ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

14 February 2002


Barcelona, 14th February, 2002 - Greenpeace activists today shut down the facilities of the largest soy importer in Spain, Moyresa, in Barcelona, after contamination from genetically engineered (GE) varieties was detected in its present US-imported stocks (1). Greenpeace accused Moyresa of routine and deliberate contamination after the company had admitted mixing GE-free soy from Brazil with unlabelled GE supplies from the US and Argentina (2).

The activists from ten countries (3) halted the work at the loading facilities by chaining themselves across the loading bay entrance and to the machinery. They held a banner that said "Genetic Contamination - Don't buy it" demanding that Moyresa, which controls 70% of the local soy-market, commit to provide secure uncontaminated supplies to Spain.

"This company is deliberately denying the Spanish consumers and food industry the right to GE-free food chain. We urge the Spanish Government to use the authority of its current EU Presidency to help enforce the strongest possible legislation to restrict the growth and import of GE crops in Europe, in order to halt genetic contamination. Spaniards as well as other Europeans have repeatedly and clearly stated that GE is not wanted in their food chain," said Juan-Felipe Carrasco, GMO campaigner for Greenpeace Spain. (4)

Greenpeace called for Spain to support the de-facto moratorium on new GE crop approvals, to speed up the proposed European regulation on food and animal feed as well as traceability of genetically modified organisms, to ensure zero-tolerance toward genetic contamination of seeds, and to demand that all EU member states follow Spain's example and ratify the UN Biosafety Protocol.

"The list of examples of genetic contamination, inadequate safety legislation and social concerns surrounding GE crops is growing almost daily. The great so called gifts that GE crops have so far brought are potential allergies, lower yields, chemical dependency, corporate control and contamination of the basic seed biodiversity that sustains life on earth. This uncontrolled genetic experiment has to stop," Carrasco concluded

Notes to the Editors:

Lastweek a US ship, MV Amazon, delivered 40,000 tonnes of soy to the Moyresa facility.
Genetic testing of samples collected by Greenpeace from this facility indicate the presence of the called Cauliflower Mosaic Virus Promoter (35S), which is used in a number of GE crops. Further testing confirmed the contamination originates from Monsanto's GE soy known as "Round-up". The tests were conducted by Bio tools B&M Labs. SA.

(2) Moyresa has five soy crushing facilities in Spain. The company is owned by Cereol Holding ({ HYPERLINK }, which is a part of the Montedison Group
({ HYPERLINK } In 1999/2000, Spain was the third largest importer and the largest domestic consumer of soy in the EU using 4.5 million tonnes (MT). 3 MT came from the US and Argentina where the majority of the production is GE. 1.5 MT came from Brazil, where the growing of GE crops is illegal. The processed soy is used in a variety of food products and as animal feed. USDA FAS: Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade, FOP 11 Nov 2001 and FAS GAIN Report, Spain Oilseeds and Products, Import and Exports 2001

(3) The activists taking part in this action were from Belgium, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Russia, Spain, UK and the US.

(4) A recent survey of Spanish consumers showed that 66% of people would not want to buy food products containing GE. Eurobarometer polls show that over 70 % of Europeans reject GE and close to 95 % demand to be fully informed whether GMOs are in their food. The Spanish consumer survey was conducted by the Spanish Sociologic Research Centre in March, 2001.

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