Global news from The Campaign Reporter (26/9/2007)

The Campaign Reporter, October 2007

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The next Frankenfood coming soon: genetically engineered eggplant

An international consortium funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development has been working for the last five years on a genetically engineered eggplant. This controversial biotech eggplant contains the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) -- the same bacteria used in the genetically engineered corn grown on a widespread basis in the United States.

The target market to grow the genetically engineered eggplant is South Asia. The first commercial crops are expected to be planted in 2009. Plans are to grow 110,000 acres of the biotech eggplant in India and Bangladesh in 2010. And by 2015, the projection is to grow 650,000 acres in these two countries.

Some anti-biotech food activists feel that this U.S. government funded project is an aggressive move to finally get a genetically engineered food crop grown in other parts of the world. Currently there are only four countries in the world growing a significant amount of genetically engineered food crops. Those four countries are the United States, Canada, Argentina and China. And the crops grown in those countries are primarily limited to soybeans, corn, canola, papayas and cotton.

If the introduction of the genetically engineered eggplant to India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and other areas of South and Southeast Asia is successful, then the global resistance to biotech crops could start to diminish -- at least that is apparently the hope of some in the biotech industry. In other words, the genetically engineered eggplant is considered to be a "gateway" crop designed to open up the Asian marketplace and rest of the world to other biotech crops.

The other players in the international consortium include Cornell researchers, Sathguru Management Consultants of India, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

Greenpeace activists in India are opposing the introduction of the genetically engineered eggplant, also known as brinjal. They recently held a protest in front of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research where they "force fed" volunteers with genetically engineered eggplants.

A spokesman for Greenpeace was quoted in India's National Newspaper, The Hindu, stating: "We are here to demand an immediate halt to all field trials till the bio-safety data generated so far is made public to enable [an] independent assessment. So far, safety studies on all GE crops are shrouded in secrecy that has really hindered the public from analyzing the data and raising a debate on the issue. With emerging evidences of companies hiding critical bio-safety data that could prove the negative side-effects of GE crops on health, an independent assessment is indispensable."


More evidence the organic industry is under assault from unwanted GMOs

Over the past few months, The Organic & Non-GMO Report has been reporting on a disturbing incident involving a shipment of organic soybeans sent to an organic processor that found high levels of GMO contamination.

The samples tested showed GMO contamination levels as high as 20%.

According to the articles, none of the parties involved is accepting blame for the incident and it has not been determined where in the delivery process the contamination occurred.

The processor of organic soybean oil and meal, Nevada Soy Products, reported that they lost $100,000 due to the contamination and their business was closed down for a month. After the first railcar of soybeans tested positive at such high levels, Nevada Soy Products canceled delivery of three more railcars of organic soybeans.

Nevada Soy Products apparently ended up selling their products to the conventional food marketplace at half the price they would have received if the products were certified organic.

The broker who sold the soybeans to Nevada Soy Products, Jericho Solutions, claims, "There was no problem on our end. We had the paper trail. Someone is trying to nail us for something we did not do."

The organic certifier for Nevada Soy Products is the Nevada Department of Agriculture who has now filed a complain on behalf of the company with the National Organic Program (NOP). The NOP is run by the Agriculture Marketing Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The NOP is determining whether or not an investigation will take place.

Regardless of who is to blame, contamination of organic crops from GMOs is a problem that is only going to get worse as more acreage of GMO crops gets planted in the United States and around the world.


The Non-GMO Project picks up steam with natural foods industry support

The Non-GMO Project was started in 2005 by The Natural Grocery Company in Berkeley, California, and the Big Carrot Natural Food Market in Toronto, Ontario, with the common goal of creating a standardized meaning of non-GMO for the North American food industry.

Initially the natural foods industry did not quite know what to make of this organization. Companies were concerned about whether the impact on their businesses would be positive or negative. However, over the past year The Non-GMO Project has gained the valuable support of Whole Foods Market, United Natural Foods and many other leading natural food manufacturers and retailers.

The Board of Directors of The Non-GMO Project includes the CEO's of five of the natural foods industry's leading companies. These are Arran Stephens, CEO, Nature's Path; George Siemon, CEO, Organic Valley Family of Farms; Grant Lundberg, CEO, Lundberg Family Farms; Michael Funk, CEO, United Natural Foods, Inc.; and Michael Potter, CEO, Eden Foods.

Naturally, we are please to point out that these five companies also support The Campaign with logo listings on our web sites.

Rounding out the Board of Directors of The Non-GMO Project are Mark Squire, Owner, Good Earth Natural & Organic Foods; Megan Thompson, Executive Director, Non-GMO Project; Patrick Conner, Finance Department, Big Carrot Natural Food Market; John Fagan, Chief Scientific Officer, Global ID Group; Bob Gerner, Owner, Natural Grocery Company; and Joe Dickson, Quality Standards & Organic Programs Coordinator, Whole Foods Market.

The Non-GMO Project’s central mission is to provide the following:

Knowledge—Knowledge and information on GMOs that will help the organic and natural foods industry to understand and avoid them in their products

Standard—A uniform, authoritative, consensus-based standard for what non-GMO means

Verification Program—A centralized, economical, confidential, third-party program for verifying that products meet the non-GMO standard

You can visit The Non-GMO Project web site at:


Demand for rBGH-free milk grows as consumers become more aware

The "domino effect" seems to be happening with the movement away from milk and other dairy products that come from cows injected with Monsanto's controversial recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) called Prosilac.

The most recent domino to fall is the huge grocery retailer Kroger which announced on August 1 that by February 2008 all its milk will be rBGH-free.

Kroger has 2,458 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states with fiscal 2006 sales of $66.1 billion. Besides stores with the Kroger name, they operate many chain stores with different identities such as Ralph's, Fred Meyer, Smith's, Fry's, QFC, and Food4Less.

Earlier this year, Publix Super Markets, which operates 900 stores, announced that they were also going rBGH-free with their branded milk products. Publix's director of media and community relations, Maria Brous, stated, "We wanted our customers to enjoy the wholesome goodness of milk, without added hormones."

Coffee giant Starbucks has announced that they will have completed their transition to having all rBGH-free milk in their stores by the end of the year.

Even Chipotle Mexican Grill is now serving only rBGH-free sour cream at its more than 570 locations. Before the end of the year the Denver-based chain hopes to have all the cheese it uses produced from rBGH-free milk.

Besides the retailers, dozens of large dairies across the country are moving away from the use of Monsanto's Prosilac. All the milk produced in Oregon is now rBGH-free. And the dominos continue to fall.

As you might expect, Monsanto is not happy about this development and is fighting back. The company has sent letters to both the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) asking the agencies to act against the rBGH-free labels. In their letters, Monsanto stated, "For years now, deceptive milk labeling practices have misled consumers about the quality, safety, or value of milk and milk products from cows supplemented with rBGH." Monsanto argues that such rBGH-free labels "present a serious regulatory and public health concern."

Click here to read an excellent article titled "Let's Keep Monsanto Out Of Our Milk" written by Michael Hansen, PhD, a senior scientist at Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports) and David Wallinga, MD, food and health director for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and Health Care Without Harm.


Latest developments in the global battle over risky biotech foods

Here are some of the recent developments in the ongoing global battle over genetically engineered crops...


The battle over genetically engineered crops is raging in Australia with the federal government pushing for the states to remove their bans on biotech food crops such as canola.

A new Australian government report was recently issued that tried to make the case that genetically engineered and conventional crops could coexist.

The organic farm lobby called Biological Farmers Australia blasted the report calling it "dishonest' and "bordering on hysteria" since the report implied that other countries are moving much faster in developing biotech crops and that Australia would be left behind if the State moratoriums stay in place.

The chairman of the Grains Council of Australia, Murray Jones, indicated that farmers in 22 countries grew genetically engineered crops last year stating that "our competitors around the world are way ahead of us in developing and selling GM canola into our traditional markets."

What is misleading about that statement is that while it is true that there are some genetically engineered crops grown in 22 countries, the vast majority of crops are only grown in four countries -- the United States, Canada, Argentina and China.

Here are links to several articles discussing the situation in Australia:

Australian Government's GM report 'dishonest': BFA

Weird science or a lifeline?

Western Australia hardens its stance against GM crops


New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand try to have uniform food codes through an agency called the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). However, the New Zealand Food Safety Minister, Annette King, is not going along with the recent approval from FSANZ of a strain of corn produced by Monsanto.

The high lysine corn called LY038 was was only approved for feed to livestock. However, since corn pollen transfers great distances and would inevitably cross-pollinate with corn grown for human consumption, there was a push to get this corn also approved for human consumption.

FSANZ approved it, but Food Safety Minister Annette King said, "New Zealand is not proceeding immediately to gazette the amendment to the genetic modification standard in the joint Food Standards Code for food derived from high lysine corn (LY038)."

The Soil & Health Association of New Zealand applauded the move by the Food Safety Minister, but still had concerns.

A spokesperson for the Soil & Health Association, Steffan Browning, stated, "Soil & Health is concerned that Minister Annette King’s request for advice from the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) may be to sort out whether this GE corn was legal in New Zealand, rather than the real, more concerning issue of food safety. Some assurance that food safety is being investigated would show New Zealand’s independence from the trans-Tasman agency FSANZ’s flawed assumptions and disregard for precaution."

Here are a few article on this issue:

Food regulator amends code for GM corn

King holds off approval of GE corn

Soil & Health Applauds Pause on High Lysine Corn


The Philippines

On September 18th, a Philippine court halted an application to permit a genetically engineered form of rice into the country. The court wants a study done on the possible heath and environmental effects.

Greenpeace filed the challenge on August 23 along with other nongovernmental organizations. Greenpeace cited several concerns over this rice produced by Bayer Crop Science called LL62. In particular, Greenpeace charged that there were not public consultations, as required by the Philippine law.

The court order prohibits the Philippine Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) from approving Bayer's application to introduce LL62 for food, animal feed and the manufacture of other products.



A new strain of genetically engineered corn produced by Syngenta has received full regulatory approval in Japan. This crop is being grown in the United States and will be exported to Japan.

Japan is the largest importer of American corn, and the U.S. is the largest corn producer in the world. Since Japan has mandatory labeling requirements for foods grown with genetically engineered ingredients, this corn will most likely be used in livestock feed.

Click here to read an article on this issue.

Two great books on genetically engineered foods

The Campaign is recommending two outstanding books released in 2007 to anyone who wants to get an excellent education about the problems and challenges created to human health and the environment from genetically engineered foods.

Jeffrey Smith, author of the best-selling book, Seeds of Deception, has released his second book called Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods.

The design and layout of 320-page Genetic Roulette makes it very easy to get the facts about the problems posed by these risky foods. There are executive summaries on the left page and then detailed explanations on the right page throughout the book. And the entire book is fully referenced. Simply stated, Genetic Roulette is the most comprehensive and well-documented exposé on the health dangers of genetically engineered foods ever written.

Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Washington D.C.-based Center for Food Safety, has written a masterpiece titled Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and The Secret Changes in Your Food.

Your Right to Know is not only full of information, it is a beautiful work of art. The entire book is chock full of photos and colorful detailed graphics that make it a joy to read. Plus, it tells us what we can do now to make informed food choices in the grocery store and how we can get involved in the fight for the future of food.

Both Genetic Roulette and Your Right to Know are available through, Barnes & Noble and many other book outlets. You can also order Genetic Roulette individually and at a discount case price by going to:


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