GENTECH archive 8.96-97

[Index][Thread]

Swedish consumers urge ...




Swedish consumers urge importers to boycot US G-E soy 

WE DEMAND A BAN ON GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD 

This heading appeared today, october 23, 1996, in Sweden's largest national 
newspaper, Dagens
Nyheter on top of a sharply formulated proclamation against genetically 
engineered food in
general and the unlabelled genetically engineered soy and corn products that 
now are arriving in
Europe in spite of widespread protest from consumers all over the continent. 
Its heading was: 

The proclamation was signed by 15 presidents of Sweden's most important 
organizations,
including the Consumers council and all important consumers organisations, the 
Labour Union
(organizing over 80 % of all labourers), Sweden's Cooperative Food store chain 
(one of the largest
in the country), the two Retired Peoples' Societies (organizing a very large 
proportion of all
retireds), the Nature Protection Society (very influential in Sweden) and 
others. These represent a
very large part of the population of Sweden. 

The proclamation urged: 

* All food importers and food manufacturers not to buy soy beans from USA 
until the genetically
engineered beans are labelled and segregated from natural beans. 

* The Swedish government and the European Union (to which Sweden belongs) 

IMMEDIATELY TO CREATE RULES THAT FORBID GENETICALLY ENGINEERED
FOOD AND FOOD ADDITIVES AND ALSO RULES THAT FORBID THE RELEASE OF
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED ORGANISMS INTO THE ENVIRONMENT UNTIL THE
PRODUCERS HAVE CLEARLY PROVEN THAT THEY CONSTITUTE NO RISK AT ALL
FVR PEOPLE AND FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. 

* An absolute minimum requirement that immediately should be satisfied is that 
the genetically
engineered food must be labelled. Also the purpose of the engineering must be 
declared on the
label. 

It is pointed out that the soybeans that now are about to be imported Europe 
are engineered to
withstand larger doses of toxic herbicides and that the only ones that benefit 
from this are the
producers, but not the consumers nor the environment. 

It is pointed out that there are many potential hazards with genetically 
engineered organisms and
that the scientific knowledge about this is very incomplete. Therefore a 
thorough evaluation of
genetically engineered foods must be done. 

* Many potential hazards with genetically engineered foods are enumerated, a 
o: 

* The foods may be toxic. 

* Foods normally tolerated may have unexpected allergenic procperties 

* The nutritional value may change 

* An increased use of herbicides may create herbicide resistant weeds leading 
to a spiralling use
of herbicides 

* Genes from engineered plants may spread to weedy realatives that may become 
resistant to
herbicides and impossible to eradicate. 

* Imbalances in the natural flora may occur because engineered organism may 
extinguish natural
relatives. 

The concluding sentence was: 

IT IS NOT WE, THE CONSUMERS, WHO SHALL PROVE THE RISKS. IN STEAD IT IS
THE PRODUCERS WHO MUST PROVE THAT THE FOOD IS NOT HAZARDOUS. UNTIL
THIS HAS BEEN DONE WE DON'T WANT ANY ENGINEERED GENES IN OUR FOOD
NOR IN THE ENVIRONMENT. 

_________________________________________________________ 

(This proclamation was largely based on information material from the Natural 
Law Party. The
medical advisor of the party is also member of the expert council on genetic 
engineering of the
National Consumers Council that took the intitative to write this 
proclamation). 

__________________________________________________________ 

ADDITIONAL NOTE: 

SWEDENS LARGEST FOOD STORE EXPELS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD 

In september 1996, Sweden's largest food store chain, SABA, with stores in 
almost every town
above 10.000 inhabitants, has declared that it will be very careful not to 
allow any genetically
engineered food or food components to enter the products they sell. 

___________________________________________________________ 

CONCLUSION: There is a strong and opinion against genetically engineered food 
in Sweden.
The indignation is very great among the consumers that the producers do not 
label the genetically
engineered products. There is a clear realization that the knowledge about the 
hazards is still so
incomplete that it is unreasonable and irresponsible to produce such organisms 
for eating and to
release them into nature. It is very clear to the consumers that there exists 
no evidence proving
that the genetically engineered have benefits that justify taking any risks at 
all with the health of
people or with the environment. 

The next step, if the producers do not show responsible behaviour will be for 
the consumers
organizations all over the world to boycot other products by the producers. 
This means for
example that the medicines produced by companies owned by for example Ciba and 
Monsanto
will be listed all over the world and doctors and patients are urged not to 
use them. As the
companies are obviously irresponsible, there are good reasons not to trust any 
other product
manufactured by them. 

THE SUCCESSFUL LOBBYING OF BIOTECH COMPANIES AGAINST LABELLING OF
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD HAS GREATLY HELPED TO AWAKEN THE
AWARENESS AMONG CONSUMERS ABOUT THE DANGERS OF SUCH FOOD. THE
RAPIDLY GROWING INDIGATION AND ANGER AMONG CONSUMERS ALL OWER
THE WORLD OF BEING FORCED UNWITTINGLY TO EAT POTENTIALLY
DANGEROUS FOOD IS NOW INSPIRING FIRM AND INCREASINGLY EFFICIENT
ACTIONS THAT PROBABLY WILL CAUSE THE COMPANIES MUCH GREATER
LOSSES THAN IF THE FOODS HAD BEEN LABELLED.