GENTECH archive 8.96-97

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Europeans Oppose Frankenfoods



    By Peter Blackburn     BRUSSELS, Jan 9 (Reuter) - European voters oppose
genetically-modified food, environmental group Greenpeace said on Thursday. 

    Genetic engineering allows beer to ferment faster, cheese to mature
quicker, pigs to grow larger, tomatoes to keep better and cereals to resist
pests. 

    But Greenpeace campaigner Benny Haerlin, citing a new opinion poll and
urging the European Parliament to heed public fears, told a news conference:
"The survey shows a clear majority of voters don't want it. 

    "People who don't want to eat gene-food must have the right to know what
is in their food," Haerlin said. 

    Criticising a compromise struck by EU member states and a parliamentary
committee, Haerlin said there were too many loopholes and most genetically
engineered foods would not be labelled. 

    He said that after six years of discussions Euro MPs were exhausted and
in a vote next Wednesday were likely to agree the rules requiring labels only
on substantially modified products that could grow given soil and water. 

    The survey, conducted by Market & Opinion Research International (MORI),
showed that 59 percent of Danes, Dutch, French, British, Italians and Swedes
questioned were against genetically engineered food. 

    Resistance was strongest in Sweden -- 76 percent -- and lowest in Italy
-- 44 percent. 

    In Britain, regarded by Greenpeace as being one of the countries most
supportive of biotechnology, 51 percent were opposed. 

    A separate German survey by market research Institut GfK found that 74
percent of those covered wanted to stop gene-food. 

    Haerlin said the survey questioned 4,840 people in six countries between
December 11-20. 

12:45 01-09-97