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September 13, 2000


Clarification, threats, Italy, ACSH


Dear Colleagues,
I recently forwarded an activist group's Action Alert against major food
companies so that you would be better informed about their actions. Some
readers mistakenly thought that I had authored that screed. Please be
advised that I and Consumer Alert are strong proponents of the benefits of
biotechnology and have been striving to counter the fear-mongering
of such groups.

Sorry about the confusion.

Frances Smith

Subj: Threats to farmers
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 1:32:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Andura Smetacek

Your "snip" didn't seem to make it into the agbioview note; however, I'm
guessing it is the same one as was posted to GM-ACT (GM ACTION) noted
below. This is deplorable and indicitive of the type of people that
convinced me to become involved in supporting those who expose them. There
is a web site dedicated to exposing these terrorists and those who fund
http://www.CFFAR.org, including a petition to stop the violence.


Date: 5 Sep 2000 17:33:10 -0000
From: "gbvhsdh dgsg"
Subject: Genetics action info.

Please copy to all your contacts/media contacts:

To all farmers growing or preparing to grow GM crops-


On the night of 25/8/00 we sabotaged farm machinery belonging to Bob
Fiddeman, NFU spokesperson on biotechnology. Four of his tractors and his
'dominator' combine harvester had wires cut, locks glued, and corrosives
poured over connections.

NO GMOs was sprayed over the machines....

Date: Sep 14 2000 13:28:35 EDT
From: "Kershen, Drew L"
Subject: Vandalism and Police Authorities

I forwarded the message about the vandalism threat.

I want to reassure Mr. Shillito and others on this list that the FBI does
take these threats seriously. While these groups are very difficult to
track, to locate, and to prosecute due to evidentiary difficulties, the FBI
has acted in many of these instances of vandalism.



I would like to know why the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the USA
is not acting on such threats. They are coming from clearly identifyable
organisations and people. Write to your senator and congresspeople (in the
USA) and demand action!

Ray Shillito


EU committee rejects Italy's GM maize ban

EU: September 14, 2000

BRUSSELS - A European Union scientific committee has said Italy had no
scientific grounds for banning four varieties of genetically modified (GM)
maize, the European Commission said yesterday.

The ruling could eventually lead the European Union executive to require
Italy to lift the ban.
Italy blocked the sale of the four GM products made by Monsanto , AgrEvo
and Novartis AG in August, saying it was not possible to guarantee they
were safe for consumption.

Although the GM products had already received approval for sale throughout
the 15-country EU, Italy exercised an emergency procedure to ban them on
its territory, a move which automatically leads EU scientific committees
to look at the case.

In its report, adopted last Thursday but released by the Commission
yesterday, the EU Scientific Committee on Food said Italy had not provided
evidence that the GM products posed a risk to health.
"The committee is of the opinion that the information provided by the
Italian authorities does not provide detailed scientific grounds for
considering that the use of the novel foods in question endangers human
health," the committee said in its report.

The case will now be discussed by the EU's Standing Committee on
Foodstuffs which next meets on October 18 and 19.



Health Panel Affirms the Many Benefits of Modern Food Biotechnology
New York, NY—September 2000. Physicians and scientists affiliated with the
American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) assert that modern
biotechnology, as applied to a variety of crops and foods, presents no
inherent risks to consumers or the environment. Indeed, they state that
these methods will provide many benefits to consumers, farmers, and food

In the second edition of the popular publication, Biotechnology and Food
<http://www.acsh.org/publications/booklets/biotechnology2000.html>, ACSH
discusses and reviews the basics of modern biotechnology—also called "gene
splicing," "genetic modification," "recombinant DNA technology,"
"bioengineering," and "genetic engineering." The author of the
report—agricultural molecular biologist Dr. Alan McHughen of the
University of Saskatchewan —explains that modern biotechnology provides
elegant simplifications of the traditional types of genetic changes that
we humans have been introducing into our foods for many generations.

"The main difference," notes Dr. Ruth Kava, ACSH director of nutrition,
"is that the modern processes are much more specific. Instead of
transferring hundreds or even thousands of genes with traditional
breeding, modern methods allow biologists to move only the gene or genes
that are known to have the desired effects."
With the advent of modern biotechnology, farmers can grow crops with
"built-in" pesticides, reducing the need for widespread spraying. Further,
bioengineered crops will provide consumers with cooking oils that have
more healthful types of fatty acids. In the future, farmers may well be
able to grow crops on lands that were too dry or salty for traditional
varieties. Staple foods like rice can be enhanced with extra nutrients
such as beta-carotene. Such advances are likely just a few years away from
widespread availability, and could go far to reduce the toll of childhood
blindness, malnutrition, and anemia in some areas of the world.

In the report, Dr. McHughen addresses some of the public's concerns about
modern biotechnology, and shows that they are largely unwarranted. For
example, he notes that fears that such foods are unregulated are baseless.
In the United States, any new food—produced by traditional or new
methods—must be rigorously scrutinized before it can be marketed to
consumers. It must be shown, for example, whether the nutrient content or
that of naturally occurring toxic substances is changed. It is important
to note that bioengineered crops have been part of the North American food
supply since 1996, and no adverse effects have been noted in humans,
wildlife, or the environment.
Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, ACSH president, notes that "Government regulation,
consumer acceptance, and private-sector investment are all important
factors in the future status of foods produced by modern biotechnology."
She added, "It would be tragic if fear and superstition were allowed to
impede the development of this incredibly valuable technology."

A copy of " Biotechnology and Food" 2nd edition may be downloaded from
<www.acsh.org/publications/booklets/biotechnology2000.pdf>. Hard copies
are available for $5.00 from ACSH, 1995 Broadway, Second Floor, New York,
NY 10023.
The American Council on Science and Health is a consortium of more than
350 scientists and physicians dedicated to consumer education on public
health issues, such as the environment, nutrition, and pharmaceuticals.
ACSH attempts to illuminate the difference between real health risks and
hypothetical or trivial health scares.