Group demands removal of GM food
The Tribune, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Monday, September 18, 2000
By David Sneed,
The environmental group Greenpeace is hoping that the trendy supermarket
chain Trader Joe's will start a whole new trend in the United States.
The group is asking the store to remove all genetically engineered
products from brands that carry the Trader Joe's label. A similar campaign
three years ago was successful in convincing major supermarket chains in
Europe, including Trader Joe's parent company Aldi's, to remove
bioengineered foods from their store brands.
"We hope that Trader Joe's will follow the lead of their European parent
company by ending their use of genetically engineered foods in their store
brand," said Greenpeace activist Jeanne Merrill. "Americans deserve the
same level of protection." Merrill led a group of about a dozen interested
shoppers through the aisles of the Trader Joe's in San Luis Obispo
Thursday to explain why genetically engineered foods should be avoided and
how to recognize products that contain them.
The event was not a protest against Trader Joe's and was held with the
cooperation of store managers, Merrill said. The market was selected
because it already carries many organic foods, and because a similar small
market chain in Europe started the trend of removing genetically modified
"One reason I shop here is because they have organic items," said Nancy
Haworth-Scott, one of the tour participants, as she looked through a list
compiled by Greenpeace of Trader Joe's items that possibly contain
genetically engineered products. "I'm amazed how many of these items are
suspect." Genetically engineered foods, also called bioengineered, are
created when genes from one species of plant or animal are introduced to
another species to yield a desired effect.
For example, genes from a cold-water fish, such as a flounder, could be
introduced into tomatoes to make them tolerant to cold weather.
"Traditional breeding can't do this," Merrill said. "You can put a
flounder and tomato in the same room, and they will never get together."
Genetically engineered ingredients are most commonly found in processed
foods that contain corn, soy and canola oil. An estimated 60 to 70 percent
of all processed foods in the United States contains bioengineered
ingredients, said Heather Ryan, an activist with End Destructive Genetic
Engineering, or EDGE, a group based in Santa Barbara.
The most common type of genetically engineered crops are corn and soy
beans that are altered to make them tolerant of herbicides or more
resistant to pests. The federal Food and Drug Administration considers
bioengineered foods to be safe. But critics say there are too many
unknowns, and some problems have already been identified.
"We don't know all the effects they have," said Ama Marston, a Greenpeace
activist who was handing out pamphlets in front of the Trader Joe's store.
The dangers of genetically engineered foods include creating new food
allergies, decreasing the effectiveness of antibiotics, spawning
herbicide-resistant weeds, and contaminating organic fields.
The Greenpeace activists handed out pre-addressed postcards to Trader
Joe's executives urging them to mail them to company headquarters to lobby
for the removal of genetically engineered foods from store brands.
Store managers said they could not comment on the subject, and corporate
executives were unavailable.
Economically Viable Alternative Green
Subj: Re: AGBIOVIEW: Scientists support of GMO
In a message dated 9/18/00 6:09:17 AM Central Daylight Time,
<< The letter mentions a statement signed by 345 scientists to be
submitted to the State of the World forum. Conspicuously not mentioned was
a petition signed by 2,889 international scientists (as of Sept. 8),
including three Nobel laureates, in support of this technology. >>
Had anyone from this petition of 2889 ever mentioned the petition of 345
while promoting its agenda, or is that another conspicuous omission? They
don't mention you. You don't mention them. What's new? Among all
petitioning scientists, those supporting a moratorium count for more than
10%. Just as your own, they have a voice worth listening to, and no
obligation to support your views, as you certainly do not support theirs.
Subj: Re: junk science??
From: David Tribe To:
Neo-Vitalism versus Reality:
>On 14 Sep 2000, at 4:32, David Tribe wrote:
>>Well what specifically is this old research that points to
functions that the establisment have supposedly ignored. Why not tell us
what it >>is?
>-Ohno S, Yomo T, 1991 The grammatical rule for all DNA: junk and coding
sequences. Electrophoresis 12: 103-108
Tribe had commented
>>WELL THE HISTORY OF AWARENESS OF FUNCTION IN REPETITIVE DNA GOES
BACK A LONG TIME TO THE DISCOVERY OF ENDOGENOUS RETROVIRUSES AND EVEN TO
Indeed Barbara McClintock was one of the first to point to a function for
noncoding DNA, more than 50 years ago! McClintock, when she got the
Nobelprize for her discovery of transposons, said that according to her
"the genetic material is a very sensitive organ, that in times of stress
can start off a restructuring and improvement". McClintock found that
transposons had an influence on color and variation in maize and thought
that transposons play an important role in the development of new, useful
genes. FOR YEARS SHE STOOD COMPLETELY ALONE.
inaccurate remarks about McClintock
I note the following
William Hayes' standard advanced bacterial genetics text of the 60s and
The Genetics of Bacteria and Their Viruses 2nd Ed 1968 actually cites B.
McClintock (1956). Controlling elements and the Gene. Cold Spring Harbor
Symp. Quant. Biology 21 197.
This is cited in pages 220-223 of Hayes in a discussion of "Control of
mutation by non-chromosomal genetic elements". In this section Hayes
mentions Dawson and Smith-Keary (1963, Heredity 18, p1) as
drawing attention to the similarity of their bacterial system to
McClintock's findings with maize. McClintock, who herself published mainly
in the 1940s and 50s was thus still part of mainstream advanced genetics
studies which I read 1968-1971, and an integral part of research genetics
in the 1960s.
I would hasten to point out that Cold Spring Harbor Symp. Quant. Biology
was then and still is a premier glamour publication in biology and in
itself this article refutes the claim that McClintock was ignored.
The review by Fincham and Sastry in Ann Rev of Genetics 1974
p15 provides further evidence that your interpretation of history
is wrong. It gives numerous experimental references to studies in the
years 1950-1970 on maize controlling elements, including
studies by other workers than McClintock. High profile science she wasn't.
But she was not ignored totally as you claim.There was no decade neither
1950, 60, or 70s, when she was not having a significant and demonstrable
effect on the biology literature.
The first sentence of Fincham's 1974 Ann Rev of Genetics
review strongly supports my interpretation, rather than yours, as to why
McClintock, like Mendel before her, had to wait nearly two decades to be
The subject of this review is often regarded as complicated, difficult,
This quote, amply documented in the review, provides far more insight into
the reasons for the delay in full acclaim to McClintock than does fanciful
speculatation (which unfortunately is widespread) implying, if I
understand you correctly wytze, that there are unethical establishment
conspiracies to falsify history. She was simply too radical and too early
to be easily believed, and her findings did not fit into then standard
neo-Mendelian theory. It had to await conceptual advances, brilliantly
forshadowed by the late, lucid, erudite (and wonderfully warm human)
Professor Hayes, and understanding had to be delayed until the behavior of
phages and transposons was revealed by numerous exciting findings in
bacterial genetics around 1970. Certainly these events were largely
ignored by the non-scientific public until rec-DNA exploded on the scene.
For the historical record also, Prof. William Hayes FRS died tragically in
Sydney several years ago of Altzheimers disease. I had the honour of
several meetings with him before that time. He too, as did Dr McClintock,
had a feeling for the organism.
Sincerely David Tribe
>>>however, has preferred to ignore this to a large extend and now
apparently tries to falsify history in order to save their face. Also, the
"whole area of mobile dna genetics" is NOT random, but highly organised.
>>Well there may be some organisation, but this does not rule out
randomness - what do data say about randomness of selection of insertion
>Things may seem random to our minds (just like noncoding DNA seemed
useless) but that does not mean they really are. Probably, the bottom -
issue here is whether genes are "blind" or whether they can "perceive", as
McClintock indicated. wytze
David Tribe Ph.D. Senior Lecturer,
Department of Microbiology and Immunology University of Melbourne
Parkville, Australia 3052
Fax 61 3 9347 1540 Ph. 61 3 8344 5703
*Please note my new email address for your records :
email@example.com (The old address works for the near future)