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GM Watch Monthly Review No. 51

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GM WATCH MONTHLY REVIEW No. 51
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FROM REVIEW EDITOR, CLAIRE ROBINSON
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We hope you enjoy our latest global roundup of news on the GM front. Please forward it to all your friends and colleagues who may be interested, and tell all your non-English speaking friends that many of our past Monthly Reviews are available in Portuguese, Dutch and German at
http://www.gmwatch.org/p1temp.asp?pid=93&page=1

In just the last week, as you may have heard, the premiers of two Australian states, John Brumby in Victoria and Morris Iemma in New South Wales, have trashed Australia's GM-free advantage by allowing the states' GM canola (oilseed rape) bans to expire, threatening the whole of Australia with GM contamination.

Brumby is already facing a serious political backlash as a result. Less than four months into his premiership, Brumby has been hit by an unprecedented caucus revolt. Members of Brumby's team complain they've been rail-roaded, and "ignorant" and "short-sighted" are among the comments on the decision made by his own supporters.

Brumby and Iemma aren't alone in feeling the heat. When the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture said recently that they'd ban labels that indicated that milk had been produced without Monsanto's genetically engineered cattle drug Posilac (rBGH/BST), all hell broke loose and they quickly announced a review of the policy. And there's been growing consumer pressure for rBGH-free milk across the country. And next year the U.S. natural food industry will remove all remaining genetically engineered ingredients from its products.

According to the author of Genetic Roulette, Jeffrey Smith, "Consumer buying pressure will likely force the entire food chain in North America to swear off GE within the next two years. Such a tipping point was achieved in Europe in April 1999. Australia should be taking notice of the response to GE foods throughout the world. It is certainly not the time to let the state bans expire."

Claire
www.gmwatch.org / www.lobbywatch.org

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MONTHLY REVIEW CONTENTS
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AUSTRALIAN STATES LIFT GM BAN
LOBBYWATCH
VICTIMISED SCIENTISTS
BEE DIE-OFF
CONTAMINATION
RESISTANCE/BANS/RESTRICTIONS ON GM
GM EXPANSION/APPROVALS
RESEARCH
GM FILMS ON YOUTUBE
FOOD SAFETY
AGROFUELS
GM TREES
CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF GOVERNMENT
CLONING
GENETIC CROSSROADS

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AUSTRALIAN STATES LIFT GM BAN
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+ PREMIERS SOW SEEDS OF DESTRUCTION
The premier of Victoria, John Brumby and the premier of New South Wales, Morris Iemma have been accused of trashing Australia's GM-free advantage by allowing the state's GM canola bans to expire, threatening the whole nation with GM contamination.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8538

+ FURORE AS BAN ON GM CROPS LIFTED
The decision to allow GM canola to be grown in Victoria has inflamed dissent in Premier Brumby's Government and sparked warnings non-GM farms could be contaminated. Farmers in Victoria and NSW will be free to plant GM canola from early next year after both states announced the lifting of bans on the crops - despite appeals not to do so from the Governments of Western Australia and Tasmania. The Brumby government accepted a recommendation from a scientific panel headed by Victoria's chief scientist, Sir Gustav Nossal. Cabinet approved the lifting of the ban despite stinging criticism of the premier from some of his own MPs. Copies of Sir Gustav's review were released by the premier only after it was announced that the ban would be removed.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8540

+ HEALTH ISSUES NOT CONSIDERED IN MORATORIUM DECISION
The Victorian government deliberately excluded health issues in the report it commissioned from Sir Gustav Nossal to help it decide whether to continue or overturn its moratorium on GM canola.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8502

+ "INDEPENDENT REVIEW" WAS PR EXERCISE
The Network of Concerned Farmers has slammed the Victorian "independent review" by Nossal, claiming the concerns of non-GM farmers were ignored. "The report included benefits that are not there while ignoring additional costs and market risks," said Julie Newman, NCF national spokesperson.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8551

+ LIES, CORRUPTION, AND VESTED INTEREST
A very useful summary by Julie Newman of the "lies, corruption and vested interest" behind the push for GM in Australia is at
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8557

+ 250 MAJOR COMPANIES BACKED GM CROP BAN
250 major food companies supported the continuation of the GM moratoria by Australian states. The companies include Goodman Fielder, the biggest user of canola oil in Australia, and the Tatiara Meat Company (TMC), the biggest producer and exporter of Australian lamb. TMC's managing director, Eckard Huebl, says there is a risk it will lose a premium now being paid for Australian lamb.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8463
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8469
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8473
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8481
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8518

+ WESTERN AUSTRALIA AND TASMANIA URGE STATES TO KEEP MORATORIUM
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8544

+ ANGER BOILS OVER GM FOOD
Labor MP Jenny Mikakos will defy premier John Brumby and lobby the federal government for better labelling of GM foods. The move, a direct challenge to Brumby's authority, comes as caucus dissent erupts over the decision to allow GM canola to be grown in Victoria. Her colleague Tammy Lobato branded GM the new asbestos and said she was "appalled and disgusted" by this "ignorant" and "short-sighted" decision.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8550

+ COUNCILS HAVE POWER TO STOP GM CROPS
The Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) believes local councils can effectively make their municipalities free of GM crops. It says local health plans can be altered to make it very difficult for GM crops to be grown or distributed in a region.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8556

+ DEMOCRATS BID TO EXTEND GM BAN IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
The Australian Democrats will move to extend a ban on GM crops in South Australia until 2013.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8499

+ QUOTES ON THE LIFTING OF THE BANS
"The premiers' arrogance over GM crops and foods ignores the majority support for GM-free among farmers, shoppers, the food industry and state governments." - Gene Ethics director Bob Phelps

"[GM has] ruined traditional farmers in Canada" - New South Wales Greens MP Ian Cohen

"Consumers, food manufacturers, some farmers and indeed our markets in Japan in particular are indicating that they want the moratorium extended - not lifted." - Tasmania's primary industries minister, David Llewellyn

"I'm concerned we will see a decline in the value of our product we send overseas... Economically Australia would be much better off to market all its food produce overseas - and domestically, for that matter - as a natural, clean, GM-free product, rather than give in to a couple of multinationals trying to entice a small group of farmers." - Leading Australian exporter interviewed by ABC
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8538

"If Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia lift their GM moratoria, it will increase the risks to WA and Tasmania's GM-free agriculture and threaten Australia's overseas markets." - Western Australian Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8544

"This is a disaster for our farmers - we will suffer contamination, increased costs of testing, increased costs of segregation and ultimately the only recourse we will probably have is through the courts." - Scott Kinnear of Biological Farmers of Australia
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8538

"The contamination in North America from the long grained rice scandal is estimated to cost the grains industry $1.2 billion, so why on earth would we want to go down this path?" - Scott Kinnear of Biological Farmers of Australia
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8532

"With a record-breaking drought and uncertain times for the world economy, it is difficult to understand why they [Victoria and New South Wales] are prepared to throw away Australia's competitive advantage as a GM-free producer just when other agricultural regions are paying the price of a consumer backlash." - editorial in Tasmanian newspaper Mercury
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8550

"John Brumby's announcement to allow GM foods to grow in Victoria threatens more than just the income of Australia's farmers and food companies. There is irrefutable evidence that GM foods are unsafe to eat." - author of Genetic Roulette, Jeffrey Smith
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8541

+ GM CANOLA IS IMPOSSIBLE TO CONTAIN
Comment by Dr Jeremy Sweet, then of NIAB (and later part of EFSA), during the UK's GM Science debate in 2003: "We do have to accept the fact that once GM oilseed rape [canola] is commercialised it will be everywhere and that is inevitable."
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8547

+ LIFTING GM BANS MAY TRIGGER LEGAL LANDSLIDE
The lifting of bans on GM canola in NSW and Victoria will trigger a landslide of lawsuits from producers suffering contamination, Australia's largest organic farming body said.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8543
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8525

+ EXTRA COST FOR FARMERS GROWING GM
Farmers who grow GM canola in Victoria and New South Wales next season could face increased storage and handling fees. GrainCorp, the largest bulk handler on Australia's east coast, is estimating the additional costs involved in segregating GM canola oilseeds. GrainCorp managing director Tom Keene says GM canola growers may have to pay extra.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8550

+ WHY THE BAN ON GM CANOLA MUST STAY
Points from the Biological Farmers Australia group:
* The global crop area of GM canola has not increased since 1999
* The USA and Canada (which currently grow GM canola) pay billions of dollars of direct subsidies to farmers and this comes at the expense of health and education spending
* North American farm incomes have fallen disastrously
* Australia remains, of the three players on the global market, the only GM free canola producer
* Strict labelling laws in the EU makes Australian canola the preferred product for food and biofuel use
* The premiums cannot be denied: Australian canola wins by up to $US120 per tonne, and an average of $US68 more over 2 years than in the previous 10 years
* Consumer resistance to GM has increased.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8525

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LOBBYWATCH
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+ "WORMY" CORN PAPER CALLED "FRAUDULENT" AGAIN
The Ecologist has published a piece on Canadian bureaucrat Shane Morris's campaign of harassment against GM Watch. Morris made legal threats and accusations of defamation as a result of our article "Award for a Fraud" about his and Doug Powell's award-winning science paper that purported to show that consumers preferred GM over non-GM sweetcorn but omitted to mention that the non-GM corn in the experiment was labeled "wormy"!
EXCERPT: Dr Richard Jennings, an ethics expert, has commented that the "Award for a Fraud" title is justified: "I think the paper is fraudulent," he said. "The presence of the 'wormy corn' sign is crucial data and failure to include it in the paper constitutes falsification - in this case falsification through omission."
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8554

+ GREENPEACE RAINS ON EFB'S PARADE
The pro-GM lobby group - the European Federation of Biotechnology - planned to lobby the European Commission with a media stunt involving the handing over of an Open Letter to Commissioner Dimas in support of the approval of two GM maize crops Dimas doesn't want the Commission to licence. The media were told that the letter would be handed over at the EU Commission head quarters by a "group of Europe's leading scientists" - in fact, such well known GM lobbyists as Klaus Ammann and Marc Van Montagu, President of the EFB. Unfortunately for the EFB, Greenpeace showed up too to do their own mock ceremonial involving a parody lobbyists' letter and a highly revealing fact sheet for the journalists present on the real character of the EFB. "The EFB is a front for companies like Monsanto. This lobby group is obviously trying to mask commercial interest with dubious scientific credentials. We expect the EU Commission to see through the sham and treat them as an ordinary industry pressure group."
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8548
TAKE ACTION - SUPPORT GM MAIZE BAN
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/getinvolved/support-dimas-on-maize

+ TAVERNE REFUTED
In October British peer Lord Dick Taverne wrote an article for Prospect, a magazine aimed at politicians, in which he claimed, "GM foods are safe, healthy and essential if we ever want to achieve decent living standards for the world's growing population. Misplaced moralising about them in the west is costing millions of lives in poor countries." Now Prospect has published several incisive articles demolishing Taverne's arguments. Recommended reading.
Jonathon Porritt slams Taverne's "GM escapism"
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8521
Rethinking agriculture - Colin Tudge
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8522
Revolution on ice/Hidden costs
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8414

+ NUKES AND GM ON UK CHIEF SCIENTIST'S WISH LIST
UK prime minister Gordon Brown should approve a new generation of nuclear power stations immediately and give active government backing to GM crops, according to his departing chief scientist, Prof Sir David King. In the last few months, Sir David has undermined his excellent record of standing up for climate science with a 'legacy' wish list that seems to owe little to scientific evidence and much to vested interests.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8539
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8542

+ ITALIAN FIELD TRIAL RESULTS "SUPPRESSED", SAY LOBBYISTS
Pro-GM lobbyists Klaus Ammann, Piero Morandini, CS Prakash's AgBioWorld, the Public Research and Regulation Initiative (PRRI) and Europabio have been busy promoting claims that the dramatic results of Italian GM field trials that compared fumonisin levels in GM and non-GM maize have been suppressed for two years by government officials and scientists at a public research institution, INRAN. According to a joint press release by Morandini and AgBioWorld, the data on fumonisin from the trials had "been kept completely hidden" despite its great importance for public health. However, according to Prof. Carlo Cannella, the President of INRAN, the lobbyists' claims are both 'preposterous and groundless'. According to Cannella, the research INRAN had commissioned had absolutely nothing to do with fumonisin levels and far from suppressing any data on fumonisin levels, 'INRAN was never even aware that Professor Maggiore was testing the presence of mycotoxins in maize', nor was it given any data on this or requested to publish it!
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8529
GM Watch comment: As long ago as 1999, research by Munkvold et al found lower fumonisin levels due to corn borer damage in Bt maize than conventional maize. However, the research did not consider organic maize which seems to be less attractive than conventional maize to the corn borer.
http://www.biotech-info.net/fusarium_commentary.html

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VICTIMISED SCIENTISTS
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+ JOURNAL "SETS UP" SCIENTIST FOR BRUTAL ATTACK
GM Free Cymru's authorative accounts of how the editor of the journal Nature Biotechnology "set up" Russian scientist Dr Irina Ermakova for a brutal attack by unqualified industry-connected pro-GM scientists after she found toxic effects of GM soy on rats are at:
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8537
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8470

+ ANOTHER SCIENTIST UNDER ATTACK - PLEASE SIGN PETITION
Prof Christian Velot, a researcher and professor in molecular biology at the University of Paris-Sud, has recently encountered professional reprisal and discrimination because during his time off he organised conferences on biotechnology for the public, which pointed to the risks and uncertainties of this technology and provided an open democratic debate. Hiis research funds for 2008 have been confiscated and student assistants initially allocated to his research team were redirected to other units. He was told that his research team would no longer be part of the institute as soon as the funds for the current research ran out by the end of 2009, and that he would have to leave the premises even before that time.
TAKE ACTION! A petition supporting Prof Velot is at
http://sciencescitoyennes.org/spip.php?article1638#sp1638
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8516

+ NUTS, NEGLIGENCE AND CHARACTER ASSASSINATION
There's no better index of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of many GM promoters than the regularity with which they resort to the tactic of shooting the messenger. Recent examples include CS Prakash using his blog to label the head of the Cellular Neurobiology lab at the prestigious Salk Institute a "nut"!
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8552

+ THE PRICE OF ASKING QUESTIONS
The row over GM canola commercialisation in Australia has once again focused attention on the failure of scientific advice to be free from commercial pressures. Australia's Chief scientist, Dr Jim Peacock of the CSIRO - Australia's pre-eminent public scientific research body - has repeatedly urged Australia to go down the GM path but Peacock founded a biotechnology company while CSIRO partnered and patented a GM cotton strain, which Peacock regards as his greatest triumph. Meanwhile, former CSIRO agronomist Dr Martin Stapper said the organisation wasn't interested in hearing his concerns about GM technology. "First I was told that I was not allowed to talk in public about it because I was not a geneticist," Dr Stapper said. "And if I would talk about it I would be fired. But (I) asked the question all the time: 'Give me your study of multi-generation animal feeding study, and I believe that it is safe if I see a four generation animal feeding study'. But they never showed me that. And they never instigated a trial like that because they know that it gives negatives. And they don't want to see that." Dr Stapper was made redundant.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8550
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8557

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BEE DIE-OFF
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+ BEES NEAR CROPLAND FALL SHORT IN HONEY PRODUCTION
When beekeeper John McDonald published an article about bee colony die-off called "Could genetically modified crops be killing honeybees?" the response was, he says, "universally positive from laypeople and beekeepers. Most researchers, however, rejected the idea out of hand." In the absence of research into the problem, McDonald did his own study and found bees in farmland hives failed to gain weight or produce honey on time.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8483

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CONTAMINATION
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+ MILK, CHEESE, AND PORK ARE BEING INVADED BY GM
Most of our milk, cheese, yoghurt and pork comes from animals raised on GM food, the Soil Association says. According to the Soil Association, four studies by different scientific teams have detected GM DNA in milk and pig and sheep tissues from GM-fed animals.
HOW TO GET THE REPORT/TAKE ACTION/KEEP GM-FREE:
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8490

+ INDIA IGNORES DISASTROUS U.S. RICE CONTAMINATION
The total costs of the contamination of US rice by an unapproved Bayer GM variety could exceed USD$1.2 billion, according to a report from an independent economist, but in India, the pro-GM government, its regulators, and companies such as Monsanto are preparing to start field trials of GM food crops next month. The decision ignores the will of farmers and traders and even the Indian Supreme Court.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8450
TAKE ACTION: India's food regulatory authorities need to receive a blast of messages from around the world - from people in countries which currently import Indian rice - to understand how costly and unwise these GM field trials would be. Please send a message to the food-for-export regulatory authority (APEDA) at: http://www.email.greenpeace.org/dwzzqah_ufffgap.html?RECIPID=888904

+ U.S. GM RICE FOUND IN CHINA SUPERMARKETS
Unauthorized GM Liberty Link rice from the US has been found in Beijing's supermarkets. China does not allow sales or imports of GM rice.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8513

+ VENTRIA HARVESTS FIRST CROP OF GM RICE
Ventria Bioscience has harvested its first crop of nearly 200 acres of GM pharmaceutical rice at undisclosed locations in Geary County, Kansas. According to Ventria, it's a fraction of what they hope to harvest in years to come. But concerns are growing over the drug's safety. Dr Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists told GM Watch: "Especially troubling is that Ventria apparently is able to declare that this protein should be classified as a medical food rather than a drug, which would require rigorous safety testing. For example, another company, Agenix, is producing human lactoferrin in yeast in a contained facility for treating cancer, and is going through the typical drug safety-testing route. The actions of Ventria are yet another demonstration of the recklessness of the industry."
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8513
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8475

+ UNAPPROVED CHINESE GM RICE IN SWEDEN
The National Food Administration in Sweden has announced that it found unapproved GM rice Bt63 in rice noodles from China while they conducted spot checks concerning food from Asian countries.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8513

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RESISTANCE/BANS/RESTRICTIONS ON GM
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+ THREE MILLION ITALIANS SIGN ANTI-GM PETITION
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8480

+ EU GIVEN EXTRA TIME TO END GM BANS
The European Union (EU) has won a two-month extension from the WTO for ending its bans on GM foods.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8531

+ EU OFFICIALS PROPOSE BAN ON GM CORN SEEDS
European Union environment officials have determined that two kinds of GM maize (corn) could harm butterflies, modify food chains and disturb life in rivers and streams. They have proposed a ban on the sale of the seeds, which are made by Pioneer Hi-Bred, Dow Agrosciences and Syngenta.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8514
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8535
TAKE ACTION - SUPPORT GM MAIZE BAN
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/getinvolved/support-dimas-on-maize

+ SCOTTISH GOVT BID TO BAN GM CROPS IN EUROPE
Scottish environment minister, Michael Russell, is planning to back a bid by the European environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas, to block applications by three companies to grow GM maize.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8528

+ GERMANY CALLS FOR MORATORIUM ON GM CROPS
Germany has called for authorisations of new GM plants in the European Union to be temporarily halted to make sure that safety checks are thorough enough. German farm minister Horst Seehofer said the complicated current authorisation procedure failed to take into account public opinion. "We should stop and see if the procedure is adequate," Seehofer told journalists at a meeting of EU agriculture ministers. Seehofer said the approval procedure, which tasks the EU's European Food Safety Authority or EFSA to assess possible risks GMOs could cause to human and animal health as well as effects on the environment, was influenced by the biotech industry.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8531
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8535

+ EU CAN FEED LIVESTOCK WITHOUT NEW GMOs
Friends of the Earth Europe have warned EU Farm Ministers not to slacken safety rules for imports of GMOs. The issue is up for debate at the Agriculture Council and follows a lobbying campaign by the animal feed and biotechnology industries to persuade politicians that Europe could run out of animal feed as a result of the EU's strict line on GMOs - an argument which Friends of the Earth Europe strongly disputes. Helen Holder of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "The real reasons that animal feeds are becoming scarce are that land is being used to grow agrofuels and countries such as China are increasing their consumption of meat. The EU should not sacrifice its hard-won safety standards on the basis of illogical, scaremongering arguments from industry."
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8531

+ EU HEALTH CHIEF SEES NO MOVE ON GM ZERO TOLERANCE
The European Union's health chief Markos Kyprianou said he could not see an easing of legislation now keeping GM crops out of the bloc, saying such changes would not gain approval among its members.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8553

+ MAKE 2008 'BAN GMOs YEAR'
Dominique Beroule writes, "After the global day of information on GMOs in 2006, the global month of events in 2007, 2008 could be declared 'Ban-GMOs Year'. Currently people from 26 countries have responded positively, and we hope to reach many more with this call for participation." You can reach Dominique to register your interest at Current Global Agenda at:
http://www.altercampagne.net/

+ U.S.: SCOTTS TO PAY $500,000 FINE OVER GM BENTGRASS
Scotts Co. will pay a $500,000 fine over allegations that it failed to comply with US rules for field-testing a GM bentgrass used on lawns, athletic fields and golf courses, the US Agriculture Department said. The civil penalty is the largest allowed by the Plant Protection Act of 2000. An APHIS spokeswoman said the allegations included failure by Scotts to follow proper equipment-cleaning procedures and to have required buffer zones around the GM crop to prevent mixing with traditional crops. http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8534

+ U.S.: PENNSYLVANIA DAIRY LABEL SHELVED
A controversial decision by the state department of agriculture concerning dairy labeling is under review after facing strong public backlash. Agriculture secretary Dennis Wolff announced last month that dairies selling milk in the state will not be allowed to declare on their labels that the milk is produced without use of Monsanto's genetically engineered hormone or "rBST-free". Consumer and public health groups have been critical of the labeling restrictions. Gov. Ed Rendell's office has now initiated a review of the decision.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8546

+ OUTRAGEOUS COURT DECISION ON BIOWATCH COSTS APPEAL
The Pretoria High Court in South Africa has handed down judgment in Biowatch's costs appeal. The appeal was dismissed and Biowatch was ordered to pay the legal costs of the minister of agriculture, the Registrar Genetic Resources, the Executive Council for Genetically Modified Organisms and Monsanto South Africa. Biowatch's appeal was for a withdrawal of the order that it pay the legal costs of Monsanto South Africa (Pty) Ltd and for the statutory bodies to be ordered to pay Biowatch's legal costs.
GM WATCH comment: This is a total farce. Through their original court case Biowatch won the right to information that should have been made public in the first place, but they are still being ordered to pay ruinous costs for acting in the public interest!
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8452

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GM EXPANSION/APPROVALS
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+ THE GM POTATO WAR
BASF claims the European Union is poised to approve commercial cultivation of a GM potato. BASF expects to begin commercial growing of Amflora, their GM potato, early in 2008. Although Amflora is intended primarily for industrial purposes - it contains a starch that is useful in the paper industry - it may also be used in animal feed, which is where the controversy begins. The potato carries a gene that bestows on the potato resistance to a number of antibiotics, including kanamycin and neomycin. Both the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) have judged those antibiotics "critically important" for human health. If the gene passes to bacteria in the environment or in the gut of animals that eat the potato, antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains could appear with the potential for a negative impact on human and animal health. BASF say they won't replace the gene because it will increase their development costs.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8527

+ THE LAST DAYS OF MEXICAN CORN
John Ross writes that this January 1 may prove to be a doomsday date for Mexican maize, when all tariffs on corn (and beans) will be abolished after more than a decade of incremental NAFTA-driven decreases. Although US corn growers are already dumping 10 million tons of the heavily subsidized grain in Mexico each year, zero tariffs are expected to trigger a flood of corn imports, much of it GM, that will drive millions of Mexican farmers off their land - in NAFTA's first 13 years, 6,000,000 have already abandoned their plots - and could spell the end of the line for 59 races of native corn.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8517

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RESEARCH
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+ ESCAPED TRANSGENES PERSIST IN NATURE - NEW STUDY
There have been repeated claims that if transgenes do escape into the wild, they're unlikely to persist. But new research on GM oilseed rape (canola) conducted in Canada and published in Molecular Ecology shows that this is just another lie. The herbicide resistant GM trait was found to persist over a 6-year period.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8467
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8536

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GM FILMS ON YOUTUBE
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+ GM FILMS ON YOUTUBE
Akiko Frid is collecting together good quality GMO films on YouTube. Akiko particularly recommends "The Genetic Conspiracy" - a film made for German TV that's available in English. For Akiko's list so far: http://nogmo.spaces.live.com/?_c11_BlogPart_BlogPart=summary&_c=BlogPart
More YouTube films: http://www.youtube.com/groups_videos?name=gmo

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FOOD SAFETY
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+ COMPANY RESEARCH ON GM FOODS IS RIGGED
In a powerful overview, science writer Jeffrey Smith laments the poor quality and rigged status of company research on GM foods - all too often, the only research that is ever done on them.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8520

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AGROFUELS
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+ UC BERKELEY OFFICIALLY ENTERS FAUSTIAN DEAL WITH BP
UC Berkeley and oil giant BP have secretly signed a $500 million deal despite public criticism and calls for transparency. The contract will create an Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) to do research on GM agrofuels and microbes for enhanced oil and coal production. The final agreement allows BP to conduct secret research in the publicly-funded EBI building, while reaping the benefits of the open research done by university scientists on the project.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8485
The new Manhattan Project - great article: http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8519

+ AN AGRICULTURAL CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY
EXCERPT from excellent article by George Monbiot in the UK Guardian: It doesn't get madder than this. Swaziland is in the grip of a famine and receiving emergency food aid. Forty per cent of its people are facing acute food shortages. So what has the government decided to export? Biofuel made from one of its staple crops, cassava. The government has allocated several thousand hectares of farmland to ethanol production in the county of Lavumisa, which happens to be the place worst hit by drought. It would surely be quicker and more humane to refine the Swazi people and put them in our tanks. Doubtless a team of development consultants is already doing the sums.
To read on, and for more intelligent articles on biofuels:
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8461
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8523

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
GM TREES
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+ GM FORESTS COULD SERIOUSLY IMPACT NATURAL LAND
A good article on the dangers of GM trees has been published in the Oregon Daily Emerald. According to the article there are vast numbers of GM Douglas Fir trees growing in about 790 test plots in Washington state and Oregon.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8510

------------------------------------------------------------
CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF GOVERNMENT
------------------------------------------------------------

+ A BAD SEED IN THE BAG - INDO-U.S. DEAL ON AGRICULTURE
The Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) has sent an open letter to the prime minister demanding the Indo-US Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (KIA) be put on hold and reviewed immediately. The CSA says the deal, which exchanges US nukes for Indian genetic resources or germplasm, opens the door to biopiracy and agriculture patents, making farmers dependent on private firms for technology. The composition of the KIA board has also come up for criticism. It counts members like Ted Huffman (director of Wal-Mart's supply chain in India), Rashmi Nair (director, strategic integration, Monsanto) and S. Sivakumar (chief executive of ITC Ltd's agri-business division). The only NGO representation is that of Marshall Bouton, executive director, Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8549
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8533

------------------------------------------------------------
CLONING
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+ CLONED FOOD APPROACHING SHELVES
According to the food industry portal - FoodNavigator, foods from cloned animals could enter the US food supply by the end of the year, despite calls for further review of the long-term risks of such products. The Center for Food Safety warns, ''Animal cloning is a new technology with potentially severe risks for food safety. Defects in clones are common, and cloning scientists warn that even small imbalances in clones could lead to hidden food safety problems in clones' milk or meat. There are few studies on the risks of food from clones, and no long-term food safety studies have been done.''
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8496

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
GENETIC CROSSROADS
Center for Genetics and Society
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

A new feature of our Monthly Reviews will be contributions from the excellent Center for Genetics and Society, which focuses on extreme genetic technologies such as synthetic biology, cloning, human 'genetic enhancement', and nano-biotech. Find out more about CGS at www.geneticsandsociety.org

+ HUMAN CLONING ISN’T MONKEY BUSINESS
Osagie K. Obasogie, Genetic Crossroads
Oregon researchers have accomplished what some scientists equate with breaking the sound barrier: creating cloned embryos from an adult monkey and isolating its stem cells.
http://www.geneticsandsociety.org/article.php?id=3804

+ NANO-PARTICLES IN SUNSCREEN: DON'T GET BURNED
Some sunscreens currently on drugstore shelves contain nano-particles. But you'd never know, because they're not labeled. And no government agency has reviewed them to see whether they're safe.
http://biopoliticaltimes.org/article.php?id=3757

+ MOVING BEYOND THE STEM CELL WARS
If the new cell reprogramming technique holds up, it will also reprogram the science and politics of stem-cell research.
Los Angeles Times op-ed by Richard Hayes
http://www.geneticsandsociety.org/article.php?id=3786
San Jose Mercury News op-ed by Marcy Darnovsky
http://www.geneticsandsociety.org/article.php?id=3778

+CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST SCANDAL AT CALIFORNIA STEM CELL AGENCY
Amid the coverage of major technical advances in stem cell research, an all-too-predictable scandal erupted in California's stem cell program.
San Francisco Chronicle op-ed by Jesse Reynolds
http://www.geneticsandsociety.org/article.php?id=3805

+ DNA DIETING? IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME.....
Jamie Brooks, Biopolitical Times
The United States is dealing with skyrocketing obesity rates at the same time we are becoming obsessed with thinness. Enter GenoTrim™, the "world's first DNA-customized nutritional supplement for optimal weight."
http://biopoliticaltimes.org/article.php?id=3793


http://www.gmwatch.org

ENDS

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