GENET archive


6-Regulation: Brazil soy sector ignores decree on GE soy labeling

genet-news mailing list

                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Brazil soy sector ignores gov't decree on GM soy
SOURCE: Reuters, by Inae Riveras 
DATE:   May 9, 2003

------------------ archive: ------------------

Brazil soy sector ignores gov't decree on GM soy

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Over one month after the government decreed that all
genetically modified soy must carry consumer warning labels, Brazil's soy
industry is going about business as usual without labeling, sector
leaders said.

Provisional measure 113 published on March 26 requires all soybeans and
soy products with more than 1 percent GM content to bear a label saying
so. Producers with conventional crops who wish to sell them as such must
test the soy and obtain GM-free certificates, according to measure 113.

But so far, producers, cooperatives and traders are buying and selling
without any GM labels or any increase in GM-free certificates.

Brazil has banned the commercial use of GM crops and foods since 1998,
but a black market in GM soy has thrived in the south as producers
smuggle Monsanto Roundup Ready GM soy from Argentina and Paraguay.
Measure 113 provides amnesty for GM producers to sell their soy until
Jan. 2004.

"For now, the measure has not altered anything in the commercial process
of the cooperatives," said Rui Polidoro, president of the Rio Grande do
Sul Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives (Fecoagro), which has seen no
labeling or increase in segregation of soybeans in the No. 3 soy producer

"The volume of (conventional soy) certified is minimum," said Polidoro.
"It makes the volume of transgenic soy in the state look much larger than
it really is."

Soy traders say 85 percent of the state's 8 million tonnes crop has been
harvested and Fecoagro believes 50 to 60 percent of it is genetically altered.

The soy sector in No. 2 producer Parana, which has nearly completed its
harvest, has also ignored the measure.

"We're observing still no concern about the labeling," said Nelson Costa
at the state Cooperatives Organization (Ocepar).

Costa said the absence of labeling was due to very little planting of GM
by state producers respecting the ban.


Cooperatives said there was no apparent increase in interest in
certifying soy as GM-free, either, despite 113.

Antonio Sartori, owner of the Rio Grande do Sul brokerage Brasoja, said
nobody was certifying crops as non-transgenic because there was no
financial compensation.

"The buyer doesn't want to know, so the producer prefers to deliver the
soy as transgenic and ready," said Sartori.

Most of the main cooperatives in Rio Grande do Sul and Parana reported
that they were receiving soy without any indication as to whether it is
transgenic or not.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Brazil's rules for modified food alarms Argentina
SOURCE: Reuters, by Karina Grazina, additional reporting by Nicolas Misculin
DATE:   May 12, 2003

------------------ archive: ------------------

Brazil's rules for modified food alarms Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Brazil's decision to postpone the application
of new rules requiring that labels identify genetically modified goods
failed to calm nervous exporters in Argentina, where use of the products
is extensive.

Brazil's new rules mandate the labeling of foods or ingredients of foods
with more than 1 percent genetically modified material.

The regulations sounded an alarm in Argentina's food industry, which has
pointed to what it calls the enormous cost and logistical challenge of
complying with the rules by separating genetically modified crops from
traditional ones.

Brazil is Argentina's main trading partner and some 13 percent of the
$11.4 billion of food Argentina exported last year went to Brazil,
according to the Organization of American States' agricultural institute.

Major food exporter Argentina is second only to the United States in the
use of genetically modified products, but while proponents say they
increase efficiency, opponents say they could contain hidden health and
environmental risks.

Apart from applying to soy oil and corn oil, the new rules also affect
dairy products and meat of animals that may have been fed with
genetically modified grains.

Argentine producers say the rules are stricter than in Europe, where
resistance to genetically modified products is particularly high.

"They've gone too far in including animal products ... Argentine dairy
products would have to carry a label saying this product comes from
animals fed on GMOs," said Roberto Domenech, undersecretary of food at
the agriculture department. "This hasn't been seen anywhere in the world."

Argentina does not require labeling of genetically modified products.

"We respect each country's decision on whether to introduce a labeling
system based on scientific criteria, but we think it is going to be
difficult to implement for both countries," said Federico Ovejero, a
spokesman for the Argentine unit of U.S. biotechnology giant Monsanto.

Brazil forecast record grain crops this year and said it will overtake
the United States as the world's No.1 soy exporter.


The new rules sparked surprise and confusion, prompting Argentina's
Foreign Minister Carlos Ruckauf to begin negotiations with his Brazilian
counterpart Celso Amorim that ended with an agreement to postpone the measure.

"A time period has been opened up to study how the rules will be applied
to Mercosur (trade bloc) countries," Argentine Deputy Foreign Minister
Martin Redrado said, without specifying how long the period would last.

Mercosur comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Argentine industry sources viewed the negotiations with skepticism. "I
don't see them having much success; they are just delaying things by a
little," said a food company official who asked not to be identified.

Brazil has also authorized the sale of genetically modified soy to try to
end a large black market in illegal genetically modified soy planting.

"First we have to see how Brazil deals with this domestically and then
how it deals with Argentina, because in Brazil there is also a high
percentage of GM soy," said Victor Castro of the Argentine Association of
Seed Producers.