October 11, 1999

Subject: The Frankenfood Files: 13 Myths About Genetic Engineering + What Biotech Food Issue? + Where are US anti-GMO activists going and how do they get there? + MONSANTO CHIEF ACCUSED OF GM `BULLYING' + Biotech News + GMO Summit in Michigan

Hello

Here are some of the latest news in the fight to stop Genetically Modified Organisms from further biopolluting our environment and corrupting our food supply. It is remarkable to see how quickly this issue is gaining a prominent place in the US and Canada despite the lack of exposure in the North American maintream media to this corporate desecration of the most basic element of health and a most direct threat to the long term sustainability of the natural environment -- all this thanks to an army of concerned people now mobilizing through the Internet to put a stop, just like in England, to the insane and greed-driven activities of GM corporations and their governmental pawns.

Please join in the fight and share this material with all your contacts

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000


IF ANYONE STILL BELIEVES THE GENETIC ENGINEERING OF OUR FOOD SUPPLY IS A GREAT IDEA, THIS FIRST TEXT DEBUNKING THE 13 MYTHS ABOUT GENETIC ENGINEERING IS A *MUST* READ! THIS HAS BEEN WRITTEN FROM A NEW ZEALAND PERSPECTIVE, BUT APPLIES JUST AS WELL TO THE ENTIRE WORLD, EXCEPT PERHAPS IN THE UK AND IN SOME EUROPEAN COUNTRIES WHERE GMOs ARE VOCIFEROUSLY OPPOSED.

From: Bazillions@aol.com
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999
Subject: Excellent Debunking of the alleged "merits" of Genetic Engineering

From: gnn@grassrootsnews.org (Grassroots Media Network)
Forwarded from Robert Mann and the Cornell list:

That a few scientists at the Dunedin Polytech could produce the following popular-level piece gives me some real hope.


13 Myths About Genetic Engineering

Myth No. 1 - Genetic engineering (GE) is not new. It is just the same as speeded-up selective breeding.

FACT: Genetic engineering (GE) and conventional breeding are worlds apart. Breeding does not manipulate genes; it involves crossing of selected parents of the same or closely related species. In contrast, GE involves extracting selected genes from one organism (e.g. animals, plants, insects, bacteria) and/or viruses, or synthesising copies, and artificially inserting them into another completely different organism (eg. food crops). GE usually employs virus genes to smuggle in and promote the inserted genes, and antibiotic resistance genes to act as markers. All these inserted genes are present in every cell of the plant.

Myth No. 2 - Genetic engineering is precise.

FACT: The function of only a small proportion of the DNA in a higher organism is known. Modern genetics has shown that genes do not operate in isolation. Rather they interact in a complicated way, changing their behaviour in response to influences from other genes. Although a gene can be cut out precisely from the DNA of an organism, its insertion into the DNA of another organism is entirely random. This results in the disruption of the order of the genes on the chromosome and may result in random and unexpected changes in the functioning of the cells.

Richard Lewontin, Professor of Genetics at Harvard University, has said of GE: 'We have such a miserably poor understanding of how the organism develops from its DNA that I would be surprised if we don't get one rude shock after another.'

Myth No. 3 - GE foods vary from non-GE foods only in the characteristic that has been modified.

FACT: The random insertion of foreign genes into the genetic material may cause unexpected changes in the functioning of other genes. Existing molecules may be manufactured in incorrect quantities, at the wrong times, or new molecules may be produced. GE foods and food products may therefore contain unexpected toxins or allergenic molecules that could harm our health or that of our offspring.

Myth No.4 - GE food is extensively tested and the GE food at present on our supermarket shelves is perfectly safe to eat.

FACT: No GE food testing is done in New Zealand. We rely almost entirely on the testing carried out by the GE biotechnology companies that have spent billions of dollars developing the food and intend to make a profit selling it to us. There are serious doubts about the adequacy of the testing and the validity of the conclusions drawn from the results. Independent long-term testing is required before we can be sure that GE food is safe to eat. Another health concern is the possible acceleration of the development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics due to the use of antibiotic resistance genes in the production of GE foods.

Myth No. 5 - Genetically engineered food has improved nutritional value.

FACT: No GE food produced to date has been shown to be more nutritious than non-GE food. Most GE crops are only designed to be resistant to specific herbicides, to produce their own insecticides or to have an increased shelf life.

Myth No.6 - One can always choose not to eat GE food.

FACT: At present most foods on New Zealand supermarket shelves containing GE ingredients are not labelled, so there is no way of knowing whether we are eating them. GE products are likely to be found in foods containing the following ingredients:

Soya flour and oil (in many common foods including breads, sausages, etc.)
Lecithin (in chocolate, ice cream etc.)
Canola oil
Corn (maize) extracts.

Myth No. 7 - Farmers will benefit from growing GE crops.

FACT: Seeds of genetically engineered crops are more expensive than those of conventional crops. Farmers in the UK and USA report that yields are generally no better, the crops are less reliable and overall have not improved profitability. Non-GE crops now receive a premium and as more countries reject GE foods, the opportunities to sell GE produce overseas are diminishing. Because of risks associated with GE crops insurance companies in the USA and UK are now reluctant to insure them. Farmers growing GE crops have to sign binding contracts with the biotechnology producers. These commit them to using only the herbicides produced by that company and prohibit them from the traditional practice of saving seed for the next season. Most third world farmers certainly will not benefit.

Myth No.8 - GE crops will reduce the use of herbicides and pesticides.

FACT: Crops engineered to be resistant to specific herbicides may encourage more liberal use of those herbicides. This has been anticipated by one manufacturer, who has applied to ANZFA (Australia New Zealand Food Authority) to have the allowable residue of the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup=AE) in foods sold in New Zealand increased by 200 times. In areas of the USA where crops engineered to produce their own insecticide are grown, pesticide use has not decreased.

Myth No. 9 - There is no evidence that GE crops are harmful to the environment.

FACT: Insects, birds and the wind carry genetically altered pollen and seeds into neighbouring fields and far beyond. Cross-pollination occurs between GE crops and non-GE crops and their wild relatives. In this way resistance to weed killer, for example, might be transmitted to weeds making them more difficult to control. There is evidence that crops engineered to produce their own insecticide can kill beneficial insects.

Myth No. 10 - GE crops will save the world from famine.

FACT: A major cause of famine is the unequal global distribution of food. Food mountains exist in much of the western world and food is regularly dumped. Poor people have limited ability to buy either GE or non-GE food. There is no evidence that GE crops produce higher yields than conventional crops or that GE products will be cheaper.

Myth No. 11 - You can trust the scientists that GE food is good for you and the world.

FACT: The money for scientific research on GE here and overseas comes from either the biotechnology companies or the government. Both are committed to the promises of biotechnology. This means that even when scientists have concerns about the safety or commercial application of the technology, it is often hard for them to risk their careers by being openly critical. One respected scientist in the UK who spoke up about his experimental results showing damaging effects of feeding rats on a type of genetically engineered potato was immediately fired from his job.

Myth No. 12 - You can't stop progress.

FACT: No of course we can't; and why would we want to? Progress implies change for the better. Change for the worse is regression. We must be sure that GE products have benefits for the consumer and are safe if they are to be introduced into our foods. We must not commit ourselves to a dubious technology that cannot be reversed.

Myth No. 13 - There are more important things to worry about than GE foods.

FACT: Many scientists don't think so. For example Joseph Rotblat, the British physicist who won a 1995 Nobel Prize says: "My worry is that other advances in science may result in other means of mass destruction, maybe more readily available even than nuclear weapons. Genetic engineering is quite a possible area, because of these dreadful developments that are taking place there."


Prepared by Consumers for Education about Genetic Engineering
Contact Phone Number 03-489 4020 or 03-476 1345
e-mail brentmckenzie@clear.net.nz

The Grassroots Media Network http://www.onr.com/user/gnn

To recieve daily general news or queer news posts please send a message to gnn@grassrootsnews.org with "add me to gnnnews" (for general news) or "add me to queernews" (for queer news) in the subject line.




NORTH AMERICANS ARE STILL ALMOST ENTIRELY KEPT IN THE DARK BY THEIR SHALLOWNEWSMEDIA ABOUT THIS ISSUE, BUT I CAN ALREADY HEAR THE CONSUMER REBELLION THAT WILL EXPLODE WHEN THEY'LL DISCOVER WHAT HAS BEEN DONE TO THEIR FOOD SUPPLY

Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999
Subject: What biotech food issue?
From: gnn@grassrootsnews.org (Grassroots Media Network)

Source: http://www.gallup.com

LATEST RELEASE
October 5, 1999

What Biotech Food Issue?

Americans not alarmed by application of biotechnology in food production

by Lydia Saad

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ U.S. public concern about genetically modified foods barely registers a ripple in a new Gallup Poll survey. While Europe is reportedly in an uproar over biotechnology-related food safety and environmental concerns -- fraught with boycotts, vandalism, and charges of "Frankenfood" -- only 10% of Americans report having heard "a great deal" about the issue and just one quarter, 27%, currently believe it poses a serious health hazard to consumers.

The biotech controversy focuses on concerns that specialized strains of corn, soybeans and other agricultural products may not be safe for human consumption when they utilize genetic manipulation rather than traditional cross pollination methods. The debate encompasses food testing issues that could eventually test the trust Americans have in the United States Food and Drug Administration's ability to guarantee the safety of the food supply.

According to the September 23-26 Gallup survey, Americans today seem quite relaxed about food safety issues. Without reference to any specific hazard, 80% say they feel confident that the food available in most grocery stores is safe to eat; 69% feel confident in the safety of restaurant food. This conviction stands in stark contrast to the situation in Europe, where consumer concerns and boycotts have forced a mounting number of food producers and grocery chains to take a "biotech free" pledge.

SLIM MAJORITY BACKS BIOTECH FOODS

When asked specifically about the use of biotechnology in food production, Americans express a fair amount of uncertainty, but nevertheless come down on the side of biotechnology. Only 27% of the U.S. public currently believe biotechnology poses a serious health hazard to consumers; 53% think it does not pose a hazard, and the rest, 20%, are unsure. These levels of doubt and concern are reflected in the public's responses to an additional question -- one that measures overall support for the use of biotechnology in food production. A bare majority of Americans, 51%, say they support such a use of biotechnology, while 41% are opposed.

Even though Americans' overall reaction favors the biotech industry, the Gallup survey--which allowed respondents to register their intensity of feeling on the issue--reveals that its harshest critics outnumber its fervent advocates by close to two to one. Overall, 9% of Americans strongly support biotech methods, 42% say they moderately support them, 25% moderately oppose them and 16% strongly oppose them.

The strongest opposition to biotechnology is levied by lower income and less educated Americans, while those with college degrees and high incomes are most likely to be strong supporters. For instance, 21% of those with no college experience strongly oppose the technology, compared with only 8% of those with a college or postgraduate degree.

FEW PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION

Low public awareness of the biotech issue in the U.S. could be one explanation for Americans' widespread confidence in the food supply. Only 10% of those surveyed in the September 23-26 poll claim to have heard "a great deal" about the issue -- defined in the survey as new scientific techniques such as genetic engineering and genetic modification for producing food and medicine. Another 40% of Americans say they have heard or read "some" while half indicate they have heard little to nothing about it.

However, at this early stage of public awareness, those most familiar with the issue are also the most supportive. Two-thirds of those who have heard a great deal of information about biotechnology, 66%, say they support its use in food production, compared to 63% among those who have heard "some" information, 42% of those who have heard "not much" and 30% of those who have heard nothing.

WIDESPREAD FAITH IN THE FDA

Another potentially important factor in Americans' confidence in the safety of the food on their grocery store shelves is their basic confidence in federal oversight. Fifteen percent of Americans say they have a great deal of confidence in the federal government to "ensure the safety of the food supply," and an additional 61% have a fair amount of confidence. Just one-quarter express low confidence, including 19% who have "not much" confidence and another 5% who express no confidence at all.

One challenge that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may soon face is whether to require special labeling for products that include genetically modified food. Because biotech products enter foods through direct sources such as soy, and indirect sources such as grain feed for cattle, labeling of foods may require separate food distribution tracks. Some industry experts say this may ultimately raise consumer costs. Still, despite the low level of concern about potential biotech hazards, two-thirds of Americans currently say they would be willing to pay more in order to require such labeling.




Subj: GE: Where is the US anti-GE movement going?
Date: 10/7/99
From: gnn@grassrootsnews.org (Grassroots Media Network)

Where are US anti-GMO activists going and how do they get there?

This is a follow-up to my earlier memo on the NYU Law School genetic
engineering symposium.

As I look around the US I see, finally, the sparks of an anti-WTO
rebellion, united against GMOs, RBGH, WTO and transnational corporations.
There are terrific people and terrific groups doing terrific work. But we
are still years behind the anti-GMO groups in UK and Europe. From what I
hear, a recent conference in California on GMOS and labelling produced no
concrete strategies for orchestrating a national GMO campaign involving
these people and groups. Rather than go into the political, social,
historic and logistic reasons for this, I would like to suggest some of the
needs that must be met before the GMO battle takes off. My suggestions are
based on the anti-nuclear power movement that characterized much of the
1970s activism and which by any measure was hugely successful.

INFORMATION. Abundant informational sources abound, in books, scientific
studies, periodicals and on the Internet--almost too much in fact for the
ordinary activist to digest or make sense of. While we all need to know
where to go to get the more esoteric information, what is needed by the
non-expert is a few pieces of concise literature (with bibliography and
references) that can be mass produced cheaply or, better still, which can
be made available free through organizations with the help of donors and
funders. Some activists will have the time and money to reprint these
themselves but most do not. They need to be provided with such materials
for distribution to other organizations, schools, public events, etc.
Ronnie Cummins' four-page reprint on the case for a global moratorium on
GMO technology is a leading example. A single page fact sheet would also be
helpful, as well as a sheet with assorted short news items reprinted on
back and front.

CREDIBILITY. Perhaps the biggest favors done for antinuke groups were the
actions and statements of groups like Union of Concerned Scientist and most
importantly the adversary whistleblowing scientists like John Gofman,
Arthur Tamplin, Robert Pollard, George Wald,the three GE engineers
(including the late mourned Dale Bridenbaugh), as well as people like
Sister Rosalie Bertell, Dr. Alice Stewart, Karl Z. Morgan, etc. who put
their own reputations (and lives) on the line to speak the truth. We need
physicians, nutritionists, biologists and ecologists to come out of the
woodwork, make public statements, conduct TV and radio interviews, write
letters, give talks, and provide the scientific underpinnings to the
anti-WTO movement. WHERE ARE THESE SCIENTISTS? (A rare one was the late
Erwin Chargaff; let us hope he was not alone). The mass media will not
listen to the hardcore antiGMO people until the experts speak out and give
credibility to their doubts and to the questions they raise.

COORDINATION. Ralph Nader's Critical Mass conferences, held regularly
throughout the 1970s into the early 1980s, were extremely important events.
They not only facilitated liaison and communication between far-flung
anti-nuke groups but enabled individual activists to connect up with
organizations in their community, get accurate information on a whole range
of nuclear issues, and get inspired and fired up by the collective
commitment of thousands of people from all walks of life.
Would Nader and his Global Trade Watch, perhaps in conjunction with the
Center for Technology Assessment and other groups, consider holding similar
conferences on genetic engineering and globalization?

REGULATORY AND INSTITUTIONAL PROCESSES. Several Federal agencies have hands
in the GMO issue one way or another: FDA, USDA, EPA, Office of the US Trade
Representative, delegations to the WTO and the biodiversity and biosafety
protocols, the president's science adviser, etc. We need a clearinghouse
about proposed hearings, legislation, administrative proceedings (much like
the FDA organic standards comments process). The length and complexity of
the WTO and NAFTA provisions alone make it virtually impossible for the
ordinary activist to understand what they provide for, much less understand
their economic and political implications. Some abridged literature giving
summaries of the important parts is desperately needed.

ACTIVIST TRAINING. Most activists are being forced to rely on their own
initiative and scientific understanding but except in a very few cases this
may not be adequate to the task. Workshops on WTO, EU policies and regs,
the nuts and bolts of recombinant DNA, transgenics, plant breeding, etc, a
review of the various health and environmental studies that have been done,
information on resources, experts, organizations, administrative hearings,
lawsuits, details on the labelling and liability issues and on the
biodiversity/biosafety protocols, the US position, EU positions, who are
the black hats and who are the white hats, what is coming down the
pike...and more...these are all issues that activists need to one extent or
the other to do their work honestly and accurately. Is there an
organization that can sponsor these in different states?

In addition there are the issues of outreach, liaison with other movements,
groups or unions, media and so forth.

The Europeans, thankfully, have put their foot down and are now carrying
the burden of the activist work. We can and should learn from them. But
because the US is the major player and pusher of GMO technology on the
world stage, Americans must put the pressure on the US, its agencies and
its trade/WTO representatives, as well as on elected officials. At this
point it is a collection of a thousand points of light. We need to maintain
our decentralized efforts, just as the anti-nuke groups did, but we also
need to demonstrate that we are supported by many other groups across the
country, within a unified integrated movement. A common objective needs to
be developed - a global moratorium on genetic engineering is called for -
and then a strategy that involves citizens and groups at all levels -
government, media, education, scientific institutions, citizen
organizations, demonstrations, boycotts - needs to carried out to put this
issue on the plate of everyone in the US just as was done with nuclear
power. We need to become a movement, not just a collection.

How can we do this? And how soon?

Responses appreciated.

Lorna Salzman


FRANKENFOODS: RECIPE FOR DISASTER

Box 775
East Quogue, NY 11942
Phone: 516 653-3387
Fax: 516 653-3387 (call first)
E-mail: lsalzman@aba.org




MONSANTO CHIEF ACCUSED OF GM `BULLYING'
October 6, 1999
PA News/ United Press International/ Dow Jones

Bob Shapiro, chairman of Monsanto was today, according to this story,
accused of "bullying" the public into accepting its products and was
challenged to halt the multi-national's controversial GM technology by
Lord Melchett, executive director of Greenpeace UK - at a conference in
London.

The clash came only days after Mr Shapiro pledged not to commercialise the
"terminator", or sterile seed technology, and amid growing consumer alarm
at so called "Frankenstein food".

But Lord Melchett, a Labour hereditary Peer, was quoted as telling the
Greenpeace business conference that, "Monsanto are bullies trying to
force their products on us. If Monsanto will stop developing GM crops, get
out of producing pesticides and reject the idea of patenting of life
forms, Greenpeace will work to produce new Monsanto. We could create the
world's first life sciences company, swords into sustainable plough
shares. Think about it."

Lord Melchett added the potential of organic farming was immense and GM
food "is taking us in the wrong direction".
He told Mr Shapiro: "It goes against the grain of what people want and
Bob, you are blocking that progress."

However Mr Shapiro rejected the claim, telling the conference, via a video
link from America: "If I'm a bully, I don't feel I'm very successful. I
don't think Peter (Melchett) and I are going to bully or stampede the
public over this."

But he conceded that Monsanto had "irritated and antagonised" more people
than it had persuaded over the wisdom of GM technology.
Shapiro also said the company remained committed to biotechnology despite
Monsanto's move earlier this week to halt the commercialization of
'sterile seed technologies' and that the company was committed to a
developing "constructive answers" to the controversial debate around
biotechnology.

Shapiro was further quoted as saying that during the bitter public
relations battles between the biotechnology industry and opponents of
genetically modified crops, Monsanto's confidence in genetic technology
had come across as "condescension or indeed arrogance," adding, "We have
been working on it (biotechnology) for 20 years, and that is the source of
that conviction, but because of that, I think we have tended to see it as
our task to convince people, in short, that we are right and that by
extension people who have different points of view are wrong or at best
misguided. We behave then as though this is or should be a debate and the
unintended result of that has privately been that we have irritated and
antagonized more people than we have persuaded...because we thought it was
our job to persuade too often we have forgotten to listen."

To this end, Shapiro said, an "extensive" consultation with people
"especially in the developing world" led to the company's decision to halt
the commercialization of sterile seed technologies.


Mark Ritchie, President
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
2105 First Ave. South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404 USA
612-870-3400 (phone) 612-870-4846 (fax)
mritchie@iatp.org www.iatp.org




From: "Dave" <dave@asheville-computer.com>
Subject: Biotech News
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 1999

Biotech News, by Richard Wolfson, PhD

Reprinted with permission from the October 1999 issue of Alive: Canadian
Journal of Health and Nutrition, 7436 Fraser Park Drive, Burnaby, BC V5J
5B9

Biotech Soybeans Deficient

New research shows that genetically engineered (GE) soybeans may be less
potent sources of phytoestrogens than their conventional precursors. The
research, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food (Vol. 1, no. 4, 1999),
reported an overall reduction in phytoestrogen levels of 12-14 percent in
genetically altered soybeans, compared to non-GE varieties. Soy foods are
recommended largely for their dietary phytoestrogen content.

This research refutes claims that genetically engineered foods are
'substantially equivalent' to their non-GE counterparts. Genetically
engineered herbicide-resistant soy is already on the market in Canada,
unlabelled and mixed in with conventional varieties.

Industry Claims Torpedoed

New research by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that biotech
crops do not produce higher yields or result in reduced pesticide use, as
claimed by industry.

American experts studied biotech soy, corn, and cotton across huge tracts
of the U.S. farming belt, where both GE and non-GE varieties were being
grown. The researchers found no increase in yields from GE crops in 12 of
18 areas. In some areas, conventional varieties produced yields 10 percent
or more higher than comparable GE varieties.

In 7 of 12 areas studied, farmers growing biotech varieties used at least
the same amount of pesticide as those growing traditional crops. Farmers
growing Roundup Ready (herbicide-resistant) soybeans used 2 to 5 times more
herbicide per acre, compared to the other popular weed management systems
with non-GE soybeans. The research shoots down arguments that Frankenstein
foods could help stop hunger in the Third World, or are more
environmentally friendly.

Roundup Linked to Cancer

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Cancer Society
(March 15, 1999) showed that exposure to the herbicide glyphosate results
in increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer.

Glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, is the world's most widely used
herbicide. Seventy-one percent of biotech crops planted in 1998 (including
biotech soy, canola, and corn) were genetically engineered to be resistant
to glyphosate or other herbicides. Herbicide resistant crops allow
increased use of these toxic chemicals to kill weeds.

Marks & Spencer First to go GE-Free

Marks & Spencer, one of UK's largest food chains, announced that it has
become the first major UK retailer to go completely genetically-engineered
food free. From July 1, all M&S foods were produced without GE ingredients
or derivatives. More than 5,000 ingredients made from soy and corn were
checked and changes were made to 1,800 recipes to strip all products of GE
ingredients or derivatives.

FDA Ignored Warnings

Records from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reveal that in
approving genetically engineered foods, the agency ignored some of its own
scientists. These people repeatedly cautioned against GE foods because of
unexpected and untested toxins and allergens.

For instance, Dr. Louis Priybl of the FDA Microbiology Group, stated "There
is a profound difference between the types of unexpected effects from
traditional breeding and genetic engineering which is just glanced over in
this document." He added that several aspects of gene splicing "...may be
more hazardous."

(clip)




Date: Fri, 08 Oct 1999
From: DJ <djhewitt@jps.net>
Subject: GMO Summit in Michigan

From: Janette Boyd <lu9rhtas@idt.net>

Citizens Joins National Summit on GMOs
Launches Campaign on Behalf of Natural Health Consumers

Detroit Michigan, October 8, 1999 -- Citizens For Health President and
CEO Susan Haeger announced a new "Keep 'Natural' Natural" national consumer
campaign on genetically modified foods while participating today in the
"Michigan Summit On The Hazards of Genetically Engineered Foods". Haeger
joined Congressman David Bonoir (D-MI) and leaders in the science, food,
agriculture, media, and religious communities at the Summit sponsored
by Mothers For Natural Law and held on the Michigan State University campus.
The Summit highlighted a call on the Federal government to develop a policy
on the labeling and safety testing of all genetically engineered food.

"Citizens' purpose is to ensure that those Americans who do not want to
take part in this huge biotech experiment -- for religious, ethical, health,
or other personal reasons -- have the right and the ability to choose
not to. There are simply too many unanswered environmental, health, and
safety questions to deprive people of their right to use or to reject
genetically modified foods," said Haeger.

Citizens for Health has a long history of involvement in food safety issues,
including last year's highly successful Organic Campaign that helped generate
over 275,000 consumer letters to Agriculture Secretary Glickman. The
organization has been active in the GMO area since 1997 - and has had
a long-standing commitment to consumer choice and GMO product labeling.
Its decision to formally launch a national campaign is in direct response
to growing public concern about the prevalence of genetically modified
organisms (GMOs) in the food supply and requests by leading natural product
retailers. Citizens believes there is much that can be done right now
to advance consumer choice and to protect public health and safety, even
before mandatory labeling legislation is enacted.

(CLIP)


A definition for identifying GMOs was developed by The National Organic
Standards Board and was used by the USDA in considering, and then indicating
they would reject inclusion of GMOs in proposed federal organic standards.
Based on this, the natural products industry has the capacity to immediately
address this issue and must do so to avoid consumer confusion.

The "Keep 'Natural' Natural " campaign has the following goals:

Increase the availability of non-GMO products to consumers in the natural
products marketplace.

Expand the availability of non-GMO ingredients to suppliers and manufacturers
.
Develop a meaningful standard for defining non-GMO products and their
labeling.

Encourage companies, where appropriate, to immediately label products
as non-GMO.

Call for a moratorium on the introduction of new GMOs until essential
health, environmental, and labeling questions have been answered.

Call for development of a pre-market screening process for evaluating
the safety of GMOs and a post-market surveillance process for approved
GMOs.

(clip)

Citizens is also expanding the GMO section on its web site (http://www.citizens.org) providing comprehensive background information on the regulations, science, economics, and risks and benefits of GMOs. Also included on the site is current news coverage on the GMO issue and information on how to be involved in the "Keep 'Natural' Natural" Campaign.


Citizens For Health, PO Box 2260, Boulder CO 80306
Ph: 303-417-0772, Fax 303-417-9378, http://www.citizens.org, Email: cfh@citizens.org




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