GE: a 'recipe' for disaster

Feature story - 20 April, 2010
Billboards of European Health Commissioner John Dalli and President of the Commission José Manuel Barroso depicted as chefs cooking up 'GE recipes for disaster' were placed around Brussels today. This is part of Greenpeace's response to the controversial Commission approval of GE potato cultivation in Europe - the first such approval since 1998.

Call for a GE future

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President Barroso continues to push a pro-GE agenda, going as far as removing the nvironment Commissioner from any decision involving GE licensing and placing Health Commissioner Dalli in this role. Dalli's first decision was to approve the GE Potato Amflora for cultivation in Europe, an extremely disappointing decision considering the medical expert opinions which stressed the importance of antibiotics being affected by the potato's genetic makeup.

This decision flies in the face of the will of several EU member states, the advice of medical experts, including the advice of the World Health Organisation and European Medicines Agency, and - most importantly - the EU public.

GE-free future

Organic farmer Chema Montes signs the GE-Free Future bus at his farm 'Ecohuerto' in Huesca, Spain.

As part of our GE-free Future Bus Tour across Europe, and in partnership with Avaaz we have been collecting signatures calling for a moratorium on GE crops in Europe. Together we have over half a million signatures.

The last stop on our GE-free Future Tour was Madrid, where this past weekend thousands of people gathered in the city center to show their opposition to the Spanish and EU Commission's support for GE crops and to call for a moratorium on GE crops in Europe. At the rally Greenpeace joined Friends of the Earth, and groups like Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos (COAG), to call on the Spanish government to act on the wishes of it's citizens and ban GE crops.

Police arrested our activists

The day before we delivered this message directly to the Spanish Ministry of Environment. The GE-free Future Tour bus pulled up at the entrance to the ministry building to deliver bags of GE maize, while our activists peacefully demonstrated with banners addressing Spanish President Zapatero and asking him to support a ban on GE.

Our GE-free Future Tour of Europe began on March 24 in Amsterdam and included activities calling for a GE-free future in Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden, Hungary, Italy, France and Spain. We collected petition signatures both online - as people followed the bus tour via the Facebook group,as well as offline. Ministers, chefs, farmers and members of the public visited our bus at it's various stops to make it clear that they don't want to be force fed GE food.

In Luxembourg, the Ministers of Environment, Agriculture, and Health - Marco Schank, Romain Schneider, and Mars Di Bartolomeo - called for a moratorium on GE in the EU. In Hungary a delegate of the new green party, Lehet Más a Politika (LMP), Tordai Bence announced his support for the petition in front of media, while the mayor of Rome and a former Minister of Agriculture, Gianni Alemanno, put his signature directly on our GE-free Future Bus. The Danish Minister of Environment, Karen Ellemann, told media and public gathered at our tour stop that Denmark would introduce a national ban on the GE potato approved for cultivation by President Barroso.

Our billboards in Brussels today are bringing that opposition to GE crop cultivation directly to Barroso's workplace, as will the petition already signed by half a million EU citizens. A GE-free future is getting closer - we are gathering 1 million signatures and we need your help. Add your voice and invite friends and family to join you in calling on the EU Commission to act - and make a GE-free future a reality.

Call for a GE-free future now!

Slideshow of images from our GE-free Future bus tour: