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2-plants: Austria to ban GE Bt maize



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GREENPEACE CALLS ON EUROPEAN COUNTRIES TO FOLLOW
AUSTRIA'S LEAD AND BAN THE PLANTING OF BUTTERFLY
KILLING TRANSGENIC MAIZE

Greenpeace called on other European Union countries to
follow the lead of Austria which today announced a ban on
Monsanto's genetically engineered Bt-maize, containing
the toxin of the "Bacillus Thuringiensis" (Bt)soil
bacterium. The Austrian decision follows recent U.S.
research which found that Bt-maize could kill Monarch
butterflies.

The French minister for the environment, Dominique Voynet
also expressed concern saying yesterday there was an
urgent need to revise the approval for Monsanto's Bt-
maize in the light of the new scientific evidence on it's
environmental impacts. UK's environment minister Michael
Meacher also assured the British public earlier this week
that no Bt-maize was grown on the British Islands.

"After the EU Commission's announcement last week to
stall further approvals of new genetically engineered Bt-
maize varieties, member states are now doing what the
Commission should also be doing: recalling the Bt-maize
which has already been approved and planted in some
member states," said Greenpeace International genetic
engineering expert Benedikt Haerlin.

The study, conducted at the Cornell University, New York,
USA, (1) found that caterpillars of the Monarch butterfly
feeding on plant leaves, which got dusted with pollen
from the Norvartis transgenic Bt maize, ate less,
grew slower and died faster compared to caterpillars that
didn't feed on the pollen.

Presently Bt-maize, produced by Novartis, is grown only
in Spain (around 20.000 ha), Germany (around 500 ha) and
in France (around 200 ha). One type of Novartis Bt-maize
has already been banned by the French Court d'etat.

"Greenpeace urges all EU governments to take swift and
appropriate action now," said Haerlin, "and to support
the initiative of the Greek government to impose a
general ban on the commercial release of GMOs at the next
meeting of Environmental ministers in June."

(1) Losey, Rayor, Carter, Transgenic pollen harms monarch
larvae, Nature 399, 214, 20 May 1999.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: BENNY HAERLIN ON 49-
303088 9912 OR JON
WALTER ON 31-20-523 6222



------------------------
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/





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