Home Page Link AgBioWorld Home Page
About AgBioWorld Donations Ag-Biotech News Declaration Supporting Agricultural Biotechnology Ag-biotech Info Experts on Agricultural Biotechnology Contact Links Subscribe to AgBioView Home Page

AgBioView Archives

A daily collection of news and commentaries on
ag-biotech.


Subscribe AgBioView Subscribe

Search AgBioWorld Search

AgBioView Archives

Subscribe

 


SEARCH:     

Date:

October 22, 2000

Subject:

Detecting GMO in Food Chain; 'golden rice'; French

 

In comments presented today to an Environmental Protection Agency
Scientific Advisory Panel, Dr. Anne Bridges stated, "... there is testing
and auditing of the food in the US food supply chain and from all
indications the quality of our food supply is very good." While recent
events have raised questions, those questions really lie in the regulatory
arena - in particular, in the implementation of regulations rather than
in questions of safety."

Chair of the American Association of Cereal Chemists Technical Committee
on Biotechnology Methods, Dr. Bridges addressed the impact of the taco
shell recall on (1) Safety of the US food supply, relative to the presence
of Cry9C. (2) What test methods are appropriate to detect or quantify DNA
or proteins at various points in the food supply chain. (3) What efforts
are underway to develop and implement appropriate test methods and (4)
finally to confirm that checks and balances are in the system to ensure
that this testing is robust and reliable.

A copy of her comments is attached below. If you have questions or we can
be of further assistance, please contact me at 202-408-5383.

Best Wishes, Cindy Richard
----------------
COMMENTS OF ANNE R.BRIDGES, Ph.D., American Association of Cereal
Chemists, Biotechnology Committee PRESENTED TO THE UNITED STATES
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel on Bt
Plant Pesticides: Risk and Benefit Assessments; October 20, 2000 -
Arlington, Virginia

Good afternoon. My name is Anne Bridges. I am here today in my role as
Chair of the American Association of Cereal Chemists, Technical Committee
on Biotechnology Methods . My trip here today, is supported by the
American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC) and the Council for
Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) . My comments are based on my
experience in the development and quality assurance of testing methods for
grains and cereals. In my current work with General Mills, Inc., my
responsibilities include providing technical expertise for the monitoring
and measurement of biotechnology events in our consumer food products. In
my comments to the Panel, I will touch upon four topics, which are
pertinent to your discussions on human health and product characterization
including (1) Safety of the US food supply, relative to the presence of
Cry9C. (2) What test methods are appropriate to detect or quantify DNA or
proteins at various points in the food supply chain. (3) What efforts are
underway to develop and implement appropriate test methods and (4) finally
to confirm that checks and balances are in the system to ensure that this
testing is robust and reliable.

First, I want to say that there is testing and auditing of the food in the
US food supply chain and from all indications the quality of our food
supply is very good. While recent events have raised questions, those
questions really lie in the regulatory arena - in particular, in the
implementation of regulations rather than in questions of safety. Recent
recalls, of processed consumer foods containing the Cry9C biotech event,
have been an appropriate regulatory response to the registration status of
Cry9C. Cry9C has a tolerance exemption for animal feed and industrial
uses, while the food use tolerance exemption is still pending. The
voluntary cancellation of Cry9C registration earlier this month ensures
that no further Cry9C containing seeds will be planted. Once the current
batch of Cry9C containing grain works its way through the food chain no
more will be available. There will in fact be a limited length of time for
which human exposure will even be possible.

(2) What test methods are appropriate to detect or quantify proteins or
DNA at various points in the food supply chain? What can we tell from
current testing of grains and cereals? We know that there are differences
in the testing methods needed for seeds, grains, mixed grains and the
complex food matrices found in finished consumer goods. This is why the
same test is not appropriate for all applications. In the best situation
the testing method is fast, accurate, sensitive, reproducible and
economical. It is not always possible to meet all of these objectives at
the same time. The methods used to detect the protein expressed by the
enhanced DNA are best used early in the food chain when we can be
relatively certain that the protein has not been changed in any
significant way. As the food product becomes more complex, either through
blending of ingredients or processing it is more difficult to use a
protein analysis method, and the more complex analysis of the DNA is often
used. The DNA analysis is known as the polymerase chain reaction or PCR
method. In either case, the method requires validation for the particular
sample matrix material. The sensitivity of the flow strip or ELISA protein
method can be adjusted by changing the number of samples in the sampling
protocol used and depends on the level of confidence required for the
test. Appropriate sampling protocols are well established and can be
obtained from a number of qualified sources, such as USDA- Grain
Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). Technicians can
perform these analyses with a minimum of training. The major limitation of
ELISA protein methods is that each protein or part thereof requires a
specially prepared antibody. There is no general screening method
available today to detect all agbiotech events. However, a highly specific
antibody is available for detection of the Cry9C protein in grain through
Strategic Diagnostics, Inc.

The PCR analysis can be an extremely sensitive analysis and herein lies
its challenge. There is no margin for error. Contamination is multiplied
along with the target DNA. It can be a challenge to keep even the basic
equipment clean. Electric coffee grinders are considered disposable in
some labs performing the analysis. The cost for analysis reflects this
concern. The time taken to complete the analysis can be a hindrance to the
movement of products through the system. However, in the best hands
different versions of the method can be used as a general screening tool,
as a trait identification tool and in some laboratories as a trait
quantification tool.

EXAMPLE: Cereal Cycle Stages- cereal grains can go through up to five life
cycle stages as they make their way along the food supple chain. Testing
methods, which are appropriate for grains prior to processing, are often
not appropriate once those same grains that have been mixed, blended
and/or heat processed. Seeds
Feeds or grain
Milled grains grits, flour, Corn mea
l Blended or mixed grains
Finished consumer goods - heat processed and/or mixed with other food
components to yield a complex food matrix such as a corn flake or taco
shell

(3) What efforts are underway to develop and implement appropriate test
methods?

Methods can be developed in individual laboratories but when
transportation or trade is required it is imperative that the tests and
the interpretation of those tests can be transferred with confidence
between laboratories. A standard method is needed for comparison. Ring
trials and collaborative studies have been conducted for a limited number
of methods. The most successful studies have measured soy protein using
both protein and DNA type methods, and most recently a quantitative ELISA
method for MON810 corn containing the Cry1Ab protein has been successfully
completed by AACC. Up to 40% variability in the amounts reported, has been
observed in other studies quantifying DNA in processed foods this is
clearly not an acceptable situation for regulation. More work needs to be
done. The AACC has new method validations in the planning stages and we
believe that other organizations such as the Joint Research Centre, Ispra
of the European Commission and AOAC International have similar studies
planned.

(4) What types of checks and balances are in the system to ensure that
testing is robust and reliable?

Two ways to monitor competency and reliability for a laboratory are first
to use an accreditation program with an ongoing check sample requirement
and second to develop appropriate reference materials. The USDA-GIPSA lab
is working on both of these objectives. The Institute for Reference
Materials and Measurements (IRMM) of the EU has some limited types of
reference materials available today.

In conclusion, test methods are feasible, but in need of validation and
standardization to ensure consistent, reliable results. Despite the need
for additional work to ensure good quality in all cereal products, from
the grain to the finished breakfast cereal, there is testing and auditing
of the food in the US food supply chain. All indications are that the
quality of our food is very good. =====
The role of the AACC Biotechnology Committee is to provide methods and a
set of quality-standards for methods to test grains derived using modern
biotechnology techniques. Robust, reliable standard methods and protocols
to ensure consistency in the quality of testing are vital to consumer
confidence, regulation and commerce. To that end, the AACC has conducted a
collaborative study on "Bt Modified Corn in Corn Flour MON810/ ELISA
Method", with 40 collaborators worldwide. The method has been approved by
the AACC Biotechnology Methods Technical Committee and is pending First
Approval status, it will be included as a standard method in the AACC
Approved Methods book.

AACC is an international organization of cereal science and other
professionals studying the chemistry of cereal grains and their products
or working in related fields. It publishes journals and books on cereal
and food science, including the textbook Principles of Cereal Science and
Technology. AACC strives to be the premier world-wide cereals organization
with a commitment to advancing cereal science and related technologies;
creating, interpreting and disseminating cereals information; and
providing personal and professional development opportunities for the
cereal chemist. AACC website: http://www.scisoc.org/aacc
CAST is a nonprofit organization composed of over 180,000 scientists from
38 scientific societies and many individual, student, company, nonprofit,
and associate society members. CAST assembles, interprets, and
communicates science-based information regionally, nationally, and
internationally on food, fiber, agriculture, natural resources and related
societal and environmental issues to our stakeholders (legislators,
regulators policy makers, the media, the private sector, and the public).
CAST website: http://www.cast-science.org

+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+ Subj: Re: AGBIOVIEW: 'Golden
Rice' Creator Potrykus Responds to RAFI's Criticism From: Red Porphyry


This back-and-forth between RAFI and potrykus is confusing. if it's
true that the inventors of golden rice have made the results of their
research freely available for subsistance farmers in developing countries,
and also believe that golden rice will truly be the "savior of asia" with
respect to vitamin a deficiency, i'm curious to know which asian
subsistance farmers currently have these research results in hand (meaning
the seeds themselves) and in which asian countries are they located? how
many hectares of golden rice are currently under cultivation by asian
subsistence farmers? 1 hectare? 100 hectares? 1,000,000 hectares? what?
if, on the other hand, no cultivation is currently taking place, and if
golden rice is really as important as its inventors claim, why hasn't at
least one of the inventors "stepped up to the plate" and discreetly passed
the seeds to either asian diplomats (for transfer to their home countries
in a diplomatic bag) or to someone with the wherewithal to smuggle them
into asian countries? Once inside those asian countries, mass generation
of the seeds for large-scale cultivation shouldn't take that long. if
golden rice is really THE solution to vitamin a deficiency, potrykus and
co-workers shouldn't allow themselves to be deterred by a few corporate
lawyers in cheap suits waving around cease-and-desist orders. come on,
guys. step up to the plate.

Red
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

From: Craig Sams

H. Douglas Walker's theory for French resistance to biotech is
interesting, but I think it overlooks a few key facts. Here are a few
things worth considering:

1. GE corn has not yet been able to produce higher yields - they seem to
be atlevels equal to or lower than conventional. So putative savings on
subsidies are unlikely. (My grandad in the 1920s used to think that the
Federal Govt were flying over Nebraska at night dropping hemp seeds into
corn fields to reduce output so they could save money on their crop
support payments, but this was paranoia).

2. The old price support payments have been largely replaced by arable
area payments, so it doesn't matter to the Government what a French
farmer's yield is, the subsidy is paid per hectare of crops planted.

3. The French Government were among the most enthusiastic in issuing GE
crop approvals in the mid 1990s and were among the last to bow to consumer
pressure to keep GE crops out of the French countryside.

Craig Sams
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

From: priyanka
Subject: 2nd BIOTECHNOLOGY INDIA 2000

2nd BIOTECHNOLOGY INDIA 200, International Exhibition and Conference 29
November - 1 December 2000 National Science Centre, Pragati Maidan, New
Delhi


The 2nd Biotechnology India 2000, International Exhibition offers an
outstanding opportunity for companies, scientists and entrepreneurs to
interact, network and promote research and development of newer
technologies in the field of Biotech.

The 2nd Biotechnology India 2000, International Conference will provide an
interactive forum for experts' from the research arena to deliberate on
newer technological breakthroughs and the potential of commercializing
Biotech research, with their counterparts from the industry.

The event is co-sponsored by Ministry of Science and Technology,
Department of Biotechnology, Government of India; United Nations - Asian
and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (UN-APCTT) and Consultancy
Development Centre (CDC) and supported by Central Drug Research Institute
and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology.


Register now for the event at <http://www.exhibitionsindia.org/>
www.exhibitionsindia.org and get a glimpse of the biotech boon... with a
view of transforming biotech potential into business kinetics.

With warm regards

Balbir Sharma / Pratik Ghosh