[GRRN] Biotechnology Controversy

RecycleWorlds (anderson@msn.fullfeed.com)
Thu, 29 Apr 1999 16:34:00 -0500


British Revolt Grows Over "Genetic" Foods. The Washington Post,
April 29, 1999, pE2. Full text available at:
Two large food production companies, Unilever UK and Nestle
UK, along with Tesco stores, the largest chain of grocery stores
in Britain, announced yesterday that they would be phasing out
foods made from genetically-engineered crops. The decisions are
in response to numerous demonstrations against genetically-
engineered crops in Europe. "Consumer confidence in the
technology appears to be low," said Nestle UK.
American companies that export foods to Europe could be
significantly affected by this decision. Currently, about half of
the soy crop in the US is grown from genetically-engineered
seeds. One quarter of the American soy crop is exported to Europe
in a typical year, and genetically altered soy is not separated
from regular soy.

** The above story was also reported in: **
Giant Companies to Phase Out Biotech Foods. Lycos Environment
News Service, April 29, 1999. Full text available at:
In Europe, public reaction to genetically-altered crops has
been much stronger than in the US. Charles, the Prince of Wales,
has aligned himself against genetically-engineered foods, saying,
"I am not convinced we know enough about the long-term
consequences for human health and the environment of releasing
plants (or, heaven forbid, animals) bred in this way."
The US company Monsanto is under fire for using what are
seen as strong arm legal tactics in the UK. Monsanto asked a
judge to force some environmentalists to supply the mailing list
for a "Handbook for Action" against biotech crops. Some in the UK
think that Monsanto would use the mailing list to target
environmentalists protesting their products.
Tony Juniper, of the organization Friends of the Earth,
said, "Monsanto have lost the public arguments over GM crops, and
are now resorting to legal strong-arm tactics in response. I'm
not the least bit surprised, given Monsanto's track record. They
would be better advised to accept the failure of their marketing
strategy and to accept the opinion of the British public who do
not want GM food foisted upon them."

Monsanto Suspends Terminator Seeds Marketing. Lycos Environment
News Service, April 28, 1999. Full text available at:
The Monsanto Company announced recently that it will delay
the sale of its Terminator seeds until results from various
studies on biotechnology can be completed. The Terminator seeds
produce plants with sterile seeds. The Terminator product is
controversial because farmers that use it could not use seeds
from their crops to grow another harvest, but would have to
purchase new seeds from Monsanto each time they plant.
Monsanto released a statement saying, "We believe that the
concerns about gene protection technologies should be heard and
carefully considered before any decisions are made to
commercialize them." Philip Angell, Monsanto's director of
communications, said the company had decided to delay marketing
of the Terminator seeds, "...because the reaction to Terminator
in a lot of different quarters in many countries was clearly
becoming the dominant discussion about biotechnology." There are
several companies besides Monsanto that are developing this type
of technology.

Peter Anderson
RecycleWorlds Consulting
4513 Vernon Blvd. Ste. 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
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