GENTECH archive 8.96-97

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Fwd: Europe line may harden in gene-soya row with U.S.




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Forwarded message:
From:	74250.735@CompuServe.COM (John Stauber)
To:	purefood@aol.com (Rose & Ron)
Date: 96-10-17 10:28:32 EDT



--------------- Forwarded Story ---------------

Headline: Europe line may harden in gene-soya row with U.S.
Wire Service: RTf (Reuters Financial Report)
Date: Wed, Oct 16, 1996

 Copyright 1996 Reuters Ltd.  All rights reserved.
The following news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole
or
in part, without the prior written consent of Reuters Ltd.
 
    By Vera Eckert
    HAMBURG, Oct 16 (Reuter) - Crushers and traders in Europe were rethinking
their line on genetically-altered soybeans which American farmers will start
supplying in a few weeks.
    They were reacting to a multi-country protest organised by
environmentalist
group Greenpeace, which seeks to force food companies to boycott the
products,
or provide clear labels.
    "General indifference seems to have made way to a belief that labelling
of
soya products or of entire U.S. soybean cargos would be the best response to
quell public concerns and to avoid a harmful boycott," a leading seeds broker
said.
    "It's still unclear whether this will die down or if it will blow up into
a
major food industry war with consumers."
    Operators initially were indiffent or inclined to believe U.S. assurances
the new products were safe, a segregation impossible, and Europe too
dependent
on the U.S. to argue.
    Europe's oilseeds crusher lobby FEDIOL was not in principle against
labelling, director general Pascale Cogels said from Brussels.
    "Greenpeace wants labelling and what the EU Commission should give them
is a
compromise, maybe the scare is legitimate after all the health scares we've
had
over the past years."
    "Let people reflect on that, give them a choice, and maybe they won't
care
anymore as they see the products are safe."
    "Authorities should be told they should be careful about these products
and
do their duty in assessing them."
    Greenpeace activists attached banners on buildings of leading soya
products
processor, food manufacturer Unilever <UNc.AS> <ULVR.L> demanding consumers
be
given more choice.
    Consumers cannot avoid soya, which is included in some form in 60 percent
of
food products here, and therefore would have to eat genetically-altered food
unknowingly, they said.
    Developed by Monsanto Co <MTC.N>, the new products which have been made
resistant to a weed-killer, have been declared safe by health authorities in
the
U.S., Europe and Japan.
    But Greenpeace says dangers of allergic reactions cannot be ruled out and
the impact on the environment unknown.
    A European Parliament conciliation committee later today will seek to
qualify an EU Commission stance only "substantial" changes to a foodstuff
should
appear on a label.
    Left-wing parties think while this would apply to modified whole beans
only,
the use, or non-use, of raw materials derived from gene-altered organisms
should
also be indicated.
    "Labelling must be significant and practicable," said Cogels.
    "For example, oil heated during crushing of traditional beans is
identical
with oil made from genetically-altered beans as the minute traces of modified
protein are destroyed."
    "If you label these products separately you won't be able to check --
you'd
give rise to fraud and market distortions."
    As soy oil has lost favour since the row erupted, domestic rapeseed oil
has
risen to an untypical premium, currently five guilders per 100 kilos, over
soy
oil in Rotterdam markets.
    Traders said radical market participants saw Latin American soybeans
replacing U.S. supplies and palm oil and sunseed oil making up for soy oil
shortages if it came to a boycott.
    Soymeal in animal feeding could be replaced by feed grain.
    But the EU could lose crucial third country export markets for the soy
oil
it crushes partly from U.S. beans. On the other hand, most thought there was
no
alternative to U.S. supplies.
    -- Hamburg newsroom, +49-40-41903275
 REUTER