Greenpeace Exposes Genetically Engineered Drug Corn

Consumer and Environmental Groups Urge Bush to Ban Drug-Crops

Press release - 20 November, 2002

Greenpeace activists unfurl a banner reading This Is Your Food on Drugs, Ban Genetically Engineered Drug Crops at an Aurora, Nebraska grain facility

Two Greenpeace activists unfurled a banner on a silo containing 500,000 bushels of soybeans contaminated by genetically engineered drug-producing corn. The banner read "This is your food on drugs. Ban genetically engineered drug-crops". Greenpeace publicly demarcated this huge, contaminated food mound to expose the inherent dangers in conducting genetically engineered crop experiments in open fields near food crops.

"The biotech industry is playing genetic roulette with our food," said Charles Margulis, Genetic Engineering Campaigner with Greenpeace USA. "This crazy experiment of growing drugs in one of our nation's most important staple foods must cease immediately. We urge President Bush to take swift action to protect our food."

In a letter faxed to President Bush today, Greenpeace, the Center for Food

Safety, National Family Farm Coalition, and several other national organisations urged the President to ban open-field planting of genetically engineered drug crops, and to prohibit drug production in food crops because it risks contaminating our nation s food supply.

The genetically engineered drug that contaminated soybean stocks is a

protein that is intended to vaccinate pigs. Anthony Laos, CEO of ProdiGene, the company that caused the contamination, admits that no human

health tests have been conducted on the pig drug to date. According to

Doreen Stabinsky, Staff Scientist for Greenpeace s Genetic Engineering

Campaign, All allergens are proteins, and any food contaminated with the

GE drug poses an unacceptable risk to the people who unwittingly eat it.

Environmentalists and scientists, including the U.S. National Academy of

Sciences, have repeatedly warned that growing drug-producing crops in open

fields and not in laboratories would inevitably contaminate our food

supply. Drug-crops grown on farms across the U.S. today include corn that

produces compounds such as untested AIDS and hepatitis B vaccines, a blood

clotting agent, and other compounds not meant for human consumption.

"These unregulated drug crops threaten our nation s food security," said

Margulis. "Even though genetic engineers said it could never happen here, Americans have narrowly escaped eating GE contaminated food twice in three months. We must stop taking chances with untested drug-crops that could poison our corn flakes, tacos, and baby food," Margulis concluded.

VVPR info: Photos available from Greenpeace International Photo Desk, John Novis, Mob: +31 653819121