in the more traditional ways. These
circumstances demand unique agricultural solutions, and many have been
made available through the advances of biotechnology.

To deny desperate, hungry people the means to control their futures by
presuming to know what is best for them is not only paternalistic but
morally wrong. Certainly, those with fertile lands and an abundance of
food have every right to decide how they would like to grow their crops
and process their foods. Organic farming, sophisticated methods of
distributing food and other approaches are well and good for those who can
afford to experiment. Starving people do not have this luxury. They want
food and nourishment, not lectures, and we certainly won‚t allow ourselves
to be intimidated by eco-terrorists who destroy test crops and disrupt
scientific meetings that strive to reveal the facts.

It is wrong and dangerous for a privileged people to presume that they
know what is best for everyone. And when this happens, it cannot come as a
shock that those who are imposed upon often see this attitude as

Millions of Africans ˆ far too many of them children, are suffering from
malnutrition and hunger. Agricultural biotechnology offers a way to stop
the suffering. As Florence Wambugu, one of Africa‚s leading plant
geneticists said recently, „In Africa, GM (genetically modifies) food
could almost literally weed out poverty.‰

With regard to agricultural biotechnology, Africans are not asking for
others to come in and grow our food. We are not asking for others to
provide the financial means to establish this system in our countries. We
want to come to the table as stakeholders. We know the conditions of our
fields. We know the threats, the insects and diseases. We can work as
partners to develop the seeds that could build peoples and nations.

We do not want to be denied this technology because of a misguided notion
that we don‚t understand the dangers or the future consequences. We
understand. We understand that this system must continue to undergo study
and careful use. We also understand that agricultural biotechnology has
been deemed safe and nutritious by a host of nationally and
internationally respected organizations such as the National Research
Council, Nuffield Council on Bioethics, World Health Organization, Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development, the American Medical Association and
the American Dietetic Association.

We will proceed carefully and thoughtfully, but we want to have the
opportunity to save the lives of millions of people and change the course
of history in many nations. That is our right, and we should not be denied
by those with a mistaken idea that they know how best everyone should live
of that they have the right to impose their values on us.

The harsh reality is that, without the help of agricultural biotechnology,
many will not live.

Junk Science Laid Bare
The Omaha World-Herald Company
September 9, 2000, Saturday EDITORIAL

Health and environmental scares with little basis in fact or science have
left many Americans not knowing what or whom to believe. A recent report
by the National Center for Public Policy Research discussed several of the
scares and their origins, providing useful information. The nonprofit
public policy organization suggested that some of the concerns were
generated by the Natural Resources Defense Council - the organization that
hired a public relations firm, Fenton Communications, to work with CBS
producers on an anti-alar campaign that harmed the apple industry. More
recently, the report said, the same group was behind an effort to remove
swordfish from America's dinner plates. Fenton waged this campaign, too,
for the natural resources group, claiming that the swordfish was an
endangered species and should not be served in restaurants. Never mind
that it was soon clarified that the federal government had never declared
swordfish an endangered species. In the short while the campaign raged, it
cost the industry millions and ruined some people who made their living
Another memorable scare dealt with an alleged worldwide decline in human
sperm counts. The allegation was made in a book, "Our Stolen Future,"
which charged that synthetic chemicals were causing, among other things,
reproductive problems in humans. Even the basic allegation of a decline,
much less the causes, has since been strongly challenged by researchers.
The report, which also includes discussions of the bovine-growth-hormone
scare, the silicone-breast-implant scare and others, suggests that the
misinformation campaigns were launched to gain publicity, support and
donations, sales or clients for the organizations behind them. While the
junk science behind the scares is most often exposed eventually, the truth
too often gets lost in the emotional reaction to the misleading claims.
These kinds of lies cost far more than the millions lost by their victims.
They cost the scientific community credibility. How many people become
skeptical of the motives of researchers or scientists when they hear - and
believe - the unproven and unlikely claim that bovine growth hormone given
to cows can harm humans when they drink milk? The consequences can already
be seen. It seems probable, for instance, that the reluctance of some
people to believe in the safety of food grown from bioengineered seeds can
be laid at the door of this credibility problem. Even assurances by the
federal Food and Drug Administration haven't been enough to quell the
These irresponsible and baseless scares aren't harmless. They cost money
and livelihoods. They cost trust and credibility. The more people know
about them, the better. Organizations such as the National Center for
Public Policy Research help considerably by exposing the scams and the
motives behind them.


From: "Frances B. Smith"
Subject: Precautionary Principle -- Sept. 27 briefing

+ACI-The Precautionary Principle: Agriculture and Biotechnology+ACI-

A Capitol Hill Briefing Sponsored by
International Consumers for Civil Society Wednesday, September 27, 2000
11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. 311 Cannon House Office Building, Capitol Hill

The Briefing:
The precautionary principle is increasingly being presented as a prudent
approach that governments should embrace to deal with risks, especially
environmental and health risks arising from new technology or new
products, such as those produced through biotechnology. However, the
precautionary principle biases the process of +ACI-decision-making under
uncertainty+ACI- against the new. It lends itself to arbitrary
decision-making, does not compare risks, and addresses only the risk of
innovation, not the risk of stagnation, particularly for those in
developing countries.

This briefing will take a close look at the precautionary principle, its
historical roots and current effects on policies toward new technologies,
and trade. Of particular interest is the potential impact on people in
developing countries, if rich countries should decide to adopt the
precautionary principle as a public policy tool. The presentations will
focus on the application of the precautionary principle to agricultural
biotechnology -- the focal point for much of the current debate in the
international arena.

Program and Speakers:

Moderator -- Frances B. Smith, founder, International Consumers for Civil
Society and Executive Director, Consumer Alert, Washington, DC

Keynote Presentation -- Congressman Nick Smith (R-MI), member of the House
Agriculture, Budget, and Science Committees, and Chairman, Science
Subcommittee on Basic Research

+ACI-The History and Meaning of the Precautionary Principle+ACI- -- Julian
Morris, Director, Environment and Technology Programme, Institute of
Economic Affairs, London, England, and editor, Rethinking Risk and the
Precautionary Principle, which will be published in September 2000 by

+ACI-Moving Beyond the Precautionary Principle -- The Case for Balancing
Risk+ACI- -- Fred L. Smith, Jr., President, Competitive Enterprise
Institute, Washington, DC

+ACI-Implications of the Precautionary Principle for Developing
Countries+ACI- -- Barun Mitra, Managing Trustee, The Liberty Institute,
New Delhi, India

Question and Answer Session


About ICCS: International Consumers for Civil Society was formed in
September 1999 as an international umbrella group of non-profit
organizations located in different countries. Coalition members
participate as NGOs in international negotiations and meetings on policies
that would have a significant impact on consumers. International Consumers
for Civil Society emphasizes the benefits of market economies for
consumers world-wide. It evaluates policies to restrict economic growth or
technological advances by assessing their effects on consumers,
particularly those in developing countries.

Register for the September 27, 2000 briefing by e-mail --
info+AEA-consumeralert.org or by faxing the form below to Consumer Alert
at 202-467-5814. There is no registration fee.

City, State, Zip:

Sub: Reduction in Nematodes through Herbicide-Tolerant Crops
From: Alan Dewar

Readers may be interested in my recent paper on reductions of potato-cyst
nematodes in fields by controlling 'volunteer' potatoes with glyphosate in
a glyphosate -tolerant sugar beet. the abstract is below but the full
reference is :

Dewar, A.M., Haylock, L.A., May, M.J., Beane, J., & Perry, R.N. (2000).
Glyphosate applied to genetically modified herbicide-tolerant sugar beet
and 'volunteer' potatoes reduces populations of potato cyst nematodes and
the number and size of daughter tubers. Annals of Applied Biology 136(3),

Glyphosate, applied early or later or twice to genetically modified
glyphosate-tolerant sugar beet, gave excellent control of planted
'volunteer' potatoes growing within the crop compared to conventional
herbicide programmes with or without clopyralid. In three out of four
trials, this resulted in significant reductions in the numbers of eggs and
cysts of potato cyst nematodes (Globodera rostochiensis and G. Pallida)
where infestations were moderate (23-89 eggs g-1 soil). In the fourth
trial, which had very high initial populations (130 eggs g-1 soil), none
of the herbicide treatments had any significant effect on numbers of
nematode eggs or cysts. This was probably due to competition for feeding
sites, and the early death of the potatoes in all treatments caused by
feeding damage by the nematodes and infection by blight, which prevented
the nematodes from completing their life cycle. Glyphosate also
significantly reduced the number and size of daughter tubers produced,
thus helping to prevent a further volunteer problem in the next crop in
the rotation. This was achieved by one or two applications of one chemical
compared to 2-5 applications of cocktails of conventional herbicides.

Alan M.Dewar
IACR-Broom's Barn
Bury St. Edmunds
Suffolk IP28 6NP
Tel: 01284 812215
fax; 01284 811191

Interview with Dan Glickman, U. S. Secretary of Agriculture

"Twists in the Genetic Revolution", September 8th, 2000.

Digital West Show #131 - Aired on KQED "public" TV

REBECCA ROBERTS, HOST, DIGITAL WEST: Scientists and policy makers, farmers
and consumers are hotly debating genetically modified food. Hear what U.S.
Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman and others involved in the
controversy have to say about the future of our food supply right now on
Digital West.

REBECCA ROBERTS: Hello and welcome to Digital West. I'm Rebecca Roberts.
Depending on your point of view genetically modified organisms, or GMOs,
are either an agricultural boon or an unpredictable environmental threat.
Tonight we'll ask the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture how the government
develops policies governing GMOs, and later in the program we'll talk to
experts on both sides of the issue. First we turn to science reporter
Lilah McCrae for an explanation about the science behind GM food


TITLE: Effect of GM and non-GM soybeans on the immune system of BN rats
and B10A mice


AUTHORS: Teshima, R;Akiyama, H;Okunuki, H;Sakushima, J;Goda, Y;Onodera, H;
Sawada, J;Toyoda, M

KEYWORDS: GM soybeans, CP4-*EPSPS*, BN rat, B10A mouse, immune system



Subchronic animal feeding studies to examine the effect of *glyphosate*-
tolerant soybeans, which contain the bacterial 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-
phosphate synthase from Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4, on the immune system
were conducted with BN rats and B10A mice. The studies were designed to
compare the feeding value of a line of genetically modified
*glyphosate*-tolerant soybeans (GM soybeans) to that of closely-related
and one-parent same cultivar (non-GM soybeans). Heat-treated soybean meal
was incorporated into the diets of the rats and mice at a concentration of
30%. The study duration was 15 weeks. Growth, food intake and weights of
the liver and the spleen mere compared between animals fed the non-GM and
GM lines. The histopathology of the thymus, liver, spleen, mesenteric
lymph node, Peyer's patches, and small intestine, and the production of
soybean-specific IgE and IgG antibodies in the sera were also compared.
Growth, feeding value, and the histopathology of immune-related organs
showed no significant differences between animals fed GM and non-GM lines.
The production of soybean-specific IgE was not detected in the sera of
either group, and the increase in soybean-specific IgG was identical in
the GM and non-GM groups. No immunotoxic activity was found in
GM-soybean-fed rats or mice.


Natl Inst Hlth Sci, Setagaya Ku, Tokyo 1588501, Japan.

CC Editions:
Agriculture Biology & Environ Sci
ISSN: 0015-6426