The following paper shows the fallacy of stressing the carcinogenicity of
many synthetic pesticides compared to natural pesticides in the
environment (how how dangerous a cup of coffee is!).
Ames, B.N, Gold, L.S. (1999) Paracelsus to parascience: the environmental
It can be accessed at:
With best regards,
John Mottley, Reader in Educational Development in E-learning, Department
of Life Sciences University of East London.
Subj:Amount of pesticide on crops
From:"nicholas clark (IACR-LARS)"
In a recent posting it was mentioned that the levels of pesticide in
organic crops that were banned from using them was nearly the same as for
crops that are allowed to use them.
Two thoughts, Why? Are they being contaminated or are farmers using things
they are not meant to? It might not be a good idea to use this as an
argument against organic crops as all it will do is lead to the cry of
'Ban the use of the pesticides in all areas' or to increase the separation
distances called for, making it almost impossible to crop non-organic/GM
crops because of the distances that would be asked for.
Subj:Shiva and 'Sad Rice'
From: Andrew Apel
Folks, it's obvious that Vandana Shiva is sadly lacking in the "native
agricultural wisdom" that she touts with such fervor. She doesn't even
know what rice looks like.
Houston Press - November 23, 2000 -
"RiceTec Paddy Whack"
Vandana Shiva, whom many describe as a "visionary, author, activist and
eco-feminist," appeared briefly at a protest staged at the Alvin, Texas
headquarters of RiceTec, Inc. to decry bio-piracy and the patenting of
Before leaving Alvin to prepare for a 7 p.m. lecture in Houston titled
‘WTO, Basmati Rice & the Stolen Harvest,’ Shiva walked across the road and
looked out into a shaggy field. "They look unhappy," she said. "The rice
plants. Ours at home look very happy."
"That," RiceTec reports, "is because it’s not rice. That’s our test field,
it was harvested in August. That’s weeds."
From: "Kershen, Drew L"
Subject: The Population Question
I have just read a review of the following book:
Peter Bauer, FROM SUBSISTENCE TO EXCHANGE AND OTHER ESSAYS (Princeton
Univ. Press, 153 pp. $19.95).
Bauer is a Professor Emeritus of Economics from the London School of
Economics. He has an essay in the book entitled "Population Explosion:
Disaster or Blessing" that seems particularly relevant to the discussion
on this list about world population questions. The introduction to the
Bauer book is by Amartya Sen, the 1998 Nobel Prize winer in economics.
The review quotes several passages from the essay's conclusion:
"... Thus these considerations make clear that the much-deplored
population explosion of recent decades is seen more appropriately as a
blessing rather than as a disaster because it reflects a fall in
mortality, which is an improvement in people's welfare, not a
And later, " ...Throughout the less developed world, the most prosperous
groups and areas are those with most external commercial contacts. And
such contacts also encourage voluntary reduction in family size. Thus,
extension of such contacts and the widening of people's range of choice
promote both economic advance and reduction in fertility. In these
circumstances, the reduction in family size is achieved without the
damaging effects of official pressure on people in their most private and
Building on the last quotation, agricultural biotechnology greatly
increases external contacts for the peoples of the world because of
technology transfer and the education that accompanies this technology
transfer and because of the increase in scientists and the expansion of
scientific knowledge in the various national agricultural research groups
of the developing world. Moreover, agricultural biotechnology increases
the range of choices that promotes economic security, thereby giving rise
to a secure feeling among parents of the likely survival of their children
(leading to a reduction in fertility). Finally, all this is done by
voluntary measures without governmental coercion against people concerning
their reproductive desires.
Drew L. Kershen
Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law University of Oklahoma College of
Law 300 Timberdell Rd. Norman, OK 73019-5081 U.S.A.
NATURAL IS NO GUARANTEE OF SAFETY
Nov. 21/00 K-W Record Page: A9
by Shane Morris and Douglas Powell
This month, new research showed that the so-called natural pesticide,
rotenone, may be associated with Parkinson's disease. As the news began to
slowly circulate the saying by Victor Cohn (a once senior columnist with
the Washington Post) that "Scientists are to journalists what rats are to
scientists" came to mind.
The research in question showed that rotenone was able to produce
Parkinson's disease in rats when it was administered via injected in low
doses. Except that most rats - and humans -- do not willingly undertake
direct injections of any sort of pesticide, natural or not. So the results
and their applicability to human health remain controversial.
But, rats are one of the --albeit blurry -- windows on long-term human
health effects. So are natural pesticides potentially dangerous?
In the fall of 1998, Dr. Arpad Pusztai of the U.K. told television
interviewers that a handful of rats feed genetically-engineered and
conventional potatoes displayed some differences; differences that
soonbecame a mantra for many around the globe, including journalists, as
evidence of hypothetical danger associated with genetically-engineered
On the other hand, the experiments flagging the possible dangers of
rotenone, which has been marketed and used in the public domain for many
decades as a so-called natural pesticide and is used (but not very widely)
by organic growers and in a variety of commercial garden and animal-care
products, barely stirred the interest of journalists.
Why was it that one story received so much more attention than the other?
Was it that in the case of Dr. Pusztai's rats that opponents of so-called
genetically modified or GM food (of who the loudest often tend to be
connected to the organic food movement) pushed and promoted the story for
their own cause? After all, if conventional foods are deemed safe for both
people and the environment, then in the absence of a media flurry, why
would consumers pay more for hypothetical benefits?
The same media forces that propelled Dr. Pusztai's rats to mainstream
conversation have been largely silent when it comes to the rotenone rats.
Is it possible that as the organic movement uses rotenone itself that they
are choosing to remain quite on this occasion? Surely this action (or lack
thereof) brings to light a severe case of double standards. For example we
have yet to see the Greenpeace press release condemning organic farmers
for using rotenone and demanding the immediate removal of the
approximately 680 rotenone-containing products from the supermarket
The latest findings about rotenone, which need to be confirmed, underscore
a fundamental approach that North American regulators have taken to a
variety of products, including geneticaly-engineered foods: that is, that
nature is not benign, and regardless of the process used to create new
foods -- be it genetic engineering, conventional breeding, and a whole
host of powerful techniques in between, the end-product needs to undergo a
scientifically valid safety assessments. And natural does not
automatically mean safe.
Shane Morris is a research assistant and Douglas Powell is an assistant
professor with the Centre for Safe Food at the University of Guelph.
Subj: More evidence of misleading organic marketing
From: Andura Smetacek
There is a growing body of evidence that organic retailers (not growers)
are misleading the public with their marketing of "natural" foods
suggesting they are safer or have health/nutrition benefits that don't
exist. Consumer organizations and the media should be defending the public
by exposing these frauds rather than spending all their time and resource
defending and promoting organic alternatives. Here is yet another example.
Scotland on Sunday October 29, 2000, Sunday SECTION: Pg. 3
WATCHDOGS CLAIM ORGANIC LABEL IS 'USED TO PROMOTE UNHEALTHY FOOD'
By Camillo Fracassini Consumer Affairs Correspondent
THE organic label has been "hijacked" by shops and manufacturers and used
as a marketing tool to sell food which is neither healthy nor good for the
environment, food watchdogs have claimed.
According to the Food Commission, unwitting shoppers are buying "highly
processed" and "over-packaged" organic food in the mistaken belief that it
is better for them and the environment than conventional produce. The
commission, an independent body campaigning for high-quality food, says
that while organic standards may guarantee organic produce is grown
without the use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides, they say nothing
about its nutritional value and little about its green credentials.
The body is now calling for organic standards to be strengthened and
widened to ban misleading claims about organic food, ensure that
manufacturers restrict the removal of natural nutrients, and limit damage
to the environment.
In its report, Organic Standards Hijacked, the commission also criticises
Tesco for suggesting in its current advertising campaign that organic
pizza, ice-cream and chips are healthy, and Sainsbury for selling organic
fruit and vegetables which have been flown from countries as far afield as
Zambia and Israel. Dr Tim Lobstein, the food commission's director, said:
"Conventional food producers are seizing on the organic name as a symbol
of health and integrity, and using it on highly processed, over-packaged
products." "Often organic is equated in the minds of shoppers with food
that is healthy or environmentally friendly, but that isn't necessarily
The commission says organic standards should also be extended to cover the
working conditions of labourers involved in organic agriculture in
developing countries, environmentally unfriendly packaging and the
distance which organic food imports should be allowed to travel. Referring
to organic products such as sweets, biscuits, pizzas and fizzy drinks, the
report says: "Food companies love to use the word 'organic' for the
integrity and healthy image it gives the product - but there is barely a
whole grain or an original vitamin between them, and they spoil the
appetite for nutritious food."
Yesterday the Soil Association, the UK's main organic certification body,
said it was considering introducing standards describing how much organic
food had been processed, ordering clear labelling of its country of origin
and requiring foreign producers to introduce fair trade practices.
However, it added that the current regulations should already prevent
shops and manufacturers from claiming organic food was nutritionally
better or of superior quality to conventional produce.
Organic food and drink is the fastest-growing sector of the UK grocery
market with sales worth in excess of pounds 540m. About 70% of shoppers in
the UK buy organic. The House of Commons agriculture committee is
currently carrying out an inquiry into organic farming.
From: "Henry I. Miller"
The following article, which ran on drkoop.com today:
Editorial: Non-Thanksgiving Turkey
Nov 21 2000 13:21:41 Henry I. Miller, M.D.
Corn -- or maize as the Indians called it -- has been part of Thanksgiving
traditions since the beginning. But this year, many Americans have found
that processed corn products, such as cornmeal for stuffing or chips for
dip, are difficult to find. They have a regulatory turkey from federal
regulators to thank.
This completely wrong-headed policy has three parts. First, officials at
the Environmental Protection Agency decided that all new pest-resistant
plants created with superior gene-splicing techniques should be regulated
as though they harbored a toxic pesticide similar to rat poison. Second,
they decided that an insect-resistant corn variety called StarLink could
be consumed by animals but not by humans. Finally, therefore, when
minuscule amounts of StarLink corn were detected in foods, a sister
agency, the Food and Drug Administration, was compelled by law to issue a
recall of more than 300 corn products in supermarkets across the country.
(The EPA sets pesticide residue limits and the FDA enforces them.)
The bottom line is that not a single person has been or is at all likely
to be harmed by the StarLink corn. StarLink corn differs from other
commercial varieties in that it contains a protein called Cry9C. This
bacterial protein, introduced into corn with gene-splicing techniques, has
been approved for animal feed but not for humans because, although it does
not resemble known allergens, it was not immediately degraded in digestion
tests. Most food allergens are not readily digested, so the EPA wanted
more data before concluding that consumers could not be allergic to the
The food products in question are actually far less likely than thousands
of other products on the market to cause allergic or other health
problems. After exhaustive testing, no allergic reactions, toxicity or any
other problem has been demonstrated with Cry9C or any substance similar to
The ripple effect of this non-problem concerning StarLink is monumental,
and growing. Mission Foods, the largest U.S. manufacturer of tortilla
products, recalled all its yellow corn products, and major U.S. grocery
chains were forced to remove many corn products from their shelves. A
Japanese consumer group has charged that some of these banned corn
products have found their way into food products in Japan. This raises the
stakes significantly, because Japan annually imports about 16 million
metric tons of U.S. feed corn, worth around $2 billion.
Predictably, EPA officials have blamed the manufacturer of the corn,
Aventis S.A., accusing the company of failing in its responsibility to
segregate StarLink from other varieties of corn that are normally eaten by
But the real blame lies in the U.S. regulatory policy toward gene-spliced
plants and foods. The EPA and other government agencies in the United
States hold gene-spliced foods to a far higher standard than other similar
foods, even requiring the hugely expensive testing as pesticides of
gene-spliced crop and garden plants such as corn, wheat and tomatoes that
have been genetically improved for enhanced pest or disease resistance.
The policy fails to recognize that there are important differences between
spraying synthetic, toxic chemicals and genetic approaches to enhancing
plants' natural pest and disease resistance. The EPA's policy is so
potentially damaging and outside scientific norms that it has galvanized
the scientific community, which has repeatedly and unequivocally condemned
federal agencies' policies.
A recent analysis of biotech food safety by the Institute of Food
Technologists took existing regulatory policies to task, concluding that
the evaluation of gene-spliced food "does not require a fundamental change
in established principles of food safety; nor does it require a different
standard of safety, even though, in fact, more information and a higher
standard of safety are being required." It continued that science "does
not support more stringent safety standards than those that apply to
Scientists worldwide agree that adding genes to plants does not make them
less safe. Dozens of new plant varieties produced through hybridization
and other traditional methods of genetic improvement enter the marketplace
each year without scientific review or special labeling. Many such
products are from "wide crosses," hybridizations in which genes are moved
from one species or one genus to another to create a plant variety that
does not and cannot exist in nature. For example, Triticum
agropyrotriticum is a new man-made "species" which resulted from combining
genes from bread wheat and a grass sometimes called quackgrass or
couchgrass. Possessing all the chromosomes of wheat and one extra whole
genome from the quackgrass, T. agropyrotriticum has been independently
produced in the former Soviet Union, Canada, United States, France,
Germany and China, and is grown for both forage and grain.
Gene-splicing is more precise, circumscribed and predictable than other
techniques, and can better exploit the subtleties of plant pathology. For
example, the corn in the recalled products was made by splicing in a
bacterial gene that produces a protein toxic to corn borer insects, but
not to people or other mammals. The gene-spliced corn not only repels
pests, but also is less likely to contain Fusarium, a toxic fungus often
carried into the plants by the insects. This, in turn, significantly
reduces the levels of the fungal toxin fumonisin, which is known to cause
fatal diseases in horses and swine that eat infected corn, and esophageal
cancer in humans. Thus, gene-spliced corn not only is cheaper to produce
but foods made from it are safer. Moreover, by reducing the need for
spraying chemical pesticides on crops -- which is dangerous to those who
handle the chemicals and gives rise to runoff into waterways -- it is
Yet, regulatory agencies have foisted off on us a hugely expensive turkey,
regulating foods from gene-spliced plants in a discriminatory,
unnecessarily burdensome way. They have imposed requirements that could
not possibly be met for products of conventionally bred crop plants.
Paradoxically, only the more precisely crafted, gene-spliced crops are
exhaustively, repeatedly -- and expensively -- reviewed before they can
enter the field or food supply. Policy makers have ignored a fundamental
rule of regulation: that the degree of scrutiny of a product or activity
should be commensurate with the risk. What we need is government policies
that make scientific and common sense, and that do not punish innovation.
Henry I. Miller, M.D., a Food and Drug Administration official from 1979
to 1994, is a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Competitive
American Council on Science and Health Date Published: Nov 21 2000
13:15:55 Date Reviewed: Nov 21 2000 13:21:41 Founded in 1978, and
directed and advised by the world's leading scientists, physicians, and
policy advisors -- ACSH is is a nonprofit, consumer education organization
dedicated to providing the public with mainstream scientific information
on issues related to food, nutrition, chemicals, pharmaceuticals,
lifestyle, the environment and health.
From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Dangers of Cooking
COOKING POSES GENETIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL RISKS
November 22, 2000 – Agence Deutsche Presse – A powerful new coalition has
been formed among concerned consumer and environmental watchdog groups to
campaign against a combined threat to human health, food insecurity, the
depletion of natural resources and global warming. Called the Raw Organic
Nutrition Group, the coalition will educate the public about the unknown
genetic health dangers of cooking food. They will also carry the message
to policy makers about the contributions of cooking to alarming increases
in global warming which threaten endangered species.
The coalition includes Scientific Collaborative Against Mortality, Organic
Growers Research Enterprises, Chefs Requiring Altruistic Menus, Greenhouse
Activism Society, Sustainable Agriculture Proponent Society, Levitation
Institute of Arizona, Farmers Alliance Leading Survivable Ecology, Friends
Against Killing Endangered Species and the PRMTU.
Top international experts using the Precautionary Principle have newly
identified unknown consequences associated with the gene fragments
released into the environment by cooking food, an activity which also
releases dangerous greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere.
Calling for a public debate, Hae Man Wo, an internationally famous expert
on science, said: "Finally, after years of secrecy, the government has
admitted that food processing involving heat breaks down DNA."
The British government recently released reports from its Food Analysis
Laboratory Scientific Evaluation committee confirming that cooking and
related food production processes involving heat break down DNA, or
deoxyribonucleic acids, the fundamental building-blocks of all life on the
planet. When DNA breaks down, the results are called "gene fragments,"
which have been implicated in massive outbreaks around the globe.
In humans, "broken" DNA often results in cancer and other diseases. After
crops genetically modified with gene fragments entered the food chain,
these deadly illnesses plague millions in every country, according to the
latest figures from the World Health Organization.
"When you break down DNA into bits," says Dr. Hae, Ph.D., "those bits have
quantum energy that can insert themselves into self-organizing systems
which can wreak devastation on this planet, and even cross the species
barrier in bacteria living inside consumers."
"When you cook food, you create gene fragments never meant to exist in
natural organisms," Hae added. "These gene fragments, in the harmonic
effluent of cosmic vibration, could have enormous consequences which could
remain unknown forever."
Even Monsanto, a giant transnational multinational chemical company which
produced Agent Orange laced with carcinogenic dioxins during the Vietnam
War and now markets powerful Roundup pesticides and genetic soybeans,
admits that cooking breaks down the fragile fabric of chromosomes, the
blueprint for all life on Earth.
"Most standard food processing breaks down DNA," said Vendrik Haley, the
new CEO of Monsanto.
Dr. Vangina Shava, an internationally prominent advocate of precautionary
science and an expert on biological serendipity, discovered the looming
crisis while discussing natural herbal processes with local women in
"What we found," said Dr. Shava, Ph.D., "is that when indigenous people
lose their knowledge of subsisting on the biodiversity of the land, they
often consume more cooked food than they or their ancestors ever did and
appear healthier. However, statistics prove that their apparent health
results, in the end, with the illnesses which Western male-dominated
reductionist culture associates with old age."
While eating cooked food leads inevitably to infirmities in later years,
it also contributes to global warming, according to the consumer
Statistics from the United Nations Development Program prove them right.
The International Energy Initiative, in concert with the Stockholm
Environment Institute and the Secretariat of the UN Commission for
Sustainable Development, found that the total global energy consumption
per annum is equal to burning 7,800,000,000 tons of oil. Combustion on
that scale results in the production of massive quantities of CO2, a
poisonous greenhouse gas which in sufficient quantities has been proven
The G7 countries, which cook the most food, account for 38 percent of all
industrial emissions of CO2, and as a result of cooking and other
activities which involve burning our precious heritage of fossil fuels,
they account for 90 percent of global primary energy consumption.
"It is obvious that cooking food, aside from having numerous unknown
health consequences, is generating an impact on a contributing factor to
massive global warming," said Hadrian Ebb, a renowned specialist on
science and executive director of the global temperature division of
Fiends of the Earth based in Brobdingnag, UK. "And it won’t surprise
anyone that McDuffy’s, the giant US multinational fast-food chain, cooks
food for unsuspecting customers at all of its franchise outlets in France,
where Mad Cow Disease is devastating agriculture."
"This is horrendous news," said Chuck Margelues, an expert on food and
environment logistics with Greenpeace. "By cooking food, people are
releasing unknown genes into the environment and, at the same time,
melting our pristine glaciers and polar icecaps. The giant petrochemical
companies want us to ignore the fact that we are destroying ourselves and
our planet by cooking food, but we know better."
"Cooking is unnatural," said Prince Phillip of Whales. "Cooked food is not
found in Nature, and I can vouch for the fact that God wants us to be
"Only informed consumers can make intelligent choices," said Lord
Belchett, formerly of Greenpeace and now a consultant with Finland Foods.
"I highly recommend Finland’s convenient new range of ‘Thaw-And-Eat’
organic chopped beef, fish and poultry."
The Raw Organic Nutrition Group is calling on all governments to establish
credible target limits for the reduction and eventual phaseout of cooking,
and recommending that consumers take precautions by eating only healthy,
For more information, contact Helen Tarnation, spokesperson for the Raw
Organic Nutrition Group, at (515) 555-1212.