GENTECH archive 8.96-97


Greenpeace GMO Campaign Report

Forwarded message:
From: (Reclaim The Streets)
Date: 97-03-13 21:34:29 EST

>Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 15:33:39 +0000
>From: (Jim Thomas)
>Subject: Greenpeace international genetics..
>     For those who are interested heres a summary of how the Greenpeace 
>     campaign against Genetic Engineering has been going in Europe and 
>     beyond..
>Soybeans have been a major focus of the campaign as they are the 
>first of a mass Genetically Engineered (GE) food  crop to go into 
>widespread production.  Last year only 1-2% of the US crop was 
>geneetically engineered; next year it will be 10-12%.  Both Canada 
>and Brazil remain GE-free at present. 
>The first part of the campaign has been a largely consumer campaign 
>and it is clear that we have struck the right note with them.  The 
>fact that their food (and a large amount of food varieties) could be 
>contaminated by genetic engineering has been the trigger for the 
>swift consumer response and subsequent campaign successes.
>The campaign has used maize as a tactic to carry out a political 
>strategy in the EU,  where the successes are continuing.   By the end 
>of this year we hope to have completely GMO (genetically
>modified organisms) free countries such as Sweden, Austria,  
>Switzerland and Luxembourg.
>Greenpeace has created a market force in Europe for natural (non-GE) 
>commodity  crops (soya and maize) that has also had an impact on 
>demand in other western countries such as Japan and Australa
>We We have split the food processing industry and the US grain 
>companies on the issue of segragation. The challenge is to make the 
>natural crops the main aim of 
>     the market and not marginalised which is the revised strategy of the 
>     genetic engineering industry.  
>On the import of genetically engineered maize to the EU, both Austria 
>and Luxembourg have invoked the controversial Article 16 (of the EU 
>GMO directive 90/220) to ban the maize, going against a central 
>European Commission decicision.  This has been a landmark victory for 
>Greenpeace and other campaigning groups and has created enormous 
>interest in Brussels as countries now debate issues such as the 
>Commission's power versu national democracy.    Denmark will decide in 
>March whether to do the same -- and it now looks positive.
>We have effectively cut off  70% of the market for growing of the GE  
>maize in Europe - only Spain remains.  Last week,   Italy invoked 
>Article 16, banning the growing of the maize.   France, the original 
>country proposing to bring the GE maize into the whole of the EU,  
>has now used its national plant variety legislation to ban its 
>growing.  This complete U-turn was the direct result of Green ace's 
>No other GE crop is yet commercially grown in Europe.  The maize 
>issue is being used by Greenpeace to create a precedent for other GMO 
>crops coming in to the EU
>For weeks in late 1996 the Greenpeace campaign had the GE maize in 
>storage facilities in the EU  unable to be used or transported.  It 
>was not allowed to be used for human consumption or animal feed until 
>EU approval on December 18.
>                                               GE campaign 
>*   Switzerland - GE soya is still banned for human consumption.
>*   Denmark, Netherlands reinforced labelling laws over GE instead of 
>abandoning them which was in   the pipeline for Denmark. 
>*   Netherlands - Parliamentary resolution approved last which 
>demands segregation of natural and all GE crops.
>*  Spain - the national parliament has passed a resolution requesting 
>the GE maize is not marketed in Europe.
>*  European Parliament - resolution passed  with an overwhelming 
>majority (almost unanimous)  a resolution calling on member 
>states and the Commission to ensure segregation on GE soya
>*  Pending  European Parliament resolution calling for the withdrawal 
>of the Commission's approval of  GE maize
>*  The European Parliament has passed a resolution putting the 
>European  Commission on notice  concerning their food and 
>agriculture policies.  If they don't comply, all 20 commissioners 
>face sacking.    This is in part the BSE scandal and in part the 
>opposition  to GE  foods.
> *  Austria will hold a public referendum 7-14 April on whether to 
>ban GMO releases.
> *  Trade representatives from Argentina and Brazil state they, who 
>are not yet growing commercial GE  crops,  favour segregation of 
>soya crops.  The US does not. 
>* An Austrian  broker, in cooperation with Greenpeace, has guaranteed 
>1,000,000 tonnes of GE free soya for a 5-year period, to be sold 
>around Europe.  Food processors in Sweden, Austria, Switzerlan
>and Germany are now being directed to the broker by Greenpeace. This 
>effectively guarantees segregation of the Brazilian soya crop.  One 
>company withdrew its application for approval for a GE potat
>to be grown there. 
>*  Greenpeace is challenging Monsanto's patent for Roundup Ready 
>soybean seeds, lodged with the European Patent Office (EPO).  We are 
>likely to win by the end of 1997, as the only other challenge t 
>patenting of plants was won by Greenpeace on appeal and therefore now 
>sets EPO precedent.  
>*  American Corn Growers Association  has passed a resolution calling 
>for segregation of GE Maize. 
>*  At the time of writing we are informed through our own research 
>and that of the food processing sector that the US grain companies 
>are anticipating having to prepare to segregate crops.  They wi
> to maintain control of  the premium rates and the segregation 
>methods - thus trying to restrict the market forces in Europe.
>*  Kraft Jacobs Suchard (European HQ Belgium), the fourth largest 
>food producer in Europe has, for the  moment, banned the use of 
>all genetic engineered products in their food. 
>* Unilever International (headquartered in the UK and the 
>Netherlands), Europe's second largest food  producer, is revising 
>its policy on the use of all GMO's.  All products to be labelled. 
>*  Danone: (headquartered France) Europe's third largest food 
>producer has stated that it favours segregation of crops but is 
>not actively pursuing this. 
> *  Nestle:  Europe's largest food producer (HQ Switzerland) do not 
>internationally favour segregation of natural and GE crops but 
>do so in Austria, Germany and most likely Sweden.  
>NB:  All other top 10 food producers worldwide are US-based. 
>The following supermarkets, retailers and national food processors 
>favour segregation of soy or all GE crops (this is NOT a complete 
>list but a selection)
>- Eurocommerce (represents one third of the EU food wholesalers and 
>- French Federation of Commerce and Distribution (FCD)- 50 
>food processors in Germany- Ferrero (largest Italian chocolate 
>producer)- Dutch baby food producer Nutricia/Milupa;  Dr Oetker 
>cooking supplier, Redband/Venco confectionary
>- Almost 70% of the Norwegian food retailers and wholesalers
>-  Sweden's two biggest retail chains ICA and KF (70% of the Swedish 
> -  Sweden's largest farmers organisation
>-  Federation of Swedish Food Industry (representing the country's 
>largest food suppliers)
>- Switzerland's Migros and Coop Schweiz, who control 43% of the food 
>retail market
>- Farmers, producers and consumers have joined Greenpeace in 3 legal 
>challenges in Switzerland. 
>-  The UK's Iceland supermarket chain,  Coop and Pret a Manger chains 
>-  the UK's Tesco and Safeway supermarket chains
>-  Luxembourg's three biggest supermarket chains
>* Apart from the above industry calls, there have been public 
>statements by key farmers organisations around Europe, top chef 
>networks, such as Eurotorques,  the union movement,  consumer groups 
>other NGO's.  Greenpeace's work has served to launch and set up a 
>high profile campaign which has built the groundswell of opposition 
>to be joined by other and activist networks. 
>* In the USA,  Greenpeace has set up coalitions with groups such as 
>the US Family Farmers Coalition, whose Vice-President is currently 
>touring Europe talking to farmers about corporate control.
>* GPI has also set up an activist network into Eastern Europe where 
>there are many activist groups working on the issue.  This way, we 
>feed them ideas of actions, information on legislation and  the 
>issue generally,    while they themselves do the campaigning. 
>GE Campaign, Amsterdam, March 1997

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