GENET archive

[Index][Thread]

POLICY & FOOD: Finnish farmers’ union wants labels on food indicating use of GM products




                                  PART 1


------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  FINNISH FARMERS’ UNION WANTS LABELS ON FOOD INDICATING USE OF GM PRODUCTS

SOURCE: Helsingin Sanomat, Finland

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Farmers+union+wants+labels+on+food+indicating+use+of+GM+products/1135229518460

DATE:   15.08.2007

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


FINNISH FARMERS’ UNION WANTS LABELS ON FOOD INDICATING USE OF GM PRODUCTS

Prime Minister also calls for labelling

The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) said on Tuesday that wants voluntary labelling of food products to indicate any phases of the production chain in which genetically modified products have been used.

The MTK has been pushed to make a statement on the use of GM animal feed ever since food producers LSO Foods and Lounais-farmi said earlier in the summer that they would start to import GM soybeans for use in pig feed.

MTK Chairman Michael Hornborg said that the organisation feels that consumers should be told about what their food contains.

However, Hornborg noted that it is not possible to require labels on Finnish products alone.

”In such a case, Finnish products would be in an unequal position compared with imported goods. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get a label like this onto imported meat, as EU regulations do not require it.

Hornborg says that the solution is in the hands of the consumer.

”Stores say that they sell what the consumers want... if consumers want a label, the shops are certainly able to provide one.”

MTK is not taking a stand on the safety of genetically modified feed, or on whether or not GM soybeans should be imported into Finland at all. According to the organisation, officials are responsible for ascertaining the safety of Finnish food production processes.

”Producers and consumers must be able to trust that all production methods permitted by the law are safe for consumers, and that they do not pose a danger to the environment”, the MTK statement reads.

Hornborg says that the GM feed debate is not a divisive one for MTK members, even though there are differing opinions on the matter within the organisation.

Pig farmers tend to take a positive view of GM feed, while organic farmers and dairy farmers are against it.

”There is plenty of emotion in the debate. I feel that farmers who want to use traditional methods have every possibility to do so, if consumers want it.

Hornborg, who runs an organic farm himself, does not necessarily reject the use of genetically modified soybean.

”If we want to be involved in competition, we must also dare to take new technology into use. Genetic modification has its positive size, for instance, fewer pesticides are needed. Now we must keep in mind that we are talking about genetically modified soybean, which has been studied very thoroughly. Each plant has to be considered separately.”

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre) also took a stand on the GM debate on Tuesday.

Vanhanen said that he wants Finnish foods to have special labels if their production has not involved products of a GM origin.

”This is a very difficult issue”, Vanhanen said at a press conference in Helsinki on Tuesday.

”I hope that a procedure can be found so that at least that part of the food industry that can guarantee that there are no GM products in the chain, could say it.”

Vanhanen said that he believes that Finnish consumers want to know what they put in their mouths.

On the practical level, meat raised on genetically modified feed already is sold in Finland. Foreign meat imported into Finland is very likely to have been raised on GM feed.

The farmers’ newspaper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus wrote on Monday that Feedex, a feed company operating in Central Ostrobothnia, has been selling GM soybeans to about 20 Finnish pig farms for about a year and a half.

The first genetically-modified seeds for commercial use were planted in the United States ten years ago. Now GM crops are being raised on 102 million hectares worldwide.



                                  PART 2

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  FINLAND‘S ANTTILA APPEALS FOR GM LABELLING

SOURCE: Finnish News Agency, Finland

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://newsroom.finland.fi/stt/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=16443&group=Politics

DATE:   13.08.2007

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


FINLAND‘S ANTTILA APPEALS FOR GM LABELLING

Sirkka-Liisa Anttila (centre), the Finnish agriculture and forestry minister, on Friday urged the food industry to declare in meat packaging if the animal had been fed genetically modified soy. According to Ms Anttila, such labelling is necessary to preserve the trust of consumers. ”Consumers must have the right to know how and with what sort of feed meat is produced,” Ms Anttila said at a Centre party meeting in Hämeenlinna. The minister said EU regulations allowed the importing of genetically modified soy as pig feed and that Finland could not impose a unilateral ban. Over the course of the week, two Finnish food groups said they would begin to import genetically modified soy feed.



                                  PART 3

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  FINNISH RETAILERS‘ LOBBY SLAMS VOLUNTARY GMO LABELLING

SOURCE: Finnish News Agency, Finland

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://newsroom.finland.fi/stt/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=16481&group=General

DATE:   16.08.2007

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


FINNISH RETAILERS‘ LOBBY SLAMS VOLUNTARY GMO LABELLING

Finland’s Grocery Trade Association (FGTA) on Wednesday rejected the initiative by the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) to introduce a voluntary system of labels on food derived from animals fed genetically modified organisms. The food retailers’ lobby added that if consumers wanted a wider GMO labelling system on grounds other than food safety, the initiative to that end must come from the legislator. ”The retailers trust the European Food Safety Authority’s view saying that modified genes in feed are not transferred to the animal,” the FGTA said in a statement. Martti Korhonen, the chairman of the opposition Left Alliance, had said earlier on Wednesday that the MTK position on the use of GM feed was commendable and that the consumer had a right to know the origin of foods when making purchase decisions. The latest round in the Finnish GMO debate erupted earlier this month when two major meat companies announced they would start importing genetically modified soy pig feed.



                                  PART 4

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  MOST FINNS WANT GM MEAT LABELS -AL POLL

SOURCE: Finnish News Agency, Finland

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://newsroom.finland.fi/stt/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=16507&group=General

DATE:   20.08.2007

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


MOST FINNS WANT GM MEAT LABELS -AL POLL

Some 87 per cent of those interviewed by Taloustutkimus for Tampere-based daily Aamulehti said they wanted meat packaging to inform them whether the animal in question had been raised on genetically modified feed, while 57 per cent opined that they were not prepared to buy such meat. Taloustutkimus interviewed 1,002 Finns on 14-15 August. The stated margin of error is two percentage points. Aamulehti printed the results of the poll in its Sunday issue.



                                  PART 5

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  FINLAND‘S PEKKARINEN DROPS HINT OVER GM-FREE MEAT LABELS

SOURCE: Finnish News Agency, Finland

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://newsroom.finland.fi/stt/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=16504&group=Politics

DATE:   20.08.2007

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


FINLAND‘S PEKKARINEN DROPS HINT OVER GM-FREE MEAT LABELS

Mauri Pekkarinen (centre), Finland’s trade and industry minister, was quoted as saying by provincial daily Länsi-Suomi on Saturday that he would name a working group next week to tackle a range of issues including possibly labelling meat from animals not raised on genetically modified feed. ”What we will look into is whether we could create a system based on voluntariness that would form a chain of trust between the farmer, the industry and retailers,” Mr Pekkarinen said. While EU regulations stipulate that foods containing in excess of 0.9 per cent of a genetically modified ingredient must be labelled, they do not impose labels on GM-sourced meat. ”The idea is to create a system where the consumer could be confident that there are no modified genes involved in production. This is in order to prevent what happened with this 0.9 per cent thing, meaning they say something but then it may turn up to contain something else entirely.”



                                  PART 6

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GENETICALLY MODIFIED FEED TO BE INTRODUCED TO FINNISH PIG FARMS

SOURCE: Helsingin Sanomat, Finland

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Genetically+modified+feed+to+be+introduced+to+Finnish+pig+farms/1135229348151

DATE:   08.08.2007

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


GENETICALLY MODIFIED FEED TO BE INTRODUCED TO FINNISH PIG FARMS

Farmers’ union leader says he would not use GM feed on his farm

Consumers in Finland will be introduced to pork grown with feed containing genetically modified soybeans. Shoppers will not necessarily notice any difference, because the packaging will not include any mention of what the animal ate.

LSO Foods, which supplies meat to the meat wholesalers HK Ruokatalo and Järvi Suomen Portti, announced in July that it will start delivering imported GM soybean feed to its pork farmers later in the year.

Another company planning to introduce genetically modified feed is HK’s competitor Atria; CEO Matti Tikkakoski says that financial pressures are forcing it to make the move.

With the largest meat producers switching over to GM feeds, smaller companies feel that they have no choice but to follow suit. Gradually almost all of the pork grown in Finland is expected to come from pigs raised on genetically modified feeds.

Although Atria’s contract farmers are still using traditional feeds, Tikkakoski says that the company will soon begin importing the genetically modified product.

He says that non-modified feed will soon be both prohibitively expensive, and difficult to get.

Tikkakoski does not believe that it will be possible to deliver separate kinds of pork products to food stores - those raised on GM soybeans, and those from pigs that were fed unaltered types. He says that when they are imported from around the world, the different types of beans are bound to get mixed up at some point.

Tikkakoski says that nine out of ten pig farmers under contract for Atria welcome the arrival of the new feed.

LSO Foods CEO Tero Hemmilä points out that 15 per cent of meat consumed in Finland comes from abroad. ”It is most likely that the animal that the product is produced from, has eaten genetically modified feed. This means that GM food already exists on consumers’ tables.”

He predicts that domestic pork raised on genetically modified soybeans will begin arriving in Finnish stores in the autumn. LSO products will not contain any mention of the modification.

”EU legislation is straightforward. The genetic modifications in a plant are not passed on to an animal’s tissue through the digestion, or from there into meat or milk. Consequently there is no need to mark it down”, Hemmilä says.

Environmental organisations have criticised the use of genetically modified material in animal feed. The Finnish League for Nature Protection is calling for mandatory labelling on packaging to reveal whether or not GM feed was used in the production of meat.

The issue also poses a dilemma for the Finnish Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK). On the one hand, the organisation is keen to promote Finnish food as pure and unadulterated, but on the other hand, it needs to advance the economic interests of Finnish farmers.

MTK chairman Michael Hornborg says that there is a diversity of opinion within his organisation on the GM issue, with dairy farmers generally shunning modified feed, while pig farmers are more willing to accept it.

”I would not use GM feed on my farm, because its long-term effects have not been sufficiently studied. I don’t want our members to be blamed if something unfortunate happens. Let’s let the big countries do it first. We’ll have time to follow later.”

Hornborg also feels that consumers have the right to know what their food contains. ”If a gene label is required on Finnish meat, it should be included on foreign products as well.”



                                  PART 7

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  FINLAND‘S LSO FACES GM DEMO

SOURCE: Finnish News Agency, Finland

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://newsroom.finland.fi/stt/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=16384&group=General

DATE:   06.08.2007

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


FINLAND‘S LSO FACES GM DEMO

A group of some 50 demonstrators gathered in Forssa in southern Finland to demonstrate against an earlier decision by LSO Foods to import genetically modified soy protein to make pig feed. Hannes Tuohiniitty, a spokesman for a campaign against genetically modified food and feed, said the activists had been joined by ordinary consumers who did not want to eat GM-sourced food. The demonstrators underlined that the pig feed imported by LSO was the first GM product taken into widespread use in Finland and urged consumers to boycott the products of HKScan and Järvi-Suomen Portti, both customers of LSO. The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation joined the call for a boycott. The Meat Board, part of the Finnish Food and Drink Industries' Federation, said in a statement that the use of genetically modified soy protein could not be avoided given the present competitive situation. It added that most of the meat imported into Finland came from countries where GM feed was already used.


-----------------------------

GENET

European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)

news & information

phone....... +49-531-5168746

fax......... +49-531-5168747

email....... news(*)genet-info.org

skype....... hartmut_meyer

url......... http://www.genet-info.org/