Monsanto's (rGBH)
Genetically Modified Milk
Ruled Unsafe By The UN

Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999
From: dan steinberg <
The news release on rBGH milk is misleading! Here is a copy of an e-mail I received today.
Dan Steinberg ________________
Press Release VERY Misleading Important News Wire Clarification
On August 18, 1999 received, via PRNewsWire, a news story entitled "MONSANTO'S GENETICALLY MODIFIED MILK RULED UNSAFE BY THE UNITED NATIONS."
Due to the high industry interest in the GMO issues, we sent out a News Flash and included the story in our August 19, 1999 News Briefs. We have been contacted by the Pure Food Campaign, Organic Trade Association and The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods (The Campaign) regarding the misleading nature of this story. The creator of this story expended considerable time and expense to disseminate this erroneous account of the events at the CODEX meeting. Furthermore, this Press Release was sent to news wire services worldwide and picked up by many including our own automated news service.
All stories that appear in the Business NewsWire come from legitimate sources. From time to time we will see a story that does not sound exactly accurate and we choose to exclude it until the story can be verified. We failed to verify this story for accuracy. We apologize to our readers for the confusion this created. Director Nichole Hastings called the CODEX office in an attempt to clarify the differing views of this story. According to the CODEX office, the account provided us by OTA, Pure Food and The Campaign is an accurate reflection of the real facts.
The Campaign has provided the most detailed account of the events. Below is an excerpt from their email alert regarding Monsanto at the CODEX meeting.
(From The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods August 19, 1999 email alert)
"The 23rd Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission was held in Rome, June 28th to July 3rd. While the press release would have you believe that a major vote was taken at this meeting on genetically engineered bovine growth hormone milk, that was not the case. What really happened was that the United States realized they were not going to get a consensus vote on the issue and decided to table the item until a future time. This is far different than what was portrayed in the press release.
For those of you who want to know more details, you can read the Report
of the 23rd Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission 28 June - 3 July 1999 by going to their web site at: < f
Once you are at that web page, click on the Report (PDF File) link on the left. You will need Adobe Acrobat software to read the report. For
those of you who do not have access, I will excerpt the relevant information here as found on page 13 of the Report.
Let me preface this by giving you some background. At the previous 22nd
Codex session, the Codex Alimentarius Commission decided to suspend the
consideration of Maximum Reside Limits for Bovine Somatotropins (BST) otherwise known as bovine growth hormone or rBGH. The reason for the suspension was so that scientific data could be re-evaluated. Since then, there has been more evidence that BST is not safe. Since the United States realized that they were not going to win on this issue, they essentially dropped it. Here is how the Report reads:
"(Item) 76. The Delegation of the United States stated that in its opinion, the scientific evaluation should be the only determining factor of the MRLs (Maximum Reside Limits), and that on the basis of these evaluations the MRLs should be adopted. Nevertheless, the Delegation (U.S.) noted the lack of consensus on this issue and proposed that the MRLs be held at Step 8
with a view to resuming their consideration in the future at such a time as it appeared that it might be possible to arrive at a consensus."
The reference to Step 8 is relative to the steps Codex takes in establishing policies. The Delegation from Germany then supported the U.S. proposal to retain the MRLs at step 8. Since no other views were presented by members, the Commission decided to hold the MRLs at Step 8."
That is quite different than Dr. Epstein's press release would have you believe. I (Craig Winters) discovered the shortcomings of the press release from a posting on the Cornell University biotech e-mail list by Robert Cohen. Robert has a web site at <http://www.notmilk.com and is very up on milk-related issues. As Robert Cohen stated, "That's a nice story, but it never happened." Mr. Cohen also provided the telephone number to verify what he described as a fraud. I called the telephone number and was later called back by the FDA agent responsible for international food issues who verified that what the press release stated was misleading. He also directed me to the Codex report so I could verify the data myself.
I have not met Dr. Epstein, but I assume he had good intentions with his press release. However, many people are thinking that some major ruling by the United Nations just took place a couple days ago that struck a major blow at the genetic engineering industry and Monsanto. In truth, a somewhat minor event took place over six weeks ago. It is for that point of clarification that The Campaign's management felt we needed to provide some additional information on this issue.
Many of the points Dr. Epstein makes are very good and accurate. It is the title and opening paragraphs that we feel need to be put into perspective when reading it."
Craig Winters Executive Director The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods
The Campaign
PO Box 55699
Seattle, WA 98155
Tel: 425-771-4049
Fax: 603-825-5841
E-mail: <
Web Site: <http://www.thecampaign.org
We at wish to thank the diligence of these excellent
organizations in bringing this information our attention so quickly. We
apologize to our readers for the confusion created and have removed the
story from our news wire.
Nichole Hastings
"You may be flexible on strategy, but must remain consistent on
principle." -- Unknown

CHICAGO (PRNewswire via COMTEX) - The following was released today by Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Professor of Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois School of Public Health, Chicago:
The Codex Alimentarius Commission, the U.N. Food Safety Agency representing 101 nations worldwide, has ruled unanimously in favor of the1993 European moratorium on Monsanto's genetically engineered hormonal milk (rBGH). This unexpected ruling, revealingly greeted by the U.S. press with deafening silence, is a powerful blow against U.S. global trade policies which are strongly influenced by powerful multi-national corporations, such as Monsanto. The Codex Commission ruling has also forced the U.S. to abandon its threats to challenge the European moratorium before the World Trade Organization later this year. As importantly, the ruling represents the first large scale defeat of genetically modified foods on unarguable scientific grounds, apart from ethical and ideological concerns.
Since the Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of unlabeled rBGH milk in February 1994, the U.S. has exerted considerable pressure on Mexico and other trading partners to approve rBGH in efforts to increase pressure on Europe through the World Trade Organization. In this, they have been strongly supported by reports from the Food and Agriculture/World Health Organization's (FAO/WHO) Joint Expert Committees on Food Additives (JECFA), including its latest September 1998 report, which unequivocally absolved rBGH from any adverse veterinary and public health effects. However, these JECFA committees, besides others such as those claiming the safety of meat from cattle treated with sex hormones, operate under conditions of non-transparency and conflicts of interest, and are predominantly staffed by unelected and unaccountable U.S. and Canadian regulatory officials and industry consultants with no expertise in public health, preventive medicine and carcinogenesis. The 1998 JECFA report on rBGH was then submitted to the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods, chaired by FDA's Director for Veterinary Medicine Dr. Stephen Sundloff who also played a prominent rolein the 1998 JECFA Committee. The Codex Committee promptly rubber stamped JECFA's seal of approval for rBGH with the confident expectation that this would be subsequently endorsed by the parent Codex Commission. However, the best laid plans of Monsanto and the FDA were aborted by an unexpected turn of events.
Bowing to growing pressure in 1998 by Canadian advocacy groups, "dissident" government scientists and the Senate Agriculture Committee. Health Canada convened expert committees on veterinary and human safety under the auspices of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, respectively. Based on conclusions on the adverse veterinary effects of rBGH, particularly an increased incidence of mastitis, lameness and reproductive problems, Health Canada reluctantly broke ranks with the U.S. in January 1999, and issued a formal "notice of non- compliance", disapproving future sales of rBGH.
Meanwhile, the European Commission had commissioned two independent committees of internationally recognized experts to undertake a comprehensive review of the scientific literature on both the veterinary and public health effects of rBGH. The veterinary committee fully confirmed and extended the Canadian warnings and conclusions. The public health committee confirmed earlier reports of excess levels of the naturally occurring Insulin-like-Growth Factor One (IGF-1), including its highly potent variants, in rBGH milk and concluded that these posed major risks of cancer, particularly of the breast and prostate, besides promoting the growth and invasiveness of cancer cells by inhibiting their programmed self-destruction (apoptosis). Faced with this latest well documented scientific evidence from both Canada and Europe, the U.S. bowed to the inevitable and failed to challenge the Codex ruling in support of the European moratorium.
It is now 15 years since Monsanto embarked on a series of large scale veterinary trials on rBGH all over the U.S., and sold milk from these trials to an uninformed and unsuspecting public with the full approval of the FDA. Since then, Monsanto and the FDA, strongly supported by a network of indentured university academics, aggressive lobbying by the National Dairy Council and its well organized "hit squads" targeting rBGH opponents, andan overwhelmingly uncritical media, have ignored or trivialized substantial scientific evidence on the hazards of rBGH milk, including a series of publications over the last decade in the International Journal of Health Services, the most prestigious international public health publication. Also ignored by the media have been charges in 1981 by Congressman John Conyers (then Chairman of the House Committee on Government Operations), on the basis of a leaked confidential Monsanto study revealing serious pathology in cows injected with rBGH, that "Monsanto and the FDA have chosen to suppress and manipulate animal health test data in efforts to approve commercial use ofrBGH".
These considerations reinforce growing concerns on the extreme unreliability of Monsanto and other biotech industry claims of the safety of genetically modified soy and other foods, especially in the absence of comprehensive testing by independent scientific experts, who should be funded by industry and not consumers.
For more Industry News - -- Nichole Hastings Director
Campaign for Food Safety (formerly Pure Food Campaign) 860 Highway 61, Little Marais, Minnesota 55614 Activist or Media Inquiries: (218) 226-4164, Fax: (218) 226-4157 Ronnie Cummins E-mail: <