Friday, 30 July 2010

Using Palm Oil is a Slippery Slope Approach to Sustainability and Health

I was there when the Rt Hon Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for Environment gave her maiden speech at the first Global Biodiversity of Business Symposium in London. [1] It was a positive message with good intentions and the gist of it can be found in her article, “We must reap the benefits of palm oil, but manage the environmental costs.” [2] For the most part, I disagree with her mind set though. In order to explain my position, I will focus on palm oil in the food industry. Although her plan is good, it is not enough. We cannot manage unsustainable practices. We need sustainable alternatives!

First of all, a general comment. It is not set in stone that we MUST reap the benefits of palm oil. We always have a choice. It may not be an easy one. It may be that the choice is between a rock and a hard place. But it’s a start to acknowledge that there is always a choice. The no-choice attitude is a restricted, limiting, closed mind one.

The Secretary of State is backing corporate business interests when she refers to margarine as the spread of choice which is one food product that may contain palm oil. Unilever was also at the symposium and has margarine products such as I can’t believe it’s not Butter!, Flora, and Bertrolli. To be frank, margarine is a big con. It’s not good for health and designed to replace butter. If butter is eaten in a balanced whole food diet, it is good for health. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) tells us that “it's OK to eat a small amount of butter as part of a healthy balanced diet, but you might find that using low-fat spreads will help you reduce the amount of fat in your diet, and contribute to an overall healthy diet.” [3] As I will briefly explain, this is misleading and unhelpful.

Dr Cass Ingram, one of the world's leading experts in natural remedies, tells us that butter is one of the few sources in the diet that contains regenerative substances with the so-called factor X activity. [4] Among other things, decreased factor X activity may indicate fat malabsorption, liver disease and Vitamin K deficiency.[5] “Butter … is a natural food and one of the best sources of important fat-soluble vitamins.” [8] Organic butter is best in order to avoid as much as possible, the drugs, chemicals and GMOs used in food production today.

In addition, Dr Ingram tells us that cholesterol, which is found in butter, is a critical nutrient and is the building block for the production of steroid hormones which make us strong. It is the key substance for strengthening cell walls, especially in the brain and spinal cord. And, it is also important in digestion, including the digestion of fat, and absorption of nutrients. [7]. So, why is cholesterol given such a bad name then? Dr Ingram attributes it to the pharmaceutical industry wanting to boost the sale of drugs. I would agree because the research methods used today are flawed, singular, narrow, incomplete, and even inconclusive. [8] But this research is then manipulated and used by corporations and governments as scientific evidence when it is far from it to support products such as medicines.

In contrast to butter, margarine is a cheap, highly processed product that may still contain unhealthy trans-fatty acids along with many chemical additives. Because of the trans-fatty acids problem caused by the hydrogenation of liquid vegetable oil, modified palm oil is now a key ingredient instead. [9] And, even the FSA recognises that palm oil is high in saturated fat (which they claim raises blood cholesterol). Although chemicals and the processing of food are not acknowledged by everyone as harmful to health, by encouraging us to use margarine, the government is encouraging us to use a product that when using their criteria is at least as questionable as butter in respect to health. And if the margarine has palm oil rather than hydrogenated oils, the government is encouraging us to participate in unsustainable environmental practices. A recommendation for a simple healthy diet would be to advise consumers to use butter which is produced in the UK, but caution not to use too much, and caution against using margarine as well. Many people think it’s OK to eat loads of margarine, because it’s advertised as good for us (like Flora) when there’s nothing much good in it for health at all.

Unilever is promoting its image with the sustainably resourced palm oil platform. On its website, Unilever claims that it will source all its palm oil from sustainable sources by 2015. As the Secretary of State says that only 4% globally is currently sourced by sustainable means, and Unilever uses 4%, [10] I wonder how Unilever will manage this when Sainsbury and others are claiming the same thing. [11] Furthermore, Robert Mela of Unilever in the Netherlands, sits on the Scientific Advisory Committee of Nutrition which provides advice on nutrition to the FSA. This may explain why the government seems to prefer margarine over butter by allowing questionable advertising of margarine and suggesting it as a preferable replacement for butter.

Another alternative message that the Secretary of State could promote is for us not to eat processed foods that contain palm oil. Processed foods with palm oil as an ingredient are mushrooming at an alarming rate. Highly processed foods are unhealthy and have less nutrition than whole foods. Again, as this message would not sit well with Unilever and other such companies with their many processed food products, it is understandable why she does not do this. However, giving the consumer an overwhelming choice of cheap processed, manipulated novelty food products which contain palm oil, as well as, little nutrition and few health benefits; but lots of saturated fats, sugar and salt, can only lead to a continuation of the downward decline of the nation’s health, hardly a welcome outlook for any government.

And in any event, we have to ask, what does 'sustainable' mean in this context? Does it include sourcing from vast monoculture plots of Genetically Modified (GM) oil palm trees that are pesticide resistant to the red palm weevil? GM palm trees are on the horizon and about the farthest we could get from an environmentally sound solution. The European Mediterranean Member States recently discussed the control and eradication of the red palm weevil [12] and Malaysia is doing research into genetically modified palm trees. [13] It all points to a continued vast destruction and contamination of the natural environment. [14]

To aid this desperate situation, it is a good plan to map the sustainability of palm oil, which hopefully does not include GM oil palm trees. But much more is needed. Our government officials should use butter and be strong; and get tough on the corporations that are exploiting the use of palm oil by introducing a tax on all products containing or made with palm oil and introducing civil sanctions on the use of non-sustainable palm oil. This would be a focused and a totally justifiable proposition, unlike the proposition to tax saturated fat in food, much of which has professional support for health benefits (such as organic butter as I have shown, but also organic meat, organic whole milk and organic whole cream). The civil sanctions should be high enough not only to be an effective deterrent, but also to help pay for the mapping plan and the enforcement of the sanctions.  By so doing, we will set an example for the rest of the world to follow.

Finally, our government needs to get health and nutrition facts straight and advise its citizens accordingly. A healthy diet in the United Kingdom does not require palm oil, and indeed, palm oil is mostly being used in unhealthy food products. Margarine is not a safe substitute for butter. By decreasing our consumption of palm oil, we will increase the sustainability of it immediately, and probably increase our health as well. So, a message to everyone: LOOK at the label, and if the product contains palm oil, please don’t buy it!

Footnotes
__________________________________________________

1. Global Biodiversity of Business Symposium, Excel, London on 13 July 2010.

2. Spelman, Carolyn, “We must reap the benefits of palm oil, but manage the environmental costs.” The Guardian, 13 July 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/jul/13/spelman-palm-oil-sustainable.

3. Food Standards Agency, Eat Well, Be Well, Helping you make healthier choices, Fats and Sugars, Ask Sam, http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/asksam/healthydiet/fssq/#A218453.

4. Ingram, Cass, Eat Right 4 Your Metabolic Type, 4 body types – 4 plans for perfect health through balancing the endocrine hormone system, Knowledge House Publishers, Illinois, 2008.

5. “Butter, Vitamin E and the ‘X‘ Factor of Dr. Price” by Royal Lee, http://www.whale.to/a/lee.html.

6. “Butter Versus Margarine,” by Lawrence Wilson, MD, http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/butter.htm.

7. Ingram, note 5, pp172-178.

8. For ideas on improving research, see for example “Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods: Considering the Possibilities for Enhancing the Study of Chronic Diseases,” by Ann L Casebeer and Marja J Verhoef, Chronic Diseases, Canada, Volume 18, No.3 -199, http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/cdic-mcc/18-3/d_e.html.

9. “What's best for your bread? Leonie Nimmo chews the fat,” Ethical Buyers Guide to Margarines and Spreads, Jan/Feb 2009, http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/FreeBuyersGuides/fooddrink/margarineandspreads.aspx.

10. Ibid.

11. The Slippery Business of Palm Oil” by Fred Pierce, The Guardian, 2006, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/nov/06/1.

12. Europa website, Food and Feed Safety, http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/health_consumer/dyna/enews/enews.cfm?al_id=1009.

13. Friends of the Earth report on Malaysia and palm oil, http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2008/malaysian-palm-oil-report.pdf.

14. This recent article shows a glimpse of desperation of the situation. “Save The Destruction Of Palm Trees In Nianija” By Fabakary B. Ceesay on 16-02-10 Foroyaa online, http://www.foroyaa.gm/modules/news/article.php?storyid=4487.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Environmental White Paper launched – farmland issues discussed in the House of Lords - July 28th

As stated by Baroness Byford (Conservative)

"How we live and how we use our resources clearly has an effect on biodiversity. Only two days ago, on 26 July, the Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman, launched the environmental White Paper, An Invitation to Shape the Nature of England. It is an exciting paper and I hope that people participate in the consultation.

I now switch to the subject of farming organisations. Farmers land-manage more than 74 per cent of the land. The NFU, the CLA and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust work hard at improving conservation awareness on all farms. The Campaign for the Farmed Environment was launched nine months ago and applies to arable land. More recently, there was a launch about horticultural land. It deals with how intensively farmed land can be sympathetically used to help wildlife.

I turn to two other organisations. One is FWAG, of which the noble Baroness and my noble friend will be well aware. The second is LEAF, of which I am president. Here we are, 19 years on, with an organisation that was started to link the environment and farming together in ways that have developed in recent years. Its "Open Farm Sunday" is well known. More than 180,000 people visited farms on that day. It also runs the green box scheme and recently started the LEAF virtual farm walk, which is open to anyone to access from its site and is a very good way to encourage people to learn more about what happens on a farm. It also organises technical days and speak-outs.

The noble Baroness and my noble friend mentioned taking the message to people so they have a better understanding. I mention FACE, Farming and Countryside Education, which is an organisation that takes the message into schools. Many other groups help. The NFU does, as does the Women's Food and Farming Union, but we need to do more to get the message out further and wider than is possible at the moment."


As stated by Baroness Young of Oldscone (Other)

"Farmland bird declines continue. The most recent report by the BTO, the RSPB and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee demonstrated that farmland bird decline has not been halted. I believe that we are struggling in areas where there is insufficient targeting of resources, no clear injection of resources and where the actions that need to be taken are by a very large number of people.

We need also to look at the other mechanisms in the wider countryside for agriculture beyond SSSIs. I recognise the commitment made by the National Farmers' Union and others to the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, but it is a voluntary scheme and is not yet showing results in the figures. We need now to look seriously at what can be delivered by further requirements for farmers to adopt cross-compliance. There should be simple but targeted actions in return for the single farm payment, a resource for which you, I and every other taxpayer in the country pays £1 5 billion, but which at the moment is not working for its living in terms of delivering biodiversity in our countryside."

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Over half of our freshwater is overly polluted!

Baroness Byford (Conservative) asked Her Majesty's Government in the House of Lords yesterday what proportion of tests of freshwater fail due to phosphate pollution; and what other main sources cause freshwater to fail standards tests.

Lord de Mauley (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative) replied that:

"Forty-one per cent of river water bodies and 64 per cent of lakes in England and Wales assessed under the Water Framework Directive (WFD) currently fail to meet the phosphate standards for good ecological status. This is based on WFD classification data for the period 2006-08 and was used for the River Basin Management Plans, published in 2009. The main reasons for failure of the phosphate standards are sewage effluent discharges and run-off from agricultural land. There are standards for over 50 other water quality parameters in freshwaters and the sources of pollution causing failures."

We're running out of freshwater and the freshwater that we have is polluted! Agriculture accounts for around 61% of the nitrate in rivers (ADAS report to Defra 2007) and around 26% of phosphates (White and Hammond report to Defra 2006).

The Government’s Target and trajectory is to reduce the levels of nitrate and phosphate in river water from agricultural sources to contribute to meeting the environmental objectives of the Water Framework Directive by 2015.

"Agriculture provides our food and fibre but soaks up 70% of the water we use, and is perhaps the biggest single driver behind the loss of freshwater ecosystems. WWF-UK is encouraging farmers and the world’s largest food sector companies to implement better management practices that use water efficiently and minimise harmful chemical pollution." WWF Safeguarding World Rivers & Lakes.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

GMOs discussed in House of Lords

The Countess of Mar (Crossbench) asked Her Majesty’s Government in the House of Lords yesterday about their assessment of the process for granting consent for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by the European Union.


Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Conservative) replied that the government is currently detailing its policy on GMOs as well as assessing the EU regulatory regime.
Later this year the European Commission is due to issue a report that reviews the operation of the EU legislation on the environmental release of GMOs and the marketing of GM food and feed products.
3 June 2014

I didn't follow up on the 2010 Report, but publish a link now where the reader can find the UK government's published policy as of 2014 under the heading Making the food and farming industry more competitive while protecting the environment.  Notice that the Food Standards Agency leads on the safety of GM food and feed and on applications to market GM food and feed products.  You see, GMOs are already in the food supply in the UK.

Crazy Jack Organic isn't so crazy!

I wrote to Crazy Jack Organic yesterday to get information about their raisins. The reply came today and is full of good information, which I copy here in full (photos added by me). Raisins, and other dried fruits, are a great snack food, especially when the sweet tooth is acting up.  But they're also handy for cooking and salads.  I’m glad to have this source.  Thanks Crazy Jack Organic!

Dear Jennie,

Thanks for your e-mail. It is good to hear someone take such a close interest in our product.

To make raisins, the grapes are picked as bunches and laid on drying beds in the sun. They are not washed at this stage, we need the fruit dry to prevent moulds growing. The fruit dries quite quickly, depending on the level of sunshine, in around two weeks. It is a tense time for farmers as rain can ruin the crop. Once dried, the bunches are de-stemmed, collected in wooden crates and stacked together to ensure that there is a uniform level of moisture in the crop. This will take another week or two.

The dried grapes are then properly cleaned to remove caps, stems and any loose dust or grit, then washed in cold running water and blow dried! The fruit is also graded for size.

The raisins are then lightly oiled (or not) and packed in cartons for shipping to the UK , where we pack them in to smaller bags. This is the most efficient way of shipping the stock to minimize wastage in transport.

UK5 Certification – we are certified by the Soil Association, whose license reference is UK5.

The Soil Association has a set of criteria that we have to meet to ensure compliance to organic standards. Organic standards and compliance is a legal matter. To make the claim “Organic”, we have to comply with the criteria set by this licensing body and we and our suppliers and growers are submitted to a series of inspections to ensure we comply with the standards.

Every order we place for organic goods is accompanied by a certificate of conformance. This allows us to trace product in the system. In addition to this, every year, we are submitted to an inspection by the Soil Association to ensure the integrity of our product. To find out more about certification visit Soil Association Organic Certification.

We only deal with those suppliers approved by our technical department. This ensures the technical team is satisfied the supplier is genuine and capable of producing organic material.

We also have a program of supplier visits, inspections and audits to ensure that what we see on paper is happening in practice. We also run a program of external, third party tests for chemical residues (Pesticides and Herbicides) that allows us to identify if we have a problem despite all the audits and inspections. See Community Foods and you will see pictures of our buying team in the field.

Last, but not least, we have been engaged in the supply and production of organic goods since the early 1980’s. We were dealing in organic goods before the standards for organic goods became enshrined in law. We were one of the first to develop organic sultanas, apricots and figs and have been involved in other pioneering work for organic food.

In all of the above and in so many other ways I have not been able to explain here, we manage the integrity of our product which is very important to us. Crazy Jack is not simply a brand to us, but something that evolved out of the work we were doing on sourcing organic raw materials over 25 years ago.

Origin; Once upon a time, our fruit came from just one source – California . California produces great product – dark and tasty. But as the market has grown, we have had to buy raisins from different countries to meet demand and give us security. If the crop fails in one place, we need to ensure we have an alternative. The growth in organic has been really encouraging, more farmers growing more product under organic conditions but it does mean that in a single year we can’t rely just on Californian fruit. Other countries such as Chili and Turkey now produce raisins and we always buy to our specification to maintain quality.

Mixing – no, we don’t mix batches of fruit. We do this so we can ensure we can trace each pack back to its origin and is why we don’t blend fruit (Unless we are making a fruit blend – e.g. Raisins and Cashews)

The country of origin for each bag is printed with the best before date on the side of the pack.

Sunflower Oil – This is also certified organic and complies with UK5 certification. Every ingredient and the PROCESS have to comply with organic certification, which includes processing aids such as sunflower oil. In the early years, we had to insist on the packers buying organic certified oil from France , but organic sunflower oil is now more widely available and easier to source.

I hope this covers everything. If I haven’t cleared things up for you, please let me know.

Regards,

Paul Moore
Marketing Director

Monday, 26 July 2010

My Reply Email Letter to Robert Sturdy MEP regarding GMOs

26 July 2010

Dear Mr Sturdy

Thank you very much for your email letter of 20th July regarding GMOs.

I can understand your concerns, but believe that it’s not quite a contradiction to import GM fed animal food while disallowing GM crops to be grown.  Growing GM crops will threaten the UK’s organic crops, wildlife, wild plants, and soil because of cross-contamination and monoculture farming methods. The UK is a relatively small country that has its own unique biodiversity which we need to protect. In addition, unlike the ability to recall a medicine if it turns out less than effective, we do not have the ability to reverse GMOs. However, it does demonstrate a shortcoming in the law that GM fed food labelling is presently not required and that GM feed and food from GM fed animals is even allowed at all.

As one of my representatives in the European arena, I would not expect for you to overly worry about respecting international trade rules. It is common knowledge that the international trade rules on GMOs stem from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which is lobbied by the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council (IPC for short). And as the world now knows full well, the WTO, the IPC and ‘free trade’ primarily serve the interests of big multi-national corporations, which by law operate to make profit for shareholders. Factors such as the environment, our health, biodiversity, welfare of a nation, starving people, and the future of children, by and large, do not come into consideration by corporate directors or shareholders. Unless and until company law is changed, these things will continue to depend on government intervention and control.

I have checked my sources and confirmed that the record shows my three Conservative MEPs and one other voted against the amendment to require labelling of food from animals fed on GM feed. Another two of my MEPs abstained from voting on this issue and only my Labour MEP voted in favour of it. The record also shows that this amendment failed to pass.

As an organic food supporter for over 30 years, I believe that all GM is, to use your word, ‘bad’. I cannot see any ‘good’ in growing GM crops willy nilly in the open that will end up polluting and contaminating my organic food sources, which are primarily from England.  Naturally, the controversy is much wider than this and I would again strongly recommend the book, The World According to Monsanto, by Marie-Monique Robin to get a global view of the many negative aspects of GMO crops (or just watch the documentary for free: The World According to Monsanto).

I look forward to hearing from you with an explanation about the said vote. I would also be grateful to hear that you have considered and reflected upon evidence contrary to your pro-GM view to show that you are making open-minded and informed choices on the matter.

Yours sincerely

J. Wilson

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Letter from Robert Sturdy MEP regarding GMOs

20 July 2010

Dear Miss Wilson,

Thank you for your letter about the growing of GM crops in Britain.

Having worked on the Agriculture and Environment Committees in the European Parliament, as well as being a farmer myself, I share many of your concerns regarding GMO in the food chain.

I have for many years pointed out the obvious contradiction in EU policy, whereby we ban the use of GM crops while importing meat from South America which has been produced using GM feed. I think that we need a labelling system that allows consumers to make informed choices while respecting international trade rules.

For this reason I was delighted to see that the Conservatives recently supported an amendment to the Novel Foods Regulation calling for the introduction of a label which would detail if an animal had been fed GM or not.

I would like to point am not against the growing of GM crops per se, but think that we need to be 110% sure that they are safe. I think that it is not as simple as saying all GM is either good or bad. Yes it has its advantages, but we should not think that GM crops are the answer to all the world's problems.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to me and please do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any further questions.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Sturdy MEP

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Let’s Get Our Beef and Milk Drugs Straight Now


“In August of 2008, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly announced that it would be acquiring Monsanto’s rBGH division for $300 million. Recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH, is an artificial growth hormone that is injected into dairy cows in order to increase their milk production.” [1] This will be added to their already impressive repertoire including Prozac and other psychiatric drugs, the Viagra competitor Cialis and cancer treatments.

But Kroger and Starbucks refuse to use milk that was produced with rBGH.  And Dean Foods, the largest milk distributor in the United States, states that virtually all of its milk is sourced from cows not treated with the hormone.[2] Even Wal-Mart now uses rBGH-free sources for its private-label milk [3] as does Safeway. [4]

Meanwhile, in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, rBST is not approved for use. [5] The European Union placed a moratorium on its sale by all member nations but allowed limited practical tests on its use. But in 1999, with no information on such tests, a permanent ban was put in place that started on January 1, 2000. [6] In addition, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the main United Nations body that sets international food standards failed to agree to what is known as a Maximum Residue Level (MRL) for rBST. “The adoption of a standard would have asserted that the hormone was safe to use and countries refusing to import dairy products from countries where BST is used could be brought before the World Trade Organization on the grounds they are creating a barrier to trade.” [7]

With $3 billion in profits in 2007, a billion more than claimed by Monsanto in the same year, Lilly must have plans for rBGH; but based on the above, I can’t imagine what.

Meanwhile, the EU ban on the import of meat from cattle covers those treated with testosterone, progesterone, trenbolone acetate, zeranol, and MGA for growth-promotion purposes and the continued suspension in 2008 of "Obligations in the EC - Hormones Dispute" stems from a 1996 complaint! [8] The EU is paying the equivalent of $150 million dollars annually for lost US profits, and it must have significant legal bills in continuing the appeals and defending counter-appeals as well.

But, we’re not out of the woods yet. “It is estimated that 85% of the EU’s compound feed production now contains GM or GM-derived material.” [9] Perhaps this is not viewed by many as a drug. But since genetically modified (GM) feed is from crops that mainly have been designed to be pesticide resistant and sprayed with pesticides, the difference seems to pale into non-existence. We have protection against the administration of drugs containing hormones that are designed to make cows grow faster. However, cheap GM feed is used for the same purpose of speedy growth and arguably as controversial; but there are few protections at the moment, including no requirement to have food derived from GM fed animals labelled.

This is not a conclusive list by any means as there are many other approved drugs that are administered as medicine to treat illness in cows (for both dairy and beef) such as Abamectin, Albendazole, Benzylpenicillin, Clenbuterol, Closantel, Cyfluthrin, α-Cypermethrin, Danofloxacin, Deltamethrin, Dihydrostreptomycin, streptomycin, Diminazene, and Doramectin, just to name a few from a long list. [10]  With so many drugs (and chemicals generally) involved in the production of milk and beef, I think it is an impossible task to get them straight.


Footnotes
____________________________________________________

1. Eli Lilly and rBGH, http://www.scribd.com/doc/16359559/Eli-Lilly-and-rBGH.

2. Dean Foods 2008 Corporate Responsibility Report.

3. Wal-Mart Offers Private Label Milk Produced without Artificial Growth Hormone.” Wal-Mart Press Release. March 21, 2008, http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/news/8147.aspx.

4. Safeway in Northwest Goes rBGH-Free! Chipotle Mexican Grill Starts Goes rBGH-free for Sour Cream, By Rick North, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Jan 10, 2007, http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_3773.cfm.

5. Companies cut synthetic hormone from dairy products by Bruce Harovitz, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2009-03-15-dairy-growth-hormone-ban_N.htm.

6. European Council Decision of December 17, 1999, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31999D0879:EN:HTML .

7. World Trade Organization website, http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/dispu_subjects_index_e.htm.

8. International Health Group Shuns Bgh, http://www.foxbghsuit.com/codex063099.htm.

9. ANH Feature: Europeans consuming GM animal feed unknowingly, http://www.anh-europe.org/news/europeans-consuming-gm-animal-feed-unknowingly.

10. Codex Veterinary Drug Residues in Food Online Database http://www.codexalimentarius.net/vetdrugs/data/MAS-RVDF_2006_e.pdf.

5,000-word essay prepared for Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead ('the Council')

The Government’s Plans for Local Government Will Affect Council Legal Services
Food, Land, Environment and Health Issues

By J. Wilson
16 July 2010

Introduction to the GMO Debacle

The issues I will be discussing relate to novel foods which I have recently been researching and a subject that I hold dear to my heart. It is likely that the new Government’s plans for Local Government in the area of food law are for Local Authorities to act as the dumping grounds for toxic waste of a novel kind without any direct say in the matter. I realise that this is a strong statement, but it is not made lightly. Specifically, I am referring to the advent of the overhaul of the very strict approval system for genetically modified food crops, having approved just two varieties in the past 12 years, which was set to be adopted on 13 July by the European executive. I will attempt in the brief amount of time and space that I have been allocated for this essay, to clearly and concisely explain my claim and show how it is a vital problem that will affect the Council’s Legal Services principally in relation to food, land management, the environment and health care.

Genetically Modified Foods Defined

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)

I will begin in Europe in 1990 with the creation of the European Community’s definition of a GMO which states that an “‘organism’ is any biological entity capable of replication or of transferring genetic material. And then, ‘Genetically Modifed Organism (GMO)’ means an organism in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.” [1] Genetic manipulation is carried out by making a selected gene enter a target cell by force. One technique is to use a bacterium that causes crown gall disease, which in effect infects the cell, but with the gene that induces tumours being suppressed. The insertion tool most frequently used today though is a “gene gun” which forces the desired DNA to penetrate into the target cells. “It works by attaching genetic constructs to microscopic gold or tungsten bullets and shooting them into a culture of embryonic cells.” [2]

Novel Foods and Novel Food Ingredients (‘Novel Foods’)

Still in the European context, GMOs were placed in the wider definition of Novel Foods in 1997. [3] A list was developed that included GMOs as well as all technologically manufactured food sources and even non-technologically manufactured food if there was no history of safe use, and these were collectively called Novel Foods.

Novel Foods – New Definition on the Horizon

Proposed Amendments to the new Regulation on novel foods have reached the stage of the Second Reading being completed on 7 July 2010. I had the opportunity to analyze them before this date, and write up a summary with comments and send it to my MEPs.

Under the proposed Article 3(2)(a) more things will be added to the definition of Novel Foods which I list to show the direction the food industry is moving:

• Food that was not used for human consumption to a significant degree within the Union before 15 May 1997;

• GMO as defined in 1990 with the exception of foods derived from cloned animals and their descendants (to be dealt with in a separate regulation);

• Processed food with no history of safe usage before 15 May 1997 which may be less nutritional, effect metabolism or contain undesirable substances;

• Food containing or consisting of engineered nanomaterials; and even

• Traditional foods from third country.

Food

The term ‘food’ in the proposed regulation on novel foods is defined in the regulation that laid down the general principles and requirements of food law, and is described as “any substance or product, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, intended to be, or reasonably expected to be ingested by humans.”[4]  As the reader can see, ‘Food’ is a broad term, but it is not to include, among other things, medicinal products or animal feed. The new regulation is diminishing the line between Food and Novel Foods by referring to both in the same Regulation. The new distinction between the two terms is not whether the product was engineered, but whether it was in use in the Member State before 15 May 1997 with the addition of a third category, traditional food from third countries. The significance of this is that it is smudging the lines between Food and Novel Foods in order to gain acceptance by the consumer of GMOs, cloned animal food, and nanomaterials in food and food packaging. There is a moratorium on cloned animal food and the use of nonomaterials in Europe at the moment, but these are already in circulation in the United States, and without labelling.

Organic Food

Another distinction in the definition of food that is relevant to this discussion is organic food. Organic production is defined under Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and includes the appropriate design and management of biological processes based on ecological systems using natural resources which are internal to the system ... .” [5] This includes a prohibition on the use of GMOs and products produced from or by GMOs being used as “food, feed, processing aids, plant protection products, fertilisers, soil conditioners, seeds, vegetative propagating material, micro-organisms and animals in organic production.” [6] Although, 0.9% GMOs are allowed in organic food if it is an unavoidable accident or a desired ingredient is not available in a non-GMO form.

The new regulation on Novel Foods had a provision that food from animal fed GMOs should be labelled. However, despite the Conservative Manifesto ensuring us of the right to choose non-GM foods through clear labelling, 6 out of 7 of my MEPs abstained or voted against such labelling. Also, Prime Minister Cameron said in the House of Commons on the same day as the MEPs voted that he was in favour of “accurate labelling”. Unless the consumer purchases food that is certified as organic, he or she will not know whether GMOs greater than 0.9% have been used somewhere along the production line.

Conservative Government’s Manifesto

Next, let’s have a quick look at the Conservative Government’s Manifesto to get an overview of what the Government has planned for local Government in general, and specially, in relation to GMOs.

The Government claims to want to solve social problems, but is at least in one sense, creating more of them instead. I have used categories of Services from the Council’s website to demonstrate the social problems that will arise under the area of food law. The Government calls for us to move from state action to social action. The only social action I can foresee is campaigning and lobbying against the corporate rule of the food chain because of an ineffective Government and legislation to deal with it.

Another Government claim is that its goal is to make the United Kingdom the most “family-friendly country in Europe” And in the next sentence claims, “that is why we back the NHS.” [7]  This is a problem. A family-friendly lifestyle would be centred around the kitchen again with good wholesome food that nourishes and energises instead of causing cancer and obesity. The NHS really has little to do with a family-friendly lifestyle. And the rest is not much better.

Local government is to be made much more powerful and communities will be allowed to take control of vital services. [8]  But this can only be done in the context of European law. On the same basis, the local referendum initiative when 5% of the local population signs up is ineffective when it comes to Novel Foods or any other European derived law. [9]  Once the new regulation on novel foods is finalised, it is unlikely that a Member State will be allowed to prohibit Novel Foods in its jurisdiction, never mind a local authority, with or without a local referendum.

Mention is made to “ending the bureaucratic inspection regime that stops councils focusing on residents’ main concerns.” [10] I cannot see how lowering standards of inspection will serve to protect residents from GMOs which I believe is a paramount concern. Further evidence of the erosion of the rule of law comes from a claim that ‘predetermination rules’ that prevent councillors speaking up about issues that they have campaigned on are to be ended. [11]  Predetermination is actual or apparent and is defined in reference to bias and predisposition. [12] It is basically having a closed mind and not a desirable trait for a councillor, judge or other person involved in government and law. If a councillor has an open mind, prior campaigning on an issue is irrelevant. By removing ‘predetermination rules’, the Government would be condoning our leaders adopting a closed mind attitude in fulfilling their duties. Indeed, it takes a closed mind to promote and support a company such as Monsanto, UK, a major player in the advancement of GMOs in food, with its products of agricultural chemicals and GMO seeds.

Promote sustainable and productive farming practices

A great claim is made that our farmland is a national resource for future generations and the foundation of our food security. But even still, the Government claims that it may be necessary to develop on fertile farmland. It further claims to support sustainable farming practices, but is involved in promoting novel foods which have been shown to require unsustainable farming practices. [13]  It will be good to see a more effective system of environmental stewardship in the farmed environment, but again, novel foods will greatly detract from this goal. The whole section is spoken with a forked tongue.

GM crops will be assessed for safety of people and the environment, and the separation of GM and non-GM material with clear industry liability. [14]  The Government advises that it plans to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with the intention of not only protecting the environment and food security, but tackling global poverty. The Agricultural Wages Board is to be abolished, food subsidies phased out and on-farm inspections are to be minimised and reformed. The direction that the global food industry is following is one where only large industrial farms will be able to compete in a global market and I wonder if the Government’s plans will help to level the playing field. Meanwhile, to fight bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle, the Government proposes to kill more badgers, hardly a scientific response. And food procured by government departments, and eventually the whole public sector, is to meet British standards of production, as long as this can be achieved without increasing overall costs. In other words, if there is no money available to ensure safety of human health and the environment, it is acceptable to lower standards.

The final point I would like to make from the Government’s Manifesto is that it claims that the ultimate authority is to stay in the UK and that it will introduce a United Kingdom Sovereignty Bill. [15]  When it comes to novel foods though, everyone in government is following in the footsteps of EU President José Manuel Barroso. The Secretary of State for Environment, Carolyn Spelman has been quoted in the news with pro-GM food statements. Many of the Lords have spoken in the House of Lords in favour of GM foods. And the Food Standards Agency has adopted a pro-GM and even anti-organic food stance. In this respect, a claim by the Government that the European Union has gone too far intruding into our lives is mere puff.

We may be following in the footsteps of Europe, but Europe is following in the footsteps of America on this matter as seen on the Europa website where it claims that novel foods that are “substantially equivalent” to existing foods may follow a simplified procedure which only requires notifications from the company. [16]  Monsanto, a global chemical company that now has one of the largest, if not the largest, patented seed portfolios, was behind this policy. “[I]t is very clear that Monsanto played a major role in imposing, internationally and with no scientific data, the principle of ‘substantial equivalence.’” [17]  Furthermore, “[t]he concept of substantial equivalence has never been properly defined; the degree of difference between a natural food and its GM alternative before its ‘substance’ ceases to be acceptably ‘equivalent’ is not defined anywhere.” [18] I would take this a step further and say that it is not the similarities that are important, but the differences. As novel foods involve unnatural changes on a molecular level, even a minute difference is significant.

Political Background

A complaint was brought before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by the American Bush Administration in May 2003 together with Argentina and Canada against the European Union because of its ‘de facto’ moratorium on GMOs. The WTO’s ruling was that Europe was in breach of its obligations under the WTO free trade rules. The EU Commission would have to pay a substantial fine or penalty, in lieu of acceding to the demands of the WTO. For example, “[t]oday the EU must pay a fine of $150 million yearly to maintain its ban on the US hormone-fed beef.” [19] Because of this international political pressure, Europe is currently involved in shaping changes in food law that will affect local government in many areas of its Services.

Food Standards Agency (FSA)

The FSA was set-up under a European regulation and implemented under the Food Standards Act 1999 to give guidance. It may give risk assessments at the European level. But, [t]he main objective of the Agency [...] is to protect public health [...] and otherwise to protect the interests of consumers in relation to food.[20] The FSA has been seriously criticised [21] and I have found it to be biased towards corporate interests. The FSA commissioned a report in July 2009 by the Nutrition and Public Health Intervention Research Unit, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. [22] To be brief, I will simply say that the Report concluded with a statement that further research was desperately needed. But it was being touted by the media and the FSA as saying that “organic food is no healthier”. Further, Pete Riley, of GM Freeze a campaigning organisation, told me about finding GM contamination in bread from Marks & Spencer. [23] Not only was the presence of the unapproved GM illegal, but this particular GMO, GM Flax seed was deregistered with all stocks supposedly destroyed in 2001. Despite these issues, the FSA did not warn local authorities and the public as was its duty. [24]

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

GMO developments are carried out in containment and only released if deemed to be safe. A risk assessment is submitted by the company that is seeking to use the GMO to the HSE and relates to human health and safety. Although the HSE board and senior management have no expertise in any related field to genetic biology, there is a team of biological scientists that deal with these assessments. I spoke with the Duty Officer, Hector Cabrera, and he explained that if his team was not satisfied with the assessment as submitted, they request further information as well as conducting on site inspections. [25]

HSE had a consultation on the proposals for amendment of the Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 2010 which ended on 31 May 2010. The proposed changes include risk assessments to take account especially of the disposal of waste and effluents; characteristics of no or negligible risk GMOs are to be set out; and there will be provision for when a biohazard sign must be placed on doors. This is another sign that the GM industry is changing.

HSE maintains the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Public Register Report online. As required by law, the full risk assessment and an up to date register can be viewed on request at the head office in Bootle. However, the Secretary of State may exclude information from the Register if she is in the opinion that it would be contrary to the interests of national security. [26]

Defra

The Advisory Committee of Releases for the Environment (ACRE) will assess an application to release GMOs to the environment and give advice to Defra which has an administrative role. To date, the Secretary of State has been involved in giving consent for such release for trial purposes.

Under the Environmental Protection Act, Part VI, Defra has a wide range or responsibilities in relation to the release of GMOs into the environment and these are managed by the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA). Releases of GMOs into the environment are to be controlled with precautionary measures in place to prevent or minimise the spread of genetically modified DNA. The two types of authorised release of GMOs are for research and commercial purposes. [27]  Once a party is given consent, the GMO can be cultivated anywhere in Europe, subject to other applicable legislation on seeds, pesticides and food and animal feed. FERA is also responsible for voluntary seed audits of companies that import seeds to ensure that they are not GM seeds. FERA publishes an annual report with details of its actions. [28]  The EPA powers in relation to GMOs are important because they show the limitations and I set them out briefly below. The areas that are covered fit into a regime that works with companies that are involved with GMOs, but not anyone else. The fine would be negligible for a large corporation. The gist of this legislation shows the risky nature of GMOs and begs the question of why we are moving towards including it in our food supply and even considering it as a replacement to food.

An inspector has powers in relation to premises where he has reason to believe a person is keeping or has kept GMOs or from which GMOs have been released or escaped and where there may be harmful GMOs or evidence of harm to the environment. But this power is not exercisable to premises used wholly or mainly for domestic purposes. [29]

Furthermore, where the inspector believes that there is immediate risk of damage to the environment, he has powers of arrest, including bringing a constable and equipment to force his way if necessary. He is to determine whether something appears to be or contain GMOs which are likely to cause damage to the environment. He can dismantle it or perform tests, but not destroy it unless this is necessary. [30]  If the Inspector has reason to believe that GMOs, in the circumstances, are an imminent danger of damage to the environment, he may seize it and render it harmless. [31]

The Secretary of State may, upon written request, require parties involved or who will be involved with GMOs to provide information about this activity and any damage which has been or may be caused to the environment. If a party does not keep the correct documentation or correctly label genetically modified organisms, he can be fined up to £5,000, imprisoned for up to three months, or both. [32]

Lands and Residents Affected

The Council’s Environmental Protection Aim is:

"To ensure the quality of air, land and water within the Borough is within established environmental guidelines and health criteria."

But how will it achieve this aim in the future with the Government’s plans to grow commercial GM crops in England and open the doors wide to trade of GM food? Those who will be affected at first instance will be those who grow food, whether for home use or commercially.

Allotments/Gardens

Windsor Allotment and Home Garden Association operate trading sheds for the sale of various garden and allotment products including composts, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and sundry supplies all at competitive prices. Seed potatoes, onion sets and flower bulbs are stocked in the appropriate season. Alternatively to the allotments, there is a Maidenhead Garden Share Scheme run by Transition Town Maidenhead. Parish Councils also manage sites.

Here we have a veritable maze (no pun intended with maize) of private parties trading in horticultural products and practicing horticulture. What sort of controls will the Council be able to implement to ensure that unauthorised or even toxic products are not used? This dilemma is aptly demonstrated by Marie-Monique Robin in her book, The World According to Monsanto. She relates how a New York Times journalist, Michal Pollan, was able to purchase GM potatoes in New York that had pesticide built into it to plant in his garden. But the label failed to warn him about the pesticide portion of the potato. [33]

Markets and Farms

Food producers will be affected, especially the organic farmers because of cross contamination issues. And markets will be affected because of new rules and uncertainty of how to ensure compliance. To get on the ground information, I visited an Open Day at the Organic Research Centre at Elm Farm in Newbury, Berkshire with workshops on the GM impacts and threats, Markets and consumer attitudes to organic food, Soils, 100% Organic Feed, and Composting. [34]

Besides the usual Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Asda, all of which have organic ranges, there is also the Windsor Farm Shop that “sells a range of products from the Royal Farms and small local specialist suppliers, including beef from traditional British breeds, lamb, pork, poultry and game in season.” [35] “More like a Harrods food hall than a commercial farm shop, there is a lot of organic produce.” [36] Issues of local supply of food to these establishments will be relevant as well as protecting customer rights such as the right to buy organic food.

Lizzy and Marie, and Lizzy’s husband, Tom, source goods from trusted small producers at the English Farm Shop and manage Pinewood Nurseries. They “have researched, tasted and tested to find only the very fairly traded, ecological, artisan and above all affordable products and have arrived at an offering that is uncompromising in terms of the quality and authenticity of the produce.” [37] Although seeking to maintain a certain standard, because of the emphasis on affordable products, they may be interested in GM food. On the other hand, Waltham Place where “Nicky and Strilli Oppenheimer, the family members who currently reside there, are staunch believers in organic husbandry in all its facets.” [38] They may find it difficult to maintain organic standards if GM crops are grown in the area, even at a garden level.

There are many other notable farms in this Council remit such as Beaumont Farm, Lanz Farm, Hawes Hill Farm, Copas Farms, Randall Farms, White Place Farm, and Stroud Farm. All will have the opportunity of growing GM crops or fears of contamination of organic crops, as the case may be.

Stables

Bell Farm Livery Stables is located in Windsor. Although not an obvious consideration with GMOs, it can be a problem. I have an allotment plot and know that a big source of fertiliser used there is from horse manure. It is delivered free of charge from local stables. Whatever the horses eat, will be evident in the end product. Medications, GM food and GM medication will change the composition of the manure which if used with organic farming may contaminate the resulting crops and/or soil. Also, I had a neighbour in Guildford who used horse manure in her large garden. Farms are likely to use it too as a fertiliser for crops. In any case, the manure needs to be disposed of in some manner and will raise contamination issues if it contains sufficient GMOs or GMOs that are later proven to be toxic and a contaminate.

Council Services Affected

I will now go through some of the Council services that I anticipate will be affected by the Government’s agricultural and food processing plans.

Community Meals

The Council provides meals for adults who are assessed as requiring services.

Provision of meals to children in school is also a possible issue. As Baroness Walmsley said in the House of Lords in January of this year, “there have been interesting experiments whereby local councils have made school meals available free to all pupils, not just to those who qualify for them.” [39]

Will the Council adopt a policy of including GM foods for community meals? If yes, will the Council consult the community before adopting the new measure(s)?

Coroners

Coroners will need to expand their possible causes of death to include death by GMO or death by allergic reaction for GMO. However, GMOs are unlikely to be the sole cause of death any more than sugar is currently a sole cause of death. GMOs are most likely to be contained in foods that are highly processed and addictive because of the sugar content. Regular consumption of these foods will contribute to an unhealthy diet which will lead to early and untimely diseases and death.

Council Land and Property

If a GMO proves to be toxic or cause an allergic reaction to grazing animals, contamination with GMOs of the Council’s grazing lands may become an issue because of cross-contamination.

Environmental Sustainability

The Council states on its website that it is not sure about the way ahead with environmental sustainability. But, I have an acronym to help. It is to replace ‘KISS’ which is 'Keep It Simple Stupid' and a favourite of business people. It was allegedly coined by Ray Croc who developed McDonalds into the type of organisation that it is today, i.e., an efficient assembly line for food production designed with one purpose, to maximise profit. I think ‘KIND’, 'Keep It Natural Dummy' is better. It is based on the holistic view of working with nature, ensuring that the process is as important as the end result, and with respect for the environment, oneself and others. By keeping nature and the Council’s eleven sustainability themes at the heart of work done by the Council, we can be confident that we are moving in the right direction. And by promoting learning, the development of awareness, and acceptance of responsibility, each individual in the borough will benefit from the Council’s services.

I recently attended the Global Biodiversity of Business Symposium in London where the Rt Hon Carolyn Spelman, Secretary of State for Environment gave her maiden speech and the Prince of Wales gave a video presentation. What I learned is that some areas of business are admirably moving forward with sustainability issues, such as LaFarge, an aggregate company that is working in tandem with WWF to restore the environment as it extracts products from the earth. But sadly, the agricultural industry is still moving in a direction of non-sustainability because of the trend towards using GMOs.

Food Safety

GMO’s will bring new issues of food safety. Consumer education, allergic reactions, and maximum limits of GMO additives are concerns that the Commercial Services Team will need to address in due course.

Freedom of Information

There will likely be more requests made under the Freedom of Information Act about GMO issues as discussed in this paper. Because of national security issues and proprietary rights under patents, for GMOs, this may prove to be a frustrating task.

Green Refuse Collection/Composting

The Government is going to reconcile the fact that GMOs that have been in contained use need to be destroyed by incineration, but GMOs in food can be recycled in the green refuse collection or composting, by claiming that the GM foods are safe for health and the environment. The difficulty is similar to mixing medications though. GMOs may be toxic when mixed with other substances.

Health Care and Hospitals

Some GM food will be developed that will legally be classified as medicines because of the genetic modification even though they look like plants. This will raise all kinds of problems with handling and disposal.

A health issue arose in the United States with a GM corn called Starlink. Although this product was authorised as an animal feed only, it was accidentally mixed with varieties intended for human consumption. The result was an epidemic of mild to severe allergic reactions associated with the consumption of corn-based products. [40] No one actually died and the offending products were recalled, but this episode further demonstrates the risks involved with this technology.

Environmental Concerns

A 2003 news article about cross-contamination issues shows that field margins on farms are at risk in more ways than one. "This [study] shows that isolation distances will reduce hybrid numbers but not prevent hybridisation.” [41]

Parks and Gardens

GMOs have been shown to contaminate wild versions of the same species. It is another instance where, if a GMO was determined to be unsafe after its release, then it would be difficult to retrieve. This would really depend on what GMOs are approved and grown as crops in the region and whether contamination of plants in parks and gardens may be eaten by a member of the public. But GMOs may impact the maintenance of parks and gardens because cross contamination has been shown to create new types of pesticide resistant super weeds.

Tourism

Being a home to two of the UK’s top 20 attractions: Windsor Castle and Legoland Windsor as well as other top attractions such as Eton College (and I have a friend here in Peterborough who went to this College), the Council has a high level of responsibility in this area. Offering tourists inferior GM food may not be the best marketing strategy. In addition, GM food and GM seeds may already be circulating in the region (besides in M&S bread) because of tourists and returning holiday makers from abroad bringing these things with them.

Waste

Whether on a commercial level or residential, food waste of GM foods is an issue that will probably be largely ignored like other toxic substances such as pesticides and household cleaners that are often thrown out. But I think we are at a critical point where we should be lessening our toxic waste rather than increasing it.

Sense Proteomic Limited and Oxford Gene Technology, both of Gardener Road, Maidenhead, produce GM biological waste. But at least they do not have far to go to get the waste processed. Grundon Waste Management of Star Works, Star Lane, Maidenhead collects, stores and disposes of GM waste. The facility has been approved for disposal of GM waste by +1000C incineration to ensure 100% kill. All plant and animal GM waste must be contained in either a UN approved clinical waste sack or a one-way burn bin depending on the nature of the waste. Grundon has a duty of care to adequately package their waste to prevent its escape. [42] Of course, once released into the environment, even if it later proves toxic, it will be impossible to recall all GMOs to dispose of them in this way.

Conclusion

The United Kingdom has enjoyed a relatively strict regime for GMOs. However, many services will be affected when GM food and crops become more prolific, because they will create problems. And where there is a problem, there is a need for legal services. The increase of GM foods coming on the market and GM cultivation for commercial purposes will be with little safeguards in place, without due consideration of the democratic process, and without funding to assist with development of the infrastructure that will be affected. The Legal Services at the Council will have to deal with this new technology without any real recourse to the user, the government or the companies, such as Monsanto, Dow and Syngenta that have introduced it. It will be difficult for the Council to prove wrong doing and recompense will be limited. Furthermore, GMOs may expose the Council to a Corby incident type claim where legal causation was viewed by the Judge in a broad manner that favoured the Claimants. [43]

Footnotes
________________________________________________________
 1. Directive 1990/220 EEC, Article 2 (1) and (2).
2. Robin, Marie-Monique, The World According to Monsanto, Pollution, Corruption, and the Control of our Food Supply, an investigation into the world’s most controversial company, The New Press, New York, 2010, pp138-141.
3. Regulation (EC) No 258/97 concerning novel foods and novel food ingredients.
4. Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, Article 2.
5. Regulation 834/2007, Article 4.
6. Ibid Article 9.
7. Ibid.
8. Robin, note ii, p. 73.
9. Robin, note ii, p. 75.
10. Robin, note ii, p. 76.
11. Ibid.
12. Sharkey, Freda and Bird Q.C., Simon Bias, Predetermination and the Code, look at how standards committees should consider perceived bias and predetermination, Local Government Lawyer, 10 February 2010, http://localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1060%3Abias-predetermination-and-the-code&catid=59%3Agovernance-a-risk-articles&q=&Itemid=27
13. Robin, note ii, p. 96.
14. Robin, note ii, p. 97.
15. Robin, note ii, p. 114.
16. Europa website, http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/novelfood/index_en.htm
17. Robin, note ii, p. 169.
18. Robin, note ii, pp.170 – 171.
19. Global Research article, http://www.globalresearch.ca/PrintArticle.php?articleId=2202
20. Food Standards Act 1999, s1(2).
21. See Sutter, Hannah, Big Fat Lies, Is Your Government Making You Fat?, Infinite Idea Limited, 2010.
22. Report for the Food Standards Agency, http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/organicreviewreport.pdf
23. Telephone conversation with Pete Riley on 9 July 2010.
24. Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm, Bulletin, No. 98 December 2009.
25. Telephone conversation with Hector Cabrera on 14 July 2010.
26. SI 2000/2831, S 24 Register of notifications with 2002/63 national security exclusions 2009 [24A Information not to be included in the register].
27. Defra website, http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/quality/gm/regulation/process/index.htm
28. FERA, GM Inspectorate website, http://www.gm-inspectorate.gov.uk/reportsPublications/
29. Environmental Protection Act 1990, s 115.
30. Ibid., s 116.
31. Ibid., s 117.
32. Business Link, http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/ercSectorsDetails?site=101&itemId=1077874783&type=SECTOR_CONTENT
33. Robin, note ii, pp. 232-234.
34. Held on 16 July 2010.
35. Windsor Farm Shop, http://www.windsorfarmshop.co.uk/pages/default.aspx?pageID=3548&
36. Windsor Royal Farm Shop, http://www.londontoolkit.com/whattodo/windsor_royal_farm_shop.htm
37. Pinewood Nurseries, http://www.pinewoodnurseries.co.uk/farm_shop.aspx
38. Waltham Place, http://www.walthamplace.com/
39. House of Lords website, http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2010-01-07a.246.0&s=gm+speaker%3A13113#g250.1
40. Robin, note ii, pp. 232 – 234.
41. 21st Century Radio News, http://www.21stcenturyradio.com/articles/03/1113250.html
42. HSE website, http://www.hse.gov.uk/biosafety/gmo/publicregister.pdf
43. I attended a UKELA meeting on 15 July 2010 at Herbert Smith in London where Paula Whittell (Berrymans Lace Mawer) explained the background and consequences of the case from her point of view in acting for the local authority and Professor Paul Nathanail (University of Nottingham) considered the work, the evidence, the standards and the prospects for recurrence.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Organic Food Is More Nutritious Say EU Researchers







Early results of a 12 million pound, 4-year EU study on the benefits of organic food suggest that some of them, such as fruit, vegetables and milk, are more nutritious than non-organically produced food and may contain higher concentrations of cancer fighting and heart beneficial antioxidants.

To see full article, click here.