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Chemical farm

(Friday, Nov. 25, 2005 -- CropChoice news) --

1. GM pea causes allergic damage in mice
2. Denmark may compensate for GMO contamination
3. Corn genetically engineered for animal feed ready to market
4. Chemical farm
5. Export as you would be exported to
6. NGO findings on Bt cotton raise a stink

1. GM pea causes allergic damage in mice

Emma Young
November 21, 2005

A decade-long project to develop genetically modified peas with built-in pest- resistance has been abandoned after tests showed they caused allergic lung damage in mice.

The researchers - at Australia's national research organisation, CSIRO - took the gene for a protein capable of killing pea weevil pests from the common bean and transferred it into the pea. When extracted from the bean, this protein does not cause an allergic reaction in mice or people.

(But the team found that when the protein is expressed in the pea, its structure is subtly different to the original in the bean. They think this structural change could be to blame for the unexpected immune effects seen in mice.

The work underlines the need to evaluate new GM crops on a case-by-case basis, says Paul Foster of the Australian National University in Canberra, who led the immunological work. He also calls for improvements in screening requirements for genetically engineered plants, to ensure comprehensive tests are carried out.

Jeremy Tager, Greenpeace Australia's campaigner on genetic engineering, agrees. "These results indicate the potential for unpredicted and unintended changes in the structure of transferred proteins. And I'm not aware of any country that requires feeding studies as part of its approval process."

(Completely resistant

(Field peas (Pisum sativum) are susceptible to the pea weevil Bruchus pisorum, which lays its eggs on the pea pods. The weevil frequently devastates crops not only in Australia but across the developing world.

(The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) contains alpha-amylase inhibitor-1, a protein that inhibits the activity of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that is used by pea weevils to help them digest starch.

CSIRO Plant Industry researchers hoped the developing weevils would starve after eating the protein, before they could cause any real damage to the crop. Trials showed that the GM peas were almost completely resistant to the pea weevils.

Hypersensitive skin

Foster and his team then used mice to investigate whether eating the GM peas might have any undesirable immune impact. Generally, digested proteins do not create a specific immune system response.

But researchers found that mice that ate transgenic pea seed did develop antibodies specific to the protein. Some of these mice were later exposed to the purified protein, either through injection into the blood, or by putting the protein into their airways.

This approach is a standard "multiple immune challenge" procedure and is designed to determine if the immune system is tolerant to a protein. The injected mice showed a hypersensitive skin response, while the airway-exposed mice developed airway inflammation and mild lung damage.

The effect was the same whether the protein was taken from raw or cooked peas - so whether the protein was active or denatured. "To my knowledge, this is the first description of inducing experimental inflammation in mice" with a GM food, Foster says.

Human consumption

Further investigations by Foster's team revealed slight differences in the molecular structure of the protein when it was expressed in the bean and in the pea. They think this was caused by differences in the way the two plants produce proteins - particularly in a step called glycosylation, which involves adding saccharides to the protein.

"When expressed in the pea, the protein was glycosylated at different points - that's the only structural change we've been able to identify so far," says Foster.

He adds that slight differences in protein synthesis might also occur in other plants with other genes, meaning each new GM food should be very carefully evaluated for potential health effects. "If a GM plant is to go up for human consumption, there should be a detailed descriptive list of how one should go about analysing that plant," he says.

Tager agrees. It is rare for an investigation of the potential health effects of a GM product to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, he adds. "If it had been a private company doing this, it might never have seen the light of day," he says.

Journal reference: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (vol 53, p 9023) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

SOURCE: http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8347

2. Denmark may compensate for GMO contamination

November 23, 2005
Source: Reuters

BRUSSELS, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Denmark became the first European Union country on Wednesday to win EU permission to compensate farmers who have detected genetically modified (GMO) material in traditional or organic crops, the EU executive said.

Denmark's parliament last year approved a tough law on GMO co-existence, EU jargon for how farmers should separate the three farming types -- GMO, organic and conventional/traditional -- and minimise cross-contamination.

It was the first EU state to pass such a law, which was steered through parliament by Mariann Fischer Boel, then Danish agriculture minister but now EU agriculture commissioner.

"This is the first case where the (European) Commission has authorised such state aid," the Commission said in a statement. Officials said the amount concerned was a little less than one million euros ($1.18 million). "The admixture of conventional crops with GM material may cause economic losses to the farmer with conventional crops if his products have to be labelled as containing GM material and he gets a lower price for them," it said. Danish authorities will first pay out the compensation, and then recover the amount paid from the farmer from whose fields the GMO material has spread.

In line with EU laws on GMO traceability and labelling, compensation will only be granted to farmers if the presence of GMO material exceeds 0.9 percent.

This must also be limited to the price difference between the market price of a crop that has to be labelled as containing GMO material and a crop for which no such labelling is required.

Denmark's law obliges farmers planning to grow GMO crops to pay a fee, per sown hectare, into a fund that would compensate conventional farmers whose crops might become contaminated.

The idea is to replace the compensation fund, due to run for five years, by private insurance when it becomes available.

GMO farmers in Denmark must also inform neighbouring farmers of their plans and ensure mandatory separation distances. But they only have to pay out compensation if the rules are broken.

Biotechnology remains an extremely controversial area for the EU, even after it lifted its unofficial ban in May 2004 on authorising new GMOs by approving a modified sweet maize type to be sold in cans for human consumption.

For many EU countries, especially anti-GMO diehards such as Austria, Greece and Luxembourg, it is essential to clarify the issue of coexistence -- but with EU-wide, not national, laws.

Fischer Boel has often said she will look into an EU-wide law and indicated this may be proposed after an EU conference on coexistence scheduled to be held in Vienna in April.

3. Corn genetically engineered for animal feed ready to market

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
November 21, 2005

Renessen LLC, a joint venture in Illinois of Monsanto Co. and Cargill Inc., is preparing to market the first crop genetically engineered for animal feed.

The product, corn that carries added lysine in each kernel, should reach poultry and swine producers in the United States and Argentina in 2007 or 2008, the company said. It is meant to replace synthetic supplements of lysine, an essential amino acid, that producers now buy and mix into feed.

It also is the first big commercial launch for Renessen, which has digested nearly $444.5 million in investment from its co-owners but has yet to produce a return.

Monsanto, of Creve Coeur, Mo., and Cargill, of Minneapolis, have said they fully support the joint venture and knew it would require a lot of research and development expense before a payday.

Still, they reorganized the company last year, reducing Renessen's staff to 44 from 66 at a cost of nearly $2 million. In March, five more people's jobs were shaved, and the company recorded another $1 million in charges, according to Monsanto's annual report.

Between Renessen's formation in January 1999 and Aug. 31, it had revenue of $24.4 million on a net loss of $444.5 million. It spent $335.9 million on research and development - much of that conducted by Monsanto, which is paid at a set rate for the work.

"Both Monsanto and Cargill are committed to the success of Renessen and have been investing for that," said Chief Executive Mike Stern. "We're actively developing a portfolio of products, and we see significant value ... to make Renessen a very interesting company going forward."

The high-lysine corn is aimed at a $1 billion feed-grade lysine supplement market in a two-stage attack. This first product contains 1,000 parts per million of the amino acid - roughly one-fourth of the amount needed in a standard poultry broiler's diet.

Renessen is developing a second-generation product that should contain an entire dose that could replace supplements altogether, Stern said.

There's some simplicity there for animal producers, he said. "There's some intrinsic value in our product because of the nutrients we're bringing in the corn."

This isn't the first high-lysine corn to hit the market, however.

Hybrid varieties became available more than 30 years ago, but they had lower yield and were less durable in the field than standard corn varieties, said Gary Allee, professor of swine nutrition at the University of Missouri at Columbia. So, while they held value for animal producers, crop farmers weren't interested.

That won't be a problem with the Renessen product, Stern said. It draws on the breeding expertise and seed germplasm of Monsanto, the world's leading producer of biotech crops. (Monsanto also owns NC+ Hybrids, a Lincoln seed company, and and Fontanelle Hybrids in Dodge County.)

Cargill, which processes, moves and markets grain, is responsible for selling the idea and managing logistics - making sure the specialty product is kept separate from other types of corn and moving it from contract growers to end users.

Farmers will be paid a premium for the corn, which must offset the added costs of segregating it, from planting to harvest and shipping, said Paul Bertels, director of biotechnology with the National Corn Growers Association.

Renessen also must ensure the genetically modified corn is approved for use in key export markets - Japan, in particular - in order to win growers' support, Bertels said. The company said it has applied to regulators in Japan, Canada, Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia.

"There's nobody who's going to jump in 100 percent into this. It's something new, and farmers tend to be somewhat risk-averse. You don't want to put all your eggs in one basket," Bertels said. "But right now, I don't foresee them having a problem getting growers into the system."

Renessen would like to see the high-lysine corn planted on 4 million acres in the United States as well as in Argentina, plus 1 million acres in Brazil, according to Monsanto. Profits will be shared equally by Monsanto and Cargill.

Opponents of genetically modified crops are likely to object to the first biotech feed source, Bertels said.

For example, the Australian Consumers' Association Web site reported the decision of three poultry companies to avoid using biotech feed.

Yet most swine and poultry feed is supplemented with soybeans that have been modified with Monsanto's Roundup Ready trait, Bertels said. More than 80 percent of soybeans in the top three producing countries - the United States, Brazil and Argentina - carry the trait that allows the plants to withstand glyphosate herbicide.

Much of the corn crop in those countries also carries biotech traits Monsanto developed.

"I think the science has proven it's not a valid concern," Bertels said. Yet Renessen will need an "iron-clad" system of segregating the high-lysine corn in order to avoid controversy.

Allee, who has been following swine nutrition for 30 years, said it is about time for biotech seed companies to focus on the feed industry.

"It's great that we're beginning to spend some time trying to improve the two major ingredients that we feed livestock: corn and soybeans," he said. "How it all fits in the marketplace, how the benefits are derived, what traits have to be stacked together, to me is still to be determined. But I'm extremely excited about the potential."

4. Chemical farm

By John Feffer, AlterNet
Posted on November 22, 2005, Printed on November 24, 2005

Imagine having to go to a doctor for a prescription to buy the ingredients for dinner. It's not such a farfetched scenario. From testosterone and tetracycline to zeranol and genetically engineered bovine growth hormone, enough chemicals circulate in our animal products to stock a medicine cabinet. Because our meat and dairy are still over the counter, though, Americans remain largely oblivious to the intrusions of the pharmaceutical industry into our kitchens.

Consider the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving feast, the hybrid turkey raised in a factory farm in conditions of pain and squalor on a diet of chemical-infused feed. Close confinement requires the use of a long list of antibiotics to control such diseases as rhinotracheitis and colibacillosis. And let's not talk about what the bird picks up during processing. One of the last stages at the slaughterhouse is a dip in chlorine to wash off pathogens.

But conventional turkeys are practically a health food compared to some of the other dinner options, such as roast beef. Turkeys, unlike cows, don't get pumped full of growth hormones. Hormone residues in milk and meat likely play havoc with our endocrine systems.

Meanwhile, the routine use of antibiotics potentially builds up our resistance to drugs and encourages the spread of super resistant bacteria. "Eighty percent all antibiotics in the United States are given not to people to cure disease but to animals to make them fatten up and enable them to survive unhygienic confinement in factory farms," according to Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association. If one of those little bugs survives the onslaught of antibiotics at the factory farm, it's going to give you one hell of a bad case of food poisoning.

So what, you might ask. Food is cheap in America, and if that means that little Anna hits puberty at age nine or both Mom and Dad contract breast cancer or a new strain of E. Coli resists drug treatment, it's a small price to pay. Life in modern industrial society comes with risks. If you don't like it, then you're welcome to go to the chemical-free hinterlands of Greenland or the Gobi Dessert.

Or, conversely, you could hop a flight to Europe.

Europe's Beef

European policy on meat production is for the birds. And for the cattle, for the pigs, and most importantly, for the consumer.

The European Union (EU) has banned hormone beef from the United States since 1989. It doesn't let in milk from cows treated with bovine growth hormone. Its ban on all growth-promoting antibiotics goes into effect in January. The EU is also contemplating a general amnesty of all imprisoned chickens through a phase-out of the battery system for egg production. Individual countries like Germany and Austria are implementing even stricter rules. In the UK, consumer activism persuaded McDonald's to serve organic milk and use free-range eggs in all of its products.

European governments approach meat and dairy more cautiously than the United States does, despite our famous muckraking history (from The Jungle to Fast Food Nation to Steve Striffler's recent book on chicken) and a regulatory structure that is at least bureaucratically impressive. Europeans embrace the "precautionary principle," an approach that puts the "healthy" back into healthy skepticism. They might push the culinary envelope with unpasteurized cheese and steak tartare, but they prefer to treat new-fangled foods as potentially harmful unless proven otherwise. They want their risks labeled and traceable. On top of that, European policy is more geared to both animal welfare and local production.

The ban on U.S. beef has been the most controversial and costly of European policies. In 1977, an Italian study showed that babies eating baby food containing hormone-injected veal exhibited early sexual development. Consumers throughout Europe began to campaign against the use of the growth-promoting hormones, achieving a ban that went into effect in 1985. That the EU was awash in excess beef made the decision all the easier for Eurocrats to make.

In the mid-1990s, the United States and Canada went to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and won a decision in 1999 that levied a fine of over $100 million a year on the EU. Principles of free trade trumped European arguments in favor of consumer safety (and the EU didn't provide a full risk assessment). Rather than back down, however, the EU decided to pay the fine and maintain the ban. In a partial compromise, the United States promised not to ban EU meat products as long as Europeans accepted hormone beef in pet food as well as a small quota of hormone-free beef.

The issue returned to the WTO spotlight this September in sessions that were open to the public for the first time in the organization's ten-year history. The EU boasts of a stronger scientific case for its ban, anchored by a new risk assessment conducted a couple years ago. It is tired of paying the annual fine and wants North America to back off.

Samuel Epstein, now a professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, testified to the scientific risks at the WTO back in the 1990s. He decried the lack of U.S. government testing of hormone residues in meat. He pointed to the practice in the United States of injecting hormones directly into muscle rather than relying only on ear implants.

The United States hasn't changed its policies, Epstein says today: "We're dealing with a bunch of cowboys. There's no inspection. Even if the hormones are administered properly, it's not good." He has estimated that a young boy who eats two hamburgers in a day could raise his hormone levels by as much as 10 percent. He also points to elevated rates of reproductive cancers, such as an 88 percent increase in prostate cancer since 1975. Epstein's concerns have been borne out by the National Toxicology Program's Board of Counselors, which put estrogen - one of the growth hormones used in beef production - on the list of known carcinogens in 2000.

This conflict between the United States alleging protectionism and the EU emphasizing food safety is by no means a recent phenomenon. In 1880, German leader Otto von Bismarck banned all pork products from the United States. Once again, it was an Italian study that provided the spark: the previous year, Italy's sanitary department discovered the roundworm responsible for trichinosis in U.S. pork products. The United States responded by accusing the Europeans of - what else? - protecting their own pig farmers. As Louis Snyder wrote in a famous 1945 monograph on the dispute, both sides had cause to complain. Germans didn't boil their pork long enough to kill the trichinosis, which they then blamed on American meat, while the U.S. government didn't mandate the microscopic inspections necessary to weed out bad exports. Only in 1891 when Congress finally required such inspections did Germany lift its ban.

In today's beef case, however, European eating habits are considerably more scrupulous, the threat of mad cow disease hangs over every hamburger, and the United States is refusing to give an inch on regulatory reform. This trans-Atlantic divide on beef holds true for other meat products as well.

Chicken and Egg

The egg debate in Europe these days centers on the definition of "cage." Current EU legislation proposes a ban on battery system production by 2012 and the bestowing upon egg-layers their "five freedoms:" to stand up, lie down, turn around, groom themselves, and stretch their limbs. While some of these emancipated chickens might end up pecking outdoors, the majority will likely end up in the poultry industry's alternative: the "enriched unit." Graham Cruickshank, editor of the UK industry magazine Poultry World, says that the "modern enriched unit fulfills all five freedoms. The mortality levels are lower. The only criticism comes from welfarists."

Animal welfare advocates argue that the enriched unit is still a cage, one that provides only as much space as a sheet of paper. "They should be out of cages period. There's no way to adequately enrich a cage," says Bradley Miller, national director of the California-based Humane Farming Association. "Some of the European efforts have fairly long phase-out periods that give industry sufficient time to figure a way around the ban. But the intention is good and it's moving in the right direction. And they're still ahead of anything that is happening legislatively in this country."

European consumers are out in front of their legislators. The sales of free-range and organic eggs in England have been neck and neck with caged eggs this year. Several supermarket chains, such as Waitrose and Marks & Spencers, stock only free-range and organic eggs and use them exclusively in their prepared foods. In the United States, despite the greater availability of free-range and organic options, there has been no noticeable drop in the production of conventional eggs.

Also on the horizon is a chicken war between the United States and the EU. It is common U.S. practice to use chlorine and other substances to rinse poultry to eliminate dangerous microbes. EU regulations allow only potable water for such purposes. Some argue that the key reason behind the chlorine dip is to increase the bird's water retention - and thus profit. "If you were concerned about fecal contamination, you wouldn't dip the chickens over and over again in the same water," says Ronnie Cummins. Nevertheless, U.S. poultry exporters have applied directly for authorization for four antimicrobial substances. The EU is launching a scientific inquiry and expects to make a decision in 2006.

Eclipsing this debate over cages and chlorine is the threat of avian flu. The world consumes 20 billion chickens a year. Farmers and governments are poised for either mass inoculations or mass exterminations to prevent the disease from jumping species. Argues Ronnie Cummins, "Organic poultry raisers believe that healthy animals are the best defense against avian flu. The intensive confinement of thousands of animals together and drugging them constantly with antibiotics leads to this problem." He also urges poverty alleviation programs for countries where poultry farmers are, for want of money, living in close proximity to their animals.

Some scientists have a very different proposal. Researchers in China and the UK are independently racing toward the biotech Holy Grail of the poultry world: replacing all 35 billion chickens in the world with a genetically modified version that is resistant to all strains of bird flu. Just as the threat of terrorism has overwhelmed laws protecting civil liberties, the threat of avian flu may erode concerns, particularly in Europe, over GMOs.

Changing Attitudes

More and more Americans are turning away from hormones and antibiotics, at least when it comes to their food. According to Ronnie Cummins, organic meat sales went up 122 percent in 2004 on top of a 113 percent increase the year before. Natural beef - which includes organic, grass-fed, and chemical-free meat - is a new niche market. But the supply can't meet the demand, Cummins says, and supermarkets are clamoring for more product. Nor does the United States even meet its quota of hormone-free beef for export to Europe.

Katherine Ecker raises free-range turkeys in Maryland. Her heritage breeds have proven to be the hardiest "because they're the original turkeys," she says. "Through generations of weeding out the ones that can't make it, they've become a strong breed. Birds in confinement are hybrids. They're not normally found on this earth so they don't have the resistance. And they're so inbred, they have to be kept on antibiotics so they don't get sick." She has no problem selling out her free-range turkeys and plans to raise more in the future.

The Humane Farming Association has had some success with its meat campaigns. It has blocked several pork factory farms from establishing operations in Oregon and South Dakota (if you want a vivid dramatization of the evils of corporate pig farming, read Annie Proulx's That Old Ace in the Hole). And the HFA's campaign against veal has led to a dramatic decline in sales. "When we first started in mid-1980s," Bradley Miller explains, "veal was the most rapidly expanding segment of the meat industry. There were 3.4 million calves slaughtered each year. Today there are under a million calves slaughtered."

The groundswell of support for free-range meat, the campaigns against the corporate hog industry, and growing public rejection of veal have not, however, translated into legislative action. "The way things are set up in Washington, it's very hard to get past the pharmaceutical lobby," says Miller. "All of these bills end up going to agriculture-related committees and all these committees are dominated by corporate agriculture."

Vive la Difference?

There are big pharmaceutical companies in Europe. Factory farming goes on in Europe as well. So why the difference in the regulatory environments? True, European efforts seem at times to be two steps forward and one step back. One industry response to new regulations, for instance, has been simply to contract out to suppliers in less stringently regulated countries. But the trajectory of U.S. policy, in comparison, has been a steady backpedaling since the heyday of public scrutiny over the food supply in the 1970s.

Do Europeans simply think differently than we do? Have all the hormones and antibiotics that we've ingested clouded our reasoning?

"Consumerism and consumer product safety have been important themes in European consciousness for a couple decades," says Samuel Epstein, who is also the author of The Politics of Cancer Revisited. "Americans have a position that they'll rely on government: 'We have the FDA and USDA, if we have a problem, they'll tell us about it.' It doesn't occur to Americans that the government would want food that is irradiated, genetically engineered, or contaminated by hormones."

Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association locates the difference in the rules of the political game. "The European political system is more democratic and representative with proportional representation, and their media is not as corporately dominated," he says. "There is a political base in Europe of 15 percent share for the Green Party. That means 15 percent in Parliament. The major parties have to negotiate with the Greens. In this country, 15 percent of the electorate have those type of views, but have virtually no representation in Congress."

The U.S. government continues to subsidize corporate agriculture and its pharmaceutical handmaidens even in the face of trade barriers, growing domestic interest in additive-free food, and (be careful what you wish for) Wal-Mart's heavy-footed entry into the organic market. We can wait for a little European common sense to penetrate the Beltway. We can pay a little extra for additive-free meat and dairy. We can simply go vegan. But most of America, meat-crazy and Atkins-addled, doesn't know any better than to support the existing system by popping pills and slurping down hormones with every bite of burger and forkful of fajita.

John Feffer is working on a book about the global politics of food.
© 2005 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved. View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/28576/

5. Export as you would be exported to…

New Scientist, Issue 2526, 19 November 2005
Editorial: page 3

THE genetically modified chickens are coming home to roost. Having spent the past decade insisting that it should be free to export GM crops and foods derived from them, the US is waking up to the possibility that it may soon be asked to accept imports of similar GM material from other countries, such as China and Argentina, which are now producing more than they consume.

This month, the issues raised by this hitherto remote possibility were discussed in Washington DC at a seminar held by an independent think tank, the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology. The US is shockingly unprepared. As things stand, anyone wishing to bring a GM product into the country will need to notify the authorities only if it is intended for planting on US soil. Anything else can sail though without any of the mandatory pre-marketing scrutiny demanded in Europe.

Delegates had lots to discuss. How will US consumers react if foreign farmers start sending shipments of GM rice, soy and other commodities? Are new regulations needed to safeguard health and the environment? What if GM seeds intended for consumption rather than planting spill onto US soil? And what if US consumers do not want to eat foreign GM produce?

These and a host of other questions will need some adroit answers from the politicians and business people who have slammed Europe for its "irrational" aversion to GM. They will be have to tread a careful path to avoid accusations of hypocrisy once those chickens start to arrive.

6. NGO findings on Bt cotton raise a stink

Economy Bureau

New Delhi, Nov 15 Reacting strongly to the studies done by a network of local NGOs reporting failures of Bt cotton crops in parts of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the Delhi-based Gene Campaign has called for legal action against the regulatory body for approving these crops for commercial cultivation.

The Gene Campaign convenor, Dr Suman Sahai, in a Press statement said: "Legal action under the Environment Protection Act should be instituted against members of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) for criminal negligence and willful suppression of facts in the Bt cotton case, leading to grave economic losses to the farming community, resulting in several instances of farmers’ suicides."

Dr Sahai said a number of studies conducted by some agencies, including government departments, have reported over the last three to four years that Bt cotton had failed in many regions and farmers suffered huge losses. GEAC had so far not taken any action in this regard, she alleged.

Dr Sahai also mentioned that a study conducted by the Nagpur-based Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) showed the resistance of Bt cotton crops to targeted pests reduced over a period of time. The Gene Campaign study on the first harvest of Bt cotton in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra in 2002-03 showed that the crop performed so poorly that 60% of the farmers could not even recover their investment.

A network of over 20 local NGOs had earlier reported that the seed companies used fraudulent means to market Bt cotton seeds this year. The marketing divisions of the seed companies concerned, however, denied that any such foul means was adopted. The NGOs also spoke of prevalence of Tobacco Streak Virus in Bt cotton in parts of Andhra Pradesh. They said the incidence of this virus was confirmed by CICR, ICRISAT and ANGRAU. Also reportedly found by the NGO network was an incidence of wilt in Bt cotton in parts of Madhya Pradesh and germination failure of Bt cotton in some pockets of Tamil Nadu.

The NGO organisation consisted of Adivasi Ekta Sangathan, AKRSP, CEAD, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Grameen Vikas Trust, Greenpeace India, Jan Saahas, Kheti Virasat Mission, Krishnadevaraya Rythu Sankshema Sangam, Krushi, MARI, Navajyothi, Pasumai Tayagam, Prasun, Rashtriya Satyagrah Dal, Sampark, Sarvodaya Youth Organisation, SECURE, VASPA and YUVA.