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3-Food: Barely any GMO-labelled food found in the EU

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TITLE:  100 days of GMO labelling; consumer rejection holds
SOURCE: Greenpeace, Press Release
DATE:   26 Jul 2004

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100 days of GMO labelling; consumer rejection holds
Greenpeace calls for end to animal products loophole

Brussels/Berlin, 26 July 2004-- One hundred days after the European
Union's Regulation on the labelling of genetically modified organisms in
food became applicable, Greenpeace has found just a handful of GMO-
labelled products on sale in European supermarkets.

Greenpeace's "gene detectives", who have been looking at food labels in
large supermarket chains since 18 April, have found just four products
containing genetically modified ingredients in Germany, two in the UK and
the Czech Republic, and none in Italy or Austria. The most GMO-labelled
products - 14 - were found in France.

"The market is practically free of products containing GMOs," said Eric
Gall of Greenpeace European Unit. "This is a great success for consumers.
Their rejection of GMOs in food has made major food producers and
retailers ensure that their shelves are free of modified produce."

Three products with genetically modified ingredients were found in
Belgium, 12 in the Netherlands, none in Sweden or Greece, and one in
Denmark, which was later withdrawn from sale (1). Although none were
found in Spain, Greenpeace has criticised the Spanish authorities for
failing to implement the legislation and carry out proper checks on companies.

Products derived from animals, in contrast, do not have to be labelled
where the cows, chickens or pigs, for example, have eaten genetically
modified feed. This is a serious loophole in the law, as large quantities
of genetically modified crops are processed into animal feed. "Consumers
are deliberately left in the dark about this and are paying for the
global cultivation of genetically modified crops when they buy milk, eggs
and sausages," said Eric Gall.

The cultivation of genetically modified crops is causing ravages in
countries such as Argentina, where 100 million hectares has already been
lost to soya cultivation and an area of forest the size of Germany is
under threat. People who live in the forest have been forcibly evicted
from their land, deprived of their livelihoods and driven to city slums.

The world's third largest soya producer and top soya exporter, Argentina
exports over 90% of its harvest, 98% of which is genetically modified.
The soya is mainly exported to the EU (11.5 million tonnes) and China,
where it is used to feed pigs, cows and chickens. In five years to 2002,
soya production in Argentina rose 74.5%, while rice production fell by
44.1%, corn production fell by 26.2% and sunflower cultivation by 34.2%.

"The European Commission should close the loopholes in its legislation
and defend the public's right to say no to GMOs. Instead, it is rushing
to approve new genetically-modified products despite the lack of support
from member states. The example of soya production in Argentina exposes
the devastating impacts of unsustainable agriculture and the Commission's
support for the genetic engineering industry," said Eric Gall.

Contact: Eric Gall, Greenpeace European Unit, tel +32 (0)496 161 582

Notes: 1. Details and photos of items found by Greenpeace gene detectives
are at


Katharine Mill
Greenpeace European Unit Media Officer
tel +32 2 274 1903
mobile +32 496 156229


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D - 38116 Braunschweig

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