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Civil Action No. 98-1300 (CKK)



I, Rabbi Alan Green, state:
    1. I reside at 58 Vanier Drive, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I am the rabbi at Beth Israel Synagogue in Winnipeg, which is affiliated with Conservative Judaism. All information herein is based upon my personal knowledge.
    2. I and my wife are both U.S. citizens, and we spend a substantial amount of time each year in the U.S.
    3. I am a consumer of tomatoes, potatoes, soy products, cotton seed oil, squash, canola oil, corn, papaya, radicchio, products that contain these ingredients, food additives derived from these foods, and other food products that currently may be genetically engineered or may be developed in the future.
    4. The kosher dietary laws, which are grounded in the Torah, are a basic aspect of my religious life, and I adhere to them faithfully.
    5. These laws govern my choice, preparation and consumption of food. They specifically prohibit certain types of foods, food additives and ingredients, including those containing substances from insects and certain types of animals. I believe that substances produced by genes from these prohibited species are unacceptable. I further believe that when such genes are inserted within the DNA of an otherwise permissible organism, that organism and all products derived from it are made unkosher and thus spiritually unacceptable.
    6. I am informed that several types of food-producing plants have been engineered to contain genetic material from insects and that some researchers have even spliced human genes into plants. Because the FDA does not require pre-market notification and labeling of genetically engineered foods, I and my family do not know for sure whether these foods are still in developmental stages or are already on supermarket shelves. This deeply concerns me.
    7. Further, not only do the Hebrew scriptures impell my religious objections to foods containing genes from prohibited species, they -- along with rabbinical tradition -- prompt me to avoid all genetically engineered foods in general, even if the food does not contain genes from species that are specifically prohibited.
    8. The written Torah expressly forbids cross-breeding domestic animals of different species and also prohibits some other specific types of mixtures. (Leviticus 19:19.) Jewish oral law explains that these prohibitions extend to all animals and to most instances of grafting one species of plant to a member of a different species. Many authorities hold it is also forbidden to transfer sap between a vegetable and a tree, even in the absence of grafting.
    9. The majority of the rabbis who compiled the earliest version of the Talmud believed that these prohibitions are basic laws applying to all humans. Subsequently, the majority opinion came to regard them as applicable only to Jews. However, many authorities throughout the ages have maintained the more general view, which is a respected minority opinion.
    10. I personally hold the belief that all humans are meant to refrain from improper incursions on species boundaries. Further, I believe that such incursions generate some significant degree of negative spiritual energy.
    11. The express scriptural prohibitions support the view that spiritual negativity is generated by the act of performing particular types of cross-species mixtures. Yet, the majority position in Jewish law has long been that whatever negativity might have been created is not so severe as to pollute the product of the hybridization. Accordingly, while Jews are forbidden from performing specific acts of admixture, they are nonetheless permitted (in the view of the majority of authorities) to eat the fruits of such actions. However, several eminent rabbis have taken a stricter view and have taught that some forms of hybridization mix incompatible energies to such an extent that the resulting foods contain a corrupted energy.
    12. Further, Jewish law clearly recognizes that food can in several instances be imbued with negative spiritual energy to the degree that it should not be consumed. The scripturally ordained dietary laws explicitly state their purpose is to enable the Israelites to maintain a holy quality of life. Many rabbis have viewed the prohibited categories of food as ingrained with a negative spiritual energy that cannot be elevated even by the standard blessings. They have taught that if the children of Israel eat such foods, their own spiritual energy gets degraded.
    13. Some of these prohibited foods are inherently degraded because they come from a nonkosher species. Several other categories involve foods that are in themselves acceptable but become degraded through improper alterations. For instance, if a kosher animal is improperly slaughtered, its meat is rendered nonkosher.
    14. It is my view that genetic engineering is a form of such improper alteration. I believe that when the species boundaries are disrupted to an extreme extent in the production of new food organisms, these organisms themselves get spiritually polluted and that their negative energy transfers to the consumer. I further believe that the way in which recombinant DNA technology is currently being employed in food production is truly an extreme disruption of these natural boundaries and that its products are in general imbued with a spiritually degraded energy which remains with substances derived from the whole organism and transfers with them into other foods in which they become ingredients.
    15. I believe this position is in line with the substance and spirit of Jewish law as elucidated by many great rabbis, including Rabbi Moses ben Nachman (Nachmanides), who taught that mixing up the species causes a deep disruption in the subtle fabric of nature.
    16. I believe that genetic engineering greatly exceeds all other methods of creating new varieties of food-producing organisms in its distortion and disruption of natural boundaries and structures. No other technique can fuse genes from vastly different species; none other consistently creates such disturbance to the DNA of the involved organism(s); none other relies upon promoters from viruses to drive expression of the transferred genetic material (and, consequently, none other routinely causes genes to function outside the organism?s intricately designed regulatory system).
    17. While other forms of hybridization may not generate a substantial degree of spiritual negativity in their products, I believe that recombinant DNA technology clearly does. Therefore, as a matter of religious principle, I feel obliged to avoid consuming the products of this radical technology.
    18. Because the defendants do not require the labeling of genetically engineered foods, it is extremely difficult for me to know whether the foods that I am buying, preparing and consuming (when I am in the U.S.) are in keeping with my beliefs. This is especially so in light of the fact so many processed foods contain ingredients from soy, corn, cottonseed, and rapeseed (canola). It is my understanding that a substantial percentage of these crops grown in the U.S. have been genetically engineered, and that, due to the absence of labeling requirements, the engineered crops are routinely mixed with the conventionlly produced ones. Consequently, in order to avoid substances derived from genetically engineered organisms, one must refrain (when in the U.S.) from purchasing around 70 to 80 per cent of packaged foods. This is very onerous.
    19. Because of their failure to require labeling of genetically engineered foods, defendants have substantially burdened my exercise of my Judaic religious beliefs. 20. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1746, I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed on: June 24, 1999.

                                                                                        Rabbi Alan Green