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Codex Hijacked by Biotech Industry Warn Leading Scientists




>News Release
>April 9, 1997
>
>      Codex Hijacked by Biotech Industry Warn Leading Scientists 
>        Consumers safety sacrificed for sake of biotech profit
>
>Distinguished scientists Dr. John Fagan and Dr. Joe Cummins warn that
>the Codex Committee meeting in Ottawa April 15-18 to decide about food
>labelling has been hijacked by the biotech industry.  "The safety of
>consumers is being sacrificed for biotech profit," states Dr. Fagan.
>
>Codex has been designated by the World Trade Organization as the
>officially recognized rule -- making body for international trade issues
>related to food. Under GATT, Codex decisions have the clout of
>international law.
>
>"The decisions of Codex have great impact on the import and export of
>food and thus on the health of Canadians and consumers worldwide," he
>said.  "Yet, the representatives that Canada and other nations send to
>Codex to make these decisions are unanswerable to consumers.  At the
>Codex meetings themselves, these government representatives are highly
>vulnerable to influence peddling by biotech or other industry
>representatives.  These manipulations result in decisions  that benefit
>profit and production, not health and nutrition."
>
>For instance, according to Joe Cummins, PhD, Professor Emeritus of
>Genetics at the University of Western Ontario, Canada is represented at
>Codex by the Agriculture Canada, which has taken at least $36 million
>from multinational companies to do research in Canada that would benefit
>the companies.
>
>"In reality the research is of little importance and the money is paid to
>facilitate acceptance by the Canadian government of genetically
>engineered crops and unsafe chemical pesticides," states Dr. Cummins.
>"The Ministry of Agriculture is required to regulate gene tinkered crops
>and chemical pesticides yet it is taking substantive money to promote
>these same products.  It is no wonder that the Canadian government is
>allowing these genetically engineered crops on the market."
>
>Dr. Cummins also explained that Agriculture Canada has initiated a
>program termed "Agri-Food R&D Matching Investment Initiative," which is
>called "A Collaborative Project."  This scheme allows Agriculture Canada
>to accept matching funds from industry for government research designed
>to facilitate use of new pesticides and genetically engineered crops
>developed by multinational companies.  "As Agriculture Canada is
>responsible for regulating pesticides and  genetically engineered crops,
>this is an another obvious conflict of interest," said Dr. Cummins.
>
>In the area of genetic engineering, Dr. Fagan explained that at its
>meeting in Ottawa, Codex is formulating regulations that will allow
>thousands of genetically engineered foods on the world market, unlabelled
>and mixed in with other foods.  However, scientists and doctors worldwide
>are concerned about the unknown and untested long-term side-effects of
>these foods.
>"New toxins, allergies, and diseases are already being seen from
>genetically engineered products, and more such side-effects are
>predicted," said Dr. Fagan  "Moreover, polls carried out by the biotech
>industry itself indicates that 93% of North Americans want genetically
>engineered foods to be labelled."
>
>Yet, once Codex approves these regulations, these experimental products
>will enter the food market unlabelled.  In fact, the WTO will apply trade
>sanctions that severely penalize any nation that decides to require
>higher standards for importation. "Impending Codex decisions concerning
>genetically engineered foods could put the health of the entire world
>population at stake," cautions Dr. Fagan.
>
>John Fagan, PhD, a Cornell-trained molecular biologist, has 23 years
>experience  in leading edge genetic engineering research, including 7
>years at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC.  He is
>currently on an international tour sponsored by the Natural Law Party,
>speaking about the dangers of genetically engineered foods.  Dr. Fagan
>was featured last month on CNN and in USA Today.  He is  in Ottawa to
>attend the Codex meetings.
>
>Joe Cummins, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Genetic University of Western
>Ontario.  He has taught advanced genetics, human genetics , microbial
>genetics and molecular  genetics for over 23 years.  Dr. Cummins had
>published over one hundred refereed scientific papers and over 100
>popular articles in genetics. He has also participated in reviews of
>Canadian regulations in biotechnology and has previously been a delegate
>to the Codex Committee on Food Labeling.
>Contact: Wayne Foster Tel. (613) 235-2181  or  Ruby Finkelstein  Tel.
>(613) 565-1596 or  565-8517
>*************************************************************************
>Richard Wolfson,  PhD
>Campaign to Ban Genetically Engineered Food
>Natural Law Party
>500 Wilbrod Street
>Ottawa, ON  Canada  K1N 6N2
>Tel. 613-565-8517  Fax. 613-565-6546
>email:  rwolfson@concentric.net
>NLP Website:  http://www.natural-law.ca
>