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2-Plants: Genetically engineered organisms out of control in Romania

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TITLE:  Genetically engineered organisms out of control in Romania
        Ex-Monsanto director speaks out
SOURCE: Greenpeace European Unit, Belgium
DATE:   10 Oct 2005

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Genetically engineered organisms out of control in Romania
Ex-Monsanto director speaks out

Bucharest, 10 October 2005 - Massive illegal cultivation of genetically
engineered (GE) crops threatens farmers and the economy in Romania. At a
Greenpeace press conference today in Bucharest, Monsanto's former general
manager in Romania warned that Romanian authorities have totally lost
control over genetically modified organisms in the country.

During a research tour in Romania, Greenpeace discovered illegal growing
of GE soya in ten counties of the country's total 42. Greenpeace
presented findings (1) that prove that Romanian authorities have lost
control over the situation. Romania, a future member of the EU, is the
only country in Europe where planting of the controversial Roundup Ready
(RR) soya is allowed. The country has the largest GE-cultivated landscape
in Europe; officially half the 140,000 hectares of soya planted in 2005
is registered to be GE. However, according to representatives of farmers'
associations and even biotech giant Monsanto's former Romanian manager,
up to 90% of soya is GE. The core of the problem is due to genetically
engineered crops contaminating the traditional cultures, as well as the
illegal selling of GE soya seeds.

Gabriel Paun, Greenpeace Central-Eastern European (CEE) campaigner in
Romania said: "In the past few months we have found GE potatoes, GE plums
and now it turns out that even the commercial planting of GE soya happens
illegally. What's next? The Romanian government must act immediately and
take back control of the situation."

Mr. Dragos Dima, former Monsanto general manager in Romania agrees with
the fears. Speaking at the press conference, he said: "Such a huge
surface of uncertified GM soya is not tolerable due to lack of monitoring
and control systems. I left the company because I expressed my concerns
regarding the introduction of GM technology in Romania. I believed that
neither Romania nor the company were ready and able to monitor and
control the GM technology. Unfortunately, the management has not listened
to my concerns and the situation today shows a total lack of control over
the GM technology." Mr. Dima left Monsanto in December 1998, while GE soy
was introduced in Romania in 1999.

"Monsanto knowingly pushed Romania in a technology that had to lead to a
situation out of control. Romanian farmers and food companies now have to
suffer the economic consequences," added Paun.

Since their introduction in 1996, GE crops have contaminated food, feed,
seed and the environment right across the globe. Worldwide over 100
incidents of illegal or unlabelled GE contamination have been documented
in 27 countries on 5 continents - and those represent only the recorded
incidents. For more information visit

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation, which uses non-
violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems,
and to force the solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

Further information
Gabriel Paun, Greenpeace CEE campaigner in Romania, phone: +40 744 351977
Anamaria Bogdan, Greenpeace CEE Media in Romania, phone: +40 0721 632396
Susanne Fromwald, Greenpeace CEE scientist in Austria, phone: +43 664 6126706

Notes to editors
(1) The report "A Documentation of Contamination and Illegal GM Soya
cultivation in Romania" in Romanian language is based on findings of
Greenpeace in August 2005. Analytical results mentioned in the report
were done by the Umweltbundesamt, an independent, EU-certified laboratory
for polymerase chain reactions, PCRs, in Vienna, Austria. PCR analysis is
a genetic test for plants or food to see whether genetic modifications
are present in a specific sample.

(2) If they want to plant Roundup Ready soya, farmers only need to
register with the authorities. It only is considered illegal as if they
don't register.


Katharine Mill
media officer
Greenpeace European Unit
t +32 (0)2 274 1903
m +32 (0)496 156229
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