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November 13, 2000


Meeting on Impact of Starlink; Food and Farms; Papaya; Gene


Meeting: Impact of the Starlink Corn Episode on Food Safety, Policy and

The Washington, DC Section of the Institute of Food Technologists
(WDC-IFT) Sets a December 11 Section Meeting on this topic which will be
held from 1 to 3:30 pm at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Briefing Center
(1615 H Street, NW)

- The title of the meeting is: "StarLink Corn - It's Impact on Food
Safety, the Future of Biotechnology, and Global Trade"

- The following program has been set: Opening Remarks by Bill Kovacs, Vice
President, Environment and Regulatory Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
who will address: "What happened? How can such occurrences be prevented?
What are the implications for the US grain industry?"

- Kyd Brenner, Vice President, Corn Refiners Association: "EPA Safety and
Policy Implications"

- Jim Aidala, Associate Assistant Administrator for Prevention,
Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, US Environmental Protection Agency who
will address EPA's role in the issue - An FDA Speaker has been invited to
address: "FDA Food Safety and Policy Implications"

- The topic of "Biotechnology and the Global Food Industry" will be
addressed by Dr. Lester Crawford, Director, Georgetown University Center
for Food and Nutrition Policy"

- And the topic "Biotechnology, the EU and UK Perspective" will be
presented by Alastair Wilson, 1st Secretary [Agriculture and Trade Policy]
if the Embassy of the United Kingdom - WDC-IFT Contact: Alison Bodor,
Treasurer, who is the Director of Technical and Regulatory Affairs for the
National Confectioners Association/Chocolate Manufacturers Association who
may be reached at 703-790-5750; fax: 703-790-5752; e-mail:

- A Registration Fee of $10.00 for WDC-IFT members and $15 for nonmembers
has been set and preregistration is required through Alison - Refreshments
will be served - Information about IFT is available at the following www

- Information about the Washington, DC Section is posted at:
http://www.ift.org/sections/washingtondc/index.html - Information about
this meeting has not yet been posted at this site, but should be posted
there soon.


Future of Our Food and Farms Summit
UPDATE! Register for the Future of Our Food and Farms Summit

Only three more weeks left to register for the Future of Our Food and
Farms Summit being held on November 30 and December 1 in Valley Forge, PA.
Designed for people interested in food issues, hunger prevention and
sustaining farming in the Middle Atlantic region, sessions address how to
meet consumer food concerns and changing tastes, support farming and
combat urban sprawl. Special Guests include Dennis Avery and Rebecca
Goldburg from Environmental Defense (who will discuss GMO's) and John
Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of the University of Missouri. Community food
security professionals, nutritionists, food industry representatives,
government officials, hunger prevention advocates, legislators, farmers,
educators and extension agents in the Mid-Atlantic region should attend.
For more information--http://www.ibiblio.org/farming-connection/fffconf/
or call (800) 417-9499 Ext. 10 or fmtrust@libertynet.org.

Maria van Hekken
Farmers' Market Trust 3760 Manchester Road (home office)
Allentown, PA 18104 Phon e610-530-2584 610-530-2586 fax mariavhm@aol.com

Subj: Re: Pustzai
From: Malcolm Livingstone

Dear Drew,

I have not heard of any study confirming Putzai's results and if I did I
could only take them seriously if the experiments were done completely
differently. You can't feed any animal on potatoes alone and expect them
to thrive. The experiment would have to be done so that the GM potatoes
were fed as part of a normal diet. I don't even know if rats eat potatoes.
In any case I am sure it would not make any detectable difference. I can't
even imagine how they could.

Malcolm Livingstone

Subj: Re:Are Pro-Biotech Scientists Bigots?;
From: Malcolm Livingstone

Dear All,

Well now the anti-GM activists are obviously getting desperate. I can't
believe that they are now accusing us of racism and bigotry. First of all
I am not nor ever have been a racist and have supported feminist issues
all my life. This is a pathetic response from a scientifically destitute
mob of no-hopers. Members of my family are black Africans from Uganda and
I take great offence that these idiots are willing to take such cheap
shots at scientists only interested in doing good for humanity. By the way
my boss and several others in my lab are Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Indian
etc. etc. and not one of them would claim there are racists anywhere at
CSIRO. Now we know we have them on the ropes.

Malcolm Livngstone

Farmers Say 'Yes!' to Transgenics
By Carol Gonsalves

Agriculture Hawaii 1034 Kilani Ave., Suite 108 Wahiawa, HI 96786 Issue on
Hawaii papaya industry Published: June 23, 2000 Reference: Gonsalves,
Carol. 2000. Farmers say 'Yes!' to Transgenics. Agriculture Hawaii

Hawaii’s papaya farmers are pioneers in the commercial production of the
United States’ first virus-resistant transgenic fruit crop.

On May 1, 1998, after all the research, testing, deregulation and
commercialization procedures had been completed, the transgenic Rainbow
and SunUp papaya seeds were made available to the farmers, free of charge.
The seeds were produced with funding from Papaya Administrative Committee
assessments and a matching state grant.

The transgenic seeds held great hope for the papaya farmers, especially
those in the Puna area on the Big Island. They were growing 96% of
Hawaii's papayas in 1992 when Papaya Ringspot Virus first entered the
area. These farmers suffered major losses as the entire Puna area became
infected within a five-year period. Traditional virus control methods had
failed It hardly seems possible, but two whole years have flown by since
that first Rainbow and SunUp seed distribution. During those years,
increasing numbers of farmers have planted Rainbow and SunUp.

The Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service has attributed the 4.2 million
pound March 2000 papaya production estimate (33% above the same period in
1999) to the transgenic cultivars, as well as to increased acreage in
areas that do not have severe virus pressure. Concerning the farmers,
questions most frequently asked are: "Are the farmers planting these
varieties? Have the transgenic papayas made any positive difference for
the farmers? Are the new cultivars truly virus-resistant? What are the
farmers' attitudes toward transgenic papaya? Are they able to sell their

In an effort to answer these and many other questions, I interviewed 93
papaya farmers in the Puna area from June to September 1999. (See footnote
for details). The data are still being analyzed; however, a number of
interesting trends emerged. One trend, is the high farmer interest in
becoming qualified to receive transgenic seed.

In order to become qualified, farmers were required to: 1) register with
the Papaya Administrative Committee, 2) attend an educational session, or
watch an educational video; and 3) sign a sublicensing contract.

In all, 92 out of 93 farmers surveyed (99 percent), became qualified. Of
these, 93percent (86/92) obtained transgenic seeds.

Have the farmers experienced a positive economic difference from
transgenic compared to nontransgenic cultivars? The answer is clearly,
"Yes." Data from farmers show that Papaya Ringspot Virus was the limiting
factor for producing nontransgenic papaya fruit, and that the need for
virus resistance was a compelling factor for choosing to plant transgenic
papayas. A further testimonial on farmer satisfaction with the transgenic
cultivars is that 82 percent said they would be willing to pay for
transgenic seeds in the future. Also, 82 percent also said they were
willing to try new transgenic varieties.

Currently, the farmers have been able to market their fruit in Hawaii and
the mainland, United States. Current deregulation discussions in export
markets Japan and Canada, will hopefully lead to acceptance of Hawaii's
transgenic papayas by those countries. The outcome will depend on consumer
demand and on continued acceptance of these transgenic fruit.

So far, the survey shows a high acceptance of transgenic papayas by the
farmers, and that Rainbow and SunUp cultivars effectively resist Papaya
Ringspot Virus. Thus, they are able to grow productive trees in an area
where the virus nearly destroyed the industry.

The survey by Carol Gonsalves was part of a thesis project for a Master's
Degree at New York's Empire State College. Research was done under the
umbrella of Dennis Gonsalves’ research program at Cornell University.
Serving as a survey advisor was David Lee of Cornell University’s
Department of Agricultural, Resource, and Managerial Economics.

The 93 farmers interviewed were obtained from a group of 171 Big Island
farmers registered to plant transgenic papaya with the United States
Department of Agriculture. The USDA list includes 256 farmers statewide
who were registered by December 1998.



Scientists Discover Gene Responsible for Eating Whole Bag of Chips


ITHACA, NY--In an announcement with major implications for future
generations of big fat hogs, Cornell University geneticists announced
Monday that they have isolated the specific DNA series that makes an
individual susceptible to eating a whole goddamn bag of chips.

"We have long known that the tendency to sit down and eat the whole
goddamn bag runs in certain families," said team leader Dr. Edward Alvaro.
"However, until we completed our work, we weren't sure whether the
disposition to cram chips down your greasy gullet was genetic or whether
it was a behavioral trait learned from one or both fat-f___ parents. With
the discovery of gene series CHP-48/OZ-379, we have proof positive that
single-case serial chip-eating is indeed hereditary."

For years, scientists have been aware of the numerous health complications
linked to a person's predisposition to plop down and mow through a whole
bag of chips, but it wasn't until now that they were able to isolate the
gene that carries the trait.

According to the Cornell team, series CHP-48/OZ-379 is a set of "alleles,"
or collections of genetic material, that cause chip-eaters to develop a
markedly larger number of chip-responsive nerve endings in their cerebral

"People with this gene have up to four times the amount of fritoceptors
normally found in a human," Alvaro said. "This increases their pleasure
response to snaxamine-2, the human body's principal chip-eating hormone,
which is released in response to giant handfuls of chips being shoveled
into the mouth. This tends to promote entire-goddamn-bag-eating behavior
in those individuals who possess the series."

One of the most interesting characteristics of the newly discovered
series, researcher Dr. Paul Bergleiter said, is its tendency to appear
more than once in the gene strands of a human subject.

"Series CHP-48/OZ-379, because it is a fairly large, or 'fat-assed,'
allele, tends to just lie around at convenient sites on the DNA sequence,"
Bergleiter said. "Though many subjects exhibit only one instance of this
gene, on others we have found as many as four. This, of course, led these
rather rare subjects to eat four times as many whole goddamn bags of chips
as those in our control group."

Though many more fatsos must be studied to determine CHP-48/OZ-379's
transmission pattern, conventional wisdom seems to indicate that the gene
is recessive.

"Who would want to pass on their own intact genetic material to someone
who just sat around eating chips all goddamn day?" Bergleiter asked.
"Unless, of course, that was the only person you could find because you
were such a big lard-ass yourself. That would probably be the only source
of friendly RNA-transcriptive culture you could find."

Carriers of the CHP-48/OZ-379 gene are hailing the Cornell find.

"It is about time science took steps to help people like me--people who
eat bags of chips like it's f___ing popcorn," said 370-pound Erie, PA,
resident Russell Roberts. "I can't even get jogging pants in my size

The discovery is considered the most significant advance in gene-mapping
since a University of Chicago team isolated the DNA strand that causes
people to shovel spoonfuls of ice cream into their mouths while standing
in front of the friggin' freezer with the door wide open.