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The Trojan Horse of Genetically Modified Food

Why are US funded food aid agencies putting pressure on African governments to accept Genetically
Modified food? Teresa Anderson investigates.
Up to 15 million people in six countries in Southern Africa are currently facing famine. Aid agencies
desperately need assistance to source and deliver food. So why has the US donation of 500,000 tonnes
of 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 on
African agriculture, economies and health. And the increasing suspicion that US food donations are
being used as a tool to force GM on to the African market. African nations have so far refused
commercialization of GM crops, but could be forced to accept the inevitable if local stocks become
contaminated with modified genes.

When food shortages became imminent back in June, the World Food Programme (WFP) and US
Agency for International Development (USAID) refused to respond to Southern African nations'
requests for GM-free food aid.

The United Nations' own figures show that there are hundreds of thousands of tonnes of GM-free
sources of food available around the world. But the WFP and USAID spent those valuable months
trying to force recipient nations to accept the GM grain donated by the US, instead of looking to source
elsewhere. Only now, nearly half a year later, are they starting to respond to Zambia's needs, while
publicly 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 food
aid, and this is essentially threefold:

1. Surplus Problems
The US is increasingly desperate to sell off its massive surpluses, produced through heavily
industrialised, subsidised and genetically modified agriculture, and rejected by the rest of the world. By
offering these unwanted goods as aid, the US manages to look generous, while still supporting their
own 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 America
writes: "Results found in Colombia with testing samples taken from the soy used in the Bienesterina
programme proved to be 90% transgenic [GM]. This high percentage suggests that transgenic food is
being kept apart in the US and that most of this is being sent abroad as gifts or aid to the poor countries
of the world, like Colombia in this case."

This allegation is supported by a 2001 survey by the American Corn Growers Association showing that
over 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. Any
potential problems could be aggravated in a population with compromised immune systems caused by
hunger and HIV/ AIDS.
2. Securing Export Markets
Donations in the form of direct food aid damages domestic economies and secures the future of US
imports. 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 produce
at 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 "food
assistance", particularly from the US, is used to the benefit of the donor country rather than the

"The food products received as donations, or through concessionary credits, are sold on the local
market, thus negatively impacting the capacity for local production. This has been the history of wheat
in Ecuador, a product for which Ecuador was self-sufficient a few decades ago, and of which 96% is
now 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 the
exception 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 the
biotechnology companies, who are desperate to find new markets for their products. Companies like
Monsanto are facing massive financial losses, due to rejection from most countries, and know that if
they 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 their
present hunger, farmers will almost certainly set aside and plant grains that are distributed as aid, in
preparation 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 be
impossible, and might be persuaded to accept the "inevitable" commercialisation of GM crops. It is
because of this possibility that Zimbabwe and Malawi have only accepted the GM aid if it is milled
before distribution, so that the grains cannot be planted.

Saliem Fakir, director of the South Africa office of the World Conservation Union, says "Africa is
merely a pawn in a global game of chess. By forcing Southern African governments to take a decision
on genetically modified (GM) foods, a precedent will be set. The next time around, US corporations
will 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 in
the face of a food crisis."

GM Funding? GM Agenda!
As the struggle over GM food aid became increasingly heated, NGOs began to wonder why USAID
and WFP were so resolutely sticking to their pro-GM line. Surely they were meant to respect the
sovereignty of recipient nations? But investigations by Greenpeace discovered that there were many
links between the food aid agencies, the biotechnology companies and the US government, which could
be responsible for an underlying agenda.

The USAID website puts it pretty clearly. "The principal beneficiary of America's foreign assistance
programmes has always been the United States. Close to 80% of the USAID contracts and grants go
directly to American firms. Foreign assistance programmes have helped create major markets for
agricultural goods."

Greenpeace's report suggests that "USAID does not act like a conventional foreign development
agency. Instead it is at the forefront of a US marketing campaign designed to introduce GM food into
the developing world. USAID is a vehicle for the GM industry."

Andrew Natsios of USAID accused environmental groups of endangering African lives by encouraging
rejection of GM food aid. "They can play these games with Europeans, who have full stomachs, but it is
revolting and despicable to see them do so when the lives of Africans are at stake."

But the UN human rights envoy Jean Ziegler says "I'm against the theory of the multinational
corporations who say if you are against hunger then you must be for GM. That's wrong, there is plenty
of natural, normal, good food in the world to nourish double of humanity. There is absolutely no
justification to produce genetically modified food except the profit motive and the dominion of
multinational corporations."

USAID is the only aid agency that provides aid in the form of food. Other countries donate economic
aid to enable more efficient, flexible and regional sourcing that supports local markets. There are
hundreds of thousands of tonnes of non-GM food available, much of it in the Southern and East African
region. But tellingly, USAID refused to give its donation as the financial equivalent of the food aid
offered. Neither would it offer its segregated non-GM maize.

Aid in the form of GM food could be Africa's undoing, and could compromise her ability to feed
herself forever. For this reason, Africa should rightly beware of the US claiming to bear gifts, for they
could turn out to be a modern day Trojan horse.



Biotechnology extends humanity's 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 industrial
revolution were able to separate, collect, utilize and exploit inanimate materials. Just as previous
generations manipulated plastics and metals into the machines and products of the industrial age, we
are now manipulating and indeed transferring living materials into the new commodities of the global
age of biotechnology.

With current technology, it is becoming possible to snip, insert, edit, and program, genetic material, the
very blueprint of life. With these techniques, the new engineers of life are rearranging the genetic
structures of the living world creating thousands of novel microbes, plants and animals, crossing and
intermixing species at will. Recent creations of biotechnology include pigs engineered with human
growth genes to increase their size, tomatoes with flounder genes to resist cold temperatures, salmon
with cattle growth genes to increase their size, tobacco plants with the fluorescent gene of fireflies to
make them glow at night, and laboratory mice with the AIDS virus as part of their permanent genetic

Biotechnologists are also able to screen for and isolate valuable genetic material from virtually any
living organism. They can "clone" industrial amounts of valuable DNA, hormones, enzymes and other
biochemicals. Recent advances even allow the cloning of innumerable "xerox" copies of whole
organisms including higher mammals.

With these new capabilities, genetic engineering represents the ultimate tool in the manipulation of life
forms. For the first time, scientists have the potential of becoming the architects of life itself, the
initiators of an ersatz, technological evolution designed to create new species of microbes, plants and
animals 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 age
colonized the world in search of minerals and fossil fuels, the biocolonizers are now in search of new
biological 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 world's plant and animal species live in
the rainforests of the Third World-and nowhere else on earth. The non-industrialized world's coastal
regions add millions of more species to those available to the new engineers of life. The Third World is
now witnessing a "gene rush" as governments and multinational corporations aggressively scout their
forests and coasts in search of the new gene gold. The human body is not immune from the
bioprospectors. Organ and fetal transplantation, reproductive technology, and genetic manipulation of
blood and cells have made body parts including blood, organs, cells and genes extremely valuable. The
international 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 companies
and governments know that the economic and political entities that control the genetic resources of the
planet may well exercise decisive power over the world economy in coming decades. However , the
new drive for international hegemony in the engineering and marketing of life represents and
extraordinary threat to the earth's fragile ecosystems and to those living in or near them. Moreover,
embarking on the long journey in which corporations and governments become the designers and
sellers of "the blueprints" of life raises some of the most disturbing and important questions ever to face
humanity: 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 into
other animals? Should the genetic integrity of the biotic community be preserved? Is there something
sacred or reverable about life, or should life forms, including the human body and its parts, simply be
viewed as commodities in the new biotechnology marketplace? Is the genetic makup of all living things
the 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 by
scientific curiosity or profit-have avoided virtually any discussion of the extraordinary implications of
their actions. Further, the so called "bioethicists" employed by various government and educational
institutions appear incapable of saying no to any advance in the manipulation and sale of life, They
seem intent in seeing the unthinkable become the debatable, the debatable become the justifiable, and
the justifiable become the routine. While virtually all poles show that the international public is
opposed 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 unprecedented
environmental and ethical implications will remain totally uncontrolled.


The age of biocolonization can be said to have "officially" been launched in 1980. That year witnessed
a little-noted U.S. Supreme Court decision, Diamond v. Chakrabarty. This unheralded case will
eventually 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 of
General Electric (GE), developed a type of bacteria that could digest oil. GE quickly applied to the U.S
Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) for a patent on Chakrabarty's genetically engineered oil-eating
bacteria. After several years of review, the PTO rejected the GE patent application under the traditional
legal 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 the
court 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 that
life has no 'vital' or sacred property...and that once this is accomplished , all living material will be
reduced to arrangements of chemicals, or `mere compositions of matter.' " Opponents also reasoned that
with patent profits as fuel, the accelerated drive to commercialize engineered life would eliminate all
chance 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 GE
patent. However, in June 1980 the Supreme Court handed down its surprise opinion. By five-to-four
margin the Court decided that Chakrabarty was to be granted his patent. The highest court in the United
States 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 higher
life forms and the court stated that the issue was not whether there was a "relevant distinction (in
patentability) 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 did
provide the economic trigger for a lucrative biotechnology industry as GE had hoped. However , it also
did produce the "gruesome parade of horribles" feared by many and showed how inevitable was the
slippery slope from the genetic engineering and patenting of microbes, to that of plants, animals, and
finally to human genes, cells, and tissues.

Some called it the "mouse that roared." For others it augured the end of nature. On April 12, 1988, the
U.S Patent Office (PTO) issued the first patent on a living animal (to Harvard Professors Philip Leder
and Timothy A. Stewart of San Francisco) for their creation of a transgenic mouse containing a variety
of genes derived from other species, including the chicken and man. These foreign genes were
engineered into the mouse's permanent germline in order to predispose it to developing cancer, making
it a better research animal on which to test the virulence of various carcinogens. While the media
dubbed 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 patent
licensed 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 may
well 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 misguided
Chakrabarty decision by the Supreme Court. In 1985, five years after the Court's historic decision, the
PTO ruled that Chakrabarty could be extended to apply to the patenting of genetically engineered
plants, seeds and plant tissue. Thus the entire plant kingdom was opened up to patent protection. Then
on April 7, 1987, the Patent Office issued a ruling specifically extending the Chakrabarty decision to
include all "multicellular living organisms, including animals." The radical new patenting policy
suddenly transformed a Supreme Court decision on patenting microbes into one allowing the patenting
of all life forms on Earth including animals. Under the ruling a patented animal's legal status is no
different 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 its
edict permitting animal patenting. Editorials across the country lambasted the new policy. Bioethicist
Robert Nelson saw it as "a staggering decision...Once you start patenting life, "he asked, "is there no
stopping it?"

The revolutionary 1987 ruling on the partentability of animals did appear to have a silver lining: the
PTO ruling excluded human beings from patentability. The restriction on patenting human beings was
based on the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution, the antislavery amendment, which prohibits
ownership of a human being. Unfortunately, there were several major loopholes. For one, under the
PTO's 1987 ruling, embryos and fetuses, are patentable, and so, apparently is the patenting of separate
human organs, tissues, cells, and genes.

The first human materials to be patented were cell lines- a sample of cells grown through artificial
laboratory cultivation. Soon after the Chakrabarty decision researchers began to file applications to
patent cell lines which were valuable for the study of biologic processes and which could test the
effects of chemicals and pharmaceuticals on human cells. Cell lines were just the begining. On October
29, 1991, the patent office granted patent rights to a naturally occurring part of the human body.
Systemix Inc., of Palo Alto, California, was given corporate control of human bone marrow "stem
cells." (Stem cells are the progenitors of all types of cells in the blood.) What makes the patent
remarkable, and legally suspect, is that the patented cells had not been manipulated, engineered or
altered 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 will
have to come to a licensing agreement with Systemix. Systemix now has a monopoly on human stem
cells. Peter Quesenberry, medical affairs vice chairman of the Leukemia Society of America, has
pointed out how outlandish it is "to belive you can patent a stem cell. Where do you draw the line?" he
asks. "Can you patent a hand?" As author and ethicist Thomas Murray adds, "they've [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 of
patent applications pending on thousands of them, including the recently discovered gene purportedly
responsible for some forms of breast cancer. The granting of patents on human genes to government
agencies and private corportations creates a unique and profoundly disturbing scenario. The entire
human genome, the tens of thousands of genes that are our most intimate common heritage, will be
owned by a handful of companies and governments. We are faced with athe privatization of our genetic
heritage-the corporate enclosure of our genetic commons.

Many are concerned that the patenting of genes and cells will ultimately allow for the patenting of the
entire 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 is
in 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 patent
applications that would allow the patenting of women, genetically engineered to produce valuable
human proteins in their mammary glands. The patent jointly filed by Baylor College of Medicine and
Grenada Biosciences of Texas was carefully crafted to include all female mammals including humans
under its coverage. Brian Lucas, a British patent attorney who representee Baylor College had stated
that the application was designed to include women because "Someone, somewhere may decide that
humans are patentable."

As cells, genes, animals and plants are now engineered and patented, most of the "gruesome parade of
horribles" predicted by those opposing the 1980 Chakrabarty decision have become, in dizzying
rapidity, realities.


Pig No. 6707 was meant to be "super": super fast growing, super big, super meat quality. It was
supposed to be a technological breakthrough in animal husbandry among the first of a series of high
tech animals that would revolutionize agriculture and food production. Researchers at the United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA) implanted the human gene governing growth into the pig while it
was still an embryo. The idea was to have the human growth gene become part of the pig's genetic code
and thus create an animal that, with the aid of the new gene, would grow far larger than any before.
To the surprise of the bioengineers, the human genetic material that they had injected into the animal
altered its metabolism in an unpredictable and unfortunate way. Transgenic pig No. 6707 was in fact a
tragicomic creation, a "super cripple." Excessively hairy, riddled with arthritis, and cross eyed, the pig
rarely even stood up, the wretched product of a science without ethics.

Despite such setbacks, researchers around the globe are creating thousands of transgenic creatures like
No. 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 United
States. Carp, catfish and trout have been engineered with numbers of genes from humans, cattle and
rats 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 to
make them more efficient egg producers.

Genetic engineers in the United States and Canada have also begun to successfully clone higher
mammals. Although glitches have occurred, biotechnologists now feel they can alter animals to be
more efficient sources of food and then clone unlimited copies of their patented "perfect" lamb, pig or

Besides food animals, the U.S. government and several corporations are also patenting and field testing
numerous food plants with unique genetic combinations. Among these new creations are cantaloupe
and yellow squash containing genes from bacteria and viruses, potatoes with chicken and wax moth
genes, tomatoes with flounder and tobacco genes, corn with firefly genes, and rice with pea genes. The
vast 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 the
new genetically engineered plants. Of immediate urgency is the threat of biological pollution. When
hundreds (and soon thousands) of novel, genetically engineered plants are taken out of the laboratory
and introduced into the environment, ecological havoc could result. Scientists compare the risk of
releasing genetically engineered organisms into the environment with that of introducing exotic
organisms into the North American habitats. Although most of these organisms have adapted to our
ecosystem, several such as chestnut blight, kudzu vine, Dutch elm disease and the gypsy moth have
been catastrophically destructive. In one survey, one hundred top United States environmental scientists
warned of "genetic engineering's imprudent or careless use... could lead to devastating damage to the
ecology 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 milk
production. The animal drug produced by Monsanto not only has devastating health impacts on dairy
cows but also creates milk which has significantly greater amounts of hormones and antibiotics. This
milk 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 engineered
tomato approved for sale by the FDA and produced by Calgene that contains an antibiotic resistant
gene that might confer resistance to common antibiotics used to treat children.
The increased creation, patenting and use of genetically engineered plants and animals could also have
a devastating impact on small farmers throughout the world. Only large highly capitalized farms are
likely to survive the increased overhead costs of growing and raising these patented organisms and the
price fluctuations caused by greater amounts of produce flooding the market. Moreover new techniques
in cloning tissue of various plants could eliminate outdoor farming of certain crops altogether. As noted
by one economist, "Biotechnology will likely become dominant in the coming decades and will drive
activities from the farm to the nonfarm sector at an increasing rate... Full-time farming as we know it
will cease to exist."

The controversy over genetically engineered animals and plants will certainly grow in the coming
years, especially as more genetically engineered foods enter the global marketplace. Questions will
continue to be raised about the unprecedented risks these organisms pose for human health and the
environment, and society will increasingly confront the profound ethical concern over the
appropriateness 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 hundred
religious leaders announced their opposition to the patenting of animals and human materials. The
unprecedented coalition included many Catholic bishops, as will as leaders of most of the Protestant
denominations, and representatives of Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu groups. The published
statement of the coalition of religious leaders was clear, "We believe that humans and animals are
creations of God, not humans, and as such should not be patentable as human inventions." Southern
Baptist 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 commercial
reduction 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 the
alteration and patenting of life. Over several years, The New York Times has, several times, singled out
the opponents of patenting for editorial criticism. In a lead editorial entitled "Life, Industrialized," the
Times succinctly stated a shockingly reductionist view of life perfectly suited to the new age of

Life is special, and humans even more so, but biological machines are still machines that now can be
altered, cloned and patented. The consequences will be profound but taken a step at a time can be


The biotechnologists and the new marketeers of life are not only after the Third World's 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 transplantation
have saved countless lives. Despite their benefits, these advances pose serious risks especially to the
peoples of the Third World.

Blood, organs, reproductive materials, small amounts of human tissues, even genes and cells have
suddenly become valuable. The new medical technologies have created a demand in body parts which
vastly exceeds supply, and the trade in human parts and elements has rapidly become a worldwide
industry, a boom market in the human body. Responding to public pressure many First World nations
have restricted the sale of human parts. This has resulted in the Third World becoming the central focus
of the body part entrepreneurs.

Blood transfusion was the first major biological technology to be used successfully in medicine. In
recent times, as transfusion technology became more sophisticated, major pharmaceutical and
biotechnology 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 blood
centres opened up to buy the blood of the poor. One well publicized instance involved Anastasio
Somoza, the brutal dictator whose family occupied the Nicaraguan presidency for nearly half a century.

In the 1970's Somoza opened a blood collection centre in Managua called "Plasmaferesis." The centre
brought 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 plasma
collected 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 many
throughout the Third World, was virtually unregulated.

While the international blood trade was eventually halted in Nicaragua, similar centres continue to
operate in countries throughout the Third World. The United States and Western Europe remain the
main beneficiaries of the blood industry. By the end of the 1980s, the United States had become the
world's leading dealer in blood plasma products. One commentator called the U.S "the OPEC of

Transfusion technology was the first advancement which led to the international marketing of body
parts. But then, in the 1980s, organ transplantation came of age. Thanks to better surgical techniques,
greater understanding of the body's immune stustem, and the development of effective drugs to combat
rejection, survival rates for those undergoing transplantations improved dramatically. With each new
success, the numbers of organ transplantations in the United States and Europe skyrocketed. Since
1982, the yearly number of heart transplants in the United States has increased twenty times; the
number of liver transplants forty times. Tens of billions of dollars are spent on this technology
worldwide. The new and urgent demand for new organs, combined with the prohibition of organ sales
in many Western countries such as the United States, Great Britain and Germany, has resulted in a
growing international market for human organs. Each year, tens of thousands of organs are being
bought and sold in India, Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, Egypt and other African countries. Several
international organ procurement businesses have been initiated. In may poor countries donors sell the
irreplaceable to buy food and shelter and to pay off debts. Currently, kidneys in Egypt sell for $10,000
to $15,000. In India the going rate for a kidney from a live donor is $1,500; for a cornea, $4,000; for a
patch of skin $50. In many countries it is rourtine to see renal patients pay for newspaper
advertisements 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 paid
for an organ could be more than they could save in a lifetime. One donor who set up a modest tea shop
with the money paid for his kidney commented, "I am even prepared to sell one of my eyes or even a
hand for a price." In many places, the practice among the poor is, if they have two kidneys or eyes, one
is for sale.
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 to
decide how to deal with it." In 1987 a conference of European Health Minister called organ sales in the
world's poorest countries, "one of the greatest risks man has ever run: that of giving a value to his body,
a price to his life."


But, while blood and organs are being colonized, the human body element of greatest future potential
value is the gene. Throughout the world, scientists are using screening techniques to locate and identify
genes which might be of enormous value in curing disease, or in imparting desirable cosmetic physical
or metal traits (high I.Q., blond hair, slimness). The discovery and patenting of any such gene would
bring unprecedented profits. In the U.S alone the government has launched a $3 billion dollar Human
Genome 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 also
involved 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 for
new genes. They announced a global campaign to take blood, skin tissue and hair samples from
hundreds of "endangered" and unique human communities throughout the world. The initiative is called
the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP). The HGDP's initial five year effort to collect human
DNA samples from a minimum of 400 indigenous communities has an estimated cost of between $23
and $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 six
hundred. Blood samples from twenty-five unrelated individuals per population will be studied and used
to create "transformed" cell lines of each population. In addition anthropologists expect to collect
blood, saliva, and hair samples from at least ten times as many individuals in the same and
neighbouring populations. All the cell lines and samples will be stored at the American Type Culture
Collection in Rockville Maryland. All will be available for patenting and commercial exploitation.

Particularly targeted in this process are the world's indigenous people. The case of the Guaymi is
instructive. The Guaymi are an indigenous people of Panama, direct descendants of various Central
American Indian groups, who now find themselves in the centre of the international controversy over
international biocolonization.

In recent years epidemiologist have been aware that there is a high prevalence of a virus known as
HTLV-II in the Guaymi. HTLV-II infection has been loosely associated with incidence of hairy cell
leukemia, but comparatively little is known about the virus' disease associations and transmission
routes. Researchers wasted little time in exploiting the Guaymis apparent genetic predisposition to the
virus. United States scientists descended on the Guaymis taking their blood for analysis. Of special
interest was the blood sample obtained in early 1990 from a 26 year old Guaymi woman, mother of
two, 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 in
any way they saw fit. However, they do not describe how this consent could have lived up to the
requirement of "informed consent". How, for example, could the researchers have adequately explained
to the young mother that they were going to use sophisticated biotechnology techniques to analyze her
blood and cultivate a cell line from her sample- one that might produce profitable patented
pharmaceuticals for transnational corporations? Nor do they detail how they could have explained to
the Guaymi woman that they were going to apply for international patent ownership on the cell line
created from her body fluids. But this is what the U.S researchers did. In November 1991, on behalf of
the Department of Commerce, an international patent application was filed on the cell line cultivated
from the blood of the Guaymi mother. CDC scientist Jonathan Kaplan, is listed on the patent
application as an "inventor" of the Guaymi women's cell line. He states that he filed the patent
application because "the government encourages scientists to patent anything of interest."

Revelation of the patent's existence shocked the Guaymi people. Isidro Acosta, President of the Guaymi
General Congress states, "It's fundamentally immoral, contrary to the Guaymi view of nature and our
place in it. To patent human material.... to take human DNA and patent its products... that violates the
integrity 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 of
Commerce abandoned the Guaymi application in November, 1993. However, numerous patent claims
on cell lines of indigenous peoples, including those from the communities in Papua New Guinea and
the Solomon islands, are still pending.

Leaders in both the religious and indigenous communities have condemned the Human Genome
Diversity Project. Methodist Bishop Kenneth Carder called the effort to colonize the genes of
indigenous people "genetic slavery... Instead of whole persons being marched in shackles to the market
block, 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 globe
for valuable animals and plants and then lining up for patents on the newly discovered or engineered
life forms. In one remarkable example saeveral Northern corporations, including W.R. Grace have been
granted over 50 U.S. patents on the Neem tree of India. For millennia this tree, its bark and leaves have
been used as natural pesticide, a treatment for disease and as a dentifrice. Companies learning of these
traditional uses have appropriated and patented not only the tree but the indigenous knowledge about
the tree's many uses.

The patenting of indigenous animals, plants and microbes is inherently unjust and inequitable, not to
mention immoral. Despite the immeasurable contribution that Third World indigenous knowledge and
biodiversity have make to the wealth of the industrialized countries, corporations, governments and aid
agencies of the North continue to create legal and political frameworks which lead to the bizarre result
that the Third World has to buy what it originally produced. When Northern corporations patent
important Southern agricultural and medical plants, the result is often that millions of farmers and other
peoples throughout the globe are prevented by the patent from freely using the seeds and plants they
have relied on for millennia.


On March 1,1995 after six years of debate, the European Parliament rejected a European Union
directive that would have allowed the patenting of virtually all life forms. The historic vote was a
significant blow to life patenting in Europe, and represents a surprise victory of ethics over profit and
for "biodemocracy". The action of the European Parliament in rejecting life patents reflects the growing
opposition to such patenting in Europe that culminated in numerous street demonstrations in Brussels
prior to the vote. For years polls in Europe have shown overwhelming opposition to life patenting and
especially animal and human materials patenting.

The U.S. Congress has taken no action against the engineering or patenting of life. However, polls of
Americans show a high resistance to biotechnology. A 1992 survey by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture 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 into
animals, 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 in
biotechnology decisions, believing that "citizens have too little to say about whether or not
biotechnology should be used."

Recently new international treaties such as GATT and the Convention on Biological Diversity further
legally codify the right to gene hunters to seize and patent the bodies and resources of indigenous
peoples and restrict the ability of governments to control or regulate the process. Clearly a mass
movement for biodemocracy is needed if the international drive toward the engineering and patenting
of life is to be halted. Biodemocracy involves both respecting and acting on the will of the people in
restricting biotechnology and banning the patenting of life. It also involves the key ethical insight that
all life forms have intrinsic value and genetic integrity, and cannot be viewed as the raw material out of
which 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 the
patenting of life. It also requires a halt to the biocolonization of the earth's genetic resources by
governments and transnational corporations. In addition, biodemocracy requires the immediate
cessation of the collection of cells and blood from indigenous peoples through the Human Genome
Diversity Project or similar initiatives as well as the sordid international trafficking in blood and human

Genetic engineering is potentially catastrophic for the environment and all processes of life, and is
profoundly unethical. Biodemocracy would lead to an immediate moratorium on such practices.

Controlling the World's Food!

Seeds of Deception — Genetically Engineered Foods!

On May 23, 2003, President Bush proposed an Initiative to End Hunger in Africa using genetically
modified (GM) foods. He also blamed Europe's "unfounded, unscientific fears" of these foods for
thwarting recovery efforts. Bush was convinced that GM foods held the key to greater yields, expanded
U.S. exports, and a better world. His rhetoric was not new. It had been passed down from president to
president, and delivered to the American people through regular news reports and industry

The message was part of a master plan that had been crafted by corporations determined to control the
world's food supply. This was made clear at a biotech industry conference in January 1999, where a
representative from Arthur Anderson Consulting Group explained how his company had helped
Monsanto create that plan. First, they asked Monsanto what their ideal future looked like in fifteen to
twenty years. Monsanto executives described a world with 100 percent of all commercial seeds
genetically modified and patented. Anderson Consulting then worked backwards from that goal, and
developed the strategy and tactics to achieve it. They presented Monsanto with the steps and procedures
needed to obtain a place of industry dominance in a world in which natural seeds were virtually extinct.

Integral to the plan was Monsanto's influence in government, whose role was to promote the
technology worldwide and to help get the foods into the marketplace quickly, before resistance could
get in the way. A biotech consultant later said, "The hope of the industry is that over time, the market is
so flooded that there's 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 dangerous
disrespect for nature, to the industry this was good business. Their attitude was illustrated in an excerpt
from one of Monsanto's advertisements: "So you see, there really isn't much difference between foods
made by Mother Nature and those made by man. What's artificial is the line drawn between them."

To implement their strategy, the biotech companies needed to control the seeds-so they went on a
buying spree, taking possession of about 23 percent of the world's seed companies. Monsanto did
achieve the dominant position, capturing 91 percent of the GM food market. But the industry has not
met their projections of converting the natural seed supply. Citizens around the world, who do not share
the industry's 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 genetically
modified corn and soy are down, and hungry African nations won't even accept the crops as food aid.
Monsanto is faltering financially and is desperate to open new markets. The U.S. government is
convinced 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 European
Union's 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 been
industry's chant from the start. It is the key assumption at the basis of their master plan, the WTO
challenge, and the president's campaign to end hunger. It is also, however, untrue.

The following chapters reveal that it was industry influence, not sound science, which allowed these
foods onto the market. Moreover, if overwhelming scientific research suggests anything, it is that the
foods should never have been approved.
Just as the magnitude of the industry's 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 an
adventure novel, the impact of GM foods is personal. Most people in North America eat them at every
meal. These chapters not only dismantle the U.S. position that the foods are safe, they inform you of the
steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

Seeds of Deception

GM food aid

The Zambian government’s rejection of genetically modified food triggered a heated debate on the right
of sovereign countries to decide on the kind of food aid that they would accept from the international

AT the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), the most contentious issue that was not
on 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. He
chastised governments in Southern Africa that have raised concerns about GM food aid, saying, ‘In the
face of famine, several governments in Southern Africa have prevented critical US food assistance from
being distributed to the hungry by rejecting biotech corn, which has been eaten safely around the world
since 1995.’ Powell was heckled and booed during his speech.

Zambia rejects GM food aid

Receiving less attention but of more importance was a press conference the day before by Zambian
President Levy Mwanawasa at the WSSD explaining his country’s position on the issue. Zambia has
been 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 of
contamination 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 of
GM crops and seeds. Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique have also expressed varying degrees of
reservation over the past few months.

President Mwanawasa explained that a national consultative meeting was held in Lusaka on 12 August
2002, in which a cross-section of Zambian society had participated, including NGOs, farmers, women’s
groups, church leaders, traditional leaders, members of Parliament, opposition politicians and
government. The meeting had strongly recommended that Zambia should not accept GM food aid.
Zambian media have been active in facilitating public discussion and debate.
Commenting on a UN statement issued on 27 August which obliquely urged Southern African
countries to accept GM food aid, he expressed concern that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and
the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) admitted that they have not carried out formal safety
assessments on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). He pointed to the apparent contradiction with
their statement that donors are certifying these foods as safe for human consumption. (Many critics of
GMOs, including scientists, have pointed to the lack of comprehensive biosafety regulations and risk
assessment 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 in
the 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 at
best 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 in
which 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 be
used as the dumping ground for GM food (see box on p. 33). This arose from a seminar organised by
Third World Network during the WSSD. More than 200 people, including many African NGOs and
government officials, were present to listen to Zambian scientist Dr Mwananyanda Lewanika talk about
the actual situation. There and then, many participants from Africa pledged their solidarity with Zambia
on the issue. By early September, more than 140 representatives and organisations from 26 countries in
Africa 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,’ President
Mwanawasa said.

When the issue was put to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan by Third World Network, his
emphatic response was that the UN would not pressure any country and that any food aid provided
would first receive the consent of the recipient country.

Yet, Zambia has come under intense pressure to reverse its decision, particularly from the US, and the
WFP statement supported by the WHO and FAO adds to that pressure.

No prior informed consent

NGOs at the WSSD published a strongly worded open letter to the US government, the WFP, WHO
and 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 countries
receiving food aid, as to whether they are willing to accept GM food aid. And in the weeks that
followed, revelations surfaced that the WFP has been delivering GM food as emergency aid for the past
seven years, without telling the countries concerned [’UN is slipping modified food into aid’, by Fred
Pearce, New Scientist, 19 Sept 2002]. Countries getting GM food aid in the past two years - often in
breach 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 the
WFP and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) of using GM foods and seeds in their
emergency relief programmes in Nicaragua [for details of the Alliance’s Press Release, 3 June 2002,

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 of
StarLink maize, a GM variety not approved for human consumption due to health concerns over
possible allergenic effects. According to the press release, other GM varieties not approved by the EU
were also found.

In view of the worldwide uncertainty over the health and environmental impacts of GMOs, Zambia
thus took a precautionary approach in rejecting GM food aid. The country has yet to formulate national
biosafety regulations and lacks the capacity to conduct reliable risk assessments. Add to this the lack of
information on the identities of the GM maize in the food aid consignments and the unknowns related
to the different contexts of diet, health status and the environment in Zambia (as opposed to the US
situation), and a precautionary approach is indeed warranted.

There are alternatives

In Johannesburg, the Zambian President made a strong appeal to partners to assist in sourcing and
providing non-GM food aid. Zambia itself is prepared to plug its food deficit with commercial imports
of non-GM food. It has also received offers of non-GM food from various countries, as well as offers of
cash to purchase non-GM food. On 7 October, a Reuters report cited the WFP as saying that 12,000
tonnes of GM-free maize had begun arriving in Zambia and the agency was seeking another 16,000
tonnes from within Southern Africa.

In its latest report on ‘USAID and GM food aid’, Greenpeace argues that there are numerous sources of
non-GM food aid available around the world, including the US. It states that the latest Food Supply and
Crop 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 maize
available in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. More than double this amount is available on
the world market. Meanwhile, the WFP has used cash donations from Japan and the Netherlands to
purchase GM-free maize regionally. The EU has also announced that it will provide Southern Africa
with humanitarian aid to the tune of 30 million euros ($29.57 million).

US bullies Africa into eating GM foods

The US Government and large biotech corporations are force-feeding developing countries genetically
modified food against their will.
The World Health Organisation defines genetically modified (GM) organisms as those which have had
their DNA altered in an unnatural way because of a perceived advantage to either the consumer or

The US Government has long promoted the use of GM crops and uses them widely in foreign food aid

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is a federal government agency and is the
principal 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. Close
to 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 that
must be used to purchase US produce.

US agriculture company Monsanto is the leading developer of GM produce and owns 90 per cent of
genetically modified seeds and their licenses around the world. Their produce also includes corn and

In 1998 all Africa’s Heads of State, excluding South Africa, signed a joint declaration condemning
Monsanto and its GM crops. The Let Nature’s Harvest Continue report stated that they “…strongly
object that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries are being used by giant multinational
corporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environment friendly, nor economically
beneficial to us.”

The report concluded the needs of African people were not being met and that they were being used to
make money for large corporations.

Monsanto funds numerous projects with USAID. The close relationship between these companies led
Greenpeace 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 exploiting
famine 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 new
technology on the disadvantaged citizens of a developing country.

Zimbabwe was the first African government to raise concerns about the use of GM food aid and
rejected 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 whole
kernels which posed a significant threat to GM free crops if used as seed.
Zambia followed, refusing food aid shipments of GM contaminated food and stopping distribution of
existing 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 not
influence him to disregard his better judgment.

''I'm 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, that
Zambia in one year had successfully doubled its maize crop production “without recourse to the GM

Sudan and Angola introduced restrictions on GM food aid in 2004. Sudan requested that food aid be
certified ‘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 because
there was no law in place that required the separation of GM and non-GM grains in the US, GRAIN

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 for
the 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 opposed
genetically modified food.

The EU criticised the US, stressing that food aid “should be about meeting the urgent humanitarian
needs 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 raised
legitimate concerns about GM food.

“They worry about its safety for health and the environment, how it is controlled and by whom…” Mr
Mavunduse said.

USAID and GM corporations such as Monsanto continue to endorse GM food aid as ‘safe’ despite the
African controversy.

World-renowned geneticist David Suzuki strongly objected to these views during a Commonwealth
lecture he gave in London.

“Any scientist who tells you they know that GMOs are safe…is deliberately lying. Nobody knows what
the long-term effect will be,” Mr Suzuki said.

Bush using famine in Africa as GM marketing tool

Research published today by Greenpeace exposes the Bush Administration's use of the famine in
southern Africa as a marketing tool to push GM food in the continent. The document details how the
offer of GM food aid by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the latest
move in a ten-year marketing campaign designed to facilitate the introduction of US-developed GM
crops into Africa. In addition, the US food aid programme effectively channels a huge covert subsidy to
American GM farmers through the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust.

The UK government's 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 and
human 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 clear
political decision to only provide GM contaminated aid.

Aid agencies, the EU and UK Government all believe that best practice for supplying food aid is to
provide financial assistance and to source locally - the only organisation that thinks otherwise is
USAID. The American Corn Growers Association state that over half of all US first stage grain
handling facilities segregate GM and non-GM grains, meaning USAID could easily buy aid from
American 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 the
agency. USAID recently set up CABIO - a biotech initiative designed to market GM in the developing
world. Previously USAID set up the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Group, which pushed African
governments to introduce intellectual property legislation, clearing the way for US biotech corporations
to operate in Africa.

USAID and biotechnology companies such as Monsanto have close funding relationships for GM
research projects in Africa.

USAID funds the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications - a pro-GM
advocacy organisation that pushes biotech in the developing world. The ISAAA's other sponsors
include Monsanto, Syngenta, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Cargill and Bayer CropScience.

Donald Mavunduse of ActionAid, one of the UK's leading development agencies working in southern
Africa, 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 not
yet got to the point where we should be saying to starving countries 'take GM or nothing'."
Greenpeace Executive Director Stephen Tindale said, "This debate shouldn't be focused on the false
choice of eating GM or starving. Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of non-GM grain are available, both
in America and elsewhere, and it should be sent to where it's needed most. Instead the Bush
Administration 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 by
altruism, the USAID website is a little more candid. It states: "The principal beneficiary of America's
foreign assistance programs has always been the United States. Close to 80% of the USAID contracts
and grants go directly to American firms. Foreign assistance programs have helped create major
markets for agricultural goods, created new markets for American industrial exports and meant
hundreds 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 in
Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa (Food supply situation and crop prospects in Sub-Saharan
Africa (No.2). FAO Global Information and Early Warning System on food and agriculture, August

Table: Non- GM Maize Sources

Country Exportable maize (Mt)

Kenya 10,000
Tanzania 50,000
South Africa 1,020,000
Uganda 80,000

Total available in Africa 1,160,000


African Consumer Leaders Support Zambia

The countryside looked pleasantly green from recent rains, but that was deceptive. "This is supposed to
be the rainy season, but it has rained very little," the taxi-driver told us. The government is already
preparing 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 of
Zambia Consumer Association. "There is normal rainfall in the northern and eastern provinces."
The city of Lusaka itself is full of greenery and extremely well kempt. There is almost no rubbish on
the ground, and no tall buildings to clutter the skyline. The people are very friendly and helpful. The
local 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, had
organised 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 is
a desperate need for quality information.

Zambia’s president Levy Mwanawasa had just reaffirmed his rejection of the 35 000 metric tons of GM
maize sent by the US, on the advice of his own experts. A delegation of Zambian scientists and
economists, 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 the
United States, and reported back to the president. The report concluded that studies on the safety of GM
foods are inconclusive, and the US maize should be rejected as a precautionary measure.

The Zambian delegation included chief scientist Mwananyanda Lewanika, whose appearance in the
Earth Summit galvanised many other African countries to unite behind Zambia in a commitment
towards 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 a
national debate, and amid intense pressure to accept the GM food aid from the United States, the World
Food Program, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Food and Agricultural

But widespread support for Zambia emerged when it transpired that there is plenty of non-GM maize
available in the US, and the US was simply blackmailing hungry and desperate nations into accepting
GM food (see Box).

The US has refused to provide non-GM maize or cash, and refused even to provide cash to mill the
maize. It has violated the 1999 Food Aid Convention, of which it is a signatory. This Convention
stipulates that food aid should be bought from the most cost- effective source, be culturally acceptable
and 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 emergency
food 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 into
many 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 is
foisting biotechnology on Africa during a time of famine. They support a country’s right to refuse GM
food aid and call on USAID to untie its food aid policy to donating GM food in kind.
More than 140 representatives from 26 countries in Africa signed up to a statement from African civil
society in support of Zambia’s rejection of GM food aid, and refusing to be used as "the dumping
ground for contaminated food".

OECD and the World Bank criticised USAID’s self-serving agenda: "Among the big donors, the US
has the worst record for spending its aid budget on itself - 70 percent of its aid is spent on US goods
and 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 into
Africa as a "massive human experiment". He questioned the morality of the US’s desire to flood
genetically modified foods into African countries, where people are already facing starvation in the
coming months.

Director-general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Jacques Diouf, said: "Wedon’t
need 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 human
organism and public health in the medium and long term. The argument that GMOs are indispensable
for overcoming malnutrition and hunger is not convincing."

James Clancy, president of Canada's National Union of Public and General Employees said, "[A]ll
some folks in the US government and business communities can
think 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 on
Agriculture for the US National Academy of Sciences, said, "There is no shortage of non-GMO foods
which could be offered to Zambia and to use the needs of Zambians to score "political points" on behalf
of biotechnology was "unethical and indeed shameless".

Carol Thompson, a political economist at Northern Arizona University, commented, "It is highly
unethical not to just cover the costs for milling. Tell me how much it costs to drop one bomb on
Afghanistan. Who is starving whom here?"

Roger Moore, goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, said, it was "inhuman" for the US to refuse other aid
to Zambia, because of its rejection of GM food.

Many countries have given non-GM and financial assistance. According to Zambian government
sources, 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

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 considerable
detail 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 other
food, 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 the
company, not the FDA, that has concluded the GM varieties "are not materially different in
composition, safety, or other relevant parameters" from those "currently on the market", and "they do
no 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 GM
crop, who finally exposed the regulatory sham in her recent book, First Fruit, the Creation of the Flavr
Savr 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 allergens
and 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 an
economic disaster for farmer and the industry, and that the hazards to health and the environment are
now undeniable. I dwelled at some length on the recent evidence of horizontal gene transfer that I have
just delivered to my own government (UK) in an open meeting, and recommended decisive action "to
stop this dangerous experiment now and let farmers in Africa and elsewhere get on to farm sustainably
for 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 already
reasonable suspicion of harm, which, in accordance with the precautionary principle, should demand
immediate cessation of all environmental releases of GMOs.

Cissoko Mamadou emphasized that traditional knowledge has helped us master the use of our plants for
medicine through natural procedures, which is scientifically recognized worldwide. "Unfortunately, no-
one is interested in promoting this knowledge. Instead, it is the knowledge of biotechnology
corporations which is being promoted and forced upon us."

That struck a chord among the participants from 23 African countries, including the poorest in the

The Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Hon. Mundia Sikatana, who sent a speech to open the
conference, has said, "The challenge before scientists is to develop technologies that are relevant to our
conditions and our way of life."

The GM Debacle = Bad Science + Big Business

I am, and have been a scientist for nearly 40 years. Science is still my first love, and I never thought I’d
be 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, "Redefining
the life sciences", organised by my friends Martin Khor, Vandana Shiva, Tewolde Egziabhar and
others. Instead of the usual academic talk-shop I was expecting, it became clear that redefining the life
sciences was a matter of life and death for family farmers, especially those practising small-scale
sustainable farming dependent on natural and agricultural biodiversity. They were just getting over the
devastation caused by the monoculture crops of the green revolution; but the GM crops of the gene
revolution were promising far worse.

Slide 1 – From organism to DNA

I 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 of
science is much, much larger than just genetic engineering.) At the time, all the scientific findings
already indicated that genetic engineering was unlikely to work and could be dangerous. But the quality
of the information given out was so poor, and that was how I got involved in informing the public and
the policy makers.

Slide 2 – Genetics old and new

The old picture of genetics - with genes remaining almost constant in a static genome, determining the
characteristics 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 many
proteins as there are genes. Different combinations of proteins are active in individual cells at different
times, depending on multiple levels of feedback from the environment. This feedback changes not just
the function of genes, but the genes and genomes themselves. Furthermore, the genetic material of one
species can be taken up and incorporated into the genome of totally unrelated species. Genetic
engineering simply does not make sense given the complexity and especially the ‘fluidity’ of genes and
genomes in both structure and function.

the GM enterprise (GM crops & gene medicines both) is collapsing, most of all because it is not
working. 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 and
herbicide use, and loss in earnings for farmers.

The predicted ‘biotech boom’ never happened. Biotech market shares peaked in 2000, but have been
falling 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. They
have cost the United States an estimated $12billion in farm subsidies, lost sales and product recalls due
to transgenic contamination. The farmers came to Britain to tell of their ordeal, and to say to us: do not
allow our nightmares to become yours.
Catastrophic failures of GM cotton, up to 100%, have been reported in several Indian states, including
non-germination of seeds, root-rot and attacks by the American bollworm, for which the crops are
supposed 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 protest
group 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 after
another spun off their agricultural biotechnology. It has suffered a series of setbacks: drastic reductions
in 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 is
buying up the GM produce that they cannot sell, and dumping it on famine-stricken nations. It is an act
of sheer desperation and wickedness that has been widely condemned; especially when it became clear
that there is plenty of non-GM maize available in the US. Zambia received widespread support.

Slide 4 - Support for Zambia

Bad science + big business = Brave New World

Our governments have already squandered billions in tax subsidies and other give-aways to the industry
over the years. They are now wasting further billions to prop up a sinking titanic of enterprise that’s
morally, scientifically as well as financially bankrupt.

At the same time, the corporations are aggressively taking over our national and international
institutions. An emerging ‘academic-industrial-military complex’ is threatening to engineer both life
and mind.

Corporations have taken control of public funding agencies, to determine which kinds of scientific
research can get done. With the help of the government and the scientific establishment, they also
determine which scientific findings can get reported. Scientists who report adverse findings can get

Syngenta is now on the governing board of CGIAR, which oversees many international research
centres. 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 disaster

Evidence of the hazards inherent to GM technology is being confirmed. Among the most serious, if not
the most serious hazard is horizontal gene transfer. I have alerted our regulators at least since 1996,
when there was already sufficient evidence to suggest that transgenic DNA in GM crops and products
can 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 GMO

The oft-repeated refrain that "transgenic DNA is just like ordinary DNA" is false. Transgenic DNA is
in many respects optimised for horizontal gene transfer. It is designed to cross species barriers and to
jump into genomes. It contains DNA of many species and their genetic parasites (plasmids, transposons
and viruses), and can therefore more easily transfer genes to all of them. Transgenic constructs contain
new combinations of genes that have never existed, and they also amplify gene products that have
never been part of our food chain, raising serious concerns of toxicity and allergenicity.

Slide 6 - Hazards of horizontal gene transfer

The 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 cause

Transgenic DNA inserting into human cells, triggering cancer.

The risk of cancer is highlighted by the recent report that gene therapy - genetic modification of human
cells - claimed its first cancer victim. The procedure, in which bone marrow cells are genetically
modified outside the body and re-implanted, was previously thought to avoid creating infectious viruses
and causing cancer, both recognized major hazards of gene therapy.

The transgenic constructs used in genetic modification are basically the same whether it is of human
cells or of other animals and plants. The foreign gene or transgene, needs to be accompanied by a
promoter – a gene switch. An aggressive promoter from a virus is frequently used to boost the
expression of the transgene. In plants, the 35S promoter from the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) is
widely used.

Slide 7 - A gene-expression cassette

Unfortunately, although the virus is specific for plants of the cabbage family, its promoter is active in
species across the living world, human cells included, as we discovered in the scientific literature dating
back to 1989. Plant geneticists who have incorporated the promoter into practically all GM crops now
grown commercially are apparently unaware of this crucial information.

In 1999, another serious problem with the CaMV 35S promoter was identified: it has a ‘recombination
hotspot’ where it tends to break and join up with other DNA. Since then, we have continued to warn
our regulators that the promoter will be extra prone to spread by horizontal gene transfer and
recombination. The controversy over the transgenic contamination of the Mexican landraces hinges on
observations suggesting that the transgenic DNA with the CaMV 35S promoter is "fragmenting and
promiscuously scattering throughout the genome" of the landraces, observations that would be
consistent with our expectations.

Similarly, I was not surprised by the research results released earlier this year by the UK Food
Standards Agency, indicating that transgenic DNA from GM soya flour, eaten in a single hamburger
and 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 the
public, 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, only
a 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 for
transgenic DNA in the blood and blood cells, even though scientific reports dating back to the early
1990s had already provided evidence that transgenic DNA could pass through the intestine and the
placenta, and become incorporated into the blood cells, liver and spleen cells and cells of the foetus and

Third, no attempt was made to address the limitations of the detection method and the scope of the
investigation, which grossly underestimated the extent and frequency of horizontal gene transfer, and
hence 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, the
soil bacterium causing crown gall disease. This bacterium has been developed as a major gene transfer
vector to make transgenic plants. Foreign genes are typically spliced into T-DNA - part of a plasmid
called 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 resembles
conjugation, ie, mating between bacterial cells; and all the necessary signals and genes involved are
interchangeable with those for conjugation.

That means transgenic plants created by T-DNA vector system have a ready route for horizontal gene
escape, via Agrobacterium, helped by the ordinary conjugative mechanisms of many other bacteria that
cause diseases.

The scientific report submitted to the government had indeed raised the possibility that Agrobacterium
tumefaciens could be a vector for gene escape.

The researchers found that it extremely difficult to get rid of the Agrobacterium vector from the
transgenic plants, which remain contaminated a year and a half later.
High rates of gene transfer are known to be associated with the plant root system and the germinating
seed. So, Agrobacterium could multiply and transfer transgenic DNA to other bacteria, as well as to the
next crop planted in the soil.

Agrobacterium was also found to deliver genes into several types of human cells, and in a manner
similar 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 questions
again together with some obvious experiments they should have done at the an Open Meeting of the
scientific advisory committee for novel foods on 13 November, just a few days before I came here. And
I 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 to
respond to me. They conceded that I have raised "some interesting points", which "can be addressed by
further experiments" along the lines that I suggested.

All the risks of horizontal gene transfer I have described are real, and far outweigh any potential
benefits that GM crops can offer. There is no case for allowing any commercial release of GM crops
and food products, especially now.

Bad science + big business = ecological disaster

Multi-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 500,000
bushels of soybeans in Nebraska contaminated with transgenic maize engineered to produce
pharmaceuticals not approved for human consumption. A day later, the US government disclosed that
ProdiGene did the same thing in Iowa back in September, when the USDA ordered 155 acres of nearby
maize to be incinerated for fear of contamination.

More than 300 field trials of similar pharm crops have been conducted in secret since 1991, to produce
vaccines, 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 being
regularly used for GM seed production because there are four growing seasons a years. The true extent
of such poisoning of our food supply is not known. My colleague Prof. Joe Cummins found these crops
growing unannounced in Canada. Someone from Bangladesh recently contacted us to say that similar
trials are planned there. We have repeatedly warned against such pharm crops since 1998.

Worldwide rejection of GM crops

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 buy
GM 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 GM
crops 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 17
October, requires a full environmental risk assessment and other strict measures that would exclude
most GMOs. Second, lifting the moratorium depends on the EU environment ministers approving
legislation on the labelling and traceability of GM crops. But agreement is a long way off, with a hard
core of member states, led by France, wanting a lower threshold. They also want labelling to apply to
processed foods in which GM traces have been destroyed, and to animal products such as eggs and

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 and

Governments all over the world have legislated or are in the process of legislating tough biosafety laws
to exclude GM crops and products.

Plenty of evidence in favour of non-GM sustainable option

In contrast to GM crops, the evidence in favour of a non-GM, organic, sustainable option is now firmly
documented. There is little or no reduction in yields in developed countries, with yields improving in
successive years. But it is in developing countries that low-input, organic, or agro-ecological
approaches are working miracles. Three to four fold increases in yield are frequent. There are many
additional 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 social
enrichments 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 than
a global struggle to reinstate holistic knowledge systems and sustainable ways of life that have been
marginalized 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 cell
lines, is being imposed on the rest of the world through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as part
of a relentless drive towards economic globalisation. The TRIPS regime is an unprecedented
privatisation of knowledge. It has also led to widespread biopiracy of indigenous knowledge and
resources, threatening local biodiversity and the livelihoods of indigenous communities.
Farmers in Canada and the United States who found their fields contaminated by patented crop genes
have been ordered by the courts to pay compensation to Monsanto. This is a foretaste of the corporate
serfdom 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 in
February for the Second World Social Forum (WSF), to voice unanimous opposition to the present
economic globalisation.

I was so inspired that I produced the first draft of a discussion paper, Towards a Convention of
Knowledge, which has received widespread input and support from scientists, Third World and
indigenous peoples’ representatives. This Convention is intended to serve as a focus of a concerted
campaign 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 the
ultimate moral blackmail from the corporate powers. It is time for decisive action. Let’s stop this
dangerous experiment now, and opt for a GM-free world, so farmers in Africa and elsewhere can get on
with sustainable farming for health, self-sufficiency and genuine wealth, not in monetary terms, but in
social and natural goods.

book: Genetic Engineering Dream or Nightmare: Turning the Tide on the Brave
New World of Bad Science and Big Business; by Mae-Wan Ho

book: Living With the Fluid Genome, Inside Science; by Mae-Wan Ho

book: GMO Free: Exposing the Hazards of Biotechnology to Ensure the

Integrity of Our Food Supply; by Mae-Wan Ho

Ho MW. Recent evidence confirms risks of horizontal gene

transfer. ISIS’ Written Submission to ACNFP/FSA Open Meeting, November 13, 2002

Ho MW and Lim LC. Biotech debacle in four parts. ISIS’ special briefing paper for

book: Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret

Changes in Your Food; by Andrew Kimbrell

Recent Evidence Confirms Risks of Horizontal Gene Transfer

Horizontal gene transfer is one of the most serious, if not the most serious hazard of transgenic
technology. I have been drawing our regulators’ attention to it at least since 1996 [1], when there was
already sufficient evidence to suggest that transgenic DNA in GM crops and products can spread by
being taken up directly by viruses and bacteria as well as plant and animals cells.

The oft-repeated refrain that "transgenic DNA is just like ordinary DNA" is false. Transgenic DNA is
in many respects optimised for horizontal gene transfer. It is designed to cross species barriers and to
jump into genomes, and it has homologies to the DNA of many species and their genetic parasites
(plasmids, transposons and viruses), thereby enhancing recombination with all of them [2]. Transgenic
constructs contain new combinations of genes that have never existed, and they also amplify gene
products that have never been part of our food chain [3].

The 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 cause

Transgenic DNA inserting into human cells, triggering cancer.

The risk of cancer is highlighted by the recent report that gene therapy - genetic modification of human
cells - claimed its first cancer victim [4]. The procedure, in which bone marrow cells are genetically
modified outside the body and re-implanted, was previously thought to avoid creating infectious viruses
and causing cancer, both recognized major hazards of gene therapy.

The transgenic constructs used in genetic modification are basically the same whether it is of human
cells or of other animals and plants. An aggressive promoter from a virus is often used to boost the
expression of the transgene, in animal and human cells, from the cytomegalovirus that infects
mammalian cells, and in plants, the 35S promoter from the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) that
infects Cruciferae plants.

Unfortunately, although the CaMV virus is specific for plants, its 35S promoter is active in species
across the living world, human cells included, as we discovered in the scientific literature dating back
to 1989. Plant geneticists who have incorporated the promoter into practically all GM crops now grown
commercially are apparently unaware of this crucial information [5].

In 1999, another problem with the CaMV 35S promoter was identified: it has a ‘recombination hotspot’
where it tends to break and join up with other DNA [6]. Since then, we have continued to warn our
regulators that the CaMV 35S promoter will be extra prone to spread by horizontal gene transfer and
recombination [7-9]. The recent controversy over the transgenic contamination of the Mexican
landraces [10] hinges on observations suggesting that the transgenic DNA with the CaMV 35S
promoter is "fragmenting and promiscuously scattering throughout the genome" of the landraces,
observations that would be consistent with our expectations [11].

Similarly, I was not surprised by the research results released earlier this year by the Food Standards
Agency [12], indicating that transgenic DNA from GM soya flour, eaten in a single hamburger and
milk shake meal, was found transferred to the bacteria in the gut contents from the colostomy bags of
human volunteers.

What I found unacceptable was the way the Agency dismissed the findings and downplayed the risks.
The comments, "it is extremely unlikely that genes from genetically modified (GM) food can end up in
bacteria in the gut of people who eat them", and "the findings had been assessed by several Government
experts who had ruled that humans were not at risk", are seriously misleading.

First, the experimental design stacked 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, only a
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 check for
transgenic DNA in the blood and blood cells, even though scientific reports dating back to the early
1990s had already indicated transgenic DNA could pass through the intestine and the placenta, and
become incorporated into the blood cells, liver and spleen cells and cells of the foetus and newborn

The observation in the FSA report [12] that no transgenic DNA was found in the faeces of the ‘healthy
volunteers’, far from being reassuring, raises the worrying possibility that the transgenic DNA has all
been taken up into the intestinal cells and/or passed into the bloodstream.

Third, no attempt was made to address the limitations of the detection method and the scope of the
investigation, which grossly underestimated the extent and frequency of horizontal gene transfer, and
hence failed completely in assessing the real risks. On the contrary, false assurances were made that
"humans were not at risk".

Another research project on horizontal gene transfer commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture,
Fisheries and Food (MAFF), the predecessor to the Food Standards Agency, concerns Agrobacterium
tumefaciens, the soil bacterium that causes crown gall disease, which has been developed as a major
gene transfer vector for making transgenic plants. Foreign genes are typically spliced into T-DNA - part
of a plasmid called 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 resembles
conjugation, ie, mating between bacterial cells; and all the necessary signals and genes involved are
interchangeable with those for conjugation [14].

That means transgenic plants created by T-DNA vector system have a ready route for horizontal gene
escape, via Agrobacterium, helped by the ordinary conjugative mechanisms of many other bacteria that
cause diseases [15].
A report submitted to MAFF in 1997 had indeed raised the possibility that Agrobacterium tumefaciens
could be a vector for gene escape [16, 17].

The researchers found that it was extremely difficult to get rid of the Agrobacterium used in the vector
system after transformation.

High rates of gene transfer are known to be associated with the plant root system and the germinating
seed [18]. There, Agrobacterium could multiply and transfer transgenic DNA to other bacteria, as well
as to the next crop plant.

Agrobacterium was also found to transfer genes into several types of human cells [19], and in a manner
similar to that which it uses to transform plant cells.

We have submitted two relevant ISIS reports together with some specific questions to the ACNFP for
consideration at the November 13 Open Meeting [20].

All the risks of horizontal gene transfer described above are real, and far outweigh any potential
benefits that GM crops can offer. There is no case for allowing any commercial release of GM crops
and food products.

The following experiments and tests should be done to address the risks of horizontal gene transfer.

Feeding experiments similar to those carried out by Dr. Arpad Pusztai’s team should be done, using
well-characterized transgenic soya and/or maize meal feed, with full, adequate, monitoring for
transgenic DNA in the faeces, blood and blood cells, and post-mortem histological examinations that
include tracking transfer of transgenic DNA into the genome of cells. As an added control,
nontransgenic DNA from the same GM feed sample should also be monitored.

Feeding trials on human volunteers should be carried out using well-characterized transgenic soya
and/or maize meal feed, with full, adequate monitoring for transgenic DNA in the faeces, blood and
blood cells. Also as an added control, nontransgenic DNA from the same GM feed sample should also
be monitored.

The stability of transgenic plants in successive generations should be systematically investigated,

especially for those containing CaMV 35S promoter, using adequate quantitative molecular techniques.

Full molecular characterisation of all transgenic lines must be carried out to establish uniformity and
genetic stability of the insert(s).

All transgenic plants created by the Agrobacterium T-DNA vector system should be tested for the
persistence of the bacteria and vectors. The soil in which they have been grown should also be
monitored for gene escape to soil bacteria. And the potential for horizontal gene transfer to the next
crop via the germinating seed and root system should be carefully monitored.

References and Notes

Correspondences between myself and Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and Health and
Safety Executive, going back to 1996.

See Ho MW. Horizontal Gene Transfer. The Hidden Hazards of Genetic Engineering, TWN
Biotechnology Series, Third World Network, 2001 (available fom the ISIS online store); also Ho MW.
Horizontal gene transfer and genetic engineering, SCOPES website, AAAS, 2000.

Ho MW. Briefing to the Rt. Hon. Michael Meacher, Minister for the Environment on the Special Safety
Concerns of Transgenic Agriculture and Related Issues. April 1999 ; published in Seminario
Internacional sobtre Direcito da Biodiversidade, Revista cej: Centro de estudos Judiciarios do Conselho
da Justica Federal, Brasil, pp.120-6, 1999.

Science, News of the Week, 4 October 2002; see also "Predicted hazard of gene therapy a reality" by
Mae-Wan Ho, ISIS Report, October 2002

"GM maize approved on bad science in the UK" by Mae-Wan Ho, Science in Society 2002, 15, 10-25.

Kohli A.,Griffiths S, Palacios N, Twyman R, Vain P, Laurie D and Christou P. Molecular

characterization of transforming plasmid rearrangements in transgenic rice reveals a recombination hot
spot in the CaMV 35S promoter and confirms the predominance of microhomology mediated
recombination" Plant.J. 1999, 17,591-601.

Ho MW, Ryan A and Cummins J. Cauliflower mosaic viral promoter – a recipe for Disaster? Microbial
Ecology in Health and Disease 1999 11, 194-7.

Ho MW, Ryan A and Cummins J. Hazards of transgenic plants with the cauliflower mosaic viral
promoter. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 2000, 12, 6-11.

Ho MW, Ryan A and Cummins J. CaMV35S promoter fragmentation hotspot confirmed and it is active
in animals. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 2000, 12, 189.

Quist D and Chapela IH. Transgenic DNA introgressed into traditional maize landraces in Oaxaca,
Mexico. Nature 2001, 414, 541-3, 2001.

"Astonishing denial of transgenic contamination" by Mae-Wan Ho, Science in Society 2002, 15, 13-14.

Netherwood T, Martin-Orue SM, O'Donnell AG, Gockling S, Gilbert HJ and Mathers JC. Transgenes
in genetically modified Soya survive passage through the small bowel but are completely degraded in
the colon. Technical report on the Food Standards Agency project G010008 "Evaluating the risks
associated with using GMOs in human foods"- University of Newcastle.

Doerfler, W. and Schubbert, R. (1998). Uptake of foreign DNA from the environment: the
gastroinestinal tract and the placenta as portals of entry, Wien Klin Wochenschr. 110, 40-44.p. 40.

Ferguson GC and Heinemann JA. Recent history of trans-kingdom conjugation. In Horizontal Gene
Transfer 2nd ed. (ed. M Syvanen & CI Kado), pp 3-17, Academic Press, San Diego, 2002.
Ho MW. What’s unspeakable in horizontal gene transfer? Heredity (in press); "Averting sense for
nonsense" by Mae-Wan Ho, Science in Society 2002, 16, 29-30.

McNicole et al (1997) The Possibility of Agrobacterium as a Vehicle for Gene Escape. MAFF. R&D
and Surveillance Report: 395.

Barrett et al (1997). A risk assessment study of plant genetic transformation using Agrobacterium and
implications for analysis of trangenic plants. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 47: 135-144.

Sengelov G, Kristensen KJ, Sorensen AH, Kroer N, and Sorensen SJ. Effect of genomic location on
horizontal transfer of a recombinant gene cassette between Pseudomonas strains in the rhizosphere and
spermosphere of barley seedlings. Current Microbiology 2001, 42, 160-7.

Kunik T, Tzfira T, Kapulnik Y, Gafni Y, Dingwall C, and Citovsky V. Genetic transformation of HeLa
cells by Agrobacterium. PNAS USA, 2001, 98, 1871-87; also, "Common plant vector injects genes into
human cells", ISIS News 2002, 11/12, p. 10

"Stacking the odds against finding it" and "Averting sense for nonsense" by Mae-Wan Ho. Science in
Society 2002, 16, 28-30.

The questions first submitted to FSA 22 July 2002 were as follows:

Why were the transgenic soya samples so poorly characterised in terms of GM content, structure of
transgenic insert(s), states of degradation, etc.?

Why was only one meal administered and monitored?

Why was only one small fragment of the entire insert subject to PCR amplification, knowing that this
would drastically underestimate the presence of transgenic DNA?

Why did the researchers make what they know to be unjustified assumption that transgenic DNA was
absent in negative samples?

Why did the researchers not monitor for transgenic DNA in blood and blood cells, when they are fully
aware of previous research in mice showing that transgenic DNA can indeed get into the blood, and
from there to other cells of the body?

Why was such a bad piece of research accepted by the FSA, and worse, misinterpreted to indicate that
GM foods are acceptable, when all the indications are that the extent of horizontal transfer of transgenic
DNA is most likely to be much more extensive than the data indicate?

Deliberate GM contamination in Australia

The Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) have revealed evidence of GM canola contamination in
New South Wales. The Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) funded
research undertaken by CSIRO that involved deliberately contaminating 140 tonne of non-GM canola
with GM canola.

"GM canola is meant to be banned because of the risk to our industry but it was deliberately bought into
New South Wales and added to our non-GM canola," explained Juliet McFarlane, NCF spokesperson
and farmer from Young.

CSIRO were contaminating a series of 10 tonne truckloads of conventional canola with both 0.5% and
2% levels of GM canola sourced from Bayer Cropscience to assess testing regimes. The contaminated
seed was handled by Graincorp who sold it to an unnamed buyer somewhere in Australia.

"Where did the GM seed come from and where did the 140 tonne of contaminated canola end up=3F"
she asked.

"Whilst we have assurance from Graincorp that strict protocols were adhered to during transport, we
have no idea how the GM has been treated after delivery. Was is crushed, were all the seeds destroyed
or could there be GM canola growing on a farm somewhere=3F"

"The NCF accept that trials of this nature must take place, and are indeed a priority, but we do not
accept the secrecy and the lack of transparency. This is our industry and our crop and until moratorims
are lifted, there is an expectation that there is both respect and protection of both our industry and our
livelihoods. "

t is not yet known if the NSW State Government knew about this trial and was a party to the disposal of
the GM canola.

"Both participants, the CSIRO and the Graincorp have a vested interest in the uptake of GM technology
and should not have the freedom to do what they like with our GM-free status," said Mrs McFarlane.

Although Federal governments have released GM canola based on health and environmental
assessment, State governments have banned GM canola as they have the authority to assess economics
and markets and have identified a risk. There is a section in the NSW Act that prevents canola being
grown in NSW and then being onsold for commercial gain. Mrs McFarlane is also a member of the
NSW Advisory Council advising the Minister on GM related =issues.

"Did the State government give permission for this and why wasn't the Advisory Council told=3F" she

"If this canola has been grown in Australia in the trial areas in other states, the Federal government has
deliberately broken a State law. If this canola has been imported, it shows how vulnerable farmers are
to sabotage of Australia's GM-free image and could explain how the contamination in Victoria

Network of Concerned Farmers


Debunking the Myth - only Industrial Agriculture can Feed the World

USAID and GM Food Aid



Hawaiian Papaya: GMO Contaminated

Food Security: Empty promises of technological solutions

GE Contamination: The Ticking Time-Bomb


DIRTY SECRETS of the Food Processing Industry


Ecological Agriculture - Providing Food Security, Mitigating Global Warming

Organic Agriculture and the Global Food Supply

Agriculture: Investing in Natural Capital

Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa

Organic Agriculture for IMPROVED Food Security in Africa

Organic agriculture and Global Warming

Organic Agriculture - a Guide to Global Warming and Food Security
Organic Solutions to Global Warming and Food Security

Ecological Agriculture: Mitigating Climate Change, Providing Food Security & Self-Reliance

Natural Capital: The New Political Imperative

Towards Sustainable Agriculture

UNEP Green Economy Initiative

Using Microfinance to Ensure Food Security, While Mitigating Global Warming

Women in Agriculture - Making Strong Case for Investing in Women
Environmentally Sustainable Development - The Importance of Women

Women are the Key to Food Security and Rural Development

Reforestation & Organic Farming is improving Soil Fertility & Increasing Crop Yields in Africa

Reforestation helps Vulnerable Populations Adapt to Global Warming

Bioenergy for the Poor

Global Wariming Impact on Fiji Food Security and Poverty

Natural capitalism - Path to Sustainability
Global Warming and Food Security

Global Warming Impacts - Destruction of Africa Forest-Dependent Rural


Traditional food crops as a source of community resilience

Global Warming Impact on World Fisheries

Biodiversity as Tool for Adapting to Global Warming - Lessons from the


Global Warming Economic Impacts on Tanzania and Deforestation

Global Warming Impacts on Uganda - Integral Farm-Household Management

Negative Impact of Global Warming on Coffee Production

Global Warming Mitigation Practitioner’s Handbook

How to Mainstream Global Warming Adaptation for Agriculture

Africa - Up in Smoke - Global Warming Vulnerability

Lessons for Global Warming Adaptation

Wine 2 Hot
Global Warming is DESTROYING the Wine Industry
Global Warming Destroying Maple Sugar Industry

Global Warming and New England’s White Mountains

Maple Syrup Industry Feels the Heat from Global Warming

Global Warming Impacts in USA


and the DESTRUCTION of the POOR


More Jobs, Economic Progress, Clean Environment
Why be Stupid?

FREE subscription to a Solar Magazine for your School Library

book: Internal Combustion; by Edwin Black


Green Faith, Eco Churches and More

The Benefits of Organic Food


dvd: Super Size Me; director: Morgan Spurlock

dvd: Killer at Large, Why obesity is America's greatest threat; director: Steven Greenstreet

book: The Book of Jewish Values; by Joseph Telushkin

book: Fast food nation; by Eric Schlosser

dvd: Fast Food Nation; director: Richard Linklater

book: Empty Harvest; by Bernard Jensen

book: Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy Of Industrial Agriculture; Andrew Kimbrell

book: Fateful Harvest: The True Story of a Small Town, a Global Industry, and a Toxic Secret; by Duff

book: Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills; by Russell L Blaylock

dvd: Foodmatters; director: James Colquhoun

book: The Truth About Caffeine; by Marina Kushner
book: The Truth About Coffee; by Marina Kushner

book: Silent Spring; by Rachel Carson

dvd: Food Inc; director: Robert Kenner,_Inc.

book: Unforgiven: The American Economic System Sold for Debt And War; by Charles Walters

book: Raw Materials Economics; by Charles Walters

dvd: King Corn; director: Aaron Woolf

book: Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered
Foods You're Eating

book: Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods; by Jeffrey

book: The World According to Monsanto; by Marie-Monique Robin

dvd: The World According to Monsanto; director:

dvd: Food Fight; director: Chris Taylor

dvd: Ingredients; producer: Brian Kimmel

book: Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans; by
David Kirby

book: Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution; by Gerald Markowitz
Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy; by Kevin Bales

dvd: The Future of Food; by Deborah Koons Garcia

dvd: Fresh; by Ana Sofia Joanes

book: Free for All: Fixing School Food in America; by Janet Poppendieck

book: Third World America: how our politicians are abandoning the middle class and betraying the
American dream; by Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington
book: Disconnect: The Truth about Cell Phone Radiation; by Devra Davis

book: We Don't Die We Kill Ourselves: Our Foods Are Killing Us!; by Roger L De Haan

book: Politically Incorrect Nutrition; by Michael Barbee

dvd: Cancer, Nutrition and Healing, 2nd Edition - A Personal Odyssey; director: Jerry Brunetti

A Call for Climate Justice

Acute Pesticide Poisoning

Acute Pesticide Poisoning Among Farm Workers


African Americans and Global Warming

Agriculture at a Cross Roads

Agroecology - How to Feed the World Without Destroying It
Agroecology and Sustainable Development

Atrazine - most commonly detected Pesticides in Ground Water

Childhood pesticide poisoning

Climate and Church: How Global Warming Will Impact Core Church Ministries

Climate and Poverty Earth Day Sunday Resource

Climate Justice

Communities in Peril - Global impacts of Pesticide Use

Connecting the Dots - Biodiversity, Adaptation and Food Security

Cry of Creation: A Call for Climate Justice

Family Fruit Farmers: Poisoning by Pesticides

Farm Worker Exposure to Pesticides

Farm Workers Poisoned in Pesticide Drift Accident
Farmworker Health Facts

Fields of Poison: California Farmworkers and Pesticides

Global Wariming Impact on Food Security in the Pacific - Vanuatu

Global Warming Impacts on the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals

Global Warming Impact on Nepal

Global Warming Mitigation in Pastoralism Dry Lands

Health Hazards of Peticides in Pakistan

How to Assist the Small Scale Farmer

How Will Global Warming Impact World Food Supplies?

Just Climate

Indian Farmers Suffering from Toxic Pesticides

Kenyan Farm Workers: Poisoning by Pesticides
Oxfam Launches East Africa Appeal for Starving People
Drought is Killing People, Food Prices Soar

Pesticide exports to the Third World

Pesticide Poisoning Killing Asian Farm Workers

Pesticide Poisoning of Residents Near Farm Fields

Pesticide Safety Laws Fail to Protect Farmworkers

Pesticide Use and Health Costs


Pesticides Are Dangerous

Pesticides Are Poison

Pesticides poison Colorado farm workers

Plight of the Farmworker - Episcopal Farmworker Ministry

Survivors of Pesticide Poisoning - Say No to Methyl Iodide
The Finance Sector and Natural Capital - Catalyzing Acton

The Hidden Problems of Child Farm Workers

Towards a Green Economy

Trabalho rural e intoxicações por agrotóxicos - Rural work and pesticide poisoning

Treatment of Pesticide Poisoning

What Can Be Done to Curtail Pesticide Poisoning Impacts

Zero-Waste Agriculture - Organic Berry Farm

book: Does the Bible Teach Nutrition; by Elizabeth Baker

MIRACLE IN WISCONSIN – a different kind of school lunch

400% increase in Plant Growth

Growing Solutions
Properly prepared compost tea is an excellent soil builder and organic fertilizer.
Some Compost Teas may reduce or eliminate various plant pests and diseases.

SoilSoup Compost Tea
SoilSoup Compost Tea is an excellent soil builder and organic fertilizer.
Soil Soup is very easy to handle and use.

Remineral your Soil
Soil Regeneration with Volcanic Rock Dust
Volcanic Rock Dust added to soil can double the plant or lawn growth.

Effective Micro-Organisms
Effective Micro-Organisms properly combined with Volcanic Rock Dust can increase product ivy by
200 percent to 400 percent.
In Thailand, soil properly treated increased productivity by over 400 percent.

book: Worms Eat My Garbage; by Mary Appelhof
Worm Compost is an excellent soil builder and organic fertilizer.
Worm Compost breaks down slowly in soil, where there is much rain or lawn watering.
Chemical fertilizers, which are made from Fossil Fuels, will wash out of the soil quickly and pollute
surrounding areas, causing fish kills and making drinking water unsafe.
Worm Tea may reduce or eliminate various plant pests and diseases.
Also, various worms added to soil, will increase its productivity.

Biochar - Carbon Soils - Charcoal
Biochar is an excellent soil builder.
Biochar can dramatically reduce the amount of fertilizers and water needed, and greatly increase soil
Soils in the Amazon Jungles, to which Biochar was added several hundred years ago, are still very
productive today.
Thus, one treatment of certain types of biochars may last hundreds of years.

Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World; by Paul Stamets
book: The One Straw Revolution; by Masanobu Fukuoka

Earth User's Guide to Permaculture; by Rosemary Morrow

Sepp Holzer's Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening; by
Sepp Holzer

FREE Cataloge of Books
AcresUSA carries many books, DVD's and other materials about successful organic gardening, organic
farming, organic animal care and natural health and living.

book: Soul of Soil; by Grace Gershuny





book: Faith Like Potatoes, by Angus Buchan



book: The Organic Lawn Care Manual, by Paul Tukey

book: Lawns: Natural And Organic; by Don Williamson

Organic Lawn Care Sources & Resources

Safe Lawns

Organic Lawn and Yard Care

Organic Land Care

book: Food Not Lawns; by Heather C. Flores

book: Complete Book of Edible Landscaping; by Rosalind Creasy

book: Landscaping with fruit; by Lee Reich

book: Edible Flower Garden; by Rosalind Creasy




Pesticide Action Network North America

National Farm Worker Ministry - Episcopal Farm Worker Ministry
Stop the Pesticide Poisoning of Farm Workers and their Children

Pest Management at the Crossroads

Eco Fly Trap

Epps Biting Fly Trap
Greenhead Fly traps

Eliminating POLLUTION and RECYCLING with Effective Microorganisms

book: Our Future Reborn: EM Technology Changes The World; by Teruo Higa
book: Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save The World; Paul Stamets
Cleaning Up Oil Spills

WORM Composting and RECYCLING Technologies

book: Worms Eat My Garbage; by Mary Appelhof
More Books about Worm Technologies

book: Hobby Hydroponics; by Howard M. Resh
book: Aquaponic Food Production: growing fish and vegetables for food and profit; by Rebecca L
Backyard Aquaponics: A Guide to Building an Aquaponic System; by Joel Malcolm

Backyard Aquaponics Magazine

Aquaponics Journal

ORGANIC HEIRLOOM SEEDS - search "organic seeds"

For more information, please contact local gardeners and farmers who specialize in Organic gardening,
Permaculture gardening, Biodynamic gardening, Japanese Kyusei Nature gardening - Shizen Nouhou,
Biointensive gardening, Heirloom gardening-Heritage Seeds, Lasagna gardening, Square Foot
gardening, Vertical gardening, Wall and Fence gardening, Roof Top and Balcony gardening, Indoor
gardening with LED Grow Lights and, Micro Greens gardening, Windowsill gardening,
Container gardening, Keyhole gardening, Organic Aquaponics gardening, African Bag Gardens, No
Dig gardening, Agroforestry gardening, Israeli Greenhouses Technology for Hot Climates, Organic
Hydroponics gardening and Gardening Therapy.

Gardening is micro-climate specific. These means that local gardeners might know of gardening
techniques and resources which are helpful for the location you live in.

Keep researching, reading, refining your gardening methods and experimenting with different growing

Organic Gardening technology is changing and improving all the time. Also, as the climate changes,
you may need to learn other gardening techniques for various climates.


Plant Drive

Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems

Convert Used Cooking Oil into Diesel Fuel

Details of Using Vegetable Oil Cars

Converting your Diesel Engine to Vegetable Oil

Veg Powered Systems

Golden Fuel Systems

Good Grease

Veg Power
Power from Vegetable Oil

ELSBETT Diesel Technology

Veg Oil Motoring

Bio Car

Straight Vegetable Oil Products

The Future of Vegetable Oil Technology

Vegie Cars

Organic Mechanic


DVD: S.V.O. Seminar 2006

DVD: Greasy Rider
DVD: Liquid Gold 2
use search engines to locate dvd's


Grease University


book: Super Power Breathing: For Super Energy, High Health & Longevity, by Patricia Bragg

Your Local FOOD BANK Needs You

Please help. Thank YOU!

Please setup a Gleaner Group in your Local area for Foodbanks and Soup Kitchens, etc.

Praise God ~ Be Thankful ~ Forgive ~ Receive the Blessings ~ Give God the Glory


A good person leaves an inheritance to their children’s children.

What kind of inheritance are you leaving?

Please email this web site to friends and others who are concerned about our children's future and our
grandchildren's future.

Thank you for all of your help.