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8-Misc: Greenpeace protests US GE exports to Europe



Greenpeace protests US GE exports to Europe

Hamburg, December 8, 1999 - Greenpeace protested this morning in
Hamburg harbour against the continuing US exports of genetically
engineered (GE) maize. Greenpeace activists positioned themselves in the
water in front of freighter Unison bringing in corn gluten feed from the US.
Activists unfurled a banner with a text 'GEN FOOD: EUROPE SAYS
NO'

'Across Europe, consumers have unequivocally rejected GE food, and a
majority of EU supermarkets and food producers have responded to this
concern by eliminating GE ingredients from their products,' said Jan van
Aken of Greenpeace. 'Despite this, we are still faced with these massive
GE imports. GE crops are being smuggled onto our dinner plates by the
backdoor in animal feed.'

The cargo of the Unison is destined for a German feed manufacturer
HaBeMa. 'Over 60 per cent of traded maize and about 95 per cent of
soya meal go into animal feed production,' said van Aken. 'HaBeMa as
the rest of the feed industry needs to go GE free to prevent environmental
damage GE crops are bound to cause from happening.'

About 70 per cent of the protein content of European animal feed is
imported from the Americas. In the US, about 57 per cent of this year's
soya harvest and 38 per cent of the maize is genetically engineered. As
there are no GE labelling rules in the EU for animal feed, farmers have no
way of knowing the contents of the feed.
'
Since there is no labelling of GE ingredients in animal feed, farmers have
no way of knowing whether GE ingredients are being used or not,' said
van Aken. 'A consumer who refuses to eat GE food may find herself
unwittingly tucking into an egg or sausage or piece of fish or chicken from
an animal raised on GE feed.'

The demand for GE free supply in Europe has increased as the European
animal producers and supermarkets are looking for GE free supply. For
example Swedish animal feed industry which has been GE free since
1996 has replaced American corn gluten feed with European feed to
avoid GE contamination. Also the US soya exports to the EU have
dropped about 30 per cent from 9.3 million tonnes in 1996 to 6.5 million
tonnes in 1998. During the same period the soya exports from Brazil, a
country, which does not plant GE crops went up from 3.1 million tonnes
to 5.4 tonnes.

The Hamburg action is a part of Greenpeace's ongoing campaign to stop
the environmental damage caused by GE crops. On Tuesday Greenpeace
activists blocked a railroad from Veracruz harbour to prevent a train
loaded with GE maize from leaving the port. During the past week the
organisation has also demonstrated against the US GE exports in the US
and France. In France activists successfully blocked the entrances of a
Cargill site in Brest harbour for a day.

For more information:
Jan van Aken GE campaigner, Greenpeace Germany,
mobile +49.171.8780 828
Benedikt Haerlin, Greenpeace GE campaign coordinator,
mobile +49.171.8780 813
Mika Railo, Greenpeace International Press Desk,
mobile: + 31.6.212 969 08


------------------------
Greenpeace International
Genetic Engineering Campaign
Chausseestr. 131 - 10115 Berlin - Germany
phone: +49.30.308899.14
fax: +49.30.308899.30
e-mail: barbara.kuepper@greenpeace.de
http://www.greenpeace.org/~geneng/