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GE soya imports to Italy exposed

GE soya imports to Italy exposed reject as part of Greenpeace global action against GMOs*

*Chioggia, Italy,

*--The Greenpeace ship "Esperanza" this morning intercepted the Panama-registered bulk carrier, Keoyang Majesty, carrying 40,000 thousands tonnes of Argentinean Genetically Engineered (GE) soya to demand an end to the massive contamination of the Italian food supply by GE soya imports.

Greenpeace activists from Hungary, Australia and Germany have boarded the Keoyang Majesty, and are occupying two onboard cranes and one activist is hanging from the anchor chain, displaying banners saying "Don't Buy GE Food" and "Defend Yourself from GMOs".

"Italian consumers do not want GMOs to contaminate their food supply. We have a right to know and to say no to this GE soya in our food", said Federica Ferrario, Greenpeace Italy campaigner. "This GE soya is not feeding the world as claimed by the GE industries cynical marketing, it is used for feeding pigs, cows and chickens in Europe."

The Keoyang Majesty from Argentina is transporting GE soyameal for the multinational companies Bunge and Cargill, to be used for animal feed. Italy imports 4.2 million tonnes of soya annually for food and animal feed of which over three million tonnes are estimated to be GE or GE contaminated (1).

"Almost 100% of soya is GE in Argentina. This GE-soya obsession has become an environmental and social nightmare in Argentina. However, Argentina is determined to produce GE soya to feed pigs, cows and chickens in the developed world. Meanwhile, many Argentinean families are being evicted from their lands to make room for large GE soya plantations," said Daniela Montalto, Greenpeace International GE Campaigner from Argentina, who is on board the Esperanza.

Greenpeace has stepped up its campaign around the world against GE food. Many shipments carrying soya suspected of being contaminated with GE are being targeted in ports around the world. Yesterday, after a 19 hour-long Greenpeace action, the ‘Global Wind’ had to leave the GE-free port of Paranagua, Brazil, without loading non-GE soya on top of its Argentinian GE soya cargo (2). Shoppers Guides have been launched in twenty countries including France, Brazil, China, Germany, Spain, Italy and Australia, the guides will effectively educate millions of consumers about GE products.

*Notes to editors:*

1) European statistics office 2002

2) The Global Wind carries about 30,000 tons of GE soya from the company, Bunge in Argentina, and was supposed to load another 10,000 tons of conventional soya from Bunge subsidiary Fertimport, in the port of Paranagua in Parana state, Brazil. Parana, the second largest soya producing state in Brazil, has banned GMOs on its territory and the Greenpeace action against Global Wind was intended to prevent non-GE soya exports from Parana being mixed with GE soya from Argentina.

New EU regulations on traceability and labelling of GE crops came into force three weeks ago; however, Greenpeace is highly critical of a major loophole in the new EU rules, with regard to meat and dairy products, insisting that for consumer choice to be meaningful, meat and dairy products from animals fed with GMOs must also be labelled.

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