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FDA Says Cloned Animals Are Safe for Food


US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, congress, corruption, cover-up, crime, dishonesty, politics, propaganda )

Kathy
- 4204 days ago - rawstory.com
Meat and milk from cloned animals is as safe as that from their counterparts bred the old-fashioned way, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday. The decision removes the last U.S. regulatory hurdle to marketing products from cloned cows, pigs and



   

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Comments

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 9:39 am
See how far behind I am on this.
I thought this had been banned because Dolly's (the sheep) entire life was spend being in poor health and in pain. Does anybody really trust the FDA?
I don't.
 

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 9:56 am
http://cloninginformation.org/news.htm

http://www.soft-go.com/article/French-govt-move-to-ban-Monsanto-GMO-draws-fire_9923.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/gall/0,,627251,00.html

http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/cloning.shtml

I'd like to know others opinions on this also
I think it's wrong, man doesn't have the right to play God and all this will end badly
 

. (0)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 9:57 am
Looks like the almighty dollar wins again...
 

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 9:59 am
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/monsanto-pig-patent-111

Monsanto files patent for new invention: the pig
Greenpeace researcher uncovers chilling patent plans
02 August 2005
Geneva, Switzerland — It's official. Monsanto Corporation is out to own the world's food supply, the dangers of genetic engineering and reduced biodiversity notwithstanding, as they pig-headedly set about hog-tying farmers with their monopoly plans. We've discovered chilling new evidence of this in recent patents that seek to establish ownership rights over pigs and their offspring.

In the crop department, Monsanto is well on their way to dictating what consumers will eat, what farmers will grow, and how much Monsanto will get paid for seeds. In some cases those seeds are designed not to reproduce sowable offspring. In others, a flock of lawyers stand ready to swoop down on farmers who illegally, or even unknowingly, end up with Monsanto's private property growing in their fields.

One way or another, Monsanto wants to make sure no food is grown that they don't own -- and the record shows they don't care if it's safe for the environment or not. Monsanto has aggressively set out to bulldoze environmental concerns about its genetically engineered (GE) seeds at every regulatory level.

So why stop in the field? Not content to own the pesticide and the herbicide and the crop, they've made a move on the barnyard by filing two patents which would make the corporate giant the sole owner of that famous Monsanto invention: the pig.

The Monsanto Pig (Patent pending)

The patent applications were published in February 2005 at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva. A Greenpeace researcher who monitors patent applications, Christoph Then, uncovered the fact that Monsanto is seeking patents not only on methods of breeding, but on actual breeding herds of pigs as well as the offspring that result.

"If these patents are granted, Monsanto can legally prevent breeders and farmers from breeding pigs whose characteristics are described in the patent claims, or force them to pay royalties," says Then. "It's a first step toward the same kind of corporate control of an animal line that Monsanto is aggressively pursuing with various grain and vegetable lines."

There are more than 160 countries and territories mentioned where the patent is sought including Europe, the Russian Federation, Asia (India, China, Philippines) America (USA, Brazil, Mexico), Australia and New Zealand. WIPO itself can only receive applications, not grant patents. The applications are forwarded to regional patent offices.

The patents are based on simple procedures, but are incredibly broad in their claims.

In one application (WO 2005/015989 to be precise) Monsanto is describing very general methods of crossbreeding and selection, using artificial insemination and other breeding methods which are already in use. The main "invention" is nothing more than a particular combination of these elements designed to speed up the breeding cycle for selected traits, in order to make the animals more commercially profitable. (Monsanto chirps gleefully about lower fat content and higher nutritional value. But we've looked and we couldn't find any "Philanthropic altruism" line item in their annual reports, despite the fact that it's an omnipresent factor in their advertising.)

According to Then, "I couldn't belive this. I've been reviewing patents for 10 years and I had to read this three times. Monsanto isn't just seeking a patent for the method, they are seeking a patent on the actual pigs which are bred from this method. It's an astoundingly broad and dangerous claim."

Good breeding always shows
Take patent application WO 2005/017204. This refers to pigs in which a certain gene sequence related to faster growth is detected. This is a variation on a natural occurring sequence -- Monsanto didn't invent it.

It was first identified in mice and humans. Monsanto wants to use the detection of this gene sequence to screen pig populations, in order to find which animals are likely to produce more pork per pound of feed. (And that will be Monsanto Brand genetically engineered feed grown from Monsanto Brand genetically engineered seed raised in fields sprayed with Monsanto Brand Roundup Ready herbicide and doused with Monsanto Brand pesticides, of course).

But again, Monsanto wants to own not just the selection and breeding method, not just the information about the genetic indicators, but, if you pardon the expression, the whole hog.

Claim 16 asks for a patent on: "A pig offspring produced by a method ..."
Claim 17 asks for a patent on: "A pig herd having an increased frequency of a specific ...gene..."
Claim 23 asks for a patent on: "A pig population produced by the method..."
Claim 30 asks for a patent on: "A swine herd produced by a method..."
This means the pigs, their offspring, and the use of the genetic information for breeding will be entirely owned by Monsanto, Inc. and any replication or infringement of their patent by man or beast will mean royalties or jail for the offending swine.

Not pig fodder

When it comes to profits, pigs are big. Monsanto notes that "The economic impact of the industry in rural America is immense. Annual farm sales typically exceed US$ 11 billion, while the retail value of pork sold to consumers reaches US$ 38 billion each year."

At almost every level of food production, Monsanto is seeking a monopoly position.

The company once earned its money almost exclusively through agrochemicals. But in the last ten years they've spent about US$ 10 billion buying up seed producers and companies in other sectors of the agricultural business. Their last big acquisition was Seminis, the biggest producer of vegetable seeds in the world.

Monsanto holds extremely broad patents on seeds, most, but not all of them, related to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Monsanto has also claimed patent rights on such non-Monsanto inventions as traditionally bred wheat from India and soy plants from China. Many of these patents apply not only to the use of seeds but all uses of the plants and harvest that result.

Orwellian: "The Earth is flat, pigs were invented by Monsanto, and GMOs are safe."

The big picture is chilling to anyone who mistrusts Monsanto's record disinterest for environmental safety.

And if you're not worried, you should be: central control of food supply has been a standard ingredient for social and political control throughout history. By creating a monopoly position, Monsanto can force dangerous experiments like the release of GMOs into the environment on an unwilling public. They can ensure that GMOs will be sold and consumed wherever they say they will.

By claiming global monopoly patent rights throughout the entire food chain, Monsanto seeks to make farmers and food producers, and ultimately consumers, entirely dependent and reliant on one single corporate entity for a basic human need. It's the same dependence that Russian peasants had on the Soviet Government following the Russian revolution. The same dependence that French peasants had on Feudal kings during the middle ages. But control of a significant proportion of the global food supply by a single corporation would be unprecedented in human history.

It's time to ensure that doesn't happen.
It's time for a global ban of patents on seeds and farm animals.
It's time to tell Monsanto we've had enough of this hogwash.



— Brian Thomas Fitzgerald


 

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 10:02 am
http://www.care2.com/news/member/484258200/602923?saved=1
Sowing the Seeds of Insecurity: Last Year Provides Clues to the Future of Food

An ill-wind blew across Percy Schmeiser's land in 1996. Today in his 70s, the third-generation Saskatchewan, Canada, farmer has been growing and improving his own canola (oil seed) crops for 40 years. Each year, he would save some of his harvested seed for planting the following year. Though some farmers in the surrounding area were growing Monsanto's patented, genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready canola, Schmeiser was not. He was growing his own, but the wind blew and bees flew, both apparently carrying grains of GM pollen from neighboring fields into Schmeiser's crop. Or maybe it was GM seed transported from surrounding farms that often blew off trucks traveling the roads adjacent to Schmeiser's land. No matter. Without his knowledge or consent, errant, patented Monsanto genes had apparently been incorporated into some of the Schmeiser family's 1997-harvested canola seed.

In 1998, the farmer planted over a thousand acres of his land with the seed he had saved from the previous year's crop. A hired Monsanto investigator analyzed samples of canola plants taken from Percy Schmeiser's land, and the company found evidence of its patented genes in the plant tissue. When Schmeiser refused to pay Monsanto fees for use of its patented herbicide resistance technology, technology he neither bought nor wanted, Monsanto sued him. According to a report on the trial (www.percyschmeiser.com), Monsanto sought damages for patent infringement totaling $400,000. This included about $250,000 in legal fees, $13,500 for technology fees, $25,000 in punitive damages and $105,000 in the profits Schmeiser realized from sale of his contaminated 1998 crop.

Monsanto vs. Percy Schmeiser was heard in a Canadian court June 5 - 20, 2000. According to reports, Monsanto never directly tried to explain how their genes got into Schmeiser's field. In fact, the Western Producer, a Canadian agriculture magazine, quoted Monsanto attorney, Roger Hughes, as saying, "Whether Mr. Schmeiser knew of the matter or not matters not at all." In other words, Schmeiser's fields were contaminated by Monsanto's GM technology, and it didn't matter if Schmeiser was aware of the contamination or not. They were going to make him pay for it! Percy Schmeiser said, "It was a very frightening thing because they said it does not matter how it gets into a farmer's field; it's their property.......if I would go to St. Louis (Monsanto headquarters) and contaminate their plots--destroy what they have worked on for 40 years--I think I would be put in jail and the key thrown away."

On March 29, 2001, nearly three years since the contaminated canola was discovered in Schmeiser's field, Canadian Judge W. Andrew MacKay agreed with Monsanto that it did not matter how its genes got onto Percy Schmeiser's fields; the farmer was still guilty of having them without having paid for the privilege. (You can read the entire decision at http://www.fct-cf.gc.ca ). Sadly, as part of the damages, the farmer also lost 40 years of work improving his own canola seed line, as his crop was confiscated.

As you might imagine, the decision has had a chilling effect on farmers here and around the world. The Washington Post reported that a National Farmers Union spokesman said the organization has been following the Monsanto vs. Schmeiser case "...with apprehension. We're extremely concerned by what liabilities may unfold for the farmer, particularly with cross-pollination of genetically modified plants." The National Farmers Union represents 300,000 U.S. farmers and ranchers. Monsanto has filed hundreds of similar patent infringement lawsuits against farmers in the U.S. and Canada. Some of those farmers in North Dakota and Illinois are counter-suing the company for deliberately causing genetic pollution and then suing its victims. Win or lose, many face financial ruin from the court battles alone.

The Percy Schmeiser case, and others ongoing and to come, does not bode well for farmers, or even backyard gardeners, here or abroad. The idea that individuals can be held legally and financially responsible for the fate of patented pollen and seed blown by the wind or carried by insects in open field conditions is simply absurd. In fact, Monsanto knows it and maintained that all a farmer has to do if he or she discovers Monsanto's patented plants growing on their land is to call the company and they will come out and take care of the problem.

For starters, how would a farmer even know his field had been contaminated with Roundup Ready GM canola? The plants are often visually indistinguishable. The only way he'd know is by spraying his crop with Monsanto's Roundup herbicide to see if it had resistance. Obviously, he wouldn't do that because the herbicide would kill his own non-resistant, non-GM crop! Percy Schmeiser and other farmers regularly spray Roundup around telephone poles surrounding their fields to keep them clear of crops and weeds. When Schmeiser had sprayed around his telephone poles in 1997, he was surprised to see that some of the canola plants did not die. He suspected contamination.

If a farmer does identify GM plants in his field, according to Ann Clark of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Monsanto would likely come out and spray the offending plants with the herbicide of choice, 2,4-D. But, as a farmer, would you call the company if their offending plants were interspersed with your own crop, the latter likely to be killed or damaged by the toxic herbicide? Such treatment would be especially catastrophic for an organic farmer whose field could no longer be certifiable as organic for years to come.

For some perspective on the potential scope of the GM gene pollution problem, in the year 2000, Monsanto's GM seed was planted on 103 million acres worldwide, accounting for 94% of the global area sown to genetically modified seed (RAFI). The potential for the GM contamination of millions of more acres of land and for thousands more victim farmers is simply mind-boggling. In fact, in June, 2001, Canadian CBC radio reported that genetically engineered canola plants had spread across the Canadian prairies. University of Manitoba plant scientist, Martin Entz said that GM canola had spread much more rapidly than originally thought and that it was "absolutely impossible to control."

Impossible to control also describes another 2001 GM debacle--the contamination of U.S. food supplies with StarLink corn, a GM corn intended by French parent company, Aventis, for animal consumption only. StarLink contains an insecticidal toxin, Cry9C protein, 50-100 times more than that in GM corn intended for humans. The protein had the potential to trigger severe allergic reactions. Aventis had assured EPA officials that StarLink would only be sold to farmers growing it for livestock. Dealers selling the corn would see to it that each farmer signed an agreement to provide a 660-foot buffer strip around his or her StarLink fields to prevent contamination of nearby cornfields with StarLink pollen. Grain elevators were also to be told at the time of sale that the corn was not for human consumption. Sadly, virtually every level of the program to protect humans failed miserably.

During the year 1998, 10,000 acres in the U.S. were planted to StarLink. In 1999, it had grown to 250,000 acres. By 2000, StarLink corn was planted on 350,000 acres in the U.S. and co-mingled with other corns by 2200 farmers in 12 states, according to Seed Savers Exhange. During 2000, 98 of Iowa's 99 counties grew StarLink! About 10% of all corn stored in the U.S. is now contaminated with StarLink corn.

In 2001, the USDA earmarked up to $20 million of taxpayers' money, money originally intended for natural disaster relief for farmers, to help buy back 300,000 to 400,000 bags of contaminated seed. Containment, not control, was the only possible solution, as the damage to the U.S. seed stocks is permanent. The genes are "out there", replicating themselves in the chromosomes of other corn varieties meant for human consumption, and likely finding their way into any food containing corn products such as corn syrup and corn starch--nearly every sweetened, thickened product in the "modern" diet. If there is any reassuring news in this new reality, it is that the concentration of Cry9C is likely to be so low in current and future foods contaminated with the original StarLink genes that allergic reactions to this particular protein are highly improbable. That is, however, very small comfort given the scope and biological significance of this single genetic event.

August, 2001, was a particular low point in the battle for a ban on the Terminator gene technology. Terminator technologies use genetic engineering techniques to program a plant's DNA to kill its own embryos (suicide seed) thus forming sterile seed. The plant-to-seed-to-plant-to-seed, etc, cycle of life is broken, preventing a farmer from saving harvested seed to grow next season. It will ensure that farmers must return to the seed company year after year to purchase expensive seed, often with heavy GM seed technology licensing fees added. The first Terminator was created and announced by our own U.S. Department of Agriculture in partnership with a U.S.-based cotton seed company, Delta & Pine Land Company. They were granted a U.S. patent on the technology in 1998. (See June, 1998 Food Supply Update at www.arkinstitute.com). In August, the USDA announced that it had agreed to license the technology to its corporate partner, the first step toward commercialization. Delta & Pine Land Co. has said it has every intention of commercializing it.

"USDA's decision to license Terminator flies in the face of international public opinion and betrays the public trust," said RAFI research-director, Hope Shand. "Terminator technology has been universally condemned by civil society; banned by international agricultural research institutes; censured by United Nations bodies....and yet the U.S. Government has officially sanctioned commercialization of the technology by licensing it to one of the world's largest seed companies." Silvia Ribeiro, also of RAFI, added, "USDA's role in developing Terminator seeds is a disgraceful example of corporate welfare, involving a technology that is bad for farmers, dangerous for the environment, and disastrous for world food security."

The USDA and Delta & Pine Land Company, at last count, own three Terminator patents. This is an egregious use of U.S. taxpayers' dollars to support corporate profits instead of public good, to advance the portfolios of restrictive corporate patents on life instead of improving the lives and livelihoods of U.S. farmers and the consumers they serve. Terminator technologies will not be a boon to U.S. farmers or struggling Third World farmers who are considered prime targets for Terminator seeds. It will make them ever more dependent on the corporate seed and chemical companies.

Remember, once the genetic genie is out of the bottle, you can't put it back. If Terminator genes pollute surrounding fields and wild plants, the consequences will be far greater than the corn debacle. Neighboring farmer's crops may produce sterile seed. What if that farmer is a seed grower, growing seed stocks for the country's next crops? Multiply that scenario by tens of thousands of farmers. Can Terminator eventually terminate all seeding plants? No one, not a single corporation or government official, can assure you it will not. Remember Percy Schmeiser! Remember StarLink!

Here is a rundown of Terminator patent holdings current to 2001: Syngenta (Novartis) has two Terminator patents. Syngenta (Zeneca) has four. Delta & Pine Land/USDA have three. BASF (ExSeed Genetics, LLC/Iowa State University) have one. DuPont (Pioneer Hi-Bred) has one. Pharmacia (Monsanto) have one. Cornell Research Foundation has one. Purdue Research Foundation (with support from USDA) has one.

It is important to take stock of where we have been in the big food picture in recent years because it speaks volumes about where we might be going this year and beyond. In light of the September attacks on the U.S., it is critical that we pay attention to every aspect of our food supply system with unprecedented vigilance. The truth about security with respect to food and terrorism is simple, really: there is none. The Schmeiser decision, StarLink tragedy and Terminators all point to a future in which individuals will have little or no control over the content of the food they eat, and little control over production. If individuals are discouraged by court decisions from feeding themselves--if they abdicate all rights to control the ways and means of livelihood and food production, turning control over, like serfs, to their corporate lords, then we are lost.

For years these Food Supply Updates have discussed the insanities of a food production system growing ever more concentrated, technology, oil and chemical dependent, biologically and chemically contaminated, remote from its nearly 300 million completely dependent consumers, and controlled, from seed to mouth, by a relative handful of very powerful people. The long list of cumulative observations and warnings voiced in this newsletter over the years (read earlier Food Supply Udates archived at www.arkinstitute.com ) could just as easily be viewed as an ongoing tutorial for those determined to ferret out our vulnerabilities. Our vulnerabilities can easily become someone else's opportunities.

We must keep one watchful eye on our current food supply security system, a "blanket" riddled with holes, and the other on the ongoing, ominous shift in the control of food from the farmer and consumer, to governments and a few very powerful, multinational corporations. How might our new agricultural technologies be used against us? Is Terminator gene technology a potential terrorist weapon? What is the relationship between "X" government with "Y" corporation? What is their global agenda? See what I mean? It is a daunting task, but more than ever, our lives may depend on it. Stay tuned........Geri Guidetti, The Ark Institute




 

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 10:08 am
http://www.arkinstitute.com/2000/food_supply_update012002.htm

Sorry I don't know how I got a care site for the article above, BUT I DID:)
The correct one is this.

http://www.arkinstitute.com/2000/food_supply_update012002.htm
 

Tim Redfern (581)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 10:27 am
But FDA won't require food makers to label if their products came from cloned animals, although companies could do so voluntarily if they knew the source. Last month, meat and dairy producers announced an industry system to track cloned livestock, with an electronic identification tag on each animal sold. Customers would sign a pledge to market the animal as a clone.

Fine, let them label it as "cloned",
but none for me, thanks!
I'll let other people eat the Frankenfood
and stick to being a vegetarian.
Thanks, Kathy!
GREAT info!
noted.
 

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 10:35 am
But Tim they're (sorta like) cloning our seeds also, it's so scary. plant genetic
http://india.indymedia.org/en/2005/02/210125.shtml

The Seed Act & Patent Act: Sowing The Seeds Of Dictatorship
By Vandana Shiva 15/02/2005 At 16:32


In 2004 two laws have been proposed – a seed Act and a Patent Ordinance which could forever destroy the biodiversity of our seeds and crops, and rob farmers of all freedoms, establishing a seed dictatorship.


Since the beginning of farming, farmers have sown seeds, harvested crops, saved part of the harvest for seeds, exchanged seeds with neighbours. Every ritual in India involves seeds, the very symbol of life’s renewal.

In 2004 two laws have been proposed – a seed Act and a Patent Ordinance which could forever destroy the biodiversity of our seeds and crops, and rob farmers of all freedoms, establishing a seed dictatorship.

Eighty per cent of all seed in India is still saved by farmers. Farmers indigenous varieties are the basis of our ecological and food security. Coastal farmers have evolved salt resistant varieties. Bihar and Bengal farmers have evolved flood resistant varieties, farmers of Rajasthan and the semi-arid Deccan have evolved drought resistant varieties, Himalayan farmers have evolved frost resistant varieties. Pulses, millets, oilseeds, rices, wheats, vegetables provide the diverse basis of our health and nutrition security. This is the sector being targeted by the Seed Act. These seeds are indigenous farmers varieties of diverse crops – thousands of rices, hundreds of wheats, oilseeds such as linseed, sesame, groundnut, coconut, pulses including gahat, narrangi, rajma, urad, moong, masur, tur, vegetables and fruits. The Seed Act is designed to “enclose” the free economy of farmers seed varieties. Once farmers seed supply is destroyed through compulsory registration by making it illegal to plant unlicensed varieties, farmers are pushed into dependency on corporate monopoly of patented seed. The Seed Act is therefore the handmaiden of the Patent Amendment Acts which have introduced patents on seed.

New IPR laws are creating monopolies over seeds and plant genetic resources. Seed saving and seed exchange, basic freedoms of farmers, are being redefined. There are many examples of how Seed Acts in various countries and the introduction of IPRs prevent farmers from engaging in their own seed production. Josef Albrecht, an organic farmer in Germany, was not satisfied with the commercially available seed. He worked and developed his own ecological varieties of wheat. Ten other organic farmers from neighbouring villages took his wheat seeds. Albrecht was fined by his government because he traded in uncertified seed. He has challenged the penalty and the Seed Act because he feels restricted in freely exercising his occupation as an organic farmer by this law.

In Scotland, there are a large number of farmers who grow seed potato and sell seed potato to other farmers. They could, until the early 1990s, freely sell the reproductive material to other seed potato growers, to merchants, or to farmers. In the 1990s, holders of plant breeders’ rights started to issue notices to potato growers through the British Society of Plant Breeders and made selling of seed potato by farmers to other farmers illegal. Seed potato growers had to grow varieties under contract to the seed industry, which specified the price at which the contracting company would take back the crop and barred growers from selling the crop to anyone. Soon, the companies started to reduce the acreage and prices. In 1994, seed potato bought from Scottish farmers for £140 was sold for more than double that price to English farmers, whilst the two sets of farmers were prevented from dealing directly with each other. Seed potato growers signed a petition complaining about the stranglehold of a few companies acting as a ‘cartel’. They also started to sell non-certified seed directly to English farmers. The seed industry claimed they were losing £4 million in seed sales through the direct sale of uncertified seed potato between farmers. In February 1995, the British Society for Plant Breeders decided to proceed with a high profile court case against a farmer from Aberdeenshire. The farmer was forced to pay £30,000 as compensation to cover royalties lost to the seed industry by direct farmer-to-farmer exchange. Existing United Kingdom and European Union laws thus prevent farmers from exchanging uncertified seed as well as protected varieties.

In the US as well, farmer-to-farmer exchange has been made illegal. Dennis and Becky Winterboer were farmers owning a 500-acre farm in Iowa. Since 1987, the Winterboers have derived a sizeable portion of their income from ‘brown bagging’ sales of their crops to other farmers to use as seed. A ‘brown bag’ sale occurs when a farmer plants seeds in his own field and then sells the harvest as seed to other farmers. Asgrow (a commercial company which has plant variety protection for its soybean seeds) filed suit against the Winterboers on the grounds that its property rights were being violated. The Winterboers argued that they had acted within the law since according to the Plant Variety Act farmers had the right to sell seed, provided both the farmer and seller were farmers. Subsequently, in 1994, the Plant Variety Act was amended, and the farmers’ privilege to save and exchange seed was amended, establishing absolute monopoly of the seed industry by making farmer-to-farmer exchange and sales illegal.

Similar laws are being introduced in India. The entire country is being taken for a ride with the introduction of the Seed Act 2004 on grounds that the Act is needed to guarantee seed quality. However, the Seed Act 1966 already performs the function of seed testing and seed certification. Twenty labs have been declared as seed testing labs under the 1966 Act in different States. Nine seed corporations have been identified as certification agencies.

Under pressure from World Bank the Seed Policy of 1988 started to dismantle our robust public sector seed supply system, which accounted for 20% of the seeds farmers grow. Eighty per cent of the seed prior to globalisation is the farmers’ own varieties, which have been saved, exchanged and reproduced freely and have guaranteed our food security.

A License Inspector Raj for Seeds

The introduction of 2004 Seed Act needs to be assessed in the context of the simultaneous introduction of the 3rd Patent (Amendment) Act. Our 1970 Patent Law has been changed under the coercive pressure of WTO in spite of the overdue mandatory TRIPS review. Patents will now been granted for seeds, plants, micro-organisms, cells and even GMO’s and animals.

Quite clearly a monopolistic patent regime cannot be established as long as farmers have the alternative of their own zero cost, reliable, time tested high value seeds of their traditional varieties of indigenous agro-biodiversity.

The Seed Act 2004 has one and only one objective of stopping farmers from seed saving, seed exchange and seed reproduction.

In the objective the 2004 Act clearly states that it is aimed at replacing farmers saved seeds with seeds from private seed industries.

The repeated reference to ‘barter’ in the Seed Act will prevent farmer’s exchange, a necessary aspect of maintaining high quality seed supply at the community level.

Further the compulsory registration of seed combined with the power of seed inspectors to enter and search premises (which now mean farmers’ huts and fields), the power to break open any container and any door is tantamount to creating a ‘Seed Police’ to terrorize farmers who are conserving biodiversity and practicing a sovereign self-reliant agriculture. The fine for seed exchange and barter of unregistered seed (thousands of farmers varieties has a fine of up to Rs. 25000). While criminalizing farmers who consume biodiversity and traditional varieties, the Seed Act fails to do one thing it should have done, which is to regulate and hold liable private seed industry for seed failure and genetic contamination from GMO’s. For Example the failure of maize seeds in Bihar last year cost more than 1000 crores to Bihar farmers and the constant failure of Bt. cotton annually is costing more than a billion dollars to Indian farmers.

In the new Seed Act farmers can only claim compensation under the Consumer Protection Act. This option is in any way is available to the farmers presently and the brutal power of the Central Authority, which acts to prevent farmers from growing own seeds, provides no safety and remedy to our farmers from untested and hazardous seeds MNCs are selling in the Indian market.

The Seed Act has also undermined the role of the State governments. The Central Seed Committee in 1966 Act has representatives nominated by the government of each State. Now only 5 State will be represented in the Central Seed Committee and even these will be nominated not by the State governments but by the Centre.

The 2004 Seed Act has nothing positive to offer to farmers of India but offer a promise of a monopoly to private seed industries, which has already pushed thousands of our farmers to suicide through dependency and debt caused by unreliable, high dependency and non-renewable seeds.

The 1966 Act has served the country well and should continue to provide the framework for seed testing and seed certification.

Farmer varieties and indigenous agro-biodiversity is already been registered by Local Biodiversity Committee through Community Biodiversity Registers (CBRs). We do not need a Centralized Seed Authority with police power which uses compulsory registration to prevent farmers from growing, saving and exchanging their own seeds.

It is the MNC seed industry that need regulation and not the small farmers of our country without whose seed freedom the country will have no food sovereignty and food security.

Product Patent on Seeds

Methods of agriculture and plants were excluded from patentability in the Indian Patent Act 1970 to ensure that the seed, the first link in the food chain, was held as a common property resource in the public domain. In this manner, it guaranteed farmers the inalienable right to save, exchange and improve upon the seed was not violated.

But recently, two amendments have been made in the 1970 Patent Act. The 2nd Amendment makes changes in the definition of what is NOT an invention. This has opened the flood gates for the patenting of genetically engineered seeds.

According to Section 3(j) of the Indian Patent Act, the following is not an invention:

Any process for the medical, surgical, creative, prophylactic or other treatment of human beings or any process for a similar treatment of animals or plants or render them free of disease or to increase their economic value or that of their products.

In the 2nd Amendment however, the mention of “plants” have been deleted from this section. This deletion implies that a method or process modification of a plant can now be counted as an invention and therefore can be patented. Thus the method of producing Bt. cotton by introducing genes of a bacterium thurengerisis in cotton to produce toxins to kill the bollworm can now be covered by the exclusive rights associated with patents. In other words, Monsanto can now have Bt. cotton patents in India.

The Second Amendment has also added a new section (3j). This section allows for the production or propagation of genetically engineered plants to count as an invention. Its status as an invention thus deems it. But this section excludes as inventions “plants and animals including seeds, varieties and species and essentially biological processes for production or propagation of plants and animals”. Since plants produced through the use of new biotechnologies are not technically considered “essentially biological,” section 3j has found another way to create room for Monsanto. This loophole, couched in the guise of scientific advancement, thus allows patents on GMOs and hence opens the flood gate for patenting transgenic plants.

What is most concerning is how the language of section 3j is a verbatim translation into India law of Article 27.3 (b) of TRIPS Agreement. Article 27.3 (b) of TRIPS states:

Parties may exclude from patentability plants and animals other than micro-organisms, and essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals other than non-biological and microbiological processes. However, parties shall provide for the protection of plant varieties either by patents or by an effective sui generis system or by any combination thereof. This provision shall be reviewed four years after the entry into force of the Agreement establishing the W.T.O.

As Monsanto had a hand in drafting the TRIPS agreement, it is not surprising that the Monsanto Amendments have also made their way into India’s patent laws.

As Monsanto had a hand in drafting the TRIPS agreement, it is not surprising that the Monsanto Amendments have also made their way into India’s patent laws.

However, Article 27.3(b) is under review. The Government should have insisted on the completion of the review, a commitment of the Doha Round, instead of changing India’s Patent Law. As a result of sustained public pressure, after the agreement came into force in 1995, many Third World countries made recommendations for changes in Article 27.3 (b) to prevent biopiracy. India, in its discussion paper submitted to the TRIPS Council stated:

“Patenting of life forms may have at least two dimensions. Firstly, there is the ethical question of the extent of private ownership that could be extended to life forms. The second dimension relates to the use of IPRs' concept as understood in the industrialized world and its appropriateness in the face of the larger dimension of rights on knowledge, their ownership, use, transfer and dissemination

Informal system, e.g. the shrutis and in the Indian tradition and grandmother's portions all over the world get scant recognition. To create systems that fail to address this issue can have severe adverse consequences on mankind, some say even leading to extinction.

Clearly, we must re-examine the need to grant patents on life forms anywhere in the world. As we continue to assess this situation, in the meantime it may be advisable to:

1. Exclude patents on all life forms.

2. If (1) is not possible, then we must exclude patents based on traditional/indigenous knowledge and essentially derived products and processes from such knowledge.

3. At the very least, we must insist on the country of origin to disclose the biological source and associated knowledge, and obtain the consent of the country providing the resource and knowledge, to ensure an equitable sharing of benefits.”

To prevent competitors from selling seeds and to prevent farmers from saving seeds, Monsanto has now turned to the patent laws to get monopoly rights. The Monsanto Amendments of India's patent laws are a logical consequence of the clearance for the commercial planting of GMOs in Indian agriculture, as we saw earlier with the March 26th decision of the Indian government to allow Bt. cotton.

Patents on seeds are a necessary aspect of the corporate deployment of GM seeds and crops. When combined with the ecological risks of genetically engineered seeds like Bt. cotton, seed patents create a context of total control over the seed sector, and hence over our food and agricultural security.

Looking with closer analysis, there are three ways that the 2nd Amendment and 3rd Amendment of the Indian Patent laws have jeopardized our seed and food security, and hence our national security.

Firstly, it allows patents on seeds and plants through sections 3(i) and 3(j), as we saw above. Patents are monopolies and exclusive rights which prevent farmers from saving seeds; and seed companies from producing seeds. Patents on seeds transform seed saving into an “intellectual property crime”.

Secondly, genetic pollution is inevitable. Monsanto will use the patents and pollution to claim ownership of crops on farmers’ fields where the Bt. gene has reached it through wind or pollinators. This has been established as precedence in the case of a Canadian farmer, Percy Schmeiser, whose canola field was contaminated by Monsanto’s “Round up Ready Canola,” but instead of Monsanto paying Percy on the basis of the pollute principle, Monsanto demanded $200,000 fine for “theft” of Monsanto’s “intellectual property”. Thousands of U.S. farmers also have been sued. Will Indian farmers be blamed for theft when Monsanto’s GM cotton contaminates their crops? Or will the government wake up and enforce strict monitoring and liability?

When combined with the 3rd product patents amendment, these changes can mean absolute monopoly. A decision on a plant patent infringement suit has set a new precedent for interpreting plant patent coverage. In the case of Imagio Nursery vs. Daina Greenhouse, Judge Spence Williams, for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, ruled that a plant patent can be infringed by a plant that merely has similar characteristics to the patented plant. When combined with the reversal of burden of proof clauses, this kind of precedence based on product patents can be disastrous for countries from where the biodiversity that gave rise to those properties was first taken, more so, if the original donors of the biodiversity are accused of ‘piracy’ through such legal precedence in the absence of the prior existence of laws on traditional knowledge that prevent the misuse of such legal precedence.

In countries, where plant patents are not allowed, patenting genes is available as an opening for patenting properties and characteristics of the plant, and hence having exclusive rights to those properties and characteristics. This is how Monsanto was able to establish monopolies on seeds through patents on genes in Canada, even though Canada does not allow patents on life forms.

Patent protection implies the exclusion of farmers’ right over the resources having these genes and characteristics. This will undermine the very foundations of agriculture. For example, a patent has been granted in the U.S. to a biotechnology company, Sungene, for a sunflower variety with very high oleic acid content. The claim was for the characteristic (i.e., high oleic acid) and not just for the genes producing the characteristic. Sungene has notified others involved in sunflower breeding that the development of any variety high in oleic acid will be considered an infringement of its patent.

Corporate Rights Vs Farmers Rights

The State is under siege. New Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) legislation is being introduced in the area of plant genetic resources (PGR) under pressure of the U.S. government as well as the requirements of the TRIPS agreement of the W.T.O. while W.T.O. gives a five year transition period to introduce PGR legislation, the U.S. pressure was to introduce such legislation immediately. Further, the U.S. has been demanding monopoly protection for Transnational Corporations (TNCs) which control the seed industry. On the other hand people’s organisations are fighting to protect farmers’ rights to their biodiversity and their right to survival as well as the freedom of scientists to work for the removal of hunger rather than corporate profits. Farmers organizations, biodiversity conservation groups, sustainable agriculture networks and public interest oriented scientists are trying to ensure that farmers’ rights are protected, and through the protection of farmers’ rights, sovereign control over our biological wealth and its sustainable use in agricultural production is ensured. The conflict over PGR legislation is a conflict between farmers and the seed industry and between the public domain and private profits, between an agriculture that produces and reproduces diversity and one that consumes diversity and produces uniformity.

On January 29, 1996 at an address at the Indian Institute of Agricultural Research, the Unite States Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Daniel Glickman directly addressed the issue of the protection of seed Multinationals (MNCs). He said, “I hope our new legislation will provide a responsible and reasonable protection to private seed companies, which will encourage them to provide the best seeds available for your farmers. There would be very few inventions of anything, particularly in agriculture, without patent protection because it is the fundamental fact of nature that people will not go through the expense of development of new ideas just for the altruistic benefit of the human race.

The U.S. IPR orthodoxy is based on a fallacious idea that people do not innovate or generate knowledge unless they can derive private profits. However, greed is not a “fundamental fact of human nature” but a dominant tendency in societies that reward it. In the area of seeds and plant genetic resources, innovation of both the ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ systems has so far been guided by the larger human good. Norman Borlaug the scientist behind the Green Revolution and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, made this clear in his statement at a Press Conference at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi on 8th Feb 96. He expressed concern against private companies and TNCs gaining control of plant genetic resources and seeds and patenting plants. Prof. Borlaug said,

We battled against patenting. I and late Glen Anderson (of International Wheat an Maize Research Institute) went on record in India as well as other for a against patenting and always stood for free exchange of germplasm.

He saw IPRs in PGRs as a prescription for famine. Commenting on the U.S. demand for patents he said:

God help us if that were to happen, we would all starve.

Besides using a fallacious essentialist argument about human nature, Mr. Glickman also stressed the inevitability of farmers’ dependence on MNCs for seeds due to trade liberalization and its impact on agriculture.

According to him,

As income increases throughout Indian society, food needs will change – higher vegetable oil consumption, a shift from rice to wheat in urban areas and some shifting from grain to poultry and livestock products. Also, the needs of the new food processing industries will change the types of crops demanded. Therefore, farmers must have access to new crop varieties in order to meet changing consumer preferences.

In other words, what the U.S. government is coercing the Indian government to do is introduce unhealthy fat and meat rich diets through the expansion of U.S. agribusiness, agroprocessing and fast food industry. The proposal is to replace the small peasant and farmer based agricultural economy of India with agribusiness controlled industrial agriculture. This shift is associated with a transformation of farmers as breeders and reproducers of their own seed supply to farmers as consumers of propriety seed from the seed industry. It is also a shift from a food economy based on million of farmers as autonomous producers to a food system controlled by a handful of TNCs which control both inputs and outputs. This is a recipe for food insecurity, biodiversity erosion and uprooting of farmers from the land.

It is often stated that IPRs will not stop traditional farmers from using native seeds. However, the Seed Act 2004 is designed to do just that. Further when it is recognised that IPRs are an essential part of a package of agribusiness controlled agriculture in which farmers no longer grow native seeds but seeds supplied by the TNC seed industry, IPRs become a means of monopoly that wipe out farmers rights to save and exchange seed. This leads to TNC totalitarianism in agriculture. TNCs will decide what is grown by farmers, what they use as inputs, and when they sell their produce, to whom and at what price. they will also decide what is eaten by consumers, at what price, with what content and how much information is made available to them about the nature of food commodities.

IPRs are a significant instrument for the establishment of this TNC totalitarianism. The protection of the rights of citizens as producers and consumers needs the forging of new concepts and categories, new instruments and mechanism to counter and limit the monopoly power of TNCs in agriculture. Community rights are an important balancing concept for protecting the public interest in the context of IPR protection for corporations. In the field of food and agriculture, farmers’ rights are the countervailing force to breeders rights and patents on seed and plant material. Farmers’ rights in the context of monopoly control of the food system become relevant not just for farming communities, but also consumers. They are necessary not just for the survival of the people but also for the survival of the country. Without sovereign rights of farming communities to their seed an plant genetic resources, there can be no sovereignty of the country.

Farmers’ rights are an ecological, economic, cultural and political imperative. Without community rights, agricultural communities cannot protect agricultural biodiversity. This biodiversity is necessary not just for the ecological insurance of agriculture. Rights to agricultural biodiversity is also an economic imperative because without it our farmers and our country will loose their freedom and options for survival. Since biodiversity and cultural diversity are intimately linked, conservation of agricultural biodiversity is a cultural imperative also. Finally, without farmers’ rights, there is no political mechanism to limit monopolies in agriculture and inevitable consequence of displacement, hunger and famine that will follow total monopoly control over food production and consumption through the monopoly ownership over seed, the first link in the food chain.


 

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 10:45 am
http://www.mercola.com/1999/archive/genetically_altered_plants.htm
Genetically Altered Plants Might Alter You

Fears that genes for antibiotic resistance could jump from genetically modified foods to bacteria in the gut may be fueled by new research from the Netherlands.

The results show that DNA lingers in the intestine, and confirm that genetically modified bacteria can transfer their antibiotic-resistance genes to bacteria in the gut. Using an "artificial gut", researchers showed that DNA remains intact for several minutes in the large intestine.

One concern about some genetically modified (GM) crops, such as maize used as animal fodder, is that they include a gene for antibiotic resistance. The resistance genes are used to track the uptake of modified genes, and are not expressed in the crops.

While some scientists fear that these genes could jump into bacteria in the guts of livestock and create antibiotic-resistant pathogens, others have said there is no such risk because the modified DNA breaks down quickly. The Dutch results cast doubt on these assurances.

If the modified bacteria were a type normally found in the gut, such as Enterococcus, the experiment showed each had a 1 in 10 million chance of passing DNA containing antibiotic-resistance genes to an indigenous gut bacterium when they came in contact.

There are normally around a thousand billion gut bacteria, suggesting many would be transformed. If some normal gut inhabitants were killed off -- as in the guts of people or animals on antibiotics -- the transfer rate from gut-type bacteria increased tenfold.

New Scientist, 30 January 1999


 

Past Member (0)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 11:04 am
I don't eat my furry friends...Jaylena:(
 

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 11:10 am
Click here: Top Scientists Speak Out on Genetically Modified Crops
http://www.arkinstitute.com/foodsupplyupdates.htm

The Food Supply Update: September 2000

Top Scientists Speak Out on Genetically Modified Crops, Food

Part II in a series on GM Seeds and Foods

Copyright (c) 2000, by Geri Guidetti



The Ark Institute http://www.arkinstitute.com

Email: arkinst@concentric.net

The Ark Institute, PO Box 142, Oxford, Ohio 45056

In Part I of this Food Supply Update (July), I told you about the decision by Seminis, the world's largest vegetable seed corporation and controller of 40% of the US vegetable seed market, to eliminate 2,000 varieties of food seeds from its commercial offerings as part of a "global restructuring and optimization plan." Though no longer available commercially, the 2000 varieties would remain available to the company's own breeders, according to a company spokesperson. You may also remember that Seminis is a leader in genetic engineering of vegetables and owns, at last count, 79 patents on the vegetables it modified, so the fact that the 2000 pulled varieties would remain available to Seminis’s own breeders is no comfort. In fact, many consider it alarming. (Read Part I at http://www.arkinstitute.com)

Our ongoing discussion of genetic modification of food crop seeds and the potential for the virtual control of the global food supply is not meant to single out any one company. The global, corporate frenzy to patent genes of food and fiber plants as proprietary, that is, as a company’s legally defensible "intellectual property", continues at warp speed despite mounting international protest from individuals, organizations, scientists and governments who are aware of the potential for abuse of such ownership. This is a global, ultra-high-biotech-lubricated race to herd as many economically important food and fiber genes as possible into individual corporations’ intellectual property corrals. Witness one of the latest:

PRNewswire, September 7, 2000: "Ceres, Inc., a dedicated plant genomics company, and Genset, a leading human genomics company, announced today that they have completed a major gene sequencing project characterizing several tens of thousands of genes in corn (Zea mays). Corn is economically the most important crop in the United States with over 77 million acres planted last year and a market value at the farm level of over $18 billion."

Ceres president, Walter De Logi, states, "...Having access to the sequences as well as the full-length physical clones of so many corn genes will speed up our product development efforts in this economically valuable crop.....Ceres continues to pursue an aggressive intellectual property strategy and has filed patent applications covering several tens of thousands of full-length genes, their regulatory regions and their functions in various plant species." (Underlined for emphasis.)

Wow! Patent applications on tens of thousands of full-length plant genes and the regions that control them. That’s a lot of intellectual property! Note, too, his reference to their "functions in various plant species" and "their regulatory regions." Regulatory regions of genes can be selectively manipulated to turn them on or off, effectively dictating whether and when they will direct the synthesis of the proteins they code for, how much, etc., and because many plants share the same or similar genes, what you own and patent in corn could very well extend your control of these same genes to other crops. If granted, it appears the ownership and control of tens of thousands of corn and other plant genes will legally change hands—from Creation to corporation.

Legally, such patents would remove these plant genes from the public domain. No longer would they be available for research by public or private science laboratories bent on producing drought resistant or higher yield crops for hungry regions of the world. It will be very interesting to read all of these patent applications. Did they make a proprietary molecular change to each full-length gene it sequenced in order to claim each a unique, patent-worthy, manmade "invention", or did they simply apply for a patent on God’s own version of all "tens of thousands" of genes? Either way, the legal control will amount to the same thing.

It is quite clear that there is a new global business paradigm at work here. In the early part of the last century, the ultra-wealthy became rich and powerful by the ownership and sales of tangible property--land and oil. Cheap land provided the foundation, and oil the energy and lubrication for building the most materially rich, industrialized societies the world has ever known. Today’s and tomorrow’s super-rich and powerful are building their empires on the ownership and sales (or lease) of intangible intellectual property. Instead of building fences encompassing massive tracts of cheap land, or pumping millions of gallons of black crude into corporate tanks, biotech wizards corral the details of molecular structure and function and seek to control elements of Nature’s genius within the legal fences of patents. DNA is the code, the software of life, itself, and we all know how profitable it can be to own software with nearly universal application.

Intellectual properties in the world of agriculture—genes and the technologies designed to manipulate and control them, and chemicals to kill weeds and stimulate or repress them—provide the financial incentive, the motivation, the "lubrication" of protected future profit engines in return for the development of new crops. These crops are and will be marketed as genetically improved, proprietary "inventions" with higher yields to feed current and future billions of mouths; crops to produce vitamin A enhanced grains that could end diet-based blindness; crops to produce more economical, easy to administer vaccines and drugs; crops to produce new bio-fuels to replace dwindling oil supplies. The growing list and possibilities, are nearly endless and their stated intents altruistic, even noble.

Yet, we see in the Terminator, Verminator and other genetic use restriction technologies (GURTS), the potential dark side of the genetic intellectual property picture. These technologies boil down to genetically programmed control of seed germination and/or chemicals that must be used to ensure growth. Others involve a willful destruction of a plant’s natural disease resistance that can only be reactivated by buying a corporation’s chemicals. Inevitably they control people, especially the poor. The self-admitted targets of most of the patent owners are 78 countries worldwide, especially developing countries where seed is often saved by farmers and replanted, making purchases unnecessary for years at a time. (If you aren’t familiar with Terminator and GURTs, see archived Updates at http://www.arkinstitute.com . Also note there that The Ark Institute is still giving away its non-hybrid seed. )

Science—the same marvelous science that brings us medical and technological miracles every day—also made these technologies possible. How do the world’s top scientists weigh in on the explosion of the corporate intellectual property and genetically modified food issues? In my last Update I promised you a report on July’s high level working meeting of scientists from seven top science academies, including five from developing countries. The academies and the numbers of scientists who represented the Councils of each Academy, the latter in parentheses, follow:

Brazilian Academy of Sciences (4)

Chinese Academy of Sciences (3)

Indian National Academy of Sciences (2) and (8) reviewers

Mexican Academy of Sciences (3)

Royal Society of London (5)

Third World Academy of Science (1)

United States National Academy of Sciences (5) and (1) Staff Officer to the NAS

Delegation

Among the U.S. delegation were Harvard educated molecular biologist and president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Bruce Alberts, Nobel Laureate chemist, F. Sherwood Rowland, and a wheat researcher, R. James Cook. Yes, it was a top-notch working group. Here are some relevant excerpts from the white paper released by all of the global scientists at the conclusion of the conference:

"It is essential that we improve food production and distribution in order to feed and free from hunger a growing world population, while reducing environmental impacts and providing productive employment in low-income areas....Goods can be produced through the use of GM technology that are more nutritious, stable in storage, and in principle health promoting—bringing benefits to consumers in both industrialized and developing nations." On intellectual property and patents, they said:

"Private corporations and research institutions should make arrangements to share GM technology, now held under strict patents and licensing agreements, with responsible scientists for use for hunger alleviation and to enhance food security in developing countries." And.....

"An important consideration regarding such intellectual property rights in inventions and discoveries resulting from genomic research and from other applications of biotechnology is that overly broad intellectual property rights should not be granted.....it is important to consider the impact of intellectual property rights on developing countries. To benefit the growing populations of the developing world, new plant varieties will have to be developed through a variety of sources, including: (i)farmers who select plants that succeed best in their particular locality for the retention of seed for future use or sale; (ii) public or pro bono research institutions financed out of taxes or charitable grants that provide improved varieties to appropriate users free or at cost; and (iii) for-profit companies interested in creating new products and markets that develop new varieties financed through profits from seed sales...." (underlined for emphasis)

I think it is interesting to note that our own tax-funded, public research institution, the USDA, has collaborated with a private, for-profit company to patent Terminator technologies for mutual profit (see original article at our web site) from seed sales, not to "provide improved varieties to appropriate users free or at cost" as suggested by the scientists. We, the people of the United States, have literally funded the creation of intellectual property holdings that can be used to deprive farmers both here and abroad of public domain seed stocks. Do you think this is an exaggeration? Here is a press release dated June 18, 2000:

"Bolivia’s National Association of Quinoa Producers (ANAPQUI) is asking two professors at Colorado State University to abandon their controversial patent on one of the country’s most important food crops—quinoa—a crop that feeds millions throughout the Andes, including many Aymara and Quechua Indigenous People.

"Our intellectual integrity has been violated by this patent, said Luis Oscar Mamami, ANAPQUI’s President. "Quinoa has been developed by Andean farmers for millennia, it was not ‘invented’ by researchers in North America...We demand that the patent be dropped and that all countries of the world refuse to recognize its validity." The president was scheduled to appeal to a Special Session of the General Assembly of the United nations and presented the quinoa patent as a violation of Human Rights before the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and the Environment.

US Patent No. 5,304,718 grants CSU professors Duane Johnson and Sarah Ward "exclusive monopoly control over a traditional Bolivian variety know as ‘Apelawa’.....the patent, issued in 1994, is valid until the year 2011... According to the patent, this might include many traditional varieties grown by peasant farmers in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Chile as well as varieties important in Bolivia’s quinoa export market....Though little known outside of the Andes, quinoa is becoming increasingly popular in North America and Europe as an exceptionally nutritious food corp. Johnson and Ward believe that their technique for hybridizing quinoa will increase the crop’s yield, making it better suited for commercial production in the North."

"The quinoa patent is a shocking example of biopiracy," RAFI’s Executive Director Pat Mooney was quoted as saying. "Bolivian farmers and researchers were stunned to learn of its existence. After all, they freely shared their quinoa seeds and knowledge with the Colorado State professors." (Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, is that state’s land-grant institution and, as such, is funded by government for agricultural research.)

Edward Hammond of RAFI was quoted, "There’s something terribly wrong when patent offices grant monopoly patents on food crops...This is a dangerous and disturbing precedent, and it must not be allowed to stand. Access to food and the universal Right to Food should not be left in the hands of those who control patents on technology and germplasm."

The meeting of global academies of science also addressed the issue of genetically modified food safety. They said there was a need for "concerted, organized efforts on a global scale to quickly identify potential health and environmental risks from GM crops. They said, "...public health regulatory systems need to be put in place in every country to identify and monitor any potential adverse human health effects of transgenic plants, as for any other new variety."

When I read this, "quickly identify potential health....risks", I immediately thought of recent news concerning our current food inspection programs. From this week’s September 11th issue of Business Week....

"There are only 126 USDA inspectors handling the import of 16.7 million animals—mostly livestock and poultry—annually; and only 91 U.S. Fish & Wildlife inspectors for some 21 million wild animals—200 million including fish. Also, USDA lab facilities are in dire need of repair. According to a recent report, virtually every critical system, including bio-containment, is antiquated....Could disaster strike here? Experts say it’s a matter of when, not if, pointing to several recent catastrophes around the world...." They go on to cite mad cow disease in Great Britain among a growing list of international food crises.

Do you have faith that the USDA, with its now obvious vested interest in the marketing of genetically modified seed and food, will effectively monitor the entire national food supply--and any changes in the health of the U.S. population--for "potential adverse human health effects of transgenic (GM) plants?" As I write this, CNN just reported that genetically modified corn not approved for human consumption has just been found in Taco Bell meals. The report claims the genetic modification renders the corn difficult to digest in humans and could cause allergic reactions. If accurate, this is the first in what will soon be thousands of similar reports and, perhaps, lawsuits following GM food supply "accidents." How will the USDA and even the FDA monitor all of these modified foods? Here is a very recent example of current monitoring for already proven risks of bacterial contamination ......

(New York Times, August 27, 2000) "Agriculture Department officials say they are discussing the possibility of loosening their new standards for preventing salmonella contamination in ground beef used for the nation’s school lunch program.....Since June, the department, which provides 70 percent of the ground beef used in schools, has required that every batch it buys be free of salmonella. Before that there were no standards for any pathogens, including salmonella, bacteria responsible for about 600 deaths and 1.4 million illnesses last year..." Meat processors have been claiming that the standards are too difficult to meet and that proper cooking kills the Salmonella anyway. "Faced with industry criticism, department officials began to reconsider salmonella rules," according to the NY Times article. Here’s one more:

Wednesday, September 6th, Reuters: "Americans face a growing risk of eating feces, vomit and metal shards in meat and poultry because the US Agriculture Department is allowing companies to perform more of their own food safety inspections, two consumer groups and a labor union said on Tuesday. Their survey of 451 federal inspectors showed many were concerned that too much contaminated meat and poultry was slipping through company production lines under the government’s new safety procedures....Federal inspectors check paperwork, not food, and are prohibited from removing feces and other contaminants before products are stamped with the purple USDA seal of approval," said Felicia Nestor, food safety director for the Government Accountability project.

It is obvious that we have problems with the contamination and safety of our current food supply "just" in terms of foreign substances and bacterial contamination. Yet, U.S. supermarkets are already stocked with a dizzying array of unidentified,genetically modified foods despite our frightening lack of knowledge of their potential health hazards, and our impotence to monitor and regulate them. Our government and its agencies need to heed the messages and warnings of scientists who truly understand what we know and, more importantly, what we do not know.

The biotech genie is out of the bottle, and it is doubtful it will ever be put back. It is far too powerful, and its potential for good and for profit are far too great for man to ignore. Like the "oil genie" before it, it is lubricating whole industries, granting wishes for soaring stocks and rich bottom lines. It might even be compared to nuclear energy with its theoretical potential for both good and evil, but which proliferated before we knew how to control it, dispose of its waste and limit its spread. We still don’t know!

Biotechnology is a whole new power, creating a whole new world. It is time our leaders be educated that there is so much we do not know about the implications of genetically modifying our seed and food, that we cannot afford to continue awarding profitable patents on life’s software. We may discover, all too late, that in the name of progress and profit, we have irreparably damaged the code........Geri Guidetti, The Ark Institute

*********************************************************************************************

The Ark Institute preserves and multiplies non-genetically modified, non-hybrid food seeds. We continue to supply free seed for the cost of shipping/packing for individuals, charities, prisons, community gardens and self-help organizations.

Go to http://www.arkinstitute.com or call 1-800-255-1912 for details. If you would like to receive the Food Supply Updates by email, send an email with "list" in the subject to arkinst@concentric.net .

||Ark Institute Home||
 

serge vrabec (278)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 11:41 am
What next , will they let the cloned people out of the "labs" too.?! This whole business is just a handful of companies, you would think the FDA would have better things to do with their time and resources with all the health and safety problems these days, I, m disgusted! Thx kathy! i think the negative effects of this and GMO's just aren't getting the attention from the public that they need.These co.s are taking over all of our food and almost no one in this country knows!
 

. (0)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 11:50 am
They will never be able to convince me that cloned animals are safe for food.
Noted with thanks, Kathy.
 

Jessica C (178)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 2:37 pm
As an animal rights activist and a rabid believer in the best interest of We the People (as opposed to They the Corporations), this makes me sick--although I'm too jaded for it to surprise me. Welcome to America, where corporate profits trump the value of animal and human life.
 

Chrissy N (118)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 3:49 pm
We are lucky in that we don't eat a lot of meat, but we have a friend who has 2 big properties and we are going to agist our meat ... on the hoof ... there until needed. We also have a very humane home butcher, who does the deed out of sight of other animals, but without taking it away to an slaughter house.
 

RC deWinter (418)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 5:14 pm
I wonder how much they got paid to say this?
 

Mark F (300)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 5:51 pm
Thanks Kathy. I wouldn't trust the FDA if they told me that 1+1=2.
 

Jim P (3247)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 6:45 pm
The FDA is run by neo-con appointee and his record has been very poor.
Cannot trust this issue of cloned meat as being "safe". Man has done terrible
things to this planet. You think man can get this cloned meat right...
Even the veggies manipulated & created by man has already proven to be bad.
No to cloned meat, no to cloned off-spring.
 

Jim P (3247)
Tuesday January 15, 2008, 10:16 pm

The FDA is really pushing cloned meat. The off-springs do not require labeling.
Write to your Senators, Congressperson immediately.
Review and sign petition: Friends of The Earth

http://action.foe.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=22275

Use search engine in Care2 " Cloned Meat " for other articles.
There are quite a few pushing FDA and a few against.
 

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Thursday January 17, 2008, 11:06 am
Thank you Jim
 
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