GENTECH archive 8.96-97

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Greenpeace Calls for German Bt Corn Ban



    HAMBURG, Feb 6 (Reuter) - Environmental organisation Greenpeace called
for a German ban on imports and cultivation of genetically modified maize in
a statement from the group's German headquarters said on Thursday. 

    The statement asked German farm minister Jochen Borchert to impose a
national ban similar to one upheld by Austria, after a French ruling allowed
the marketing of maize genetically adapted by Swiss firm Ciba Geigy <CIGZn.S>
this week. 

    The French decision is a prerequisite for European Union-wide marketing
of imported U.S. maize and later on to registration of genetically altered
maize for sales and plantings in Europe. 

    "The last thing consumers and farmers need is another food and animal
feeds scandal," Greenpeace campaigner Joerg Naumann said. 

    Austria cited a clause in EU law allowing member states to challenge EU
decisions on grounds of health or environmental concerns. European consumers
are extremely sensitive to food quality issues after health scares including
mad cow disease, fresh outbreaks of swine fever in Germany and the
Netherlands and campaigns pointing to possible risks from genetically altered
U.S. soybeans. 

    Greenpeace said the maize could damage the environment because its
resistance to the herbicide Basta meant farmers might apply Basta more
liberally. The corn borer pest, which the new maize is meant to resist, might
also develop resistance to the insecticide genetically implanted in the
maize. This would nullify organic farmers' attempts to use the insecticide
sparingly. 

    The maize was also resistant to the antibiotic ampicillin and if it
reached the food chain through animal feeds and starch industry products,
could lessen effects of antibiotics in humans and animals. 

13:59 02-06-97