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3-Food: Basque Manifesto in favor of safe, healthy food production

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TITLE:  Basque Manifesto in favor of safe, healthy food
        production (English version)
SOURCE: Ehne Karrantza (Basque Farmer Association), Spain
        by Helen Groome,
DATE:   May 12, 1999

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Today a new food production technology is available, genetic
engineering applied to farming activities. This technology is
characterised by a great dearth of knowledge and yet it’s results
are being silently introduced into our food. Farm genetic
engineering already offers transgene crops such as maize,
sugarbeet and rape and livestock elements such as rBST. There are
already transgenic foodstuffs in our daily diet.

However, the risks that characterize this technology could be
both huge and complex: for human health, for animal welfare, for
our genetic heritage and for farm economies, amongst others. An
increasing number of scientific reports show that impacts
considered, until now, to be potential are in fact real:
resistence to antibiotics, changes in functioning of internal
bodily organs, the development of resistence in plants and
insects to biocides, insecticides and herbicides...

Given this situation, and bearing in mind the existence of
importations and cultivation of transgenes in our territory,
those signing this manifesto request:

1. The right to defend our physical integrity, and thus a
moratoria of at least five years in the deliberate release of
genetically modified organisms designed to enter our food chain.

2. The immediate allocation of sufficient public funds to
undertake necessary scientific research into the agronomic,
health and socio-economic impacts of farm transgenes, plus the
search for and arrangement of easy public access to information
on these issues from other countries. Such research must be
undertaken by scientists with absolutely no links or vested
interests in the companies promoting farm genetic engineering. 
3. The active and balanced promotion by public authorities of a
social debate on the implications of the application genetic
engineering in our food chain. 
In the case of those transgene crops and foodstuffs that have
already been authorised or that could be authorised in the

4. The design and immediate application of a system of
traceability of transgene elements that permits their
identification and control in any part of the food chain, in view
of possible future health, agronomic, etc problems.

5. The design of a labelling system for transgene foodstuffs,
that would be obligatory, easily understood and that would cover
all transgene products and their derivatives, enabling the right
of each person to choose the type of food they buy to be upheld,
whether for ethical, health or any other reasons. 

6. The introduction of direct and unavoidable civil liability for
the promotors of genetic engineering technology in farming that
would cover any damage that could be caused to the farming and
consumer population, or to the environment in the future.


(To date the response has been absolutely magnificent: all the
major trade unions (6), 3 of the 4 major consumer organizations,
a growing number of important livestock feedstuff farm
cooperatives and farm related entities (9), ecology groups, etc
have signed.)


-| Hartmut Meyer
-| Co-ordinator
-| The European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering
-| Reinhaeuser Landstr. 51
-| D - 37083 Goettingen
-| Germany
-| phone: #49-551-7700027
-| fax  : #49-551-7701672
-| email:

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