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ISIS Report 11/06/07

Scientists for a GM Free Europe

Final Announcement

Scientists from six countries join forces with MEPs to call for a Europe wide and worldwide ban on growing GM crops.

The event coincides with key scientific publications [1,2] on how national and international regulators have been ignoring damning evidence against the safety of GM food and feed while colluding with industry to manipulate scientific research to promote GM crops. The scientific papers will be presented to the European Parliament together with a comprehensive dossier containing more than 160 fully referenced articles from the Science in Society archives documenting the serious hazards ignored, the scientific fraud, the regulatory sham and violation of farmers' rights [3]

Time: 10:00-13:15
Date: 12 June 2007
Venue: Room P5B001, Paul Henri Spaak Building, European Parliament, Brussels

Notes:

1. Seralini G-E, Cellier D and de Vendomois JS. New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically modified maize reveals signs of hepatorenal toxicity. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 2007, 52, 596-602.

2. Ho MW, Cummins J and Saunders PT. GM food nightmare unfolding in the regulatory sham. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 2007,published online 7 June 2007, DOI: 10.1080/08910600701 343781

3. GM Science Exposed: Hazards Ignored, Fraud, Regulatory Sham, and Violation of Farmers' Rights, Science in Society Spring 2003-Summer 2007, ISIS CD Book, 2007.
( http://www.i-sis.org.uk/pdf/Papers_on_GM_Hazards.pdf )

For further details please contact:

Sam Burcher or Andy Watton, tel: 44-(0)20-8452-2729, e-mail: sam@I-sis.org.uk , andy@I-sis.org.uk

Agenda

10:00 Welcoming Remarks Prof. Peter Saunders , Institute of Science in Society (ISIS), UK

10:05 Opening and Chairman's Remarks Mr. Janusz Wojciechowski MEP ,Vice Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

10:10 Special Address Ms. Jill Evans MEP

10:15 Dr. Mae-Wan Ho , Director of ISIS, UK No to GMOs, No to GM Science

10:30 Dr. Irina Ermakova , Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards

10:45 Dr. Christian Velot , University of Caen, France and CriiGen ( Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering, France) WhyCriiGen?

11:00 Dr. Caroline Lucas , Green MEP Why Europe has to be GM Free

11:15 Coffee/Tea break

11:30 Dr. Eva Novotny , Scientists for Global Responsibility, UK Transgene Contamination Is Inevitable

11:45 Prof. Joe Cummins , ISIS, Canada GM Crops and Colony Collapse of Honeybees

12:00 Dr. Zbigniew Halat , Association for Protection of Consumer Health, Poland Resistance to GMOs in Poland, Its Roots and Fruits

12:15 Dr. Pietro Perrino , Institute of Plant Genetics, CNR, Bari, Italy The Genebanks Robbers

12:30 Mr. Jeffrey Smith , IRT, USA Documented Health Risks of GM Food and Feed

12:45 General discussion

13:10 Closing remarks Prof. Peter Saunders

Quotes from Speakers

Mr. Janusz Wojciechowski , MEP, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development: “For me it is obvious that decisions on GMOs must be based on public opinion, and I do my best in that regard as one of the decision makers in the EU, to safeguard the health of citizens above all.”

Dr. Joe Cummins, Emeritus Professor of Genetics , University of Western Ontario, Canada: “The collapse of honeybees worldwide is almost certainly a combination of different factors including mobile phone transmitters, new systemic neonicotinoid pesticides used in seed dressings and sprays in both conventional and GM crops, and GM crops containing Bt toxins, a biopesticide. Bt biopesticides reduce the honeybee's immunity to infection by parasitic fungi that are also widely used as biocontrol agents, so it is a case of casualty from friendly fire. The honeybee is a major pollinator of our food crops, and its demise is a dire warning that the extinction of the human species is not far behind”

Dr. Irina Ermakova of the Russian Academy of Sciences: “So many things went wrong for rats fed genetically modified soybeans. They became more anxious and aggressive, there was a high mortality of rat pups born to the females in the first generation, disturbances of reproductive function,s and pathological changes in the internal organs of males and females.”

Dr. Zbigniew Halat , President of the Association for Protection of Consumers Health: “The problems created by genetic engineering are global, it is the proliferation of a kind of biological weapon of mass destruction worldwide.”

Dr. Eva Novotny of SGR: “There can be no co-existence of GM and non-GM crops, as the latest research shows that GM pollen can be transported downwind tens of kilometres. It is clear that we have to make our choice right now.”

Mr. Jeffrey Smith worked with more than 30 scientists over the past two years, compiling the health risks of GM foods for his new book, Genetic Roulette : “There is now irrefutable evidence that GM foods are unsafe. Animal trials show damage to virtually every system studied, reports describe thousands of sick, sterile and dead livestock, large numbers of people link toxic or allergic symptoms to GM products, and most of the fundamental assumptions about the technology, used as the basis for safety claims, have been overturned.”

Dr. Pietro Perrino , Director of Research, Institute of Plant Genetics, (formerly Institute of Germplasm) Bari, Italy: “We urgently need to protect the gene banks as they may soon be the only source of uncontaminated seed stocks in the world. This may be why the biotech industry and their supporters are so keen to see them destroyed after they've sequenced the genomes and patented the genes.”

Dr. Christian Velot of Criigen: “Practically all the studies finding “no effect” of GM food and feed are done by companies seeking market approval or funded by them. This research simply does not stand up to independent scientific scrutiny, and regulators are putting people at serious health risks by accepting such research results.”

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho , Director of ISIS: “ GMOs are not only hazardous for health and bad for the environment, they will severely damage our chances of surviving global warming. GM crops need more fossil fuels and water to grow, both of which are fast diminishing. Europe cannot afford to waste any more time and resources on GMOs, we must start investing in sustainable food and energy systems now.”

Brief Biographies

Dr. Joe Cummins, Professor Emeritus of Genetics , University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, is one of the earliest critics of genetic engineering. He obtained BS Horticulture, Washington State University 1955 and PhD Cellular Biology, University of Wisconsin 1962. Carried out postdoctoral research at Edinburgh, Palermo, Stockholm (Karolinska) and the Macardle Laboratory for Cancer Research University of Wisconsin. Taught genetics at Rutgers and the University of Washington, Seattle before joining University of Western Ontario in 1972. Became involved in environmental issues from 1968 including mercury, asbestos, PCB and pesticide pollution along with waste sites and incinerators. His critiques of genetic modification began in 1988 when he encountered the power of multinational corporations over the Canadian federal government, and their refusal to face serious risk evaluations. He has published over 200 scientific and popular articles, and is an associate editor and regular contributor to Science in Society .

Jill Evans MEP , member of the Green/European Free Alliance Group, Vice President of Plaid Cymru and party spokesperson for European and International issues and chair of CND Cymru, member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety with special interest in food safety and GMOs, member of the Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Authorities, and deputises on the Committee for Regional Development and Committee for Women's Rights and Gender Equality; attended University in Aberystwyth and gained her M.Phil. at the former Polytechnic of Wales; worked for the National Federation of Women's Institutes in Wales for six years before becoming Wales Regional Organiser for CHILD, the National Infertility Support Network; Councillor for seven years on the former Rhondda Borough and Mid Glamorgan County Councils and then Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council; elected Plaid Cymru's Alternate Member of the Committee of the Regions in 1993, served for four years, and was also the party's representative on the European Free Alliance, working with Plaid Cymru's sister parties throughout the continent; Chair of Plaid Cymru 1994-96, and elected first MEP in Plaid Cymru's history together with fellow candidate Eurig Wyn in June 1999.

Dr. Zbigniew Halat medical doctor, consultant epidemiologist; CEO of Health Risk Management & Communication; Chairman of The John Snow International Society for Common Sense in Public Health; President of Association for Protection of Consumers Health; Founder of The Dr Halat Water Institute; Former Deputy Minister of Health in first three non-communist governments of post-war Poland; fought epidemic outbreaks of foodborne and waterborn diseases in the 1970s; consultant epidemiologist in Central Province of the Republic of Kenya in the 1980s, witnessed the birth of a new epidemic, HIV/AIDS, which became an important target of his activity under auspices of Polish Red Cross after he returned to Poland; as Deputy Minister of Health, Chief Sanitary Inspector. He introduced to post-communist Poland the latest advances in public health: environmental health, health promotion and peer education; his achievements were described by a prestigious medical journal as follows: “the quixotic and controversial deputy minister of health, government sanitary inspector, and chief environmental health officer, Zbigniew Halat MD is engaged in a personal crusade to shake the health service out of the spiritual atrophy induced by 45 years of communism. Hard working, self reliant, aggressive, and abrasively masculine, this man of Promethean energies put me in mind of a nineteenth century northern mill owner" (Karin Chopin, Letters from Poland, British Medical Journal, 30 May, 6 June, and 13 June 1992). He later developed a new branch of medicine, consumer medicine, focusing on diagnostic, preventive and legal aspects of health risks linked to consumer goods, from tap water to genetically engineered products. Since 1999 Dr. Halat became an icon of anti-GMO movemwnt in Poland; he is editor-in-chief of a health protection movement periodical Health Risks in Poland , columnist of a monthly Consumer's World linked to European and US consumer opinion magazines, and collaborator of influential radio and tv broadcasting stations.

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho , B.Sc. Biol (First Class) and Ph.D. Biochemistry. Hong Kong University; co-founder and Director of the Institute of Science in Society, a not-for-profit organisation promoting social responsibility and holistic, ecological approaches in science, Editor and Art Director of the magazine Science in Society ; Science Advisor to the Third World Network and on the Roster of Experts for the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety. She has a long and distinguished career in research and teaching at universities in the United States and the UK in several disciplines; numerous publications including 151 scientific papers and 14 books; best known for pioneering a ‘physics of organisms', and as major critic of neo-Darwinism and genetic engineering.

Dr Caroline Lucas (to come)

Dr. Eva Novotny, retired astrophysicist, read physics for an A.B. degree from Barnard College, Columbia University, New York and obtained a Ph.D. in astronomy from Columbia University; worked at several universities in Great Britain, lastly at the Institute of Astronomy of the University of Cambridge; Co-ordinator for GM Issues at Scientists for Global Responsibility for several years and continues occasionally to write for that web site; also an Associate of ISIS.

Dr. Pietro Perrino, Research Director of CNR at the Plant Genetic Institute in Bari, Italy, formerly Director of the Germplasm Institute of CNR (Gene Bank) (Bari, Italy, 1983-2002), FAO expert for gene banks in the Midle East (1978), Professor of Systematic Botany and Ecology (1992-1996). He is author of more than 300 scientific papers on safeguarding plant genetic resources.

Mr. Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology; author of Seeds of Deception , the world's best selling book on the health risks of GMOs, credited with motivating changes in legislation and consumer buying habits. His new book Genetic Roulette : The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods , highlights 65 adverse reactions and theoretical dangers of GM foods, shows why government assessments are not competent to identify most of the health dangers, and reveals how industry-funded research is often meticulously designed to avoid finding problems. He has lectured in 25 countries and has been quoted by government leaders and hundreds of media outlets across the globe including, The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC World Service, Nature, The Independent, Daily Telegraph, New Scientist, The Times, and Time Magazine. In 2007, he united leaders to support The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America , a revolutionary industry and consumer movement to remove GMOs from the natural food industry.

Dr. Christian Velot (to come)

Dr. Ermakova Irina Vladimirovna , B.Sc. and Ph.D. Biology, Moscow Univeristy, Chief Scientist at The Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology Russian Academy of Science, has 123 publications and participated in numerous international conferences, and has performed joint investigations with scientists in Czechoslovakia, UK, USA and Sweden.

Mr Janusz Wojciechowski, MEP,Vice Chairman of Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development; Member of the Union for Europe of the Nations Group at the European Parliament; Master of Law at University of Lódz (1977); Member of Parliament of the Polish Republic (1993-1995; 2001-2004), and President of the Polish Supreme Chamber of Control (1995-2001).

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