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GE soya imports to Spain exposed and rejected


GE soya imports to Spain exposed and rejected as part of Greenpeace global action against GMOs

Malaga, Spain - ‘Gene Detectives’ from the Greenpeace ship, the MV Esperanza, today intercepted and boarded a ship, the ‘Winner’, carrying thousands of tons of GE soya to demand an end to the massive contamination of the Spanish food supply by GE soya imports.

Greenpeace climbers boarded the ship from inflatable boats. The volunteers are now climbing the ships’ cranes to prevent these being used to off-load the portion of the cargo known to be GE if the ship continues into Malaga harbour. Volunteers are carrying banners in English and Spanish saying, Spain does not want GE Food; others have a more personal message We don`t want GE Food.

Lindsay Keenan, Greenpeace International GE Campaigner said; “GE soya does not feed the world as suggested by the misleading and cynical marketing of GE companies like Monsanto. GE soya does destroy the environment where it is grown in Argentina and then millions of tons of it are used to feed pigs, cows and chickens in Europe.” (1) (2).

The ‘Winner’ from Argentina is carrying about 9,000 tons of GE soya and about 11,000 tons of maize for the company Nidera. The GE status of the maize is not known at this time. Greenpeace ‘Gene Detectives’ are demanding documentation from the captain of the ‘Winner’ of exactly what GE crops his ship is carrying. Greenpeace also plans to take samples for independent analysis (3). Spain is the second largest importer of soya into the EU, importing six million tons annually from the USA, Argentina and Brazil, of which over four million tons are estimated to be GE/GE contaminated.

New EU regulations on traceability and labeling of GE crops came into force last week, 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 labeled.

“When Governments fail to protect our environment and our food safety, we need to take action to stop this dangerous and unwanted GE experiment,” said Daniela Montalto, Greenpeace Campaigner from Argentina. “In Argentina we have people going to bed hungry yet between 1997 and 2002 farmers in Argentina planted GE soya in over 14 million hectares of arable land, lured by the promises of higher crop yields and cheaper seeds. For a while the illusion worked, but now the truth is we are facing an environmental and social nightmare. We invite people the world over to reject GMOs in favour of real, sustainable agriculture which feeds people not pigs and we invite people to also vote with their wallet - Don`t buy GE food.”

Greenpeace has stepped up its campaign around the world against GE food. Shipments carrying soya suspected of being contaminated with GE have been targetted in ports around the world – The Rainbow Warrior held its position for eight hours yesterday in the channel of Port Kembla Harbour in Australia, delaying a U.S. shipment of GE soya leaving for Melbourne. Shoppers Guides have been launched in twenty countries including France, Brazil, Germany, Spain and Italy, the guides will effectively educate millions of consumers about GE products.

Daniela Montalto, Greenpeace GE Campaigner, in Argentina +54 911 447 51 008

Mhairi Dunlop, Greenpeace International Media Officer +31 646 2336 98

Notes:

1) In Argentina a massive 98% of soya is GE and the environmental and social disaster created by this is now becoming obvious as a recently published feature article in the `New Scientist` titled `Argentina`s Bitter Harvest` highlights - (Branford, S. (2004) Argentina's bitter harvest. New Scientist, 17th April 2004, pp. 40-43).

2) Greenpeace Briefing: Monsanto's GE 'Roundup Ready' Soya – What more can go wrong? March 2004 – available on Greenpeace website at: http://www.greenpeace.org/

3) The Cartagena Biosafety Protocol, under the Convention on Biological Diversity, sets up minimum safety standards regarding the transboundary movement of living GE organisms. Brazil is party to the Protocol. In February, the first Meeting of Parties adopted more detailed requirements on the documentation and labelling of GE organisms. The documentation accompanying transboundary movements will have to include the “common, scientific and commercial names” of the GE organisms in the shipment, as well as their “transformation event codes” or, where available, their “unique identifier codes”.

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