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2-Plants: Greenpeace demands ban of all GE Bt-maize in EU

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TITLE:  Greenpeace demands ban of all genetically engineered
        Bt-maize in EU
SOURCE: Greenpeace Germany
DATE:   May 20, 1999

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Greenpeace demands ban of all genetically engineered Bt-
maize in EU

BRUSSELS, May 20, 1999 - Greenpeace criticised EU Environment
Commissioner Bjerregards annoucement today to withhold the
approval process for new genetically engineered Bt-maize but to
take no action about previously approved Bt-maize varieties. The
Commissioner made the announcement in response to new scientific
evidence showing transgenic Bt-maize can kill butterfly larvae.

"As the European Commission finally admits that the insect
killing BT-Maize potentially poses a threat to the environment
their first step should be to stop  the transgenic maize
varieties which are presently being planted within the EU," said
Greenpeace spokesperson Benny Haerlin.

The majority of existing plantings of transgenic maize is
Norvatis maize "Event 176" or "Maximiser" and possibly Monsanto's
"Yieldgard" (Bt-810) grown in Spain (around 20.000 ha) and
Germany (around 500 ha). "It is hard to understand how the
Commission can put the approval of one Bt-Maize on hold,
referring to the precautionary principle, but on the other side
claim that there was no need to act on those varieties of
genetically engineered maize which are already on the market and
planted in Germany and Spain," Greenpeace spokesperson Benny
Haerlin said.

Greenpeace urged German's environmental minister Jürgen Trittin,
who discussed the issue with the organisation in Hamburg today,
to stop the growing of Novartis Maize in Germany. and, as
president of the EU's Environmental Council to put a general
moratorium for the release of GMOs on the agenda of the Council's
next meeting in June. Such a moratorium has been formally
proposed by the Greek government and demanded by environmental
and consumers organisations, medical and scientific authorities
around Europe.

JON WALTER +31-653504731

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