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November 3, 2000


Bush and Gore on Biotech; Perception of risk; Abundance of


Bush and Gore on Biotech

With Election Day fast approaching, we wanted to share with you once again
the presidential candidates' thinking on agricultural biotechnology.

Farm Journal magazine recently interviewed Vice President Gore and
Governor Bush about their positions on agriculture. Below you will find
each candidate's response to the following question: "Do you believe that
genetic modification of seeds is safe? What would you do to assure

Bush: "I support the use of agriculture biotech products approved by the
U.S. government. Some of our trading partners - primarily the European
Union (EU) - have prohibited imports of certain biotech products. We
should not allow the EU's protectionist policies to veto what technology
our farmers use. This issue demands greater attention than it has received
from the administration, particularly when you consider that in each of
the last two years, U.S. corn farmers have lost $200 million in sales to
the EU."

Gore: "I support rigorous, science-based safety testing of genetically
engineered foods and crops to ensure their health and environmental
safety, but everything I have seen indicates they are safe. Concrete steps
have already been taken to respond to the stubborn refusal of the
Europeans to admit these products. As President, I will also work with
European leaders to help them improve their regulatory systems. I also
support a campaign to educate the consuming public, both here at home and
abroad, about the benefits offered by genetically modified foods."

To link to the full Farm Journal interview, click here:

For more information on biotechnology, please visit our Web site:
From: Mary Ellen Jones
Subject: U.S. Election info.

For a look at the presidential candidates' positions on agricultural
issues (including biotech), visit the following site, "The Agricultural
Law Letter," Sept./Oct. issue set up by the Capitol Hill law firm of
McLeod, Watkinson, & Miller: <http://www.mwmlaw.com/sept-oct_2000.htm>
Mary Ellen Jones, Ph.D.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Subj: Re: Communicating Risk
From: "Bob MacGregor"

The following message was received at AgBioView-owner@listbot.com and is
being forwarded to you, the list owner.

Dr. Ives said, "while activists and the media amplify outrage, they do not
create it." I'm not sure this is quite correct. After all, I have never
had the slightest idea what variety (-ies) of wheat or corn are in my
bread or breakfast cereal, nor have I ever been informed when new ones
were introduced, yet I've never felt outraged over this. However, if
someone started beating the drums of fear about dangers of new varieties,
I might become alarmed and demand that my bread or cornflakes be labelled
by variety (or by management techniques or whatever). So, a big part of
"outrage" is perception of risk. In this, the alarmists CAN create a
perception where it didn't exist before and (as stated) can then nuture it
into full-blown outrage by repeating alarming claims and, especially, by
inventing newer, even more alarming reinforcemen ts for these claims.


From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Abundance of Precaution


It’s time to ‘test the waters’ and see if major US corporations have
adopted the Precautionary Principle. It looks like they have, and that
means a few advocates of “science-based decision-making” need to scratch
their heads a bit. The US EPA (these days they are a food safety agency,
too) will shortly decide after a public comment period if StarLink is
safe, after US food and agriculture agencies decided a while ago that it
was fine.

Sure, there’s precaution there; StarLink has been in the US diet ever
since the harvest of 1998, and the EPA has been having an abundance of
precaution in their testing even before StarLink was approved for
cultivation. You can make up your own minds what the corporate precaution
is all about.

The Toronto Star October 31: A company spokesperson said Battle Creek,
Mich.-based Kellogg, maker of breakfast cereals including Corn Flakes,
Fruit Loops and Rice Krispies, did not find any StarLink corn at its plant
but asked suppliers to take precautionary measures before reopening the
production line.

The New York Times October 26: The discovery of StarLink last month in
taco shells manufactured by Kraft Foods using cornmeal supplied by a Texas
mill touched off product recalls and other precautionary steps in the
United States.

Agence France Presse October 25: Earlier in October, the US supermarket
chain Safeway announced that it was withdrawing its brand of taco shells
from sale as a precautionary measure. Then, US supermarket chain Safeway
announced that it was withdrawing its brand of taco shells from sale as a
precautionary measure, and other companies, including Mission Foods,
Azteca Milling and the breakfast cereal giant Kellogg’s followed suit.

Inter Press Service October 24: Tyson Foods Inc, the country’s largest
poultry producer, announced last week that it has stopped feeding its
chickens with StarLink corn because of consumer concerns. “This is
basically a precautionary move to avoid confusion among consumers,” Ed
Nicholson, a spokesperson for Tyson Foods told reporters.

The Commercial Appeal October 23: Two production lines that make corn
cereal for the Kellogg Co. in Memphis have shut down temporarily while the
supplier adds new tests to ensure the corn is not genetically modified.
“Ours is purely cautionary,” Chris Ervin, a spokesman for Kellogg in
Battle Creek, Mich., said.

The Bergen Record, October 22: Despite the partial shutdown, Joe Stewart,
senior vice president of corporate affairs and chief ethics officer for
Kellogg, said Saturday that the Battle Creek-based food giant is confident
in the quality and safety of its products that are currently on grocery
store and home shelves. “It was a precautionary measure to make sure none
of the corn gets through. We have no reason to think this has gotten into
our supply,” Stewart said.

Sacramento Bee October 14: The Safeway shells came from the same Texas
mill that is owned by a Mission sister company and produced the flour
involved in last month’s similar recall by Kraft Foods. Although Mission
said it believed the unapproved corn was in “only a limited percentage of
products,” it initiated a total recall out of “an abundance of caution.”

The Houston Chronicle October 13: As a precaution, Taco Bell said its
restaurant taco shell manufacturers will stop using corn flour bought from
mills in Texas, where use of the material is suspected.

PR Newswire October 13: Mission officials stressed that the unapproved
protein, found in a corn variety known as “StarLink,” and developed by
Aventis, a French biotechnology company and licensed to Garst, a seed
development company, appeared to be limited to yellow corn flour milled in
a single plant, in Plainview, Texas, and thus affecting only a limited
percentage of products, but that they were acting from “an abundance of

Agence France Presse October 12: The Safeway chain said it was pulling the
taco shells as a precautionary measure, company spokesman Brian Dowling
said. “There were questions whether or not those products contained this
StarLink corn,” said Dowling. “We don’t know for sure. We’re looking into
it. We are withdrawing them just as a precautionary measure.”

The Washington Post October 12: “We are not doing this because of an
immediate health hazard, but out of an abundance of caution,” Lambert
[Safeway spokesman] said.

The Straits Times (Singapore) September 29: Taco Bell has withdrawn taco
shells from its Singapore restaurants amid fears they could contain
genetically-modified corn approved only for animals.
The company’s Singapore headquarters said tests on restaurant shells in
the United States have proved “inconclusive”, but it will withdraw them as
a precaution, until supplies from a different facility arrive. In a letter
to the Consumers’ Association of Singapore (Case), Taco’s operations
director, Mr Tng Boo Kwang, said “While this is purely precautionary, our
company believes it is the prudent and responsible thing to do to
safeguard our customers’ health.”

Los Angeles Times September 23: The Taco Bell restaurant chain also said
that, as a precautionary measure, it has begun substituting taco shells
sold in its 7,000 locations nationwide.

The New York Times Company September 23: “I view it as a very poignant
cautionary tale that our regulatory system is not up to the task of
preventing potential problems with genetically engineered food,” said
Joseph Mendelson III, legal director of the Center for Food Safety, a
Washington advocacy group that is part of Genetically Engineered Food

The Washington Post September 23: Officials of the Taco Bell restaurant
chain said that while their shells are different from the Kraft versions,
they are made at the same Mexican plant and are now being tested “as a

In a statement, Aventis said it “understands and supports” Kraft’s recall.
“While our company does not believe the presence of our StarLink corn in
taco shells has been confirmed, we recognize why Kraft is taking this
precautionary step,” the statement said.
Subj: Sierra Club campaign against Kraft
From: "Bob MacGregor"

(from Agnet-- if you disagree, you might want to send a quick note to
Kraft to help counteract the S.C. campaign, as I have done-- BOB)

October 31, 00
Sierra Club
http://www.sierraclub.org/biotech/kraft.asp The Sierra Club has launched a
campaign against genetically engineered foods. We're targeting Kraft
Foods, which is the largest packaged food producer in America ($28 billion
in annual sales). Kraft is itself a division of Philip Morris, the tobacco
giant. We're asking Kraft to remove all genetically engineered products
from their foods. This includes not using milk from rBGH-treated cows and
not using genetically engineered (GE) corn, potatoes, soy and so forth.
Recently Kraft recalled Taco Bell brand taco shells containing GE corn
approved only as animal feed. We applaud this first step, but it's not
enough. We're asking Kraft to entirely renounce GE ingredients in all
their products.
Tell Kraft that you, like the majority of Americans, want GE free foods!
B7Write to Betsy Holden, CEO of Kraft Foods, Inc.,3 Lakes Drive,
Northfield IL 60093 B7Call 1-800-847-1997

B7Send an e-mail via the Kraft web site: B7www.kraft.com/html/email/email
.html We're orchestrating a huge effort to distribute pre-printed
postcards. Please contact Laurel Hopwood, Genetic Engineering Committee
Chair, for a supply of postcards to send to Kraft. Here's sample message:

I'm writing to ask you to remove genetically engineered (GE) products from
your foods, just as I'm trying to remove them from my table. Transgenic
crops - crops which have been genetically adulterated with viral,
bacterial, and animal genes - pose environmental risks and I believe
shouldn't be in our food supply until better tested and clearly labeled.
Dairy products made from rBGH-treated cows are banned in many countries as
possibly contributing to cancer. For our health and the environment, I ask
that you move to GE free production. signed and dated
Cheese, Kraft, Velveeta, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Knudsens, Breyers,
Kraft Parmesan, Kraft Singles, Kraft Taste of Life, Minute Tapioca,
Athenos Cheese, Cheez Whiz, Cracker Barrel, Sealtest, Breakstone's, Light
N Lively PIZZA: Tombstone, Jacks, Digiorno's
KID-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS: Barnum's Animal crackers, Chips Ahoy, and Jello-O
POST Cereals: Alpha-Bits, Grape Nuts, Raisin Brands, Banana Nut Crunch,
Pebbles, Toasties, Oreo's, etc. NABISCO: Oreo, Chips Ahoy!, Snackwell's,
Newtons, Ritz, Premium, Nabisco Honey Maid Grahams, Triscuit, Air Crisps,
Wheat Thins, Nilla, Nutter Butter, Stella D'Oro, Better Cheddars, Cheese
Nips, Barnum's Animal Crackers and Toastettes (as well as myriad line
extensions of many of these brands.) LIFESAVERS: Life Savers, Breath
Savers, Care*Free, Ice Breakers, Bubble Yum, Gummi Savers, Now & Later and
Fruit Stripe, etc BOCA BURGER MISC: Minute Rice, Miracle Whip, Good
Seasons, Sure Jell, Certo, Kool-Aid, Seven Seas, Country Time, Taco Bell
Home Originals, Baker's Baking Products, Maxwell House Coffee, Sanka,
Yuban Coffee, General Foods International Coffee, Cool Whip, Dream Whip,
Claussen Pickles, DiGiorno Italian Sauces, Calument Baking Powder, Shake N
Bake, Oven Fry, Altoids, Toblerone Chocolate, Stove Top Stuffing, Capri
Juice Drinks, Crystal Light, Tang, Bull's Eye Barbecue Sauce DELI: Oscar
Meyer Products, Louis Rich Products PLANTERS: nuts; also manufactures and
markets sauces and condiments, pet snacks, hot cereals, dry mix desserts
and gelatins that include such brand names as A.1., Grey Poupon,
Milk-Bone, Cream of Wheat, Royal and Knox. COFFEE: Maxwell, Sanka, Yuban
MISC: Bakers Chocolate, Capri Sun, Cool Whip, Country Time, Crystal Light,
Deli-Deluxe,Good Seasons, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, Kraft Barbeque Sauce, Kraft
Taste of Life, Light Done Right, Minute Rice, Minute Tapioca, Miracle
Whip, Polly-O, Stove Top, Stove Top Oven Classics, Surejell ALCOHOL:
Miller Brewing Brands: Miller Geniune Draft, Miller Lite, Miller High
Life, Lowenbrau, Red Dog, Leinenkugel's, Icehouse, Milwaukee's Best,
Meister Brau, Sharps, Magnum, Celis, Shipyard, Olde English 800, Hamm's,
Mickey's and Henry Weinhart's. Sierra Club, 85 Second Street, Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105-3441 Telephone 415-977-5500 Fax 415-977-5799
For general questions or more information about other Sierra Club
programs: information@sierraclub.org