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Date:

January 24, 2001

Subject:

Policy Choices for Developing Countries; Food Poisonings;

 

A new study entitled "GOVERNING THE GM CROP REVOLUTION: POLICY CHOICES FOR
DEVELOPING COUNTRIES" By Robert L. Paarlberg of Harvard University has
just been published by IFPRI. I strongly recommend this excellent and
valuable document that provides comparative analysis and considerable
insights into the biotech policies of four developing countries.

- Prakash
---------
Paarlberg offers a comparison of policy responses to genetically modified
(GM) crops in developing countries. He examines the policy decisions made
in four developing countries--Brazil, China, India, and Kenya--and devises
a system for classifying policy choices toward GM crops in the areas of
intellectual property rights, food safety, biosafety, trade, and public
research investment.

DOWNLOAD OR ORDER ONLINE Discussion Paper 33 (36 pages)
http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/catalog.htm#dp

DOWNLOAD Brief 68 (2 pages) http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/catalog.htm#briefs

(Excepts Below)

Will developing countries adopt policies that pro mote the planting of
genetically modified (GM)crops,or will they select policies that slow the
spread of the GM crop revolution?The evidence so far is mixed. In some
prominent countries such as China, policies are in place that encourage
the in de pendent development and planting of GM crops.Yet in a number of
other equally prominent countries the planting of GM crops is not yet
officially approved. The inclination of developing countries to promote or
block the spread of GM crops can be judged by the policy choices they make
in five separate areas: intellectual property rights (IPR)policy,
biosafety policy,trade
........(snip).......
International pressures of four kinds help ex plain this pat tern of
caution in the developing world: (1)environmental groups based in Europe
and North America have used media campaigns,law suits,and direct actions
to project into the developing world a tone of extreme caution to ward GM
crops;(2)consumer doubts in Europe and Japan regarding GM crops have
discour aged planting of those crops by develop ng-country exporters;
(3)the precautionary tone of the 2000 Biosafety Protocol governing trans
boundary movements of GM crops is reinforcing biosafety caution in the
developing world;and (4)donor assistance to developing countries in the
area of agribiotechology has of ten focused more on the possible biosafety
risks of the new technology than on its possible agronomic or economic ad
van tages.Onerea son for China’s more per missive biosafety policy is its
greater insulation from some of these international influences promoting
caution else where.
........(snip).......
A further spread of GM crops into the developing world will there fore
depend on more than just the availability of suitable technologies. It
will also de pend upon the future willing ness of biosafety authorities in
developing countries to give farmers permission to plant GM crops.This
willingness, in turn,will likely de pend as much on the external pressures
and influences faced by these regulators as upon actual documented threats
to biosafety from GM crops. Robert L.Paarlberg
(rpaarlberg@Wellesley.edu)is a professor of political science at Wellesley
College,Wellesley,Massachusetts,U.S.A.,and an associate at the Weatherhead
Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.This brief is based
on 2020 Vision Discussion Paper 33 of the same title.Copy right ©2000
International Food Policy Re search Institute.All rights re served.

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From: Andura Smetacek |
Subject: Why are organic industry folks attacking biotech? MONEY!

Why is the organic industry (retailers really, not the home gardeners or
landed gentry and former New York lawyers masquerading as "farmers") so
afraid of conventional farming (biotech included) that they continue to
attack it? Why not just promote your product for what it is? Perhaps
because no one would buy something that costs 100% more and offers no
consumer benefits... So, the organic retailer industry is left with false
food and false environmental scares to drive misled consumers to their
higher priced products...

However, he's an example of how mainstream members of the public get
misled. Rodale's Organic publishing editor Cheryl Long (one of infamous
Alar-scare Fenton Communication's clients) is peppering activist
list-servs for help in writing a negative article about GE and pesticide
drift. Long is also on the board of Andy Kimbrell's Center for Food Safety
(the anti-biotech/anti-pesticide group which spuriously attacks pesticides
and biotech, engages in lawsuits and other attacks on the farming &
science community while promoting organics...) which also ran the
misleading full-page newspaper adds under the front name "Turning Point"
coalition.

Ms. Long's active role in supporting such activist organizations and
participation on anti-biotech activist Internet chats (as a source for
"news" articles!) significantly reduces the journalistic integrity of her
publication. Where are the media review critics when you need them? Mr.
Brill?

----------
From: "Long, Cheryl"
To: "'Ericka'"
Subject: Input re: Organic Gardening Magazine article on pesticide drift

We are still very interested in receiving drift stories, including GE
drift. We have a big set of stories almost ready to post on our website
(thanks for YOUR help!). The date of a story in the magazine is
uncertain, but we are going to continue to collect the stories and post
them on the website.

Cheryl
----------
From: "Ericka "
To: "O. G. Article"
Subj: Input re: Organic Gardening Magazine article on pesticide drift

Hello Friends,

Organic Gardening Magazine is planning to do a story next year about
pesticide drift and GE pollen drift. They have asked me to contact you and
let you know that anyone who is aware of specific drift incidents is urged
to send a brief summary of the problem & resolution to:

Cheryl Long, Editor Organic Gardening Magazine 33 E. Minor Street Emmaus,
PA 18098 e-mail: Cheryl.Long@Rodale.com

Cheryl will be writing the story, and she hopes to be able to post drift
reports from around the country on the Organic Gardening website, in
addition to using some of them in the magazine's story. You may pass this
request along to individuals who have experience with pesticide drift, but
please DO NOT post it on newsgroups or lists.

Thanks very much for your help.

Wishing you a really clean season - Ericka Dana, Catnip Farm
http://www.catnipfarm.com
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From: Andura Smetacek
Subject: Organic food poisonings...

We've already seen extensive postings (recently and in the past) rebutting
most of the claims noted by Mr. Craig Sams on such issues as pesticides
(organic foods are found to have similar residue levels as conventional in
numerous studies by government and consumer groups), health claims (simply
no credible health, science or government source supports any claim that
organic foods are healthier, safer or more nutritious), environmental
claims (mixed reviews, but most can be achieved with conventional -- and
certainly biotech -- and the Scottish Crop Research Institute leads the
way in noting organic may be worse for the environment) and now the issue
of illness associated with food-borne contaimation associated with organic
production methods... Well, here is just one list:

SOURCE: http://www.NoMoreScares.com/news/organic.htm

May 2000: Tesco Markets (UK) organic mushrooms contaminated with E-coli
(product recalled)

May 1999: Organic Valley vegetable soup (UK) botulism spores found in
cans (product recalled)

June 1999: Morningland Dairy Farms organic cheddar cheese (USA) listeria
contamination (product recalled)

May 1999: Morningland Dairy Farms organic colby cheese (USA) listeria
contamination (product recalled)

October 1999: The Sprout People organic alfalfa (USA) salmonella
contamination (19 reported food poisonings and product recalled)

April 1999: Aussie Gold organic juic (Australia) salmonella contamination
(400 illnesses reported)

October 1998: Glaser Organic Farms juices (USA) salmonella and E coli
contamination (products recalled)

November 1996: Odwalla organic juices E coli contamination (49 illnesses
reported and one child death, product recalled)

May 1998: Stueve's Natural Milk salmonella contamination (products
recalled)

Organic parsley (Germany) citrobacter freundii contamination (9 illnesses
and one child death reported)

November 1986: Alta Dena organic dairy products salmonella contamination
(products recalled)

1992: Maine organic produce E coli contamination (one child death and
several illnesses reported)

And the list goes one...

Please cite me one example of biotechnology-produced foods that have given
someone a headache, let alone killed children as have some of these
organic products... Safer?

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From: "Susie M. Grace"

GLOBAL EXPANSION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS SUBJECT OF MARCH UF LAW
SYMPOSIUM
www.law.ufl.edu

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The expansion of intellectual property rights around
the globe will be discussed by national, state and educational leaders at
a March symposium organized by the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin
College of Law. Set for March 24, the Symposium on Intellectual Property,
Development and Human Rights is coordinated by UF Research Foundation
Professor Thomas Cotter, director of the law school's intellectual
property law program. It is funded by the Saliwanchik, Lloyd & Saliwanchik
Intellectual Property Fund. The symposium will focus on extension and
expansion of American-style intellectual property rights to developing and
least-developed nations, particularly in the areas of pharmaceutical
products and indigenous technologies.

"The trend toward globalization is expanding and strengthening
intellectual property laws across the world," Cotter said, "and this has
spawned difficult legal, economic and moral issues of interest to lawyers,
policymakers, natural and social scientists, human rights activists and
others." Speakers from a wide variety of disciplines and perspectives will
explore issues such as the licensing of AIDS drugs in South Africa, the
controversy over the patenting of indigenous technology, access to
medicines, and the changing concept of property in light of international
human rights law. Among those featured will be Rosemary Coombe of York
University, James Thuo Gathii of Rutgers University, Shubha Ghosh of State
University of New York, James Love of the Center for Study of Responsive
Law in Washington, D.C., Jerome H. Reichman of Duke University School of
Law, Susan Sell of George Washington University, Jayashree Watal of the
World Trade Organization, and David L. Wigston of University of
Michigan-Flint. UF law school participants include Daniel C. Visser, Hurst
Eminent Visiting Scholar from University of Cape Town, South Africa, and
Winston P. Nagan, Trustee Research Fellow and affiliate professor of
anthropology.

Additional information about the event, for which there is $50 to $75
registration fee, is available by calling Assistant Dean Patrick Shannon,
conference registrar, at 352.392.0421, or by eMail at shannon@law.ufl.edu.

University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law Communications
Office Spessard L. Holland Law Center Stan Huguenin, Director

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From: Craig Sams
Subject: Re: AGBIOVIEW: Responses Galore; Hunger Strike?

First, two quick fact. The Odwalla juice deaths were because of
unpasteurised apple juice produced in an unhygienic factory that did not
process any organic products. The juice was unpasteurised but not organic.
The reason it was unpasteurised was purely for flavor reasons -
unpasteurised juices, freshly pressed under hygienic conditions, offer
more sensory appeal. Would you pasteurise orange juice that you'd just
pressed at home? Organic regulations worldwide contain no prohibitions on
pasteurisation, homogenisation or freezing. I stand by my statement that
there is not one recorded case of E.coli O157:H7 arising from certified
organic production methods. The main factor is ground beef, for whatever
reason.

I am not qualified to discuss whether gene splicing is the same as natural
breeding. I bow the judgment of two molecular biologists, Dr. Michael
Antoniou of Guy's Hospital in London and Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher, who I
have heard speak on many occasions. They both assert that there is a world
of difference.

Andrew Apel asks me: What I do not understand is: if these people suffer
poverty and starvation, why don't they at least grow enough to feed
themselves? If you were an unsubsidised farmer in Nebraska with the fat
cat subsidy-guzzling Iowa farmers selling all their corn and beans to your
erstwhile customers in Nebraska, how would you feel if somebody told you
to just grow enough to feed yourself? Yeah, sell the combine harvester for
ten bucks and burn the barn board by board to keep warm in winter. It only
makes sense because it's about people far away who talk and act different.

Mr. Avery, I totally agree that all farmers should minimise faecal
contamination of their produce. I don't think I've ever implied otherwise.
(I think I mentioned some time ago that the main source of faecal
contamination of field vegetables in the UK is pigeons and other birds).
Organic regulations do not permit the use of uncomposted manure -
composting effectively eliminates E.coli organisms. This reflects the
organic producer's greater level of concern about this risk. Conventional
farmers in the UK routinely spread uncomposted manure from dairy cattle
fed on the high concentrate diet that favors the development of E.coli
O157:H7. I heartily disapprove of this practice.

I wasn't extolling any vegetarian utopia, just making the point that US
public health policy recommends levels of meat and animal fat consumption
that are lower than the prevailing levels, so that a reduction in the
intake of meat and dairy would not lead to malnutrition or suffering, just
reduce obesity and associated health problems. A look at the meat
consumption levels of some affluent Asian societies, such as Singapore,
show that even when income levels reach those of comparable consumers in
the US, meat consumption plateaus out at a level quite a bit lower than
the US.

And Malcolm Livingstone asks "whether anyone, other than those who can
make political capital out of it, even read work like Puztai's?" Puztai's
work for the Rowett Institute was to cement the success of a joint venture
between the Rowett and the owner of the potato intellectual property.
Puztai was the 'safe pair of hands' whose reliability and high
international standing would help accelerate the regulatory approval
process. That's why everyone got so upset when he came up with the wrong
answers. The political capital came a long time later, mostly from people
who probably didn't read Puztai's work, but so what?

Craig Sams
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From: Red Porphyry
Re: AGBIOVIEW: Sublimity and Golden Rice

To answer Abigail first. I'm not in any way irate that golden rice isn't a
magic bullet for solving the problem of VAD in Asia. My point is that it's
not, contrary to article after article claiming otherwise, articles which
are regularly posted to this list (as any careful reading of the list
archives will show). The public is being openly deceived by these
repeatedly false claims that golden rice is "rich in vitamin A" and eating
it is *the* solution to VAD in Asia. In fact, a new article has just been
posted on this list (msg # 964) by one Susan Smith, an article that makes
the following incredible statements:

"GM food scientists already developed a yellow rice, or "golden" rice,
that is rich in vitamin A and iron and helps prevent anemia and blindness,
especially in children. Farmers in developing countries who adopt these
crops could help whole populations avoid serious nutritional deficiencies."

It would seem that golden rice is now not only "rich" in vitamin A, but it
has also become "rich" in iron. (If this is so, then Potrykus has *really*
been holding out on us). The fact of the matter is that golden rice
contains no iron (so it can't do anything to prevent anemia) and and it is
not "rich" in vitamin A (as even Potrykus himself says). It currently only
produces a very modest amount of beta-carotene (a maximum of 1.6
micrograms per 1 gm (dry weight) of rice), the production of beta-carotene
is highly variable, and the trait does not yet "breed true". While even
this amount *is* a real scientific achievement, golden rice is no carrot,
yet the public is being openly deceived by all too many pro-biotech
scientists and "science" writers that it is (through, among other things,
the deceptive use of such words as "rich"--to the public, "rich" means "as
rich as a carrot"). Now we're beginning to see demonstrably and
deliberately false claims made that golden rice is also "rich" in iron and
will help prevent anemia as well as VAD. Heck, why stop there? Let's also
claim that golden rice is also "rich" in iodine and folic acid, too. After
all, I'm the only contributor to this group who even bothered to actually
go back and *read* Potrykus' original Science paper on golden rice and
then take the trouble to calculate just how much of the RDA of vitamin A
the average Asian can be expected to obtain from eating both the maximum
(300 gm dry weight) and the most likely (100 gm dry weight) amounts of
golden rice. Given that no other contributor to this list, who are experts
in the field of ag biotech, did this, but merely accepted without question
whatever claims about golden rice came down the pipe, it's *extremely*
unlikely that the public at large will act any differently. As far as the
public is concerned, golden rice is as rich in vitamin A as a carrot and
is will soon also be rich (as a 6 oz beefsteak, perhaps?) in iron. In my
opinion, pro-biotech scientists need to start making some attempt to put
golden rice in its proper perspective and context for the public. If you
refrain from doing so, the only logical conclusion then is that Goebbels
ideas about marketing actually have some merit to them.

BTW, Abigail, what's your opinion of Asians eating carrots and fortifying
their food and cooking oils with vitamin A (like Caucasians do with milk,
for example)? Do these ideas have any merit to them, or are they
inappropriate for Asian peoples?

To answer Andrew, first of all, I have no "cohorts". Almost all the e-mail
I receive is hostile (the truly interesting ones claim that the "real"
reason I write like this is because I "must be a Jew or something" :-) ).
The current discussion of golden rice may no longer be sublime, but it's
far from ridiculous, I assure you. You're basic point, however, is an
honest one:

"the fact is, if golden rice increases vitamin A consumption, that is what
it does, and that is something that is needed. That makes it better than
less vitamin A consumption."

To wit, golden rice can be one [small, IMO] piece in an overall solution
to the problem of VAD in Asia. I just knew it would take a Hudson
Institute man to finally put golden rice in its proper context. :-) BTW,
I'm glad to see that in addition to people from the Hudson Institute and
the Hoover Institute, people from the Cato Institute are also taking an
interest in ag biotech and GM foods. Hopefully, in the weeks and months to
come, someone from the Pioneer will also weigh in on the subject.

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Consumer Groups Shouldn't Reject Biotech

By Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in
the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group in Washington.
Wall Street Journal January 25. 2001

My organization, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, has waged
many campaigns over the last three decades to improve the nutritional
quality and safety of our food. From advocating nutrition labeling to
attacking olestra and sulfites, we know how to publicize problems.
Predictably, we've been vilified more than once on this page.

But the campaign we have not joined is the one aimed at halting
agricultural biotechnology and genetically engineered foods. While
biotechnology is not a panacea for every nutritional and agricultural
problem, it is a powerful tool to increase food production, protect the
environment, improve the healthfulness of foods, and produce valuable
pharmaceuticals. It should not be rejected cavalierly.

Too many biotech critics have resorted to alarming the public about
purported environmental and food risks. For example, one environmental
group has stated: "If deadly toxins that kill butterflies are being
introduced into our food supply, what effect are these toxins having on
you and your family? Is it possible that these toxins will build up over
time in our systems? If so, what effect will they have? The scary answer
is that no one really knows." Actually, we do know: The Environmental
Protection Agency and others have concluded that the "toxins" approved for
human consumption have no adverse effect on health.

While current biotech crops have not been shown to cause any health
problem and only minor environmental disturbances, they have begun to
yield major benefits. Biotech cotton, for instance, has reduced
insecticide usage by more than two million pounds a year. That saves a lot
of beneficial insects (not just butterflies) and reduces farmers' exposure
to dangerous chemicals. Biotech cotton also has meant higher profits for
farmers.

Likewise, soybeans engineered with immunity to certain herbicides have
allowed farmers to replace more toxic herbicides, which pollute water,
with relatively benign ones and to reduce soil erosion. And in Hawaii,
biotech papayas resistant to a devastating virus are saving that industry.

In developing countries, biotechnology will protect sweet potatoes from
viruses, increase yields of rice, and reduce contamination in corn from
mold-produced carcinogens. Some critics complain that biotechnology's
promise has not yet been widely fulfilled in these nations. That, however,
does not constitute a compelling indictment of this emerging technology.
Who would have predicted the Internet from the meager beginnings of home
computers?

Of course, not all the fruits of biotechnology deserve a place on the
dinner table. Used injudiciously, biotechnology could wreak havoc: weeds
resistant to herbicides, novel toxins or allergens in foods,
pesticide-bearing crops that kill beneficial insects, and loss of genetic
diversity. And in developing nations it could jeopardize the livelihoods
of small farmers.

James D. Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, makes a
telling point: "Never put off doing something useful for fear of evil that
may never arrive." Instead of worrying about every remotely imaginable
problem -- and suffering with today's known problems caused by
conventional agriculture -- we need a coherent system to reap the benefits
and avoid any problems. Regulatory improvements are essential to building
public confidence in biotechnology -- a goal that industry on its own has
been unable to attain.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration took a useful step forward by
proposing a mandatory review system. While mandatory approvals would
bolster public confidence more than reviews, the agency says it doesn't
have the authority to require that. Ironically, the biotech and
processed-food industries oppose formal approvals for FDA-regulated foods
even though they manage fine at the EPA, which has just such a system for
plants engineered to produce pesticides.

The National Academy of Sciences and others have found that significant
gaps abound in EPA's system. Even so, the basic structures are there and
need only to be strengthened by the agency or, where necessary, by
Congress. But the FDA's statutes were written long before genetic
engineering was developed and need to be updated.

The FDA also proposed guidelines for making voluntary label claims like
"Made without genetic engineering." That won't satisfy the critics' demand
that labels of engineered foods declare "Contains genetically engineered
ingredients," a statement few companies would agree to put on their
products. It would, however, help consumers choose non-engineered foods.
Later, labels could be required for engineered foods themselves, provided
they would not significantly increase costs or convey inferiority.

For both humanitarian and selfish reasons, the biotech industry should
join with others to support the sound measures that would help rescue the
technology from doubt and controversy.

For starters, Congress should give the FDA a legal mandate to review
safety data on biotech foods, provide opportunities for public comment,
and explain its decisions in the Federal Register. Also, Congress should
invest more heavily in biotechnology research and development to bring
more beneficial products and methods into the public domain. We need to
develop better pre-approval testing methods and to conduct post-approval
monitoring of products. And, biotechnology aside, to help farmers survive,
we should encourage organic and sustainable methods, which are
environmentally and socially sound and, unlike much farming, often highly
profitable.

Furthermore, the U.S. -- and the biotech industry -- must provide generous
assistance to the developing world, where the need for food is greatest.
We should help scientists develop locally appropriate products that
benefit consumers, the environment, and small farmers, as well as help
governments strengthen their oversight agencies.

Sensible reform would overcome the extremism of both the industry and its
critics in a way most beneficial to the public interest.
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From: "Frances B. Smith" Subject: NYT article

The New York Times today has a lengthy article on biotechnology,
principally focusing on Monsanto.
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/25/business/25FOOD.html

Frances B. Smith. Executive Director, Consumer Alert

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From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Curse of the Genetic Tomatoes

The January 24 edition of the “Daily Targum,” a student publication at
Rutgers University, reports that the Rutgers chapter of the New Jersey
Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG) plans to “implement a vigorous
campaign to raise the students’ awareness” of genetic engineering. Jess
Thomson, chairwoman of the Rutgers College chapter of NJPIRG, said victims
have already been claimed by the process. “Some people have had allergic
reactions to tomatoes containing peanut genes,” she said. Emily Francis,
the campus organizer of NJPIRG, wants more testing and the labeling of GM
foods. “Companies,” she said, “should let consumers know if pig genes are
in their tomatoes.” The group intends to target Campbell’s Soup with a
campaign.
---------------------------------
From: prakash@tusk.edu

Dear Dr. Bell:

Regarding the news you mention from Rutgers University, I wish to assure
you that there is no tomato anywhere which has been approved for
commercial release with a peanut allergen gene. Unfortunately, this is
another irresponsible scare-mongering about genetically modified food that
some critics are spreading (like the fish gene in strawberry story that
keeps creeping up now and then; or the pig gene mentioned in that report).

As you rightly mention, the scientists have a great knowledge now on what
type of proteins cause allergy. No one would risk their investment by
putting a known allergen gene or even a gene from allergen sources such as
peanut into our food. Further, FDA regulations require clear labeling of
any products containing an introduction of known allergen or any genes
from allergen sources.

Consumers have every right to expect safe food; it is important that they
understand that modern biotechnological approaches would help them in
getting even safer food as the current bioengineered corn already has
lower mycotoxins, and future products such as hypoallergenic peanuts and
wheat, soybeans with increased cancer-fighting compounds, etc. are in the
works.

Prakash

====
I was surprised to hear about known allergic reactions to a peanut gene
found in a GMF tomato. I hadn't heard of this previously. Does anyone know
if there are indeed documented cases involving peanut genes in tomatoes or
is this a hypothetical concern that is being presented as fact?
Theoretically, I know such things are possible, but I know that industry
folks have known allerginicity sources on their radar screen so as to
avoid them. I'm curious about any details surrounding this particular
example.

Thanks in advance for any info on this.

-Phil
__________________
PHILIP BELL, Assistant Professor pbell@u.washington.edu
Cognitive Studies in Education

-------
(2) Rutgers University (NJ) Group to Begin Information Campaign About
Genetically Modified Foods 1/24/2001) Full Text:
http://news.excite.com/news/uw/010124/health-81 By Emmanuel Falck,,Daily
Targum,Rutgers U. (U-WIRE) NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- The controversy of
genetically engineered food will soon enter the dialogue at Rutgers
University. The Rutgers chapter of the New Jersey Public Interest Research
Group plans to implement a vigorous campaign to raise the students'
awareness on the issue. NJPIRG representatives said there are potential
risks involved when bioengineers insert DNA from plants or animals into
the genetic composition of other plants or animals. Rutgers College
first-year student Jess Thomson, chairwoman of the Rutgers College chapter
of NJPIRG, said victims have already been claimed by the process. "Some
people have had allergic reactions to tomatoes containing peanut genes,"
she said. While not entirely opposed to genetic engineering of food,
NJPIRG believes that further federal regulation should be enacted. Emily
Francis, the campus organizer of NJPIRG, advocates enactment of federal
legislation that calls for more testing and the labeling of foods
constructed through genetic engineering. "Companies are required to
provide nutritional information," Francis said. "They should let consumers
know if pig genes are in their tomatoes." In order to cultivate an
effective grassroots campaign... END excerpt.

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From: "Valda Vinson"
Subject: Announcing SCOPE website on GM Foods

Science Controversies On-Line: Partnerships in Education (SCOPE) Project
University of Washington - UC-Berkeley - SCIENCE (AAAS)

ANNOUNCING AN EDUCATIONAL WEB FORUM ABOUT GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS FOR
SCIENTISTS, TEACHERS & CONCERNED CITIZENS -- DESIGN PREVIEW PERIOD - --
CONTRIBUTIONS INVITED --

The appearance of genetically modified foods (GMF) in the food supply has
resulted in a firestorm of public debate, scientific discussion, and media
coverage. To an increasing extent, public perception is influencing
science policy, so that it is in the best interest of scientists to
contribute to the dialogue. The scientific knowledge base of the general
public can be reached through venues open to interested citizens and
through education in the schools.

The SCOPE Project would like to announce an on-line forum focused on the
issues associated with genetically modified foods and we invite you to
contribute a "commentary" or "position statement" to the site. The SCOPE
GMF Forum is being designed to serve as a comprehensive resource about
genetically modified foods, the underlying science associated with genetic
engineering, and the policy issues surrounding its implementation. The
forum aims to allow people to access information at their own level and to
use the tools of the SCOPE site to progress up the information ladder.
Please take a look at the SCOPE GMF Forum at the following location on the
Web:

http://scope.educ.washington.edu/gmfood/

The site will contain original content from scientists and policy makers
and will cover topics from scientific research to policy implementation.
We will include reports on research progress, perspectives on published
research papers, and position statements. Where possible these will be
linked to background information to make them more accessible to students,
teachers and concerned citizens.

In addition to facilitating communication between scientists and the
public, we hope that the site will be a forum for discussion among
scientists and policy makers.

The SCOPE GMF Forum includes free access to: · EMAIL LISTS dedicated to
discussion of GMF science and news, · WEB-BASED CURRICULA on a range of
GMF-related topics, · INSIGHTS from scientists, teachers, and concerned
citizens giving their views on the debate · ORIGINAL COMMENTARIES from
scientists about hot GMF topics, · POSITION STATEMENTS by major
stakeholders about aspects of the controversy, · A REFERENCE DATABASE
listing GMF research publications, news articles, web sites, and
organizations.

Scientists, teachers and concerned citizens can make use of the GMF
resources provided and can join the email list discussion groups. Using
the educational resources in the forum, students can explore the actual
scientific evidence, build arguments, and debate about these issues in the
classroom.

The web site and email lists are designed to facilitate an even-handed
exploration of the potential risks, issues, and possibilities associated
with GMF. We encourage you to participate in this forum and let us know
what you would like to see included. This is a design preview period for
the SCOPE GMF Forum.

If you are interested in contributing to the SCOPE GMF Forum, please
contact Pam Hines at phines@aaas.org or tel. 202-326-6509