GENET archive


2-plants: Greenpeace appeals Brazilian decision on GMOs

genet-news mailing list

Greenpeace press release

Greenpeace appeals Brazilian GMO decision, urges President Lula to 'stand
up to Monsanto'

Brasilia/Amsterdam, 21 August 2003 - Greenpeace last night filed a legal
petition to the Federal Regional Court in Brasilia demanding the suspension
of a provisional decision taken on August 12^th by Chief Judge Selene Maria
de Almeida. Last week, Ms. de Almeida appeared to dismiss the 2000 ruling
by the 6^th Federal Court, which bans the planting of Monsanto’s
genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready soya in Brazil. Currently Brazil
is the largest supplier of non-GE soya for the EU and world markets.

Greenpeace urges, in its legal petition, that the original sentence from
the 6^th Federal Court be upheld. In the meantime commercial planting of
GMOs remains prohibited in Brazil. The Brazilian environment minister
herself has pledged this week that even if a legal ban is lifted it will
not exempt companies from also having to undergo environmental impact
studies for their GE crops. Conama (National Environmental Council)’s
Resolution 305 from June 12^th 2002 already requires the environmental
licensing of any activity related to GMOs that may be introduced into
the environment.

Greenpeace`s understanding of the legal situation is that if the legal ban
on GE crops is ever lifted, vigorous Environmental Impact Studies
(EIA/RIMA, in Portuguese) will still be required for each GMO case.
Moreover, the basic legislation required for food safety and to adequately
address biosafety concerns, as well as provide full traceability and
labelling of GMOs should be in place before any GE crops are legally
allowed on the market.

The chief judge’s decision and Greenpeace’s appeal come at the same time
that the entire country is waiting for legislation (the so-called 'Law
Project'), which is expected to more fully address the GE issue in Brazil.
The Civil House ministry, run by President Lula’s right hand José Dirceu,
is expected within the next days to present the 'Law
Project' to the National Congress.

Mariana Paoli of Greenpeace in Brazil said, 'Monsanto is increasing its
pressure because the soya sowing season is nearing, but we should not make
GE decisions in a hurry for Monsanto`s sake. Monsanto hopes to make a huge
profit, literally billions of dollars from sales of GE seeds and the
associated chemicals in Brazil. We know that Monsanto can afford to buy
many expensive lawyers in Brazil but we hope and trust that the President
of Brazil is not for sale. The government should make a responsible
decision--one which respects consumers and the environment, and which takes
into account the diverse sectors of our society that this decision would
affect. President Lula’s government must stand by the side of the Brazilian
consumers and farmers and not give in to the pressure from Monsanto.'

*For more information, please contact:*

Mariana Paoli, Greenpeace genetic engineering campaigner in Brazil, mob.
+55 119 215 3987.

Lindsay Keenan, Greenpeace food/feed markets expert, +49 3030 88 99 16 or
+49 171 505 2896

Greenpeace Press Desk, ++31 6 299 0011 41 <>

*Notes to editor:*

According to a survey conducted for Greenpeace in December 2002 by IBOPE in
Brazil, the Brazilian public is opposed to GE crops planting and GE food:
71 percent of the public prefer non-GE food, and 65 percent believe that
planting of GE crops should be prohibited.

Whatever happens legally, market forces have already created a huge demand
for non-GE soya from Brazil. Major Brazilian food companies have already
reacted to public opinion in Brazil and in Brazilian export markets and
have committed to provide non-GE food. This includes the two biggest
Brazilian food companies Perdigao and Sadia. The State of Parana (the
second biggest soya producing state in Brazil) has imposed strict measures
to prevent GE contamination of non-GE soya and other states such as Mato
Grosso do Sul and Santa Catarina already have local laws
that ban GMOs as has Rio de Janeiro.