The Trojan Horse of Genetically Modified Food


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The Trojan Horse of Genetically Modified Food

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The Trojan Horse of Genetically Modified Food

  1. 1. `The Trojan Horse of Genetically Modified FoodWhy are US funded food aid agencies putting pressure on African governments to accept GeneticallyModified food? Teresa Anderson investigates.Up to 15 million people in six countries in Southern Africa are currently facing famine. Aid agenciesdesperately need assistance to source and deliver food. So why has the US donation of 500,000 tonnesof maize been rejected by Zambia, and only accepted with reluctance by the other nations?The answer lies in the possible effects that the US Genetically Modified (GM) grain could unleash onAfrican agriculture, economies and health. And the increasing suspicion that US food donations arebeing used as a tool to force GM on to the African market. African nations have so far refusedcommercialization of GM crops, but could be forced to accept the inevitable if local stocks becomecontaminated with modified genes.When food shortages became imminent back in June, the World Food Programme (WFP) and USAgency for International Development (USAID) refused to respond to Southern African nationsrequests for GM-free food aid.The United Nations own figures show that there are hundreds of thousands of tonnes of GM-freesources of food available around the world. But the WFP and USAID spent those valuable monthstrying to force recipient nations to accept the GM grain donated by the US, instead of looking to sourceelsewhere. Only now, nearly half a year later, are they starting to respond to Zambias needs, whilepublicly blaming the Zambian government and green groups for the hunger that Zambians now face.Critics of the USAID/ WFP position suspect that there may be another agenda behind the offer of foodaid, and this is essentially threefold:1. Surplus ProblemsThe US is increasingly desperate to sell off its massive surpluses, produced through heavilyindustrialised, subsidised and genetically modified agriculture, and rejected by the rest of the world. Byoffering these unwanted goods as aid, the US manages to look generous, while still supporting theirown farmers.The claim that WFP-distributed food is the same as that consumed by Americans may not be accurate.In an open letter to James Morris, Director of the WFP, The Network for a GM-Free Latin Americawrites: "Results found in Colombia with testing samples taken from the soy used in the Bienesterinaprogramme proved to be 90% transgenic [GM]. This high percentage suggests that transgenic food isbeing kept apart in the US and that most of this is being sent abroad as gifts or aid to the poor countriesof the world, like Colombia in this case."This allegation is supported by a 2001 survey by the American Corn Growers Association showing thatover 50% of US grain elevators segregate GM and non-GM grains. Unfortunately, the effects of long-term human exposure to a diet of mostly GM food have never been scientifically researched. Anypotential problems could be aggravated in a population with compromised immune systems caused byhunger and HIV/ AIDS.
  2. 2. 2. Securing Export MarketsDonations in the form of direct food aid damages domestic economies and secures the future of USimports. Food aid has the effect of flooding recipient nations markets with cheaper subsidised products.This allows US products to dominate when local producers go under, unable to sell their own produceat comparable prices. Local production disappears, and farmers lose their livelihoods.Wilma Salgado, former consultant to the WFP in Ecuador is now highly critical of the way that "foodassistance", particularly from the US, is used to the benefit of the donor country rather than therecipient."The food products received as donations, or through concessionary credits, are sold on the localmarket, thus negatively impacting the capacity for local production. This has been the history of wheatin Ecuador, a product for which Ecuador was self-sufficient a few decades ago, and of which 96% isnow imported. A similar situation is now occurring with soya."3. GM Through the "Back Door"African nations are presently united in their rejection of commercial growing of GM crops, with theexception of South Africa. Small farmers can better feed themselves and their families with low-input,locally appropriate agricultural techniques. But they represent a huge potential market for thebiotechnology companies, who are desperate to find new markets for their products. Companies likeMonsanto are facing massive financial losses, due to rejection from most countries, and know that ifthey do not manage to sell seed commercially in Africa, they may well go under.African seed stocks could well become contaminated through the import of GM maize. Despite theirpresent hunger, farmers will almost certainly set aside and plant grains that are distributed as aid, inpreparation for next year. The propagation of these could lead to mixing of GM seed into local stocks,as well as possible cross-pollination. Countries would find that protecting their GM-free status may beimpossible, and might be persuaded to accept the "inevitable" commercialisation of GM crops. It isbecause of this possibility that Zimbabwe and Malawi have only accepted the GM aid if it is milledbefore distribution, so that the grains cannot be planted.Saliem Fakir, director of the South Africa office of the World Conservation Union, says "Africa ismerely a pawn in a global game of chess. By forcing Southern African governments to take a decisionon genetically modified (GM) foods, a precedent will be set. The next time around, US corporationswill roll out their grand plan for agricultural rejuvenation in Africa founded on GM-based production.African governments will be hard pressed to resist given that they have subverted their own policies inthe face of a food crisis."GM Funding? GM Agenda!As the struggle over GM food aid became increasingly heated, NGOs began to wonder why USAIDand WFP were so resolutely sticking to their pro-GM line. Surely they were meant to respect thesovereignty of recipient nations? But investigations by Greenpeace discovered that there were many
  3. 3. links between the food aid agencies, the biotechnology companies and the US government, which couldbe responsible for an underlying agenda.The USAID website puts it pretty clearly. "The principal beneficiary of Americas foreign assistanceprogrammes has always been the United States. Close to 80% of the USAID contracts and grants godirectly to American firms. Foreign assistance programmes have helped create major markets foragricultural goods."Greenpeaces report suggests that "USAID does not act like a conventional foreign developmentagency. Instead it is at the forefront of a US marketing campaign designed to introduce GM food intothe developing world. USAID is a vehicle for the GM industry."Andrew Natsios of USAID accused environmental groups of endangering African lives by encouragingrejection of GM food aid. "They can play these games with Europeans, who have full stomachs, but it isrevolting and despicable to see them do so when the lives of Africans are at stake."But the UN human rights envoy Jean Ziegler says "Im against the theory of the multinationalcorporations who say if you are against hunger then you must be for GM. Thats wrong, there is plentyof natural, normal, good food in the world to nourish double of humanity. There is absolutely nojustification to produce genetically modified food except the profit motive and the dominion ofmultinational corporations."USAID is the only aid agency that provides aid in the form of food. Other countries donate economicaid to enable more efficient, flexible and regional sourcing that supports local markets. There arehundreds of thousands of tonnes of non-GM food available, much of it in the Southern and East Africanregion. But tellingly, USAID refused to give its donation as the financial equivalent of the food aidoffered. Neither would it offer its segregated non-GM maize.Aid in the form of GM food could be Africas undoing, and could compromise her ability to feedherself forever. For this reason, Africa should rightly beware of the US claiming to bear gifts, for theycould turn out to be a modern day Trojan horse.~BIOCOLONIZATION: THE PATENTING OF LIFE AND THE GLOBALMARKET IN BODY PARTSBiotechnology extends humanitys reach over the forces of nature as no other technology in history.Bioengineers are now manipulating life forms in much the same way as the engineers of the industrialrevolution were able to separate, collect, utilize and exploit inanimate materials. Just as previousgenerations manipulated plastics and metals into the machines and products of the industrial age, weare now manipulating and indeed transferring living materials into the new commodities of the globalage of biotechnology.With current technology, it is becoming possible to snip, insert, edit, and program, genetic material, thevery blueprint of life. With these techniques, the new engineers of life are rearranging the geneticstructures of the living world creating thousands of novel microbes, plants and animals, crossing and
  4. 4. intermixing species at will. Recent creations of biotechnology include pigs engineered with humangrowth genes to increase their size, tomatoes with flounder genes to resist cold temperatures, salmonwith cattle growth genes to increase their size, tobacco plants with the fluorescent gene of fireflies tomake them glow at night, and laboratory mice with the AIDS virus as part of their permanent geneticcode.Biotechnologists are also able to screen for and isolate valuable genetic material from virtually anyliving organism. They can "clone" industrial amounts of valuable DNA, hormones, enzymes and otherbiochemicals. Recent advances even allow the cloning of innumerable "xerox" copies of wholeorganisms including higher mammals.With these new capabilities, genetic engineering represents the ultimate tool in the manipulation of lifeforms. For the first time, scientists have the potential of becoming the architects of life itself, theinitiators of an ersatz, technological evolution designed to create new species of microbes, plants andanimals which are more profitable for agriculture, industry, biomass energy production and research.The raw material for this new enterprise is genetic resources and just as the powers of the industrial agecolonized the world in search of minerals and fossil fuels, the biocolonizers are now in search of newbiological materials which can be transformed into profitable products through genetic engineering.The new bioprospectors know where to find the biodiversity they need.According to the World Resources Institute more than half the worlds plant and animal species live inthe rainforests of the Third World-and nowhere else on earth. The non-industrialized worlds coastalregions add millions of more species to those available to the new engineers of life. The Third World isnow witnessing a "gene rush" as governments and multinational corporations aggressively scout theirforests and coasts in search of the new gene gold. The human body is not immune from thebioprospectors. Organ and fetal transplantation, reproductive technology, and genetic manipulation ofblood and cells have made body parts including blood, organs, cells and genes extremely valuable. Theinternational collection and sale of human parts is becoming a major worldwide industry.Many predict that the 21st century will become "the age of biotechnology." Biocolonizing companiesand governments know that the economic and political entities that control the genetic resources of theplanet may well exercise decisive power over the world economy in coming decades. However , thenew drive for international hegemony in the engineering and marketing of life represents andextraordinary threat to the earths fragile ecosystems and to those living in or near them. Moreover,embarking on the long journey in which corporations and governments become the designers andsellers of "the blueprints" of life raises some of the most disturbing and important questions ever to facehumanity: Do scientists and corporations have the right to alter the genetic code of life forms at will?Should we mix and match the genetic code of the entire living kingdom in the name of utility or profit?Is there a limit to the number or type of human genes which should be allowed to be engineered intoother animals? Should the genetic integrity of the biotic community be preserved? Is there somethingsacred or reverable about life, or should life forms, including the human body and its parts, simply beviewed as commodities in the new biotechnology marketplace? Is the genetic makup of all living thingsthe common heritage of all or can it be appropriated by corporations and governments?The companies, governments and scientists at the forefront of the biorevolution-often goaded byscientific curiosity or profit-have avoided virtually any discussion of the extraordinary implications of
  5. 5. their actions. Further, the so called "bioethicists" employed by various government and educationalinstitutions appear incapable of saying no to any advance in the manipulation and sale of life, Theyseem intent in seeing the unthinkable become the debatable, the debatable become the justifiable, andthe justifiable become the routine. While virtually all poles show that the international public isopposed to much of biotechnology and the biocolonization, this has not yet led to a major"biodemocracy" movement which demands public participation and decision-making in these issues.Without such a movement, the international biotechnology revolution with all of its unprecedentedenvironmental and ethical implications will remain totally uncontrolled.MONOPOLY ON LIFE FORMSThe age of biocolonization can be said to have "officially" been launched in 1980. That year witnesseda little-noted U.S. Supreme Court decision, Diamond v. Chakrabarty. This unheralded case willeventually be seen as one of the most important and infamous legal decisions of the century.The case began in 1971 when Indian microbiologist Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty, an employee ofGeneral Electric (GE), developed a type of bacteria that could digest oil. GE quickly applied to the U.SPatent and Trademark Office (PTO) for a patent on Chakrabartys genetically engineered oil-eatingbacteria. After several years of review, the PTO rejected the GE patent application under the traditionallegal doctrine that life forms ("products of nature") are not patentable.Eventually the case was appealed to the Supreme Court. GE and other corporations argued before thecourt that life forms were simply chemical products that could be patented just as any other"manufacture". A small number of public interest groups argued against the patenting of the microbe,on the grounds that "to justify patenting living organisms, those who seek such patents must argue thatlife has no vital or sacred property...and that once this is accomplished , all living material will bereduced to arrangements of chemicals, or `mere compositions of matter. " Opponents also reasoned thatwith patent profits as fuel, the accelerated drive to commercialize engineered life would eliminate allchance of objective public education and participation in the policy decisions involved.Most expected the Supreme Court to support the Patent and Trademark Office and to reject the GEpatent. However, in June 1980 the Supreme Court handed down its surprise opinion. By five-to-fourmargin the Court decided that Chakrabarty was to be granted his patent. The highest court in the UnitedStates had decided that life was patentable. The court dismissed the vision of a "parade of horribles"suggested by those who thought that the decision would lead to the engineering and patenting of higherlife forms and the court stated that the issue was not whether there was a "relevant distinction (inpatentability) between living and inanimate things", but whether living products could be seen as"human-made inventions".The next decade was to show that both patenting proponents and opponents were correct. Patenting didprovide the economic trigger for a lucrative biotechnology industry as GE had hoped. However , it alsodid produce the "gruesome parade of horribles" feared by many and showed how inevitable was theslippery slope from the genetic engineering and patenting of microbes, to that of plants, animals, andfinally to human genes, cells, and tissues.
  6. 6. THE END OF NATURESome called it the "mouse that roared." For others it augured the end of nature. On April 12, 1988, theU.S Patent Office (PTO) issued the first patent on a living animal (to Harvard Professors Philip Lederand Timothy A. Stewart of San Francisco) for their creation of a transgenic mouse containing a varietyof genes derived from other species, including the chicken and man. These foreign genes wereengineered into the mouses permanent germline in order to predispose it to developing cancer, makingit a better research animal on which to test the virulence of various carcinogens. While the mediadubbed the patented animal the "Harvard mouse" it should really have been called the "Du Pont mouse"since that company financed the Harvard research and now holds the license for its manufacture.However, Du Pont got a lot more than just a genetically engineered mouse from the PTO. The patentlicensed to DuPont is extraordinarily broad, embracing any animals of any species be they mice, rats,cats or chimpanzees that are engineered to contain a variety of cancer causing genes. The patent maywell be among the broadest ever granted so far.Eight other altered animal species including mice, rabbits and nematodes have been patented.Currently, well over 200 genetically engineered animals including genetically manipulated fish, cows,sheep and pigs are standing in line to be patented by a variety of researchers and corporations.The Patent Office decision to patent genetically altered animals was a direct result of the misguidedChakrabarty decision by the Supreme Court. In 1985, five years after the Courts historic decision, thePTO ruled that Chakrabarty could be extended to apply to the patenting of genetically engineeredplants, seeds and plant tissue. Thus the entire plant kingdom was opened up to patent protection. Thenon April 7, 1987, the Patent Office issued a ruling specifically extending the Chakrabarty decision toinclude all "multicellular living organisms, including animals." The radical new patenting policysuddenly transformed a Supreme Court decision on patenting microbes into one allowing the patentingof all life forms on Earth including animals. Under the ruling a patented animals legal status is nodifferent from that of other manufactures such as automobiles or tennis balls.It is doubtful that the Patent Office was prepared for the controversy that it stirred up by issuing itsedict permitting animal patenting. Editorials across the country lambasted the new policy. BioethicistRobert Nelson saw it as "a staggering decision...Once you start patenting life, "he asked, "is there nostopping it?"The revolutionary 1987 ruling on the partentability of animals did appear to have a silver lining: thePTO ruling excluded human beings from patentability. The restriction on patenting human beings wasbased on the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution, the antislavery amendment, which prohibitsownership of a human being. Unfortunately, there were several major loopholes. For one, under thePTOs 1987 ruling, embryos and fetuses, are patentable, and so, apparently is the patenting of separatehuman organs, tissues, cells, and genes.The first human materials to be patented were cell lines- a sample of cells grown through artificiallaboratory cultivation. Soon after the Chakrabarty decision researchers began to file applications topatent cell lines which were valuable for the study of biologic processes and which could test theeffects of chemicals and pharmaceuticals on human cells. Cell lines were just the begining. On October29, 1991, the patent office granted patent rights to a naturally occurring part of the human body.
  7. 7. Systemix Inc., of Palo Alto, California, was given corporate control of human bone marrow "stemcells." (Stem cells are the progenitors of all types of cells in the blood.) What makes the patentremarkable, and legally suspect, is that the patented cells had not been manipulated, engineered oraltered in any way. The PTO had never before allowed a patent on an unaltered part of the human body.Under the patent any researcher who wishes to use stem cells in the search for cures for disease willhave to come to a licensing agreement with Systemix. Systemix now has a monopoly on human stemcells. Peter Quesenberry, medical affairs vice chairman of the Leukemia Society of America, haspointed out how outlandish it is "to belive you can patent a stem cell. Where do you draw the line?" heasks. "Can you patent a hand?" As author and ethicist Thomas Murray adds, "theyve [Systemix]invaded the commons of the body and claimed a piece of it for themselves."The patent office has also allowed the patenting of serveral human genes, and there are now scores ofpatent applications pending on thousands of them, including the recently discovered gene purportedlyresponsible for some forms of breast cancer. The granting of patents on human genes to governmentagencies and private corportations creates a unique and profoundly disturbing scenario. The entirehuman genome, the tens of thousands of genes that are our most intimate common heritage, will beowned by a handful of companies and governments. We are faced with athe privatization of our geneticheritage-the corporate enclosure of our genetic commons.Many are concerned that the patenting of genes and cells will ultimately allow for the patenting of theentire human body. Derek Wood, head of the biotechnology patent office in London comments:"This is clearly an area that is going to prove a pretty horrendous problem in the future. The difficulty isin deciding where to draw the line between [patenting] genetic material and human beings per se."According to published reports, the European Patent Office (EPO) has already recieived patentapplications that would allow the patenting of women, genetically engineered to produce valuablehuman proteins in their mammary glands. The patent jointly filed by Baylor College of Medicine andGrenada Biosciences of Texas was carefully crafted to include all female mammals including humansunder its coverage. Brian Lucas, a British patent attorney who representee Baylor College had statedthat the application was designed to include women because "Someone, somewhere may decide thathumans are patentable."As cells, genes, animals and plants are now engineered and patented, most of the "gruesome parade ofhorribles" predicted by those opposing the 1980 Chakrabarty decision have become, in dizzyingrapidity, realities.TRANSGENIC ANIMALS AND PLANTSPig No. 6707 was meant to be "super": super fast growing, super big, super meat quality. It wassupposed to be a technological breakthrough in animal husbandry among the first of a series of hightech animals that would revolutionize agriculture and food production. Researchers at the United StatesDepartment of Agriculture (USDA) implanted the human gene governing growth into the pig while itwas still an embryo. The idea was to have the human growth gene become part of the pigs genetic codeand thus create an animal that, with the aid of the new gene, would grow far larger than any before.
  8. 8. To the surprise of the bioengineers, the human genetic material that they had injected into the animalaltered its metabolism in an unpredictable and unfortunate way. Transgenic pig No. 6707 was in fact atragicomic creation, a "super cripple." Excessively hairy, riddled with arthritis, and cross eyed, the pigrarely even stood up, the wretched product of a science without ethics.Despite such setbacks, researchers around the globe are creating thousands of transgenic creatures likeNo. 6707. They have inserted over two dozen different genes into various fish, rodents and mammals.Livestock containing human genes have become commonplace at research installation in the UnitedStates. Carp, catfish and trout have been engineered with numbers of genes from humans, cattle andrats to boost growth and reproduction. Researchers have used cell fusion techniques to create "geeps,"astonishing sheep-goat combinations with the faces and horns of goats and the bodies of sheep.Chickens have been engineered so that they no longer contain the genetic trait for brooding, in order tomake them more efficient egg producers.Genetic engineers in the United States and Canada have also begun to successfully clone highermammals. Although glitches have occurred, biotechnologists now feel they can alter animals to bemore efficient sources of food and then clone unlimited copies of their patented "perfect" lamb, pig orcow.Besides food animals, the U.S. government and several corporations are also patenting and field testingnumerous food plants with unique genetic combinations. Among these new creations are cantaloupeand yellow squash containing genes from bacteria and viruses, potatoes with chicken and wax mothgenes, tomatoes with flounder and tobacco genes, corn with firefly genes, and rice with pea genes. Thevast majority of these plants have been genetically altered to increase their shelf life or appearance.Virtually none of these genetic changes have any relationship to improving nutrition.As with the creature of genetically engineered animals, there is good reason to be concerned about thenew genetically engineered plants. Of immediate urgency is the threat of biological pollution. Whenhundreds (and soon thousands) of novel, genetically engineered plants are taken out of the laboratoryand introduced into the environment, ecological havoc could result. Scientists compare the risk ofreleasing genetically engineered organisms into the environment with that of introducing exoticorganisms into the North American habitats. Although most of these organisms have adapted to ourecosystem, several such as chestnut blight, kudzu vine, Dutch elm disease and the gypsy moth havebeen catastrophically destructive. In one survey, one hundred top United States environmental scientistswarned of "genetic engineerings imprudent or careless use... could lead to devastating damage to theecology of the planet."There are also potential human health problems. In May 1992 the U.S Food and Drug Administration(FDA) approved the use of genetically engineered bovine growth hormone in cows to increase milkproduction. The animal drug produced by Monsanto not only has devastating health impacts on dairycows but also creates milk which has significantly greater amounts of hormones and antibiotics. Thismilk is unlabeled and being sold in countries around the globe including the United states, Mexico,Russia, and India. There are also significant concerns about consumption of a genetically engineeredtomato approved for sale by the FDA and produced by Calgene that contains an antibiotic resistantgene that might confer resistance to common antibiotics used to treat children.
  9. 9. The increased creation, patenting and use of genetically engineered plants and animals could also havea devastating impact on small farmers throughout the world. Only large highly capitalized farms arelikely to survive the increased overhead costs of growing and raising these patented organisms and theprice fluctuations caused by greater amounts of produce flooding the market. Moreover new techniquesin cloning tissue of various plants could eliminate outdoor farming of certain crops altogether. As notedby one economist, "Biotechnology will likely become dominant in the coming decades and will driveactivities from the farm to the nonfarm sector at an increasing rate... Full-time farming as we know itwill cease to exist."The controversy over genetically engineered animals and plants will certainly grow in the comingyears, especially as more genetically engineered foods enter the global marketplace. Questions willcontinue to be raised about the unprecedented risks these organisms pose for human health and theenvironment, and society will increasingly confront the profound ethical concern over theappropriateness of unlimited cross-species genetic transfers and the patenting of life.One powerful new community of resistance was announced on May 18, 1995. Nearly two hundredreligious leaders announced their opposition to the patenting of animals and human materials. Theunprecedented coalition included many Catholic bishops, as will as leaders of most of the Protestantdenominations, and representatives of Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu groups. The publishedstatement of the coalition of religious leaders was clear, "We believe that humans and animals arecreations of God, not humans, and as such should not be patentable as human inventions." SouthernBaptist leader Richard Land summed up the outrage of many religious leaders when he stated, "This[patenting] is not a slippery slope. This is a drop into the abyss...we are seeing the ultimate commercialreduction of the very nature of human life and animal life."Still, many in the science community and in the media remain undaunted in their support of thealteration and patenting of life. Over several years, The New York Times has, several times, singled outthe opponents of patenting for editorial criticism. In a lead editorial entitled "Life, Industrialized," theTimes succinctly stated a shockingly reductionist view of life perfectly suited to the new age ofbiocolonization:Life is special, and humans even more so, but biological machines are still machines that now can bealtered, cloned and patented. The consequences will be profound but taken a step at a time can bemanaged.GLOBAL MARKET IN BODY PARTSThe biotechnologists and the new marketeers of life are not only after the Third Worlds microbes,plants and animals, they are also attempting to expropriate the body parts of people around the world.The development of techniques such as blood transfusions, plasmapheresis and organ transplantationhave saved countless lives. Despite their benefits, these advances pose serious risks especially to thepeoples of the Third World.Blood, organs, reproductive materials, small amounts of human tissues, even genes and cells havesuddenly become valuable. The new medical technologies have created a demand in body parts whichvastly exceeds supply, and the trade in human parts and elements has rapidly become a worldwide
  10. 10. industry, a boom market in the human body. Responding to public pressure many First World nationshave restricted the sale of human parts. This has resulted in the Third World becoming the central focusof the body part entrepreneurs.Blood transfusion was the first major biological technology to be used successfully in medicine. Inrecent times, as transfusion technology became more sophisticated, major pharmaceutical andbiotechnology corporations began relying on the blood of those in the Third World for their profits.Grisly reports began to emerge of the new "Vampirism" occurring in South America and Asia as bloodcentres opened up to buy the blood of the poor. One well publicized instance involved AnastasioSomoza, the brutal dictator whose family occupied the Nicaraguan presidency for nearly half a century.In the 1970s Somoza opened a blood collection centre in Managua called "Plasmaferesis." The centrebrought blood from the poor and undernourished and forced political prisoners to donate blood.Remarkably, the centre was licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the plasmacollected was sold primarily to the United States and Western Europe. Each year over 100,000"donations" were collected, two-thirds of which were sold for export. The centre, like so manythroughout the Third World, was virtually unregulated.While the international blood trade was eventually halted in Nicaragua, similar centres continue tooperate in countries throughout the Third World. The United States and Western Europe remain themain beneficiaries of the blood industry. By the end of the 1980s, the United States had become theworlds leading dealer in blood plasma products. One commentator called the U.S "the OPEC ofblood."Transfusion technology was the first advancement which led to the international marketing of bodyparts. But then, in the 1980s, organ transplantation came of age. Thanks to better surgical techniques,greater understanding of the bodys immune stustem, and the development of effective drugs to combatrejection, survival rates for those undergoing transplantations improved dramatically. With each newsuccess, the numbers of organ transplantations in the United States and Europe skyrocketed. Since1982, the yearly number of heart transplants in the United States has increased twenty times; thenumber of liver transplants forty times. Tens of billions of dollars are spent on this technologyworldwide. The new and urgent demand for new organs, combined with the prohibition of organ salesin many Western countries such as the United States, Great Britain and Germany, has resulted in agrowing international market for human organs. Each year, tens of thousands of organs are beingbought and sold in India, Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, Egypt and other African countries. Severalinternational organ procurement businesses have been initiated. In may poor countries donors sell theirreplaceable to buy food and shelter and to pay off debts. Currently, kidneys in Egypt sell for $10,000to $15,000. In India the going rate for a kidney from a live donor is $1,500; for a cornea, $4,000; for apatch of skin $50. In many countries it is rourtine to see renal patients pay for newspaperadvertisements offering living donors up to $4,300 for the organ.In India, a recent survey found that a majority of paid donors are poor laborers for whom the price paidfor an organ could be more than they could save in a lifetime. One donor who set up a modest tea shopwith the money paid for his kidney commented, "I am even prepared to sell one of my eyes or even ahand for a price." In many places, the practice among the poor is, if they have two kidneys or eyes, oneis for sale.
  11. 11. In 1991, the World Health Organisation reported that organ selling in the Third World had reached"alarming proportions." "It is a burning issue for us," said one WHO official, "and we are trying todecide how to deal with it." In 1987 a conference of European Health Minister called organ sales in theworlds poorest countries, "one of the greatest risks man has ever run: that of giving a value to his body,a price to his life."THE GENE RUSHBut, while blood and organs are being colonized, the human body element of greatest future potentialvalue is the gene. Throughout the world, scientists are using screening techniques to locate and identifygenes which might be of enormous value in curing disease, or in imparting desirable cosmetic physicalor metal traits (high I.Q., blond hair, slimness). The discovery and patenting of any such gene wouldbring unprecedented profits. In the U.S alone the government has launched a $3 billion dollar HumanGenome Project which is attempting to compile a complete map of human genes and their attributes.Japan, Canada and Germany have similar initiatives, and a growing hoard of private companies are alsoinvolved in mapping and sequencing the human genome in the hop of discovering genes of value.In 1990, scientists in North America and Europe launched a new initiative in the international hunt fornew genes. They announced a global campaign to take blood, skin tissue and hair samples fromhundreds of "endangered" and unique human communities throughout the world. The initiative is calledthe Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP). The HGDPs initial five year effort to collect humanDNA samples from a minimum of 400 indigenous communities has an estimated cost of between $23and $35 million. The project was initially funded by the United States National Science Foundation(NSF). Out of a larger group of 722 targeted communities the project will select between four and sixhundred. Blood samples from twenty-five unrelated individuals per population will be studied and usedto create "transformed" cell lines of each population. In addition anthropologists expect to collectblood, saliva, and hair samples from at least ten times as many individuals in the same andneighbouring populations. All the cell lines and samples will be stored at the American Type CultureCollection in Rockville Maryland. All will be available for patenting and commercial exploitation.Particularly targeted in this process are the worlds indigenous people. The case of the Guaymi isinstructive. The Guaymi are an indigenous people of Panama, direct descendants of various CentralAmerican Indian groups, who now find themselves in the centre of the international controversy overinternational biocolonization.In recent years epidemiologist have been aware that there is a high prevalence of a virus known asHTLV-II in the Guaymi. HTLV-II infection has been loosely associated with incidence of hairy cellleukemia, but comparatively little is known about the virus disease associations and transmissionroutes. Researchers wasted little time in exploiting the Guaymis apparent genetic predisposition to thevirus. United States scientists descended on the Guaymis taking their blood for analysis. Of specialinterest was the blood sample obtained in early 1990 from a 26 year old Guaymi woman, mother oftwo, who had contracted leukemia (but who eventually survived).The researchers claimed that they had "oral consent" from the woman to obtain and utilise her blood inany way they saw fit. However, they do not describe how this consent could have lived up to therequirement of "informed consent". How, for example, could the researchers have adequately explained
  12. 12. to the young mother that they were going to use sophisticated biotechnology techniques to analyze herblood and cultivate a cell line from her sample- one that might produce profitable patentedpharmaceuticals for transnational corporations? Nor do they detail how they could have explained tothe Guaymi woman that they were going to apply for international patent ownership on the cell linecreated from her body fluids. But this is what the U.S researchers did. In November 1991, on behalf ofthe Department of Commerce, an international patent application was filed on the cell line cultivatedfrom the blood of the Guaymi mother. CDC scientist Jonathan Kaplan, is listed on the patentapplication as an "inventor" of the Guaymi womens cell line. He states that he filed the patentapplication because "the government encourages scientists to patent anything of interest."Revelation of the patents existence shocked the Guaymi people. Isidro Acosta, President of the GuaymiGeneral Congress states, "Its fundamentally immoral, contrary to the Guaymi view of nature and ourplace in it. To patent human material.... to take human DNA and patent its products... that violates theintegrity of life itself, and our deepest sense of morality."Thanks to an international alarm sounded by the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI),and the fact that the patent had not resulted in any commercial application, the Department ofCommerce abandoned the Guaymi application in November, 1993. However, numerous patent claimson cell lines of indigenous peoples, including those from the communities in Papua New Guinea andthe Solomon islands, are still pending.Leaders in both the religious and indigenous communities have condemned the Human GenomeDiversity Project. Methodist Bishop Kenneth Carder called the effort to colonize the genes ofindigenous people "genetic slavery... Instead of whole persons being marched in shackles to the marketblock, human cell-line and gene sequences are labeled patented and sold to the highest bidders."Humans are not the only target of the biocolonizers. Corporations have also begun scouring the globefor valuable animals and plants and then lining up for patents on the newly discovered or engineeredlife forms. In one remarkable example saeveral Northern corporations, including W.R. Grace have beengranted over 50 U.S. patents on the Neem tree of India. For millennia this tree, its bark and leaves havebeen used as natural pesticide, a treatment for disease and as a dentifrice. Companies learning of thesetraditional uses have appropriated and patented not only the tree but the indigenous knowledge aboutthe trees many uses.The patenting of indigenous animals, plants and microbes is inherently unjust and inequitable, not tomention immoral. Despite the immeasurable contribution that Third World indigenous knowledge andbiodiversity have make to the wealth of the industrialized countries, corporations, governments and aidagencies of the North continue to create legal and political frameworks which lead to the bizarre resultthat the Third World has to buy what it originally produced. When Northern corporations patentimportant Southern agricultural and medical plants, the result is often that millions of farmers and otherpeoples throughout the globe are prevented by the patent from freely using the seeds and plants theyhave relied on for millennia.CONCLUSION: A NEW BIODEMOCRACY
  13. 13. On March 1,1995 after six years of debate, the European Parliament rejected a European Uniondirective that would have allowed the patenting of virtually all life forms. The historic vote was asignificant blow to life patenting in Europe, and represents a surprise victory of ethics over profit andfor "biodemocracy". The action of the European Parliament in rejecting life patents reflects the growingopposition to such patenting in Europe that culminated in numerous street demonstrations in Brusselsprior to the vote. For years polls in Europe have shown overwhelming opposition to life patenting andespecially animal and human materials patenting.The U.S. Congress has taken no action against the engineering or patenting of life. However, polls ofAmericans show a high resistance to biotechnology. A 1992 survey by the U.S. Department ofAgriculture showed that 90% of those polled opposed the insertion of human genes into animals, 75%opposed the insertion of animal genes into plants, 60% opposed the insertion of foreign genes intoanimals, and over half felt that using biotechnology to change animals was "morally wrong."Biodemocracy scored high in the poll. About 80% felt that the public should have a greater voice inbiotechnology decisions, believing that "citizens have too little to say about whether or notbiotechnology should be used."Recently new international treaties such as GATT and the Convention on Biological Diversity furtherlegally codify the right to gene hunters to seize and patent the bodies and resources of indigenouspeoples and restrict the ability of governments to control or regulate the process. Clearly a massmovement for biodemocracy is needed if the international drive toward the engineering and patentingof life is to be halted. Biodemocracy involves both respecting and acting on the will of the people inrestricting biotechnology and banning the patenting of life. It also involves the key ethical insight thatall life forms have intrinsic value and genetic integrity, and cannot be viewed as the raw material out ofwhich to fashion new commodities to be traded for profit on the global market.Biodemocracy required that nation states follow the example of the European Parliament and reject thepatenting of life. It also requires a halt to the biocolonization of the earths genetic resources bygovernments and transnational corporations. In addition, biodemocracy requires the immediatecessation of the collection of cells and blood from indigenous peoples through the Human GenomeDiversity Project or similar initiatives as well as the sordid international trafficking in blood and humanorgans.Genetic engineering is potentially catastrophic for the environment and all processes of life, and isprofoundly unethical. Biodemocracy would lead to an immediate moratorium on such practices.~Controlling the Worlds Food!Seeds of Deception — Genetically Engineered Foods!On May 23, 2003, President Bush proposed an Initiative to End Hunger in Africa using geneticallymodified (GM) foods. He also blamed Europes "unfounded, unscientific fears" of these foods forthwarting recovery efforts. Bush was convinced that GM foods held the key to greater yields, expandedU.S. exports, and a better world. His rhetoric was not new. It had been passed down from president to
  14. 14. president, and delivered to the American people through regular news reports and industryadvertisements.The message was part of a master plan that had been crafted by corporations determined to control theworlds food supply. This was made clear at a biotech industry conference in January 1999, where arepresentative from Arthur Anderson Consulting Group explained how his company had helpedMonsanto create that plan. First, they asked Monsanto what their ideal future looked like in fifteen totwenty years. Monsanto executives described a world with 100 percent of all commercial seedsgenetically modified and patented. Anderson Consulting then worked backwards from that goal, anddeveloped the strategy and tactics to achieve it. They presented Monsanto with the steps and proceduresneeded to obtain a place of industry dominance in a world in which natural seeds were virtually extinct.Integral to the plan was Monsantos influence in government, whose role was to promote thetechnology worldwide and to help get the foods into the marketplace quickly, before resistance couldget in the way. A biotech consultant later said, "The hope of the industry is that over time, the market isso flooded that theres nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender."The anticipated pace of conquest was revealed by a conference speaker from another biotech company.He showed graphs projecting the year-by-year decrease of natural seeds, estimating that in five years,about 95 percent of all seeds would be genetically modified.While some audience members were appalled at what they judged to be an arrogant and dangerousdisrespect for nature, to the industry this was good business. Their attitude was illustrated in an excerptfrom one of Monsantos advertisements: "So you see, there really isnt much difference between foodsmade by Mother Nature and those made by man. Whats artificial is the line drawn between them."To implement their strategy, the biotech companies needed to control the seeds-so they went on abuying spree, taking possession of about 23 percent of the worlds seed companies. Monsanto didachieve the dominant position, capturing 91 percent of the GM food market. But the industry has notmet their projections of converting the natural seed supply. Citizens around the world, who do not sharethe industrys conviction that these foods are safe or better, have not "just sort of surrendered."Widespread resistance to GM foods has resulted in a global showdown. U.S. exports of geneticallymodified corn and soy are down, and hungry African nations wont even accept the crops as food aid.Monsanto is faltering financially and is desperate to open new markets. The U.S. government isconvinced that EU resistance is the primary obstacle and is determined to change that. On May 13,2003, the U.S. filed a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization (WTO), charging that the EuropeanUnions restrictive policy on GM food violates international agreements.On the day the WTO suit was filed, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick declared,"Overwhelming scientific research shows that biotech foods are safe and healthy." This has beenindustrys chant from the start. It is the key assumption at the basis of their master plan, the WTOchallenge, and the presidents campaign to end hunger. It is also, however, untrue.The following chapters reveal that it was industry influence, not sound science, which allowed thesefoods onto the market. Moreover, if overwhelming scientific research suggests anything, it is that thefoods should never have been approved.
  15. 15. Just as the magnitude of the industrys plan was breathtaking, so to are the distortions and cover-ups.While many of the stories in this book reveal government and corporate maneuvering worthy of anadventure novel, the impact of GM foods is personal. Most people in North America eat them at everymeal. These chapters not only dismantle the U.S. position that the foods are safe, they inform you of thesteps you can take to protect yourself and your family.Seeds of Deception food aidThe Zambian government’s rejection of genetically modified food triggered a heated debate on the rightof sovereign countries to decide on the kind of food aid that they would accept from the internationalcommunity.AT the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), the most contentious issue that was noton the official agenda, but which reverberated through the corridors, was on genetically modified (GM)food aid, and with it, questions of national sovereignty and the role of the UN.So much so that it became part of the Summit speech of US Secretary of State Colin Powell. Hechastised governments in Southern Africa that have raised concerns about GM food aid, saying, ‘In theface of famine, several governments in Southern Africa have prevented critical US food assistance frombeing distributed to the hungry by rejecting biotech corn, which has been eaten safely around the worldsince 1995.’ Powell was heckled and booed during his speech.Zambia rejects GM food aidReceiving less attention but of more importance was a press conference the day before by ZambianPresident Levy Mwanawasa at the WSSD explaining his country’s position on the issue. Zambia hasbeen at the centre of the GM food aid storm, standing firm in its refusal to accept GM food aid.Its rejection is based on concerns over the health effects of consuming GM maize, and the fear ofcontamination of local varieties, with the ensuing environmental and socio-economic impacts,including the loss of export markets in Europe where safety concerns have led to consumer rejection ofGM crops and seeds. Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique have also expressed varying degrees ofreservation over the past few months.President Mwanawasa explained that a national consultative meeting was held in Lusaka on 12 August2002, in which a cross-section of Zambian society had participated, including NGOs, farmers, women’sgroups, church leaders, traditional leaders, members of Parliament, opposition politicians andgovernment. The meeting had strongly recommended that Zambia should not accept GM food aid.Zambian media have been active in facilitating public discussion and debate.
  16. 16. Commenting on a UN statement issued on 27 August which obliquely urged Southern Africancountries to accept GM food aid, he expressed concern that the World Health Organisation (WHO) andthe Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) admitted that they have not carried out formal safetyassessments on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). He pointed to the apparent contradiction withtheir statement that donors are certifying these foods as safe for human consumption. (Many critics ofGMOs, including scientists, have pointed to the lack of comprehensive biosafety regulations and riskassessment systems in the US, where commercialisation of GMOs has been most widespread.Within the US, consumer groups, organic farmers, independent scientists and even some regulators inthe government have raised concerns over the lack of food safety assessment in particular.)The Zambian President said that the FAO, WHO and World Food Programme (WFP) advice was atbest speculative, with terms like ‘not likely to present human health risks’, ‘these foods may be eaten’and ‘the organisations confirm that to date they are not aware of scientifically documented cases inwhich the consumption of these foods has had negative human health effects’.He said, ‘We may be poor and experiencing food shortages, but are not ready to expose people to ill-defined risks.’ He pleaded that Zambians not be used as guinea pigs in the debate.A statement of support from African civil society groups similarly reiterated that Africa should not beused as the dumping ground for GM food (see box on p. 33). This arose from a seminar organised byThird World Network during the WSSD. More than 200 people, including many African NGOs andgovernment officials, were present to listen to Zambian scientist Dr Mwananyanda Lewanika talk aboutthe actual situation. There and then, many participants from Africa pledged their solidarity with Zambiaon the issue. By early September, more than 140 representatives and organisations from 26 countries inAfrica had signed up to the statement that will go to donor governments and the UN.‘We expect UN agencies and donors to respect our decision as a sovereign nation,’ PresidentMwanawasa said.When the issue was put to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan by Third World Network, hisemphatic response was that the UN would not pressure any country and that any food aid providedwould first receive the consent of the recipient country.Yet, Zambia has come under intense pressure to reverse its decision, particularly from the US, and theWFP statement supported by the WHO and FAO adds to that pressure.No prior informed consentNGOs at the WSSD published a strongly worded open letter to the US government, the WFP, WHOand FAO, urging them not to pressure hungry peoples to accept GM food aid (see below).The WFP came under strong criticism for failing to obtain the prior informed consent of countriesreceiving food aid, as to whether they are willing to accept GM food aid. And in the weeks thatfollowed, revelations surfaced that the WFP has been delivering GM food as emergency aid for the pastseven years, without telling the countries concerned [’UN is slipping modified food into aid’, by Fred
  17. 17. Pearce, New Scientist, 19 Sept 2002]. Countries getting GM food aid in the past two years - often inbreach of national regulations - include the Philippines, India, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala,Nicaragua and Ecuador, as well as many African countries.Earlier this year the Alliance for a Nicaragua Free of Genetically Modified Organisms accused theWFP and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) of using GM foods and seeds in theiremergency relief programmes in Nicaragua [for details of the Alliance’s Press Release, 3 June 2002,see]On 10 June 2002, the Bolivian Forum on Environment and Development (FOBOMADE), a citizens’group in Bolivia, announced that a sample of USAID food aid tested positive for the presence ofStarLink maize, a GM variety not approved for human consumption due to health concerns overpossible allergenic effects. According to the press release, other GM varieties not approved by the EUwere also found.In view of the worldwide uncertainty over the health and environmental impacts of GMOs, Zambiathus took a precautionary approach in rejecting GM food aid. The country has yet to formulate nationalbiosafety regulations and lacks the capacity to conduct reliable risk assessments. Add to this the lack ofinformation on the identities of the GM maize in the food aid consignments and the unknowns relatedto the different contexts of diet, health status and the environment in Zambia (as opposed to the USsituation), and a precautionary approach is indeed warranted.There are alternativesIn Johannesburg, the Zambian President made a strong appeal to partners to assist in sourcing andproviding non-GM food aid. Zambia itself is prepared to plug its food deficit with commercial importsof non-GM food. It has also received offers of non-GM food from various countries, as well as offers ofcash to purchase non-GM food. On 7 October, a Reuters report cited the WFP as saying that 12,000tonnes of GM-free maize had begun arriving in Zambia and the agency was seeking another 16,000tonnes from within Southern Africa.In its latest report on ‘USAID and GM food aid’, Greenpeace argues that there are numerous sources ofnon-GM food aid available around the world, including the US. It states that the latest Food Supply andCrop Prospects Report from the Global Information and Early Warning System on food and agriculture(GIEWS) of the FAO indicates that there is a total of 1.16 million metric tonnes of non-GM maizeavailable in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. More than double this amount is available onthe world market. Meanwhile, the WFP has used cash donations from Japan and the Netherlands topurchase GM-free maize regionally. The EU has also announced that it will provide Southern Africawith humanitarian aid to the tune of 30 million euros ($29.57 million).~US bullies Africa into eating GM foodsThe US Government and large biotech corporations are force-feeding developing countries geneticallymodified food against their will.
  18. 18. The World Health Organisation defines genetically modified (GM) organisms as those which have hadtheir DNA altered in an unnatural way because of a perceived advantage to either the consumer orproducer.The US Government has long promoted the use of GM crops and uses them widely in foreign food aidprograms.The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is a federal government agency and is theprincipal US agency for providing economic and humanitarian assistance to developing countries.A report by non-government organisation GRAIN, states that the USAID website once openly declared“... the principal beneficiary of America’s foreign assistance programs has always been the US. Closeto 80 per cent of the USAID contracts and grants go directly to American firms”.The US is southern Africa’s biggest donor through USAID. It donates food aid and monetary aids thatmust be used to purchase US produce.US agriculture company Monsanto is the leading developer of GM produce and owns 90 per cent ofgenetically modified seeds and their licenses around the world. Their produce also includes corn andcotton.In 1998 all Africa’s Heads of State, excluding South Africa, signed a joint declaration condemningMonsanto and its GM crops. The Let Nature’s Harvest Continue report stated that they “…stronglyobject that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries are being used by giant multinationalcorporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environment friendly, nor economicallybeneficial to us.”The report concluded the needs of African people were not being met and that they were being used tomake money for large corporations.Monsanto funds numerous projects with USAID. The close relationship between these companies ledGreenpeace executive director Stephen Tindale to question the motives behind GM food aid.In a 2002 press release issued by Greenpeace, Mr Tindale said the US Government “is exploitingfamine in Africa in an effort to support the American biotech industry”.In 2002 during the African famine, controversy over GM food aid intensified.The US Government used its position as Africa’s primary supplier of food aid to introduce a newtechnology on the disadvantaged citizens of a developing country.Zimbabwe was the first African government to raise concerns about the use of GM food aid andrejected a 10, 000 tonne shipment of GM maize, The Guardian reported.The stance was taken to protect Zimbabwe’s exportation of GM free crops. The shipment was of wholekernels which posed a significant threat to GM free crops if used as seed.
  19. 19. Zambia followed, refusing food aid shipments of GM contaminated food and stopping distribution ofexisting stocks. GRAIN estimated 2.4 million people were at risk of starvation.Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa told The New York Times that the plight of his nation would notinfluence him to disregard his better judgment.Im not prepared to accept that we should use our people as guinea pigs, Mr. Mwanawasa said.Consumers International African director Amadou Kanoute revealed in a 2003 press briefing, thatZambia in one year had successfully doubled its maize crop production “without recourse to the GMtechnology”.Sudan and Angola introduced restrictions on GM food aid in 2004. Sudan requested that food aid becertified ‘GM free’, while Angola would only accept whole GM grain if it was first milled.USAID strongly criticised both decisions and pressured each country to remove the restrictions.The US had the ability to supply non-GM food but said it could not guarantee GM-free maize becausethere was no law in place that required the separation of GM and non-GM grains in the US, GRAINreported.A report by GRAIN stated USAID cut off food aid to Sudan, while the US Government continued to“exert enormous pressure” urging the Sudanese Government to remove or provide a third extension forthe current waiver to this policy.The government of Sudan relented and allowed the distribution of GM food to continue.The threats made by the US outraged the European Union (EU) as they also strongly opposedgenetically modified food.The EU criticised the US, stressing that food aid “should be about meeting the urgent humanitarianneeds of those who are in need. It should not be about trying to advance the case for GM food abroad.”ActionAid’s Emergencies program advisor Donald Mavunduse said African governments have raisedlegitimate concerns about GM food.“They worry about its safety for health and the environment, how it is controlled and by whom…” MrMavunduse said.USAID and GM corporations such as Monsanto continue to endorse GM food aid as ‘safe’ despite theAfrican controversy.World-renowned geneticist David Suzuki strongly objected to these views during a Commonwealthlecture he gave in London.“Any scientist who tells you they know that GMOs are safe…is deliberately lying. Nobody knows whatthe long-term effect will be,” Mr Suzuki said.
  20. 20. ~Bush using famine in Africa as GM marketing toolResearch published today by Greenpeace exposes the Bush Administrations use of the famine insouthern Africa as a marketing tool to push GM food in the continent. The document details how theoffer of GM food aid by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the latestmove in a ten-year marketing campaign designed to facilitate the introduction of US-developed GMcrops into Africa. In addition, the US food aid programme effectively channels a huge covert subsidy toAmerican GM farmers through the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.The UK governments Chief Scientist David King has described the USAID programme as "amoral"and "a massive human experiment."African governments, including Zambia have refused genetically modified food aid from the US,asking instead for non-GM food. USAID Director Andrew Natsios has claimed that environmental andhuman health objections to GM food aid in Africa represent "an ideological campaign."But the Greenpeace research reveals that:There are plentiful sources of non-GM maize that can be used for food aid. The USA has made a clearpolitical decision to only provide GM contaminated aid.Aid agencies, the EU and UK Government all believe that best practice for supplying food aid is toprovide financial assistance and to source locally - the only organisation that thinks otherwise isUSAID. The American Corn Growers Association state that over half of all US first stage grainhandling facilities segregate GM and non-GM grains, meaning USAID could easily buy aid fromAmerican farmers that is acceptable to Africans.The USAID effort to introduce GM into Africa is the latest ploy in a ten-year marketing push led by theagency. USAID recently set up CABIO - a biotech initiative designed to market GM in the developingworld. Previously USAID set up the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Group, which pushed Africangovernments to introduce intellectual property legislation, clearing the way for US biotech corporationsto operate in Africa.USAID and biotechnology companies such as Monsanto have close funding relationships for GMresearch projects in Africa.USAID funds the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications - a pro-GMadvocacy organisation that pushes biotech in the developing world. The ISAAAs other sponsorsinclude Monsanto, Syngenta, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Cargill and Bayer CropScience.Donald Mavunduse of ActionAid, one of the UKs leading development agencies working in southernAfrica, states that, "The WFP has been hamstrung by aid conditions imposed by the US Government.But if you look at the bigger picture there is enough non-GM maize on the world market. We have notyet got to the point where we should be saying to starving countries take GM or nothing."
  21. 21. Greenpeace Executive Director Stephen Tindale said, "This debate shouldnt be focused on the falsechoice of eating GM or starving. Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of non-GM grain are available, bothin America and elsewhere, and it should be sent to where its needed most. Instead the BushAdministration is exploiting famine in Africa in an effort to support the American biotech industry.This is the just latest twist in a long and cynical marketing campaign."While the Bush Administration and USAID claim the offer of food aid to Africa is motivated byaltruism, the USAID website is a little more candid. It states: "The principal beneficiary of Americasforeign assistance programs has always been the United States. Close to 80% of the USAID contractsand grants go directly to American firms. Foreign assistance programs have helped create majormarkets for agricultural goods, created new markets for American industrial exports and meanthundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans."Notes for editors:Research by ActionAid indicates that there is a total of 1,160,000 metric tonnes of maize available inKenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa (Food supply situation and crop prospects in Sub-SaharanAfrica (No.2). FAO Global Information and Early Warning System on food and agriculture, August2002.)Table: Non- GM Maize SourcesCountry Exportable maize (Mt)Kenya 10,000Tanzania 50,000South Africa 1,020,000Uganda 80,000Total available in Africa 1,160,000ActionAid Consumer Leaders Support ZambiaThe countryside looked pleasantly green from recent rains, but that was deceptive. "This is supposed tobe the rainy season, but it has rained very little," the taxi-driver told us. The government is alreadypreparing for the worst: drought spreading to other regions of the country."The southern and western provinces are worst hit," said Myunda Ililonga, Chief Executive Officer ofZambia Consumer Association. "There is normal rainfall in the northern and eastern provinces."
  22. 22. The city of Lusaka itself is full of greenery and extremely well kempt. There is almost no rubbish onthe ground, and no tall buildings to clutter the skyline. The people are very friendly and helpful. Thelocal beer, Mosi, made from malt, maize and hops, is among the finest in the world.Consumer International (CI), an influential network of consumer groups in 115 countries, hadorganised a conference in Lusaka for the African region on "Biotechnology and Food Security".Zambia’s rejection of GM maize in the midst of famine has raised the profile of GM crops; and there isa desperate need for quality information.Zambia’s president Levy Mwanawasa had just reaffirmed his rejection of the 35 000 metric tons of GMmaize sent by the US, on the advice of his own experts. A delegation of Zambian scientists andeconomists, headed by Dr. Wilson Mwenya of the National Science and Technology Council,completed a fact-finding tour of laboratories and regulatory offices in South Africa, Europe and theUnited States, and reported back to the president. The report concluded that studies on the safety of GMfoods are inconclusive, and the US maize should be rejected as a precautionary measure.The Zambian delegation included chief scientist Mwananyanda Lewanika, whose appearance in theEarth Summit galvanised many other African countries to unite behind Zambia in a commitmenttowards self-sufficiency and self-determination (Science in Society 16).The president had stopped GM food already in the country from being distributed on 16 August after anational debate, and amid intense pressure to accept the GM food aid from the United States, the WorldFood Program, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Food and AgriculturalOrganisation.But widespread support for Zambia emerged when it transpired that there is plenty of non-GM maizeavailable in the US, and the US was simply blackmailing hungry and desperate nations into acceptingGM food (see Box).The US has refused to provide non-GM maize or cash, and refused even to provide cash to mill themaize. It has violated the 1999 Food Aid Convention, of which it is a signatory. This Conventionstipulates that food aid should be bought from the most cost- effective source, be culturally acceptableand if possible purchased locally so that regional markets do not suffer.Between now and March, it is estimated that southern Africa will need up to 2m tonnes of emergencyfood aid grain. The FAO says there are 1.16m tonnes of exportable non GM maize in Kenya, Tanzania,Uganda and South Africa. Europe, Brazil, India and China have surpluses and stockpiles running intomany tens of millions of tonnes. Even in the US, more than 50% of the harvest has been kept GM-free.Of the famine-stricken countries in southern Africa, Swaziland alone accepted unprocessed maize.Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique and Malawi had accepted milled maize flour only.A coalition of 184 NGOs (including ISIS) registered their opposition to the way in which USAID isfoisting biotechnology on Africa during a time of famine. They support a country’s right to refuse GMfood aid and call on USAID to untie its food aid policy to donating GM food in kind.
  23. 23. More than 140 representatives from 26 countries in Africa signed up to a statement from African civilsociety in support of Zambia’s rejection of GM food aid, and refusing to be used as "the dumpingground for contaminated food".OECD and the World Bank criticised USAID’s self-serving agenda: "Among the big donors, the UShas the worst record for spending its aid budget on itself - 70 percent of its aid is spent on US goodsand services."Oxfam condemned the distribution of food aid contaminated with GMOs.UK’s chief scientist David King denounced the United States’ attempts to force the technology intoAfrica as a "massive human experiment". He questioned the morality of the US’s desire to floodgenetically modified foods into African countries, where people are already facing starvation in thecoming months.Director-general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Jacques Diouf, said: "Wedon’tneed GMOs to feed the 800 million people who are hungry in the world today."Jean Ziegler, UN official said, "Genetically modified organisms could pose a danger to the humanorganism and public health in the medium and long term. The argument that GMOs are indispensablefor overcoming malnutrition and hunger is not convincing."James Clancy, president of Canadas National Union of Public and General Employees said, "[A]llsome folks in the US government and business communities canthink of is how to make even more money off [Africa’s] suffering"Dr Charles Benbrook, leading US agronomist and former Executive Director of the Board onAgriculture for the US National Academy of Sciences, said, "There is no shortage of non-GMO foodswhich could be offered to Zambia and to use the needs of Zambians to score "political points" on behalfof biotechnology was "unethical and indeed shameless".Carol Thompson, a political economist at Northern Arizona University, commented, "It is highlyunethical not to just cover the costs for milling. Tell me how much it costs to drop one bomb onAfghanistan. Who is starving whom here?"Roger Moore, goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, said, it was "inhuman" for the US to refuse other aidto Zambia, because of its rejection of GM food.Many countries have given non-GM and financial assistance. According to Zambian governmentsources, South Africa has sent 10 000 tonnes, and China, 4 000 tonnes of non GM maize. EU has given€15 million to purchase non-GM food. Japan has also proffered financial assistance.~What the real scientists said about GM
  24. 24. In the event, the ISAAA representative failed to show up, so Michael Hansen had the whole session on"Biotechnology, Environment, Health and Economic Issues" to himself. He went into considerabledetail on the hazards, dispelling the myths that genetic engineering is just like conventional breeding,that GM foods had been subject to the most extensive safety assessment and regulation than any otherfood, and that all the commercially released GMOs are safe.It turns out that FDA never did any safety testing, and its letter giving approval invariably states it is thecompany, not the FDA, that has concluded the GM varieties "are not materially different incomposition, safety, or other relevant parameters" from those "currently on the market", and "they dono raise issues that would require premarket review or approval by FDA."It was Belinda Martineau, the scientist who conducted the safety studies on the first commercial GMcrop, who finally exposed the regulatory sham in her recent book, First Fruit, the Creation of the FlavrSavr Tomato and the Birth of Biotech Foods.Hansen also presented substantial evidence that the ‘biopesticide’ Bt - endotoxins from soil bacterium,Bacillus thuringiensis – widely incorporated into GM crops for controlling insect pests, are allergensand immunogens, and can damage the gut.I shared the session on "Biotechnology, Food Security and Trade" with Jocelyn Webster of Africa Bio,and Cissokho Mamadou, farmer from Senegal representing Farmers and Producers of West Africa.I referred to the copious evidence documenting GM crops failing on all counts, that they have been aneconomic disaster for farmer and the industry, and that the hazards to health and the environment arenow undeniable. I dwelled at some length on the recent evidence of horizontal gene transfer that I havejust delivered to my own government (UK) in an open meeting, and recommended decisive action "tostop this dangerous experiment now and let farmers in Africa and elsewhere get on to farm sustainablyfor health and self-sufficiency". (See "GM debacle, bad science + big business = ?" )I also stressed that it is incorrect to say, "there is no evidence of harm". On the contrary, there is alreadyreasonable suspicion of harm, which, in accordance with the precautionary principle, should demandimmediate cessation of all environmental releases of GMOs.Cissoko Mamadou emphasized that traditional knowledge has helped us master the use of our plants formedicine through natural procedures, which is scientifically recognized worldwide. "Unfortunately, no-one is interested in promoting this knowledge. Instead, it is the knowledge of biotechnologycorporations which is being promoted and forced upon us."That struck a chord among the participants from 23 African countries, including the poorest in theworld.The Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Hon. Mundia Sikatana, who sent a speech to open theconference, has said, "The challenge before scientists is to develop technologies that are relevant to ourconditions and our way of life."~
  25. 25. The GM Debacle = Bad Science + Big BusinessI am, and have been a scientist for nearly 40 years. Science is still my first love, and I never thought I’dbe doing many of the things I am doing now, like speaking at this conference.The reason I am here today is because back in 1994, I was invited to another conference, "Redefiningthe life sciences", organised by my friends Martin Khor, Vandana Shiva, Tewolde Egziabhar andothers. Instead of the usual academic talk-shop I was expecting, it became clear that redefining the lifesciences was a matter of life and death for family farmers, especially those practising small-scalesustainable farming dependent on natural and agricultural biodiversity. They were just getting over thedevastation caused by the monoculture crops of the green revolution; but the GM crops of the generevolution were promising far worse.Slide 1 – From organism to DNAI had left genetics behind five years earlier in 1989, and found a different kind of science. (By the way,not all scientists are genetic engineers, they are a tiny fraction of all scientists. Similarly, the world ofscience is much, much larger than just genetic engineering.) At the time, all the scientific findingsalready indicated that genetic engineering was unlikely to work and could be dangerous. But the qualityof the information given out was so poor, and that was how I got involved in informing the public andthe policy makers.Slide 2 – Genetics old and newThe old picture of genetics - with genes remaining almost constant in a static genome, determining thecharacteristics of the organism in linear chains of command - has had to be overwritten many times.Geneticists discovered huge complexities leading from the genes to perhaps a thousand times as manyproteins as there are genes. Different combinations of proteins are active in individual cells at differenttimes, depending on multiple levels of feedback from the environment. This feedback changes not justthe function of genes, but the genes and genomes themselves. Furthermore, the genetic material of onespecies can be taken up and incorporated into the genome of totally unrelated species. Geneticengineering simply does not make sense given the complexity and especially the ‘fluidity’ of genes andgenomes in both structure and function.the GM enterprise (GM crops & gene medicines both) is collapsing, most of all because it is notworking. There have been no benefits documented by independent scientific studies. On the contrary,there have been reduced yields, inconsistent performances in the fields, increased pesticide andherbicide use, and loss in earnings for farmers.The predicted ‘biotech boom’ never happened. Biotech market shares peaked in 2000, but have beenfalling sharply since, and staying well below the industrial average on both sides of the Atlantic.Thousands have lost their jobs in mass layoffs even from the genomics and pharmaceutical sector.The UK Soil Association’s study released in September found GM crops an economic disaster. Theyhave cost the United States an estimated $12billion in farm subsidies, lost sales and product recalls dueto transgenic contamination. The farmers came to Britain to tell of their ordeal, and to say to us: do notallow our nightmares to become yours.
  26. 26. Catastrophic failures of GM cotton, up to 100%, have been reported in several Indian states, includingnon-germination of seeds, root-rot and attacks by the American bollworm, for which the crops aresupposed to be resistant. A university-based study has confirmed that the Bt-cotton was up to 80%infested with the bollworm.These failures have been occurring all over the world. Here’s an example documented by a local protestgroup in Scotland.Slide 3 – GM failure in Munlochy, Scotland, photographed by Munlochy vigil.Monsanto has been teetering on the brink of oblivion since the beginning of 2002 as one company afteranother spun off their agricultural biotechnology. It has suffered a series of setbacks: drastic reductionsin profits, problems in selling GM seeds in the US and Argentina.Biotech giant Syngenta is deserting Britain’s top plant biotech research institute, John Innes Centre,even as the latter’s publicly funded Genomics Centre is being unveiled.Instead of letting the industry sink, the US government, with the help of the World Food Programme isbuying up the GM produce that they cannot sell, and dumping it on famine-stricken nations. It is an actof sheer desperation and wickedness that has been widely condemned; especially when it became clearthat there is plenty of non-GM maize available in the US. Zambia received widespread support.Slide 4 - Support for ZambiaBad science + big business = Brave New WorldOur governments have already squandered billions in tax subsidies and other give-aways to the industryover the years. They are now wasting further billions to prop up a sinking titanic of enterprise that’smorally, scientifically as well as financially bankrupt.At the same time, the corporations are aggressively taking over our national and internationalinstitutions. An emerging ‘academic-industrial-military complex’ is threatening to engineer both lifeand mind.Corporations have taken control of public funding agencies, to determine which kinds of scientificresearch can get done. With the help of the government and the scientific establishment, they alsodetermine which scientific findings can get reported. Scientists who report adverse findings can getsacked.Syngenta is now on the governing board of CGIAR, which oversees many international researchcentres. This new management will greatly facilitate organised biopiracy of CGIAR’s GeneBanks,which contain ex situ collections of indigenous plant varieties from around the world.Bad science + big business = public health disasterEvidence of the hazards inherent to GM technology is being confirmed. Among the most serious, if notthe most serious hazard is horizontal gene transfer. I have alerted our regulators at least since 1996,
  27. 27. when there was already sufficient evidence to suggest that transgenic DNA in GM crops and productscan spread by being taken up directly by viruses and bacteria as well as plant and animals cells.In order to appreciate the dangers, you have to know how GMOs are made.Slide 5 - How to make a GMOThe oft-repeated refrain that "transgenic DNA is just like ordinary DNA" is false. Transgenic DNA isin many respects optimised for horizontal gene transfer. It is designed to cross species barriers and tojump into genomes. It contains DNA of many species and their genetic parasites (plasmids, transposonsand viruses), and can therefore more easily transfer genes to all of them. Transgenic constructs containnew combinations of genes that have never existed, and they also amplify gene products that havenever been part of our food chain, raising serious concerns of toxicity and allergenicity.Slide 6 - Hazards of horizontal gene transferThe health risks of horizontal gene transfer include:Antibiotic resistance genes spreading to pathogenic bacteria.Disease-associated genes spreading and recombining to create new viruses and bacteria that causediseases.Transgenic DNA inserting into human cells, triggering cancer.The risk of cancer is highlighted by the recent report that gene therapy - genetic modification of humancells - claimed its first cancer victim. The procedure, in which bone marrow cells are geneticallymodified outside the body and re-implanted, was previously thought to avoid creating infectious virusesand causing cancer, both recognized major hazards of gene therapy.The transgenic constructs used in genetic modification are basically the same whether it is of humancells or of other animals and plants. The foreign gene or transgene, needs to be accompanied by apromoter – a gene switch. An aggressive promoter from a virus is frequently used to boost theexpression of the transgene. In plants, the 35S promoter from the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) iswidely used.Slide 7 - A gene-expression cassetteUnfortunately, although the virus is specific for plants of the cabbage family, its promoter is active inspecies across the living world, human cells included, as we discovered in the scientific literature datingback to 1989. Plant geneticists who have incorporated the promoter into practically all GM crops nowgrown commercially are apparently unaware of this crucial information.In 1999, another serious problem with the CaMV 35S promoter was identified: it has a ‘recombinationhotspot’ where it tends to break and join up with other DNA. Since then, we have continued to warnour regulators that the promoter will be extra prone to spread by horizontal gene transfer andrecombination. The controversy over the transgenic contamination of the Mexican landraces hinges on
  28. 28. observations suggesting that the transgenic DNA with the CaMV 35S promoter is "fragmenting andpromiscuously scattering throughout the genome" of the landraces, observations that would beconsistent with our expectations.Similarly, I was not surprised by the research results released earlier this year by the UK FoodStandards Agency, indicating that transgenic DNA from GM soya flour, eaten in a single hamburgerand milk shake meal, was found transferred to the bacteria in the gut contents of human volunteers.The Agency immediately dismissed the findings and downplayed the risks in an attempt to mislead thepublic, and I have challenged the Agency in the strongest terms.First, the experiment was already designed to stack the odds heavily against finding a positive result.For example, the probe for transgenic DNA covered only a tiny fraction of the entire construct. So, onlya correspondingly tiny fraction of the actual transfers would ever be detected, especially given the well-known tendency of transgenic constructs to fragment and rearrange.Second, the scope of the investigation was intentionally restricted. There was no attempt to look fortransgenic DNA in the blood and blood cells, even though scientific reports dating back to the early1990s had already provided evidence that transgenic DNA could pass through the intestine and theplacenta, and become incorporated into the blood cells, liver and spleen cells and cells of the foetus andnewborn.Third, no attempt was made to address the limitations of the detection method and the scope of theinvestigation, which grossly underestimated the extent and frequency of horizontal gene transfer, andhence failed completely in assessing the real risks. On the contrary, false assurances were made that"humans were not at risk".Another research project commissioned by our government concerns Agrobacterium tumefaciens, thesoil bacterium causing crown gall disease. This bacterium has been developed as a major gene transfervector to make transgenic plants. Foreign genes are typically spliced into T-DNA - part of a plasmidcalled Ti (tumour-inducing) – that’s integrated into plant genome.It turns out that Agrobacterium injects T-DNA into plant cells in a process that strongly resemblesconjugation, ie, mating between bacterial cells; and all the necessary signals and genes involved areinterchangeable with those for conjugation.That means transgenic plants created by T-DNA vector system have a ready route for horizontal geneescape, via Agrobacterium, helped by the ordinary conjugative mechanisms of many other bacteria thatcause diseases.The scientific report submitted to the government had indeed raised the possibility that Agrobacteriumtumefaciens could be a vector for gene escape.The researchers found that it extremely difficult to get rid of the Agrobacterium vector from thetransgenic plants, which remain contaminated a year and a half later.
  29. 29. High rates of gene transfer are known to be associated with the plant root system and the germinatingseed. So, Agrobacterium could multiply and transfer transgenic DNA to other bacteria, as well as to thenext crop planted in the soil.Agrobacterium was also found to deliver genes into several types of human cells, and in a mannersimilar to that which it uses to deliver genes into plant cells.The UK Food Standards Agency had failed to reply to my repeated challenges. I tabled my questionsagain together with some obvious experiments they should have done at the an Open Meeting of thescientific advisory committee for novel foods on 13 November, just a few days before I came here. AndI also turned up in person to demand a response.As I expected, they have no answers, not the entire scientific committee, nor the extra expert invited torespond to me. They conceded that I have raised "some interesting points", which "can be addressed byfurther experiments" along the lines that I suggested.All the risks of horizontal gene transfer I have described are real, and far outweigh any potentialbenefits that GM crops can offer. There is no case for allowing any commercial release of GM cropsand food products, especially now.Bad science + big business = ecological disasterMulti-herbicide tolerant GM canola volunteers have appeared rapidly in Canada and the United States,constituting serious weeds, as many critics have predicted.Roundup-tolerant super-weeds are plaguing GM soya and cotton fields in the US.Transgenic contamination of both established seed stocks and indigenous landraces is widespread,threatening both agricultural and natural biodiversity. But worse is yet to come.On November 11, the US government ordered the biotech company, ProdiGene, to destroy 500,000bushels of soybeans in Nebraska contaminated with transgenic maize engineered to producepharmaceuticals not approved for human consumption. A day later, the US government disclosed thatProdiGene did the same thing in Iowa back in September, when the USDA ordered 155 acres of nearbymaize to be incinerated for fear of contamination.More than 300 field trials of similar pharm crops have been conducted in secret since 1991, to producevaccines, growth hormones, clotting agents, industrial enzymes, human antibodies, contraceptives,abortion-inducing drugs, and immune-suppressive proteins.The four main centres are Nebraska, Wisconsin, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, the last location beingregularly used for GM seed production because there are four growing seasons a years. The true extentof such poisoning of our food supply is not known. My colleague Prof. Joe Cummins found these cropsgrowing unannounced in Canada. Someone from Bangladesh recently contacted us to say that similartrials are planned there. We have repeatedly warned against such pharm crops since 1998.Worldwide rejection of GM crops
  30. 30. Not surprisingly, there is worldwide rejection of GM crops. Zambia is not alone.One hundred percent of the wheat buyers in China, Korea and Japan have announced they will not buyGM wheat. The rejection rates from Taiwan and South East Asia are 82% and 78% respectively.China has cancelled plans to commercialise Bt cotton and dampening down on development of GMcrops in general.Farmers and retailers in Switzerland have agreed never to produce or sell GM food.Europe’s moratorium is holding firm for two reasons. Its new Directive, which came into effect on 17October, requires a full environmental risk assessment and other strict measures that would excludemost GMOs. Second, lifting the moratorium depends on the EU environment ministers approvinglegislation on the labelling and traceability of GM crops. But agreement is a long way off, with a hardcore of member states, led by France, wanting a lower threshold. They also want labelling to apply toprocessed foods in which GM traces have been destroyed, and to animal products such as eggs andmilk.Brazil’s new president wants to keep Brazil GM-free.The elite French three-star chefs have launched a ‘crusade’ for a Europe-wide ban on GM crops andlivestocks.Governments all over the world have legislated or are in the process of legislating tough biosafety lawsto exclude GM crops and products.Plenty of evidence in favour of non-GM sustainable optionIn contrast to GM crops, the evidence in favour of a non-GM, organic, sustainable option is now firmlydocumented. There is little or no reduction in yields in developed countries, with yields improving insuccessive years. But it is in developing countries that low-input, organic, or agro-ecologicalapproaches are working miracles. Three to four fold increases in yield are frequent. There are manyadditional benefits: improvements to soil fertility, increased sequestration of carbon in the soil, health,cleaner environment, reduction in food miles, self-sufficiency for farmers and both financial and socialenrichments of local communities."Another world is possible"At a very early stage in the genetic engineering debate, I became aware that the debate was no less thana global struggle to reinstate holistic knowledge systems and sustainable ways of life that have beenmarginalized and destroyed by the dominant, unsustainable monetary culture.Knowledge itself is under threat in many ways. Globally, the new Trade-Related Intellectual Properties(TRIPS) regime of industrialised nations, which includes patents of organisms, human genes and celllines, is being imposed on the rest of the world through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as partof a relentless drive towards economic globalisation. The TRIPS regime is an unprecedentedprivatisation of knowledge. It has also led to widespread biopiracy of indigenous knowledge andresources, threatening local biodiversity and the livelihoods of indigenous communities.
  31. 31. Farmers in Canada and the United States who found their fields contaminated by patented crop geneshave been ordered by the courts to pay compensation to Monsanto. This is a foretaste of the corporateserfdom that bad science + big business is leading us to, if we don’t stop to it now.Slide 8 - Another world is possible"Another world is possible" was the rallying cry of the fifty thousand who gathered in Porto Alegre inFebruary for the Second World Social Forum (WSF), to voice unanimous opposition to the presenteconomic globalisation.I was so inspired that I produced the first draft of a discussion paper, Towards a Convention ofKnowledge, which has received widespread input and support from scientists, Third World andindigenous peoples’ representatives. This Convention is intended to serve as a focus of a concertedcampaign to reclaim all knowledge systems for public good, to build another possible world.I do believe another world is possible, and it is within our reach. Zambia has led the way in resisting theultimate moral blackmail from the corporate powers. It is time for decisive action. Let’s stop thisdangerous experiment now, and opt for a GM-free world, so farmers in Africa and elsewhere can get onwith sustainable farming for health, self-sufficiency and genuine wealth, not in monetary terms, but insocial and natural Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare: Turning the Tide on the BraveNew World of Bad Science and Big Business; by Mae-Wan Ho Living With the Fluid Genome, Inside Science; by Mae-Wan Ho GMO Free: Exposing the Hazards of Biotechnology to Ensure theIntegrity of Our Food Supply; by Mae-Wan Ho MW. Recent evidence confirms risks of horizontal genetransfer. ISIS’ Written Submission to ACNFP/FSA Open Meeting, November 13, 2002Ho MW and Lim LC. Biotech debacle in four parts. ISIS’ special briefing paper forbook: Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the SecretChanges in Your Food; by Andrew Kimbrell