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Novartis Bows to Consumer Pressure

Novartis Bows to Consumer Pressure and Stops Producing Genetically Engineered Food

Novartis, one of the world’s leading producers of genetically engineered seeds, has informed Greenpeace that it will no longer use genetically engineered ingredients (GE) in its food products worldwide. Novartis is the first multinational company to commit to non-GE standard in food globally.

The letter to Greenpeace from Novartis’ Consumer Health Department in Belgium confirmed that on 30th June 2000, the company stopped producing food containing GE-ingredients in its own brands. The production of a candy bar “Cereal Chocosoja” has been stopped as no guarantee of its non-GE quality could be given.

Greenpeace applauds Novartis’ decision to give equal right to all consumers worldwide to have access to GE free food.

“Novartis has taken the lead to abolish the common practice of double standards, when high quality GE-free food is sold to the consumers in Europe, and unlabelled genetically engineered food is sold to consumers elsewhere such as in the Americas and Asia. Greenpeace demands other food producers follow this example,” said Isabelle Meister, Greenpeace International Genetic Engineering Campaigner.

Although Novartis has committed to use non-GE ingredients in its own food brands, the same company is still producing and selling genetically modified Bt maize to the farmers and is still, therefore, contaminating the food chain and the environment. One of the Novartis Bt maize crops has been banned in several European countries because of environmental and health concerns but the company has so far refused to withdraw it from the market.

“Novartis should also recognise the environmental risks its GE-agricultural products carry, and become consistent in its policy by stopping the production and sale of GE-seeds,” Meister added.

“Greenpeace calls on all global food producers to demolish their double standards on selling GE-food, especially companies such as Nestle who continue to ignore consumer demand for GE-free food in New Zealand whilst guaranteeing GE-free food in Europe” said Annette Cotter, GE campaigner for Greenpeace in New Zealand.

For more information:
Annette Cotter, Greenpeace NZ GE Campaigner - 09 630 6317 or 025 927 301; Isabelle Meister, Greenpeace International Genetic Engineering Campaigner - (mobile): +41-794184455 or +31 20 5249516; Teresa Merilainen, Greenpeace International, Media Officer, Tel: +31 20 523 6637 or +31 625 031001.

Novartis letter to Greenpeace (in French) is available on Greenpeace web site: http://www.greenpeace.org

Clipreel footage of Greenpeace actions targeting Novartis in France, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg are available from Teresa Merilainen in Amsterdam.

Pictures are available on request from Annette Cotter.

ends

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