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Polish GE seed ban big step towards sustainability

Polish GE seed ban big step towards sustainable agriculture

Poland 18th May 2006 - Greenpeace welcomed the ban on the sale of genetically engineered (GE) seeds, which was approved yesterday by the President of Poland Lech Kaczynski. The signing by the President was the final step for the GE ban to come into force, the legislation was approved by both chambers of the Polish Parliament in previous weeks.

One of the amendments of the new act states that, "genetically engineered varieties will no longer be registered in the National Seeds Catalogue", another adds that trading of GE seeds is forbidden within Polish territory. These regulations constitute a big step forward in order to keep the country's agriculture completely free of GE crops.

"This decision by the Polish President shows that political decision makers are at last taking into account the serious perils connected with planting of GE crops, these crops are not needed and pose a grave danger to the environment, consumers and farmers' livelihoods," said Maciej Muskat, Greenpeace GE campaigner in Poland. "The Government has kept their word to Polish voters, farmers and environmentalists and implemented this ban - a promise that was given prior to the last election."

The ban is a clear political signal that directly contravenes the recent WTO ruling, the verdict declared EU member states national bans on GE organisms are in breach of the rules of free trade. "Poland has implemented this GE seeds ban in defiance of bullying from both the European Commission and the WTO," said Mr Muskat.

There are now 12 GE organism bans in seven EU countries, more than in 2003 when the US presented its case against the EU to the WTO. The Polish announcement is a blow to US agro-chemical giants, as Poland is the second biggest agricultural food producer in the EU.

"Greenpeace will continue to work with and encourage other countries to follow the Polish example, which has put environmental concerns and sustainable agriculture above the profits of agro-chemical conglomerates." Concluded Mr Muskat.

ENDS

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