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November 21, 2000


Hunger Site; Liability Details; Vets Support Biotech;


This is a worthwhile message to forward, and a good one for Thanksgiving.
Quite clever of the UN to do this. Go to the Hunger Site at the UN. All
you do is click a button and somewhere on the world a hungry person gets a
meal to eat, at no cost to you. The food is paid for by corporate sponsors
who gain advertising in the process because you see their logo. All you do
is go to the site and click on the donate food button. It takes one
second. However, you're only allowed one donation (per day) so pass the


Forward to all in your address book. Why not?

Happy Thanksgiving.
Thomas J. Hoban, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology NCSU Box 8107 Raleigh, NC

From: Srujesh Shah

The Dear Agbioview members,

Send your thoughts to the EPA. Just go to

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting public
comments to help determine whether Aventis' StarLink corn should be
granted temporary approval for use in human food. Aventis recently
submitted a Supplemental Safety Assessment requesting a time limited
clearance that would cover any StarLink corn grown in 1999 and 2000.

petition, have mobilized a massive letter writing campaign that has
flooded the EPA with more than 1,000 letters in direct opposition to the
Supplemental Safety Assessment.

There will be a 1-day meeting sponsored by the EPA to review the request
for a time limited exemption from tolerance for StarLink on NOVEMBER 28
from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m in Arlington, VA. For more information on the
November 28 EPA meeting, go to http://www.epa.gov/scipoly/sap.

To send comments go to

From: Francis Wevers
Sub: Help Needed on Liability Issue!

We have to make a submission to the New Zealand Royal Commission on
liability. We will incorporate the content of Julian's submission this
week (transcript should be available on Friday or Monday). But does anyone
have answers to the very specific questions from our legal team as set out
below? If so please let me know mailto:fwevers@lifesciencenz.com>

1. The Interim Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (in Australia) made
a submission on the proposed Australian Gene Technology Bill 2000. This
submission contained a heading-- liability and insurance relating to
deliberate and accidental contamination of non-GM crops, and how these
issues are being addressed internationally. Within this reference it was
stated that New Zealand, USA, Canada, UK and Japan do not impose strict
liability, and instead rely on the common law or general environment
protection legislation for any third parties seeking recourse in the event
of contamination. It identifies Austria and Germany as the only countries
imposing strict liability regimes. I don't think they are right in respect
of New Zealand, but can anyone provide details of the Austrian and German

2. In the UK a farmer apparently decided in March 1999 to grow GM crops on
part of his holding and "organic" crops on another part. He abandoned this
decision after pressure by the Soil Association. Does anyone know details?

Francis Wevers
Executive Director NZ Life Sciences Network (Inc) PO Box 715, Wellington,
New Zealand Ph +64 4 9160100 Mobile 021 916010 Fax + 64 4 4731081 Email
fevers@lifesciencenz.com Website

Subj: Re: FOOD BIOTECHNOLOGY: Promising Havoc or Hope for the Poor?
From: "Gordon Couger"

The only proof of the theory of the poor feeding them selves needed is the
green revolution in Asia and not being carried out in sub Saharan Africa.

Biotec promises so much more than the green revolution. The inputs with
the exception of nitrogen are much lower and there is work being done to
lower nitrogen inputs. The main reason not much effort has been put in to
lowering nitorgen inputs is there are outer inputs that are more expensive
and dangerous. Nitrogen is a lot safer and cheaper than most
inscecticides. It is also a lot more difficult to get from leguems to
other crops.

Surplus food in the USA doesn't do a starving african child much good
unless some one buys the food, ships it to africa and delivers it to the
child and keeps it from being stolen from him. If the food is raised
localy it is much easier for the child to get the food even if he is poor.
If food is avaliable charity is a little easier than if it is absent.

Gordon Couger gcouger@couger.com

Veterinary Doctors Support Agbiotech!

From: Susan Smith
Subject: AVMA announces support for biotech

(AVMA Executive Board, November 2000) The American Veterinary Medical
Association is committed to the availability of food that is safe, healthy
and nutritious for the consumer. The Association supports the use of
biotechnology where it benefits human or animal welfare, and/or enhances
efficient production of a safe and nutritious food supply. The AVMA
supports a science-based regulatory system for the approval of products
developed through biotechnology. Current regulations require USDA, FDA and
EPA to approve these products for safety and efficacy before they can be
marketed for human or animal use or consumption. New products developed
through biotechnology may benefit the environment and enhance the
nutritional value and safety of food for humans and animals. The AVMA
urges that any additional regulation of products developed through
biotechnology be risk-based and science-based.

Subj: Re:Why GM food theatrics don't fool the crowd;
From: "Bob MacGregor"

In their letter to the National Post, Powell, Morris and Blaine said:
"Genetically engineered Bt field corn has up to 30 to 40 times lower
levels of naturally occurring fungal toxins." I know that the Americal
Phytopathological Society endorsed Bt corn last year because they expected
it to reduce mycotoxin content of the corn product, but I wasn't aware of
studies that had actually measured the degree to which this was occuring.
Maybe Shane can give a reference for this. Also, I'd be especially
interested in knowing how organically-grown
corn compares in this important metric.

Thanks, BOB
Subj: Re: AGBIOVIEW: Responses to Angela Ryan
From: "Bob MacGregor"

My reaction to Ryan's posting was that if nature does this all the time,
and on such a massive scale, it provides support for the proponents of
deliberate and carefully-monitored genetic engineering. I certainly didn't
see anything in there that raised an alarm about GE technology. I have
seen estimates that anywhere from 15% to 37% of the human genome is of
viral origin. Also, I read recently and estimate that carrots share about
half their genome with us. Changing a couple of genes out of, maybe,
50,000 just doesn't scare me, when (1) living organisms are already so
closely related, and (2) nature is making much more dramatic, continuous
changes all the time.

I'm with Abigail; too much energy and attention is going to a non-problem
when very real and serious problems are being pushed out of the spotlight.


From: "David Hemming (TL, Biotech.)"
Sub: Allergenicity of GE Foods Symposium

We thought you might be interested in the following symposium, entitled
"Assessment of Potential Allergenicity of Genetically Engineered Foods" to
be held on December 5 and 6, 2000 at the National Center for Food Safety
and Technology (NCFST), Summit-Argo, IL. NCFST is located about 20 miles
southwest of Chicago. http://www.ncfst.iit.edu/allerg.html Questions
regarding registration can be directed to Ms. Bev Wolak at +1 708-563-8153
or wolak@iit.edu

Kind regards David Hemming AgBiotechNet, AgBiotech News and Information
CAB INTERNATIONAL, Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8DE, UK Tel. (44) 1491 829428;
Fax (44) 1491 833508 Email d.hemming@cabi.org * Symposium Program:
Assessment of the Potential Allergenicity of Genetically Engineered Foods
December 5- 6, 2000 National Center for Food Safety and Technology
Summit-Argo, IL 60501

Welcome : David Armstrong, Ph.D., FDA/NCFST, USA Introductory Remarks :
Hugh Sampson, MD, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, USA

Session A: Overview of food allergy and food allergens Current
understanding of food allergy Wesley Burks, MD, Univ. of Arkansas,
Gastrointestinal immunoregulation and its relation to food allergy Per
Brandtzaeg, Ph.D., Univ. of Oslo, Norway Current understanding of
cross-reactivity of food allegens and pollen Stefan Vieths,
Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Germany Current understanding of food allergens
Samuel Lehrer, Ph.D., Tulane Univ. Molecular tools in understanding the
allergenicity of food proteins Gary Bannon, Ph.D., Univ. of Arkansas

Session B: Overview of current approach for assessing potential
allergenicity of proteins Overview of plant biotechnology: how genetic
engineering may alter allergenicity, what are the concerns? Bob Buchanan,
Ph.D., Univ. of California-Berkeley, USA Sequence comparison Steven
Gendel, Ph.D., FDA/NCFST, USA Comparison of digestion stability Tong-Jen
Fu, Ph.D., FDA/NCFST, USA Case study - application of the decision tree,
Industry's perspective Ian Lamb, Ph.D., Pioneer Hi-bred, USA PMI, a novel
selectable marker, potential allergenicity assessment Laura Privalle,
Ph.D., Novartis, USA

Session C: Other alternatives for testing allergenicity Animal model - an
overview Ricki Helm, Ph.D., Univ. of Arkansas, USA Animal model - case
study, Brown Norway Rat Leon Knippels, TNO Nutrition and Food Research,
Ph.D., The Netherlands Protein Allergenicity in mice: a potential approach
for hazard identification Keith Atherton, Ph.D., Zeneca, UK Serum based
testing Lars Poulsen, Ph.D., National University Hospital, Denmark

Session D: Open discussions (Moderator: Samuel Lehrer, Ph.D.) Topic:
suggestions for improving assessment strategies and research needs.
Representatives from academics, biotech industry and government will be
1.Is there new scientific info available that can be incorporated along
with the current approach for assessing potential allergenicity such as
* Combined sequence and structural comparison * Digestion stability
* Other modifications
2. Are there other means available for predicting allergenicity of
proteins (are animal models ready to be applied?)
3. What research is needed?

Meeting: Plant Foods for Human Health: Manipulating Plant Metabolism to
Enhance Nutritional Quality

You are invited to attend the Keystone symposia where you can connect with
scientists from around the world.

For on-line registration, location information, and all Keystone Symposia
has to offer visit
www.keystonesymposia.org. For the detailed program, click the meeting

You may also call us at 800-253-0685 or 970-262-1230.

<http://www.keystonesymposia.org/cos.cfm?pg=mtg&id=3,335&mtg=B2> Systems
Approach to Plant Biology

Organizers: Joseph R. Ecker and Steven P. Briggs January 26 - January 31,
2001 Big Sky Resort, Big Sky, Montana Abstract Deadline: Call for
information Early Registration Deadline: November 27, 2000 Sponsored by
Monsanto Company

Foods for Human Health: Manipulating Plant Metabolism to Enhance
Nutritional Quality

Organizers: Dean DellaPenna and Michael A. Grusak April 6 - April 11, 2001
Beaver Run Resort, Breckenridge, Colorado Abstract Deadline: December 6,
2000 Early Registration Deadline: February 6, 2001


From: calestous_juma@harvard.edu


As part of a search for up to three new senior positions in International
Development, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government is searching for
candidates in the field of sustainable development. The successful
candidate is expected to be appointed to a position of full professor, and
to play a leadership role in shaping the university-wide program in
sustainable development based in Harvard's Center for International

The search will concentrate in the policy-defined sub-field of
agriculture/food security/living resources/ecosystems. Candidates will be
sought from both the natural sciences and social sciences, with a strong
policy interest in problems of developing countries being a requirement in
both cases.

Candidates might be drawn from distinguished scholars and policy analysts
initially trained as agricultural economists, agronomists, forestry and
fisheries experts, resource economists, biotechnology experts, ecologists,
wildlife managers, and the like. Natural scientists would be expected to
be familiar with ecosystem management issues, and social scientists would
be expected to be familiar with the relevant biological sciences.

All candidates should have a demonstrated interest in working in a
cross-disciplinary setting. Inquiries and nominations should be sent to
the search coordinator:

Meredith Burwell Center for
International Development at Harvard University 79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge MA 01238 USA <http://www.cid.harvard.edu>

Royal Society finds near equal pesticide residue on organic and
conventional crops

The Royal Society of Chemistry November 14, 2000

INFORMATORE FITOPATOLOGICO: First analysis of residues on organic crops. 4
tables, 2 figures In 1999 Italy carried out the second highest number of
tests on foodstuffs, exceeded only by the USA. The Italian Ministry of
Health analysed for pesticide residues 7802 fruit and vegetable samples.
Only 100 proved to contain pesticide residues outside the limits. Tables
show results of MOH tests in 1999 (most contaminated fruit and
vegetables), comparison of residues in crops grown by traditional,
integrated plant protection and organic methods. The results are 1.9%
outside limits for traditional growing methods, 0% outside limits for
those grown with integrated plant protection, and 1.7% of organically
grown samples containing residues of agrochemicals not allowed in organic


Aventis CropScience Statement Regarding Presence of Cry9C Protein in
Non-StarLink Corn Variety Nov. 21, 2000

Aventis CropScience said today that it has confirmed the presence of Cry9C
protein in test samples of a variety of corn seed that was not sold under
the StarLink trademark.

The corn seed was produced by Garst Seed Company, based in Iowa. Aventis
CropScience performed the tests after several farmers stated that corn
with no known connection to StarLink was testing positive for Cry9C. Under
their licenses from Aventis, Garst and other corn seed producers were
required to meet specific quality standards to use the Cry9C technology
only in varieties sold as StarLink. Aventis CropScience does not know how
Cry9C protein came to be present in a variety other than StarLink brand
seeds. Aventis CropScience expects that any non-StarLink corn containing
Cry9C will be channeled to approved non-food and industrial uses, in the
same manner as StarLink corn. While resolution of this matter is clearly
the responsibility of those who produced and sold the seed, Aventis will
make its services available to assist in containing this corn and
channeling it to approved uses.

Aventis has notified the EPA, FDA and USDA of its findings, and is
consulting with these agencies to determine next steps. Aventis
CropScience noted that while the Cry9C protein has not yet been approved
for human consumption by the EPA, the agency has stated that it does not
have any evidence that food containing StarLink corn will cause any
allergic reaction in people, and the agency believes the risks, if any,
are extremely low. # # #
Rhonda Barnat/James MacGregor The Abernathy MacGregor Group 212/371-5999


Subj: Re: Are Pro-Biotech Scientists Bigots?
From: "Gordon Couger"


While racism is still alive and well in the USA. In my part of it is worse
than 40 years ago because the ambitious minorities left and racist ones
stayed. While both sides are racist to some degree the minorities have
become the driving force in racism using it as an ax to try to force their
will on society. The majority maintain theirs more quietly.

Of all the people I know scientists are the least bigoted people about
race I know. On other matters its a different story. If you disagree with
their theory you are in for some tough times.

But if you are a minority or a woman academia is the most level playing
field you will find. It's not truly level but is the most level I have

Gordon Couger gcouger@couger.com