ecoglobe [yinyang] news (4 October 1999)

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Further reasons for stopping the GE crops

[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."

    Codex Fails to Approve Hormone
    At a recent Codex (the international food regulating body) meeting in Rome, governments failed to agree on an international standard on genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (BGH). BGH is widely used in USA, where it injected into cows to increase milk production. BGH is not allowed in Canada or EU due to concerns for both human and animal safety.
    Failure to agree on Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for BGH means that individual governments will maintain their freedom to decide whether to allow BGH in their countries. Consumers International applauded the decision not to approve BGH internationally as a victory for the health and safety of consumers.

[Transcibed from Biotech_activists listserve Richard Wolfson [] and Scoop:]

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed for research and educational purposes only. **

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ecoglobe [yinyang] news (4 October 1999)

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