ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

Date:  5 December 2000


Reuters, Sunday, December 3, 2000

Greenpeace activists in rubber dinghies blocked a canal entrance in Terneuzen in the Netherlands today to stop a ship they said was carrying genetically modified soya beans from traveling to

Greenpeace said in a statement it believed that the 60,000 tonnes of U.S.-grown soya beans being imported by agribusiness giant Cargill for processing in Ghent, northern Belgium, were
"genetically contaminated."

"We can not confirm that, though there is a likelihood some of them might be (genetically modified)," Cargill spokesman Randy MacNack told Reuters, adding that the company was importing the beans legally.

"Given the infrastructure of where we buy the beans and the amount of crops grown from GM seeds, it is likely they are mixed."

Some European consumer groups, food manufacturers and supermarkets have demanded that GM crops be strictly separated from non-GM crops. They have also asked for strict labeling of any foods that might contain genetically modified products.

"We have acted this morning because GM crops are not wanted in Europe, consumers don't want it in the food chain and supermarkets don't want it in the food chain," Greenpeace member Jean-Francois Fauconnier told Reuters by telephone.

He said Greenpeace had spoken to the captain of the cargo ship, the George, sailing from New Orleans in the United States, now anchored off the Belgian coast. The captain said he was awaiting further instructions.

Cargill's MacNack said the company is looking into what action could be taken together with the help of authorities.

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