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[SANET-MG] pharm crop tests must be made public
The article below is a major advance in dealing with pharm crop test
sites.The threat from the industry speaker "If crop locations were made
public, it would be "a real detriment for continuing to do business in
that area." seems like a welcome offer and one in which people can
rejoice! The threat of vandalism flaunted by industry and their lackeys
in the bureaucracy is an admission by industry that they are not
prepared to provide adequate security for their tests!
Environmental groups win biotech crops suit
Friday, August 06, 2004
By Associated Press
HONOLULU — A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Department of
Agriculture to identify where four companies are performing open-field
testing of genetically modified crops in Hawaii.
U.S. District Judge David Ezra said that the government must reveal the
locations to the environmental watchdog group Earthjustice and the
Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit group that tracks food production
The groups sued the government in November, alleging that the agency has
failed to properly regulate genetically engineered crops.
"It's definitely a victory," said Isaac Moriwake, an attorney for
Earthjustice. "It's basically an affirmation that the defendants haven't
been able to show that this kind of information is confidential."
The government and the biotech industry argued that public disclosure of
the sites could lead to crop vandalism and corporate espionage of trade
"It's disappointing," said Lisa Dry, a spokeswoman for the Biotechnology
Industry Organization. If crop locations were made public, it would be
"a real detriment for continuing to do business in that area."
Ezra gave the USDA 90 days to prove that releasing the locations to the
public would cause irreparable damage to the biotech industry.
Earthjustice sought the locations of so-called "biopharms" to force the
USDA to conduct environmental impact statements before allowing
open-field crop research.
Biopharming is a relatively new area of research where plants are
engineered to produce nonfood items, such as drugs or industrial chemicals.
Michael Rodemeyer, executive director for the independent Pew Initiative
on Food and Biotechnology, said there are strong arguments on both sides
of the disclosure issue.
"Certainly there are ways to make more information available to
consumers," he said. "It's not clear that crop location information is
really going to help people understand more about what these safety
"It may give them a greater sense of confidence, but that has to in turn
be weighed against the potential that these crops could end up being
destroyed which may end up spreading some of these crops around."
Source: Associated Press
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