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Organic View - An e-mail publication of the Organic
Consumers Association

The Organic Consumers Association is affiliated with the
Campaign for Food Safety

Organic View v.1 n.11
Contents
1. OCA Supports Action Against Nestle
2. New GE Bt Study Shows Resistance
3. The Power of the Pesticide Lobby
4. Update - NAS Controversy, Maine Legislation Dead
5. Organic Boom in Europe

1. OCA Supports Action Against Nestle

OCA is joining Greenpeace and Mothers & Others in urging
Nestle to stop using genetically engineered ingredients in
their products. Nestle is the world's largest food company,
producing infant formulas, candy bars, and many other
foods.

Nestle has pledged to avoid genetically engineered
ingredients in several European countries including Spain,
Great Britain and Germany. But Nestle USA has not made a
similar pledge and continues to use genetically engineered
ingredients.

Some Nestle products that may contain GE ingredients, such
as GE soy lecithin or oil; GE corn dextrose or oil; GE
cottonseed oil; and milk from cows injected with the
engineered Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) include: Carnation
Good Start, Alsoy and Follow Up infant formulas
Carnation powdered, evaporated and sweetened condensed milk,
hot cocoa
Quik / Nesquik, Toll House Chocolate Chips, Crunch,
Butterfingers, KitKat, Rolos, Baci chocolates, Nestlé Ice
Cream Bars and Dreyer's Ice Cream, Stouffers and Lean
Cuisine frozen foods, Contadina tomato and pasta products.

The new campaign to pressure Nestle comes on the heels of a
decision by baby food maker, Gerber, to switch from
genetically engineered ingredients to organic ingredients.
Gerber's decision came after Greenpeace tested the company's
baby food and found it contained genetically engineered
material.

OCA is working with Greenpeace and Mothers & Others to
directly pressure Nestle to use non-genetically engineered
suppliers for all their food products. Mail or fax Nestle
USA CEO, Joe Weller and tell him you want Nestle's products
to be free of GE ingredients until proven safe.

Mailing address is: Joe Weller, Chairman and CEO, Nestle
USA, Inc., 800 North Brand Bl., Glendale, CA
91203. Fax: 818-549-6952. Or go to Nestle's website and
send an email: http://www.nestle.com/html/q.html

Look for additional information on this campaign in the
coming months.

2. New GE Bt Study Shows Resistance

A new study by the University of Arizona published in the
journal Nature raises serious doubts about whether
strategies to slow down pest resistance to genetically
engineered Bt crops will work. Genetically engineered Bt
crops contain the natural pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis
in every cell, and are designed to kill various pests
including the corn borer and pink bollworm (See Organic View
n. 3, /old_articles/new.stm).

It is expected that genetically engineered Bt crops will
accelerate pest resistance to Bt - perhaps in three to 10
years. To guard against pest resistance, the biotech
industry and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
have been pushing the creation of buffer zones around the
engineered crops. These refuges of conventional crops would
allow pests not developing resistance to Bt to mate with
those that develop resistance, thus slowing the overall
process of Bt resistance.

But the findings published in Nature cast serious doubts on
that strategy. Arizona researchers found that
laboratory-raised, Bt resistant pink bollworm took five or
six days longer to develop into an adult moth than pink
bollworm feeding on non-GE Bt cotton. Both types of moth
mate within three days of hatching and males only live for
about a week.

If the Bt resistant pink bollworm, and the non-resistant
pink bollworm are developing to sexual maturity at different
speeds it will make it very difficult if not impossible for
them to mate. And if Bt-resistant bollworms are only mating
with each other it will likely speed up resistance to
engineered Bt crops, and render the strategy of developing
protective refuges ineffective.

U.S. farmers are tending about 3.5 million acres of
engineered Bt cotton this year, which is equal to about
one-fourth of the total U.S. cotton acreage. The EPA has
approved nine engineered Bt crops for planting in the U.S.,
including cotton, potatoes, corn, soybeans and canola.

The University of Arizona findings are important for organic
farmers who use non-genetically engineered Bt sprays as a
last resort to protect their farms against pests. Organic
farmers have been using Bt sprays judiciously for decades to
protect against pest resistance. Bt-based sprays degrade in
sunlight and do not harm beneficial insects such as ladybugs
and honeybees. If pest resistance to Bt becomes widespread,
it could be catastrophic for organic farmers.

3. The Power of the Pesticide Lobby

Ever wonder why the US government continues to push policies
that encourage pesticide use, while generally turning their
back on more sustainable farming methods including organic.
A new report by the Environmental Working Groups shows
there's big money to be made by former EPA bureaucrats if
they cozy up to the pesticide industry. EWG found that
two-thirds of the highest ranking officials at the EPA have
gone on to receive at least part of their paycheck from
pesticide interests. This includes four out of six former
Assistant Administrators for Pesticides and Toxic Substances
since 1977, and two out of four former directors of the
Office of Pesticide Programs since 1983. In addition, a
dozen other former EPA staffers who worked on pesticides
have gone on to represent pesticide interests.

Former Assistant Administrators going to the pesticide
industry include: Steven Jellinek who now chairs Jellinek,
Schwartz & Connolly Inc. a consulting firm for the pesticide
industry including Monsanto, Dow and the Chemical
Manufacturers Association; John Todhunter (credited with
holding up the review of formaldehyde) now works for Science
Regulatory Services, a consulting firm with clients that
include pesticide manufacturers and the Tobacco Institute;
and Linda Fisher, now Vice President for worldwide and
government public affairs at Monsanto.

Additional details of the EWG Fat Cats report can be found
at: http://www.ewg.org/pub/home/reports)

4. Updates - NAS Controversy, Maine Legislation Dead

The National Academy of Sciences Committee set up to study
engineered Bt crops is mired again in charges of conflicts
of interest. After an outpouring of protest from
environmental and consumer groups about the pro-biotech
composition of the Committee earlier this year, the NAS
decided to add a representative from the environmental
community, and several with close ties to the biotech
industry resigned. (See Organic View, n 5,
/old_articles/new.stm)

Now the controversial NAS Committee has been hit again with
new charges of conflict of interest. The study's project
director, Dr. Michael Phillips, has left the NAS to become
the executive director of food and agriculture for the
Biotechnology Industry Organization - a trade group that
represents the biotech industry. Phillips' move came as a
shock to the rest of the NAS Committee and to the NAS
itself.

"Dr. Phillips must have been discussing his new position
with BIO at the same time as he was directing the
committee," wrote Rebecca Goldburg, a member of the Academy
committee, in a letter Thursday to Bruce Alberts, president
of the National Academy of Sciences. "In short, it appears
that Dr. Phillips had a serious conflict of interest while
serving as project director."

The Academy made its initial committee selection in March;
the group began work in April. A draft report, due in a few
weeks, will be reviewed by outside experts. A final report
is scheduled for October.

According to NAS guidelines, Committee members are required
to inform the Academy of any potential conflicts of
interest. According to the NAS, Phillips violated the
Academy's ethical rules. As director of the Board on
Agriculture and Natural Resources at the Academy, Phillips
helped to find outside experts to sit on the panel. He also
participated in all of the panel's meetings.

On July 6, Phillips told the NAS Committee he was leaving,
but did not say where he would be working. On July 20, the
Biotechnology Industry Organization promoted its hiring of
Phillips in a news release.

Maine GE Legislation

In Organic View n.7 we discussed various innovative
legislative efforts at the state and local level.
Legislation in Maine to label genetically engineered crops
is dead on the floor of the House, according to activists
there. The bill had been endorsed by the legislature's
Agriculture Committee. Legislators in the Maine House
believe that the labeling question is better handled at the
federal level. Chief sponsor, Rep. Martha Bagley
(D-Machias), and activist groups have pledged to introduce
the legislation again next year. State Rep. Linda Rogers
McKee (D-Wayne) recently gathered signatures of more than 50
state legislators on a letter in support of GE labeling
which she forwarded to the Environmental Protection Agency,
the FDA, USDA Secretary Dan Glickman and Maine's
congressional delegation. Maine is the only state in the
country that has forbidden the planting of genetically
engineered corn.

5. Organic Boom in Europe

The number of organic farms in Europe has grown from about
6,300 in 1985 to more than 100,000 today, according to a new
report issued by Eurostat, the European Union's official
statistics agency. Italy has about one fourth of all the
organic land, followed by Germany with 16 percent and
Austria with 12 percent, according to the report.

Britain in particular has seen a huge increase in organic
agriculture. British farmers are cultivating five times more
land using organic methods than a year ago, according to the
British ministry of agriculture. The area of land farmed
organically increased to 274,519 hectares in April this
year, from 54,834 in April 1998.

Note: Previous issues of Organic View can be found at:
www.organicconsumers.org
Or you can e-mail requests for back issues to:
news@organicconsumers.org

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