> THE NEWS
> FRONT PAGE STORY - 11/12/1999
> Ministry Confirms 15 Varieties of GM Maize Growing in Portugal Without
> Any Safety Measures
> The Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture has admitted exclusively to THE
> NEWS that it has allowed two varieties of GM corn to be grown
> extensively throughout the Alentejo, Ribatejo and the north of
> Portugal without any safety measures, writes Siobhan Mitchell.
> The government this week revealed that there are no fewer than 15
> different experimental varieties of GM maize being grown in a cluster
> of sites centred around Coimbra and Santarem. In answer to detailed
> questioning from THE NEWS in a joint investigation with the Sunday
> Times, Agriculture Ministry spokesman Augusto Vilela admitted for the
> first time that no steps whatsoever have been taken to prevent the
> contamination of non-GM crops or to prevent the spread of pollen from
> transgenic corn fields.
> In declarations that will shock consumers, he said there were no
> 'safety distances' between fields growing GM corn and those growing
> ordinary crops because "there is no need to set down any conditions or
> specific criteria when it comes to the use of genetically-modified
> Vilela added there was therefore no system of safety checks or
> penalties in operation, and that local authorities are also kept in
> the dark. He denied that the government had been leant on by
> multinational GM giants Monsanto and Novartis to keep the locations of
> crop sites secret, but admitted that it was government policy not to
> disclose the information to the public. "We are not aware of any
> request (from Monsanto or Novartis). It is not the Ministry of
> Agriculture's policy to give out information about the activities of
> When asked about where the GM maize was likely to end up, Vilela
> answered that the government had no idea. "The Ministry of Agriculture
> does not keep tabs on the commercial transactions of these products,"
> he admitted, adding that there were no legal impediments to stop it
> from entering the food chain. He also said that some GM maize would be
> used in animal feed for meat products that could end up on local
> supermarket shelves.
> 04:57 p.m Dec 07, 1999 Eastern
> Brazil State Pays Farmers to Rip Out GM Soybeans
> By Phil Stewart
> SAO PAULO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Brazil's southernmost state will launch
> what may be the world's first-ever crop substitution programme aimed
> at weeding out genetically modified (GM) crops, a top state official
> said Tuesday. Treating GM soybeans like drug plants, the state will
> offer farmers a total of 10 million reais (US$5.37 million) in special
> low-interest loans if they rip out the lab-enhanced soy -- illegal
> throughout Brazil -- and replant normal varieties. "What we are
> telling them it is better to lose seedlings than lose their entire
> crop," said Rio Grande do Sul state's agriculture secretary, Jose
> Hermeto Hoffmann.
Brazil, the world's second-largest soybean producer,
> is the last major competitor to top grower United States who has not
> followed the North American country down the transgenic trail...
> Hoffmann's promise to burn down GM crops has met with fierce
> resistance in many municipalities, where illegal planting was so
> widespread that they passed now-stricken laws authorising GM planting.
> Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.
> Genetically Engineered DNA Found in Honey
> All Canadian honey is now suspect, as traces of oilseed rape DNA have
> already been detected in several brands. FAVOUR ORGANIC HONEY as
> attempts are made to preserve wide margins between hives and GM or
> agrochemical-sprayed crops.
> Source: GM Foods and How to Avoid Them -