Received: from granger.mail.mindspring.net (granger.mail.mindspring.net [184.108.40.206]) by kestrel.prod.itd.earthlink.net (8.9.3-EL_1_3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id LAA22773; Fri, 29 Sep 2000 11:27:13 -0700 (PDT) Received: from aopen.ix.netcom.com (user-2ivec5f.dialup.mindspring.com [220.127.116.11]) by granger.mail.mindspring.net (8.9.3/8.8.5) with ESMTP id OAA11582; Fri, 29 Sep 2000 14:26:16 -0400 (EDT) Message-Id: <[log in to unmask]> X-Sender: [log in to unmask] X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version 4.3.2 Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 14:51:09 -0400 To: [log in to unmask] From: Carol <[log in to unmask]> Subject: Fwd: GEAN Update #1 - Genetic Engineering Action Network, USA Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by kestrel.prod.itd.earthlink.net id LAA22773 >From: "Andy Zimmerman" <[log in to unmask]> >To: nyban <[log in to unmask]> >Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 05:16:22 -0400 >Subject: GEAN Update #1 - Genetic Engineering Action Network, USA > >Issue #1 G E A N U p d a t e Sept. 29, 2000 > Published by Genetic Engineering Action Network, USA > Editor: Andy Zimmerman, [log in to unmask] > >Welcome! >Taco Debacle >Vermont: Fertile Ground Festival >New York City: GEAN Regional Conference >GEAN Gleanings > > >Welcome! > >This is the first issue of GEAN Update, a biweekly newsletter >which will consider genetic engineering from a skeptical point >of view. GEAN Update will strive to provide a snapshot of >what's going on with the technology and its critics. Though we >will focus on the agricultural applications of biotechnology, and >on events in the USA, we will stray further afield when >appropriate. > >We aim to serve you, the interested reader. Please send us >your feedback, and let us know if there's an item you think we >should cover. > >Genetic Engineering Action Network, USA is an alliance of >groups working to educate the public about the risks of >biotechnology. For information about GEAN, contact its >national co-ordinator, Renske van Staveren, >[log in to unmask] > > >Taco Debacle > >The faith of millions of Americans in our food system was >shaken during the past two weeks, as news of genetically >tainted taco shells was splashed across the nation's front >pages and TV and computer screens. On Sept. 18, it was >revealed by the Genetically Engineered Food Alert coalition, >led by Friends of the Earth, that Taco Bell taco shells had >tested positive for StarLink, a corn variety not approved for >human consumption. > >StarLink corn, a product of the French chemical company >Aventis, uses a gene derived from a soil bacterium to produce >its own pesticide - a protein called Cry9C which kills corn >borers. But because Cry9C has characteristics of a human >allergen, the Environmental Protection Administration has >approved StarLink only for livestock feed and industrial uses. > >In the days following this bombshell, a number of mysteries >remained unsolved: > >How did the wrong variety of corn get into the food? The taco >shells had a tortuous corporate history. Made from corn >ground at a Texas mill partly owned by Archer-Daniels- >Midland, they were processed at a Mexican factory owned by >PepsiCo and marketed under the Taco Bell name by Kraft >Foods, a unit of Philip Morris. Where the contamination took >place is anyone's guess. > >What other products are similarly compromised? No one >knows. Indeed, if Friends of the Earth had not happened to >purchase and test these particular taco shells, the >contamination might never have come to light. > >Can Cry9C make us ill? Again, no one knows. The protein >molecule is the right size to be an allergen, it's heat stable, >and it isn't degraded by stomach acid - so it could possibly >enter the human bloodstream. But there's no direct way at >present to test the allergenicity of substances that have never >before occurred in food. No way, that is, except to turn them >loose on the unsuspecting public and see what happens. > >The biotech food industry is now hunkering down. Kraft has >recalled the offending taco shells; Taco Bell restaurants are >finding new sources for their taco shells, some of which had >been made from the same corn; and Aventis has announced it >will no longer market StarLink seeds, although it's unclear >what will be done with the StarLink corn that is being >harvested this year. > >Some biotech boosters seem stunned by the turn of events. > >"This is not a label issue. This is not a biotech issue. This is >an error in the food safety system," claimed Gene Grabowski >of Grocery Manufacturers of America (Susan Kelly, "Food >Firms Scour Supply Chain after Kraft Recall," Reuters, Sept. >26). > >"It is a matter of hysteria," declared Senator Kit Bond (R) of >Missouri ("Genetically Modified Food: Is It Safe?" CNN >Crossfire, Sept. 19). > >And some activists want more: the Sierra Club has announced >that it will now pressure Kraft, the #1 food producer in the >U.S., to swear off all genetically engineered ingredients. You >can join in by calling Kraft at 800 847 1997. > >As the dust settles, a couple of points have become clear: >that once genetically modified organisms get out into the >environment, there's no telling where they'll end up; and that >genetically engineered food containing potentially harmful >substances is virtually indistinguishable from the normal stuff. >But haven't activists been saying these things all along? > >Info: > >Friends of the Earth, http://www.foe.org > >Genetically Engineered Food Alert, http://www.gefoodalert.org > >Sierra Club Genetic Engineering Group, [log in to unmask] > >Environmental Defense, >http://www.environmentaldefense.org/pubs/Filings/cry9c.html >(for more on Cry9C) > > >Vermont: Fertile Ground Festival > >It's leaf-peeping season in Vermont, and this year there will be >no better place to do it than the Fertile Ground Festival, to be >held Saturday, Oct. 7, 1 to 6 PM on the State House lawn in >Montpelier. The festival's theme will be "Celebrating Our >Harvest and Sowing Resistance to Genetic Engineering." It >will feature organic farm displays, speakers, music, theater >and a parade with Bread & Puppet Theater. Presented by >Vermont Genetic Engineering Action Network and Institute for >Social Ecology. Info: 802 454 9957, [log in to unmask] > > >New York City: GEAN Regional Conference > >A big deal! From Friday, Oct. 13 to Sunday, Oct. 15, >hundreds of people from the New York metropolitan area and >beyond will convene at City University of New York Graduate >Center, 365 Fifth Ave. at 34th St., for the first regional >conference of Genetic Engineering Action Network, USA. A >multimedia exhibition, expert panels and workshops will >culminate in a street action. This will be a great opportunity for >local activists and curious newcomers to rub shoulders with a >bunch of the most knowledgeable people in the country on >biotechnology issues. > >Best of all, the event is free and open to everyone. Advance >registration is recommended at 212 817 8215 or >[log in to unmask] Check the latest schedule at >http://www.geocities.com/gean_nyc/october_conference.html. >If you'd like to volunteer to help, please call 212 674 8918. > > >GEAN Gleanings > >Norwich, England: Twenty-eight Greenpeace campaigners >who cut down a six-acre experimental field of genetically >engineered corn in July have been found not guilty by a jury. >Lord Peter Melchett, organic farmer and executive director of >Greenpeace UK, was among those acquitted. The verdict >raised the question of whether Tony Blair's government can >continue to test biotech crops in the face of popular opposition >(David Brown and David Sapsted, "G.M. Battle Fears as >Melchett is Cleared," The Daily Telegraph [London], Sept. 21). > >Millau, France: José Bové, who became a national hero in >August 1999 when he wrecked an unfinished McDonald's >restaurant in a protest against American agricultural and >trade policies, was given a longer than expected sentence of >three months in jail by a judge. He is free pending appeal >("France's Anti Junk Food Hero Gets Jail Term for >McDonald's Attack," Agence France Presse, Sept. 13).