GENTECH archive 8.96-97

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Greenpeace Supermarket Protests



    HAMBURG, March 14 (Reuter) - Environmental group Greenpeace said it was
planning widespread action in German supermarkets on Saturday, March 15, in a
campaign against the use of genetically altered soybeans in food products. 

    A statement from its German headquarters said Greenpeace activists in 30
cities would picket shops, inform consumers about perceived risks from
genetic crop engineering, and urge them to demand anti-soya declarations from
stores. 

    "We need to organise consumer opposition, otherwise stores and suppliers
will get away with imposing on us food we don't want and without labels
distinguishing between conventional and novel foods," a Greenpeace spokesman
said. 

    "The protest mustn't die down." 

    Developed by U.S. firm Monsanto <MTC.N>, the new type of soybeans was
cleared for import into the European Union. 

    Despite Greenpeace protests, it has been processed into soybean oil and
meal since late 1996 -- ready to go into thousands of food products such as
margarine or confectionery. 

    Greenpeace secured assurances from some food companies they would not use
such soybean oil, using sunflowerseed or rapeseed oil instead in the 1996/97
marketing year. 

    But Greenpeace wants to widen the circle of those involved and obtain
long-term commitments. 

    Opponents to bio-engineered food crops, who cite risks to human health
and the environment, failed to achieve separate storage and transport of
gentically-modified and conventional U.S. soybeans. 

    They also say labelling regulations for products from such crops under
the new EU novel-food law, which comes into force in May, have too many
loopholes and tell consumers nothing. 

    Greenpeace said it would supply consumers with lists of retailers
guaranteeing products free of transgenic soya. 

  --Vera Eckert, Hamburg newsroom, +49-40-41903275   

08:33 03-14-97