GENTECH archive 8.96-97

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Austria Says No to Frankenfoods



VIENNA, April 15 (Reuter) - More than a million Austrians have signed a
petition calling for a ban on genetically modified foods and forced
parliament to debate the issue. 

"The European Commission should listen to the 1,226,551 Austrian
citizens...calling on their government to stop the release of genetically
engineered organisms into food and the environment," Greenpeace Austria's
Ulrike Schelander said in a statement on Tuesday. 

"The Austrian people have given a very strong signal to the other EU
countries and the whole world -- a vast part of our population does not want
to eat genetically altered food. Now the politicians have to act
accordingly," she said. 

The petition, organised by environmental groups, farmers and members of the
Roman Catholic Church, forces parliament to hold a debate on the issue which
could lead to a referendum. 

The Interior Ministry announced the result of the petition on Monday evening.
Under Austrian law, just 100,000 signatures are needed to trigger a
parliamentary debate. 

Austria two weeks ago introduced a law stipulating that genetically modified
foods must be labelled to fill a legal gap until EU legislation, expected
next month, comes into force. 

Environmental groups say the law is not comprehensive enough. 

They are demanding the government ban all genetically manipulated organisms
(GMO), ban GMO production and defend its existing ban on imports of
genetically-engineered maize even if it means going before the European
Court. 

06:57 04-15-97