Genetic Engineering Policy Alliance Newsletter - January 2007
Launch in San Francisco
On Wednesday February 14th, members of the Genetic Engineering Policy Alliance are hosting a launch and breakfast roundtable discussion from 9:00 to 10:30 in San Francisco. You are invited to join us to meet, network with each other, and learn about 2007 state legislation on genetic engineering.
The event is co-hosted by The Center for Food Safety, Center for Environmental Health, and Californians for GE-Free Agriculture. It will be held at the office of The Center for Food Safety, 2601 Mission St., Room 803. For more information, contact Tracy Lerman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Genetic Engineering Legislation
A subset of the GE Policy Alliance is forming a lobbying coalition to introduce and advocate for a state bill that will address several aspects of the GE Policy Platform you all support. We will keep you informed as this bill takes shape, and once it is introduced, we will let you know what it entails. If you would like more information or would like to be directly involved, please contact Renata Brillinger (email@example.com or 707-874-0316).
The following organizations and businesses have recently joined the Genetic Engineering Policy Alliance – welcome!
- Agricultural Land-Based Training Association
- California Farmers Union
- Coalition for Clean Air
- Earth Island Institute
- Organic Seed Alliance
- South Central Farmers Cooperative
- Whole Foods
Each month, we profile a few Alliance members to help you get to know each other, understand why diverse organizations support the GE Policy Alliance, and give you a chance to describe your work. Please contact us if you would like to be featured!
Breast Cancer Action - 415-243-9301
Breast Cancer Action (BCA) is a national grassroots education and advocacy organization located in San Francisco. BCA carries the voices of people affected by breast cancer to inspire and compel the changes necessary to end the breast cancer epidemic.
BCA believes in the precautionary principle of public health--the concept that tells us it's better to be safe than to be sorry. In the case of genetic engineering, there is a lot that we don't know about the health effects of this technology. At a time when breast cancer is occurring at alarmingly high rates, and when less than half of breast cancer cases are caused by traditional lifestyle factors or genetics, we must consider the impact of the chemicals and technologies we introduce into the environment and consequently into our bodies. We're at a crossroads right now where, as a society, we have the choice to either proceed with caution, or continue the use of genetic engineering, only to find out years down the road that it is adversely affecting human health.
California Food and Justice Coalition - 310-822-5410
The California Food and Justice Coalition is a statewide membership coalition of more than 75 state and community-base organizations that come together to promote the basic human right to healthy food while advancing social, agricultural, environmental and economic justice.
We have joined the GE policy alliance because we envision a California food system in which all activities, from farm to table, are equitable, healthful, regenerative and community-driven. To this end we support the Alliance’s work to promote the public’s right-to-know about GE crops that are in our food and agriculture and to safeguard the environment and public health from damage due to exposure to GE crops and food.
Genetic Engineering News:
Insulin-Producing Safflower Moves a Step Closer to Being Approved.
In mid-January, a company called SemBioSys Genetics Inc., based in Calgary, Canada, announced that their research demonstrates that insulin produced from a genetically engineered safflower is “indistinguishable from human insulin analytically and physiologically.” SemBioSys has applied to USDA for a permit to grow 1000 acres of the insulin safflower in Washington State in 2007. This announcement indicates the pharmaceutical-producing crop is moving along in the federal regulatory process towards commercialization.
Insulin is currently produced using fermentation techniques in laboratories without threatening the food supply with inadvertent contamination by the drug. California is one of the major safflower growing areas in the world, and the possibility of contamination or escape into wild relatives by the insulin-producing crop presents a significant threat to farmers and their markets. The compatible safflower wild relative, Carthamus oxyacanthus, is found in California, where it is a quarantined invasive and is widely considered a noxious weed. No studies have been done to determine if contamination of the wild relative would increase its invasiveness, nor is it known what impact insulin has on birds and other wildlife that inevitably consume the safflower seed.