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3-Food: Spanish companies or branches of companies not using GMOs



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TITLE:  Spanish companies or branches of companies not using GMOs
SOURCE: Ehne Karrantza (Basque Farmer Association), Spain
        by Helen Groome, ehne_kar@eusnet.org
DATE:   May 12, 1999

----------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch/ ------------------


Spanish companies or branches of companies not using GMOs:

As far as I know the information to date is:

Definitely not using in their own brands:

Marks & Spencers
Spar
Pryca        (supermarket chain)
Nestle
Helios SA    (jams, tinned fruit/veg...)
Ian SA       (tomate pastes, sauces, jams, asparragus and olives)
Danone SA    (dairy products)
Cuetara SA   (biscuits...)

Zahor SA (chocolate, for example) has insisted that currently
they are not using but that there may be future problems in
supplies. If they use in the future they would label accordingly. 

Azucarera Ebro Agricolas SA (sugar) doesn't see any problem in
the use of transgenic sugar beet, particularly if the transgenic
elements are not present in the saccharose. They would label
according to the legislation (which I understand would mean no
label in the case of sugar).

Nabisco Iberia is using transgene elements in some biscuits and
is labelling them as such.

Curiously enough, there is already a backlash from those
supporting food transgenes regards food company declaration
against the use of GMOs:

"Small farmers will suffer if such declarations continue as they
won't be able to sell their transgene crops to anyone"

I presume I don't need to comment on that one. Just to say that
the area to be planted with transgene maize in Navarre will be
half of the area planted last year due to lower than promised
yields and difficulties to sell the harvest. In Aragon, 80% of
the co-ops that buy maize from farmers have said they won't buy
transgene maize and will ask farmers for a certificate of the
seed they have used to guarantee the crop is not transgene. This
is once again due to their own sales problems: different firms
have insisted they in turn don't want transgene maize. Different
farmers have have also found the transgene maize took about one
month longer to ripen than other varieties, another factor that
again will discourage its use in the future due to  climatic
problems and higher production/opportunity costs. Another
disturbing little fact is that EHNE was able to buy a sack of
transgene maize seed and yet no mention was made of the control
and inspection that should legally be carried out in maize crops.
We could plant the maize literally anywhere with zero control and
inspection! 


Going back to the firms that decide not to use transgenes and
declare so publicly: some groups that question actual gentech
food policy have said that such declarations are suspicious and
subject to change at any moment. This is a completely different
problem to the small farmer one (which simply is not true) and
this aspect of the declarations does indeed need careful
analysis. They are clearly commercially orientated and presumably
only in limited cases ethically orientated. But this is just a
reflection of reality and I feel perfectly legitimate. The only
thing we need to have perfectly clear is that the decision
depends mainly on consumer pressure, which must thus be
maintained and, less to start with at least, but this could be
increasingly important, on scientific information related to
risks. 

Helen Groome



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